The Devil Stands on...

#1
What is the Devil Standing on?
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A long time ago, there was a thread (I think it was on AT) where the discussion was on the "origin of the Tarot de Marseille", and at the time Ross suggested the Tarot de Marseille devil was a particularly strange card, and that if we could find a cognate for that it might help us understand the deck better (or something like that).

In a conversation in Chat last night I mentioned to Ross that if we could find a Devil standing on an Anvil outside of Tarot that might give us a clue, I paraphrase:

"An Anvil?" asked Ross.

"Yeah, like on the Marseille, he's standing on an Anvil." I replied.

"I can see why you might think so, but I don't think it's actually an anvil, but you could certainly research it," he replied.

Well, this was a revelation for me. I'm so used to thinking anvil that it hadn't even occurred to me that other people might not think so too! Then Enrique came into the chatroom... so I thought "ah ha! he'll back me up!"

When asked to describe the card, Enrique covered all of the general details and when he came to the Devil he said "And the Devil stands on a pedestal".

Pedestal?? Not Anvil??? DAMN!

So, I broke out the Noblet... and realised it wasn't really clear, except for the shape at the bottom. And then I showed them the Dodal, which I think is much closer, and then the Conver.

The general consensus was that it might be an anvil, but that the shape was wrong and not angled correctly and the strange angle at the bottom of cards was actually showing what the two minions were standing on.. also pedestals.

So... I guess it just goes to show you. I checked back to an old thread I started on AT to compare and contrast the Devil, and in the very first line I mention the "pedestal" and ask if it might be an Anvil.. so obviously I have been thinking this for some time but was just not so "convinced" as I seem to have become over the years.

I tend to think myself rather skeptical when it comes to "seeing things" in the Tarot de Marseille, but here I am absolutely guilty as charged! This made me wonder how many "facts" about what I see in the Tarot de Marseille are like this?

So, I started this thread because I was curious if other people thought it was an anvil, before reading this? What have you always thought he was standing on?

(And if anyone has any pictures of the Devil standing on an anvil, please, do let me know. :D )
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Devil Stands on...

#2
I don't think your alone in that thought, I think jmd had referred to it as an anvil: in the pythagorean tarot of course it is an anvil. I am pretty certain i have seen it described as an anvil in some of my books on tarot, but they are not with me at the moment...
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: The Devil Stands on...

#4
SteveM wrote:I don't think your alone in that thought, I think jmd had referred to it as an anvil: in the pythagorean tarot of course it is an anvil.
I'd be surprised if I *wasn't* influenced by JMD on this, if he agrees that is what it is, then that is almost certainly where I picked it up.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Devil Stands on...

#5
It appears other people have interpreted it this way. The French for "anvil" is "enclume".

I can't figure out who wrote this, but the following analysis is based on the Grimaud Tarot de Marseille, which clearly distinguishes the hemisphere of the "pedestal" and the shape underneath it, in red:

" L’enclume rouge fait appel à des notions de lourdeur et de pesanteur."

(The red anvil recalls notions of heaviness and being weighed down.)

http://phortail.org/tarot/arc15.htm

I'm sure there are others, I just googled +enclume +diable (images)

Ross
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Re: The Devil Stands on...

#6
[quote="SteveM"] Taken as a corollory in the upper ranks to the juggler in the lower, the juggler may be found here and there with a (shoe) anvil...

...[/i]

As a jugglers tool it was used to break things upon (that would later appear undamaged, as in the modern broken watch tricks), also as feats of strengh, the juggler placing the anvil upon his body for other to strike upon...

C'est un bateleur qui se fait placer sur le ventre une enclume sur laquelle huit forgerons frappent le fer en cadence.
"Des rapports de l'homme avec le démon" By Joseph Bizouard, 1863. A jugglers feat attested too from at least the 3rd century.
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: The Devil Stands on...

#8
Christine Payne-Towler writes:

"But in the 1600's, we encounter entirely new themes under the older names-- for example, the Lovers becomes the Two Paths, the Star begins to sport astrologers making calculations, Temperance becomes an alchemist, and the Devil changes from the medieval hairy composite demon to Baphomet standing on an anvil holding a male and a female demon in thrall. Some of the pips take on suggestive embellishments as well, such as the alchemical wand on the two of cups, the lemniscate ribbon encircling the two of coins, and the shield on the four of wands."

http://www.tarotarkletters.com/2006/11/ ... tal_3.html

Still, I haven't found the first suggestion of the idea, but it appears to be "Continental", as CPT follows that tradition...
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Re: The Devil Stands on...

#9
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Court de Gébelin calls it a "piédestal" (in the "pedestal of Typhon"), so the idea does not originate with him.
Maybe Levi? Or Marteau...
My bold in the above quote.

How very interesting, the pedestal of Set (greek-egyptian). I don't think that can be the thing he stands on.

Bee

Re: The Devil Stands on...

#10
I'm not sure if I ever got it from reading anyone else, but DO recall that it was a combination of the card itself and reading of Hephaestus (and his anvil) that lead me to considering it as far more 'clearly' such.

Here is part of a post I made on AT in 2002 (but I have notes for a course I taught in the early 1990s that also refer to the anvil from my perspective) - [post 13 in the thread XV - Le Diable, dated 4th Aug. 2002]:
In each of these decks, it also seems that the pedastal upon which it stands is 'clearly' (at least to my eyes) an anvil. What is therefore also interesting is the consideration of the previous card's name with this aspect of the card, for to 'temper', in its full sense, one required an anvil. Yet this also lead to the craft very much 'stolen' (or divinely given) by the gods - Hephaestus, from whom Prometheus stole the Fire to give humanity (incidentally, some of you may by highly interested in obtaining a copy of Roger Sworder's Mining, metallurgy and the meaning of life, Quakers Hill Press, Sydney, 1995 - isbn 0 646 22836 6). In one aspect, both Hephaestus's anvil and the torched light are here represented.

Another aspect of the torch - as opposed to the lantern of VIIII the Hermit - is that underground chambers and caves were often investigated with such poor lighting instruments.

In the 18th book of Homer's Iliad, to return to the previous train of thought, it is mentioned that Haphaestus had maidservants who assisted him in his movements. It is worthy to note that, unlike the ambiguity (which I prefer) occuring in most Marseilles decks, the Noblet tied 'creatures' are clearly both female - in addition to one of the feet of the central figure appearing deformed, making it lame, as Hephaestus was!
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