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Eudes Picard: elements and idiosyncracies


katrinka

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I'm working through the Thomson Leng Tarot over at the 78 Weeks threads. Thomson Leng is based on a system by Eudes Picard, and the elements are switched around: Swords are water and Cups are air.

I'm familiar with doing it differently that the Golden Dawn did. Tarot doesn't begin and end with the GD, and it makes sense to correspond Swords to fire since they're forged in fire. But Swords-water and Cups-air is curious.

I'm wondering about Picard's reasoning for this. His Manuel Synthétique et Pratique du Tarot is OOP and quite rare. If I managed to find a copy, I would be paying top dollar for a book I would have to type into google translate.

There are bits of the book translated at AT, mostly his Minors meanings, but I can't find anything on why he corresponded the suits the way he did. So I'm looking for fluent french speakers who may have the answer. @timtoldrum @_R_, or anyone else who might know.  Thanks!

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1 hour ago, katrinka said:

I'm wondering about Picard's reasoning for this. His Manuel Synthétique et Pratique du Tarot is OOP and quite rare. If I managed to find a copy, I would be paying top dollar for a book I would have to type into google translate.

 

It was never reprinted in France, oddly enough, as almost everything else of influence was. But there are Italian and Spanish translations that have been reprinted I think. The only copy I have seen for sale online in the past 10 years or so sold for well over $100.

 

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Spanish would be easier for me, since I hear it often and I've managed to pick up a smattering. I'll look for that. Thank you!

Odd that it wasn't reprinted in France at all...and surely it's in the public domain, since Picard died in the early 1930's.

Maybe there will be more of a demand for it now that his deck has been reprinted. I just found this today and ordered as soon as I saw it!

https://noreahbrownfield.com/product/eudes-picard-tarot/

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13 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Spanish would be easier for me, since I hear it often and I've managed to pick up a smattering. I'll look for that. Thank you!

 

El tarot : manual sintético práctico, 1992.
 

13 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Odd that it wasn't reprinted in France at all...and surely it's in the public domain, since Picard died in the early 1930's.

Yeah, Wirth, Marteau, Papus, Levi, Van Rijnberk, Delcamp and Bourgeat were all reprinted, and some are even still in print.

Still, now that the printing blocks were rediscovered and the deck is back in print, perhaps the book will be republished as well.

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The book in spanish could be a solution!

Since he isn't the only one (?) who assigned Air to Cups and Water to Swords at his time), I tried to see who could have been his friends but I din't find that.

 

Court de Gébelin (Antoine Court de Gébelin, 1719/1725-1784)

--

Etteilla (Jean-Baptiste Alliette,1738-1791)

---

Marie-Anne-Adélaïde Lenormand (1772-1843)

----

Éliphas Lévi (Alphonse Louis Constant, 1810-1875)

Paul Christian (Jean-Baptiste Pitois, 1811-1872)

---

Oswald Wirth (1860-1943)

Stanislas de Guaita (1861-1897)

Elie Alta (Gervais-Annet Bouchet, 1863-1927)

Jean Gaston Bourgeat (1864-19..)

Papus (Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, 1865-1916)

Eudes Picard (1867-1932)

-

Maffeo Charles Poinsot (1872-1954)

Pierre Piobb (Pierre François Xavier Vincenti, 1874-1942)

Gerard Van Rijnberk (1875-1953)

-

 Paul Marteau (1885-1966)

...

 

ETA: I edited to check/complete the list and give a chonological overview.

Edited by Decan
I added a name
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4 hours ago, _R_ said:

El tarot : manual sintético práctico, 1992.

 

 

Yes! Thank you.

 

4 hours ago, _R_ said:

Yeah, Wirth, Marteau, Papus, Levi, Van Rijnberk, Delcamp and Bourgeat were all reprinted, and some are even still in print.

Still, now that the printing blocks were rediscovered and the deck is back in print, perhaps the book will be republished as well.

 

The deck I just purchased was taken from one of the original decks, this is from the sales page: "The images first appeared in 1907, and only 50 copies of the black-and-white line art were produced, for private circulation. Thanks go out to Casey Duhamel for sharing her copy with us!"

 

Someone found the old printing blocks, too? Who has those, and do you know if they'll be publishing anything?

 

I just stumbled into this conversation where Mary Greer says Swords are water because they're tears. So simple and obvious that it didn't even occur to me. I should message her and ask her about the Cups.

https://www.reddit.com/r/tarot/comments/b48ij8/mary_k_greers_responses_to_ama_4of4/

 

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5 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Someone found the old printing blocks, too? Who has those, and do you know if they'll be publishing anything?

 

 

From elsewhere online: "the original printing plates were found at a Bordeaux flea market in 2012, and a small edition of 50 was printed in 2014 by Muriel Méchin, at the Musée de la Typographie in Tours."

 

The publishers didn't realise it was from Picard's book (excusable really, given its relative rarity).

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3 minutes ago, Decan said:

The book in spanish could be a solution!

Since he isn't the only one (I guess) who assigned Air to Cups and Water to Swords at his time, I tried to see who could have been be his friends but I din't find that, all the other names I thought about were born after him, so he could have had an influence on them but not the reversed.

Or Paul Christian (I just think about him!), he was born before, but wasn't of  the same generation (when Picard was born, Paul Christian had already 56 years old!), but he probably read his writtings.

 

Paul Christian (Jean-Baptiste Pitois, 1811-1877)

Eudes Picard (1867-1932)

 

Stanislas de Guaita (1861-1897)

Jean Gaston Bourgeat (1864-19..)

Papus (1865-1916)

Oswald Wirth (1860-1943)

Maffeo Charles Poinsot (1872-1954)

 


I saw something somewhere that mentioned his influences, and who ws influenced by him. I'll have to look for it again.

He's in Père-Lachaise!
Everybody leaves things at the graves of Mlle. Lenormand, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison (they trash Jim's and steal things, it's horrible), but Picard's grave looks bare. It's like he's almost forgotten.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Père-Lachaise_-_Division_43_-_Picard_01.jpg
 

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5 minutes ago, _R_ said:

 

From elsewhere online: "the original printing plates were found at a Bordeaux flea market in 2012, and a small edition of 50 was printed in 2014 by Muriel Méchin, at the Musée de la Typographie in Tours."

 

The publishers didn't realise it was from Picard's book (excusable really, given its relative rarity).

 

50 copies in 1907, and 50 again in 2012 - what a strange coincidence!

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I don't know whether the commercially-available deck you mention is based on this recent printing, or an an early 20th century printing which might have accompanied the book. I don't recall having heard of the latter, so this new deck might just be a reprint of the limited edition from 2014.

 

In terms of personal relations, one would probably need to look to the circles of P. V. Piobb and co.

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1 minute ago, katrinka said:

50 copies in 1907, and 50 again in 2012 - what a strange coincidence!

If 1907 is accurate, then it must be a deck as the book was published in 1909.

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2 hours ago, katrinka said:


I saw something somewhere that mentioned his influences, and who ws influenced by him. I'll have to look for it again.

He's in Père-Lachaise!
Everybody leaves things at the graves of Mlle. Lenormand, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison (they trash Jim's and steal things, it's horrible), but Picard's grave looks bare. It's like he's almost forgotten.
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Père-Lachaise_-_Division_43_-_Picard_01.jpg
 

Yes, his grave looks bare indeed.

I updated my last post since I made a few mistakes due to the lack of caffeine 🙂

Paul Christian was likely an influence, Papus was influential probably too (in general, but on him I don't know). These guys were born in the same decade, they knew each other I think.

Edited by Decan
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Or it could simply be a mistake. The plot thickens...

Pierre Piobb? This is going to be a deep and fascinating dive. Tarot is full of such rabbit holes. 😁

@Decan, yes, they'd have at least known OF each other!

Edited by katrinka
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1 hour ago, katrinka said:

Pierre Piobb?

I added Pierre Piobb (Pierre François Xavier Vincenti, 1874-1942) to the names in my previous post. He was a bit youger than Eudes Picard though.

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8 minutes ago, katrinka said:

It looks like just seven years difference. That's really not much.

Yes, the idea that olders may have had more influence on youngers is a bit arbitrary. I don't know here, this topic needs some expert eyes!

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Here is a review of Picard’s book, from the Mercure de France, July , 1910.

 

We know that the Tarot is composed of 78 cards, of which 22 are called majors and the others minors. It is from the latter that the deck of ordinary playing cards is derived.

The author of the Manuel synthétique et pratique du tarot, Mr Eudes Picard, thinks that the majors symbolise the causes, the principles, the superior worlds, and that the minors refer to the effects, to natura naturata, to the earth.

Inspired by astrological correspondences, Mr Picard has above all applied himself in this work - and in doing so has shown originality - to present the minor arcana in a new form, and to giving it a certain artistic prestige. On the significations and correspondences, the author diverges fairly often from his predecessors. I cannot say whether he is right to do so, but I do not believe either that the occultists will come to a definitive agreement on these matters any time soon. Fantasy and the personal equation hold too great of a place in their judgements. 

As to the major arcana, Mr Picard has contented himself with reproducing those of the Tarot of Marseilles, which is, in the opinion of many occultists, the one that comes closest to the tradition.

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Piobb, as editor of an occultist journal published by Picard's own publisher, Daragon, L'année occultiste, published Picard's works.

I also found an ad at the back of the journal that shows the deck was also available in 1909, clearing that up.

 

Piobb_Picard.png.98038e846199ed9fbb8692032199fc39.png

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And I had forgotten that an excerpt from Picard's Tarot book had been published in that journal, as it happens.

I'll translate it over the weekend and put it on my blog soon.

 

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Like _R_ has said, Picard’s book is an extremely expensive purchase and it is thus one I do not own. 

 

I know that Laïla Shemesh associated swords and cups with water and air, respectively. However, I cannot recall an explanation being given. 

 

I can see the logic of air as cups. The topics typically associated are sanguine in nature. In addition, air is seen benefic because it contains both heat and moisture. Fire can transform into air and contains heat. The cold properties of earth and water are the opposite. So, fire opposes water and air opposes earth. 

 

Contrary to popular belief, there is no universal agreement on the elements. Over time we have merged several differs applications that do not accord. For example, Aristotle stated that air is primarily moist and water is primarily cold. The Stoics associated the active elements with the Godhead and the passive the “unqualified substance of matter” (Brennan, 2017).

Edited by Guest
Typo & Clarification
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20 minutes ago, _R_ said:

As mentioned above, here is the article written by Picard, published before his book was released.

Sorry, @_R_. I had missed that. It is rather interesting that Picard seems to have - in some ways - come closest to reconciling astrology and tarot. 

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6 hours ago, _R_ said:

As mentioned above, here is the article written by Picard, published before his book was released.

 

Thank you! Bookmarked.
 

12 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

I can see the logic of air as cups. The topics typically associated are sanguine in nature. In addition, air is seen benefic because it contains both heat and moisture. Fire can transform into air and contains heat. The cold properties of earth and water are the opposite. So, fire opposes water and air opposes earth.


Flaxen mentioned something similar here:

 

6 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

It is rather interesting that Picard seems to have - in some ways - come closest to reconciling astrology and tarot. 

 

"Here is the complete celestial alphabet, the heavens in brief, that marvellous pocket universe..."
He certainly didn't lack enthusiasm. 😄

 

 

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10 hours ago, timtoldrum said:

Sorry, @_R_. I had missed that. It is rather interesting that Picard seems to have - in some ways - come closest to reconciling astrology and tarot. 

You didn't miss anything, I just published the piece I said I was going to translate. 🙂

Picard wrote a few books on astrology (medical and judicial) and those books have been reprinted in French so I'm not sure why the Tarot one wasn't. There were other writers at the time who also made a good stab at correlating Tarot and astrology, although not all attempts are convincing. 

To be honest, looking at tables of correspondences of all kinds, and reading the works in question, I am not convinced that there was always a sound rationale for these, other than to differentiate oneself from other authors.

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Very interesting!

I suspected that the reason behind was astrology, but astrologers can make unusual choices at times (and often).

 

For Eudes Picard's book I thought that the spanish translation can even be a better choice than the old book in French (price apart!), because of a possible interesting preface. At times prefaces bring something, but not always.

I watched a review on the Thomson Leng lately (link below), and there are a few decks based on Eudes Picard Tarot, El Gran Tarot Esoterico is one of them, and it is Spanish, likely the reason why they translated Eudes Picard's book.

(look at 16:45)

 

Edited by Decan
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