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Divination (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be supernaturally inspired”) is trying to tell the future, locating lost objects or revealing hidden personality traits through magical or spiritual means, usually with the aid of a special technique. Divination appears in most societies throughout human history. The practice is so widespread that it’s found among the very first literature cultures. S. G. F. Brandon suggests that divination takes two main forms, which he calls automatic and interrogation of divine intent.¹
Some religions frown on the practice, or have come to frown on it by claiming to progressively “perfect,” “complete” or “fulfill” its imperfect religious roots (Christianity being a prime example). But for the most part, divination has been condoned or encouraged by zealous leaders and layperson alike, eager to know what life has in store for them, and how they should best decide on certain issues.
Delphi was home to the famous Dephic oracle. In Tibet, state temples were devoted to divination. In ancient China the I Ching was developed. In Africa oracles and female mediums were consulted. In the ancient Near East animal entrails were examined, their form and condition apparently foretelling future events.
The ancient Romans were mostly concerned with determining the gods’ attitudes towards certain acts. Auspicia were favorable omens (usually the flight of birds) that only senior Roman magistrates could interpret. Prodigia, on the other hand, were evil omens interpreted by the Roman elite, the effects of which could be avoided by civic piety and priestly skill. Augurs involved observing animals, in general, to receive a sign that would help in deciding action in public and private affairs. The Romans, however, were not bound to accept a given augur. They could reject it if they wished, and act on their own accord.²
In the New Testament we have the indisputable example of the Three Wise Men following the star that lead them to bear gifts to Jesus Christ. Despite this, the Protestant Reformer John Calvin wrote the “Warning Against So-Called Judicial Astrology” in 1549. And Pope Sixtus V officially condemned all forms of divination in 1586.³
Several centuries prior, St. Francis of Assisi apparently opened the Bible at random every morning and read a verse, believing that God directed him to the passage that would set the right tone for his actions through the day.
In a similar vein, the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung believed a spiritus rector lead him to open books at the right page, turn on the radio at the precisely right moment, and so on, in order for meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) to take place.
¹ S. G. F. Brandon (ed.) Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1971, pp. 115, 243.
² Ibid. The entry on divination gives many more examples, as does Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divination
³Duby and Perrot (eds.) A History of Women, Vol 3, 2000, p. 455.
Confucianism is a Chinese teaching of morality, right action and right education, based on the ethical teachings of Confucius. Up until 1382, statues of Confucius were common in public places. Every city had a shrine dedicated to Confucius and at least two state festivals were held in his honor during mid-spring and mid-autumn. The roots of Confucianism can be found in the ancient Chinese scholar class, the Ju. They were experts on rituals, sacrifices and the connection between heaven and earth.¹
Following Confucius’ death in 479 BCE, various schools of Confucianism arose. These Confucian schools are often contrasted with the more mystical aspects of Taoism. Confucianism is usually associated with precise rules of behavior and the State education that persisted in China early into this century. Taoism, on the other hand, is usually associated with the free-floating, unregulated ideas of Lao-Tzu and Chuang-Tzu, as popularized by Alan Watts and others.
But such a contrast is arguably overemphasized due to Western misunderstanding.
The rites of Confucianism (li) are meant to guide our natural and inherently good human potential (jen), they are not meant to oppress or stultify. Rules ideally are like stakes guiding a growing plant. Oppression arises when li are distorted or corrupted because a ruler is out of sync with the cosmic harmony (Tao). Notably, Confucius was not a snob. He believed that all people could attain ethical correctness and thus become noble (chun tzu).
These fundamental ideas belong to both Confucianism and Taoism. Differences were arguably not categorical but more about emphasis. The Neo-Confucian Mencius favored following personal intuition instead of adhering to external rules. But he certainly knew that one must calibrate one’s actions to one’s social circle, which, sociologists will tell us, always implies a kind of structure and rule. Mo Tzu highlighted the importance of universal love. Meanwhile, Mencius stressed the importance of love within one’s immediate circle, which, again, to be effective must take in to account socio-cultural rules and expectations.
Earlier Chinese religion practiced divination through oracle bones and the belief in a great cosmic being. But Confucianism generally tried to steer thinking away from the transcendent toward the humanistic. This trend is found in the main Confucian texts of the Analects, The Book of Rites, The Great Learning and The Doctrine of the Mean.
¹ S. G. F. Brandon ed., Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970: 203-205).
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- Confucianism is not a Religion (uselesstree.typepad.com)
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- New Books on the Revival of Confucianism (warpweftandway.wordpress.com)
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- Confucianism is not an obstacle to democracy (uselesstree.typepad.com)
- When Confucius criticizes Zhu Xi and more stories… (warpweftandway.com)
- Nishan Confucian Studies Summer Institute (warpweftandway.wordpress.com)
Before becoming known as St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone was the son of a wealthy Italian cloth merchant, next in line to take over his father’s prosperous business.
In his youth Francis was a popular dilettante, enjoying friends and parties. In keeping with expectations for the young upper-class men of the day, he fought in the army and was taken prisoner. Suffering a serious illness, Francis apparently had some kind of powerful mystical vision.
He returned to his father, telling him he could no longer continue with the family business. Scorned by his father, Francis went to the central square in Assisi where he removed his clothing for all to see, which was his way of renouncing his life of worldly gain. Standing naked, a nearby person threw him a course blanket, which he took to wear. Francis went on to form the friars minor (fratres minores), a monastic order characterized by chastity and extreme poverty, and all of its members wore the same course cloth.
The order grew quickly. By 1219 the Franciscans swelled to over 5,000 members. His former friend and spiritual love, Lady Clare of Assisi, followed suit by likewise renouncing the world. She founded a similar but sequestered order and was eventually canonized.
Stories about St. Francis abound, telling of his love and tenderness toward animals, his writing a canticle to “brother sun, sister moon” and his insistence on complete poverty, which he affectionately personified as “Lady Poverty.” He apparently opened the Bible at random every morning and read a verse to set the tone for his actions throughout the day, believing that God directed him to the right passage. And with Papal permission he unsuccessfully tried to convert the Muslims in the Holy Land, who nonetheless were impressed by his piety.
He also endured a painful medieval eye operation using red-hot irons to remove cataracts. And he is one of the very few mystics said to have miraculously received the stigmata—physical marks of Christ’s crucifixion appearing on one’s own hands and feet.
St. Francis was buried in his native town of Assisi. He remains, perhaps, Catholicism’s most popular saint, probably because his kind of example can be easily understood by rank and file Catholics. However, it’s hard to know if his knowledge of God was a deep as, say, the contemplative St. Faustina Kowalska, who apparently saw Jesus on a near daily basis.
His feast day is October 4.
- St. Francis Of Assisi’s Radical Love For Jesus – The Huffington Post (christcenteredteaching.wordpress.com)
- St. Francis of Assisi Prophesies of the Beast (gofishministries.wordpress.com)
- Religious Icons Of The St Francis Of Assisi Church (scenicadelaide.com)
- Francis of Assisi was no Sissy (chrisbrady.typepad.com)
- Reluctant Saint, the life of Francis of Assisi by Donald Spoto (lunaticchick.wordpress.com)
- Watching with Francis (hancockblog.org)
- The Stigmata (paranormala.com)
Genesis (Hebrew Bereshit = “In the beginning”) is the first book of the Bible, containing the two different versions of the Jewish and Christian the creation story. Among other things, Genesis tells the tale of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, and God’s involvement with the apparently chosen people, the Israelites.
Although Genesis is the first book to appear in the Bible’s collection of different books, scholars say it’s not the oldest written biblical material. The following is a transcription of the first few verses of Genesis:
1:1 In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’arets.
1:2 The earth was without form and empty, with darkness on the face of the depths, but God’s spirit moved on the water’s surface.
Veha’arets hayetah tohu vavohu vechoshech al-peney tehom veruach Elohim merachefet al-peney hamayim.
1:3 God said, ‘There shall be light,’ and light came into existence.
Vayomer Elohim yehi-or vayehi-or.
1:4 God saw that the light was good, and God divided between the light and the darkness.
Vayar Elohim et-ha’or ki-tov vayavdel Elohim beyn ha’or uveyn hachoshech.¹
The author of Genesis was traditionally thought to be Moses. But modern scholarship looks to several different anonymous sources, and academic theories are always changing as to why and how this book came about.
Genesis is also the name of an English progressive rock group which recorded the notable album, Selling England by the Pound (1973), along with other, arguably less achieved albums like The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974).
The band’s mature sound was, for the most part, complex and introspective (some nicknamed the band “Genesnooze”) but they remain an important influence in the history of rock.
The band also spawned commercially successful solo careers for Peter Gabriel and drummer/vocalist Phil Collins. When Gabriel left the band in 1975, the remainder of Genesis (with Collins taking up lead vocals) began to produce more radio-friendly singles. But some hard core Genesis fans felt that the departure of Gabriel left behind a watered down, flimsy remnant of the “real” Genesis.
The Genesis space probe was launched by NASA in 2001 to study and collect samples of solar winds. It was the first spacecraft to return material to Earth since the Apollo missions.
Unfortunately the Genesis recovery parachute malfunctioned. So in 2004 the probe crash landed in Utah, resulting in the loss of some otherwise valuable data.
Genesis I is the name of an experimental space habitat launched by an American firm in 2006.
The habitat is inflatable, making launch easier due to its initial deflated diameter of 1.6 metres. Fully expanded, the Genesis I measures 4.4 by 2.54 metres.
¹ Source » http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp
- Peter Gabriel (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Genesis 10 (newwestminsterchapel.wordpress.com)
- The Genesis of Modern Psychology (dirteaters.wordpress.com)
- Genesis 1:16-19 (biblicaljournal.wordpress.com)
- Genesis 1-3: History or Allegory? (ldstalk.wordpress.com)
- Genesis 11 (newwestminsterchapel.wordpress.com)
Implied throughout the I Ching‘s worldview is the notion that one’s individual condition is intricately linked to the dynamic workings of nature (to include the cosmos and the Will of Heaven).
The earliest surviving version of the I Ching evolved out of Chinese nature philosophy and was written on bamboo strips. As legend has it, this first incarnation of the I Ching dates back to the mythical Emperor Fu-hsi, c. 2850 BCE. It was composed of eight trigrams (three lines each), which themselves might have been of foreign origin.
Around 1150 BCE, King Wen, who became the Duke of Chou, composed 64 hexagrams of six lines each (two trigrams) with short commentaries. Each hexagram apparently represented an archetypal situation. And each line of the hexagram is based on a binary system (either a solid or broken line) and is attained by selecting a single yarrow stalk from a randomly arranged heap and going through a specific set of operations.
The I Ching influenced Lao Tzu’s composition of another great Chinese work, the Tao-te-Ching, around 500 BCE. During the fifth-century BCE Confucius turned his attention to the I Ching and contributed to the “Ten Wings.” Each Wing is a commentary on an aspect of each hexagram.
Since then, the tyrant emperor Ch’in Shih Huang Ti ordered the burning of the I Ching and all Confucian commentaries, but some copies survived.
Around the third-century the scholar Wang Pi refashioned the book, emphasizing its wisdom instead of divinatory purposes (in contrast to the opportunistic court magicians of the day).
In the 17th century a Jesuit priest introduced the book to the philosopher Leibniz. Leibniz substituted the solid and broken lines of the hexagrams with “0″ and “1″ and found them to be arranged in a binary system that counted up from 0 to 63.
It’s noteworthy that computer programming uses binary code—the same ancient logic found in the structure of the I Ching.
In the 1960′s the I Ching became popular in the West, and tossing three Chinese coins six times became a viable (and marketable) alternative to the ancient method of selecting yarrow stalks.
Just before this, the psychiatrist Carl Jung wrote a forward to the sinologist Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching. Jung also mentions the I Ching in relation to his concept of synchronicity.
The Canadian poet and musician Leonard Cohen and other notables have, at some time in their lives, became fascinated with the I Ching’s attractive combination of depth and simplicity. Numerous interpretations and self-help books based on the ancient texts are available today and recent attempts have been made to connect the underlying philosophy of the I Ching with the notion of karma as found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.
As for the ever skeptical John Lennon, he had this to say in the song “God” on the album, Plastic Ono Band:
I don’t believe in I Ching… I just believe in me.
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Broadly speaking, magic is the use of supernatural power to cause an effect on or gain knowledge of people, souls, animals, vegetation, objects, the elements and events. Magical procedures may involve elaborate ritual and are variously directed towards the past, present, future and afterlife or some combination thereof.
A distinction is usually made between white and black magic. White magic is allegedly intended to help people. Black magic is revengeful with the intent to harm others and thus more clearly evil.
Sympathetic magic is the belief that one event causes another, so the magician imitates a desired outcome. A positive example would be painting animals on a cave wall in the belief that this will enrich the hunt. A negative example would be believing that a barren woman is the cause of a blighted crop.
Contagious magic is based on the belief that things once in physical contact or proximity continue to have a magical connection after they’re separated.
The most familiar example of Contagious Magic is the magical sympathy which is supposed to exist between a man and any severed portion of his person, as his hair or nails; so that whoever gets possession of human hair or nails may work his will, at any distance, upon the person from whom they were cut. This superstition is world-wide.¹
Another distinction is made between magic and religion. As Joachim Wach (1898-1955) suggests:
Religion differs from magic in that it is not concerned with control or manipulation of the powers confronted. Rather it means submission to, trust in, and adoration of, what is apprehended as the divine nature of ultimate reality.²
However S. G. F. Brandon says this is a biased perspective:
…such attempts generally rest on a priori definitions of the two entities concerned.³
Sociologists also point out similarities between magical and religious rituals. However, structural similarities do not necessarily entail equivalence.
We could, for instance, say that Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and New York are both big cities. Each has roads, buildings, people, movie halls and markets. But anyone visiting these two locales will be struck by their differences.
While an outsider may think that religious and magical rituals look the same and bring about similar results, to believers (on both sides) the numinous results differ dramatically. Modern magicians often say (or imply) that religious ritual is just an empty shell, cut off from any spiritual meaning it may have once had. Meanwhile, many contemporary religious persons shun magical rituals, often saying that the result brings about a kind of dark, gloomy, heavy and obscuring spirituality that is the work of evil.
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¹ Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). The Golden Bough. 1922. http://bartelby.org/196/7.html
² Joachim Wach, The Comparative Study of Religions, ch. 2, Columbia University Press (1958), cited in The Columbia World of Quotations, 1996.
³ Dictionary of Comparative Religion, ed. S. G. F. Brandon, New York: Charles Scribners & Sons, 1970, p. 418.
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- Most cultures have strong ideas about what kind of magic is “women’s magic” and what kind is only for men. Is there any basis for any of these distinctions, outside of cultural mores? Anything an aspiring sorceress should do differently from a sorcerer? (strategicsorcery.blogspot.com)
- My Chaos Magic Re-look (strategicsorcery.blogspot.com)
- 4E Ritual- Empower Magic Item from Big Ball of No Fun (bigballofnofun.blogspot.com)
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The New Testament is that part of the Christian Bible dealing with the birth, teachings, living examples, miracles, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is composed of the Four Gospels, the “Acts of the Apostles,” “The Epistles” and the “Apocalypse of John.”
The dominant scholarly view is that most if not all of the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, the common language during the time of the Eastern Roman Empire. Although some say parts or, perhaps, all of the New Testament was written in Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke.
Different translations of the New Testament may rely on different scriptural sources and also the biased agendas of translators.
For instance, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), uses gender-neutral instead of originally masculine pronouns. And different translations of the Lord’s Prayer vary in length.
Meanwhile, the New International Version Bible (NIV) arguably tries to smooth out theological problems by firmly linking up the New and Old Testaments with the help of selective translating. Some see this as justified, others do not.
However, most Christians agree, in different ways and degrees, that the New Testament is a ‘fulfillment’ of the Old Testament, the latter being seen as a kind of blueprint for the arrival of Jesus Christ, the only true savior and messiah that the Jewish prophets had anticipated.
One of the most often cited passages of the Old Testament in support of this belief is (with the name Immanuel meaning “God with us”):
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).
The Jewish people, of course, did not accept this idea because they believe it is blasphemous for any human being to claim equality with God, a view they share with Muslims. And some commentators say that the Jewish people expected their Messiah to be a kind of hero figure who would liberate them from the occupying Romans.
To this Christians reply that Jesus’ message is not about driving away enemies, gaining land or basking in Earthly glory. As Jesus says in the New Testament, his kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).
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One definition of the word spirit points to an incorporeal being which may not be seen, as compared to a ‘ghost’ which allegedly is seen by a living person.
Spirit has several other meanings, such as an animating or vital force within life, the soul or some some kind of invisible force or presence that permeates the created universe.
Spirit arguably becomes an ambiguous concept if assessed merely from a conceptual level of analysis.
Many New Age thinkers, for instance, equate the notion of spirit with that of matter/energy. This is a dubious analog when we consider Rudolf Otto and C. G. Jung‘s treatment of the term numinosity and, moreover, the Christian understanding of The Holy Spirit.
It almost seems as if those who haven’t experienced any difference between the perception of matter/energy and spirit tend to automatically equate the two, just as one might equate any seemingly similar variables without having had a significantly direct experience of them.
By way of analogy, if one had never drunk white wine they might look at its color, recognize it as a liquid and say white wine is equivalent to apple juice or perhaps urine. And so it is, many mystics content, with the experience of spirit. Those who know, they claim, realize that spirit’s character may vary significantly, not only because spirit is passing through psychological and cultural filters, but also because of the differences inherent to spirit itself.
Since the experience of ‘the spirit’ may be associated with a ‘particular spirit,’ as in the opening definition, we have the notion of ‘pure and impure,’ ‘holy and unholy,’ ‘good and evil’ spirits, along with their respective abilities to influence human beings for good or ill.
This tremendous diversity as to the meaning of spirit is not just found in Christianity but in most world religions. But again, some well-meaning but arguably unknowing individuals tend to simplify this diversity by making unsupportable claims, as did Sri Ramakrishna, that all paths involve the same type of spirit, lead to the same place, and so on.
This may have been Ramakrishna’s belief when dabbling in different religions from his master perspective of Hinduism but it certainly isn’t everyone’s.
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Synchronicity is a scientific sounding term coined by the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung to represent the idea of meaningful coincidence. Whether or not synchronicity is a truly scientific concept remains open to debate.
Implicit to Jung’s idea of synchronicity is the belief that all of creation is somehow connected.
Synchronicity takes three main forms:
- The coincidence of a psychological state with a corresponding, simultaneously occurring external event with no evidence of causality.
- The coincidence of a psychological state with a corresponding, simultaneous external event that occurs at a distance, beyond the observer’s normal range of perception.
- The coincidence of a psychological state with a corresponding event that will occur in the future and which may be verified after its occurrence.
Whether or not synchronicity is a causal or acausal phenomenon is also a point of debate. Jung says it’s acausal but also suggests that the archetypes of the collective unconscious can lead toward synchronicities, implying some kind of causality.
This uncertainty might result from different understandings about the nature of consciousness—particularly, what constitutes the locus of consciousness.
Concerning ethics, synchronicity is ambiguous. Because the concept of synchronicity bears some similarity to the notion of the religious sign, it’s not surprising that different attempts have been made to link this aspect of Jungian thought to theology.
The following represents an attempt to synthesize Christian belief with the concept of synchronicity:
The natural universe, in the Jungian sense of the term natural, contains physical and spiritual dimensions. A person who acknowledges only the reality of the physical realm is incapable of recognizing how synchronicity operates in the New Testament and in our world and cannot see the power of the spiritual. By contrast, a person who goes to the other extreme, who sees reality only in the spiritual realm and denies reality in the physical world, will not spend much time bettering the world and will fall readily into superstition (Morton T. Kelsey, Christo-psychology, New York: Crossroad, 1982, p. 131).
And Fausto Intilla adds, from the perspective of natural pantheism:
If we accept the idea that our Universe really is God, well, in a infinite Caos of Energy too, there must to be a logical (but not for human brain), exact, specific, and perfectly organized …Plan.
How many significant (important) coincidences can happen to a person in his life, living in a unorganizated and stupid Universe?…I think no-one. Every synchronism in our life, is like an open-eyes-dream (Jung taught)…and we can thank the fine intelligence of our Universe…if they happen. » See in context
Some philosophers dismiss the entire notion of synchronicity with the idea of “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias is described in Wikipedia as
a tendency to search for or interpret new information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions and avoids information and interpretations which contradict prior beliefs. » Source.
However, we can turn the idea of confirmation bias right back to those who adhere to it as if it were some kind of untouchable universal principle. While the idea of confirmation bias is certainly worthy of consideration, Jung stressed that one doesn’t look for synchronicity but simply witnesses it.
Moreover, some theologians consider the possibility that a biased mind, which we all most likely have, could be temporarily informed by influences superceding one’s psychological makeup, expectations and so on. Indeed, to reduce all synchronistic experience to a humanly constructed idea of “confirmation bias” seems limiting and even unscientific.
This is especially so since parapsychological phenomena tagged as synchronicity often involve the inner experience of numinosity and the outer observing person, and not just psychologically selected or filtered data gained by the senses.
On the Web:
- Article at Earthpages.org » Synchronicity: New Age Fantasy or Face of the Future?
- Synchronicity and Poststructuralism (Ph.D. Thesis by Michael W. Clark – pdf)
- Synchronicity entry at Wikipedia
- “Synchronicity” video at Youtube by the popular 1970s and 80s British rock band, The Police:
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Rosemary Ellen Guiley says the word tarot comes from the Italian tarocci, meaning ‘triumphs’ or ‘trumps’ (Harper’s Encyclopedia of Mystical and Paranormal Experience, 1991).
Today’s tarot consists of 78 cards divided into major and minor arcanas. The major arcana of 22 cards contains symbolism paralleling different mythic traditions.
The minor arcana of 56 cards is divided into four suits: Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles. These in turn are separated into King, Queen, Knight and Page.
Believers use the cards for depth psychology, the achievement of goals, divination or some combination of the three.
The cards are usually shuffled and placed in one of several different patterns or ‘spreads’ (e.g. the “Horseshoe,” the “Star,” the “Celtic Cross”). The choice of a spread arguably reflects the dealer’s current state of mind, proficiency level and possibly their unconscious intentions, hopes and desires.
The origins of tarot cards have been variously traced to Hellenistic Egypt, India, Morroco and Atlantis. Guiley says that a French painter, one Jacquemin Grinngonneur, presented cards “that may have been Tarot” to King Charles VI of France in 1392.
Alfred Douglas says that in 1415, the Duke of Milan had Tarot cards painted for his own personal use. Gordon Melton in The Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America (1992) says these particular cards were precursors to the current Tarot deck. Melton claims that the Tarot was first differentiated from playing cards in the eighteenth-century, mostly due to the efforts of the French Freemason Anntione Court de Gebelin (1719-1784).
Alphonse-Louis Constant, a.k.a. Eliphas Levi, (1810-1875) wrote extensively about the tarot. Levi was first headed toward being a Catholic priest but fell in love, discovered the occult and never looked back. As such his writings were later incorporated into the practice of magic. He also associated the tarot with the Kabbala.
On this Stuart Gordon says:
Levi developed the pack’s occult connection by associating the card of the Major Arcana with Qabalah, assigning each of the twenty-two trumps to letters of the Hebrew alphabet, with corresponding numerological significances (The Paranormal: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Headline 1992, p, 647).
During this era the tarot was believed to have first been discovered (not devised) in Europe by gypsies, thought to have originated in Egypt–”(e)gyp(t)sy.”
The cards or, at least, the ideas behind them, were apparently preserved by scribes who, up to medieval times, quietly saved a lion’s share of ancient pagan texts, spells and incantations from the ravages of the war-torn Roman Empire and the official, outward condemnation of the Church.¹
The obvious influence of pagan Celtic symbolism in the tarot lends some support this view, as do the 22 Major cards corresponding to prominent deities from classical Greek and Roman lore.
In 1910, Arthur Edward Waite together with artist Pamela Colman Smith devised a new tarot deck, known today as the Rider-Waite Tarot. Shortly afterward, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) emphasized the tarot’s alleged Egyptian origin, devising a deck with commentary called The Book of Thoth, which rivaled Waite and Coleman’s tarot in popularity.
In the 1950′s, Jungian writer Marie Louise von Franz suggested that the tarot parallels steps along the individuation process.
¹Along these lines Arnold J. Toynbee and others say organized Christianity effectively replaced pagan Rome as the creator of a persecutory culture of fear.
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