Re: Crackpot theories

#61
Well, I can only sad one thing. There are many interesting topics. I think this forum is a wonderful place, not only to learn about the tarot, but to learn how to do a serious investigation. There are people from Germany, USA, Italy, Argentina, Spain ... And there are many good ideas. And there are so many that it takes time to digest it.

Well ... back to the good mood! :)
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: Crackpot theories

#62
Robert wrote,
so I've been studying the four humours and contemplating the relationship to tarot).
Good luck in your studies, Robert. I sort of thought you were the moderator or something. Or does this forum run itself?

I agree strongly that the four humors are related to the tarot. Here is some food for thought, since you are studying them. Psychologically, they relate both to four personality types (like suits) and four times of life (like pages, knights, queens and kings). So they naturally fit the court cards.

For personality types, we have a quaternity, i.e. two pairs of opposites: agitated (choleric) vs. calm (phlegmatic), and cheerful (sanguine) vs. depressed (melancholic). Here are a couple of Renaissance-era pictures.

Image


Image


Traditionally, sanguine was associated with childhood; then came choleric, then melancholic, and finally phlegmatic in old age. This progression was modeled on the seasons in Greece: the new life of spring, hot summer, dry autumn, and wet winter. But this is too mechanical for the tarot, or life; moreover, in one of the above pictures (with the symbolic distaff for fate), melancholy applies to the end of life. I'd just say the more energetic humors (sanguine, choleric) apply more to the first half of life, the lesser (melancholic, phlegmatic) to the second half.

With these descriptions and pictures in mind--forgetting the Golden Dawn and whatever you have read on the courts--look at the Noblet courts (http://letarot.com/jean-noblet/pages/je ... neurs.html) in relation to the four humors.

Cups, phlegmatic (calm, agreeable): Page as young troubadour; Knight in service to his Lady; dreamy, meditative Queen; King as congenial host.

Swords, choleric (aggressive, angry, fearful): Page, not too sure about entering military life; Knight as efficient killing machine; Queen angry and fearful, her husband away at war; King as successful in the world but sitting uneasily on the throne.

Batons, Sanguine (interested, engaged, optimistic). Page, pleased at his big stick; Knight, overconfident in battle, his club will be no match for swords, and he should be looking ahead, not at his stupid weapon; Queen, the happy lactating mother; King, the big fish in the little pond, i.e. his little anachronistic kingdom in the hills, enjoying the show.

Coins, melancholic (sadness, disinterest): Page as young street-hawker trying to drum up business; Knight, the traveling merchant, every night a different bed; Queen, regretting how dazzled she's been by her husband's wealth, when there are more important considerations; King, what happiness has gold brought me? This last suit reflects a very different set of values than is common today, pre-capitalist in orientation, very old-fashioned. I am being historical. The theory still works, but people may have a hard time thinking of coins as symbols of sadness.

Particular courts, with their humors, connect to particular trumps as well. But the connections are manifold: not just Swords to sharp things, Batons to sticks, Cups to vessels, and Coins to round things, but to gender, beards, posture, gesture, age, etc.

There are exercises you can do to balance the humors. Two examples are the top two pictures above: phlegmatic music (of the Renaissance variety) to "calm the savage beast," and sanguine dancing to perk up the depressed. There are many more exercises, probably common knowledge in the Renaissance. I like to think that Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays reflect them; either that, or he was a fantastic psychologist (also likely). These days, It helps to know a particular type of psychotherapy called cognitive-emotive therapy, which uses similar techniques to manage emotions.

The specific brand of cognitive-emotive therapy most used in my geographical area, at least in government and insurance funded treatment centers, is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), "dialectical" referring to pairs of opposites. Its effectiveness was documented by Marsha Lanahan in clinical trials at the University of Washington. You keep in mind both parts of a pair, and modulate one by engaging an aspect of the other. There are several good self-help books based on this theory, with exercises. The most relevant one is Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life.{/i]. Another, the one used at at least one big hospital here, is {i]The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook (chapters on emotions).

For an example from my own professional work on how humoral theory and DBT combine in a practical context, see my blog "Using Shakespeare in a Mental Health Setting," at http://treatingmentalillnesswithshakesp ... ogspot.com. Romeo and Juliet--the poetry, not the plot--reflects humoral theory in the best sense. I didn't refer specifically to humoral theory, as I was focusing on DBT and Shakespeare, but the connection is straightforward for "sadness" and "anger." "Love" is a DBT category that is not one of the four humors. DBT considers "love" a separate emotion from the others, so in my essay I go along with that. Love, it seems to me, is associated with all the humors: with sadness. when rejected; anger, when a loved one's behavior doesn't meet expectations; and agreeableness, when all is well, or wanting the other's approval. In the particular context I use for love in the play, it is a species of interest--Romeo's and Juliet's budding interest in each other. "Calm, agreeable" is not a DBT category of emotion at all (DBT deals with calmness and agreeability in other categories), so I didn't treat it as an emotion. "Agreeability" would enter into my section, "dealing with difficult people."

Re: Crackpot theories

#63
mikeh wrote: Good luck in your studies, Robert. I sort of thought you were the moderator or something. Or does this forum run itself?
Thanks Mike.

Does the forum run itself? For the most part, yes. Most (all?) of the participants here feel that the best moderation is hands-off, and I try not to have to ever put on that hat, although there are two other participants who also have the ability to moderate the forum in the extreme case that it is needed. I do think I could be a better and more participatory host, so I apologise for that. I wish I made more contributions to the many fascinating discussions.
mikeh wrote: I agree strongly that the four humors are related to the tarot. Here is some food for thought, since you are studying them. Psychologically, they relate both to four personality types (like suits) and four times of life (like pages, knights, queens and kings). So they naturally fit the court cards.

For personality types, we have a quaternity, i.e. two pairs of opposites: agitated (choleric) vs. calm (phlegmatic), and cheerful (sanguine) vs. depressed (melancholic). Here are a couple of Renaissance-era pictures.

Image


Image


Traditionally, sanguine was associated with childhood; then came choleric, then melancholic, and finally phlegmatic in old age. This progression was modeled on the seasons in Greece: the new life of spring, hot summer, dry autumn, and wet winter. But this is too mechanical for the tarot, or life; moreover, in one of the above pictures (with the symbolic distaff for fate), melancholy applies to the end of life. I'd just say the more energetic humors (sanguine, choleric) apply more to the first half of life, the lesser (melancholic, phlegmatic) to the second half.

With these descriptions and pictures in mind--forgetting the Golden Dawn and whatever you have read on the courts--look at the Noblet courts (http://letarot.com/jean-noblet/pages/je ... neurs.html) in relation to the four humors.

Cups, phlegmatic (calm, agreeable): Page as young troubadour; Knight in service to his Lady; dreamy, meditative Queen; King as congenial host.

Swords, choleric (aggressive, angry, fearful): Page, not too sure about entering military life; Knight as efficient killing machine; Queen angry and fearful, her husband away at war; King as successful in the world but sitting uneasily on the throne.

Batons, Sanguine (interested, engaged, optimistic). Page, pleased at his big stick; Knight, overconfident in battle, his club will be no match for swords, and he should be looking ahead, not at his stupid weapon; Queen, the happy lactating mother; King, the big fish in the little pond, i.e. his little anachronistic kingdom in the hills, enjoying the show.

Coins, melancholic (sadness, disinterest): Page as young street-hawker trying to drum up business; Knight, the traveling merchant, every night a different bed; Queen, regretting how dazzled she's been by her husband's wealth, when there are more important considerations; King, what happiness has gold brought me? This last suit reflects a very different set of values than is common today, pre-capitalist in orientation, very old-fashioned. I am being historical. The theory still works, but people may have a hard time thinking of coins as symbols of sadness.

Particular courts, with their humors, connect to particular trumps as well. But the connections are manifold: not just Swords to sharp things, Batons to sticks, Cups to vessels, and Coins to round things, but to gender, beards, posture, gesture, age, etc.

There are exercises you can do to balance the humors. Two examples are the top two pictures above: phlegmatic music (of the Renaissance variety) to "calm the savage beast," and sanguine dancing to perk up the depressed. There are many more exercises, probably common knowledge in the Renaissance. I like to think that Romeo and Juliet and other Shakespeare plays reflect them; either that, or he was a fantastic psychologist (also likely). These days, It helps to know a particular type of psychotherapy called cognitive-emotive therapy, which uses similar techniques to manage emotions.

The specific brand of cognitive-emotive therapy most used in my geographical area, at least in government and insurance funded treatment centers, is called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), "dialectical" referring to pairs of opposites. Its effectiveness was documented by Marsha Lanahan in clinical trials at the University of Washington. You keep in mind both parts of a pair, and modulate one by engaging an aspect of the other. There are several good self-help books based on this theory, with exercises. The most relevant one is Don't Let Your Emotions Run Your Life.{/i]. Another, the one used at at least one big hospital here, is {i]The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook (chapters on emotions).

For an example from my own professional work on how humoral theory and DBT combine in a practical context, see my blog "Using Shakespeare in a Mental Health Setting," at http://treatingmentalillnesswithshakesp ... ogspot.com. Romeo and Juliet--the poetry, not the plot--reflects humoral theory in the best sense. I didn't refer specifically to humoral theory, as I was focusing on DBT and Shakespeare, but the connection is straightforward for "sadness" and "anger." "Love" is a DBT category that is not one of the four humors. DBT considers "love" a separate emotion from the others, so in my essay I go along with that. Love, it seems to me, is associated with all the humors: with sadness. when rejected; anger, when a loved one's behavior doesn't meet expectations; and agreeableness, when all is well, or wanting the other's approval. In the particular context I use for love in the play, it is a species of interest--Romeo's and Juliet's budding interest in each other. "Calm, agreeable" is not a DBT category of emotion at all (DBT deals with calmness and agreeability in other categories), so I didn't treat it as an emotion. "Agreeability" would enter into my section, "dealing with difficult people."
"Melancholic" over on AT, also known as "RAH" on this forum, created a really interesting divination system for the tarot using the four humours as the basis.

I raised the question inthis thread of what we thought a 15th century divination system might have been like, The more I've learned about the four humours over the past few years, the more I think it would have seemed a natural way for the early modern mind to have viewed the four suits of the tarot.

There is a figure who is haunting me here at Oxford, his name is Robert Burton, and I keep coming across him in my studies. I first discovered him when I visited the cathedral at Oxford 5 years ago, and noticed a really interesting memorial with an astrological chart attached to it. I eventually found out that it was to Robert Burton, although the plaque names him only as the author of the book"The Anatomy of Melancholy". Here's a photo of the memorial on flickr:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/146/3928 ... 6140_b.jpg

And here's the cover of his famous book:
Image


The "special subject" paper I wrote at the end of last year was on Anglo-Catholicism in St Thomas's Parish, which is the area where I live, and St Thomas's is just a few blocks from me. What I didn't know when I started the paper is that Burton was vicar of the church for several decades, in the early 17th century. So we crossed paths again. The final delight (so far!) for me was discovering that one of my favourite portraits I've found in town, located in Brasenose College, was indeed of none other than our Burton:

Image


Isn't that wonderful? It sticks out so much from any other portrait I've come across, he seems to reach through the centuries and his personality just radiates. Not what I would have imagined of the author of the Anatomy of Melancholy!

Anyway... from everything that I read on the last essay on medieval medicine (I'm on to monasteries now!), it just seems to me that the division of four suits, if personality were going to be assigned to them, would have lent themselves immediately to humoural interpretation. If we want to explore it further, perhaps we can pick up the thread mentioned earlier or start a new one?

Very intriguing blog by the way. :-bd

cheers,
r
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Crackpot theories

#64
Thanks for the links, Robert. I see there's been some theorizing on this issue of suits and temperaments, both in tarot forums and over the past five centuries. Looking at the picture posted by Melancholic and comparing them to the ones I posted, I'd say that even in the 15th century, there was disagreement.

Image


Image


As you can see, the water (at least) is under different people. Perhaps the assignments varied from deck to deck, and changed over time. I was focusing on 17th century France; your thread title is 15th century. I notice that nobody actually looked at any court cards in any actual historic deck. To be continued sometime, somewhere.

Re: Crackpot theories

#65
mikeh wrote:Looking at the picture posted by Melancholic and comparing them to the ones I posted, I'd say that even in the 15th century, there was disagreement.
Yep, as I mentioned in the at threads, correspondences had just as much tendency to vary in the past as they do now. Such 21st reconstructions based upon the (selective) 'authority' of the past have no more or less 'historical' validity than that of 19th century occultists (or tarots various allegorists of any period) by and large. The fact is if you look hard enough (and usually not that hard at all), you can find a historical variation to 'justify' whatever your personal preferences in such matters are.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Crackpot theories

#66
What both of the admittedly contradictory pictures that I posted do have in common is that they are representations of the four powerful professions: soldiers, country gentlemen, merchants, and clergy. They assign different elements to them. There are what appear to be symbols of the different suits in at least some of the pictures, and if the inference can be drawn, then the suits are different, too.

Despite the differnces, I do think that in general assigning four temperaments to four suits is useful for the purposes of gaining psychological insight into one's situation. I personally believe that the reason tarot works in readings is that any group of cards fits any person's life-situation in some fashion. It is just a matter of how.

I also think that looking at the court cards in the actual deck you are using, to see if there is any consistent pattern, also helps. That is what I did with the Noblet. There is also the question of how to characterize each of the temperaments. Here I think the mind-set of the individuals involved in the reading, both querent and reader, for example knowledge of DBT or Jungian or Freudian therapy, is relevant, as well as that of the card-designer, either known (in the case of e.g. Waite or Crowley) or arrived at by historical investigation into the times.

Re: Crackpot theories

#67
Patrick Booker wrote: Strieber has written extensively on his experiences as a UFO abductee, but also has long experience within Gurdjieff/Fourth Way schools, and this is a strong influence on his views on Tarot.
Thank you for pointing to The Gurdjieff influences. Gurdjieff was himself influenced, and those influences shaped the Tarot of Marseilles.

The cross mandala that Strieber shows us is too coherent to be an accident. It was known to those who codified the Marseilles deck.

Whitley's discussion is somewhat helpful but also distracting. Best to fend for yourself, contemplating it over several months.

For me it has been initiatory.

Re: Crackpot theories

#68
I think most of us have a crackpot theory, or a suspicion, that something is up...

My theory has to do with the Minchiate Virtues:

Numerological equivalent | Reduced |Expanded |........ Minchiate card |..........Scripture
400 + 100 + 6 + 5...= 511........=7 .......= 1 + 6= 16...........תקוה Hope-Tikvah...........Ruth 1:12
...300 + 20 + 30 .....=350 .......=8 ......= 1 + 7 = 17.........שכל Wisdom-Sekel........Proverbs 1:1
......1 + 40 + 400 ...= 441 .......=9 ......= 1 + 8= 18...........אמת Faith-Emet .........Genesis 42:16
90 + 4 + 100 + 5 .....=199....... =10 .....= 1 + 9= 19.......צדקה Charity-Tzedekah....... Genesis 15:6

I color coded the Hebrew word and it's gematria and it matches up with the sequence in this deck if you expand the numbers out and "recondense" them.

Also, the Hebrew word that you see is the first use of this word in the OT/Tanakh. This seems too coincidental for me.

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