Art 113-C Midterm Examination

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ACCOUNT OF THE MIDTERM EXAMINATION PERFORMED BY THE CLASS ART 113-C
OCCIDENTAL ART AND MYTHOLOGY AT CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SACRAMENTO
ON THE OCCASION OF THE VERNAL EQUINOX MARCH 20, 1986
Kurt von Meier, Ph.D Professor of Art

"There is no crossing without motive." G. Spencer Brown, Laws of Form

In 1973 G. Spencer Brown had arranged to arrive on the West Coast by air from England, and at the invitation of John Lilly and Alan Watts to travel down to Esalen, south of Big Sur on the day of the Vernal Equinox, there to address a conference of worthies on the subject of Laws of Form. It was apparently intended as a dramatic event, con­ceived as Chinese boxes: a crossing (between continents) on the day of the crossing (of the equator by the sun), for the purpose of a calling (or a crossing--in the sense of transmitting a teaching) about calling and crossing (the two fundamental laws in Laws of Form).

Brown wanted to return to England immediately fallowing his initial brilliant appearance, and leave the wrangling to Karl Pribram, Heinz von Foerster, Ram Dass and the rest, but was prevailed upon to stay until he had delivered sufficient quantity as well as quality for his fare and fees, the niceties of esthetic timing notwithstanding. Natur­ally this prevented him from embodying most elegantly the profound principles of crossing and recrossing expressed by his calculus.

Since that occasion, although I have long been aware that the Vernal Equinox was a time carefully marked by the most conscious portion of humanity from the early Neolithic to the present, I have noted the "crossing," and who was doing what at that time, with particular attentiveness. As it transpired in 1986, I had scheduled a midterm test for the class I was teaching in Art and Mythology at California State University, Sacramento.

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ZERO

A working booklist was distributed to members of the class as they entered the lecture room in which they were now to sit for the examina­tion. On it were critical commentaries and cross-references to sub­jects such as early writing, the appearance of the alphabet in classi­cal Greece, the first appearance of printing in Western Europe, and other trans- or meta-cultural topics, including colors, stars, num­bers, anatomy, musical notes and the Tarot. The distribution of this printed (blue mimeo on blue paper, as it turned out) list constituted the ZERO phase of the test, establishing receptivity on the part of the students, giving them something first, the better to prepare them for giving me feedback in the form of exam answers. Many students were in their seats early, reading over the booklist when the time came for the exam to begin. I said, OK, the next three people who come in the door (late), we'll hand out the--what was it?--four-page list as though it were the exam, waiting to see when or if they discovered it to be a joke..."Nah! Don't start writing, it's not really the midterm test, it's the book list!"

When in January of 1960 the National Poetry Society of America cele­brated its Golden Jubilee, though he was an Englishman, it awarded to Robert Graves the Prince Alexander Droutzkoy Memorial Award, a gold medal for services to poetry. The poet tells the amusing and ironic story in "Poetic Gold," a delightful talk itself given to the Oxford University Philological Society, and published in Robert Graves, On Poetry: Collected Talks and Essays (Doubleday, 1969). Commencing his acceptance remarks, Graves says that he held up a goldsmith's touch­stone--a small diamond-shaped cube of black jasper, "because poets should avoid dead metaphors,...and began discoursing on gold, the royal metal, the only one found in a pure state, a metaphor for truth and integrity and, because royal and real are the same word, for reality. ...The testing or assaying of doubtful gold has given numer­ous words to the English language--'touchstone,' 'acid test,' and even the word test itself. The original noun 'test' meant the cupel in which refiners parted gold from other metals; hence the phrase put it to the test.'"

All students had been asked to bring with them bluebooks and pens, and also their colors: Marvy Markers or felt-tip pens they had been using to color some cards of the Tarot by way of class assignments. They were directed to write their names on the covers of the bluebooks and so forth. Question number one was not the "first" question, of course, which was the ZERO "question" (i.e., whether or not they were prepared to be receptive to the grand esthetic, artistic, creative possibili­ties of the event/occasion offered by the test).

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ONE

The exam was not distributed in written form like the booklist; rather it was given orally, as in the ancient & Tibetan traditions. And it is certainly worth noting that in one of the recent directives of the Art Department concerning the examination of students at a somewhat higher level, for the MA degree, all candidates will be required not only to submit a written thesis, but also to defend their work orally.

The colored card of the Ace of Wands was taped to the screen of the TV on its roller-stand which was wheeled to a prominent position so that it might be seen easily by all. The class was reminded that the Aces all come "by the grace of God--or Buddha, or the Great Spirit, however called," to those who are prepared to receive, having somehow relaxed the artifice of defense that our egos erect through physical rigid­ities intellectual mindsets, emotional biases and spiritual beliefs.

The class was asked to write about one of the cards in the suit of wands--that being the way that all people must travel, the suit symbolizing the experience of living life and suffering (bearing) its burdens, conventionally understood as "problems." Which card out of the suit was one that they felt a special affinity for, or seemed to understand better than others? Where were they in the progress through that suit? Which card provided the clearest crystal mirror by which they might look inside the realm of their own memories, or which they might feel most directly related to the immediacy of their experience? Not just "Pick a card ANY card;" it had to be one of the wands.

While students were writing in the bluebooks, much as though it were an ordinary university midterm examination process, I prepared the large work table in the front of the room, covering it with a plain blue tablecloth, in the center of which I placed a 12-inch square piece of blue and black cotton applique work done by the Hmong (or Meo) people from the Golden Triangle area where Thailand, Burma and Laos come together. In a small gold-plated bowl, I lit a pure beeswax candle. In a copper ashtray I lit a stick of juniper incense. With the image of the Ace of wands "framed" in that spot on which members of our culture are most accustomed to focus (the center of the CRT moni­tor) the Wand surrounded by a wreath of flames--also before their eyes was a flaming wand which then gave off patently real wisps of natural, beautifully scented smoke, of a kind thought by the oldest native inhabitants of THIS continent to be efficacious in attempts to purify and sanctify the immediate environs (thus symbolically removing the "negative" consequences of karma). In other words, the most direct and correct "answer" to question number one lay in perceiving the immed­iate, obvious connection or relationship between the image of the Ace of Wands as represented by the Tarot card, and the reality of the burning single stick of incense before the eyes of the whole class, and being taken by them into their very bodies with each breath. Juniper because that is the wood that old David Monongye was chopping --while then in his nineties, outside his house on the Third Mesa in what the Gringo government calls northern Arizona, but what we know better is the land of the Hopi nation, the People of Peace--when a piece of juniper wood flew up a hit him in the eye, causing his blindness: a crucial event in the life of a man whose spiritual evolu­tion had caused him to be elevated to the position of Chief of the Eagle clan (since it is impossible to have a blind leader of eagles, pace the parable painted by Peter Breughel, "The Blind Leading the Blind," hanging in Vienna). It was not just a single solid stick of smouldering juniper wood for incense, although you might think that would have done as well, but it was a commercial stick made from reconstituted juniper wood, and thus one which articulated even more so the element of human consciousness that caused it to be reformed into its wand-like shape expressly for purposes of purification.

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TWO

When the incense went out, after about 10 minutes, time was called. As the class finished writing their answers to question number one, I prepared the table for number two by laying out the 14 cards that comprise the suit of Pentacles. The path is indicated by the cards from the 10 through the deuce, which were arranged along the front edge of the table, while the four Tarot court cards were displayed further back, the King and Queen to the left, and the Knight and Page to the right of the applique centerpiece. Then the class was invited to come around the table to see the cards. I took down the Ace of Wands and put up in its place on the TV screen the Ace of Pentacles. The crowd of 23 students began to mill about the table, I directed them to flow in a counterclockwise circle--a widdershins rotation as the faithful circle the Holy Ka'ba in Mecca, and the direction of the rotation of the Mevlana dervishes who dance in the tradition of Rumi. But there was an earnestness to study the cards displayed, and the group clustered around the front of the table, with the most rigid positions being those in the center from which point of advantage the range of cards could be most profitably scrutinized. I suggested that in fairness we should circle around, so that all might have an equal opportunity to see and observe, and in further ways encouraged move­ment, so that eventually while walking in a clockwise direction my­self, much as the Buddhists circle the stupas at Swayambu near Kathmandu in Nepal, or in the Deerpark where Gautama the Buddha preached his first sermon and thereby set in motion the Wheel of Dharma--or Truth--at Sarnath near Banares, that same oldest city, perhaps the oldest in the world, then called Kashi, now called Varanasi on the banks of the most holy waters of the river Ganges.

I said "I'm going to help you get going and push you along a bit...to the extent, of urging you on around with a light touch at a certain place near the small of your back." They began to shuffle and some students became anxious about not having time to view the cards while others began to embody the spirit of the dance in the form of that deep instinctual ritual dance of the tribe in which there is a place for everyone, all the visiting relatives, every member, high or low. In the more friendly or self-secure tribes, this could also include the travelling stranger. In antiquity the term barbarian only meant someone who did not follow the same customs around the hearth, or around the well as those of one's own people. The xenos, or outsider, nevertheless was recognized as a human being and hence extended the rights of hospitality--that is what defined civilized behavior for the Greeks, and what is presented in a slightly garbled teaching story in the myth of Odysseus in the cave of the Kyklops in Book Nine of the Odyssey. Even if the wandering foreigner were not invited to join the dance, however, the essential conventions of ancient hospitality re­quired provision of food and shelter. Under no circumstances--and it was here that Polyphemus, the Kyklops, was found wanting and had to be taught a stern lesson by Odysseus--were civilized humans to eat one another. [For some masterful ungarbling of the story, see "Odysseus and Polyphemus," the first chapter in Denys Page, The Homeric Odyssey, Oxford, 1955.] Then I moved the four court cards to face the back of the table, thinking thereby to increase the rate of reluctant circula­tion. I joined the flow attempting to urge it forth in good cheer and enthusiasm amid jocular charges of outright stubbornness but increas­ing jollity. "At least once around before going back to your seats," was the invocation, "round like the Pentacle Ace."

Two days before I had picked up my spare copy of the Bollingen series (Tres Equis!) XXX, which happens to be Volume 2 of the Papers From the Eranos Yearbooks, edited by Joseph Campbell selected and translated from the Eranos-Jahrbucher edited by Olga Froebe-Kapteyn, and called The Mysteries. My attention had been drawn, fleetingly on that parti­cular occasion, to two entries in the Table of Contents, listed on pages vii and viii, namely:
     FRITZ MEIER The Mystery of the Ka'ba: Symbol and Reality in Islamic Mysticism (1944)
and,
     MAX PULVER Jesus' Round Dance and Crucifixion According to the Acts of St. John (1942)

I instructed them to return to their seats so as to be better able to listen to a recitation: the other part of the question with which they were being asked to associate the cards of the suit of Pentacles. I then introduced and recited the curse from the tradition of the Welsh bards, invoking all the power of a language such that it could be truly said that the pen--at least among those people for some time--was indeed mightier than the sword. (As David Byrne sings, "Same as it ever was"--Shem and Shaun before the ladies of St. Bride's, Brigit's, or shan't it be called as well St. Trinion's?) Now why, they could ask themselves, might I be reading for them a curse? Certainly it was not for me to be cursing them, but rather that they hear such words and know thereby of the way in which the language, a language, any language might be employed. And why such a curse as that uttered by a traveller on a path who has received misdirection? Just as well I could have recited the curse quoted by George Gurdjieff from the chapter on "Ekim Bey" in Meetings With Remarkable Men (Dutton, 1969), "the following saying that is known throughout Persia:
     "Let God kill him who himself does not know and yet presumes to show others the way to the doors of His Kingdom." But the invective from Robert Graves comes from a linguistic tradition much closer to the immediate roots of our English language than any in what is now Iran.

THE TRAVELER'S CURSE AFTER MISDIRECTION
(from the Welsh)

May they wander stage by stage
Of the same vain pilgrimage,
Stumbling on, age after age,
Night and day, mile after mile,
At each and every step, a stile;
At each and every stile, withal,
May they catch their feet and fall;
At each and every fall they take,
May a bone within them break;
And may the bones that break within
Not be, for variation's sake,
Now rib, now thigh, now arm, now shin,
But always, without fail, THE NECK.

The answer to the problem posed by "question" number TWO has to do with the embodiment of the Tarot suit of Pentacles in the sense that the Ace signifies clearing the mind from obstructions, the diamond-­like state of no-mind, or satori, and its accompanying ecstatic state of consciousness (fan'a) that attracts the energy of Barakath. And further, that one of the most effective traditional ways in which to approach this state of ecstasy is through the dance: specifically the circle or round dance, whether of Jesus, Rumi, or in the Arica Zhikr, which closely resembles that of the Helveti dervishes.

Or, as Marcel Duchamp said in New York at Eastertide, 1916, of the "hidden noise"--that mysterious object placed inside the assisted ready-made by Arensberg before Duchamp finished the piece--"It could be a diamond or a coin."

Grading the bluebooks, since there is at least one certainly correct answer, all the other thoughts, theories, beliefs or ideas noted are to be judged by its standard. It is easy to see which students begin to catch on to relationships between "the container and the contained," [The Book of the Book]. All the rest is garbage, whether sweet or sour, an index of the extent to which minds have been obfuscated by the darkening cloud layers of so-called education.

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THREE

The better to fulfill their support function for the front line of higher education, the direct and fiduciary process that obtains between the student and the instructor in the classroom, in the building of the Department of Public Safety, the women working at the traffic desk reluctantly agreed to issue, if only for this occasion, a Special Permit for parking in the courtyard adjacent to the art gallery. From there it was a close haul to the lecture hall. While hard-working students were delivering their minds on Pentacles and Directions in succinct essays, I collected the cards and set the table for the next part of the exam.

The image presented was the 10 of Cups: a vision of the table spread with delights. And so I set out a block of puriri wood carried from New Zealand (a gift from the wood sculptor, Jim Allen, now Director of the Sydney School of Art in Australia), on which was a bit of paté and cheese, purchased the day before from the Oakville Grocery when I stopped by to pick up mail from the box next door. The paté was a beautifully textured pork with sherry and peppercorns, and the cheese was a torte of blue marble-veined Stilton sandwiched between layers of bright orange double Gloucester. In a large wooden bowl were two fancy pretzels of fougasse from the Acme Bakery in Berkeley. There were two blue and white striped cotton towels, and a sharp little serrated knife set out, and two dozen clear plastic glasses. At almost the last possible chance to screw up I kicked over the bottle of wine, a magnum of Bordeaux, which was accused by one of the students of having to do with the Rothschilds. It bounced off the lino and showed some bubbles, but the bottle didn't break. Without further marginally neurotic ado, the cork was pulled with the aid of an Ah-so.

The plastic glasses were filled for all students but one who declined, but was given a glass to raise (symbolic of the void, as is the vase in traditional Buddhist iconography). With the Ace of Cups taped to the TV, and surrounded by its flames and with the roses of Springtime blossoming in its corners, we raised our glasses to the Ace of Cups, the Path of the Heart, to Springtime and to Love.

"I wouldn't serve you something I wouldn't drink myself."

We had a pleasantly social, lighthearted time, with talk of this and that, of the food, of quantity and quality. Someone, commenting on the rosemary baked into the fougasse, asked if the herb symbolized Truth or Love, but not necessarily True Love. The story was told of a student in the art credential program who had proposed a lecture/pre­sentation featuring a drawing lesson with a nude model. The idea was scotched by the professor, who was at that moment pouring out a glass of cheap wine that had been incorporated into another lecture/presen­tation. (Alcohol si, but sex no?) "We in the Education Department are not as loose as you people in the Art Department." "So why," the student had asked internally, "am I filling up my second glassful, when I know it will just give me a headache?"

Here, of course, the "question" or the problem as set was indistin­guishable from the answer or solution. Or, as again Marcel Duchamp is known to have said when pressed about his masterpiece The Great Glass, "There's no solution because there's no problem."

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FOUR

The Ace of Swords replaced that of Cups on display. The class was directed to write in their bluebooks at least one coherent sentence in ordinary, discursive American English prose about anything whatsoever, so long as it was TRUE, since they had been enjoined to look up TRUTH in the American Heritage Dictionary's "Appendix" of Indo-European roots. The truth delineated, could be either real or imaginary--a true act, thought or feeling--fundamentally a spiritual question. Whatever was written had to resonate with the authenticity of pure gold, and whatever was written after that had to be at least as true as what had been written before. A dream or a mathematical equation, such as [no-n, to modulus a when n and a are natural integers and a is prime] can be thought of as like unto truth eternal. [See James Keys, Only Two Can Play This Game (Julian Press, 1972, p. 34].

As a basic convention necessary for teaching or for any other communi­cation, telling the truth is usually quite a different matter from the usual chit-chat. When someone really tells the truth even ordinary people notice the difference--something happens in terms of the gal­vanic skin response, perhaps adrenaline levels, or even pineal gland functions in the synthesis of sertonin and melatonin.

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FIVE

To respond to question number five, students were directed to draw and color from memory the Tarot card of THE ESSENCE, in some traditional decks referred to as "The Fool." For this purpose they were provided with 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets of white 20 lb. bond paper, loose leaf, to be inserted in their bluebooks. I suggested that it might be possible to tell the artist of each just by looking at their representation of the card. Drawings speak for themselves in ways quite different than essays, however succinct.

In the esoteric practice of embodying the Tarot, the ESSENCE card appears three times. It is the first card (unnumbered, or numbered "zero" in some decks, or in others "XXII"), and while always imagined to be present throughout the exercise, appears thirdly at the end. But the second appearance of the ESSENCE card is upon the completion of the Minor Arcana--that station achieved by the class prior to the examination. Some say that at the second appearance the card may be imagined or visualized as the Harlequin of the Commedia del Arte, or as the Sufi in the muraqq, or traditional patchwork cloak of the dervish. [See Idries Shah, The Sufis, p. 324-6]. Hujwiri, (d.1063) buried at Lahore near the Bhati Gate, wrote The Revelation of the Veiled, the first book in Persian on Sufism which contains, in the chapter on the patched robe, all that (at that time, according to Shah, writing in 1971) could be revealed about the use and meaning of the secret language used by Sufis to carry on their special training. The many levels of meaning are characterized by the several words that derive from the Arabic triliteral root RAH, QOF, 'AID. The same three root letters yield words for divine fool, the patched cloak, the black-and-white chessboard pattern, to walk quickly, to hit the target with an arrow; also as in making epigrams (a favorite activity of Marcel Duchamp), to patch a cloak or to fix a well, to be heedless, to be addicted to wine, and the word raga', or "Seventh Heaven, an allu­sion to the divine quality of Sufism. And in his book, People of the Secret (The Octagon Press, London, 1983, p. 198), Ernest Scott writes "Harlechim' may have been a corruption of Aghlagin, a Sufic group known as The Silent Ones who ware patchwork clothes."

While the students were drawing, I rinsed out the plastic glasses, and opened up a bottle of Pedro Jimenez Viejissimo from the Lustau family of Jerez de la Frontera: some Spanish raisin to complement the French grape. I wouldn't serve lunch at such a social event on such a momen­tous day as that of the Vernal Equinox without providing just a taste of dessert. There was a ring of poppyseed cake, a veritable Semi di Papavero, fresh from Fornaio. The parting lesson was an invitation to reflect on the issue of forced or unannounced testing for "drugs," since there was enough natural chemical in the poppy seeds to show up in one's system as a confounded indication of opium, morphine or heroin, given the accuracy of the state-of-the-art tests being pro­posed by the state.

The class exited into a bright sunlight and the last hour of winter.

Art 113C – Occidental Art and Mythology Bibliography, Spring 1986     The American Heritage Dictionary  , William Morris, Editor (Houghton Mifflin Co.) with a full Appendix containing some 45 pages of Indo-European roots, usually published in a hardbound red cover. What they say is that you can't tell EVERY book by its cover. This may be true enough, of course; in America, which is a free country, anyone can publish a book in any kind or color of cover they want (thanks to the spirit of Tom Paine and the First Amendment to the Constitution). However, this should not obscure the fact that among certain publishers there is a conscious and deliberate convention whereby some texts are issued in choice colors or styles of binding, and not just willy-nilly, any old way. In other words, some books you can tell by their covers, as you are -supposed to be able to do. So use the  American Heritage Dictionary , with the red cover-- and we recommend the edition with the large type, which is easier to read.  Richard Braxton Onians,   The Origins of European Thought: About the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate   (New Interpretations  of Greek, Roman, and kindred evidence also of some basic Jewish and Christian beliefs). Cambridge, at the University Press, 1954. This is a most useful and instructive text, but extremely difficult to come by .  Perhaps sufficient enquiries from students will promote a greater availability of the book.  Robert Graves,   The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic  Myth.   Amended and enlarged edition: The Noonday Press, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, c. 1948. Graves provides a fascinating introduction to the deep study of poetry, language and the largely ignored or misunderstood symbolism and mythology of the alphabet, and of the important Celtic contributions to English.  David Lance Goines,   A Constructed Roman Alphabet: A Geometric  Analysis of the Greek and Roman Capitals and of the Arabic Numerals.   David R. Godine, publisher, Boston & London, 1982. From the sixteenth century the question of how to justly proportion the letters of the Roman alphabet has fascinated calligraphic talents (Durer, Feliciano, Michelangelo, Arrighi, Alberti, Cresci, Palatine, Erasmus, and Tagliente). Is there such a thing as "just proportion"? Are these proportions fixed and immutable or subjective and mobile? Is there a quantitative system which will reduce abstract concepts of harmony and rhythm to the fixed constancy of geometric equation? Goines, the well-known Berkeley graphic artist, Provides objective indications for the construction of the letters and numerals.    
  
  
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
  
  
  
  
  
  
  Marshall McLuhan, the Gutenberg Galaxy:   The Making of Typographic Man  . University of Toronto Press, c. 1962. Hypothesis: That the basic experience of Western man has been shaped mainly by invention of type. By the same author,   The Mechanical Bride  .  Elizabeth L.. Eisenstein,   The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe  . Cambridge University Press, c. 1933. A survey of the communications revolution of the fifteenth century, then the impact of the shift. From script to print in three major-movements of modern times: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the rise of modern science. By the same author,   The Printing Press as an Agent of Change  .  Karl Menninger,   Number Words and Number Symbols: A Cultural History of Numbers  . MIT Press, c. 1969. Since all people have evolved or inherited number systems, their study provides a clue to unlversals of language and culture. In their spoken and written forms numerals and numbers reflect cultural style, language patterns & conceptual outlook.  Joseph Needham,   Science and Civilization in China  , V olume 5  "Chemistry and   Technology, Part I: Paper and Printing by (Tsen-Hsuin, Ph.D.), Cambridge University Press 1985. Factors which Contributed to the invention of paper and printing, survey of source material, processes of paper manufacture and uses: writing, printing, ceremonial uses, currency, armour, bedding, wrapping, toilet use, and umbrellas.    Technology and aesthetic development of printing from early woodcuts to movable type, bookbinding and ink. History of the spread of paper printing Japan, Korea, Central Asia and Europe; expands on sections in Science and Civilization in China. Volume I, "Introductory Orientations, Cambridge, 1965.  Edward R. Tufte,   The Visual Display of Quantitative Information.   Graphics Press, 1983. Theory and Practice in design of statistical Graphics, charts and maps. Examples of best graphic work (1700-1962); esthetics and techniques, comparative effectiveness and deception.  Gertrude Moakley,   The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family: An Iconographic and Historical Study  . The New York Public Library, 1966. Sections also on triumphs and the game of triumphs, the Renaissance carnival, and an important bibliograpahy.  Basil Ivan Rakoczi,   The Painted Caravan : A penetration into the secrets of the Tarot cards  . LJC Boucher, The Hague 1954, New York. “A gypsy master…maintains that the Jewish secret Kabala was originally brought by his people out of Chaldea and Eqypt to Israel and thence to the West…and further that the Elausinian and kindred mysteries of Greece and the pre-Christian and Christian Gnosis, which traveled along the trade routes of the ancient world, were in his keeping. He concedes that the Masons had secrets of craftsmanship befitting their vocational state, but maintains that the Gypsy nomad gave to them the traditional magic that is retained, even if not understood, in the masonic lodges of our day." Tarot history according to Gypsy lore, from the 7th century in the Byzantine Empire to Roumania in the 14th. Connections with tinkers, Q-Celtic languages, and various heterodox traditions: Gnostic, Montanist, Donatist, Manichean, Cathars, Patarini, Bogomils and Albigensians.  Jessie L. Weston,   From the Ritual to Romance: An Account of the Holy Grail from ancient ritual to Christian Symbol.   Reprint: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957. Inspired the basic symbolism of T.S Eliot's The Waste Land. Archetypal events and symbols of the Grail legend seen as romantic transformations of ancient and deeply significant nature rituals; questions of magic, the symbolism of the Tarot cards.  Erica Tietze-Conrat,   Dwarfs and Jesters in Art.   Phaidon Press, London, 1957. Different types of court Fools, the moral and psychological relationship between king and jester, representation in art from Egyptian and Indian sculpture to famous 17th Century portraits by Velazquez and others.  Eric A, Havelock,   Preface to Plato  . Harvard University Press, 1963. The Greek cultural tradition remained essentially a poetized one, as exemplified by Homer and Hesiod, down to around 430 B.C. The reason was technological: memorization and oral recitation formed the bases of storing and transmitting the stored experience necessary to maintain cultural stability. Although the alphabet was introduced around 700 B.C., its use remained marginal, in the context of a craft literacy. With Plato there appears widespread literacy and abstract, formulaic vocabulary and sentence structure, seen as key to the emergence of both ethics and science. Also by Havelock,   The Literate Revolution in Greece and its Cultural Consequence  s. Princeton University Press, 1982. Contains reprints of several articles, including "The Preliteracy of the Greeks" (with connections between early writing and works of art) and lectures first published in Origins  of W estern Literacy, (Toronto, 1976) in which the significance of the Greek alphabet is contrasted with earlier syllabaries.  L.H. Jeffrey,   The local Scripts of Archaic Greece: A Study of the Greek Alphabet and its development from the Eighth to the Fifth Centuries, B.C.   Oxford, 1961. Published in the series of Oxford Monographs on Classical Archeology, this is a basic reference cited frequently by Havelock, with illustrations or facsimiles of the sculpture and pottery and their inscriptions. Account is also taken of the mnay historical, philosophical and artistic problems involved.  Michael Dummett,   The Game of Tarot: form Ferrara to Salt Lake.     
  
  Duckworth, London. Full account of the card game and variants Invented in Renaissance Europe, with illustrations and historical commentary on specific decks of cards. Dummett writes as Wykeham Professor of Logic in the University of Oxford, whose other major publications are on the philosopher Frege, and so he takes an especially slight view of the esoteric elements in the history of the Tarot, but provides scholarly note3s on his limited subject of choice.  R.J.A. Sloane,   A Handbook of Integer Sequences  . Academic Press, New York and London, 1973. A brilliant fundamental book, the  impact of which, however unfortunately, may whiz over the heads Of all but the most subtly perceptive minds of our times until, from the present generation of children there emerges a paradigm shift in the level of comprehending consciousness. Particularly instructive Chapter 3, "Illustrated Description of Some Important Sequences." The "Preface” concludes with an important sentence, recommending the handbook "might be useful to have around when the first signals arrive from Betelgeuse.(sequence 2311 for example would be a. friendly beginning).”  Issac Asimov,   Asimov on Numbers.   Pocket Books, 1978. The popular writer has chapters on the relationship of numbers to counting, mathematics, measurement, the calendar, biology, astronomy and the earth.  Florian Cajori,   A History  Mathematical Notations  , Open Court,LaSalle, Illinois, 1974. Volume 1, “Notations In Elementary Mathematics.” Dr. Cajori writes as Professor of the History of Mathematics at the. University  of  California. His historical survey of numeral symbols and Combinations is informative.  Peter Tompkins,   Secrets of the Great Pyramid  . Harper and Row New York, 1971. Excellent survey: archeological history, summary and  evaluation of research on the great pyramids at Giza, with clear explanations of technical points, scientific theories, geodetic and astronomical interpretations, fascinating illustrations, useful  comments on esoteric associations, glossary and bibliography. Having said all that, in some ways the most brilliant. part of the book is nevertheless the Appendix, "Notes of the relation of Ancient Measures to the Great Pyramid," by Livia Cetullo Stecchini. Tompkins is also the Author of two companion volumes published by Harper and Row, Mysteries of the  Mexican Pyramids and The Magic of Obelisks. The latter text contains important references to the Templars and the Inns of Court, and of course the Washington Monument.  I.J. Gelb,   A Study of Writing  . The University of Chicago Press, revised edition, 1974. A standard work, with scholarly references.  Richard Hinckley Allen,   Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning  . Dover edition, New York, 1963. The original was issues in 1899—a delightful, useful text supplying information from many cultures.  Brent Berlin and Paul Kay,   Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution  . University of California Press, Berkeley, 1969. Careful linguistic and psycho-physical analysis of 96 languages from diverse families establishes eleven basic colors—a set of precepts this constituting a substantive semantic universal, permitting the translation of color words (which had presented fundamental difficulties for anthropology and linguistics).  George Ifrah,   From One to Zero: A Universal History of Numbers  . Viking Penguin, New York, 1985. Illustrations, chronology.  Martin Gardner,   The Ambidextrous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Timereversed Worlds  . 2nd edition, Scribners, New York, 1964.  A.V. Shubnikov and V.A. Koptsik,   Symmetry in Science and Art  . Plenum Press, New York, 1974.  Joseph Campbell,   The Masks of God  . Viking Compass edition, 1964.  Idries Shah,   The Sufis  . Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, 1971.      

Art 113C – Occidental Art and Mythology Bibliography, Spring 1986

The American Heritage Dictionary, William Morris, Editor (Houghton Mifflin Co.) with a full Appendix containing some 45 pages of Indo-European roots, usually published in a hardbound red cover. What they say is that you can't tell EVERY book by its cover. This may be true enough, of course; in America, which is a free country, anyone can publish a book in any kind or color of cover they want (thanks to the spirit of Tom Paine and the First Amendment to the Constitution). However, this should not obscure the fact that among certain publishers there is a conscious and deliberate convention whereby some texts are issued in choice colors or styles of binding, and not just willy-nilly, any old way. In other words, some books you can tell by their covers, as you are -supposed to be able to do. So use the American Heritage Dictionary, with the red cover-- and we recommend the edition with the large type, which is easier to read.

Richard Braxton Onians, The Origins of European Thought: About the Body, the Mind, the Soul, the World, Time and Fate (New Interpretations  of Greek, Roman, and kindred evidence also of some basic Jewish and Christian beliefs). Cambridge, at the University Press, 1954. This is a most useful and instructive text, but extremely difficult to come by. Perhaps sufficient enquiries from students will promote a greater availability of the book.

Robert Graves, The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic  Myth. Amended and enlarged edition: The Noonday Press, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, c. 1948. Graves provides a fascinating introduction to the deep study of poetry, language and the largely ignored or misunderstood symbolism and mythology of the alphabet, and of the important Celtic contributions to English.

David Lance Goines, A Constructed Roman Alphabet: A Geometric  Analysis of the Greek and Roman Capitals and of the Arabic Numerals. David R. Godine, publisher, Boston & London, 1982. From the sixteenth century the question of how to justly proportion the letters of the Roman alphabet has fascinated calligraphic talents (Durer, Feliciano, Michelangelo, Arrighi, Alberti, Cresci, Palatine, Erasmus, and Tagliente). Is there such a thing as "just proportion"? Are these proportions fixed and immutable or subjective and mobile? Is there a quantitative system which will reduce abstract concepts of harmony and rhythm to the fixed constancy of geometric equation? Goines, the well-known Berkeley graphic artist, Provides objective indications for the construction of the letters and numerals.

Marshall McLuhan, the Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man. University of Toronto Press, c. 1962. Hypothesis: That the basic experience of Western man has been shaped mainly by invention of type. By the same author, The Mechanical Bride.

Elizabeth L.. Eisenstein, The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press, c. 1933. A survey of the communications revolution of the fifteenth century, then the impact of the shift. From script to print in three major-movements of modern times: the Renaissance, the Reformation and the rise of modern science. By the same author, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change.

Karl Menninger, Number Words and Number Symbols: A Cultural History of Numbers. MIT Press, c. 1969. Since all people have evolved or inherited number systems, their study provides a clue to unlversals of language and culture. In their spoken and written forms numerals and numbers reflect cultural style, language patterns & conceptual outlook.

Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, Volume 5 "Chemistry and   Technology, Part I: Paper and Printing by (Tsen-Hsuin, Ph.D.), Cambridge University Press 1985. Factors which Contributed to the invention of paper and printing, survey of source material, processes of paper manufacture and uses: writing, printing, ceremonial uses, currency, armour, bedding, wrapping, toilet use, and umbrellas.    Technology and aesthetic development of printing from early woodcuts to movable type, bookbinding and ink. History of the spread of paper printing Japan, Korea, Central Asia and Europe; expands on sections in Science and Civilization in China. Volume I, "Introductory Orientations, Cambridge, 1965.

Edward R. Tufte, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press, 1983. Theory and Practice in design of statistical Graphics, charts and maps. Examples of best graphic work
(1700-1962); esthetics and techniques, comparative effectiveness and deception.

Gertrude Moakley, The Tarot Cards Painted by Bonifacio Bembo for the Visconti-Sforza Family: An Iconographic and Historical Study. The New York Public Library, 1966. Sections also on triumphs and the game of triumphs, the Renaissance carnival, and an important bibliograpahy.

Basil Ivan Rakoczi, The Painted Caravan : A penetration into the secrets of the Tarot cards. LJC Boucher, The Hague 1954, New York. “A gypsy master…maintains that the Jewish secret Kabala was originally brought by his people out of Chaldea and Eqypt to Israel and thence to the West…and further that the Elausinian and kindred mysteries of Greece and the pre-Christian and Christian Gnosis, which traveled along the trade routes of the ancient world, were in his keeping. He concedes that the Masons had secrets of craftsmanship befitting their vocational state, but maintains that the Gypsy nomad gave to them the traditional magic that is retained, even if not understood, in the masonic lodges of our day." Tarot history according to Gypsy lore, from the 7th century in the Byzantine Empire to Roumania in the 14th. Connections with tinkers, Q-Celtic languages, and various heterodox traditions: Gnostic, Montanist, Donatist, Manichean, Cathars, Patarini, Bogomils and Albigensians.

Jessie L. Weston, From the Ritual to Romance: An Account of the Holy Grail from ancient ritual to Christian Symbol. Reprint: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1957. Inspired the basic symbolism of T.S Eliot's The Waste Land. Archetypal events and symbols of the Grail legend seen as romantic transformations of ancient and deeply significant nature rituals; questions of magic, the symbolism of the Tarot cards.

Erica Tietze-Conrat, Dwarfs and Jesters in Art. Phaidon Press, London, 1957. Different types of court Fools, the moral and psychological relationship between king and jester, representation in art from Egyptian and Indian sculpture to famous 17th Century portraits by Velazquez and others.

Eric A, Havelock, Preface to Plato. Harvard University Press, 1963. The Greek cultural tradition remained essentially a poetized one, as exemplified by Homer and Hesiod, down to around 430 B.C. The reason was technological: memorization and oral recitation formed the bases of storing and transmitting the stored experience necessary to maintain cultural stability. Although the alphabet was introduced around 700 B.C., its use remained marginal, in the context of a craft literacy. With Plato there appears widespread literacy and abstract, formulaic vocabulary and sentence structure, seen as key to the emergence of both ethics and science. Also by Havelock, The Literate Revolution in Greece and its Cultural Consequences. Princeton University Press, 1982. Contains reprints of several articles, including "The Preliteracy of the Greeks" (with connections between early writing and works of art) and lectures first published in Origins of Western Literacy, (Toronto, 1976) in which the significance of the Greek alphabet is contrasted with earlier syllabaries.

L.H. Jeffrey, The local Scripts of Archaic Greece: A Study of the Greek Alphabet and its development from the Eighth to the Fifth Centuries, B.C. Oxford, 1961. Published in the series of Oxford Monographs on Classical Archeology, this is a basic reference cited frequently by Havelock, with illustrations or facsimiles of the sculpture and pottery and their inscriptions. Account is also taken of the mnay historical, philosophical and artistic problems involved.

Michael Dummett, The Game of Tarot: form Ferrara to Salt Lake. Duckworth, London. Full account of the card game and variants Invented in Renaissance Europe, with illustrations and historical commentary on specific decks of cards. Dummett writes as Wykeham Professor of Logic in the University of Oxford, whose other major publications are on the philosopher Frege, and so he takes an especially slight view of the esoteric elements in the history of the Tarot, but provides scholarly note3s on his limited subject of choice.

R.J.A. Sloane, A Handbook of Integer Sequences. Academic Press, New York and London, 1973. A brilliant fundamental book, the  impact of which, however unfortunately, may whiz over the heads Of all but the most subtly perceptive minds of our times until, from the present generation of children there emerges a paradigm shift in the level of comprehending consciousness. Particularly instructive Chapter 3, "Illustrated Description of Some Important Sequences." The "Preface” concludes with an important sentence, recommending the handbook "might be useful to have around when the first signals arrive from Betelgeuse.(sequence 2311 for example would be a. friendly beginning).”

Issac Asimov, Asimov on Numbers. Pocket Books, 1978. The popular writer has chapters on the relationship of numbers to counting, mathematics, measurement, the calendar, biology, astronomy and the earth.

Florian Cajori, A History  Mathematical Notations, Open Court,LaSalle, Illinois, 1974. Volume 1, “Notations In Elementary Mathematics.” Dr. Cajori writes as Professor of the History of Mathematics at the. University of California. His historical survey of numeral symbols and Combinations is informative.

Peter Tompkins, Secrets of the Great Pyramid. Harper and Row New York, 1971. Excellent survey: archeological history, summary and  evaluation of research on the great pyramids at Giza, with clear explanations of technical points, scientific theories, geodetic and astronomical interpretations, fascinating illustrations, useful  comments on esoteric associations, glossary and bibliography. Having said all that, in some ways the most brilliant. part of the book is nevertheless the Appendix, "Notes of the relation of Ancient Measures to the Great Pyramid," by Livia Cetullo Stecchini. Tompkins is also the Author of two companion volumes published by Harper and Row, Mysteries of the  Mexican Pyramids and The Magic of Obelisks. The latter text contains important references to the Templars and the Inns of Court, and of course the Washington Monument.

I.J. Gelb, A Study of Writing. The University of Chicago Press, revised edition, 1974. A standard work, with scholarly references.

Richard Hinckley Allen, Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning. Dover edition, New York, 1963. The original was issues in 1899—a delightful, useful text supplying information from many cultures.

Brent Berlin and Paul Kay, Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution. University of California Press, Berkeley, 1969. Careful linguistic and psycho-physical analysis of 96 languages from diverse families establishes eleven basic colors—a set of precepts this constituting a substantive semantic universal, permitting the translation of color words (which had presented fundamental difficulties for anthropology and linguistics).

George Ifrah, From One to Zero: A Universal History of Numbers. Viking Penguin, New York, 1985. Illustrations, chronology.

Martin Gardner, The Ambidextrous Universe: Mirror Asymmetry and Timereversed Worlds. 2nd edition, Scribners, New York, 1964.

A.V. Shubnikov and V.A. Koptsik, Symmetry in Science and Art. Plenum Press, New York, 1974.

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God. Viking Compass edition, 1964.

Idries Shah, The Sufis. Doubleday Anchor Books, New York, 1971.