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Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 06 Jul 2018, 02:48
by VegasGeorge
Meditations On The Tarot - Anonymous

I am currently re-reading this magnificent work. The book is about tarot symbolism from the perspective of Christian hermeticism. It is oriented toward Catholic history and experience. I strongly recommend the book for any serious student of the tarot. But be aware, it is heavy reading.

It is available online as a free pdf: ... -Tarot.pdf Or, the paperback version is still available through Amazon.

I would like to hear what others who have read it think of this book. Please let me know.

Re: Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 16 Jul 2018, 08:30
by VegasGeorge
Am I really the only Tarot Nerd on the forum? Surely someone else here has read this beast?

Re: Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 16 Jul 2018, 11:18
by Charlie Brown
I perused it some time ago but, honestly, didn't think too much of it. I'm of the opinion that it's far more revealing about the author than the tarot. Passages like this, for example:
As set forth in the preceding Letter, the Magician is the arcanum of intellectual geniality and cordiality, the arcanum of true spontaneity. Concentration without effort and the perception of correspondences in accordance with the law of analogy are the principal implications of this arcanum of spiritual fecundity. It is the ar- canum of the pure act of intelligence. But the pure act is like fire or wind: it ap- pears and disappears, and when exhausted it gives way to another act.

The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. (John iii, 8)

The pure act in itself cannot be grasped; it is only its reflection which tenders it perceptible, comparable and understandable or, in other words, it is by virtue of the reflection that we become conscious of it. The teflection of the pure act produces an inner representation, which becomes retained by the memory; memory becomes the source of communication by means of the spoken word; and the communicated word becomes fixed by means of writing, by producing the "book".

The second Arcanum, the High Priestess, is that of the reflection of the pure act of the first Arcanum up to the point where it becomes "book". It shows us how Fire and Wind become Science and Book. Or, in other words, how "Wisdom builds her house".
As we have pointed out, one becomes conscious of the pure act of intelligence only by means of its reflection. We require an inner mirror in order to be con- scious of the pure act or to know "whence it comes or whither it goes". The breath of the Spirit —or the pure act of intelligence —is certainly an event, but it does not suffice, itself alone, for us to become conscious of h.Con-sciousness (con- science) is the result of two principles —the active, activating principle and the
passive, reflecting principle. In order to know from where the breath of the Spirit comes and where it goes, Water is required to reflect it. This is why the conversa- tion of the Master with Nicodemus, to which we have referred, enunciates the absolute condition for the conscious experience of the Divine Spirit —or the Kingdom of God:

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. (John iii, 5)
It then goes on for pages talking about platonic mirrors and Christian yoga. None of it really gives me much insight into the High Priestess. Your milage may vary, of course.

Re: Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 17 Jul 2018, 23:02
by VegasGeorge
Yes! But, buried within all that Christian Hermeticism are absolute pearls of wisdom that I'm sure I wouldn't come across anywhere else. Such as this:

"The Christian martyrs did not die for hypotheses, but rather for the truths of faith of which they were absolutely certain. The Hanged Man’s element is authentic faith.
Do you know what the ex cathedra infallibility of the pope in maters of doctrine and morality is? It is that he finds himself in the condition of the Hanged Man when he makes a declaration ex cathedra (i.e. in the condition of the Hanged Man) concerning things of faith and morality. It is the condition in which the apostle Peter was when he was able to say. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and of which the Lord said in reply, "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew xvi, 16-17). And just as a stone does not have its own motion, and can only be a moved object, so is the will of he who is found in the condition of the Hanged Man deprived of its own movement and can only be moved from above." (Emphasis added)

When old Anonymous gets going on the hermetic stuff, my eyes glaze over, and I start to skim the pages. But, when he snaps back to the Tarot Card in question, he often has something astoundingly original to say.

Re: Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 17 Jul 2018, 23:40
by Charlie Brown
That's certainly a step up, but isn't it really just saying that the HM has given himself up to a higher power, which is fairly standard boilerplate? I'll confess I never drew the connection between Le Pendu and the cross of St. Peter, but that has to be a standard association among educated Marseille readers.

Thinking about "giving up to a higher power" and the fact that, in Thoth, HM is the trump of elemental water, I wonder if we can interpret him as the card for 12-step recovery (12=XII)

Re: Meditations On The Tarot

Posted: 18 Jul 2018, 11:48
by VegasGeorge
The HM could certainly be seen as being relevant to Steps 1 through 8. However, I don't see him in any of the action Steps. The HM exemplifies physical constraint and lack of physical action. That's why I find Anon's words, " (he) ... can only be moved from above." so insightful.