Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

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GOSSELIN 1582 : la signification de l ancien jeu des chartres pythagoriques

Post by BOUGEAREL Alain »

Image http://www.letarot.it/page.aspx?id=762

Andrea Vitali had published my Essay A propos de: 1582 Gosselin Jean: "La signification de l'ancien jeu des chartes pythagorique(s) ..."
La plus ancienne référence littéraire française connue d'une lecture pythagoricienne du Jeu de cartes ordinaires?
I. Une lecture pythagoricienne?
II. En conformité avec la théorie platonicienne des Éléments exposée dans le Timée

I'm grateful to Michael Howard for all his precious contributions to this topic.
Special thanks also to Steve Mangan
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by mikeh »

I have been rereading Gosselin, looking to see if there is anything more to say, after a hiatus of a year and a half since my last post. Well, I can at least identify a couple of problems, both having to do with the object of the game Trente et Un.

The section of the original on the game is at viewtopic.php?p=17344#p17344. The translation by SteveM is at viewtopic.php?p=17453#p17453.

Gosselin says, "the player of this game seeks the highest score he can, in order to reach, but without exceeding, the number 31." That sounds like the object is in part not to go over 31. But then he adds "Or at least to get closer to the number 31 than any other player," I assume that means "closer, but still not over 31". So that is one problem. What does he mean? An account of the rules of one version of the game, I assume much later than the 16th century, is at http://www.regles.com/jeux-cartes/31.html.

But the problem I want to focus on is his argument for why the designers of the game picked 31 on Pythagorean grounds. In other words, what does he think the Pythagorean significance of the number 31 is?

Gosselin writes
Now if we want to know why the ancients made [start p. 36] thirty-one the victorious number in this game, rather than any other number such as twenty-eight, which is a perfect number, or thirty, which is the number of degrees of a celestial sign, or in some other number, greater or smaller, it should be considered that the number thirty-one is the sum of the first five numbers in double Geometric proportion, that is, one, two, four, eight and sixteen [1+2+4+8+16=31].

In this geometric progression of numbers there is a great and admirable harmony, because just as there are certain temperaments between the qualities of the four Elements in all natural things, there exists between the numbers of thirty-one great harmony, containing the [start p. 37] the Diapason [octave] four times:

- between one and two, a Diapason;
- between two and four, another Diapason;
- between four and eight, yet another Diapason;
- and between eight and sixteen, another Diapason.

Thus, it is clear that there are as many diapasons as there are Elements in Nature.

Further, it should be considered that the diapason includes in fact all the simple musical consonances, which are the Diapante, Diatesseron, Tierces and Sextes. Similarly, by adding diapasons together, one above the other, the result is always a perfect consonance – which does not happen in other consonances of music.

And as we said previously, the four elements, in the composition of all natural [start p. 38] things, maintain between them this great harmony, or else approach very closely to it.
When I first read this argument, it made little sense to me. First, what is so special about the x2 series? Well, I think I understand that part. He is saying that octaves have a special "consonance" not shared by other musical ratios. Yes, because notes an octave apart sound like the same note, but just higher or lower. It is a "perfect" consonance.

But then it sounds like he is saying that the universe only has four octaves, just like it only has four elements. But why stop at four? Can't the series go on indefinitely? I know they didn't have pianos then, but they could hear, on different instruments, the same notes, and with 75 keys and 12 notes per octave, that's over 6 octaves right there. Perhaps I have missed something. Or they didn't have instruments that went so low or high.

The other day I googled the series 1,2,4,8,16, and one thing that came up was a reference to Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, , II.1.24. I will quote that section in a moment. But first I need to give his definitions of a few terms (Stahl et al translation, p. 188), in sections 16-18 of that chapter:
The sesquialter is the combination formed by an integer and a number one half greater than it, as three is to two, a numerical relation resulting in the interval known as the fifth, or ]dia pente. [17] The double proportion is formed by an integer and a number twice as great, as four is to two, resulting in the interval known as the octave, or dia pason. [18] The triple proportion is formed by an integer and a number thrice as great, as three is to one, and produces the interval known as the octave and fifth, or dia pason kai dia pente.
These are only three out of six he describes. But they are the most relevant. Now I skip to section 24:
[24]And so the consonant chords are five in number, the fourth, the fifth, the octave and fifth, and the double octave. This number of consonant chords has to do only with the music that the human breath can produce and the human ear can catch; beyond this there is there is still the range of the celestial harmony, which reaches even four times the octave and fifth.
One problem is how many consonances were among the five; he only gave four; itt seems like he left one out, the octave. But never mind. First, he is saying the human ear can hear consonances only up to two octaves. Earlier, by a complicated argumenr, he maintained that above that there starts to be dissonance, But it seems like that if so it is still within the range of the human voice or ear. But never mind. The interesting part relative to Gosselin is the next sentence, about the "range of the celestial harmony". In other words, the harmony of the spheres. What is its range? If four octaves is a ratio of 16 (2x2x2x2), then then four octave and fifths would be 3x3x3x3=81. That's about 5 and a quarter octaves (64 plus a quarter of the way to 128).

But there is a translator's footnote, to explain this limit to "celestial harmony".
Because 27 was the largest number in the construction of the world-soul (see above 1.vi.46. and note), and because, according to his statement in the next paragraph, there would be four octaves and a fifth in twenty-seven and a half tones. See Proclus (Diehl) 192C, 203D.
This note says that the celestial harmony is based on a maximum of 27 tones, since it is the highest number in the so-called "Lambda" of the Timaeus's account of the World-Soul (which is what 1.vi.46 is about). That is "four octaves and a fifth", not "four times an octave and fifth". Four octaves and a fifth would be 4. octaves plus half an octave, i.e. 4.5 octaves. But how is that 27.5 tones?
The next paragraph says
Now there is more to be said about the five we have named. [25] The interval of the fourth consists of two tones and a half-tone if, to avoid confusion, we omit to mention a slight addition, and comes from the sesquitertian; the fifth consists of three tones and a half-tone, and comes from the sesquialter; the octave consists of six tones, and comes from the double; the octave and fifth consists of nine tones and a half-tone, and comes from the triple; and the double octave contains twelve tones, and comes from the quadruple. (15)
So we have 6 tones in an octave and 9.5 tones in an octave and fifth. If so, an octave and fifth isn't a ratio of 3 to 1, as Macrobius had said earlier. it is a ratio of a little more than 3 to 2. Also, a fifth by itself has 3.5 tones. If so, four octaves and one fifth equals Four octaves is 4x6=24 tones. Adding a fifth, 3.5 tones, equals 27.5 tones, which is just what the footnote said it would be. In that case 4 octaves would be the maximum number of octaves capable of being sounded in the universe. If so, that would explain why Gosselin could justifiably stop at 16, the fourth octave, as he has shown by his fourfold enumeration of them. Just like the elements, of which there are only four in the whole universe, there are likewise only four octaves in the whole universe, or very close to it. Hence his conclusion:
And as we said previously, the four elements, in the composition of all natural [start p. 38] things, maintain between them this great harmony, or else approach very closely to it.
My only problem is that this interpretation doesn't fit Macrobius's words. He says, "four times an octave and fifth". The least that could be is 4x1.5=6 octaves, or 6x6=36 tones. But that is more than 27. Or it is 4x9.5=38 tones. So which is it, 27.5 or 36-38? Here is the original text:
Vltro autem se tendit harmoniae caelestis accessio, id est usque ad quater διὰ πασῶν καὶ διὰ πέντε.
The relevant portion is the Greek: "dia poson kai dia pente," i.e. "octave and fifth" ("kai" means "and"). It would appear that the unit being multiplied by 4 is the part in Greek, i.e. either, following section 18, a ratio of 3 four times (3x3x3x3=81) or, following sections 24 and 25, 9.5x4=38 tones. Either one is inconsistent with the footnote which says 27.5. Also, either is over 5 octaves (5x6=30 tones).

It seems to that Gosselin, or someone he read, interpreted Macrobius in the same way as the footnote. But how?

The footnote refers us to Proclus, I assume his Commentary on the Timaeus. I do not have a translation of Proclus at hand, and the libraries are closed due to the coronavirus. But I would expect Ficino to have said something about it in his Compendium, which I do have, in pdf, from chapter 20 to the end. Unfortunately, I find nothing addressing this point. The closest is the translator's comment on p. 190 that the whole Lambda is over four and a half octaves. This is not an interpretation of any passage in Ficino's text. He cites Severus, but not at a specific page. If that was common knowledge in the texts at Gosselin's disposal, that would justify his stopping his doubling at 16, i.e. the fourth octave. But where is that in a text Gosselin might have known?
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by BOUGEAREL Alain »

Good very good try Michael.
I respect your approach.
To answer your question,I think wihout proofs for the moment that the final answer probably is also to be found in the tranmission of Pythagorism applied to harmony from Italia to France ...
The Texts about Pytjagorean theory of Celestal Harmonies available to Gosselin are the field of investigation .
See my Conclusion in the Gosselin Essay of mine
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Numerological factors in the evolving order of trumps 1

Post by mikeh »

In In this post and the next I want to try another approach to the arithmological tarot.

We know that numerology was popular in the 15th century, as part of the revival in Greek learning and also as a continuation of the Christianization of Greco-Roman and Jewish numerology in late antiquity (for which see Hopper, Medieval Number Symbolism, Ch. V ). In addition, Jewish numerology would have filtered into Christian humanism through rabbis and other teachers who came to places like Padua, which had opened its school of medicine to Jewish students in the 14th century, Florence, which invited Jewish moneylenders in the 1440s, Lombardy outside of Milan's walls, and Ferrara, which invited Jews escaping from both Greece and Spain.

So here I want to examine how numerology, including the Jewish sort, might reasonably have influenced the order of trumps. By "numerological" I mean, in general, connections between the meaning, symbolic or otherwise, of a particular numerical ranking of a card in the trick-taking game, and the subject displayed on that card, including its title. I have two main topics in mind; (1) numerological influence on the earliest orders in the three main regions of the tarot in Italy; and (2) numerological considerations that might have influenced the French trump order, of which the first partial verification is in the Catelin Geoffroy tarot of 1557 Lyon.

For anyone who doesn't know these orders by heart, here are links to Dummett's tables of them, from Game of Tarot, 1980, along with another table that Marco Ponzi constructed that includes a few more of the Western orders.

Type A, Southern (Florence, Bologna, Rome, and points south):
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YlU6F53x-_E/U ... .35+PM.png
Here the earliest are the Charles VI, from Florence, which may be from before 1500, and the Rosenwald, after 1501, perhaps from Perugia. Since Dummett's time the number on the ChVI Wheel has been reinterpreted as viiij, i.e. nine. Another early Florentine order is that of a Strambotto, c. 1500, which definitely lacks a Popess, and exchanges, compared with the ChVI, Chariot and Wheel. See https://www.academia.edu/30193559/Early ... 07_p_39_50

The Bolognese order is only documented from around 1650, with a different order reported in 1602, with Chariot at 9 instead of 7, a placement that gets some confirmation from two 16th century sheets that have Chariot and otherwise only contains the last 12 cards (out of 21). See my posts #1 and #6 at viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1899. The other orders on Dummett's list are documented only by the 17th century at the earliest.

Type B, Eastern (Ferrara, Venice, points north and east)
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1EdTAS9Qo6E/U ... .56+PM.png
Here the earliest is the Steele Sermon, probably from before 1500.

Type C, Western (Lombardy, Piedmont, France)
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lFAy3bKySz0/U ... .16+PM.png
And Marco's C chart adding to Dummett:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rEbZ-DxvUhs/U ... rders2.jpg
The earliest is probably "Susio", 1425-1440. Alciato is 1443-4, and the Tarot de Marseille order is in the Catelin Geoffroy of 1557 Lyon.

Looking at these early trump orders, there are numerous small variations even within one region.. Once a specific order is introduced in a place, players will likely resist any major changes in the order; so probably the major variations (notably, the positions of the virtues) existed from whenever the game was first introduced in the various localities. Also, since numbers weren't put on the cards, the specific number attached to a card is less important than where it is in the sequence in relation to the other cards in play or not yet played in the trick-taking game associated with the deck. .

But there can be exceptions. First, the number 12, for the Hanged Man, seems to have been connected with the idea of "traitor" in general and Judas in particular. An example is the early 15th century shame poster by anti-pope John against Muzio Attendola, called Sforza. So we have the figure holding onto his money bags on the Charles VI card, with the number "xii" handwritten in small numerals on top of the card.

There may have also been an association between 13 and both Judas and Christ, based on the Grail legends popular among the aristocracy at that time: the "siege perilous", a particular seat at the Round Table that was either highly privileged or a predictor of early death for one who sat there, depending on who it was. 13 might thereby have been associated with Death, which was the title of the 13th card in some orders, albeit the 14th in other orders (which nonetheless acquired the number 13 when numbers were put on the cards). These issues have been discussed most recently on the thread starting at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1790 . Another possible association to Death is as the 13th month of the lunar calendar, the end of the lunar year.

There seem to me other associations between ordinal ranking and what is depicted on the card. While the precise number wasn't important for most of the trumps, knowing which trump was lowest had special importance, both for leading it in a trick and because it probably had a high point value for the player who won it or declared it at the beginning of the hand. The same was likely true for the highest trump: leading it assured the player of winning the trick, and it also had a high point value, as later games and rules.

Here the double meaning of "Bagatella" is a kind of ad hoc numerological connection between the card's number and its subject. It was both the word for "thing of no importance" and for a sleight of hand artist, the latter meaning documented from 1398 (viewtopic.php?p=11028#p11028), seemingly derived from the little things he manipulated on his table. Likewise the picture of people rising from their graves relates to the end of time, and so memorably to the end of the sequence. The World card does, too, when it is last. The earliest record of that placement, in the Steele Sermon, called it "the World, that is, God the Father", suggesting heaven rather than this world. And the Sforza World card, a city in a bubble, i.e. the New Jerusalem, floating above two putti, has the same message. So we have first and last, united by picturing something connected with those concepts but by their respective ranking in the trick-taking game.

There are two other cards of this type. One is the Fool, not part of the sequence at all. A crazy or dull-witted person was outside of society's system of rights and responsibilities - and often they had to wander from place to place. The positions are analogous. The other card is the Wheel of Fortune. Whatever else it meant, it indicated a process that reversed in the middle, up vs. down or down vs. up. To the extent that the cards describe a developmental progression, such as that of Petrarch's I Trionfi amplified in various ways, the card would in that regard be somewhere in the middle, separating engagement in this world from a process of separation from it. If Justice appears at the end, as in Ferrara, it is because it is justice at the end of time. If Temperance appears after Death, as in Lombardy, what is pictured can be interpreted as Holy Communion or as the transfer of the soul from a material body to an astral one, as Dante speculated in his Purgatorio. Or it is simply the virtue most associated with the preservation of the aging physical body, thereby temporarily defeating death. When the Chariot appears after the Wheel, something not seen very often, that is an exception. But the general trend remains. The Wheel typically was tenth, out of 20 or 21. In Pythagorean number symbolism, the Decad was the end of one series of ten and the beginning of the next.

For the earliest regions of the tarot, in Italy, that's all I can think of in a numerological vein.

At some point, the tarot went from Italy to France. There the order stabilized at the familiar "tarot de Marseille" order, first seen in the Catelin Geoffroy deck of 1557 Lyon. The changes in the order from Italy to France present some numerological issues.

Having the Bateleur first is of course in conformity with all the Italian orders. After that, the French took the Popess as number Two and the Empress as Three. It is generally held, because of the position of Temperance and certain visual similarities, that the French order derives from Lombardy. But what is probably the earliest Lombard list, of perhaps 1525 Pavia and commonly associated with Susio, has the Popess third and the Empress second. Alciato in 1443 or 1444, it is true, had them in the French order, but that is probably later, and moreover written after a long stay in France in a book published in Lyon.

In B (Ferrara) the general rule was spirituals higher than seculars and men above women. The Popess was fourth in the Steele Sermon, later third, putting men above women.

In the A order (Florence, Bologna, Perugia) the placement, if any (since the earliest lists don't have it), is unknown, except in the Rosenwald, probably of c. 1500-1530 Perugia, where it is second, in an order otherwise like that of Bologna or Florence.

So why did a few places, by the 16th century, have the Popess lowest of the four, when spiritual heads were in most orders higher than the secular ones, unless the secular male head was given priority over both females? And why was such a favoring of the secular female over the spiritual one adopted in France?

One possibility is that the designer associated the Popess with Pope Joan and so thought she should be barely above a swindler like the Bateleur. Another is that he associated the Popess with the Church, and thought that the secular authorities should rule over it, except when the papacy disagreed. Both of these rationales would arouse the opposition of the Church, something card makers would have preferred to avoid. Another possibility is that in its earliest Lombard form this Church was represented by a "Poor Claire" or other mendicant female order, and so above the sleight of hand artist but not as high as an Empress.

What about numerological considerations? I can't find any associations between the Pythagorean Dyad and what is on the card. It is true that Wisdom and Prudence, as allegorical figures in medieval manuscript illustrations, were sometimes represented as ladies with a cross-staff and book, even occasionally crowned. But I do not find Wisdom or Prudence associated with the Pythagorean Dyad. In the Theologumena Arithmeticae it is in fact associated with the Triad.

However, in the Kabbalah, as written about in Latin (by Christians, including converts from Judaism), the ten sefiroth were called "numerations" and referred to by number.. The second sefirah was Chochmah, which translates as Wisdom, known in the Greek Septuagant as Sophia, a feminine personification in Proverbs, Wisdom of Solomon, and other Jewish texts. There is also a connection to the Virgin Mary, who as Queen of Heaven was sometimes given a papal crown, and whose book associates her with Mary at the Annunciation. As not only virgin but immaculate, she was held to be without sin. If so, she would have not have been a descendant of Adam and Eve. Wisdom, however, was "with God from the beginning." Apparently the Augustinians of Cremona, patrons of the Bembo workshop who did the earliest known Popess, held such a view (see my post at viewtopic.php?p=18457#p18457). This does not associate her with the number two, however. For that the only source I know is Kabbalah. Whether the sponsors of the Bembo had associations with Kabbalists is unclear. An illustration for a Jewish wedding contract is thought to have been executed by that workshop (viewtopic.php?p=13559#p13559).

There is the problem that in the Christian Kabbalah known in the early 16th century, the second sefirah was identified with the Son, i.e. the second person of the Christian Trinity, in other words a masculine figure. (It gets worse later, when Cordovero associated it with the Father, but we need not go there, as I cannot find any indication that such speculations got to those interested in the tarot any time before 1600.) However, in the same paragraph, Reuchlin associates it with Bible verses that in their biblical context referred to the feminine personification, being there "from the beginning" for example. So there is a contradiction. In the Gospel of John such language applied to the Logos, i.e. Christ, contradicting the personification in Proverbs. If a feminine personification is not excluded in the one case, it is not excluded in the other.

Granting an association of the second sefirah with the Popess, a Kabbalist association between the third sefira, Binah, "the mother of all souls simply", as Pico put it (900 Theses, 28.6; see also 28.8), and the Empress's main function of producing progeny is easy enough. The eagle shield in the Lombard and Marseille versions is the symbol of the Holy Roman Empire, and its placement on the Empress's lap suggests, by analogy with numerous Madonna and Child portraits, an emperor-to-be.

Then the fourth sefira, as Chesed, "loving kindness" and Gedullah, "greatness", fits the next card, the Emperor, while Five, as "severity", "fear", and "power", fits the Pope, in these mid-16th century years of religious contention, in which Jews suffered as well as Catholics and Protestants. It was the papacy that enforced the establishment of ghettos, among other things, and many preachers considered it an outrage that the descendants of the killers of Christ should be allowed to continue as a people. The Kabbalist number associations, besides explaining the order of the Popess and Empress, fit the rest of the dignitaries in the French order.

To be continued in the next post. (It was too long for one post here.)
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Numerological factors in the evolving order of trumps 2

Post by mikeh »

Continued from previous post.

Love was next, everywhere except Ferrara. Its identical placement in France needs no further explanation, although the association of Love with the Kabbalists' Tifareth, "beauty", doesn't hurt: as Plato had argued in the Symposium that what is loved is beauty, whether physical, moral, or spiritual.

But why was the Chariot next? Neither "Pavia" order had it there, nor Ferrara. Alciato had it ninth, as it was in Florence (if not tenth). Only Bologna put it after Love, as part of an order that otherwise bears no particular relationship to the French. Even that is not clear for the 16th century, because in the earliest statement of the order, in 1600, it is after the three virtues rather than before.

But if we look at the Kabbalists' names for the seventh sefirah, Netzach, meaning "victory" or "endurance", there is a clear association. The Vulgate even translates "netzach" as "triumphator" in one of its occurrences, 1 Samuel 15:29. In this case there is a kind of match in Pythgoreanism; in the Theologumena Arithmeticae 7 was related to Athena, goddess of war and wisdom. The earliest French example at seventh position is that of Catelin Geoffroy, with an old man on top of the chariot. He relates both to "endurance" and the Pythagoreans' goddess.

Another explanation might be that Chariot and Justice were switched because in Macrobius, 8 was the number of Justice. I have no particular explanation for how the eighth serfira, Splendor, relates to the lady with the balance. "Splendor" could apply to numerous cards. But perhaps its position on the Kabbalists' "tree", right below the fifth sefirah Din, meaning "judgment", on the left side, counts for something, as a power that might bring divine judgments down on humanity.

A further mystery is why the Old Man, now called the Hermit, came before the Wheel in France, whereas in Italy it had invariably been put after the Wheel, usually immediately after. In fact, relative to the Lombard order, it and Fortitude switch places, separated by the Wheel. Surely an explanation is in order, because it makes so much sense to have an old man, approaching death, come before a man on the point of death and then Death itself.

A Pythagorean justification would be that just as Nine is at the end of the first series of numbers, after which Ten is a new beginning, so an Old Man is at the end of life. In the Kabbalah the ninth sefirah, Yesod, is the gate between the upper world of the planets and our world of the four elements, at least according to Agrippa in Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Pico called Yesod "the stream through which all rivers flow" (900 Theses 28.27). As can be seen on the frontispiece of the Portae Lucis,, there is only one path to Malkhut, that to Yesod. So it makes sense that he would be sending the light from above, symbolized by his lantern, illuminating what is below.

I can also imagine a Kabbalist explanation for Fortitude being eleventh. If the direction turns at the Wheel, then instead of the descent of the soul into matter we have the process of its freeing itself from matter. In that way each sefirah might correspond to two cards, the ones below 10 moving the soul downward and the ones from 11 to 21 taking it upwards again. Then the Wheel, as Kingdom, from one perspective reflects the torments and rewards directed by the divine toward its people, while from another perspective it is the Strength of the divine shekinah assisting humanity's ascent. From this latter perspective the lion on the Strength card is the "Lion of Judah", for Christians the Christ of Revelation 5:5, now a mighty figure who "looses the seven seals" and bring on the Last days, at the end of which he will be the sol iustitia, the Sun of Justice, judging the "quick and the dead," as in the c. 1500 Durer engraving of that name (with a lion and sun in the background). The lady facing the lion, Malkuth as a feminine personification, is then facing her God, courageously appealing to his mercy. She is like the courageous Abigail confronting the irate David, bent on destroying her defiant husband and his family; to appease David’s anger she offers gifts and plea for mercy. Similarly the Crowned Virgin intercedes for sinners with a similarly incensed Christ. Such a comparison was sometimes made in religious tracts of the time (see my post at viewtopic.php?p=20018#p20018. By her courage a physically weak feminine personification can win the admiration of an angry lion, such that by its own accord it allows the lady to open its mouth. Since mercy is more admirable than severity, it is even of benefit to the lion to do so, just as it benefited Mark's lion to offer him its paw to remove a thorn.

But it also might be that in France, Fortitude, as one of the three virtue cards, was placed so that it would be in the middle position between Justice and Temperance, two spaces from each, for the sake of symmetry. That would require its being moved from 9th to 11th in the sequence, with no invocation of Kabbalah involved.

In France the Hanged Man and Death continued in the same positions as formerly, now with the numbers 12 and 13, as in the early orders. No further explanation is necessary. I would point out that the two poles on either side of the Hanged Man in the Tarot de Marseille have acquired lopped off stubs of limbs. Sometimes there are 6 on one side and 5 on the other, with a 12th notch on the horizontal pole, above the Hanged Man himself. In that case he would be Judas. Sometimes there are 6 on both sides, so that the stub above would be the 13th, perhaps suggesting Jesus.

I have already explained why Temperance is 14th, having to do with the defeat of death. In the Catelin Geoffroy I notice that the lady is pouring into a bowl rather than into another vessel. This is similar to depictions on Greek vases of Hebe, female cup-bearer to the gods, pouring nectar at their banquets, the periodic drinking of which renewed their immortality.

Since the sequence from Devil to Sun is in the same order everywhere, there are no changes to be explained by reference to numerological considerations, Kabbalist or otherwise. That would not stop someone from assigning sefiroth to these cards, but except in a few cases people have not done so.

All the same, it is perhaps worth extrapolating from the placement of Malkuth at 11, Fortitude, and Yesod at 12, Hanged Man, to the cards that come after, even if the result is somewhat ad hoc. 13 would be the Glory (one translation of Hod) of a righteous Death, 14 the Victory (Netzach) over death in the Eucharist, 15 the Devil's deceptive use of Beauty (Tifereth), 16 the Severity (Gevurah) of God's Lightning, 17 the Star Lady's Mercy (Chesed), 18 sinners' Repentance (an alternate name of Binah according to Reuchlin and Agrippa) in the Moonlit darkness, 19 the Wisdom (Chochmah) of God, symbolized by the Sun, 20 the reunion with Christ, the Crowned king, declared by the Angel, and 21 the return to the En Sof.

In the 19th century, starting with Eliphas Levi, occultists started assigning sefiroth to cards by their number in a way that corresponds closely to what I have already hypothesized. From the gradual way it proceeded, I expect it was an independent of any tradition continuing from the 16th century. Levi assigned sefiroth to cards in just two cases, that of Tifereth to Love (p. 366 of Waite translation of Dogma and Ritual, at archive.org) and the World to Kether (p. 369). Papus in Tarot des Bohemiens went further, assigning the seforth in order to all the cards from Magician to Wheel; but without actually using these assignments in his interpretations. His colleague Oswald Wirth in his 1927 Tarot des Imagiers did do so, however (see p. 38 of the 1985 translation as Tarot of the Magicians in archive.org); reference to the sefiroth also appear in the "divinatory Interpretation" for all the cards from Magician to Wheel, with the Fool as En Sof for good measure.

Paul Foster Case went part of the same way in his 1934 Book of Tokens, assigning from Kether to Gevurah to the cards from Magician to Hierophant, and also, rather unexpectedly, Yesod to the Hanged Man (pp. 18, 32-34, 41, 52-53, 64, 72, and 106 of the pdf - not the numbers someone has added at the bottom of some of the pages - at archive.org). The latter fits my model of an ascent following a previous descent, since Yesod is the sefirah just above Malkuth, which I have identified with the 11th card, Strength.

After 1934 Case did not use any of the assignments to sefiroth of his 1934 book, nor did he or any other occultist, besides Wirth, until Case’s last work in 1947. In The Tarot, a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages, 1947, Case assigned the Fool to the "Limitless Light" (p. 34, on archive.org), echoing the meaning of En Sof, "no limit"; he also assigned Victory to the Chariot, Foundation to the Hermit, and, somewhat unclearly, Malkuth to the Wheel (p 123). But except for “limitless Light” these were brief mentions, a kind of lip service to the sefiroth.

Instead, he and every other English-speaking occultist emphasized the "paths" that the Golden Dawn had assigned to the 22 trump cards, applying Kircher's famous 1653 diagram of the "tree of life” with its 22 paths. Kircher gave no source, but since a few pages earlier he mentioned a book called the “Pardes,” it was probably the Pardes Rimonim of Moses Cordovero, published in 1592 Cracow, although already finished in 1548 Palestine. In fact the Vatican’s copy of that book, which they date to “ca. 1600,” contains just such a “tree,” with paths matching Kircher’s and little numbers in Hebrew (the first ten single letters, then “ten” plus the single letters again, then Beth again for 20, etc.) indicating the same order as Kircher’s alphabetical one. (For the diagram and its numbering, see Ross’s post at viewtopic.php?p=23539#p23539 and the following discussion).

The result is that the “path” advocated by these occultists for a card is frequently on one side of the “tree” and the sefirah on the other. Since the cards are multi-faceted by nature, this is not necessarily a problem. But it introduces a complexity that the occultists, including Case, mostly ignore, favoring “paths” over sefiroth.

A difficulty is that in his text ([i[Pardes Rimonim[/i] Part 7, Ch. 2, as translated by Elyakim Getz, 2010), Cordovero included two "paths" (the Kabbalists called them channels, Kircher’s canali) – those from Netzach to Malkuth and from Hod to Malkuth – only to refute them in the next chapter, implicitly replacing them with two others he had mentioned, from Chochmah to Gevurah and Binah to Chesed. In a later work, the Or Ne’erav (published 1587 Venice, translated by Ira Robinson, 1991) he enumerated this schema more clearly (Robinson pp. 120-121). These changes, of course, would affect the number assigned to a “path” considerably. In fact neither work indicated a particular numerical order among the 22. There was merely an order of presentation, different each time he listed the paths. All that corresponds to the drawing is that the order of presentation accompanying it – the “tree” that Cordovero subsequently refutes - loosely (16 out of 22) corresponds to the numbers in the diagram (here see my post immediately preceding Ross’s above).

However specified, a designation of 22 particular paths was unknown in the Christian West until the publication of Cordovero's books (in Hebrew, but by then many Christians could read them). Before then it was not even clear how many paths there were, much less their order: the Portae Lucis of 1517, for example, only gives 17, and the drawing of the "tree" in Cordovero's book has 20 (even if his text specifies 22). Another, by Philippe d'Aquin in 1625, has the two denounced by Cordovero but lacks several others. (To see these “trees” and others, plus the relevant quotations from Cordovero, see my post at viewtopic.php?p=20286#p20286).

On the other hand, the characterizations of the sefiroth were well known, some from Pico’s 900 Theses (1486) the rest in Paulo Ricci’s abridged translation of Joseph Gikatilla’s Gates of light (i]Portae Lucis[/i], 1516), Reuchlin's On the Art of the Kabbalah (1517), and Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy (1533). The associations between trump cards and sefiroth articulated by Levi, Papus, and Wirth, unlike those to "paths", could well have been part of the lore of the tarot in France by the first half of the 16th century, and as such, as I have hypothesized, perhaps making a contribution to the standardized order today known as the Tarot de Marseille.
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BOUGEAREL Alain
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by BOUGEAREL Alain »

Very interesting inquiry Mikeh
I hope all these considerations will finally be published in a future book of your's!

Aparte off topic
I, in Qabbalah, prefer to use the French medieval and Provencal Qabbalah of Aboulafia
I ll write n French.
Le Sepher Yetsirah ou LIvre de la formation est le livre, à mon sens, le plus hermétique de la Qabbale prophétique.
Attribué à Abraham, il aurait été rédugé vers le VIIe siecle post JC.
La Qabbale médiévale et provencale d'Aboulagia en fera son texte phare;
L'ordre de création des Sephiroth suit la Voie de l'Eclair étincelant depuis la première sephira Kether pour aboutir à la dixième Malkut.
Les 22 lettres-nombres relient les Sephiroth au fur et à mesure de leur création pour aboutir aux 32 voies de la Sagesse.
Exemple
Aleph relie Kether à Hocmah
Beith relie Hocmah à Bina
Donc : Guimel relie Bina à Kether

et ainsi de suite
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BOUGEAREL Alain
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Concerning "1582 Gosselin Jean" The meaning of the ancient Pythagorean game of cards Essay by Alain Bougearel

Post by BOUGEAREL Alain »

Image

Concerning "1582 Gosselin Jean"
The meaning of the ancient Pythagorean game of cards

http://letarot.it/page.aspx?id=762&fbcl ... Bougearel

Je remercie tout particulièrement
Michael S. Howard pour la pertinence de ses remarques et sa belle traduction ;
Andrea Vitali pour avoir publié ce petit Essai.
Je tiens aussi à souligner le long travail de fond entrepris conjointement avec des membres éminents de Tarot History Forum notamment Steve Mangan.

Pour résumer d'une phrase la thèse soutenue, ici ce ne sont pas les cartes qui sont "pythagoriques" mais le jeu qui l'est bel et bien!


Added later
There are around 30 pages in the Opuscule of Jean Gosselin .The book has exactly 29 pages with the other final essay counting from the initial first page.
The essay on the Pythagorean game of cards has 21 pages and counting the from the first page, 22.
Coincidence?
https://books.google.fr/books?id=65s9Vo ... &q&f=false
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by firecatpickles »

Alain, thank you for your lovely article on page one. I shared it to the Tarot de Marseille group on Facebook. I hope you don't mind. I tried requesting you on Facebook but haven't gotten a response. I am sitting in firetruck wearing a headset. (I wanted to tag you so you could get credit.)
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BOUGEAREL Alain
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by BOUGEAREL Alain »

Thanks for your interest.
Send me once more your invitation
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Re: Le Tarot arithmologique - la séquence 1+4+7+10 = 22

Post by firecatpickles »

BOUGEAREL Alain wrote: 03 Apr 2021, 12:17 Thanks for your interest.
Send me once more your invitation
I sent you another one.
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