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Understanding the RWS Tarot


If you could study the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot with any living person, who do you feel would be most qualified to give you the real low-down on the deck?

Would you want to learn from
1) someone who truly understands what Waite wrote in his book, or
2) someone who has their own, truly inspiring 'take' on the cards?
What contemporary authors/books most embody these two options?

What are the most important things to know/learn about this deck?

I appreciate any feedback or thoughts on this topic.

Mary
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someone who knows;

*not what Waite wrote, or knew, but the source of what he knew.

*not what Crowley wrote, or knew, but the source of what he knew...

* not the original meaning of the Marseille ... but the source of that meaning...

* not someone who knows the anatomy about a finger that's pointing at the moon.. but someone who knows the moon ...

* not someone who knows only the past of the Tarot, someone who knows also to where it has arrived..

* why does anyone...Waite, Crowley ... know more than you about Tarot ?
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I want to study RWS with someone who can point out the Ukiyoe artists or their works that influenced PCS technically. Arthure Wesley Dow would have been the best, but he's already dead.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
If you could study the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot with any living person, who do you feel would be most qualified to give you the real low-down on the deck?

Would you want to learn from
1) someone who truly understands what Waite wrote in his book, or
2) someone who has their own, truly inspiring 'take' on the cards?
What contemporary authors/books most embody these two options?

What are the most important things to know/learn about this deck?

I appreciate any feedback or thoughts on this topic.

Mary
As funny as it might sound to some people, the last two times I tried to learn Tarot, I did it with you and your books. But I'm still going to try to answer the questions you actually asked.

The problem with what Waite wrote is that he probably was trying to hide things from his readers. Some of what he was trying to hide we know. Some of the things he was trying to hide he was successful at hiding. I also find his writing almost impossible to read.

I'm of the opinion that the RWS deck became The Standard for a very long time in the 20th Century because it spoke to the time and place when it was the only deck you could buy (in a lot of the places I was living). It became a standard deck to learn from even when Thoth and Marseilles pattern decks were available for a reason and that reason was that it spoke to a time and place that was here and now. For me anyway the Thoth was too dark, and the Marseilles pattern decks were ugly, and didn't have an entry point that worked for me.

I think right now just about everyone is trying to learn Tarot using books written by people who are explaining what they know from their own viewpoints, because that is what everyone who is a writer does. It is the only thing they can do. One hopes for inspirational writing, but can't always get it.

I started with RWS when it was the only available deck and Eden Grey was the only available book. Things are a whole lot easier today.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roppo
I want to study RWS with someone who can point out the Ukiyoe artists or their works that influenced PCS technically. Arthure Wesley Dow would have been the best, but he's already dead.
It seems that Dow first got his inspiration from a collection of Japanese prints at the Boston Museum of Art. You could possibly contact them directly for more information. I found this info at:
http://www.ipswichmuseum.org/person_dow.php

Mary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenMusic
* why does anyone...Waite, Crowley ... know more than you about Tarot ?
There is direct experience - gnosis - and then there is study for the pure pleasure of study - in this case - the history of ideas.

Jung said something to the effect of - study everything you can about a symbol and then be willing to let it go when actually working with a person on their dream.

Why learn to read or write when you can simply enjoy a sunset? There are many ways to experience life.

Mary
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Roppo - you might also want to check this book: Ernest Fenollosa's The Masters of the Ukiyo-e (1896). I would imagine that PCS mostly saw the works in reproduction through this book and especially Dow's book Composition. Fenollosa was the curator of Japanese art at the Boston Museum of Art that I mentioned before.

I found this quote very interesting and may answer part of your question:
"As Dow wrote to his fiancée, 'One evening with Hokusai gave me more light on composition and decorative effect than years of study of pictures.'"
http://www.artic.edu/artexplorer/sea...1&tab=2&just=6

Here's some interesting info about how Dow was influenced by Kakuzo Okahura: http://books.google.com/books?id=j7c...XqX9sEGKDtMEBU
If the link doesn't work try searching on Ukiyoe+Dow.

Mary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
If you could study the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot with any living person, who do you feel would be most qualified to give you the real low-down on the deck?

Would you want to learn from
1) someone who truly understands what Waite wrote in his book, or
2) someone who has their own, truly inspiring 'take' on the cards?
What contemporary authors/books most embody these two options?

What are the most important things to know/learn about this deck?

I appreciate any feedback or thoughts on this topic.

Mary
I would want to learn with Joan Bunning because i feel she knows the RWS pretty well tarot . real well actually. and i think the most important thing to learn about this deck is, to read the other decks, you dont necessarily have to learn how to read RWS..but it really, really, really helps.
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Two things spurred my questions - one was my own interest. The second was that several people are considering some kind of centennial conference to honor the RWS Tarot deck & book (1910-2010). I've been asked who would be the most important people to give presentations on the deck and book. If the response so far is any kind of indication, then such a conference would be a total waste of time and effort.

Is there anyone you would like to hear speak at such a conference? Any votes for Frank Jensen?

Mary
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Hi Mary!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
Two things spurred my questions - one was my own interest. The second was that several people are considering some kind of centennial conference to honor the RWS Tarot deck & book (1910-2010). I've been asked who would be the most important people to give presentations on the deck and book. If the response so far is any kind of indication, then such a conference would be a total waste of time and effort.

Is there anyone you would like to hear speak at such a conference? Any votes for Frank Jensen?

Mary
I would have thought Frank would have been one of those "several people" already!

Where else has it been announced, that you already know it might be a waste of time?

2010 is long enough away for finding a venue and getting people signed up. I don't know how many subscriptions it would take to work, but surely between 60 and 100 is possible if the travel costs aren't too much? That means it has to be near a hub airport in Europe or North America.

I vote London myself, first choice.

Off hand, Kaplan, Jensen, Volley, O'Neill, (you)... and others (I don't know the field too well) come to mind as being influential for the RWS. You might get a Golden Dawn specialist or two in there as well...

If you mean, would I go? Then, if it is possible, I will go. I'm sure there is enough interest to generate a Centennial conference... it's just a matter of getting the word out and doing the location-finding and the phone-internet work to make it happen.

Ross
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