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Re to Arthur

May 31, 1995 03:05 PM
by Jerry Schueler


I want to thamk you for your very interesting discussion of the
Tarot cards and ways in which they can fit together.  Jung's
observation that Tarot symbolism is archetypal is doubtless true;
it is incredible that 22 cards can have so many perfectly valid
interpretations (by the way, Mouni Sadhu has a nice, but somwhat
tedious, occult interpretation in his _The Tarot_, 1971).

Arthur: <To limit archetypal symbols to a certain number or to
limit spheres or planes of the universe seems to me to be
somewhat contradictory of the whole principle of what a symbol
is.  A symbol is elastic and bends and deepens - perhaps there
are perameters but certainly never ridgid ones.>

I agree.  I was simply pointing out that there will always be
opposition.  I base this observation on my own deck of 30 major
arcana cards.  "Too many cards" is a common complaint.

Arthur:<I am not a esoteric historian by any means but wasnt'
John Dee a 17th century divine?>

Dee lived from 1527 to 1608 and "was one of the most celebrated
and remarkable men of the Elizabethan age.  Philosopher,
matahematician, technologist, antiquarian, teacher and friend of
powerful people, Dee was at the center of some of the major
developments of the English Renaissance; in fact, he inspired
several of these developments through his writings and his
teachings." (John Dee: The World of an Elizabethan magus, by
Peter J.  French, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1984, from the intro).
Some of his diaries having to do with Enochian Magic were
recently published by Magickal Childe titled A True and Faithful
Relation of What Passed for many Years Between Dr.  John Dee and
Some Spirits.  He was a most remarkable man, and many say he was
a spy for Queen Elizabeth on top of everything else.

Arthur: < Other than a heuristic one, is there a distinction
between an archetype and a goddess>

Lets say, for example, that I had an experience in which a
beautiful woman appeared before me.  Suppose we had a nice chat,
and she told me things that would happen to me in my future.
Then, lets suppose that she simply disappeared right before me
eyes.  Now, I would probably interpret such an experience as
having been confronted by a goddess.  Carl Jung, and perhaps many
other psychologists today, would tell me that no real goddess
appeared, but that rather the goddess archetype was projected
before me by my own psyche.  He would say that the experience was
all in my mind, and would doubtless point out that no one around
me saw or heard anything.  So, Arthur, I would say that yes,
there is a distinction, but I can't begin to tell you what it is,
because there is simply no way for me to tell you how to
differentiate between a psychic projection and a real external
event.  Both seem real to the experiencer.  Even in the event
that the foretold events came true I still won't know, because
Jung would interpret such an experience as a synchronicity.  How
does one differentiate between a sychronicity (an inner psychic
event) from a valid prediction from a supernatural being (an
external event)? I don't know.  The same is true for astral
traveling or what is nowdays called pathworking.  There is no way
to know for sure if such experiences are external or internal.
The same goes for dreams.  Because I see external and internal as
two sides of a coin, it really doesn't matter to me; but for most
people this is a deeply contested issue.  I will say this though,
which is from a magical point of view: it is better to assume
such experiences are valid and act accordingly.  If we pooh pooh
such experiences as 'only' a dream or 'merely' a psychic
projection, then we denigrate them to a point where they are no
longer effective or helpful to us (they lose their mystery and
thus their power).  All too soon the magic will go out of our
life, and we will have to pay a tremendous price for this later
down the road.

Arthur: <I am not sure about whether their words are proper of
improper? What do you mean? They didn't think in our categories
but that is no blight as I see it.>

No blight as I see it either.  What I mean is that they had none
of our modern jargon or scientific terminology, and thus spoke in
terms of signs and symbols (e.g., the alchemists, which according
to Jung were actually talking psychology).  The problem with this
is that signs and symbols have lots of possible interpretations.
Were the alchemists really talking about chemistry? Or
psychology? or philosophy and occultism? It is difficult for us
today to really know.

Arthur: <Medieval humanity certainly did a lot of unconscious
work and symbolic work without the benefit or blight of modern
categories - you will note that as we became more discursive the
symbols seemed to dry up considerably.  Ancient man spoke of the
oracle within or the daimon these are words that I think we may
want to begin using again.>

Again, I can't argue with you.  Jung himself points out the
danger of moderns losing their symbols, and thus the keys to the
unconscious.  Of course, what we all tend to forget sometimes, is
that words themselves are symbols.  By giving something a name,
we think we understand it (which is the foundation of magic).
Actually, Jung speaks of the Self within, where the Self is kind
of a fully integrated and matured or idealized ego.  His
archetypal Self is the psychological version of the inner
divinity of theosophy; so again, how will we ever know if we are
listening to our inner god or to our archetypal Self? Perhaps it
really doesn't matter.

Arthur: <The Tarot is a tradition and if it is to be a living
tradition it will require heretics and defenders - it is the
dialectic that makes it move forward.>

True.  I would classify myself as a little of both.

Jerry S.

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