Re: Origins of the Tarot by Dai Léon

...I meant more that I should include a copy of the story of the 'Mystic Rose of the Garden of the King', and appropriate historical note, in a future issue, rather than referring to a past issue.

I suspect, though Dai can correct me if I am wrong, that his book is fundamentally different to Swift's Mirror of the Free, in that, again I suspect from some of the above, Dai takes a far more eclectic approach, and allows various sources to inform the precision of the imagery used.

Perhaps a quote from Coomaraswamy (something I used a number of years ago on AT in relation to tarot) may here be mentioned again. He writes (Nature of Buddhist Art)
Symbolism is a language and a precise form of thought; it is a hieratic and a metaphysical language and not a language determined by somatic or psychological categories. Its foundation is in analogical correspondences [...] symbolism is a calculus in the same sense that an adequate analogy is a proof.

Re: Origins of the Tarot by Dai Léon

Much can be said regarding icons and symbolism, which I view as the most difficult part of OotT (Origins of the Tarot) for a general audience to wade through, let alone deeply cognize. Neoplatonic concepts of 'likeness' and 'similarity' are at the core of Greek Christian iconographic beliefs and what we would now commonly view as psychological approaches and methodologies. Plotinus put much stock in the human soul's identification with universal levels and principles via a process of what later Islamic scholars (whose schools are historically associated with Sufism) termed 'unveiling' of similarity.

I'll hold off discussing theories of iconography until more basic ground is covered as far as my dialog in this forum goes. On my website, under Sources: Chapter 4, several books are recommended that address medieval philosophical views of how icons 'work'. A suggested start for those interested in this subject:

M. Barasch, Icon; Studies in the History of an Idea (New York: New York University Press, 1992
R. Schenk, The Soul of Beauty; A Psychological Investigation of Appearance (London: Associated University Presses, 1992)

A quick browse of Mirror of the Free indicates arguments relying on G. Scholem's work -- arguably the best intellectual authority on Kabbala -- tied into references found in an old Jewish encyclopedia that would have to be seriously examined before comments could be reasonably made. The main Sufi source cited ('Faithful Brothers of Basra' aka Ikhwan as Safa, the 'Sincere Brethren', a group of Ismaili...) would not be one I personally would tend to concentrate on. (I'd rather not go into detail on why that is so, as it will take more time to explain than I have to allot; and unpacking the sectarian positions of any religious tradition can be exhausting.)

Re the precision of symbolism, be that in its communication of 'soulful likeness' or psychophysical analogy, I'd again rather leave until later discussions an exploration of this wide-ranging topic. Not to avoid heavy conversation here, (OofT can be quite dense and given that it was a labor of love, I apparently enjoy working with heavy subjects); I simply prefer to address more basic issues for now.

Perhaps I will start up a thread over in the Researcher's room regarding the early hierarchy of the triumphs. For me, that would be the best place to begin delineating the considerations to be found in OofT.
Dai Leon

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