Re: The Magician

It's interesting, because it relates the magician with the madman. There are several paintings of this time that speak of the "stone of madness." I dont know if, indeed, conducting operations in the head (trepanation), but Hyeronimus Bosch is one of the activities attributed to the "magician" (the deceiver, Chapman).


Es interesante, porque relaciona el mago con el loco. Hay varias pinturas de la época que hablan de la "piedra de la locura". No sé si, de verdad, realizaban operaciones en la cabeza (trepanaciones), pero el Bosco es una de las actividades que atribuye a the "magician" (el estafador, el que engaña, el buhonero).
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Magician

Another book, another mention....

From The Story of Medicine by Vernon Coleman:
Surgery was practised by men who often doubled as barbers, pedlars, tinkers, conjurers and rat-catchers, and apart from the small number of practitioners of the quality of Ambrose Paré, most surgeons, whether they catered for the working people or for royalty, were both uneducated and incompetent.
So, perhaps our man is as he sometimes seems... a conjurer or pedlar, and perhaps also a tooth-puller and surgeon.
The Tarot will lose all its vitality for one who allows himself to be side-tracked by its pedantry. - Aleister Crowley

Re: The Magician

Thanks Robert!
04_piedra_locura_brueghel.jpg (41.43 KiB) Viewed 5859 times
Pieter Brueghel, el Viejo: La Extracción de la piedra de la locura (c.1550). Musée de l'hotel Sandelin, Saint-Omer.
04_piedra_Hemesen.jpg (47.25 KiB) Viewed 5859 times
Jan Sanders van Hemesen: La Extracción de la piedra (c. 1555). Museo del Prado, Madrid.
04_piedra_locura_steen.jpg (65.71 KiB) Viewed 5859 times
Jan Steen: La extracción de la piedra (c. 1670). Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. Rotterdam.
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Magician

So our Bateleur is an itinerant healer, who says "Hocus Pocus," i.e. "Hoc est corpus" (see and does magic with cups under a cloth (in the PMB version). The crossed legs on some "children of the Moon" woodcuts link him with the Emperor, i.e. King of Kings, and the Hanged Man, whoever he is. The Moon was represented by Bosch (in "St. John at Patmos") as the Virgin Mary. Who is the child of that Moon? The respected theologian Morton Smith once wrote a book called Jesus the Magician. Charlatan and Son of God: such is the paradox. He is the Word that existed at the beginning, which the Almighty spoke in creating this world of illusion, that our souls may be tried and found worthy. He is the one who deals the cards that make up the fate of each individual, in the four suits represented on the table and the four elements that make up this world. If he is a trickster, then so is the world. Have a good Friday and end of Passover. May our Stick-Wielder lead us out of the wilderness and into the promised land!

Re: The Magician

:) pretty words...

I dont know if they really were "wizards" that extract the stone of madness, or whether it was a metaphor. I will investigate.

This is a serious medical:

Guido da Vigevano (1280-1349). Anathomia designata per figures.
04_guido3.jpg (28.55 KiB) Viewed 5845 times
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Magician

Well, it depends on what you mean by "serious medical procedure." Administration of a placebo is a serious medical procedure, too (it is the surgeon who is a quack, if surgery is unwarranted), as when a doctor used to give an insomniac a prescription for pills that unbeknownst to them contained only sugar: they worked. When the shaman extracts his object--the frog, stone, or whatever--by trickery, and the patient believes and gets better, that's pretty much the same. Metaphors cure, especially with patients who don't understand that they are metaphors. In medieval and Renaissance Europe, I imagine there was just enough of an incision, done with enough medical-sounding talk, to make the patient believe that his skull had been opened, and then, voila, it was just like pulling a tooth. Sometimes, it's the care and concern that heals, along with a change in one's outlook (these days, it's called "cognitive-emotive therapy"). Tarot readings sometimes work that way, too, I think.

Re: The Magician

Yes mmm ... I understand.

We need documentation about the therapeutic, medical or charlatans, madness in the fifteenth century in Italy.

They really make brain cirugy, maybe lobotomies, or is a metaphor used by the Bosco to referer the man cant cure the sins of the soul, the madness?
When a man has a theory // Can’t keep his mind on nothing else (By Ross)

Re: The Magician

I'm not sure who "Bosco" is. And I wonder about your idea that extracting a stone from someone's head is a metaphor saying that man can't cure madness. It might be a "medical" version of an exorcism, the extraction of something physical that corresponds to a devil. But I haven't read anything about such procedures.

What I have read about, and seen Renaissance images of, is of madmen being cured by the exorcism of devils (in connection with Shakespeare's King Lear, for example). Madness was understood as sometimes devil-possession, and the cure was exorcism. Priests could do it, and even holy people who weren't priests. In some cases, it was a spell put on by a witch or sorcerer, or the imposition of a curse, and the spell or curse needed to be broken by someone who knew about such things. That's what curanderos are for, in Latin America. A sorcerer magically put a stone in someone's brain, and it had to be removed by someone trained in removing such things. Sorcerers didn't just cause madness, but all sorts of things. I could quote you an instance from 15th century Bologna, except that I've checked the book back into the library (Cecilia Ady, The Bentivoglios of Bologna). A woman had a reputation for being able to cure people; exactly how isn't recorded (herbs maybe?). But this was right when the Pope was declaring witches public enemy number one, and "investigation" showed that she was actually making people sick at a distance (including the ruling families in cities where she'd never been) and then making money by coming and removing the sickness. She was burned at the stake, unrepentant.

I will keep my eye open for tales of stone surgeries.

I. The Ephesian Juggler

"He's One", they say, the first,
this fallen Adam, lowest of the low,
this blond sweet talking
smooth shaved mare
who stands like a priest at the altar,
praying on the gullible.

He, with his holy relics:
three dice from 'neath the cross
of Christ, made from the bones
of old Gods; his missal of marked
playing cards; his windmill hid
'neath walnut shells.

He, with his hocus pocus:
his highfalutin babble
quick witted and persuasive tongue
reigning in seduction; allaying fears
with humour; taming doubts
with deceit.

"He knows the arts of Toledo",
they say, and watch again

as he turns a cock into a hen.
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

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