Monday, February 21, 2011

"Has it never struck you that the Tarock pack has twenty-two trumps—precisely the same number as the letters of the Hebrew alphabet? And, what is more, do not our Bohemian cards have pictures which are obviously symbols? The Fool, Death, the Devil, the Last Judgment? How loud, my friend, do you want life to shout its answers to you? It's not necessary, of course, for you to know that Tarock, or Tarot, is the same as the Jewish word Tora, 'the Law,' or the old Egyptian tarut, which means 'One who is asked,' and the ancient Zend word tarisk, which means 'I demand the answer.' But scholars should know these facts before they assert that the Tarock pack originated during the time of Charles the Sixth. And just as the Juggler, the lowest trump, is the first card in the pack, so man is the first figure in his own picture book, his own double: the Hebrew character Aleph, which is formed after the shape of a man, with one hand pointing up at the sky and the other downwards, saying, therefore, 'As it is above, so it is below; as it is below, so it is above.'"
—Gustav Meyrink, The Golem (bold text ours)

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