The cabalists have always had a horror of the magic of Kasdeems.
Suares, Cipher, p.21
This so-called "formula" is really a confusion of representational systems and is nonsensical in at least two of them -- Hebrew and mathematics. It says that Aleph is "one" in the semiotic system of Hebrew, but is "zero" in the semiotic system of the Tarot, although they are actually identical, presumeably in the semiotic system of mathematical logic.
Qabalistic & Thelemic Proofs of the Grand Binary Code 1 = A = 0
Revived Tarot: The Fool: Aleph/1 The Zero Deal: Aleph = 1 not 0
Early Tarot sequences, from the 15th and 16th centuries, show significant variation in their orders, with the cards often unnumbered and sometimes untitled. The earliest list of the Tarot trumps, from the late 15th century (from Stuart Kaplan, Encycolpedia of the Tarot, 1978, p.2) (English translation of Italian titles):
By the 18th and 19th centuries, however, the familiar Tarot order had emerged via the Tarot de Marseilles adopted by Eliphas Levi and his followers, Papus and Wirth, setting the stage for the Golden Dawn to canonify the "standard" model from the only source they knew.
The earlier sequence assigned Justice to Tayt (9) (Leo) and Strength to Lammed (30) (Libra) (Trumps 8 and 11 if one includes the erroneous "key 0"). As Western occult researchers began to understand the Hebrew Qabala via the Sepher Yetsira as the source for the images, the obviousness of Lammed=Libra=Scales and Tayt=Leo=Lion became too much to bear, and the swap was codified by Macgregor Mathers in the Golden Dawn Tarot.
Macgregor Mather's and the Golden Dawn's so-called "Secret Order of the Tarot Trumps" was simply the received order with Justice and Strength switched and Aleph restored to the beginning of the alphabet, resulting in the Mathers-Golden-Dawn-Rider-Waite deck.
But in order to preserve the placement of the rest of cards, it was necessary to change Hebrew tradition to fit the requirements of the historical (we would say encoded) Tarot sequence. This in turn meant that the Hebrew alphabet had to be re-numbered and the classical planetary assignments changed because the Jews didn't know the truth about their own ancient tradition and "the attributions of the Sepher Yetzirah were wrong."
Here is David Hulse's description of Mathers' "proof" of the Tarot":
This "qualification," which was actually an attempt to tamper with the formative semantics of the Hebrew alphabet, was said to have resolved all the "blinds" or intentionally mis-sequenced cards, though Waite, at least, seems to voice grave doubts that this is true ("I may go further and say that the true nature of the Tarot symbolism is perhaps a secret in the hands of a very few persons").
This left, however, seven other cards whose astrological symbolism did not match their positions in relationship to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. To address this problem, Mathers rewrote the traditional Hebrew Yetsiratic assignments and claimed to have discovered "the true order." The rationalization for this was the claim that the planetary correspondences in the Sepher Yetsira are ambiguous ("most blinded"). In fact only one, late, version varies from the standard Hebrew and classical assignments (and they ignored that one too).
When the only zodiacal misplacement among the 22 trumps, Strength-Justice, is resolved, every single non-planetary astrological Tarot correspondence is in accord with the consensus of versions of the Sepher Yetsira.
According to Hulse, (Key, 1996), the Golden Dawn attributions were "based on Macgregor Mathers' secret order." Since this ordering ignored the source document, the Sepher Yetsira, in all of its translations, classical understanding of the Hebrew attributions, the interpretations of every famous (Jewish) Qabalist and the classical (Platonic and Ptolemaic) order of the celestial spheres, one may wonder where Macgregor Mathers got his inspiration, which has completely dominated Tarot interpretation for over a century.
Why the system was accepted is another question.
See: Planetary Attributions in the Sepher Yetsira
It appears that Mathers may have imported four planetary attributions from a non-Western (Hindu) system into the "secret" Golden Dawn attributions and then shuffled the remaining three (Sun, Jupiter and Mars) from the same system.
Nineteenth Century western occult researchers realized that the Strength/Justice transposition is not the only "obvious" symbolic problem in the Tarot Major Trumps. The Magician, with its Hermetic connections, the High Priestess with the Moon at her feet, the Empress with Venus on her shield, the Sun and the Tower all convey specific astrological connotations that presented problems equal to the scales and the lion. When presented with the problem of changing the order of the cards or changing the meaning of the source text, Mathers and the Golden Dawn followers chose the latter and re-assigned seven planets from their actual positions (as specified in the Sepher Yetsira).
Hulse's and Heidrick's view, rationalizing changing the Hebrew and classical planetary assignments:
"These applications of the planets to the double letters are the most highly corrupted matter in existing manuscripts of the "Sepher Yetzirah", as is noted further below. No definitive text exists in this matter." -- Heidrick
Here we have the traditional Hebrew assignments of the Sepher Yetsira "passed over" in favor the Golden-Dawn system because they "do not work as well" with the traditional tarot placements rationalized by the "G.'. D.'. Tarot-Astrological system."
It is false that "no definitive texts exists in this matter." In fact, there is total agreement on the planetary attributions of the seven doubles until the late Lurianic-influenced 18th century "Gra" version.
The previous change, Strength/Justice, restored the Yetziratic attributions to the primary symbols, scales/Libra, lion/Leo. Why decide now that it is the source, the Sepher Yetsira, that is blinded, and not the Tarot cards, or their interpreters?
The only cards that don't iconically carry their astrological symbolism, the Fool, the World and the Wheel, use equally obvious symbolism for their true numerical positions, one, two and three in the sequence of initial structuration.
The Golden Dawn could have used Westcott's or Stenring's Gra translation, but they would have had to move seven trumps, and apparently the challenge made them opt for telling the Jews their Sepher Yetsira was incorrect about its own alphabetical/astrological correspondences.
These are, in fact, not "correspondences" in the Golden Dawn sense of the term, but rather linked categories (formative Hebrew letter, planet and contrary qualities, zodiacal sign and formative, position in the Cube of Space) with complex semantic and structural relationships.
"The letter of the alphabet is the source of the planet, and not a sign by which it is designated" ( Joseph Dan, Jewish Mysticism, Vol I, Aronson, 1998, p.151 ).
The so-called "blinded" planetary attributions are not arbitrary assignments to be corrected with Eastern wisdom, but part of a symbolic system that interweaves and over-determines its syntax and semantics on every level. Parts of the alphabet can't be re-assigned without meaning deteriorating rapidly.
See Meadim for the intimate relationship of Dallet and Mars.
See: Semantic Drift in the Tarot | Obscuring the Origins | Tarot Unlocked | The Fool
Classic BOTA Tarot Correspondences
Revived Tarot: Aliester Crowley and the Star
Traditional Tarot Sequencing - Aeclectic Tarot Forum - "I read the first paragraph and got bored."
The Pictorial Key and the Fool's Location (Tarot community remains wed to their ideologies)
|Native Positions of the Tarot According to the Sepher Yetsira|
|Ancient Recensions By Hebrew Letter-Astrological Correspondences|