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The Tarot of the Bohemians: The Absolute Key to the Occult Sciences (New)

by Papus

Publisher: Wilshire Book Company

Binding: Paperback

Book ID: 9780879801588, 0879801581


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In the last hundred years the Tarot has had a growing influence on creative writers and students of analytical psychology. It plays an important part in T. S. Eliot's famous poem, The Waste Land, and in Jessie Weston's From Ritual to Romance. It is well known that the poet W. B. Yeats belonged to a magical order which had its secret tradition of the Tarot. Looking at it from a different angle, the followers of C. G. Jung are beginning to accept the Tarot images as mysteries agreeing with the archetypes of the collective unconscious.

It is hardly likely that this would have happened except for this classic book, The Tarot of the Bohemians. Written by a physician, Gerard Encausse, under his occulist name Papus, it is one of the three pillars of occult Tarotism. Antione Court de Gebelin was the initiator of the movement, and Arthur E. Waite introduced fresh mystical interpretations and some healthy skepticism, but it was Papus who gave us the impressive compilation which might almost be called the theological apparatus of Tarotism.

The occult tradition is one of secret wisdom handed down faithfully, generation after generation, from those ancient peoples most devoted to such wisdom: the Egyptians, the Tibetans, the Chinese, and the Celts. This wisdom, though consciously held by initiates, is veiled from the profane. It is like the Yin-Yang symbol, whose dark side has a little spot of brightness at its center.

To complete our idea of the Tarot symbolism we need to add to the darkly veiled side the bright conscious side with the spot of dark unconsciousness at its center. That is, we need to recognize that the literal facts about the Tarot cards are probably quite different from the occultist account. But this brings us again to another veiled darkness: the unconscious motives of those who meant to use the symbols only to add to the amusement and excitement of a Carnival game. We may then accept the occultist tradition as a valid myth, that is, a solemn way of stating a truth symbolically with such imaginative force that even its authors at first always mistake it for the literal truth.

Philippe Encausse, the son of Papus and himself a physician, remark that it might be said of Papus that he was the Balzac of occultism, the founder of freemasonry, and the popularizer of every branch of occult science.

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