Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#11
Hi, Psykees,
Psykees wrote:For those readers with a scholarly interest in the historical development of Neoplatonism:

http://www.isns.us/links.htm

Best to all... Dai
So... then...

in other words...

the answer to my question, whether you know anything about Neoplatonism and historical Tarot, is "no"?

I just want to be clear about that point.

You've disparaged others for talking about the wrong historical decks and things like that, but when you are given an invitation to enlighten us about any deck or ordering you favor, you simply post a link to someone else's website, a website that -- judging from a quick search -- appears to say absolutely ZERO about Tarot. So are we to take that a precise measure of your expertise on historical Tarot?

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#12
* Hello Mr. Hurst:

Just for me neoplatonism is not Renaissance Marislio Ficino translation of it,instead of this,it is the original Alexandrian School of thought.
That one which did the basement " also " of Christian Church and others.

- And also is not rabbit O Neill line of thought.of course. ( I am not agree with him ).

It is more " deeper".

My best as ever,

Eugim
The Universe is like a Mamushka.

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#13
Hi Dai,
Psykees wrote:Ross, I see that you mentioned my book Origins in the context of off-handedly dismissing Neoplatonic influence on the Tarot names, hierarchy and meanings.
It may seem off-handed but my dismissal is based on many years of study, as well as reading all your chapter excerpts, word clouds, and bibliography. Only four books about Tarot (and no articles) out of hundreds on the other subjects.

Tarot is as much related to neo-Platonism as the Sistine Chapel (probably even less, depending on how you draw the genealogy of indirect influence).
At the same time, you note that only a small part of my book addresses the earliest decks and possible places of origin. My first two chapters examine the earliest card order that we have documentation for and the Venetian/Eastern Christian/Islamic history that this hierarchy is tied to.
The Steele Sermon cannot be precisely dated. The paper is from around 1500 (Decker's conclusion from the watermarks). Most people believe it is a copy of an older text. Thierry Depaulis discovered a sermon by St. James of the Marches, written around 1460, which seems to be the basis for the Steele Sermon - but there is no mention of Triumphs in it (see Depaulis, "Early Italian Lists of Tarot Trumps", The Playing Card vol. 36 no. 1 (July-Sept. 2007) pp. 39-50. Depaulis accepts a dating between 1480-1500, but is no doubt willing to go earlier.

In any case, it is indeed the earliest list of trumps, but it is not necessarily the earliest indication of an order. The numbers on the "Charles VI" and Catania (or Castello Ursino) cards show the Florentine order, which puts the Chariot after the Wheel of Fortune, and groups the Virtues together. These numbers could easily have been added before the Steele Sermon was written. The Southern and Eastern orders are, by historical standards, attested equally early.

The trump hierarchy is not "tied to" anything Venetian, Eastern Christian, or Islamic. This assertion is progressively more preposterous.
It would seem that a cabal of tarot history experts has deemed that the Venetian order (a.k.a Eastern order) of the triumphs can't possibly be the right and original order simply because it doesn't match the experts' presumptions of an exoteric/moral system they have projected upon the images and their hierarchy.
That's a mouthful. There is no cabal, to begin with. I know a lot of the experts in this field, and some even consider me one, and I can say with utter certainty that there is no secret group with a common agenda.

Calling the eastern order "Venetian" is out-of-date, btw - Venice has little place in the early history of Tarot. The form of the Trappola cards is what made some early commentators think that tarot came from there.

The Eastern Order can be "right and original" if it wants - that remains to be shown. What CAN be said is that a conventional depiction of Justice is shown in the Met. Museum and Budapest sheets. Going beyond that observation (iconography) to interpreting it (iconology, in Panofsky's usage), is where arguments begin. Since Justice holds scales, and a sword, she resembles the Archangel Michael. He looks like this when weighing souls in the Judgment (see some examples in the recent thread devoted to guessing the meaning of images). Given that Justice occurs in the place in the series between the Resurrection and World (whose interpretation will then follow as the "New heaven and new earth"), a good interpretation of Justice in this place is therefore as a substitute for the more common angel of the Last Judgment, Michael. Since conventional Virtues are not commonly (ever?) seen as actors in depictions of the Last Judgment, the usage of a Cardinal Virtue in this place in the narrative sequence - interpreted as such - appears secondary.

This is my opinion - no cabal. I don't know what other experts or commentators think about it, but I believe Michael Hurst agrees with me at least.

Experts have not "projected" an "exoteric, moral system" on the images - the exoteric, moral meanings are there IN PLAIN SIGHT. In fact it takes a great deal of ingenuity and ducking the obvious to project an esoteric, mystical system on the trumps, as you (and countless others, even up to this very moment) have done.
It seems that the position of Justice is primary to the circular argument that the Eastern order was not original because the Venetian, Greek Christian and Sufi placement of that archetype is obviously 'wrong', i.e. does not agree with the presumed and projected worldview of this forum's experts.
Where do Venetians, Orthodox Christians or Sufis (for heaven's sake) place the card Justice? Even granting that surviving sheets of the B order come from Venice (not proven), where is there any evidence - any AT ALL - that Eastern Christians or Sufis knew of the Tarot?

It is not a "circular argument" to hold that Justice is in a secondary usage in the Eastern order. I have shown my own reasoning above. If I found examples where Cardinal Virtues - or even just Justice - in absolutely conventional portrayals were shown in such positions in other contexts - say prayerbooks or churches - then I'd say my argument is weakened. But it isn't - I haven't seen them, although I admit I haven't done a profound search.

As for the Ibn Arabi correspondences you provide - I don't find them convincing. They are at any rate no more convincing than lining up the trumps with the chapters of the Apocalypse, or the Hebrew alphabet, or the alphabetic list of 21 sins in Antonino of Florence and Gabriel Bareletta's sermons. A few hits, but mostly absolute misses - no correspondence whatever. And is this really Ibn Arabi's list, or have you picked out 22 of a longer list?
Obviously, it is quite possible that the exoteric, 'Milan' worldview was simply not the one in play during 13-15th century Venice, Constantinople and Alexandria. Origins clearly presents facts regarding all of this that do not deserve to be offhandedly ignored by a scholar of history.
Why dismiss Milan as "exoteric"? Why is the republic under the Doge any more mystical than the state under the Duke?

Constantinople and Alexandria have nothing to do with the trumps.

If there are facts I need to know - relevant to Tarot of course (clear reference to Tarot in an Arabic source, evidence of the game in Alexandria or Constantiople, etc.) - then tell me. Usally facts are easy to transmit in a few words, with references.

As I say in my signature - nothing personal. This is a game of knowledge, that's all (and nobody knows everything).

Ross
Image

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#14
Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:What CAN be said is that a conventional depiction of Justice is shown in the Met. Museum and Budapest sheets. Going beyond that observation (iconography) to interpreting it (iconology, in Panofsky's usage), is where arguments begin. Since Justice holds scales, and a sword, she resembles the Archangel Michael. He looks like this when weighing souls in the Judgment (see some examples in the recent thread devoted to guessing the meaning of images). Given that Justice occurs in the place in the series between the Resurrection and World (whose interpretation will then follow as the "New heaven and new earth"), a good interpretation of Justice in this place is therefore as a substitute for the more common angel of the Last Judgment, Michael. Since conventional Virtues are not commonly (ever?) seen as actors in depictions of the Last Judgment, the usage of a Cardinal Virtue in this place in the narrative sequence - interpreted as such - appears secondary.

This is my opinion - no cabal. I don't know what other experts or commentators think about it, but I believe Michael Hurst agrees with me at least.
LOL -- small comfort that!

However, for what it's worth, I do agree. I have been promoting that argument, that the Eastern orderings must be derivative for the reason you state, since at least 2002: "... the presence of Justice between the Last Resurrection and New Jerusalem (in the Ferrara pattern) is an obvious sign of rearrangement. If Final Judgment had been the intended, original meaning of the card, the image would have *shown* that, instead of showing the conventional Moral Virtue" of Justice.

Extended examples of generalities and methods (Feb 22, 2002)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/23681

With regard to the evident significance of the placement of Justice in Eastern orderings, Dummett pointed that out back in 1980 -- as is the case with literally hundreds of other observations.
In orders of type B, something completely different happens. In these, the World is the highest trump, and Justice is promoted to the second highest position in the sequence, coming immediately below the World and above the Angel, the third highest card. There is clearly here an association of ideas: the Angel proclaims the last Judgment, at which Justice will be dispensed.
Image

As Dummett defined them, the three families of ordering differ in two ways: whether the World or Angel is the highest trump, and the placement of the three Moral Virtues. In his "Type A" or Southern orderings the Angel is the highest trump and the virtues are grouped below the Wheel of Fortune. In his "Type B" or Eastern ordering, the World is the highest trump, Justice is redefined to Judgment, and the other virtues are grouped below the Wheel of Fortune. In his "Type C" or Western ordering, the World is the highest trump and the three virtues are spaced among the other moral allegories; Justice is placed with the successes of Love and Chariot, Fortitude with the reversals of Hermit and Wheel, and Temperance with the downfalls of Traitor and Death.

In terms of reflecting the original design, given the surviving examples to choose from, and assuming the working hypothesis of a coherent original design, the only plausible contenders as the original placement of the three Moral Virtues are 1) adjacent and 2) equally spaced.
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Experts have not "projected" an "exoteric, moral system" on the images - the exoteric, moral meanings are there IN PLAIN SIGHT.
That's kind of an important point. In fact, the opening words of my old Riddle of Tarot page tried to make that point as early and emphatically as possible:
Many interpretations can be concocted to accompany the Tarot trumps, just as various moral allegories have been attached to chess and regular playing cards. Unlike most such games, however, Tarot 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, Love, Fortune, Death, the Devil, and the Angel of the Last Resurrection indicate moral content at a glance.
Of course, overlooking the obvious and imposing fanciful alternative(s) is the main game played with Tarot cards in the online Tarot community.

Best regards,
Michael
We are either dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants, or we are just dwarfs.

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#15
Hi Michael,
mjhurst wrote:Hi, Ross,
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote: This is my opinion - no cabal. I don't know what other experts or commentators think about it, but I believe Michael Hurst agrees with me at least.
LOL -- small comfort that!

However, for what it's worth, I do agree.

(gives secret handshake, whispers password in ear)

Good to know I wasn't off-base.
I have been promoting that argument, that the Eastern orderings must be derivative for the reason you state, since at least 2002: "... the presence of Justice between the Last Resurrection and New Jerusalem (in the Ferrara pattern) is an obvious sign of rearrangement. If Final Judgment had been the intended, original meaning of the card, the image would have *shown* that, instead of showing the conventional Moral Virtue" of Justice.

Extended examples of generalities and methods (Feb 22, 2002)
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TarotL/message/23681

With regard to the evident significance of the placement of Justice in Eastern orderings, Dummett pointed that out back in 1980 -- as is the case with literally hundreds of other observations.
In orders of type B, something completely different happens. In these, the World is the highest trump, and Justice is promoted to the second highest position in the sequence, coming immediately below the World and above the Angel, the third highest card. There is clearly here an association of ideas: the Angel proclaims the last Judgment, at which Justice will be dispensed.
Ah, thanks for reminding me. Three people independently coming up with the same explanation (and pretty easily) seems pretty good confirmation that it is common sense, and not a cabal, at work here.

The B ordering seems to me to be the most blatantly "moralizing" order - over-moralizing in a way. It's almost as if the designer of this order looked at the combination Resurrection-Paradise, and thought - wait a minute, not everybody gets to live in Paradise! That Resurrection card doesn't show any Judgment. We need some Judgment here between Resurrection and Paradise. There just happens to be a card that will fit the bill...

A similar mentality may be at work in the placement of Temperance between Love (interpreted as carnal desire) and the Pope.
Of course, overlooking the obvious and imposing fanciful alternative(s) is the main game played with Tarot cards in the online Tarot community.
I have no trouble with fanciful interpretations - in fact I very much appreciate that kind of playing with the cards. I just don't like it when those things are confused with historical interpretation.

Ross
Image

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#16
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:Since Justice holds scales, and a sword, she resembles the Archangel Michael. He looks like this when weighing souls in the Judgment (see some examples in the recent thread devoted to guessing the meaning of images). Given that Justice occurs in the place in the series between the Resurrection and World (whose interpretation will then follow as the "New heaven and new earth"), a good interpretation of Justice in this place is therefore as a substitute for the more common angel of the Last Judgment, Michael.


A picture tells a thousand words, it is said:
http://lent.goarch.org/judgement/learn/ ... gement.jpg
As for the Ibn Arabi correspondences you provide - I don't find them convincing. They are at any rate no more convincing than lining up the trumps with the chapters of the Apocalypse, or the Hebrew alphabet, or the alphabetic list of 21 sins in Antonino of Florence and Gabriel Bareletta's sermons. A few hits, but mostly absolute misses - no correspondence whatever. And is this really Ibn Arabi's list, or have you picked out 22 of a longer list?
Are they not part of 28 that correspond to the 28 letters of the arabic alphabet and the 28 mansions of the moon?

SteveM
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: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#17
SteveM wrote: A picture tells a thousand words, it is said:
http://lent.goarch.org/judgement/learn/ ... gement.jpg
Thanks Steve. Makes the point very clearly. It is clearly the archangel Michael, and not the Cardinal Virtue, Justice.

Are they not part of 28 that correspond to the 28 letters of the arabic alphabet and the 28 mansions of the moon?

SteveM
I presumed they were picked out of that list, but since Dai isn't clear about it I wasn't going to go out on limb and claim he just truncated a longer list - for all I know, Ibn Arabi may have made a list of 22 divine attributes.

Ross
Image

Re: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#18
Ross G. R. Caldwell wrote:I presumed they were picked out of that list, but since Dai isn't clear about it I wasn't going to go out on limb and claim he just truncated a longer list - for all I know, Ibn Arabi may have made a list of 22 divine attributes.
Ross
Dai explains the 'truncation' of the list of 28 in the thread on Ibn Arabi's great cycle here:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=314&p=3934#p3934
1. Through Grace, there is a descending of Divine Overflow as the formed or corporeal world. This descent involves fourteen cosmic stages of being, beginning with the Recompensor (Fool) and the Independent (Magician) and ending with the Quickener (Hanged Man) and the Slayer (Death).

2. Following that are seven degrees of ascending stations, which link the corporeal world after Death to the incorporeal Divine Domain of Surrounding Essence (World). These begin with the Precious (Tower) and the Nourisher (Star) and end with the Gatherer (Angel) and the Elevator (Justice).

3. The final seven degrees of this Great Chain of Causation and Being are beyond even the most sublimely spiritual forms of corporeal existence. They are brought into consciousness through the Universal Man. From the Surrounder (World) to the Divine Essence, these degrees of Allah are the ascendancy of nonformed spirit. They are understandable only as the development of Divine Pleroma (fullness). Because they are incorporeal, it is not possible to “imagine” these stations of trans-world reality, although names for them were revealed to the Prophet. From these seven degrees of Plentitude, the World perpetually manifests via an overflow of Bliss."
14 descending, 7 ascending, 7 final = 28

... the seven final are 'beyond imagining' and thus without images, with the exception of the surrounder (world) which links to the 'invisible' remaining 6 unshown in the tarot trump sequence if I am reading him right?

Even allowing the argument however, the rest seem largely a poor match...
SteveM
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: Neoplatonism and tarot, is there a relationship?

#19
SteveM wrote:
... the seven final are 'beyond imagining' and thus without images, with the exception of the surrounder (world) which links to the 'invisible' remaining 6 unshown in the tarot trump sequence if I am reading him right?

SteveM

quote:
1. Hamza -- the First Intellect (Highest Pen)

2. Ha’ -- Universal Soul (Preserved Tablet)

3. ‘Ayn -- nonmanifest Nature -- what underlies the "four natures" -- (heat and cold) + (dry and wet)

4. Ha’ (dot below H) -- the Last or Dust Substance (Prime Matter) -- like nature, remains unknown except through traces -- fills the Void and is underlying matter /potential of everything in universe except Intellect and Soul
Higher Realm of Imagination

5. Ghayn -- The All Body, the Manifest -- a corporeal substance from which every corporeal and imaginal body is shaped and formed.

6. Kha -- Shape, the Wise -- through shape, the bodily things of the universe become distinct from one another

*********************************************************

7. Qaf -- the Throne, the All-Encompassing -- mentioned in Qu’ran (20:5) as where the All Merciful sat. First bodily thing that assumes a specific shape. Encompasses the entire manifest universe including world of imagination.

end quote:

William Chittick Self-Disclosure of God, pp. xxix-xxxii quoted in Appendix II: ’Arabi’s Cosmic Order using 28 letters of alphabet here:

http://www.unc.edu/depts/sufilit/AL-ARABI.htm

Which includes the rest of the alphabet, but there is an error in the listing as it lists 25 and 26 at 23 and 24 and misses out 25/26. It should read:

.... 22 Za, minerals, the Exalter; 23 Tha, plants, the All-Provider; 24 Dhal, animals, the Abaser; 25 Fa, the angels, the Strong; 26 Ba, the Jinn, the Subtle; 27 Mim, human beings, the All-Comprehensive; 28 Waw, the stations and waystations, the Uplifter of degrees.
Even allowing the argument however, the rest seem largely a poor match...
...and Dai's ordering seems different but perhaps that is a confusion on my part because of the differing translations.
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

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

cron