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JMD's Reading the Marseille Tarot- Chapter 2, Le Bateleur

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swedishfish612  swedishfish612 is offline
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JMD's Reading the Marseille Tarot- Chapter 2, Le Bateleur


Welcome to week 2/Chapter 2!

Exercises in this chapter:
- imagining yourself in the card- p. 27

- adding a card to Le Bateleur to see how the meaning changes- 41-42


Possible points of discussion- These are just some of the things touched on in this chapter, and I'll elaborate on my own thoughts in another post. But feel free to discuss anything that comes to mind after reading this chapter!

- Rouge vs. Magician- how to see/read Le Bateleur

- possible astrological associations

- implements on the table

- moral development- charm and manipulation
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Thanks for starting the thread, swedishfish!

I've been looking through different Bateleurs, both in the decks I have and those I don't, and the Albideuter page with TdM Magicians came in very handy. It's especially curious to see what the various Bateleurs have on their tables, and those vary from the basic cups and pebbles on Este to many (many!) implements on some tables, notably Vandenborre. The latter even features what looks like a deck of cards, with the Ace of Hearts on top!

Curiously, none of these Magicians gives me a feeling of a 'wizard' or 'alchemist' in the sense of RWS Magician but rather a street performer, a 'circus magician'. The dexterous craftsman feel is further reinforced in the later reinterpretation of this card as a shoemaker in the Ancient Italian/Della Rocca decks. However, like JMD mentions, those things have been reinterpreted many times and many ways throughout history, with many notable people called either geniuses or charlatans, sometimes exchanging those several times.

Another fascinating thing is the type of table that's used. In the TdM decks it's usually a square table with only 3 legs visible. This is probably due to the somewhat faulty perspective, and later decks do add the missing leg. However, the Visconti and Este decks feature a slightly different kind of table, with double legs, that are, I think, meant to ease assembling and transportation. If that's the case, then it would be safe to assume that the card indeed depicts a traveling/wandering Magician, which ties in with street performing quite well.
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surpeti  surpeti is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_moon View Post
Thanks for starting the thread, swedishfish!

I've been looking through different Bateleurs, both in the decks I have and those I don't, and the Albideuter page with TdM Magicians came in very handy. It's especially curious to see what the various Bateleurs have on their tables, and those vary from the basic cups and pebbles on Este to many (many!) implements on some tables, notably Vandenborre. The latter even features what looks like a deck of cards, with the Ace of Hearts on top!

Curiously, none of these Magicians gives me a feeling of a 'wizard' or 'alchemist' in the sense of RWS Magician but rather a street performer, a 'circus magician'.
Thanks for this great link, dancing_moon--it's fascinating to see these different decks side by side.

Like you, perhaps, I was most struck by JMD's description of Le Bateleur as a somewhat shady character--a street performer. To the Renaissance mind, maybe he was just one step up from fool. What a contrast with the RWS Magician, who was perhaps Waite's idealization of himself or of the GD?? Le Bateleur is more of the trickster archetype that appears in many wisdom traditions, and in a way that makes him more mysterious and interesting.

Sorry, but in my Noblet I just can't quite figure out the "wand" that Le Bateleur is holding. It's just too short, and a bit phallic, and his hand is odd too. (I can't post the card here but it is reproduced in JMD's book.) In my CBD and Madenie, it looks more like what I'd think a wand would look like. In my brand-new Vieville from Sivilixi (oh joy!) it's as long as these latter two but it's strangely bent. I'm sure there are weightier matters discussed in this chapter, but my attention is distracted by this odd "wand."
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Rose Lalonde  Rose Lalonde is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surpeti View Post
Sorry, but in my Noblet I just can't quite figure out the "wand" that Le Bateleur is holding. It's just too short, and a bit phallic, and his hand is odd too. (I can't post the card here but it is reproduced in JMD's book.) In my CBD and Madenie, it looks more like what I'd think a wand would look like. In my brand-new Vieville from Sivilixi (oh joy!) it's as long as these latter two but it's strangely bent. I'm sure there are weightier matters discussed in this chapter, but my attention is distracted by this odd "wand."
I can't remember where I read it, but I remember someone saying that sometimes the wood block for the engraving would break off in small, detailed places, and that it was probably a case of using (or re-using) a block that had the bit of hand and tip of the wand missing. So the phallic look is probably unintentional... or so I read.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose Lalonde View Post
I can't remember where I read it, but I remember someone saying that sometimes the wood block for the engraving would break off in small, detailed places, and that it was probably a case of using (or re-using) a block that had the bit of hand and tip of the wand missing. So the phallic look is probably unintentional... or so I read.
Actually, this was mentioned in JMD's book, in this very chapter about Le Bateleur.

And yes, a shady character indeed. But in many folk tales it's not uncommon for the trickster to trick unfair people - usually the ones who were normally not punished by the law, like the rich and the influential, - and thus bring justice in a rather twisted way.

It was also curious to know just how old the old cups-and-balls game is. It could have easily been shown on the card.
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swedishfish612  swedishfish612 is offline
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The thing that struck me most in this chapter is what you all have been discussing, the concept of a street performer/trickster vs. the powerful RWS version of the Magician, manipulating the elements, "as above, so below" and all that jazz.

I have to admit, the TdM's version seems kind of...watered down and wimpy. The Magician in RWS decks is one of my favorite cards, and there's been a time or two when a "bad" or "wimpy" Magician card ruined a whole deck for me.

However, I will say that what I like about the TdM version is that I think it lends itself well to more down-to-earth readings. I don't know if that makes sense. But I often pulled the RWS Magician for a situation where it just seemed too...other other and "otherwordly" for the situation at hand. I can see where the concept of the trickster/manipulator would fit in better for readings.

Actually, meeting the TdM's Le Bateleur, I couldn't help thinking of someone I know in real life. He's a master manipulator, making friends quite easily but rarely letting anyone come in close. He makes everyone feel like they're his best friend, but if they stop to think about it, they realize they don't really even know him all that well. Yet he can get people to do things for him, go to extraordinary lengths for him. He's very charming and people- both women and men- love him everywhere he goes. Except for the ones he's burned, of course, but they never seem realize the facade he puts up until it's too late.

I'm curious to see how Le Bateleur will turn up for me in readings. Will I ever be able to see this card in a positive light?
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swedishfish612  swedishfish612 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_moon View Post
It's especially curious to see what the various Bateleurs have on their tables, and those vary from the basic cups and pebbles on Este to many (many!) implements on some tables, notably Vandenborre. The latter even features what looks like a deck of cards, with the Ace of Hearts on top!
That interested me, too, and I LOVE the link you posted. Yes, it is curious to think about the deck of cards on that one card...I like it there. Makes me think about the Tarot reader as a version of Le Bateleur!

I'm curious how, or IF, what is on the table affects one's interpretation of the card? At this point, while I find it interesting to think about, I don't feel that it affects how I see the card if I use one deck vs. another, with different implements on the table.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_moon View Post
But in many folk tales it's not uncommon for the trickster to trick unfair people - usually the ones who were normally not punished by the law, like the rich and the influential, - and thus bring justice in a rather twisted way.

Sort of like Robin Hood's sense of justice! lol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swedishfish612 View Post
The thing that struck me most in this chapter is what you all have been discussing, the concept of a street performer/trickster vs. the powerful RWS version of the Magician, manipulating the elements, "as above, so below" and all that jazz.

I have to admit, the TdM's version seems kind of...watered down and wimpy. The Magician in RWS decks is one of my favorite cards, and there's been a time or two when a "bad" or "wimpy" Magician card ruined a whole deck for me.
Curiously, I've often found the RWS Magician being rather pompous and New Agey. To each their own, as far as preferences go...

Still, if we're talking about manipulation, be it other people or the elements, this card, to me, always has this notion of 'do as I command', which can be either good or bad. In the case of the street performer, some Fools will be duped, and reasonable people will stay away. In the case of the 'as above, so below' wizard/alchemist, there's a risk of pride stepping in, visualizing oneself a 'god' and then going back to manipulating people just as well (love potions, death spells, whatever).

And yes, this card could well be seen as a version of a Tarot reader, especially given the equally ambiguous image of those among other people. And the question of goals, intention and ethics is very relevant here - but you wouldn't necessarily see a Tarot reader as a charlatan and manipulator, right?
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swedishfish612  swedishfish612 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing_moon View Post
Curiously, I've often found the RWS Magician being rather pompous and New Agey. To each their own, as far as preferences go...

Still, if we're talking about manipulation, be it other people or the elements, this card, to me, always has this notion of 'do as I command', which can be either good or bad. In the case of the street performer, some Fools will be duped, and reasonable people will stay away. In the case of the 'as above, so below' wizard/alchemist, there's a risk of pride stepping in, visualizing oneself a 'god' and then going back to manipulating people just as well (love potions, death spells, whatever).

And yes, this card could well be seen as a version of a Tarot reader, especially given the equally ambiguous image of those among other people. And the question of goals, intention and ethics is very relevant here - but you wouldn't necessarily see a Tarot reader as a charlatan and manipulator, right?
lol...Yes, I can see the pompous and New Agey criticism! I admit, there's a part of me that loves the high drama of that. I think that might be a part of what drew me to Tarot in the first place, but that's another thread, I think! I'm new to TdM, but one thing I do like about it is that it seems much more down-to-earth. I don't see certain cards and automatically go to the old RWS interpretation that I would read. The High Priestess might represent my crazy neighbor; the Chariot is simply me taking my kid to school, you know? I know it's possible to read RWS decks that same way, but it just never occurred to me to see them that simply.

Yes, "do as I command" sounds about right. I've always had the sense of the Magician being touched by some divine source, and then acting in the real world, but that doesn't necessarily mean that his actions will be good!

And no, I definitely don't think that a Tarot reader would be read as a charlatan, though some certainly COULD be...and a lot of folks certainly do see us that way! lol
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jean bosco  jean bosco is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swedishfish612 View Post
That interested me, too, and I LOVE the link you posted. Yes, it is curious to think about the deck of cards on that one card...I like it there. Makes me think about the Tarot reader as a version of Le Bateleur!
I was just thinking about Le Bateleur being number 1 in the Major Arcana. He kind of introduces us to the deck, he's like a representative, standing at the doorsteps. He stands for entertainment, skillful manipulation of our perception, having fun, play (cup game, dice play...) - something that may for a moment let us forget our fears and worries. Also playing card games can achieve that. When we are playing we are in the moment and our thoughts are occupied by what is going on in the play. And I also think many people go to a card reader for having that "effect". We want somebody who skillfully 'manipulates our destiny' so everything will work out fine and we don't have to worry anymore... We are talking about the future (in a reading) but in fact (at least partly) we want to get rid of our worries and have an easier present therefore...
Le Bateleur is likely to be met at a market, I imagine. In Vienna there are many food-markets where one can also have a coffee or a snack. Often gypsie women come by there and ask people if they wanted their future to be read (mostly palm reading).

Just some thoughts...
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