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Triangular Tarot Sequence

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kwaw  kwaw is offline
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Originally Posted by RLG
If you put the fool aside and put the 21 trumps in a triangle, it's not close to anyone's theory, and has very little to make it noteworthy at all.
The six points at the base of a triangle of 21 points corresponds to the six points on a dice, the throw of a six in dice is called a venus throw; somewhat appropriate then that in the TdM pattern the sixth card is the lover. According to St. Augustine, the soul "while in this Mortal body is a pilgrim in a foreign land", seeking his way to the City of God, and Love is the path to Eternity. We may agree perhaps that the middle section of the TdM pattern is one defined by Virtue: "I hold Virtue", said St. Augustine, "to be nothing else than perfect love of God." I read the first section as one concerned with love, in particular the concept of two loves in the context of Christian salvation, as the foundation of virtue and the path to Eternity.
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RLG  RLG is offline
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I thought the Venus Throw was when all four astragali landed with a different number? But the side with 6 dots was referred to Venus, so this is appropriate to the VI card, the Lovers.

(I think sides 2 and 5 were not counted in the knucklebones game, and these would refer to Papesse and Pope on your analogy).

In the case of a row of six at the bottom starting with the Fool, it would then be the Fool who is throwing the dice. 6 is attributed to Venus/Lover(s) regardless of where the card sits in the triangle. Perhaps by being on the next row above, it shows that Omnia Vincit Amor?
Top   #22
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Another interesting thing I just noticed about this triangle of 21 numbers representing the Fool and the first 20 trumps is that there are other triangular numbers found therein.

Numbers on the levels:

--------18 -19
-----15 - 16 -17
---11 -12 -13 -14
--6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10
0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

The sum of all of these is 210, which is obviously a triangular number, (the 20th triangular number, as a matter of fact).

But 210 has the curious property that it is twice the value of another triangular number, 105, (which is the 14th triangular number).

Of the first 100 triangular numbers, there are only two that are double the value of another: 3 & 6, and 105 & 210.
I don't know if these are the only pairs with this property. I did not check past the first hundred such numbers.

Anyway, we can find 105 in this triangle as well.

The bottom three rows are all the numbers from 0 to 14, thus their sum is 105.

The top three rows are 15 + 16 + 17 + 18 + 19 + 20 = 105.

Thus by splitting the six rows into the upper and lower groups of three rows each, the sums of both key numbers of the trumps are 105.

105 being the 14th triangular number ties them into the key number XIV, which is Temperance, whose major symbolism is the mixing of two vessels, (of water and wine perhaps). These two vessels can then symbolize the upper and lower halves of the triangle.

In conjunction with that, the total of all the cards in the triangle is the 20th triangular number, and this refers us to the card of the Angel, or Judgement, which appears at the apex of the triangle. This sum of 210 is, as I noted before, the product of 10 x 21, thus referring to the 21 trumps and the 10 numbered cards in each suit.

So the whole triangle refers to the XX card, or Judgment, while each half of the triangle refers to the XIV card, or Temperance, (and note that the upper half is the Celestial Realms, while the lower half is the Estates of Man and the Allegories of Life).

The whole triangle has 21 cards, and this is the 6th triangular number, thus referring to the Lovers card, and its key number VI.

The upper part of the triangle has 6 cards, the lower part of the triangle has 15 cards. Both 6 and 15 are also triangular numbers, the 3rd and 5th respectively, referring to the Empress and the Hierophant and their key numbers III and V, (cf. The Book of the Law verse II:16).

So we have two primary cards referred to; Judgement and Temperance, and three secondary cards referred to; The Lovers, the Empress and the Hierophant.

The whole triangle of cards is 21 = 6th triangular number = VI = Lovers.
The upper half cards are 6 = 3rd triangular number = III = Empress,
The lower half cards are 15 = 5th triangular number = V = Hierophant.

The sum of the whole is 210 = 20th triangular number = XX = Judgement
The sum of each half is 105 = 14th triangular number = XIV = Temperance.

But of all these, the main one is Temperance, because its triangular number is found twice in the diagram. This is the final card in the Allegories of Life sequence, and is thus the threshold before the Celestial Realms. Therefore it is the half way point in this triangular array, and its symbolism of the mixing of two vessels is an apt one for the role it plays.

And since whatever card is numbered XIV would take on this role, it may help explain why Temperance appears to be 'out of place', seemingly conquering Death when we know that nothing actually wins out over that dark angel. But Temperance is rightly placed there, and in this triangle, it balances the position at the other end of the row with Fortitude, both of which are symmetrically placed above Justice, the third of the Virtues to appear in the Trumps.

All of this is pretty rudimentary maths, and would not be beyond the skill of an early user of the tarot. As a means of organizing the sequence of the Trumps, it is not beyond the realm of possibility. Be that as it may, it is certainly an adequate means of classifying the trumps after the fact.

Having gone this far, I will venture a little farther, into speculation. Considering that we have five trumps in particular that seem to be keys to this design, we might look at their associated Hebrew letters.

As per Crowley's Book of Thoth tradition, the letters of the Lovers, Hierophant and Empress are Zain Vau Dalet, which spell the Hebrew word ZVD meaning "to seethe or boil". Considering that their key numbers are VI + V + III = XIV = Temperance, it is appropriate that a major feature of Crowley's Temperance card, called ART, is the *boiling* cauldron into which the two vessels are being poured.

The other pair of significant trumps are Judgement and Temperance, whose letters are Shin and Samek. These equal 300 + 60 = 360; not only the number symbolic of a circle, and therefore the whole, but also the value of the letter-name Shin spelled in full as ShIN. Thus these two cards refer us back to the letter Shin, which appears on the Judgement card, whose triangular number represents the sum of all the key numbers. And the letter Shin is attributed to the element of Fire, and it is Fire which appears on the bottom of Crowley's Temperance card, causing the cauldron to boil.

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Papus layout

Papus' "Tarot of the Bohemians" arranges the entire major arcana into 3 septenaries made up of two ternaries (trines) each: a positive ternary (trine) and a negative ternary trine. Yods are 1,4,7,10,13,16,19,22. He: 2,5,8,11,14,17,20,. Vau: 3,6,9,12,15,18,21. 2nd He: these become the yods of the next ternary, which begins with 4. (AKA trining the square). Each ternary is made of Yod, He, Vau, and the 2nd He becomes the Yod of the next ternary. Quite amazing when it is laid out.

Confusing? No doubt. It is explained in his book.
Top   #24



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