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Dancinggods  Dancinggods is offline
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Books on tarot symbolism


I am looking for some books on foundational symbolism of the minor arcana. Elements, suites, numbers. I use agrippa's natural history of magic for elemental information and it's quite helpful. I'm not so much interested in books with card interpretations, let's say I pull "six of wands," I want to look up Symbolism for wands, fire and six to build my own cars interperation. I can always use more information, but I most need a good resource for te number symbolism for the minor arcana.

Now here's the catch. This isn't a complete deal breaker, but I have a thing for old and hardcover books. Agrippa's book II: celestial magic has all the number information I could desire, but doesn't exist in an old 20th century hardcover I can find. I'm especially interested in the old Pythagorean number symbolism, which agrippa deals with. What other great old volumes might be out there with information to build my own card Interperations? Alternatively, are there any newer well researched and good volumes with this information in one place and maybe in a tarot context?

Thanks!
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_R_  _R_ is offline
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I applaud your approach.

Three excellent books on number symbolism are as follows:

"Number Symbolism", Christopher Butler, 1970.

"Medieval Number Symbolism", Vincent Foster Hopper, 1938.

"The Mystery of Numbers", Annemarie Schimmel, 1994.

Hopper has been reprinted in recent years, and Schimmel is a newer book, but they should all be available secondhand in hardcover.

As for Pythagorean number symbolism specifically, I advise going straight to the original source if possible, and recommend Iamblichus' "Theology of Arithmetic", alongside Thomas Taylor's "Theoretic Arithmetic" (based on the same treatise, and available online as long out of copyright).

There are also a number of decent books on the general subject of pythagoreanism.

Other than that, in a Tarot context, there is Ronald Decker's "Esoteric Tarot", and of course, Bob O'Neill's "Tarot Symbolism", both of which deal with numerical symbolism. I would also suggest John Opsapaus' book, but I felt that he stuck too closely to the Rider-Waite divinatory attributions than was warranted by the Pythagorean scheme.

Don't forget to make your own notes - keep a journal or a folder for quotes and observations - it will become invaluable in the long run.
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_R_  _R_ is offline
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There's also this very interesting synthesis, describing the type of process you have in mind, from a (former?) member:

Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_moon View Post
Just in case you didn't feel like putting in the spadework.
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Just one caveat about Hopper: I bought it thinking it would be more general in its coverage of number theory, but instead found it to be entirely too "Christian" in its approach.
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Dancinggods  Dancinggods is offline
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I haven't looked up any of this yet... But you are awesome!! Thanks, I'll see how these vibe with my needs!
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Dancinggods  Dancinggods is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _R_ View Post
I applaud your approach.

Three excellent books on number symbolism are as follows:

"Number Symbolism", Christopher Butler, 1970.

"Medieval Number Symbolism", Vincent Foster Hopper, 1938.

"The Mystery of Numbers", Annemarie Schimmel, 1994.

Hopper has been reprinted in recent years, and Schimmel is a newer book, but they should all be available secondhand in hardcover.

As for Pythagorean number symbolism specifically, I advise going straight to the original source if possible, and recommend Iamblichus' "Theology of Arithmetic", alongside Thomas Taylor's "Theoretic Arithmetic" (based on the same treatise, and available online as long out of copyright).

There are also a number of decent books on the general subject of pythagoreanism.

Other than that, in a Tarot context, there is Ronald Decker's "Esoteric Tarot", and of course, Bob O'Neill's "Tarot Symbolism", both of which deal with numerical symbolism. I would also suggest John Opsapaus' book, but I felt that he stuck too closely to the Rider-Waite divinatory attributions than was warranted by the Pythagorean scheme.

Don't forget to make your own notes - keep a journal or a folder for quotes and observations - it will become invaluable in the long run.
It appears that Thomas Taylor's Theoretic Arithmetic is the winner. I'll got a pdf to get acquainted and will be hunting down a copy from the 30s or so.

Thanks so much!
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JylliM  JylliM is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _R_ View Post
There's also this very interesting synthesis, describing the type of process you have in mind, from a (former?) member:



Just in case you didn't feel like putting in the spadework.
Wow, thanks for posting that! I have it saved to iBooks. This is exactly the sort of material I've been looking for.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JylliM View Post
Wow, thanks for posting that! I have it saved to iBooks. This is exactly the sort of material I've been looking for.
I second that. This is going right into my reference binder. I will also be getting the Taylor book; it's available at reasonable cost from Amazon as a slightly scruffy facsimilie edition. Iamblichus has been on my wish-list for a while as well.
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Thanks from me, too! Mel's book looks amazing. Does anyone know if it has a title? Or Mel's real name? I feel strange downloading it to my kindle without them. (Or a date, but that's just me. Looks like it could be 2013?)

And it's a good antidote to the Taylor. Too much Platonism makes me twitch and mutter, so not the best commute reading. I'm pretty sure people were inching as far away from me as they could on the train this morning!

But thanks for it, too. Maybe I'll get something out of it when the introduction wears off a bit . . . !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelcat View Post
Thanks from me, too! Mel's book looks amazing. Does anyone know if it has a title? Or Mel's real name? I feel strange downloading it to my kindle without them. (Or a date, but that's just me. Looks like it could be 2013?
Believe it or not, that PDF was actually compiled (by another member) from a long-running thread here on AT back in the days...

See here: http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=112327

Mel hasn't posted here in some years so it would be unfair to give away too many details. You could always post a thank-you note in that thread if you wish.

Ah, another, much more readable, work that touches on pythagorean number symbolism and its relation to the Tarot is Nigel Jackson's book, "Fortuna's Wheel".
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