Freemasonry contains threads of ancient wisdom. that thread has knots, but the thread that enters the knot is still the same thread that comes out the other side Maybe one knot is Tarot and another Freemasonry etc....
Iif we decide Tarot and Freemasonry are linked can we for simplicity find one Tarot symbol in modern freemasonry, and then trace it back, how far back can we go ?
Eastern order of International Co-Freemasonry
Auckland New Zealand
"All Truths are Truths of Period
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Although I personally don’t think that Tarot and Freemasonry are truly linked…I feel they share some common beginnings, perhaps even share a common birthing.
Take a look through a picture book of the Masonic Angels on the far (Eastern) wall of the Lady Chapel in Rosslyn Chapel. Note the hand positions (Rosslyn Chapel erected around 1450).
Now pull out an early Marseilles deck. Remove the Bateleur and the Popess. Notice anything? A commonalty of hand positions. (1705 is the rough estimate of the standardizing of Marseilles decks).
Listening to the degree lectures here in the states – you could do most of them using the Major Arcana…there are some exceptions…I can’t find a card that has a sheaf of corn – but I can find a force of water…<br> My point is that there are commonalities between the lessons of Freemasonry, and it’s signs and symbols that are found in Tarot. Symbols beyond Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, and Justice.
How many Fellowcraft were there (in total) that conspired against Hyrum A? 15. What is Tarot card 15? What follows 15? The Tower.
How was the Tower depicted in some of the mid eighteenth century Italian decks? By a woman standing next to a broken column, or by a tower that looks like a broken (or unfinished) column.
Post by HelenaHandbasket on Nov 4, 2004 0:55:18 GMT
I regard the tarot and Freemasonry as having common roots, and a parallel growth, without many overlaps. Masonic history is dark enough, with relatively few 'physical plane' artifacts on which to base assertions about origins, but the history of tarot is even darker. The roots of both seem to disappear in the same direction - Egypt, and to my mind that argues for some kind of common origin.
The two systems are complete in and of themselves, and seem to resist easy direct comparisons. The 3's and 7's mentioned above seem to fit fairly naturally into the 21 Majors, but so much of tarot is built on 4's: four suits, four Courts, four elements... There are some obvious overlaps: four directions, the corn,wine, oil and salt...
They both embody and teach The Mysteries. I prefer to think at this point that the two systems can be said to support or ratify each other, rather than to say that they have any specific interchangeability. I'm interested in hearing other points of view.
Some of the commonality is not so much in the forms that have appeared in more recent times - though of course, and as has been mentioned, the Crowley-Harris deck, the Waite-Colman Smith deck, the Lasenic deck, and Knapp-Hall deck and a number of other 20th century decks have direct Masonic influence.
A little earlier, and again as has already been mentioned, Papus, Levi, Eteilla, and indeed some of the important early authors such as De Gebelin and the Comte de M. were each Freemasons.
Rather, let us go earlier yet, to what may certainly be seen as sharing a common root and heritage.
One need go no further than 12th century central-northern France, and the great Cathedral buildings of the Notre Dames of Chartres, of Paris, of Strassbourg, of Rheims, and especially of Amiens.
There, on these structures obviously built and designed by masons reflecting on numerous allegories, are carved in stone - on the outer parts for all to see, yet veiled in hidden glory, the many similar imagery as found on cards some time later.
Of course, these were not built in a vacuum, but rather rest on the solid foundations of the mediaeval mindset, itself imbued with the rich syncretism brought back with the Crusading Craftsmen of the times...
The tracing boards Frieda Harris painted for her Co-Masonic Lodge are indeed strikingly beautiful, and reflect wonderfully the Anthroposophically-based projective geometry she worked on with Olive Whicher - I once included an interview written by Claas Hoffmann in a past Tarot Newsletter (No 15 - March 2004).
Prints of these Tracing Boards occasionally come up for sale, by the way.
Knight & Lomas scratch quite a bit of the surface of freemasonry/tarot connections in the book "the second messiah". but their approach links Tarot more directly with the KT of old(although i guess since they also say that masonry comes from KT....I guess they are transitively linking Tarot/masonry).
The Concluding quote at the end of the chapter dealing with this subject says:
"The tarot pack of cards had been createcd by the templars as a means of instructing novices without raising the suspicions of the church and was outlawed by the church after the fall of the order. We then found that the tarot and the templars seemed to have some connection with the grail stories of king arthur and that the st.Clairs of Roslin were likely to be involved"
to give you an idea of what exactly they suppose.
There is no marklar with more marklar than this marklar. Marklar bless all marklar.
Whistler, re specific cards, my feeling is that the HIGH PRIESTESS is one of the most relevant . Agreed that all the Major Arcana is Architypical in it's portrayal, but on the H.P. we find 2 columns,some named B & J,a veil (HRA degree),a WOMAN, but that could be the femine or balancing energies to the Magician, and this personage is sitting on a throne OR Master's chair?
In essence we could easily find many similarities with the Tarot and the Craft. They just highlight the symbolism and allegory through which we teach.
An excellent research book for the history of the Tarot, which I have just aquired is "The Underground Stream" by Christine Payne-Towler, (1999-Noreah Press)where she delves into ite european past rather than present day interpretations.
Post by Hubert (N. Z.) on Nov 6, 2004 21:30:06 GMT
Yes Stash we will all have our favourites which is why this topic could become a very worthwhile discussion point.
If we each one of us state our preferences and reasons there will be a wealth of diverse oppinions to increase our understanding of the subject.
To me the Heirophant is also most relevant. - as representing the "mundane" mason on the physical plane in the "Masters" chair. The four preceeding cards (Plus the FOOL) set the scene with the "child" or issue of them representing "us" in each incarnation carying on the "work". Then the rest of the pack shows us how to go about this process.
These are my views only and will impprove with further Knowledge and insight!
Christine Payne-Towler's The Underground Stream is indeed a wonderful resource, even if I do not personally consider her division of the various 'traditions' as she has them.
For those interested, Christine has also posted a number of comments on Aeclectic's TarotForum - but that is of course a little peripheral to this thread.
I am not sure that I would personally connect any individual cards per se to Freemasonic ritual - and that some decks have incorporated clear Masonic allusion reflects the designers of those specific decks (for example, most decks certainly do not have two pillars with the letters 'B' and 'J' thereon - whether in Roman alphabet or Hebrew!).
Some decks, such as the Lasenic, make of the Emperor a clear Masonic connection.
With regards to the fifth Atouts - traditionally titled the Pope, by the way, rather than 'Hierophant' - the clarity is of the pontif of the Roman Catholic Church on a more literal level.
As with Masonry, of course, it is not at the literal level at which one must stop in considering the allusions and the symbol, but carry on to its allegorical, its symbolic and its spiritual levels. And here, there may indeed be more than mere 'pope'.
As one cannot attach images on this Forum, I refer the interested reader to a late mediaeval representation of an image bearing striking similarities to the Pope card - save that this one is of God handing the Mosaic tablets to the Jewish representative, and the Cup of deliverance to the Christian representative:
I have a piece somewhere about how the hierophant is absolutely NOT the pope in any way....I'm just getting home from a heavy night at a new club in town though, so I think it's best I leave tracking that down till tomorrow sometime. I hope I remember to come and post it
There is no marklar with more marklar than this marklar. Marklar bless all marklar.
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."