Triangular Tarot Sequence

RLG

Dwtw

According to Michael Hurst's theory, the Trumps of the tarot occur in a 6-9-7 sequence. Some evidence for that might be the simple arrangement of 21 trumps in a triangle.

When this is done there is a 1-2-3 row arrangement, that accords with his theory.

The bottom row of the first 6 cards are the Estates of man.
The next 2 rows of 9 cards are the Allegories of Life
The last 3 rows of 6 cards are the Celestial Realm.

The final card, the World, is Christ triumphant, and naturally is above all other cards. The World represents the summation of the whole, as its number, 21, represents the 21 cards of the triangle.

The fourfold nature of the design of the World also serves as a link to the four suits of the elements.

Notice the position of Justice, balanced perfectly between the other two Virtues of Strength and Temperance. This not only explains the absence of the fourth virtue, (Prudence), but also explains why the Virtues are in their particular places, rather than all grouped together, as can be found in some traditions.

Litlluw
RLG
 

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Melanchollic

More Fun with Triangles

Nice model RLG. :) I always look for a balance in the virtues with these sorts of models.

You might like a triangular model I did some years back. I don't make any claims that the original intended design of the tarot is based on the model, but it is a nice contemplative arrangement for those requiring contemplation and/or mild geometric fun.

If we take the pips from 1 to 10 and make a tetractys, we can equate the four resulting plane with the 4 courts, as shown below:


cup-tetrasm.jpg


If we do this with all four suits we can combine the four resulting triangles into a tetrahedron of 20 points.

On our newly formed tetrahedron, I place the World at the top, and the three virtues around the bottom on the three corners, like this:


tetrahedron012.jpg

Around the lowest plane, I place the remaining 6 cards of the Allegory of Life in their correct numerical positions between the virtues - 6 through 14.

On the next plane, I place the Ranks of Man. Alternatively one could place the Ranks of Man between the virtues, and the Allegory of Life above. Either way we compromise something.

On the third plane, I place the three 'celestials', Star, Moon, Sun.

And on the highest plane is the World.


tetrahedron01.jpg


On the bottom face of the tetrahedron, one point of the total 20 is left unfilled. I place the Devil there.

Now if we imagine a center line running down from The World (Heaven) the the Devil (Hell), it intersects the two middle planes, at those two intersecting points, I place the Tower, and Judgement. This forms a center pillar with Hell at that bottom, The Tower (Purgatory) one level up, then Judgement (the release from purgatory), and Heaven at the top.


tetrahedron013.jpg

Note: The diagram is mislabeled. The point labeled '17' should be '20'.
 

RLG

Dwtw

Nice diagram, Melancholic. A very interesting way to arrange the trumps. Although technically there are no points to attribute the Tower and Judgment to on such a tetrahedron, I like the idea of a central pillar to place the 'afterlife' locations on.

One might also say that the Tower, aka 'Hell' also resides on the same central point with the Devil, while Judgment coincides with the World /Christ at the apex.

Either way, it's a convenient array on which to place the 6 Estates of Man and the 9 Allegories of Life.

Thanks for sharing that, I really enjoyed it. :)

Litlluw
RLG
 

kwaw

RLG said:
Dwtw

According to Michael Hurst's theory, the Trumps of the tarot occur in a 6-9-7 sequence. Some evidence for that might be the simple arrangement of 21 trumps in a triangle.

Well, it's Dummett's not Hurst's (albeit one I believe Hurst agrees with), but regardless it doesn't really fit anyway, as you say, it is a 3 level split 6-9-7, not a four level split of 6-9-6-1.
 

kwaw

RLG said:
Either way, it's a convenient array on which to place the 6 Estates of Man

6 estates? In medieval feudal system I think it was 3, rose to four in civic states with rise of merchant class. Unless you mean a rather unique portrayal of 3 estates among 3 couples? Two straight (albeit one rather unusual and possibly irreverent, if not downright heretical or blasphemous) and one gay, not quite a conventional portrayal of the three estates:p
 

beanu

Very interesting Mel, an' how's the cholic? ;)

Here is something else that might merge into the system.

Crowley equates
King=Fire
Queen=Earth
Knight = Air
Page = Water
and the tree can be divided into four worlds vertically
Atziluth = Fire
Briah = Air
Yetzirah = Water
Assiah = Earth,

So,
Atziluth = Fire = King
Briah = Air = Knight
Yetzirah = Water = Page
Assiah = Earth = Queen

which can then map to your four four levels.
Do the attributions work logically?
 

kwaw

Another objection for me is that of the 22 figures it is the fool who is distinguished from the others, as the old Italian proverb has it the fool of the tarot is 'here, there and everywhere'; his role in the game as excuse is different to that of the others as trumps. As there are 21 trumps plus the fool it makes more sense to me in a triangle of 21 points to exclude the fool not the world: one could always put the fool underneath in the centre like the trunk of a Christmas tree. Curiously enough the word 'tarocch' in the Milanese dialect means both 'fool' and 'trunk'.
 

RLG

kwaw said:
Another objection for me is that of the 22 figures it is the fool who is distinguished from the others, as the old Italian proverb has it the fool of the tarot is 'here, there and everywhere'; his role in the game as excuse is different to that of the others as trumps. As there are 21 trumps plus the fool it makes more sense to me in a triangle of 21 points to exclude the fool not the world: one could always put the fool underneath in the centre like the trunk of a Christmas tree. Curiously enough the word 'tarocch' in the Milanese dialect means both 'fool' and 'trunk'.

Dwtw

Well, sorry if I got that theory wrong. Didn't know it was Dummett's before Hurst's. I had been reading Hurst's web pages not too long ago.

As for leaving the fool out of it, that seems obvious due to the numbering, but then there is no symmetry. The beauty of the triangle is in the symmetry, and the world card as 21 symbolizes the whole triangle of 21 cards, as I said.

As for how many estates there were, according to Hurst's(Dummett's) theory, the first six cards were the three estates of peasants, clergy and aristocracy. Doesn't seem to matter about gender, simply that there were a pair for each estate. (but who knows, perhaps the fool is really a woman - fooling everybody ;-)

So when I said 6 Estates of Man, I meant the 6 cards portraying the 3 Estates. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

You are right that this triangle presents a 6-9-6-1 scheme and not a 6-9-7 scheme. But I pointed out why the last card was separate, and considering that role, the triangle obviously fits the theory pretty closely. Since the Fool is a wanderer, there are 21 numbered Trumps. The number 21 does not have a lot of geometric significance except for being a triangular number. This is the simplest way to put the trumps in a triangle.

That doesn't mean that the designer of the tarot ever used the scheme. I have no way of knowing that. But it does represent the theory pretty well, and is very simple to see. Maybe, in fact, it refines their theory and shows exactly why the last trump is separate. Because if there were only 21 trumps and we stopped at the Last Judgment, then the focus is on the souls of the deceased, and not on Christ triumphant, who is obviously going to be the pinnacle of any mini-cosmology based on Christian principles.

It may be misleading to place too much emphasis on the lack of number for the Fool, thus using that as a reason to exclude this card from the triangle. If we keep him(her) in the triangle, the sum of all the 21 numbers is 210, which is a multiple of 21 that makes an obvious graphic reference to the numbers 21-0, thus symbolizing the whole sequence. This bit of graphical symbology is lost if we exclude the Fool; then the 21 numbers would sum to 231.

I can see the points you make against the idea, but I think the design speaks for itself. Like the best patterns, it is simple and elegant, and requires no fudging to fit any preconceptions. Even absent any theory behind it, it has a certain charming symmetry.

Thanks for your comments.

Litlluw
RLG
 

RLG

Dwtw

Another interesting thing I just noticed about this triangle is the sums of the numbers on the levels.
I normally don't do numerology like this, but in this rare instance, reducing all the digits works out well.

Numbers on the levels:

20
18 - 19
15 - 16 - 17
11 - 12 - 13 - 14
6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 -
0 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

the sums are
20
37
48
50
40
15

the reduced digits of these are:
2
1
3
5
4
6

That's one of each number from 1 to 6 inclusive.

And the sum of 1-6 is of course 21, the number of points in this triangle, and the number of the World card representing the Whole - we might even say this is how the World card is hidden in the triangle.

This doesn't work out AT ALL if you use the numbers from 1 to 21 in the triangle. You have to start with a Zero.

I would say that's strong evidence for including the Fool in the triangle and excluding the World, from a numerological perspective.

Litlluw
RLG
 

kwaw

RLG said:
This bit of graphical symbology is lost if we exclude the Fool; then the 21 numbers would sum to 231.

A quite significant number I would think, especially in respect of this being the kabbalah forum.

RLG said:
The number 21 does not have a lot of geometric significance except for being a triangular number. This is the simplest way to put the trumps in a triangle.

I agree, but you haven't put 21 trumps in a triangle, you have put 20 trumps and the excuse, and discarded one of the trumps.

RLG said:
I can see the points you make against the idea, but I think the design speaks for itself. Like the best patterns, it is simple and elegant, and requires no fudging to fit any preconceptions.

But you have fudged it, by excluding XXI and claiming that 6-9-6 is the same somehow as 6-9-7, and ignoring the distinction between the fool as excuse and the 21 trumps.