Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:This reminds me of another 17th century off-hand moralization... [as part of] a diatribe against Estienne Pasquier, who moralized the game of Chess in his Recherches de la France (1607).
"The other question I ask of Master Pasquier, is to know how the game of Chess pertains to the RECHERCHES DE FRANCE, seeing that it is certain that the French are not its Inventors[...]
"To all this I respond in order. Firstly, if I want to write Books, and expose myself to the derision of everyone, I could allegorize all games, and I could say for example that the nine pins are the nine Muses; the bowling ball, Phoebus or the Sun, who is round like a ball, the lanes, ruled and well defined, resemble their sheet of Music. I could also say that the Courts are the image of this life and this world: that the balls are men, as the Actor would say, that the Gods treat us like balls: the racquets and sets (battoüers) by which one plays, are the desires which motivate us, and all of our different affairs which beat us and break our heads, that the cord placed in the middle of the court is the maturity of age, some going over, others going under, some pass it, some do not reach it, but at last after everything, the ball being well rallied, one must at last put it back in the containers, which are the grave; or in the nets, the image of those who are condemned and exposed in view of the whole world, on a wheel, a gibbet, a scaffold, etc.
"I could say that the game of Tarot represents a Republic better than Chess represents the Court of a King: In Tarot there is every estate like in a Republic, there are coins (deniers) to recompense the good, there are swords for the defense of the country, there are Knights, Sergeants, Acrobats (Basteleurs), Triumphs, Emperors, Popes, and fools. Whoever would like to moralize this, would make a Book bigger than the Recherches of Master Pasquier."
(R.P. François Garasse, Les recherches des recherches et autres oeuvres de Me Estienne Pasquier, Paris, Sebastien Chappelet, 1622 ; pp. 217, 220-222)
Michael wrote:Many interpretations can be—and have been—concocted to accompany the Tarot trumps, just as various moral allegories have been attached to chess and regular playing cards. The thing that sets Tarot apart from other games that have moralized content associated with them is that Tarot actually had immediately recognizable, specific and systematic allegorical content designed into the tokens of play, the pictures on the trump cards. The presence of subjects such as the Emperor and Pope, Justice, Temperance, Death, the Devil, and the Angel of the Last Resurrection indicate moral content at a glance. The Tarot trumps exhibit a remarkable didactic design, a schematic outline of Christian salvation, in the same Triumph of Death tradition as many other medieval and Renaissance works of art. They present this summula salvationis via traditional medieval concepts such as the three estates, the Fall of Princes motif, and Revelation’s eschatological triumphs over the Devil and death. Deciphering that original moral subject matter, the meaning of the cards and their sequence, is the riddle of Tarot: interpreting the images and their order in such a manner as to make sense of the whole, honoring the “author’s message” rather than rewriting it. That is the purpose of this essay.
mjhurst wrote:Given my perennial (and extreme) fondness for that theme, I was wondering if you had any other such comments on moralizations from the 17th or 18th century.
mjhurst wrote: As demonstrated year after year, decade after decade, and generation after generation, anything whatsoever can be read into Tarot -- or any other allegedly allegorical vessel. Garasse understood this as clearly as the lying author of the Steele Sermon or Antoine Court de Gébelin, both of whom imposed nonsense on the hapless card game.
Your right of course , year after year, decade after decade, century after century, the cards just as the stars are open to allegory: that is the truth, not that anyones allegory is more truthuful than anothers; any more than the stars were created according to some ancient mythological interpetation of the accidental patterns read into them. I like the null hypothesis, in which terms Gebelins and Steeles, the demonic liturgy and Anonymous and every other lying author's allegorical interpretation is as 'authentic' as any others. The only obvious 'truth' is its open nature to allegorical interpretation, which may change with almost protean capacity to time and place. I think the null hypothesis, in which any allegorical reading is authentic as another, a poetic convention of rhetorical tropes, ready to be read in any order, a sort of narrative machine, may well become the favoured modern 'occultists' reading:)
I couldn't disagree more.
Of course I'm dogmatic, and somewhat authoritarian,
but a good dresser none the less.
SteveM wrote:I couldn't disagree more.
Me too, to an extent. I like to believe there was an intended 'narrative', nonetheless as yet we have nothing but individual allegorical interpretations, none of which, past or present, yours, mine or anyone elses is sufficient to knock the null hypothesis of its perch. All that has been demonstrated with any degree of authority is the flexibility of the cards to moralisations and allegorical interpretations.Of course I'm dogmatic, and somewhat authoritarian,
Me too.but a good dresser none the less.
Left or right?
SteveM wrote:I think the null hypothesis, in which any allegorical reading is authentic as another, a poetic convention of rhetorical tropes, ready to be read in any order, a sort of narrative machine, may well become the favoured modern 'occultists' reading:)
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:SteveM wrote:The term "null-hypothesis" (coined I believe by Michael Hurst) refers to Dummett's suggestion in Game of Tarot that the inventor of the game might have had no intention to produce a narrative or coherent allegory in his choice of images and their sequence for the game. The theory is that the inventor chose the images out of many conventional images available, in a vaguely conceived hierarchy that everyone would recognize and easily commit to memory, for the purpose of trumps in a game - no moral story, no narrative.
So "null-hypothesis", as originally coined at least, doesn't mean that the cards were intended to mean anything anybody wants them to mean - it means that, as a sequence, they have no intentional meaning at all except to represent positions in a hierarchy, and can be replaced by any other pictures, or just plain numbers, without losing their original purpose.
Me too, to an extent. I like to believe there was an intended 'narrative', nonetheless as yet we have nothing but individual allegorical interpretations, none of which, past or present, yours, mine or anyone elses is sufficient to knock the null hypothesis of its perch. All that has been demonstrated with any degree of authority is the flexibility of the cards to moralisations and allegorical interpretations.
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