Early life[ edit ] His father was Antoine Court , a famous religious leader of the Huguenots. He is the intellectual grandfather of much of modern occultism. His centers of focus are the familiar ones of universal origins of languages in deep time and the hermeneutics of symbolism. While his views on hermeneutics and religious matters were largely conservative, his original ideas and research on the origin of language earn him a place among pioneers of linguistics. With regard to mythology and symbology, he discussed the origins of allegory in antiquity and recreated a history of the calendar from civil, religious, and mythological perspectives. The chapter on Tarot with which his name is indelibly associated is a single section in his vast compendium that he published in series from , to a distinguished list of subscribers, headed by Louis XVI of France.
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The trumps we have united in this Plate are related to the four Cardinal Virtues. It is a woman who [p. She has on her head a Shepherdess hat.
It is a winged woman who transfers water from one vase to another, to temper the liqueur it contains. However, we do not find her in this Game. It is the handiwork of a wretched, presumptuous Card Maker, who failing to understand the beauty of the allegory represented in this painting, took it upon himself to correct it and thereby disfigured it completely.
Prudence could only be sensibly represented but by a man standing with a foot before the other held suspended while examining where to place it safely. Then we wondered, why a hangman in this Game? It was abundantly said [by the manufacturers? But placed between Strength, Temperance and Justice, who cannot see it was Prudence that was intended albeit represented primitively? He walks bent over his [walking] stick while holding a lantern in his left hand. It is the Sage who seeks Justice and Virtue.
This Egyptian scene inspires the fable of Diogenes, who lantern in hand, seeks a man [of virtue] at high noon. Witty remarks, especially epigrams, are ageless: Diogenes was [the picture perfect] man to put this portrait into motion. It goes without saying Philosophers [often] voluntarily retreated from society where they were not subject to the shallowness of their time.
Heraclidus was thought to be insane by his beloved peers; even in the East, to dedicate oneself to the speculative sciences or to "Hermetize" were one and the same thing. Egyptian Hermits were not lacking in that respect to those of India or the Bonzes [Buddhist monks]: they were just as [reclusive] as Druids.
The Sun is represented here as the biological father of Humans and of Nature: he enlightens Civilized man, he presides over their Cities. Tears of gold and of pearls are distilled from its rays: such is the positive influence of this Luminary. This Tarot Game is here perfectly congruent to Egyptian doctrine as we will show in more detail in the following article.
Sister civilizations also speak of a [water] DROP or tear, which fell from the Moon at the moment when the Nile crested. At the bottom of this scene, we see a Crayfish or Cancer, either to punctuate the retrograde motion of the Moon, or to indicate that it is the moment where the Sun and the Moon leave the sign of Cancer announcing the flood [p.
We might even compound the two events: it is typical to attribute meaning to a series of events occurring together that might be embarrassing to explain otherwise? Two towers occupy the center of the [card], one at each extremity as in the famous columns of Hercules [tropics of Cancer and Capricorn], beneath and above which these two luminaries will never cross. Between the two columns are two Dogs which seem to bark at the Moon and to safeguard it: perfectly Egyptian ideas. These people who are known for their unique allegories, compare the Tropics [of Cancer and Capricorn] to two guarded Palaces with each a dog which like faithful Doormen, held these Luminaries in the center [band] of the Sky without allowing them to slide towards either Pole [North and South poles].
These are not our visions as Commentators. We see, in effect, a brilliant Star surrounded by seven smaller ones.
At the bottom of the Painting is a woman leaning on one knee holding two upside-down vases, of which outflows two [large] Rivers.
Next to this woman is a butterfly on a flower. It is the purest Egyptianism. The seven Stars that surround it, and which seem to form its court, are the Planets: she is their Queen so to speak, since she fixes in this [p.
The Lady who is underneath diligently spreading the waters from her jars, is the Sovereign of the Skies, ISIS, is the godsend to which we attribute the flooding of the Nile, which start at the rise of the Dog Star: as such this rising announced the [annual] flooding. It is for this reason that the Dog Star was consecrated to Isis and her quintessential symbol. And since the year also opened by the rising of this Luminary, it was called SOTH-IS, opener of the year and it was under this name it was consecrated to Isis.
The Egyptian countryside, which was absolutely bare, would cover itself with the new harvest. It is not surprising she was placed under this number; the number thirteen was always regarded as unlucky. An ancient great calamity must have happened on such a day and that its memory influenced all ancient Nations5. Was it as a result of this memory that the thirteen Hebrew tribes were ever only counted as twelve?
Besides, we had the occasion to recall the Calendar, in their feasts, the wise and introspective People made a skeleton appear named Maneros , no doubt in order to motivate convives to not kill themselves of gluttony. Everyone has their own taste and one must never argue [matters of] taste.
He was depicted as ugly and as devilish as possible. At his feet are two little Devils with long ears, long tails and their hands tied behind their backs. He does not let go of his minions. He likes those who belong to him. To expose the clever thieves, the Prince was advised to set traps around the vases containing his riches. The thieves were the two sons of the Architect who worked for Rhampsinit [to build the Tower]; he had rigged a stone in such a way that it could be removed and replaced at will without being noticed.
He instructed his children of the secret who put it to marvelous use as we can see. They robbed the Prince and threw themselves from the Tower: such is their representation here [in the card].
I do not know if Heredotus took this fable as real; but a People capable of inventing such Romances or Milesian Fables, are capable of inventing any game. This Writer [Heredotus] proves another point we have mentioned in the History of the Calendar, that the statues of the Giants paraded in various Festivals, almost invariably designate the seasons. Here, human personage under the form of Monkeys, Dogs, Rabbits, etc.
It looks like a satire against fortune and against those she rises rapidly and she lets fall with the same rapidity.
We cannot fail to recognize it as a whole. In the center, is the Goddess of time, with her floating veil and which serves of belt or peplum as the Ancients called it. At the four corners of the Painting are the symbols of the four seasons forming the revolutions of the year, the same which composed the four heads of the Cherubim. The Eagle represents Spring when the birds return.
The Lion, the Summer or the ardor of the Sun. The Bull, the Fall when we till and when we sow. The Young-Man, the Winter where society reunites. Other than the Trumps, this game is composed of four Suits differentiated by their symbols: we call them Sword, Cups, Baton and Coin. A represents the Ace of Swords, surmounted of a crown encircling palms. C, the Ace of Cups: it resembles a Castle; this is how large silver mugs were made in the past.
D, the Ace of Sticks; it is a real club. B, the Ace of Coin; with garlands. These four suits relate to the four casts by which Egyptians were divided. The Sword designated the Sovereign and Military Nobility. The Cup the Clergy or the Priesthood. The Coin, Commerce designated by money. This Game is based on the number seven This Game is absolutely based on the sacred number seven. Each suit is two times seven cards. The Trumps are of a number of three times seven; the number of cards is seventy-seven; the Fool counting as 0.
No one ignores the significance of this number to Egyptians, and it became for them a formula to which they brought back the elements of all the Sciences [seven liberal arts]. The sinister idea attached to the number thirteen in the Game brings us back equally strongly to the same origin. Invented by a genius, before or after the game of chess, and reuniting utility and leisure; it has arrived to us through all the centuries; it has survived the entire ruin of Egypt and the knowledge which differentiated it and while we had no idea of the wisdom of the lessons it enclosed, we never grew tired of playing the Game she has invented.
It is with ease we can trace the road by which it arrived in our neighborhood. In the first centuries of the Church, Egyptians were [p. They had brought their ceremonies and the cult of Isis; hence the Game we speak of.
This Game, interesting in itself, was limited to Italy until the relations between the Germans and the Italians were such to let it be known to this second Nation; and until [relations] between the Counts of Provence [perhaps a reference to C. If it did not come to Paris, it was for the bizarre figures and high number of cards which was not of a nature to appeal to the vivacity of the French ladies.
Also we were obliged, as we soon will see, to reduce this Game in their favor. Meanwhile Egypt itself would not reap the fruit of its invention: reduced to the most deplorable servitude, to the most profound ignorance, deprived of all Arts, its Inhabitants would be in no state to manufacture a single Card of this Game. If our French Cards, infinitely less complicated [than the Tarot], require the sustained effort of a multitude of hands and the concurrent effort of several Arts, how could these unfortunate People could have conserved their own [Card Game]?
Such are the ills that befall a slave Nation, that it loses even its objects of leisure; having failed to conserve its most precious advantages, why should it claim what is just a relaxing pastime? It is word-for-word the Royal trail of life. From the Magician [I] and the Wheel of Fortune [X], the [Tarot] teaches them nothing is more inconsistent in this world than the myriad States of man: that his only refuge is in virtue which is always available when needed.
Lunatics have always been portrayed as having a cracked brain. Indeed, he is represented as if casting a spell with his divining rod or Magus Rod. One of our friends, Mr. This game has two players, but the cards are dealt as if there were three [players]. Each player has only one third of the cards: during combat a third of the Troops are always resting: we could call them the reserve Corps.
This game is a war game, and not a peaceable game: because in the entire Army there is [only] one reserve Corps. The Cards are dealt by five, or five-by-five. Of the 78 Cards, three are therefore left at the end: rather than dealing them to the [two] players and the reserve or the Dead, the dealer keeps them for himself; which gives him the advantage to discard three [cards]. It is again an Egyptian way to count; the dinatre [decad] or the coin of Pythagoras was equal to the quarternary because one, two, three and four add up to ten [a reference to the tetractys ].
If we have ten Trumps in hand, we spread them and they are still worth ten points; if we have thirteen, we spread them as well and they are worth fifteen points independent of other combinations. Seven Cards carry the Name Tarot preeminently: they are the privileged cards: and again seven in number.
The Mat or Fool. The Pagad [Magician] or Trump I.
Antoine Court de Gébelin
Dusty White Being a Frenchman himself at the time, he had slightly different views of the world than his British counterparts and expressed his through the publication of a set of encyclopedias and in so doing he became, over time, one of the godfathers of the New Age movement centuries later. It is the essence of his works, and the philosophies of Levi that trickled down through the years like water seeping into the soil to make giant trees of metaphysical opinion grow strong and belligerent over the centuries. In a small aside in volume eight he briefly mentions the tarot and imagines that the cards came from Egypt and held vast secrets of occult knowledge, and that the 21 trumps and fool together comprised Kabalistic metaphysical meanings based on the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. There are several articles on this man links below! He is mentioned here because of his direct influence on the Waite-Smith deck s and their profound lasting effect on the modern tarot.
Monde primitif : analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne ...
Views Read Edit View history. The United Nations UN …. In he published a work entitled Les Toulousainesadvocating the rights of the Protestants; and he afterwards established at Paris an agency for collecting information as to their sufferings, and for exciting general interest in their cause. The ninth volume appeared inleaving the work still unfinished. Please try again later. Now, however, the world has well-nigh forgotten the huge quartos. Hall Paul Foster Case.
Of the Game of Tarots.
COURT DE GEBELIN PDF