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Olympic Tarot (1) - what is ...


All 4 years they do run again for medals, money, fame etc.. We're near to it. Now it's in Greece again after a restart 108 years ago, in 4 years it will happen in China. A good time .... a real good time ... to think about the origin of Tarot. .... :-)

What is Tarot? Of course we know, that a use of this term before 1505 is not proven, although it is likely that decks of the type of card play, which later were called Tarot, existed before. Of course we know, that there is a "first" appearance of Tarot similar cards with the Michelino deck around 1425. Of cause we could limit the appearance of Tarot to "paintings on playing-cards" and then there could be only "Tarot on paper" in Europe "since 1370" or little earlier.

However, we're free to define whatever we want Tarot to be, and, as I'm good mood today, I define a rather "limitless Tarot", which should have the following qualities.

1. More than 1 element

a. ... - for instance the throw of a coin has only two possibilities and somehow it's a "Tarot" and even regularely used in technics of divination; one element wouldn't give much choice, so I exclude it.

b. The upper number is endless. If I decide, that all pictures in the Internet for instance should present "my defined Tarot", then the number might be rather high - it wouldn't be a stupid idea, just the idea: "what does this picture say to you", similar to the Rorschach-test and ...:-), somehow near to the way how some people treat the Tarotcards.

2. The possibility 1 b. gives some sorrows, so I decide to exclude this sort of endless Tarot out of "my" selection. A Tarot should have a mathematical "closed state", whatever this looks like.

a. Freedom of choice, but choice must be.
For instance I could define, my Tarot has 100 (or better "x" elements) and that this should be a fixed number - more is not allowed, also not less. Also I could define, that it has a order, that its elements - for instance - correlate to the number row 1- 100 or "1-x" and also I'm free to interprete 100 or "x" as high or low - for instance. But the hierarchical idea is only a simple one, for instance I could define, that my Tarot has various groups of different importance and interpretation, so - for instance - I could define, that group A has 40 elements, group B 16 and group C 22 and the total sum of elements should be 78 - as we know it from common Tarot. Also I could substructure the single groups - group A (40 elements) should correlate to the numbers 1-10 in 4 different ways, group B should correlate in a specific way to the same 4 ways and group C should include a hierarchical order from 0-21. Well, we know this system as "standard Tarot", but it is conceivable, that all, what we like as an order could be realized just by "our idea" - if we like to portrait a Minchiate - (Tarot) with 16 + 40 + 40 + 1 elements, or a Mantegna (- Tarot) with a structure "1- 50 and 5 x10" or .... "3600 Babylonian gods"(- Tarot), "64 I-Ching-Hexagrams"(- Tarot), a specific other neoplatonic system (- Tarot), an iconographic system with 7 virtues and 7 vices (-Tarot), an astrological system with a zodiac, planets and houses (- Tarot), we just have to follow the rule, that "the system should be closed", otherwise I'm willing to decide, that this is NOT-TAROT.

b. By this Tarot becomes an ordered limited system in contrary to all other imaginable groups with unordered and limitless character..

c. It's easily conceivable, that this definition allows a limitless number of Tarots, which all have the merit, that they've a "defined form".

3. Well, point 2c. again gives sorrows, I personally am not able to make each of this "limitless Tarot-possibilities" an object to my mind, perhaps Tarot is limitless, but me, the observer, has a limited number of days in this world, and not time enough to follow each version.

a. I've two choices: Either I enjoy my personal prefered mathematical models as "Tarot" or I enjoy what somebody else in the past communicated as his/her prefered Tarot (or mathematical order with the above described conditions).

b. Enjoying my personal prefered mathematicals models might become a solipsistic mind-play, in which I've nobody to communicate with. So I better avoid these models.

c. Enjoying what somebody else in the past communicated as his/her prefered Tarot looks more promising, at least I enter the communication with somebody really existing as that part of the communication process, who tries to understand, what the other had in mind ... once, a long time ago, perhaps.

4. With this I've reduced the "limitless number" of possible Tarot-models already considerably, but still it's a number, which leads to my personal situation ".... too much for me". Human past is a long story and had time enough to develop uncountable orders and models for various purposes. So I reduce this number with some "very personal arguments" like "... historical important enough" and " ... it's interesting to me". With this conditions ... :-)

5. ... I feel free enough to talk now from that, what I had in mind, when starting this article:

The Olympic Tarot - a rather fantastic story.

The Olympic Tarot has similarities with Tarot, but of course it is not Tarot in the common sense. Of course it doesn't depend on the condition, if it was once painted or printed on small pieces of paper. But it fulfills the condition to be a mathematical system, sorting some elements in a specific scheme.

Do we know the Olympic Tarot completely? No, unluckily not. It's a matter of reconstruction. ... and of research. It's not given open in history ... only hidden. One can try to find it out, but it's not secure, that its completely or correctly discovered. It's an adventure ... Necessary helpers in research are phantasy and imagination, but also serious study of the sources

Who made the Olympic Tarot? Various persons probably, the focused historical person - who might have been in fact called the inventor: Hesiod - accompanied by other Greek poets a long time ago.

The Olympic Tarot is about how to sort the world of the Gods in a manner, that it is easy to remember them.