Erik Davis is often interesting, tho arguably forced by his circumstances to focus on creating popular content – and he’s an excellent writer and considerably-better-than-average thinker – so even tho it’s an old and much discussed topic, his latest article on tarot and it’s most well known deck is worth reading.
I especially enjoyed the mention of Pamela Coleman Smith, and her photo. The illustrations that accompany the article are worth taking a look, even if Erik’s writing is too textured for the net attention span, lol.
POP ARCANA – catchy clever title, eh?
An example of Erik’s intelligence and rigor:
“This point is important to emphasize, given the curious fog that cloaks our appreciation of the occult streams that animate the West. On the one hand, secular historians (and most of the better-informed adepts) recognize that the forms and even the content of much of todayâ€™s ancient or traditional lore are modern reconstructions rather than unbroken currents. We recognize, in other words, that Court De GÃ©belin was hallucinating his hieroglyphs, that LÃ©vi was constructing the links between Tarot and Kabbalah. But this insight is often deployed for no other purpose than to expose the fantasies that, more often that not, â€œauthenticateâ€ occult claims through appeals to hidden tradition. It does not bloom into the more interesting (if more disturbing) conclusion: that the occult is now. The modern imagination â€” our imagination â€” is the theatre that stages these uncanny synchronicities, these resonances across time, these spectral encounters. This is the sort of serious play that Johann Valentin Andreae suggested when he used the phrase ludibrium to characterize the Rosicrucian mysteries he helped invent out of whole cloth in the 17th century, and that subsequently became an actual and deeply significant stream of Western esoteric thought and practice â€” including the Golden Dawn. The modern occult is at root an enchanted game, a round of hide-and-seek in a half-manufactured forÃªt des symboles. No wonder that one of the most popular vectors of the modern occult would be a deck of cards.”
Erik tells us what most people who are fascinated by the new age and occult material would rather not hear – this is mostly modern material, invented, mixed with rehashed ideas from much older texts, but still very modern.
We probably won’t awaken from that dream, even tho we should.