Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

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Charlie Brown
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Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

Post by Charlie Brown » 22 Nov 2017, 11:41

In honor of the American Thanksgiving holiday, I've translated a chapter from Florian Parisse's Tarot: Les Grandes Thematiques. It discusses contemporary interpretations of food symbolism in the Tarot de Marseille.
Chapter 7
The Tarot de Marseille and Gastronomy
Since France is the country of gastronomy, it would be unthinkable not to devote a chapter to the interests of fine gourmets and the lovers of good food among us.

A. In culinary matters, Temperance and Le Bateleur represent the two cards emblematic of the culinary arts and of gastronomy in its totality.

Temperance:
Traditionally embodying places of conviviality, Temperance symbolizes restaurants and, by extension, fast food joints, inns, and bed-and-breakfasts. An echo of a waitress or hostess is created by the positioning of the young woman's arms in a form of embrace and the presence of two jugs pouring a whitish liquid. Since, from the outset, the jugs evoke drink, whether it be a carafe of water or a bottle of wine, they can represent a tap as much as a cocktail shaker as well as the idea of a fair pour. The name Temperance also suggests diets, health regimens, and the idea of eating sensibly and staying in shape.

Le Bateleur:
The iconography tells of a person standing in front of a table upon which diverse objects are stored: knives, cups, a wallet, etc. One can easily establish a parallel with a cook in front of his workspace, equipped with his cooking utensils. In effect, if his grand wooden table is a veritable wink at banquets and feasts, then the knives and goblets would refer to table arts in general. Le Bateleur, who is often called a magician, is known for his creativity: in this occurrence, he must think of how to concoct a plate. He is a young chef readying himself to realize a culinary preparation.

B. Let's look henceforth at the food allegories carried by certain Major Arcana cards, including the following:

The Star:
The central figure—surrounded as she is with shimmering, verdant greenery—immediately makes one think of a garden. The graphical elements serve to recall fresh picked produce, natural products, and crops of fruits and vegetables. This card invariably evokes a fine epicure or the radiance of an organic supermarket. At all times, the shape of this young, kneeling woman reveals her plump thighs. This and a small bulge at the level of the belly each raise the notion of bad fat and cellulite. Her navel is shaped like a mouth, suggesting a type of hunger and a certain epicurianism.

La Justice:
The two plates of Dame Justice characterize a scale, which is an instrument of measure that you would find at numerous merchants for weighing foodstuffs. There is a direct line between the concept of weight and the scale so, therefore, this card also symbolizes a personal scale of the type often found in a bathroom. It's presence often augers a balanced diet in which each ingredient must be weighed and each portion calculated to the precise gram. Depending on the circumstance, Dame Justice represents the glycemic index, blood sugar level, or body mass index.

L'Arcane Sans Nom:
Our reaper embodies the crops. His scythe brings with it the hour of the harvest and the end of summer. The card expresses a direct rapport with the earth and the world of agriculture. His spine is shaped like a stalk of wheat, reinforcing this card's allusions to the earth and wheat flour, and, therefore, relating it to bread and cereals in general.

La Force:
This card literally expresses the fact of forcing, of taking on weight, of being overweight. It appears in conjunction with the food troubles associated with bulemia and obesity.

L'Hermite:
His presence augers a dietary deficiency or low blood sugar. He evokes a drop, a deficiency or a level too low.

La Roue De Fortune:
The form of the wheel represents a gastric ring put there to regulate weight.

Le Diable:
This makes reference to addictions in general. Its presence in a reading next to Temperance (representing drink) or La Lune (representing liquids in general) is quite often symbolic of a strong dependence on alcohol.

La Maison-Dieu:
The symbolism of a fall or drop can be interpreted as a sudden loss of weight that is often very important and worrisome (especially in combination with La Justice). It applies similarly to drops in cholesterol, blood sugar, etc.

La Lune:
This crayfish, lobster, or crab that lies within the water evokes seafood, the great oceans, and, therefore, all the products of fishing. La Lune reflects oyster farming and poultry farming, as well as our fishmonger. It represents the oceans and also the idea of water in its totality. It includes all the liquids within it, including wine and spirits. In the vicinity of Temperance or Le Diable, it sometimes expresses a well-watered (translator's note- w/ a lot of alcohol) party.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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fractalgranny
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Re: Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

Post by fractalgranny » 22 Nov 2017, 17:37

Food - errr - for thought. Some of it is a bit far fetched (The Moon represents oyster farming?) but I like it as ideas.

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Charlie Brown
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Re: Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

Post by Charlie Brown » 22 Nov 2017, 19:22

It's definitely French-style tarology for all its bon et mal. They both 1) tend towards the mundane more than the psychological and 2) read majors only the majority of the time. Therefore, pretty much everything gets pegged to something. Oyster farming likely wouldn't come up in our readings very often but there are parts of France where it's a big industry. I find it all very charming.

I've found these meanings are actually pretty handy to have in the arsenal if you're asking the right kind of question. I had Death (wheat and cereals) come up in relation to my needing a low-carb diet.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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2dogs
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Re: Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

Post by 2dogs » 23 Nov 2017, 00:50

Charlie Brown wrote:
22 Nov 2017, 19:22
I've found these meanings are actually pretty handy to have in the arsenal if you're asking the right kind of question. I had Death (wheat and cereals) come up in relation to my needing a low-carb diet.
The Tarot is in agreement with Mrs 2dogs and myself on low-carb then - "Give us this day our deadly bread".
If the Lord Almighty had consulted me before embarking on creation thus, I should have recommended something simpler. Alfonso X (the Wise)

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marshmallow
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Re: Food for Thought in the TdM (Thanksgiving post)

Post by marshmallow » 26 Dec 2017, 21:24

This is fantastic, thank you! I wish there was an English-language resource with traditional mundane meanings like this...as far as I know there is none. I also find the information very charming and insightful, so much so that it might just motivate me to try to read French!

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