Ordinary knowledge in this sense:

industrial proprtions

archytypal, classical traditional,

in that it is not fabricated out of nowhere

but represents, nay embodies, a transmission.

In the sense of kaya, a ‘Body’ a ‘vehicle’. 

In fact, I am starting to accept this idea myself – that what we call the Tarot, or the Hermetic transmission, is in itself, a fluid, liquid body of intelligence, in the sense of a Mercurial-Hermetic stream – that is moving through time and space according to its own volition.

As to the PURPOSE, of this transmission, tell me, who is in the position to say?

But, we can intuit some directional qualities, from previous times and spaces in history – where we have seen the fruits of similar Hermetic eruptions.

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them.

Arcanum 17

Arcanum 14

Water coming out of Lion’s Mouths, Suns etc.

Lions Paws in the Rosarium Fountain.


ISHTAR is the ONE FEMALE Palm – (The ETHROG) surrounded by NINE MALE PALMS.

Parpola, p. 187,note 97.


Do an exhaustive study of Egyptian costume and layer the Arcana with verbose references –

drench the Arcana in Greek, Roman, Babylonian symbolism and artefacts.

The Inca Tarot, the Maya Tarot, the Aztec Trot, the African Tarot,

The Bleached Whiter-Than-White Gods.

To deny that the caduceaus exists in the Tarot

and then to deny that it existed 5,000 years ago in Babylon – and to deny that there is a continuity in the transmission.


I presume Clifton is being sacrcastic. This is well-founded, as the production of material on the Hidden Chamber beneath the Sphynx has reached industrial proportions, much to the delight of the Director of the Dept. of Egyptian Antiquitesm whose portly form is to be seen conducting every T.V. Team on Earth into a dusty hole beneath the Sphinx.

An old pair of shoes is what he found there!

The controversy ranges on, and be followed on the Web in great waves of chatter.

Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval et al. have obviously added impetous to the Egyptianizing of the Tarot.

Though an academic may frown at such activities, they still represent a social phenomenon that cannot be ignored, and must be of some value to attract the fascination of the masses.

As Jung said: gnostic revivals –

If one takes the approach suggested by Dame Francis Yates, then the esoteric, gnostic revival is often the ground, from which an exoteric Renaissance streams. The Roscrucian Enlightenment being an example.


What I have discovered in my own work, is that the more disciplined the symbolic work, paradoxically – the more activation takes place in the psyche.

We would think that it is impossible to discipline the psyche.

This is an essential theme to many alchemical texts – to fix the volatile.

Or, to volatalize that which is fixed.

There is no static state, according to certain philosophical systems, existence is a state of eternal impermanence.

The Tarot, by its very, unfixed Nature – confirms these Teachings.


And – for a definition of psyche – watch this space!

That is why, uncontrolled imagining within the work of the Tarot, could be construed as an indulgence.

Controlled imagining – means that we have, according to the millenia in which these symbols have flourished – a tradition to use – if need be, as handrails to guide us.

The paradox of the Tarot, is that we see, and we don’t see.

The Tarot, is essentially, on its higher operational level – a system of revelation.

As a visual system – it must link to the Indo-European words for seeing – vidya, videre, vide, visual, - to see..

To reveal something, is to place in within the light. There can be no Revelation in darkness.

People use the Tarot to REVEAL, whether they will get a new job, a sexual partner, or more money. On the most mundane level.


 The Tarot, from one persepetive, cannot be separated from the history of PLAYING CARDS, per se.

But that takes us down another avenue of research - which can be consulted within context.

The ATTRIBUTIONS of the Tarot cards, show some variations.


according to the classical transmission of symbolic material, for example, the association of the Caduceus with Hermes/Mercury, or the ibis and baboon with Thoth; or sea shells with Venus-Aphrodite; are essentially a Hermetic operation.

Often individual Tarot designers and publishers create their own attribtuions – and I have seen enough to suggest that there are infinite permutations of this contamination.

We have to admit – that anyone has the democratic right to design, publish and distribute a system of playing cards, whether or not they are used for divination. In this sense, they are part of our CULTURE – and should be awarded merit for their aesthetic qualities and so forth.

Within their own systems, and according to individual taste and preferences – they are certainly of some benefit – but will not concern us here.

We are generally concerned with the archetypal stream, as evidenced by the emperical material at hand.


Disagreements as to the attributions could take a lifetime to work out.

I do not have the time, nor the inclination.

We will work within the basic modalities of the archetypal stream - which has an infinite richness, in itself, and leave the rest to sort themselves out.

The Tarot is an intuitive system – activating a flow of psychic contents - by paradox – it also has a discipline.

This Order, Structure or Discipline is known in Masonic circles as the injunction:

‘Alter Not The Ancient Landmarks.?

Does anyone know where the phrase comes from? In the Bible? Psalms?

The ancient landmarks were known in Mesoptamia as the kudurru stones.

They contained rich relief carvings of symbolic codings.

Most of which have migrated to the Tarot.

Yours sincerely,

Samten de Wet


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Dal Nero, Treviso.

Lo Scarabeo, s.r.l. Casa Editrice, 31 corso Svizzera, Torino. Tel: 011.740.843.

The root "tar" found in Tarocco, Taro, Tarot, Taroc, Tarock, Tarok and Tarocchi means "pack of cards." Something on the order of a dozen decks survive in full or in part from the 15th century. Almost all of the survivors are premier examples of fine artistry never used for playing. In an era before plastic-coating of cards, a deck probably was tattered and stained after a single evening's play. The Cloisters has several examples of 1450 playing cards. The cards are made of paste board and painted with tempera and ink.

Where did Tarock come from?

It's an interesting puzzle and there are many different theories. The puzzle begins with the origin of playing cards. The International Card Playing Society presents a brief, factual history which I found refreshing after paging through dozens of sites whose authors ignored critical pieces of evidence in order to make their cases more convincing and more mysterious.

It seems that card playing probably originated in China, where paper was invented. The first references of playing cards in Europe date to c.1377. In 1378, the Town Council of Regensburg, Germany banned the use of playing cards. In fact, most of the historical evidence we have regarding the appearance of playing cards in Europe is of a "negative" kind.

It is unclear what types of gambling and leisure games were actually being played. The decks of cards varied from country to country: some decks having a knight instead of a queen, some having a page, knight, queen and king, some having no aces. Needless to say, cards were very different from our standardized 52 plus joker.

Throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, cultural debris from the wrecked Byzantine/ Constantinople empire--men, antiquities, and books-- streamed westward, which enriched the burgeoning civilization of Renaissance Italy.

Around 1428 in northern Italy, (map of Italy) we begin to find references to cards that have on them allegorical pictures. These cards were prized and collected by royalty, who often commissioned the great painters of the time to design new cards. The pictures are thought to be visual representations inspired by Petrarch's poetic images of "triumphs," written for the Court of Giangaleazzo Visconti c.1360.

I quote from an informative site which also contains images of the "Tarocchi di Mantegna." "Around 1440 at the courts of Milan & Ferrara, there was a fashion for cards with mythological and allegorical images which were used for playing, but at the same time were imbued with deep hermetic symbolism intended for practicing the magical art of memory."

The "triumphs" ascend numerically, each higher number a triumph over the last. Likewise, the corresponding images illustrate by ascending status the stratification of human existence whether material or spiritual.

These were the tars used to play The Game of Triumphs, for Telling Fortunes, and for memory games. It it unfortunate that so few of these tars have survived the centuries for our examination. It is also unfortunate that our historical records have but a few references to the card games being played.