Unnamed

#1
I apologise.

I moved the "Unnamed" thread from the Researcher's Study, and placed it in the Unicorn Terrace where it belongs.

When I did this, I accidently left a forwarding thread there, and when I deleted it, it deleted this thread.

There you go. Fortunately, I've not had to do much moderating here.. so honestly am not entirely familiar with the system. Unfortunately, today I felt I had to put on a moderator hat (which I hate, because it is ugly, and fits poorly, and makes me feel awkward and uncomfortable), just to clean up the many posts that were scattered around the forum.

I considered restoring the database to fix the problem, but frankly I don't want to overwrite other threads to do so.

So... with my deepest apology and a lesson learned.. I can give you the gist of the question which was...

"Why is Death Unnamed in the Marseille tarot?

Does it mean anything symbolically? Or does was it a matter of expedience? Why are all the other trumps "titled" but not Death; which is, of course, numbered XIII?"
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Unnamed

#2
Personally, I think the reason the title was not added to the Death card is because the section at the bottom was considered "integral" to the image.. he would have lost part a large portion of his scythe and the heads of kings and queens in the ground. Instead, when the titles were added (which *I* assume they were), the subject matter was clear enough not to need to have a title. Death was an everyday part of life, and his iconography was familiar.

There are other decks that have the title on the card, including the Tarot of Paris from the early 1600s, predating our oldest existing Tarot de Marseille decks.

The Noblet, the oldest existing Tarot de Marseille, is also named. So personally, I think it is pretty irrelevant historically, but of course, for reading it might add another dimension to draw meaning from.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: Unnamed

#3
I always thought it was unnamed from superstition and fear on the part of these particular cardmakers, who were perhaps more squeamish than Noblet, or whoever designed the Paris deck.

Because (apologies, Roubret, if I'm shooting holes in your theory):

1. If the intent was to show more of the bottom part of the image, then it could have been designed to allow for the title. After all, cards like Le Mat and L'Empereur, etc., don't have their feet cut off. They were designed to fit in the framework, which included the title.

2. La Mort as a skeleton with a scythe is a very recognizable figure. But so is Le Pape, with his mitre and acolytes, or Le Soleil as a big shiny sun in the sky. And they are both named.
Better to be quiet and have people think you're an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Re: Unnamed

#4
If you name him - you might call him. The he that shall not be spoken by name or number.
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Unnamed

#5
Lorredan wrote:If you name him - you might call him. The he that shall not be spoken by name or number.
Name him/call him sounds like the idiom, "Speak of the Devil" ( http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/spea ... devil.html ); don't know how it applies to Death. That said, a reaping skeleton is a pretty understandable image.

Myself, I'm of the opinion that in gaming, we have to have universally understood rankings. Rankings for minors are easy. Ranking for majors may of course vary from country to country, state to state, village to village, house to house.

Once you apply words, arguments over ranking would diminish (for those who are literate), the addition of numerals provides ranking information for the illiterate, and provides a learnable number system for teaching neopyhytes.

And we come to a skeleton with a scythe. Why bother naming him? You and I understand what he means. As for that guy with the funny hat? I wouldn’t have a clue.

Re: Unnamed

#6
Umbrae wrote:.......And we come to a skeleton with a scythe. Why bother naming him? You and I understand what he means. As for that guy with the funny hat? I wouldn’t have a clue.
Sorry, but I don't buy this for a minute.
Le Mat is just as recognizable, yet has a printed name.
So do all of the other easily recognizable figures.
Even the queens.
Even The devil.
Even the lovers.
Even the funny hat guy that was perfectly recognizable to the people of that time, even if he's lost to the modern eye.
Why single out one card, from near the middle of the deck, as not needing to be titled?

"Superstition" was common practice.
It is precisely because death was all around that one did not utter his name, for fear of calling him into the house.
If you find it too far fetched, why do you suppose that in our own "enlightened" society, elevators in tall buildings lack a thirteenth floor? And what does it mean when they DO mark it?

As for Noblet and some others naming him......
We don't live in a world of absolutes.
It probably was just a simple custom, rather than some sort of significant esoteric statement.
Maybe Noblet was just a rebel.
Or maybe he was just foolhardy.
I am not a cannibal.

Re: Unnamed

#7
Well to speak of the Devil IS speaking about someone :?
As OnePotato (e) :wink: said, superstition is the reason and it is still alive and well where I live.
Death is not mentioned inside a house in case he hears you. If a Fantail flies in the window- it is a harbinger of Death, and is shooed back outside to his unseen friend, in case his unseen friend comes in too! But don't hurt the Bird!
One aspect of the unnumbered is the 13 lunar months that are the year that will die at 13. Mostly I wonder if he is unnamed and he does not wear a mourning cape like the Grim Reaper, is he the time between 12 o'clock and 1 am? I think it is really the thirteen Tenebrae or lent candles that the priest puts out to show the darkness on the Earth. It's the number you cannot see once they are out. Much like Tarot. :roll: ~Lorredan~
The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Eden Phillpotts

Re: Unnamed

#8
If we take the images-only as prototype, then no card contains name nor number. As these are copied more or less accurately, bits of the top and the bottom of each image are cut off, as can be seen on so many Tarot de Marseille-I (especially) cards.

With specifically this card, adding a name in a panel at its base, part of the central depiction, the scythe, would have a significant portion removed or hidden. Undoubtedly there may be other reasons such as not wishing to invite Death by uttering its name (unlike the Devil which can then be 'countered' with the invocation of Christ's name) - but iconographically, there does appear prima facia practical reasons to not have a panel with name on this card.
Image
&
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association.tarotstudies.org

Re: Unnamed

#9
The tarot is/was commercial artwork. The Noblet seem to be a very politically incorrect deck, showing penises and naming death. Subsequent versions of the deck are ‘cleaner’. I would have to assume (Assuming. We are always assuming) that getting rid of that card’s name, in response to superstition, could have been a marketing move. Other than that I am reminded that some African countries have a public word for lion, which is different from the real word for lion. The public word is the one you will use out in the open. You won’t use the lion’s real name out there, or it will come for you. The Native Americans also call bear “granfather”, “father” and some other names, fearing the same thing. Magical thinking says that words are incantations, things within themselves. What you name you create. But all that are embellishments I like to dream about. In ‘truth’ the name could have been eliminated for marketing reasons, just as The Pope and La Papesse were changed for other characters in certain decks.

Maybe the Noblet is the ‘director’s cut’ nd the subsequents decks are the ‘PG’ ones. :lol: *

Best,

EE

* Which doesn’t means one is better than the others!
What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

Re: Unnamed

#10
In the Middle Ages... in fact up to only a couple of centuries ago, death was not feared, but accepted. It is only recently that death has become something which is "forbidden". People in those days may have been scared of damnation thanks to the scaremongering of the church authorities, but they were not scared of death itself.

So I do not think that it was out of any superstition that the card was not named.

It would seem logical that if there is a card that is unnumbered and a card that is unnamed, that the two cards are linked somehow. I would think that any ponderations on the unnamed card should not be done alone, but in parallel with the unnumbered card. (As should be the case with any card that has curious parallels with another card in the pack, for instance the Lover and The Moon, or the Pope and The Devil.) I believe the cards should not be read in isolation but always looked at as one would look at pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Alone, a jigsaw puzzle piece has no meaning. It is when it is put together with the other pieces that a picture appears.

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