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Tarot Hermeneutics

Exploring How We Create Meaning with Tarot

The BIG BOOK Syndrone

Yea, I must admit I seem to suffer from a strange malady, common to some bookish men, perhaps to those who carry Magyar blood, of the book as talisman, a magical object invested with a pure mana of its own; I, however suffer from a particular variant that I recognize as the BIG BOOK syndrome.

(Perhaps related to an unconscious sense of intellectual inferiority or sexual ineptitude, of course I make no such admission!)

You see the BIG BOOK syndrome is an inordinate attraction to gargantuan tomes, usually written by men of eccentric  and perhaps erratic, genius whose content offers to revolutionize how one sees or thinks about something.

Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy is one I have treasured for years.

Another more recent discovery is Silvan S. Tomkins, Affect Imagery Consciousness, and 40 year, 4 volume 1200 page, about which I plan a series of blogs as it may enhance tarot reading.

Some other big tomes to which I hold odd allegiance include Jalalu'ddin Rumi, Mathnawi; Muhyiddin ibn al-‘Arabi, Fusûs al-Hikam and Futûhât al-Makkiyya; Yogavasistha, The Zohar, etc.

On a more modern note: James Joyce, Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake; Thomas Man, Joseph and His Brothers, Dr. Faustus; Rabelais, Works ; Montaigne, Essays; Cervantes , Don Quixote; Musil, The Man without Qualities; and the exception to prove the rule, H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine.

As vices go our worse offence is persuading unwitting friends to acquire said tome which manifestly remains unread and underappreciated.

At certain heights of the mania, I might buy the book for somebody. They will feel some obligation to read it, finding it menacing by sheer weight alone, never even crack the spine, and suddenly they find my friendship a bit too burdensome and too intellectually competitive. It becomes easier to not return my calls, accept invitations, and to cross the street when they notice my approach.

Ah how fickle are our fashions of cognitive conjuring, so these tomes invite and forefend as dust catchers from the higher shelves of our book cases, judging us by their neglect of this world not seen and reinvented perfectly enough, if we but plunged forward to resee ourselves with the unitative vision of a Muhyiddin ibn al-‘Arabi, or the distain of a Robert Burton, the encompassing of a Yogavasistha, the gusto of a Rabelais, the pugnaciousness of a H. P. Blavatsky, the self-erasing wariness of a Robert Musil!

Now the tarot as a book…

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