Walter Jantschikehemals Grossmeister der
We know that the whole of the Tarot is based upon the Tree of Life, and that the Tree of Life is always cognate with Tetragrammaton. One may sum up the whole doctrine as follows:|
The Union of the Father and the Mother produces Twins, the son going forward to the daughter, the daughter returning the energy to the father; by this cycle of change the stability and eternity of the Universe is assured.
It is necessary, in order to understand the Tarot, to go back in history to the Matriarchal Age, to the time when succession was not through the first-born son of the King, but through his daughter. The king was therefore not king by inheritance, but by right of conquest. In the most stable dynasties, the new king was always a stranger, a foreigner; what is more, he had to kill the old king and marry the king's daughter. This system ensured the virility and capacity of every king. The stranger had to win his bride in open competition. In the oldest fairy-tales, this motive is continually repeated. The ambitious stranger is often a troubadour; nearly always he is disguised, often in repulsive form. Beauty and the Beast is a typical tale. There is often a corresponding camouflage about the king's daughter, as in the case of Cinderella and the Enchanted Princess. The tale of Aladin gives the whole of this fable in a very elaborate form, packed with technical tales of magic. Here then is the foundation of the legend of the Wandering Prince - and note well, he is always "the fool of the family". The connection between foolishness and holiness is traditional. It is no sneer that the family nitwit had better go into the church. In the East the madman is believed to be "possessed", a holy man or prophet. So deep is this identity that it is actually imbedded in the language. "Silly" means empty - the Vacuum of Air - Zero - "the silly buckets on the deck", And the word is from the German selig. holy, blessed. It is the innocence of the Fool which most strongly characterize him. It will be seen later how important is this feature of the story.
To ensure the succession, it was therefore devised: firstly, that the blood royal schould really be the blood royal, and secondly, that this strain should be fortified by the introduction of the conquering stranger, instead of being attermuated by continual inbreeding.
In certain cases this theery was pushed very far; there was probably a great deal of chicanery about this disguised prince. It may well have been that the king, his father, furnished him with very secret letters of introduction; in short, that the old political was played even in those primeval tines.
The custon is therefore developed into the condition so admirably investigated by Prazier in the Golden Bough. (This Bough is no doubt a symbol of the King's laughter herself.) "The king's daughter is all glorious within; her raiment is wrought of gold."
How did such a development come to pass?
There may have been a reaction against playing politics; there may have been a glorification, first of all of the "gentleman burglar", finally of the mere gangster-boss, rather as we have seen in our own times, in the reaction against Victorianism. The "wandering prince" was closely examined as to his credentials; unless he were an escaped criminal he was not eligible to compete; nor was it sufficient for him to win the king's daughter in open competition, live in the lap of luxury until the old king's died, and succeed him in peace; he was obliged to murder the old king with his own hand.
At first sight it would appear that the formula is the union of the extremely masculine, the big blond beast, with the extremely feminie, the princess who could not sleep if there was a pea beneath her seven feather beds. But all such symbolism defeats itself; the soft becomes the hard; the rough the smooth. The deeper one goes into the formula, the closer becomes the identification of the opposite. The Dove is the bird of Venus, but the dove is also a symbol of the holy Ghost; that is, of the Phallus in its most sublimated form. There is, therefore, no reason for suprise in observing the identification of the father with the mother.
Naturally, when ideas so sublime become vulgarised, they fail to exhibit the symbol with lucidity. The great hierophant, confronted with a thoroughly ambiguous symbol, is compelled, just because of his office as hierophant - that is, one who manifests the mystery - to 'diminish the message to the dog'. This he must do by exhibiting a symbol of the second order, a symbol suited to the intelligence of the second order of Initiates. This symbol, instead of being universal, and thus beyond ordinary expression, must be further adapted to intellectual capacity of the particular set of people whom it is the business of the hierophant to initiate. Such truth accordingly appears to the vulgar as fable, parable, legend, even creed.
In the case of this comprehensive symbol sof the Fool, there are, within actual knowledge, several quite distinct traditions, very clear, and, historically, very important.
These must be considered seperately in order to understand the single doctrine from which all sprang.
© Walter Jantschik, 4/7/86 E.V.