Why is Fool Aleph instead of Magician

Ruby Jewel

I'm wondering if anyone has any information on this. It seems there was a controversy within the GD regarding whether the Fool or the Magician is represented by the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. I am wondering what the meaning of Aleph is and why Paul Case changed it from the Magician to the Fool.
 

Abrac

The Golden Dawn were the ones who changed it. Aleph was the Fool in the GD Cypher Manuscript. Whoever wrote the CM is responsible, probably Kenneth Mackenzie.

I'm not the one to ask about why it was changed; I don't have that level of understanding of Kabbalah.
 

Ruby Jewel

The Golden Dawn were the ones who changed it. Aleph was the Fool in the GD Cypher Manuscript. Whoever wrote the CM is responsible, probably Kenneth Mackenzie.

I'm not the one to ask about why it was changed; I don't have that level of understanding of Kabbalah.

Thanks for the reply Abrac. I'm not familiar with Kenneth Mackenzie...but then, I'm new to the Thoth....just starting to learn it and the Tree.... the business with Aleph requires me to make a switch I'm not really willing to make unless I see a good reason Paul Case had for making the change.
 

Zephyros

Any Tarot system reflects both the "technical" views of its creators as well as the philosphical ones. In the GD system Creation was said to have begin with a pure state of being, which was then animated (by the Magician).

From a Kabbalistic standpoint this is important, as it affects the place and role of all the individual cards, but I'm not sure how important this is for just doing readings. Ruby Jewel, what switch are you referring to?

In any case, when in Rome, etc. Different systems have different symbolic languages, and overlaying one on top of the other (like making the Thoth Fool 21 or something like that) doesn't really work in my opinion.
 

Ruby Jewel

Any Tarot system reflects both the "technical" views of its creators as well as the philosphical ones. In the GD system Creation was said to have begin with a pure state of being, which was then animated (by the Magician).

From a Kabbalistic standpoint this is important, as it affects the place and role of all the individual cards, but I'm not sure how important this is for just doing readings. Ruby Jewel, what switch are you referring to?

In any case, when in Rome, etc. Different systems have different symbolic languages, and overlaying one on top of the other (like making the Thoth Fool 21 or something like that) doesn't really work in my opinion.

I like the Papus layout that puts the Magician as Aleph. The layout doesn't work when the Fool becomes Aleph. For me, the Fool is #22....not a part of the numbering system...so how can you make him #1 when he is a zero...."no thing." Since the Magician is #1, it seems logical that the Magician would be the #1 letter...instead of the 2nd letter.... so it feels like Paul Case forced the switch that doesn't really fit for me, whereas the Papus spread fits like a key. Another thing that bothers me is that the sephiroth are the energy fields that ought to represent the archetypes of the major arcana instead of the pips being assigned to the sephiroths. The sephiroths are vortexes of archetypal energy and the pips are not archetypes....the major arcana are the archetypes. " I guess what I'm feeling is that the Tree of Life system seems like a "forced" fit.....just to make it fit the Tree instead of the Septenary/Ternary system of Papus.....but then, there's so much I don't really know about it. At this point I'm just trying to understand it.
 

Aeon418

For the record Paul Foster Case did not make any change to the position of the Fool. He merely accepted the Golden Dawn doctrine derived from the Cipher Manuscripts. The Fool = Aleph attribution was already in existence several decades before Case appeared on the scene. In fact Case was only 4 years old when the Golden Dawn was founded.

There have been dozens of books discussing the symbolism of the Golden Dawn attributions, but a bit of meditation might help to disclose a pattern inherent in the scheme. When the Fool = Aleph each card has two different numbers (Roman numeral and Hebrew letter value) and there is a relationship between these numbers.

0 The Fool - Aleph 1. The One emerges from the Void.

I The Magus - Beth 2. The One reflected, duality, illusion.

II The Priestess - Gimel 3. The pairs of opposites reconciled in a third, the Trinity.

III The Empress - Daleth 4. The spiritual Trinity birthing the material world of four.
 

Barleywine

Another thing that bothers me is that the sephiroth are the energy fields that ought to represent the archetypes of the major arcana instead of the pips being assigned to the sephiroths. The sephiroths are vortexes of archetypal energy and the pips are not archetypes....the major arcana are the archetypes. " I guess what I'm feeling is that the Tree of Life system seems like a "forced" fit.....just to make it fit the Tree instead of the Septenary/Ternary system of Papus.....but then, there's so much I don't really know about it. At this point I'm just trying to understand it.

Also for the record, there have been attempts to fit the Major Arcana into the Sephiroth. Eden Gray tried it in her book A Complete Guide to the Tarot back in 1970, with what I thought were largely unsatisfactory results. Just to see if I could make more sense of what she was trying to do, I took my own stab at it. Neither of these has anything to do with the association of the cards to the Hebrew letters on the paths or to the number symbolism laid out by Aeon418. If you look carefully at mine, you will see a number of internal astrological correspondences between the left and right columns. I still go with the Golden Dawn model for my own practical work, although I've tinkered with that to amuse myself too; there is another thread on that.
 

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kwaw

Also for the record, there is no correlation between the letters as numbers and the numbering of the trumps - it works from aleph to yod, 1-10, but after that, Kaph is 20, not eleven, lamed is 30 not 12 --

Also, according to kabbalistic doctrine, Beth (2) is the first (1st) letter of Creation -- Kether the first sephirot is called Ain, nothing, blah blah blah

Also, if letters as numbers is the sole symbolic consideration, why is the unnumbered more sensible as 300 (shin) or 400 (tau) than as 1 (aleph) ?

Also, the n=n+1 formula is a typical formulation of hebrew and Ugaritic number symbolism, with several examples in the Bible --

Also, according to Cordovero, the letters are split into Aleph as the source of all the other letters, which are then grouped into three septenaries (as by many, is the fool and the 21 (3x7) trumps) --

Also, search the forum, this question has been posed and argued innumerable times, try a bit of homework -- at least to the extent one doesn't make stupid statements re: Case changing the GD system (a laughable mistake which makes you sound like you might be a troll)

Also, if you don't like it, stick to the continental system and a variation of a continental system based deck, simples ! Who cares you can't follow the GD system -- you found a system that works for you, that's what matters - doesn't have to be the same as tom, dick and/or harry's! (Or mine, or Crowley's or Case's or Levi's) --

Also, Papus followed the continental school of Levi, and, to quote from his Tarot of the Bohemiens:

Papus. Shin is one of the three mother letters. TWENTY FIRST (UNNUMBERED) CARD OF THE TAROT. The Foolish Man.

That is, according to Papus, the fool is 21st/shin and the 21st Trump is 22nd, and attributed to Tau --

(Are you saying that Papus "fits like a key", except in this aspect, the fool should be 22 and not 21?)
 

Ruby Jewel

For the record Paul Foster Case did not make any change to the position of the Fool. He merely accepted the Golden Dawn doctrine derived from the Cipher Manuscripts. The Fool = Aleph attribution was already in existence several decades before Case appeared on the scene. In fact Case was only 4 years old when the Golden Dawn was founded.

There have been dozens of books discussing the symbolism of the Golden Dawn attributions, but a bit of meditation might help to disclose a pattern inherent in the scheme. When the Fool = Aleph each card has two different numbers (Roman numeral and Hebrew letter value) and there is a relationship between these numbers.

0 The Fool - Aleph 1. The One emerges from the Void.

I The Magus - Beth 2. The One reflected, duality, illusion.

II The Priestess - Gimel 3. The pairs of opposites reconciled in a third, the Trinity.

III The Empress - Daleth 4. The spiritual Trinity birthing the material world of four.

According to Case, the Fool was placed between Arcana 20 and 21 when he changed it.... one is not the void...zero is the void. Unfortunately, I do not know enough at this point to have an intellectual discussion on the topic.....my brain has two switches "on" and "off". If it gets too complex, it switches off.
 

Ruby Jewel

Also for the record, there is no correlation between the letters as numbers and the numbering of the trumps - it works from aleph to yod, 1-10, but after that, Kaph is 20, not eleven, lamed is 30 not 12 --

Also, according to kabbalistic doctrine, Beth (2) is the first (1st) letter of Creation -- Kether the first sephirot is called Ain, nothing, blah blah blah

Also, if letters as numbers is the sole symbolic consideration, why is the unnumbered more sensible as 300 (shin) or 400 (tau) than as 1 (aleph) ?

Also, the n=n+1 formula is a typical formulation of hebrew and Ugaritic number symbolism, with several examples in the Bible --

Also, according to Cordovero, the letters are split into Aleph as the source of all the other letters, which are then grouped into three septenaries (as by many, is the fool and the 21 (3x7) trumps) --

Also, search the forum, this question has been posed and argued innumerable times, try a bit of homework -- at least to the extent one doesn't make stupid statements re: Case changing the GD system (a laughable mistake which makes you sound like you might be a troll)

Also, if you don't like it, stick to the continental system and a variation of a continental system based deck, simples ! Who cares you can't follow the GD system -- you found a system that works for you, that's what matters - doesn't have to be the same as tom, dick and/or harry's! (Or mine, or Crowley's or Case's or Levi's) --

Also, Papus followed the continental school of Levi, and, to quote from his Tarot of the Bohemiens:

Papus. Shin is one of the three mother letters. TWENTY FIRST (UNNUMBERED) CARD OF THE TAROT. The Foolish Man.

That is, according to Papus, the fool is 21st/shin and the 21st Trump is 22nd, and attributed to Tau --

(Are you saying that Papus "fits like a key", except in this aspect, the fool should be 22 and not 21?)

I'm not really looking for advice, nor am I interested in debating hypothetical issues....but I do thank you for your efforts here. Sounds like you are well informed and far beyond anything I can relate to at this point as I am just trying to understand a system that many seem to apotheosize..