Orbis Pictus

I'd like to recommend The Orbis Pictus as an interesting resource for an understanding of how many of the tarot symbols would have been perceived in earlier times. This was the first and most widely distributed schoolbook for children - filled with commentary on things like the elements, virtues, Last Judgment - all illustrated with woodcuts. While it is from the 1650s, most of the ideas expressed in it had not changed all that much from the 15th century.

It is available at Project Gutenberg
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/28299/28 ... 8299-h.htm

You might want to start around page 126 with Philosophy although the earlier pages are interesting in their own right.


Re: Orbis Pictus

Thanks for this Mary, I've enjoyed just breezing through the pages. What an education!

I was particularly struck with this from Number III, THE WORLD:
The Heaven,
hath Fire, and Stars.

The Clouds,
hang in the Air.
fly under the Clouds.
swim in the Water.
The Earth hath Hills,
Woods, Fields,
Beasts, and Men,
Thus the greatest Bodies
of the World,
the four Elements,
are full of
their own Inhabitants.
Not just the elements, but the identification of Fire with Heaven.

This is a treasure. Thanks again!
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Orbis Pictus

Thank you, Mary! This text is wonderful! I particularly appreciated that a few astrological terms that are now unknown to many (e.g. the difference between sextile and a trine aspects) were taught to children together with the basic concepts of religion, anatomy etc. :)


Re: Orbis Pictus

Thanks Mary,

When I was 18 I read for the first time ‘My Life’, Oskar Kokoschka’s autobiography. The years have passed and I still re-read it often. Kokoschka was a big believer in the power of seeing, and in the meetings he had with heads of state or influential politicians along his life he always insisted on the importance o re-printing Jean Amos Comenius’s work.

An idea that has become very central in my work with the tarot is that images can facilitate creative thinking by means of analogies. Learning to see, and learning to think visually, speeds up the recognition of patterns that is the foundation to some analogical processes. The extensive use that medieval artists made of symmetry suggest they somehow intuit this.

This is great! Thanks again!

What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

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