Re: Crackpot theories

#51
robert wrote:Of course, there are a lot of people out there there DO believe that tarot holds some sort of heresy story in it, and nothing is as fadish as the Holy Blood, Holy Grail - Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers and parents story. It's on its third or fourth decade now isn't it? I'd have thought that Dan Brown would have put an end to it.
HBHG, which invented the bloodline=grail story, was published in 1982 (the notion of a marriage - or at least a sexual relationship, between MM and Jesus is ancient, however). But the central notion did not enter the mainstream until Margaret Starbird adopted it (and a lot else from HBHG) for her own mythos in the 90s. So only two decades since it's really been part of mainstream occultism (what a curious phrase!).

Ross
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Re: Crackpot theories

#52
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
HBHG, which invented the bloodline=grail story, was published in 1982 (the notion of a marriage - or at least a sexual relationship, between MM and Jesus is ancient, however).
I wonder, is it really?

I wonder sometimes if I'm at some sort of disadvantage having come into "tarot history" from having 30-some years of occult background. I read Holy Blood Holy Grail when it first came out, and I think for years I absolutely believed everything in it. There is so much common folklore among the "new age" movement, where similarities are mapped and associations assumed to be cognates, I've been told so many times that something was a certain way that I now question just how many assumptions that I do have actually have any fact behind them at all. Reading a writer like Ronald Hutton is great for this sort of stuff, he is earnestly hoping to find the oldest references, but he's not afraid to point out that things that we think "obviously go back to pagan times" often really aren't that old after all.

So, my impression of Mary Magdalene is that most of the Middle Ages iconography and understanding of her were really based on a lot of assumptions (where she was assigned roles of other "Mary" characters in the Bible and sometimes other unnamed women. There was also confusion with other saints where MM became confused with Mary of Egypt and we end up with MM with hair all over her body. So, while I have no issue with there being an ancient tradition of Mary and Jesus being in a "special" relationship, is there actually any prove of this? Are you taking the Gospel of Mary Magdalen as an example and the notion that Jesus chose her above the other disciples as a reference?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Crackpot theories

#53
robert wrote:
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:
HBHG, which invented the bloodline=grail story, was published in 1982 (the notion of a marriage - or at least a sexual relationship, between MM and Jesus is ancient, however).
I wonder, is it really?
The oldest reference is the "Gospel of Philip", found at Nag Hammadi. Mary is called Jesus' koinonos - companion, partner, or consort. Many think this is inconclusive evidence to indicate sexual relations.

"The Gospel of Philip has been cited for the idea that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. Much of the Gospel of Philip is dedicated to a discussion of marriage as a sacred mystery, and two passages directly refer to Mary Magdalene and her close relationship with Jesus:
There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, the one who was called his companion. His sister and his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
"Mary Magdalene is called Jesus's companion, partner or consort, using the word koinônos, of Greek origin, and the word hôtre, of Egyptian origin. The other passage referring to Mary Magdalene is incomplete because of damage to the original manuscript. Several words are missing. The best guesses as to what they were are shown below in brackets. Most notably there is a hole in the manuscript after the phrase "and used to kiss her often on her...." But the passage appears to describe Jesus kissing Magdalene and using a parable to explain to the disciples why he loved her more than he loved them:
And the companion of [the saviour was Mar]y Ma[gda]lene. [Christ loved] M[ary] more than [all] the disci[ples, and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth]. The rest of [the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval]. They said to him "Why do you love her more than all of us?" The Saviour answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you like her? When a blind man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they are no different from one another. When the light comes, then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind will remain in darkness.
However, "mouth" is not necessarily the word after "kiss her... on her". It may have been another body part and simply shown respect."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Philip


However, there is a medieval reference to precisely the same idea, in an account of the massacre of Béziers (Pierre de Vaux-de-Cernay, "Histoire Albigeoise"), where he says that one of the outrageous claims of the heretics was that MM was the concubine of Jesus Christ
http://books.google.com/books?id=FSkyK8 ... ne&f=false

(Vaux-de-Cernay goes on to say that it was therefore divine justice that the massacre happened on the feast of the Magdalene, July 22).

So I'd say that there was such a subterranean tradition, however thin, no doubt preserved by parts of the Manichean descendents, the Bogomils and Cathars.

Ross
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Re: Crackpot theories

#54
Thanks Ross.

I would imagine that, unless the other apostles were complaining about Jesus withholding sexual favours from them :x and spending all his passion on Mary :ymtongue: , that it was probably more platonic? :-\ :ymdevil:

But the medieval reference is very interesting. I've read several books about the Cathers, but nothing on the Bogomils, and only wikipedia about Manichaeism.

It seems odd to me, as when I think of the Cathers, I think of a negative reaction to this world, and abstinence from sexual activity... sexuality leading to more souls being trapped here. Do you think the Cathers or Bogomils would have believed in a sexual relationship between Jesus and MM? Or was this something used against them like the assumedly trumped-up charges of Sodomy and Head-worship used against the Templars?
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Crackpot theories

#55
robert wrote: But the medieval reference is very interesting. I've read several books about the Cathers, but nothing on the Bogomils, and only wikipedia about Manichaeism.
Yeah, excluding the Priory of Sion stuff and anything based on it as an utter hoax, there remained some facts to check in HBHG, and surprisingly this one stood up. It should be noted that this is the only reference to such a belief among the Cathars that I know of. However, it is there.
It seems odd to me, as when I think of the Cathers, I think of a negative reaction to this world, and abstinence from sexual activity... sexuality leading to more souls being trapped here. Do you think the Cathers or Bogomils would have believed in a sexual relationship between Jesus and MM? Or was this something used against them like the assumedly trumped-up charges of Sodomy and Head-worship used against the Templars?
Vaux-de-Cernay summarized their beliefs (page 6) and says that these Cathars believed in two Christs (also an ancient gnostic belief) - one was the "false" Christ, who was born naturally and died on the cross; the other was the true Christ, who only ever appeared spiritually, never in the flesh.

MM was the concubine of the false, physical Christ. Nevertheless, he is the Christ of the Gospels, although one has to discern the false from the real.

Ross
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Re: Crackpot theories

#57
I want to follow up on one "crackpot theory" mentioned in this thread, Daimonax's (see viewtopic.php?f=12&t=216&start=40#p4295 and viewtopic.php?f=12&t=216&start=40#p4299.) I'd like to generate more discussion of some of it. Not much happened on the "Greek gods" thread on Aeclectic that Robert mentioned. So I've tried again, in shorter presentations than I did there on the Star, this time on the Fool (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=383&start=20#p6495) and the Magician (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&start=20#p6461 and viewtopic.php?f=23&t=384&start=30#p6518). I want to talk in more general terms here.

I don't think we should completely disregard what Daimonax says. (There is also the "Pythagorean Tarot" website; but it isn't referring directly to the Marseille or making historical claims, so I will will disregard it.) I think Daimonax's Dionysian-Mysteries approach to the trumps can be partially rehabilitated. The main problem is that it assumes a continuous transmission, via theatarical troupes, from ancient times to the Renaissance of numerous images (much of it unknown in the 15th-17th centuries), which then got transferred, along with an understanding of that imagery, into the tarot. All that is not only implausible but totally unnecessary.

The tarot changed its look over time. The earliest surviving cards reflect the art and life of 15th century Christian Italy; the cards then probably were seen as portraying the stages of life and the afterlife, in the manner of Petrarch's Trionfi. But there was more to the world-view of the Renaissance; it didn't stop there. Pico and Ficino drew parallels among Christianity, the Orphic Hymns, Hermes Trismegistus, Kabbalah, Egyptian religion, etc, including various "mysteries" that they imagined accompanied them. Ficino sang "Orphic" melodies; Poliziano and others wrote poems to Bacchus. In the same era artists were getting inspiration from Dionysian sarcophagi that were already known. Over the next century, emblem books were published in numerous editions most prominently Cartari, with extended imagery about the pagan gods, all based on standard Greco-Roman classics, These influences, which included the Dionysian-Orphic, might well have affected certain details inserted into the tarot as it was continually redrawn.

Many of Daimonax's interpretations are based on sarcophagi and reliefs that were known and in the 15th-16th centuries. Others are based on well-known classical sources that were cited in the mythology books. When Daimonax gives sources from post-1750 archeological digs, e.g. in Greece or Pompeii, he is off-base. But much of what he says does not require such appeal. The sarcophagi in the Naples Museum are not from Pompeii; Giulio Romano's 16th century erotic drawings draw on them. Another sarcophagus was in Lorenzo de' Medici's villa; Mantegna did engravings based on it. If you avoid information uncovered post-1700 and just look at what was educated people people before then considered their classical heritage, you will find even more to corroborate his overall ideas.

This parallel imagery does not, for tarot research, have the same status as, say, Mesopotamian reliefs unearthed in the 20th century (as was argued a few years ago on Aeclectic); it was known and reflected on during the time the Marseille tarot was being formed. The same classical heritage, I believe, shaped the "secret societies" that sprang up in the Renaissance and after.

It seems to me likely that details from classical mythology, and especially the "Dionysian mysteries," were inserted so as to give people who knew their significance a way of remembering what cards had been played in the game. They became parts of stories they constructed in their minds, or modifications in stories they already knew, so that remembering the story would bring to mind the cards. The more associations they had, the easier the task was. (I may have this part not quite right. I don't fully understand how the "memory theatre" worked.)

There is much in Daimonax I do not understand or accept. But I find his work stimulating, and especially the imagery he applies to the Marseille--although, yes, he should have used its publicly documented historical examples, as opposed to Marteau and Camoin-Jodorosky.

I have tried myself to reconstruct how a 16th-17th century educated European might add details to the existing 15th century tarot, and how others would receive these details, based on the cultural milieu of the time. In that vein I have posted examples here in "Bianca's Garden," for the Fool and the Magician (also, much longer, the Star in "Greek Gods" on Aeclectic, where indeed I want to acknowledge people's responses, as indeed I did not have to go into such detail). I posted the two in "Bianca's Garden because I want to be sure that my methodology is historically sound (and thanks for your encouragement, mmfelisi). If anyone doesn't think it is, please explain. I don't know whether silence means people don't want to beat a dead horse, or it means people can't think of anything prima facie wrong-headed in these posts. Well, I think the horse can be revived. I am not appealing to Pompeii or what "must have happened." It's just that looking at everything else from the 16th-17th centuries--art, emblems, poems, etc.--it doesn't seem plausible that educated Europeans then were the narrow-minded Christians that people sometimes assume. And otherwise I am happy staying in the 15th century.

Re: Crackpot theories

#58
mikeh wrote:
I posted the two in "Bianca's Garden because I want to be sure that my methodology is historically sound (and thanks for your encouragement, mmfelisi). If anyone doesn't think it is, please explain. I don't know whether silence means people don't want to beat a dead horse, or it means people can't think of anything prima facie wrong-headed in these posts.
Hi Mike,
I can only speak for myself, but I found the posts you mention and the connections made stimulating and surprising. The trouble is that there's a lot of information and research to assimilate. There are also many links you've made that I want to question, yet this is difficult without your background knowledge and experience in tarot research. To reply to such in-depth posts with perhaps one or two very basic observations might seem overly simplistic without relevant textual or pictorial evidence.

At the moment I'm browsing the books at the Warburg mentioned on the Books of Fortune and Dreams thread, and finding possible answers to questions that make some of my other posts look... well... (~~)

Pen
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Crackpot theories

#59
My Crackpot theory ^^.

The triumph key to understanding the tarot is the toilet.
toilet.jpg
toilet.jpg (45.79 KiB) Viewed 2801 times
This triumph tells us that the tarot is designed to purify the soul and instincts. It was a hygiendi ars. Indeed, it is shown that, if you say Gebellin three times looking in the mirror appears tarotman, an ancestor of Captain Spook. The masters of ancient wisdom was also known as Chuck Norris, aka Hermes Trismegistus.

So whenever I shower with my rubber duck and my tarot deck, to restore harmony with the four humors of my body.
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: Crackpot theories

#60
Mike (and everyone else, really, as well), I want to take a moment and thank you for your participation in the forum. I really enjoy reading your posts even though I comment rarely. Personally, all of my efforts are on doing well in the course I'm on at uni in hopes of getting into the Master's program that I'll be applying for at the end of the year... so I'm deep in studies right now, and working part time as well, so I'm terribly distracted and have not been able to do more than read threads as they develop and think "oh wow, that's interesting".. and then go back to my studies (medieval medicine at the moment... so I've been studying the four humours and contemplating the relationship to tarot). So..... know that others are reading, and enjoying, and learning, even if we are a silent audience.

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

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