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Raggydoll

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I would like to discuss the topic of significators. It’s not something I normally use but I see that some marseille authors do and therefore I’m interested to hear your views on it. Do you use it and if so, what methods do you use to assign them? Camelia Elias lists her keywords for significators in her book on the minor Arcana. I’m wondering if these are in line with the older ones? (I can share some of them later so you can see). And what are some good sources for finding out more on the topic of significators from a historical perspective? 

 

ETA: here is a snapshot from Camelia Elias book “The power of the pips”. 

 

45EE6675-D8C5-4E86-8883-EAAA2494AF3C.thumb.jpeg.557754d3ae1fcccbed9513fde94da6b8.jpeg

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48 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

I would like to discuss the topic of significators. It’s not something I normally use but I see that some marseille authors do and therefore I’m interested to hear your views on it. Do you use it and if so, what methods do you use to assign them? Camelia Elias lists her keywords for significators in her book on the minor Arcana. I’m wondering if these are in line with the older ones? (I can share some of them later so you can see). And what are some good sources for finding out more on the topic of significators from a historical perspective? 

 

ETA: here is a snapshot from Camelia Elias book “The power of the pips”. 

 

45EE6675-D8C5-4E86-8883-EAAA2494AF3C.thumb.jpeg.557754d3ae1fcccbed9513fde94da6b8.jpeg

I usually go to the respond with a gif game for my daily TT&Me mirth. Who would have thought I'd read it in a section devoted to the TdM.

 

The King of Coins is "freckled or reddish blond towards olive complexion". I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Both I think would be appropriate.

 

Now you may say this isn't being helpful. But laughter is always helpful. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a laugh too. 

 

Significators seem to have become very popular over the last years. I see people using them more and more. I think if one uses signficators, better to devise one's own system. It won't be worse than freckled reddish blond towards olive complexion. 

 

Edited by Marigold
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There are significators used in the systems of Etteilla and co., but they are not as common in current French reading methods as they are in GD-derived systems. Sometimes a particular card may be used to represent the querent but it is not necessarily taken out of the pack and placed to the side (or into the spread directly).

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2 hours ago, Marigold said:

I usually go to the respond with a gif game for my daily TT&Me mirth. Who would have thought I'd read it in a section devoted to the TdM.

 

The King of Coins is "freckled or reddish blond towards olive complexion". I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Both I think would be appropriate.

 

Now you may say this isn't being helpful. But laughter is always helpful. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a laugh too. 

 

Significators seem to have become very popular over the last years. I see people using them more and more. I think if one uses signficators, better to devise one's own system. It won't be worse than freckled reddish blond towards olive complexion. 

 

I am really glad to have been able to help. A good laugh is a wonderful thing 😁 I was trying to find myself in her descriptions and I really really struggled. This is despite that she combines multiple hair colors etc for each card. I also wasn't entirely sure if she meant that she picks out a significator from the deck or if she decides what card represents the querent, and then keep an eye on the cards to see if it shows up. I think its the latter. She says that she likes to interpret all the people cards as actual people and not representative of the querent. I don't tend to use a predetermined system (that I am aware of), but I rather let my intuition tell me what each card means. So sometimes a people card will be another person, and sometimes its the querent -and other times its representative/descriptive of something else. But I guess that wouldn't be a very useful thing to put in a book, so I get why authors try to be more strict and precise 😄 

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1 hour ago, _R_ said:

There are significators used in the systems of Etteilla and co., but they are not as common in current French reading methods as they are in GD-derived systems. Sometimes a particular card may be used to represent the querent but it is not necessarily taken out of the pack and placed to the side (or into the spread directly).

That is what I suspected, thank you so much for confirming it. Your posts are always so helpful! 

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13 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

I also wasn't entirely sure if she meant that she picks out a significator from the deck or if she decides what card represents the querent, and then keep an eye on the cards to see if it shows up. I think its the latter. 

I am quoting myself because Camelia actually addressed this very thing in the next chapter (and I was right in my assumption). This tells us why she leaves the significator in the deck:

 

45786471-5BA7-4565-B675-502E416D358A.thumb.jpeg.62268d752afcffdfccc590efbc8bfe0f.jpeg

 

 

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Yes, that concords with what I have seen. 
In the last analysis, all such concerns (and this is a good example) are going to be determined by one's personal preference, and on their ultimate usefulness.

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Hello Everyone!

I am new here and wanted to introduce myself 🙂

I was a member of AT many many moons ago (2008) under the same username. Life became quite a whirlwind and I was swept away, and have returned to see AT is closed. Thankfully I found this forum and am super excited to dip back in to the land of Tarot.

I am looking forward to reconnecting with my cards and meeting some new people along the way. AT was so helpful to me back then and I have no doubt this forum will be just as enriching. ❤🥰

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7 hours ago, Flaxen said:

@Starlight, it’s worth reading a few different approaches and then putting it into practise. It’s in the reading of the cards that you’ll find what works for and you’ll end up with your own style. 

Thanks, Flaxen. 🙂

 

I've been reading this thread because I'd like to learn the TdM, and I've read that everything I know about the Waite-Colman-Smith system just doesn't work with the TdM. You can't read the TdM the same way. So, it sounds like I have to put all that aside and come at this with beginner's mind (to borrow an expression from Zen Buddhism).

 

7 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

And knowing the solid foundation you have too, then I think you can safely start sampling things in any way you fancy 🙂

Thank you, Raggydoll. It's just that I'm uncertain what I've learned before is going to be of any use when it comes to TdM. 🤯 It has been mentioned previously that learning to read playing cards or kipper cards would actually be a better foundation for the TdM...

 

8 hours ago, _R_ said:

I want to address some of the notions expressed in this thread, namely, that there is a “right” way to study the Tarot - whatever that may mean - and that there is a “tradition” or a fixed system that one must or should follow.

In this thread, aimed at learning the TdM, there's been so many resources generously shared, but for one reason or another, most of them have been considered not good for beginners. e.g. Enrique Enriquez; Lee Bursten; Camelia Elias; Jodorowsky. These are the main ones that come to mind.

 

7 hours ago, _R_ said:

This raises a couple of important points, in the general sense: what does it mean to study the Tarot, and to what end? Answer these questions for yourself and you will gain a much better insight into what these writings might have to offer you and how you might best approach the often contradictory and illusory world of the Tarot and its interpreters.

Hmmmm. I'll have to put some thought into thinking about these questions. I usually study things because they capture my interest, or present a challenge so I don't always have a particular end goal in mind when learning new things. A simple love of learning and the challenge it presents? The sense of satisfaction that comes from moving outside a comfort zone and growing?

 

7 hours ago, _R_ said:

My own suggestion would be to gain a working knowledge of the general symbolism and iconography; Jean-Michel David’s book provides a good introduction to this. Robert O’Neill’s book is also valuable for this and the intellectual underpinnings, but so are dictionaries of symbols such as the ones by Cirlot and Gheerbrant, for instance. An open mind and sense of scepticism are also useful.

Thank you for these recommendations, @_R_ :thumbsup:

 

It was also suggested that reading the cards is a matter of looking at what changes from one to the other, and not focusing on just one symbol in each card.

 

There's just so much conflicting information that I'm scratching my head. I can see that perhaps there isn't just one way to read the TdM, but it does mean that, as a beginner, I am left unsure how and where to start learning.

 

I almost feel like there should be a TdM Flow Chart which offers different routes (resources and references) based on different criteria (I'm not sure what those criteria are being a newbie - perhaps when answering, for example, _R_'s two questions above?)! 😃

 

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7 minutes ago, Starlight said:

There's just so much conflicting information that I'm scratching my head. I can see that perhaps there isn't just one way to read the TdM, but it does mean that, as a beginner, I am left unsure how and where to start learning.

 

I have just started to translate a 2-part piece that deals precisely with this. I will post the first part shortly, and the second in a couple of days as I will have to check another book the author cites to make sure I have not made any mistakes.  It will be in the Articles section of the forum so keep your eyes open.

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Just now, _R_ said:

I have just started to translate a 2-part piece that deals precisely with this. I will post the first part shortly, and the second in a couple of days as I will have to check another book the author cites to make sure I have not made any mistakes.  It will be in the Articles section of the forum so keep your eyes open.

Oh yay! That's excellent! I will definitely keep a watch out for that! 👏

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3 hours ago, _R_ said:

I have just started to translate a 2-part piece that deals precisely with this. I will post the first part shortly, and the second in a couple of days as I will have to check another book the author cites to make sure I have not made any mistakes.  It will be in the Articles section of the forum so keep your eyes open.

  Really looking forward!

 

3 hours ago, Starlight said:

Oh yay! That's excellent! I will definitely keep a watch out for that! 👏

Maybe we can use our mini LoS Burdels !  (I also have a Madenie for back-up JIC )

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10 hours ago, Starlight said:

I've been reading this thread because I'd like to learn the TdM, and I've read that everything I know about the Waite-Colman-Smith system just doesn't work with the TdM. You can't read the TdM the same way. So, it sounds like I have to put all that aside and come at this with beginner's mind (to borrow an expression from Zen Buddhism).

I suppose you actually could use RWS or Thoth meanings, and you might even get some accuracy doing this - IDK - but what would be the point of using the TdM to do that? You wouldn't be reading the deck on the table, you'd be reading the GD deck in your head.

 

Even the Majors are quite different. The Dawn tweaked the Majors a bit to make everything dovetail nicely in their correspondences, but in TdM they're unvarnished, though a lot of them may look similar. (If I'm not mistaken, every occultist who made a Tarot tweaked the deck to some extent, though they didn't necessarily make the same changes. Wirth, Lasenic, Etteilla, etc.) The Hanged Man has no halo and he isn't "transcending" anything, he's a pittura infamante. The Fool is a crazy homeless guy rather than any kind of "spirit falling into matter", and the Magician/Bateleur is a mountebank, a charlatan. Compare to this painting by Hieronymus Bosch:

 

Hieronymus_Bosch_051.thumb.jpg.98d7d85c11e9462b51f655890d11a3d6.jpg

 

So you get a much grittier deck. And yes, IME it reads similarly to playing cards and parlor oracles like Kipper, Sibilla, Lenormand, etc.

As for significators go, I haven't found anyones' hair-and-skin-color approach  to be useful. Besides it not being accurate, if you name the suits as blonde, redhaired, brown haired and black haired, you're assuming that  most POC can be relegated to a single suit, which is actually pretty offensive. @leroidetrèfle uses the humors, and I think this is a much better (and more effective) way of doing it.

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41 minutes ago, katrinka said:

I suppose you actually could use RWS or Thoth meanings, and you might even get some accuracy doing this - IDK - but what would be the point of using the TdM to do that? You wouldn't be reading the deck on the table, you'd be reading the GD deck in your head.

I completely agree. I want to learn TdM the way it's meant to be read, otherwise there's no point in using those gorgeous Marseille decks. It's just finding a way in that I can build on step by step. I'm looking forward to reading _R_'s article. 🙂

 

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@Starlight I think that the part of my reading experiences that has been most useful to me when learning tdM is my intuitive and open method of reading oracles. That’s been the style that has mostly taken over all my tarot readings too, no matter which deck. So in a way I read any deck the same. It doesn’t even have to be a deck of cards that are meant for divination. I’ve also been helped by my previous experiences from psychic readings - I can never presume that I know what any object in a vision mean until it’s in that unique context and I’m guided by my inner knowing. What I mean is that I don’t have a set of keywords for symbolism like you sometimes see in dream interpretation or tea leaf divination. That’s what I meant by adding to my foundation instead of changing it. Sure, my foundation has lots of practical information and ‘traditional’ knowledge but I’ve learned to step outside of that with any deck and so the intuitive techniques are also part of my foundation. I do not draw on RWS meanings when I read tdm. Heck, I hardly draw on them when I read RWS anymore! That doesn’t mean that I’ve erased them from my mind. It just means that they sit there together with all the other knowledge and experience that I do not call forth in a reading (like my emotion baggage or my understanding of occult correspondences, or my beliefs when it comes to spirituality etc). This is what works for me. Intuitive or psychic readings that are lead by the objects and patterns that I see in the cards. Im not sure how well I’m explaining it, but it’s been a key factor in how I designed my oracle deck as well. I used lots of symbols that I have previous understanding and experience of - like furniture, or keys, or certain animals. But I don’t call in their esoteric meaning, they are simply what they are. That’s also how I view tdm. I see the objects depicted for what they are and for what they are used for - in the light of the context and my intuitive knowing - not for the meanings and esoteric correspondences that any tarot authors has given them in the past 🙂

 

ETA: And I am actually certain that you have the experience and previous knowledge to do this too. You’re a parent, yes? Well, think back to when you read picture books with your kids. If you saw a depiction of an apple, did you say “This is an apple. It can be a symbol of abundance or of potential, because of the seeds inside. But it can also represent temptation or deceit when seen through a Christian lens” ?! NO,  you most likely said “Look, an apple! It’s a fruit - you can eat it and it tastes yum!” Well, skip the “yum!” part and then you have a perfect method to start approaching any deck! 😁 The other stuff (as in your traditional knowledge) doesn’t have to be erased, simply trust that your intuition will tell you when it’s relevant for the context.

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5 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

You’re a parent, yes? Well, think back to when you read picture books with your kids. If you saw a depiction of an apple, did you say “This is an apple. It can be a symbol of abundance or of potential, because of the seeds inside. But it can also represent temptation or deceit when seen through a Christian lens” ?! NO,  you most likely said “Look, an apple! It’s a fruit - you can eat it and it tastes yum!” Well, skip the “yum!” part and then you have a perfect method to start approaching any deck! 😁 The other stuff (as in your traditional knowledge) doesn’t have to be erased, simply trust that your intuition will tell you when it’s relevant for the context.

Raggy, I normally disagree with what people call "intuitive" reading. (And I did say disagree, people, not "Imma send the card police to your house!" You are you and I am I, and yadda yadda etc.)

But it really sounds like what you are alluding to here are the card essences that Andy talks about sometimes. Apples ARE abundance, potential, autumn, sweetness, and yes, yum. When the apples are ripe, you gather them and make things like cider and pies, When they're not, you can rest. So carpe diem.

This is not free associating. There's a boundary, you wouldn't say "apples = red = fire truck/burning buildings/stoplights/prostitution" That's going way off the rails. But as long as you stay on topic, so to speak, yes - it's legit.

Edited by katrinka
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7 hours ago, katrinka said:

Besides it not being accurate, if you name the suits as blonde, redhaired, brown haired and black haired, you're assuming that  most POC can be relegated to a single suit, which is actually pretty offensive. @leroidetrèfle uses the humors, and I think this is a much better (and more effective) way of doing it.

I also use the humours for the courts - makes the most sense to me. 

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51 minutes ago, katrinka said:

Raggy, I normally disagree with what people call "intuitive" reading. (And I did say disagree, people, not "Imma send the card police to your house!" You are you and I am I, and yadda yadda etc.)

But it really sounds like what you are alluding to here are the card essences that Andy talks about sometimes. Apples ARE abundance, potential, autumn, sweetness, and yes, yum. When the apples are ripe, you gather them and make things like cider and pies, When they're not, you can rest. So carpe diem.

This is not free associating. There's a boundary, you wouldn't say "apples = red = fire truck/burning buildings/stoplights/prostitution" That's going way off the rails. But as long as you stay on topic, so to speak, yes - it's legit.

I’m not exactly sure if I’m getting your point or if I think that my previous post made much sense. But I will just say this. Being a psychic/intuitive reader has not been a choice I’ve made, I was literally born that way. I remember back in school in math class, our teacher always stressed that if we did not show the exact steps leading up to our answer then it would not count. And that’s kind of how I approached tarot for many years. Looking at readings things would just come to me, but I felt that I had to show exactly how I arrived to that point and in what way the cards tied into it. I felt that I had to include a layer of traditional meanings, carefully interwoven with my intuitive hits. So I added a bit of ‘mars in aries’ and ‘the crescent under her foot alludes to the book of resurrection saying that..’ and ‘there is a dominance of air’ etc. And don't get me wrong, it absolutely worked and everything came together nicely. Otherwise I would have probably stopped using tarot altogether, long ago. But it took a lot more work and I was unable to focus inward to the same extent that I otherwise would. So when I started giving myself more slack on the esoteric layers and the traditional keywords then my visions became clearer. And my readings less draining. So that’s what I stuck with. I doubt I can explain it any better than that but I don’t think it matters. Every reading style that works is valid and one is not better than the other. We might do things differently and so we give different advice based on it, but can that not be a good thing? People can take what resonates and then they have a buffet of different options and ideas. 

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8 hours ago, Starlight said:

I want to learn TdM the way it's meant to be read, otherwise there's no point in using those gorgeous Marseille decks. It's just finding a way in that I can build on step by step.

A noble sentiment, but you might be disappointed if you were to see the variety of contradictory opinions on what exactly that means. Here is a link to the Grimaud English booklets. For a fairly workmanlike reading method and "DMs", see the 1970 booklet, which would have been the standard and most common "LWB" in France for 50 years. For the associated theory behind this, see Paul Marteau's book, which is now available online in English (see Devin's post on page 2 of this thread). From about 1980 on, things go in the opposite direction: see the Tchalaï booklet and thread for more on that - a highly influential method in France (and Spanish-speaking countries) ever since.

 

8 hours ago, Starlight said:

I'm looking forward to reading _R_'s article.

I have just posted it in the Articles section, although I do not know whether that is the place for it or not. If not, perhaps a moderator might move it to wherever is most appropriate.

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A few words on the written works of Paul Marteau (as opposed to his famous Grimaud deck) might be timely. The links are as follows:


Marteau’s booklet

Marteau’s book

 

Marteau’s deck, first published in 1930 and continuously in print since (more or less) was accompanied by a LWB, presumably by himself, which gives divinatory meanings for each card, as well as for card pairs. A few spreads are given as well. This was followed by his main work in 1949, reprinted a number of times since then, and one of the standard works on Taromancy for the latter half of the 20th century.

 

Marteau’s book is rather original, a fact grudgingly admitted by Jodorowsky, for his reading the Tarot as an optical language, although he had been preceded in this approach by Joseph Maxwell. The fact that he deals with the entire deck of 78 cards is also noteworthy. For Tchalaï, the main problem with Marteau’s approach is that he interprets an analogical system in a symbolic manner, and his writing is somewhat stilted.

 

To return to the book itself, the factors that have led to its enduring appeal are unappealing to some: its tone of finality, for one. It provides nothing in the way of history (or mystery, for that matter, thankfully), nothing in the way of correspondences with other systems, only the barest of a bare bones numerology scheme and colour symbolism (there are after all numbers and colours in the Tarot), no references to any other books or anything at all. In fact it is a completely hermetic (in the modern sense of the word), self-contained, sealed, and self-sufficient work. In a word, definitive and final.

 

In appearance only, I might say. What has irked some is that Marteau himself redrew the deck, had access to a plethora of historical decks and materials, and yet does not even attempt to justify his choice of deck, or its provenance (beyond the Nicolas Conver trope), its colour scheme, or the details he modified. Nothing at all whatsoever.

 

For our purposes, if the tone and content appeal to you, by all means, take it and his deck as your standard, it will give you an excellent grounding in one of the seminal French Tarot de Marseilles “schools” of the past 100 years.

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@_R_ - thank you for all those resources. This is very kind of you. And thank you for the heads-up on your article.

 

I think I just need to get comfortable with not knowing, get comfortable with uncertainty. Maybe I just need to dive in somewhere with beginner's mind, and read. After all, there's a fabulous group of experienced TdM readers here if I have any questions.

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:03 AM, _R_ said:

I want to address some of the notions expressed in this thread, namely, that there is a “right” way to study the Tarot - whatever that may mean - and that there is a “tradition” or a fixed system that one must or should follow.

Well, to be fair, I don't think anyone here was claiming a single correct method or perspective for reading the TdM.

 

Still, while a monolithic orthodoxy might not exist, we do have at least two hundred years worth of practice to draw on. Which is worth a lot, imo. 

 

In that wonderful translation you recently posted in the 'member's articles' section, there is an interesting definition of divination via on cards and numbers:

The ... path is philosophical, leading to a complete system which gives the base of an awareness of the essentials of human relations: it is the esotericism of material life ...

Now, if the path is indeed philosophical, then a divinatory method of reading should be systematic, comprehensive and elegant. To me, it is a nigh on impossible task for a beginner to develop such a method or system without referring to what has come before. Even Ms. Unger did not, presumably, start out using the Unger method.

 

Don't get me wrong, the 80s (and those who followed) reformers have done a wonderful job of reinvigorating TdM practice and bringing it into line with modern sensibilities. Reading Unger or Jodo is an inspiring and exciting experience. Reading fiercely dense 18th century esoteric speculation makes me want to hurl myself into a mincer.

 

Okay, finally, if mundane divination is philosophical, and philosophy can be seen as no more than a long series of footnotes to Plato, then can we not say that TdM practice and speculation is nothing more than a long series of footnotes to the 18th century esotericists?

 

@Starlight Almost all the books mentioned in this thread are decent, if not perfect, and will give you a place to start. Go for it!

 

 

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