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Symbolism in the RWS 6 of Cups

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
I totally agree with you about the dynamics of memory ... but just would not associate that as represented by the 6 of cups

but I can see how you could associate that with the RW 6 of cups IMAGE .
Well... I am referring specifically to the RWS 6 of Cups. As Waite writes in The Pictorial Key, divinatory meanings, "A card of the past, and of memories..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest
- Just curious here, as I know some people use more than 1 deck - if you do, do you translate your RW 6 of cups image meaning to other 6 of cups cards image or symbolic / abstract design 6 of cups ... or do you give the 6 of cups in other decks different associations ?
For Waite-Smith clones and derivatives I interpret the 6 of Cups to be concerned with the past and memory... but not if I'm reading with a TdM. I rarely read with the Thoth - and then only for myself - because, as Aeon points out I lack the knowledge and experience of -
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Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
...'magical language' has to be absorbed and deeply integrated in such a way that it 'seeds' the subconscious mind and sets up a channel of communication via a clearly defined set of symbols.
Nevertheless, I 'borrow' from Crowley's work and.. I know, its heresy... blend, fuse, mingle and macerate with other accumulated stuff. Perhaps that's why I don't 'read' in the usual style. As I keep on saying, it is much more of a dialogue with the querent... and their interpretation dictates the direction of travel. But generally-speaking... and I mean, in the widest sense... the 6 of Cups [in other than RWS ] for me concerns matters of pleasure, and particularly waves [maybe from the Thoth image] which in turn stresses the significance of matters sexual... but equally, waves of intense emotion of a more bittersweet natures... and sometimes waves of nausea, perhaps from over-indulgence, perhaps from grief caused by permanent loss... maybe of an intense love, maybe of innocence. What I'm trying to say is that no single card ever has an irreducible meaning for me... and it is fundamentally influenced by other cards in a reading.

More to say, but I'm out of time... but I suspect we may not be as far apart in opinion as you think. I also think there's very important and fascinating issues at risk of being buried in a specific-issue thread.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
Part of the problem is that two different uses of Tarot are frequently presented under the same catch all term of "Tarot reading."

In one approach the cards have a strictly defined meaning that is tied to the symbols on the cards. But this 'magical language' has to be absorbed and deeply integrated in such a way that it 'seeds' the subconscious mind and sets up a channel of communication via a clearly defined set of symbols. To me that is Tarot reading in the proper sense.

The second approach came out of the self help scene in 80's and basically sees the cards as meaningless pictorial designs. These are then used as a blank 'field' for the projection of the personal psyche. This is a perfectly valid use of Tarot, but I personally would not call it 'reading'. In fact you could use any kind of cards for this sort of exercise. But this is the method pushed by many modern day Tarot authors for popular consumption.
But where are the symbols on the cards "strictly defined"? Only in the books of the author of a deck??

True symbols are universal; if they have strictly defined meanings, they are no longer symbols but become signs. (Says Jung.)

So, creative approaches to card interpretation are permissible even from a more puristic perspective as long as they are in accordance with the (fairly wide) scope of implications of a card.
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Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
True symbols are universal; if they have strictly defined meanings, they are no longer symbols but become signs. (Says Jung.)
Compare:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleister Crowley
Let us first consider the question of the compendium of symbols. The alphabet of a language is a more or less arbitrary way of transcribing the sounds employed in speaking it. The letters themselves have not necessarily any meaning as such. But in a system of divination each symbol stands for a definite idea. It would not interfere with the English language to add a few new letters. In fact, some systems of shorthand have done so. But a system of symbols suitable for divination must be a complete representation of the Universe, so that each is absolute, and the whole insusceptible to increase or diminution. It is (in fact) technically a pantacle in the fullest sense of the word.
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Indeed, each symbol stands for a definite idea - but an idea in the Divine mind, not in the human mind. That's what Plotinus described as the Archetypes, based on Platonic ideas.

Since a limited set of divinatory symbols is used (as A.C.says) to describe the whole Universe, they must necessarily be wide in scope.
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Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
Since a limited set of divinatory symbols is used (as A.C.says) to describe the whole Universe, they must necessarily be wide in scope.
But it's the combination of all the symbols that creates the Universal Pantacle. Individually each symbol stands for a definite category of idea. No one is disputing about their width of scope! But each individual symbol isn't inclusive of every single idea. There has to be division and demarcation between the individual parts. If each symbol were a pantacle in it's own right you would have a Tarot deck composed of a single card.
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Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
But it's the combination of all the symbols that creates the Universal Pantacle. Individually each symbol stands for a definite category of idea. No one is disputing about their width of scope! But each individual symbol isn't inclusive of every single idea. There has to be division and demarcation between the individual parts. If each symbol were a pantacle in it's own right you would have a Tarot deck composed of a single card.
I'm not saying that every individual symbol is inclusive of every single idea. There is only one symbol for which this is true, regardless whether you call this the One, God, Dao or the Universal Pantacle... The One splits up into a number of Ideas (in the Platonic sense), Deities, Archetypes. They are what stands behind the system of the Tarot. They cannot be fully understood or defined intellectually, even though the human mind can indeed attain an intuitive comprehension of them, to a degree. Even A.C. writes in the BoT that he didn't fully understand some of the Trumps. He also writes that each card must be the subject of continuous meditation. In light of this, it seems inadequate to me to try to capture any cards meaning in a handy neat definition while saying that Tarot practitioners who don't follow that are off the mark. They MAY be, but it's not so easy an issue to decide.
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Originally Posted by Michael Sternbach View Post
They are what stands behind the system of the Tarot.
Exactly! There is an underlying structure. To borrow Frater Achad's idea, an artist/deck creator is in essence creating a sort of filling cabinet. One particular card may represent a draw within that cabinet into which corresponding ideas, thoughts, feelings, and experiences of a reader may be placed. But the fact that this can and does occur in the way that it does is because the artist has tried to express the underlying idea of a card through the artwork. It might not be capable of rational expression in a short pithy sentence (I was never implying that BTW), but it's there being expressed through the art in a very specific way.

What I object to is the notion that the cards are merely 78 Rorschach inkblots devoid of any sort of meaning until one is imposed upon them under the pretence that universal symbols mean anything and everything.
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It really depends on the kind of reading you do. If you ask, "Will Joe ask me out on a date (which I hope he will)?" then the 6 of Cups, indicating "pleasure" and gifts seems to indicate a yes. It is a positive card in the suit of relationships. If you ask where a lost object is, then I would consider who was the last person (in the past) I showed it to. To get a specific answer one needs to keep to a very narrow, concrete set of meanings.

If someone asks what is their inner issue with why they run away from relationships, then the Six of Cups could reveal some very rich material by having the querent talk about the card and project their thoughts and feelings onto it. As a reader I would immediately see that it is an issue that goes back to the past. I imagine it could either reflect over-idealized expectations generated from past experiences (a very positive reaction to the card) or fears and apprehensions from a negative experience that may have looked good on the surface or to others while having a negative (contrary) effect on the querent. Telling this person an interpretation would not be nearly as powerful as having them recognize it for themselves (with my guidance as reader) and then my confirming how the card meaning relates to their experience.

One example of a negative experience could be a relationship in which Person A seemingly gives the querent everything but the querent ends up feeling imprisioned (note the guard in the background) and cut off from other life experiences.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
What I object to is the notion that the cards are merely 78 Rorschach inkblots devoid of any sort of meaning until one is imposed upon them under the pretence that universal symbols mean anything and everything.
By definition, "universal symbols" don't mean anything and everything. They point in particular directions without being fixed to a single definition. Whole books have been written on the meaning of the cross as a universal symbol, as well as books on snake or cat. This does not mean that you can substitute the text for the cat with that of the cross. You seem to imply that there is either 1) one particular meaning for cross, or 2) cross and cat described as equivalent, with no other options available.

I go with a card representing a range of meanings around certain themes. I tend to use narrower definitions (sometimes literally related to the image) when answering specific, concrete questions than I do when responding to broader issues.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
Exactly! There is an underlying structure. To borrow Frater Achad's idea, an artist/deck creator is in essence creating a sort of filling cabinet. One particular card may represent a draw within that cabinet into which corresponding ideas, thoughts, feelings, and experiences of a reader may be placed. But the fact that this can and does occur in the way that it does is because the artist has tried to express the underlying idea of a card through the artwork. It might not be capable of rational expression in a short pithy sentence (I was never implying that BTW), but it's there being expressed through the art in a very specific way.

What I object to is the notion that the cards are merely 78 Rorschach inkblots devoid of any sort of meaning until one is imposed upon them under the pretence that universal symbols mean anything and everything.
Oh, I'm with you here. I'm NOT a representative of the 'ink blot cards' fraction. But neither am I a traditionalist who believes that for a suggested card meaning to be valid, it needs to be based on something written by Waite (Mathers, etc.).

Talking about what is behind the cards, well, if it's a GD derived deck, what you have to consider for the pip cards is at least the numbers, their corresponding sephiroth, the suits/elements, two systems of decans - and all that relates to the cards rather like somebody's horoscope chart to the actual person. The symbolical artwork in the RWS is so multi-layered, it's good for a life time of study.

On a related note, that I value my Book of Thoth doesn't mean that I would want to be without my New Age Tarot.
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