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"Tarot Triumphs" by Cherry Gilchrist

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Originally Posted by Herodotus View Post
Sorry. I was being nit-picky and got carried away. I didn't mean to misrepresent the book.
Oh, no problem, I just realized I myself may have exaggerated her vehemence.

Edited to add: Also, in fairness to us, while I love Gilchrist's chatty style, it does make it difficult to find certain passages again.
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.....As a counter-argument, I'd like to refer everyone to Paul Huson's Mystical Origins. In this book, he suggests that most divination should be done with ONLY the Minor Arcana, and the Majors should be mixed into the pack for very weighty dilemmas and nothing else. A last resort for the desperate man, if you will.....
In PKT, A.E.Waite was, if anything, even more vehement:
It will be seen that, except where there is an irresistible suggestion conveyed by the surface meaning, that which is extracted from the Trumps Major by the divinatory art is at once artificial and arbitrary, as it seems to me, in the highest degree. But of one order are the mysteries of light and of another are those of fantasy. The allocation of a fortune-telling aspect to these cards is the story of a prolonged impertinence.
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In PKT, A.E.Waite was, if anything, even more vehement:
It will be seen that, except where there is an irresistible suggestion conveyed by the surface meaning, that which is extracted from the Trumps Major by the divinatory art is at once artificial and arbitrary, as it seems to me, in the highest degree. But of one order are the mysteries of light and of another are those of fantasy. The allocation of a fortune-telling aspect to these cards is the story of a prolonged impertinence.
Hmm... if we were to pay attention to Messrs. Waite and Huson, then we might as well forget about tarot and just read with playing cards!
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Hmm... if we were to pay attention to Messrs. Waite and Huson, then we might as well forget about tarot and just read with playing cards!
Personally, I've always found Waite a little too self-important, but I suppose he was just taking his vows of secrecy seriously. Huson I haven't read yet. I prefer Crowley's roguish irreverence. He seemed to give all of the Major Arcana due respect without being overawed by them to the point of dysfunction. They're all part of the "toolbox," after all.
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"Tarot Triumphs" by Cherry Gilchrist


I must have forgotten that part of Huson's book. Which is great btw.

I've always loved how catty Waite is.


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I really don't care whether Huson and Waite are right or wrong, since I don't use the cards for conventional fortune telling anyhow.

I find that trying to read the Marseille pips intrinsically is pushing things a bit. They may be beautiful examples of graphic art, but finding intrinsic divinatory meaning is problematic, since it seems to involve extensive overanalysis. Extrinsically, I have used Pythagorean number symbolism, playing card cartomancy, decans, and pips as trumps, the last two of which I find to be the most satisfying, but I seriously doubt that they are in any way historically authentic (as if that even matters).

I hope I haven't strayed too far from the topic.
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I really don't care whether Huson and Waite are right or wrong, since I don't use the cards for conventional fortune telling anyhow.

I find that trying to read the Marseille pips intrinsically is pushing things a bit. They may be beautiful examples of graphic art, but finding intrinsic divinatory meaning is problematic, since it seems to involve extensive overanalysis. Extrinsically, I have used Pythagorean number symbolism, playing card cartomancy, decans, and pips as trumps, the last two of which I find to be the most satisfying, but I seriously doubt that they are in any way historically authentic (as if that even matters).
"Over-analysis" is a perfect way to put it. I've always scratched my head over the seemingly anal fixation on counting up flowers and buds and leaves and branches and trying to find meaning in their condition and orientation. Lately I've been wondering whether the old tradition of "cloud divination" might not be an even more useful technique: just sort of squint your eyes and see what the fuzzy patterns on the pips suggest to your mind's eye. (I'm only half-joking here.) I also use number symbolism and elemental associations, and am just beginning to apply cartomantic interpretation, but I don't go much beyond that with correspondences. I also created my own extension of the pips-as-trumps model that I've found useful.
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Originally Posted by 3ill.yazi View Post
I must have forgotten that part of Huson's book. Which is great btw.

I've always loved how catty Waite is.


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If I'm remembering correctly, Huson talks about this sort of thing in the end chapter(s?) of his book, which is about methods of divination. I know he does talk about it, though, because it was the first time in his entire book that I found myself disagreeing with him, although I can see where he's coming from.

I feel the same way about Waite. Snarky is how I've always put it.
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Originally Posted by Richard View Post
I really don't care whether Huson and Waite are right or wrong, since I don't use the cards for conventional fortune telling anyhow.

I find that trying to read the Marseille pips intrinsically is pushing things a bit. They may be beautiful examples of graphic art, but finding intrinsic divinatory meaning is problematic, since it seems to involve extensive overanalysis. Extrinsically, I have used Pythagorean number symbolism, playing card cartomancy, decans, and pips as trumps, the last two of which I find to be the most satisfying, but I seriously doubt that they are in any way historically authentic (as if that even matters).

I hope I haven't strayed too far from the topic.
If I'm using pip cards (as opposed to the illustrated Smith cards, for example), I'm an extrinsic kind of guy myself, and am drawn particularly to the Pythagorean stuff. Unless my intuition is screaming at me.

As a study of the Major Arcana, Gilchrist's book is perfectly good, I think, even if I don't think it's the best. And I realize now that she really only ever "suggests" that the Minors shouldn't be used, although something about the way she writes made me think her feelings on this and other matters is unnecessarily strong, and that I'd be scolded if she caught me divining with pips.

"Care to share your *divination* with the rest of the class, Mr. Herodotus?"

For the record, I disagree with both Huson and Waite on the other end of the spectrum, as well. I'm more of a moderate, all-the-pack-all-the-time kind of guy.
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Originally Posted by Herodotus View Post
If I'm remembering correctly, Huson talks about this sort of thing in the end chapter(s?) of his book, which is about methods of divination. I know he does talk about it, though, because it was the first time in his entire book that I found myself disagreeing with him, although I can see where he's coming from.



I feel the same way about Waite. Snarky is how I've always put it.


Fwiw, if you have access to the iTunes Store, there is actually an audiobook of his Pictoral Key to the tarot, which features a reader who accurately and imo hilariously captures his condescending tone.


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