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Is there a canonical non-woowoo history of the tarot?

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Yesterday’s null hypothesis is tomorrow’s woo: The Book of Thoth saved from Alexandrian fires discarded for games of chance and the amusement of nobles. Were it not for their utility as a cipher decrypting the puzzle-box of Hebrew Letters, those pesky occult rumors about Tarot might finally die in pieces. Yeah? Well, whichever null one prefers, the irony of who is woo may be lost on you, lest it's seen what the ‘hidden’ hides.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw View Post
There is very little to indicate much Kabbalistic influence in Etteilla's tarot works, certainly none to show he made any connection for example between the trumps and Hebrew alphabet (despite the speculations of Christine Payne-Towler) . . .
Would that be here?

The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed

Did her speculation also spill over into the symbolism for the Tarot of the Holy Light? I've been interested in that deck for some time since it reportedly has some Etteilla influence in it. As far as I can tell, the Grand Etteilla decks are all out of my price range, but there could be other worthwhile decks I haven't found yet. (Suggestions?) I'm still interested, even though Crowley dismissed Etteilla as "the grotesque barber, Alliette."
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Would that be here?

The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed

Did her speculation also spill over into the symbolism for the Tarot of the Holy Light? I've been interested in that deck for some time since it reportedly has some Etteilla influence in it. As far as I can tell, the Grand Etteilla decks are all out of my price range, but there could be other worthwhile decks I haven't found yet. (Suggestions?) I'm still interested, even though Crowley dismissed Etteilla as "the grotesque barber, Alliette."
I don't think the Holy Light pushes the Tree of Life attributions. In her writings she (along with Levi) insists that Aleph = 1 = Magician, which may be plausible, except when you get to Kaph = 20, which then must be assigned to trump 11 (whatever that is ). Very thin ice from here on.

The GD's Hebrew letter attributions are a simple ordinal isomorphism, having nothing to do with the cardinal number values of the letters.

The Grand Etteilla is a beautiful thing artistically, but it doesn't seem to adhere to any consistent scheme. If I could clone my deck, I would send you a copy. I wouldn't waste my time or money on the Holy Light.
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... except for the fact that it looks magnificent. I haven't got it yet because I don't "get" it, its structure and basic premise.
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If you are interested in alchemical imagery, take a look at http://www.alchemywebsite.com/adam.html. Christine Payne-Towler has not exactly established a reputation for accuracy.
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My interest in alchemy lies mainly in better understanding the GD system. In the books I have read things like Kabbalah and astrology are dealt with exhaustively, but alchemy is either treated as if everyone already knows it or, of course, mentioned in passing as unique to this or that grade. I have been eying the Holy Light as a good demonstration of alchemical concepts. All I really know of alchemy is how the basic three elements in the GD are pushed everywhere.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
My interest in alchemy lies mainly in better understanding the GD system. In the books I have read things like Kabbalah and astrology are dealt with exhaustively, but alchemy is either treated as if everyone already knows it or, of course, mentioned in passing as unique to this or that grade. I have been eying the Holy Light as a good demonstration of alchemical concepts. All I really know of alchemy is how the basic three elements in the GD are pushed everywhere.
Adam's alchemy site looks like a good resource.

I don't have much in the way of alchemical writing either. Buried in Israel Regardie's massive Falcon Press tome The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic, at the very end of Volume Two, are two articles on alchemy, one by Regardie and another by his friend, Hans W. Nintzel. The latter cites numerous other writers on alchemy, some older - Paracelsus, Geber, Glauber, Vaughn, Sendivogius, Flammel, Isaac of Holland - and others more recent - Frater Albertus, Phillip Hurley and Archibald Cockren.

In his nearly as massive The Secret Teachings of All Ages, Manly P. Hall devotes 58 pages to alchemy, including two sections titled Theory and Practice I and II. In addition to many of the above luminaries, Hall mentions Raymond Lully, Thomas Norton, Basil Valentine, Jean de Meung, Roger Bacon, Picus de Mirandola, John Dee, John Frederick Helvetius, Alexander Sethon, Count Bernard of Treviso, Sir George Ripley, the Comte di Cagliostro, the Comte de St.-Germain and a host of others too numerous to list. Quite a few of these names I recognize, but I haven't (knowingly) read any of their work.

There is quite a bit on alchemy scattered about Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy but it's kind of a pain to dredge it out using the index.

I also have Paul Foster Case's The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order. Although it has many references to alchemy throughout, it's primarily about the Rosicrucian Allegory and the Grades of the Order. I understand Case was a latter-day GD member, so this one might be of some use to you.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
Beware of the recent book by Decker (Esoteric tarot): without the restraining influence of Dummett, it's definitely woowoo.
Hmm, I just ordered this..... In what way is this book "woowoo"....?
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One train of thought that I believe is often overlooked is the Cathar and Hermetic influence in Europe at the time Tarot first began appearing.

It remains a point worth remembering that the church would quickly root out and destroy any overt systems of thought that contradicted its philosophy.
If an esoteric group wanted to infiltrate the masses without drawing attention to themselves then a 'game' like the cards would have been an ideal way to do it.

I think it's worth bearing in mind.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Adam's alchemy site looks like a good resource.
It is. His tarot art course is up there, too. Free.
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