I’m editing 3 creative academic books right now, due to appear shortly with EyeCorner Press. One is on a revaluation of Buddhism: Cruel Theory: Sublime Practice, one on the Beat generation writers, Pilgrims to Elsewhere, and one on poetry, Linguistick, written by a familiar of Taroflexions, Enrique Enriquez. They are all good. In line with our policy of publication these books are peer-reviewed, so I get to exchange ideas about them with other readers. The topic today was the way in which eloquence manifests in the world. While talking about eloquence, I kept looking particularly at two decks of cards on my table. One is called Les Tarots des Pauvres (original 1984, edition) and the other is Grand Jeu de Société de Mlle Le Normand (a 1951 reprint of a 1854 edition).
Just out of curiosity, I thought of asking these two different decks to offer an insight into what eloquence, is and answer more specifically the following question:
How does the best kind of eloquence manifest in the world?
I chose for this Etteilla’s inverted pyramid (in a reduced form). The top row tells me something general about the topic, here, about what eloquence is, the middle row discloses its usefulness, and the single card at the bottom indicates the essence.
The Tarot of the Poor suggested the following:
The eloquent word is a word of authority. It is a serious word. It is consecrated and has a cutting edge. (The Pope, 10 Coins, 5 Swords). Its use value, however, is to underscore its potential blind spots. And laugh at them. Unmask them. Show how phony all claims to the one ‘true’ word is (Justice, The Magician). The best eloquence is captured in the temperate word. The temperate word does not show off its regalia. The best eloquence is not about showing off anything, but about demonstrating how flow is achieved (Temperance) following a natural kind of humbleness.
. . .
The astro-mytho-hermetical deck suggested this:
Eloquence can be magical. A word of vision seduces (7♦). Eloquence can be versatile but also obstinate (letter L). Pandora opens the box. Through eloquence one acts quickly. Eloquence is not dreaming. The constellation, the Vulture, or the Lyre now, announces new hopes for the desperate men and other mendicants. But one must be ready for the monsters in the box.
Like Ganymede one must take a good look around. Who are all the people one addresses (8♦). How are the enthusiastic ideas proposed? Is there enough will power? (letter A) The constellation, Musca, calls for intuition. Yet, one must study either alone, or by allowing a teacher to act. Patterns of thought based on intuition alone are no good without a structure. Eloquence is based on deliberation and on heeding good advice.
Eloquence is the word of solitude (10♠) It can bring on disasters. The well-wrought thought has a deadly power. It can worry, and it can transform. Ambivalence and illusion must be sorted out (letter X). The eloquent are closely watched. One must beware of theft. Methods can be stolen and eloquence imitated, yet without the original vitality, eloquence turns into a circus. The jealous and the envious are out to pass as geniuses. This saddens Helen and makes her anxious. The constellation, the Vulpecula, the Fox, warns of deceptions, but also foretells that difficulties can be surmounted.
The use value of eloquence is also here to be found in the idea of temperance. First, there is a strong drive towards ‘saying it.’ But how is the word said? Impulsively? The constellation, The Chameleon, suggests lack of lucidity. Phaeton full of pride is heading for the clouds. The sun on his chariot is an artificial one. Phaeton wants to possess the word and make it his own (5♦, letter B). Women argue and there’s policing to be done.
Then, to a halt. The alchemical science of preparing and pondering, and of mixing words is called for. Our alchemist makes good use of all his ingredients and bottles, and it looks like his words serve a community well (8♣). The constellation Ursa Major gives the Alchemist mastery over his emotions. The mix of solid and volatile matter is done to perfection if under the command of determination, tenacity, and efficiency (letter D).
In essence, eloquence belongs to the fairest (Q♦). The Gods and Goddesses attend the wedding of Peleus and Thetis. Eris throws on the table the golden apple of discord, upon which is written: “To the fairest.” The constellation Draco, The Dragon, announces upheavals. Eloquence disturbs. One must protect oneself from personal vendettas and poisonous talks. Jealousy and dependence must be avoided (letter O). The Queen of Diamonds must rise above petty discourse if eloquence flowing from her mouth is to sparkle and shine.
. . .
Two different decks, same message. The welded word is powerful and mighty. It can shine if it flows. It can serve if devoid of arrogant authority. Eloquence is a locus for artful articulation.
Note on the decks:
Tarot des Pauvres, Jan Bauwens 1984, Carta Mundi, Belgium
Grand Jeu de Société et Pratique Secrètes de Mlle Le Normand, Grimaud, 1951
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