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Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky,  5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947), was a Russian mathematician and esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky,  5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947), was a Russian mathematician and esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. He shared the (Gurdjieff) "system" for 25 years in England and the United States, having separated from Gurdjieff in 1924 personally, for reasons he explains in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous. All in all, Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff system directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. His book In Search of the Miraculous is a recounting of what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. While lecturing in London in 1924, he announced that he would continue independently the way he had begun in 1921. Some, including his close pupil Rodney Collin, say that he finally gave up the system in 1947, just before his death, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings", published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement, nor does Ouspensky's emphasis on "you must make a new beginning" after confessing "I've left the system".


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Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky,  5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947), was a Russian mathematician and esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii (known in English as Peter D. Ouspensky,  5 March 1878 – 2 October 1947), was a Russian mathematician and esotericist known for his expositions of the early work of the Greek-Armenian teacher of esoteric doctrine George Gurdjieff, whom he met in Moscow in 1915. He was associated with the ideas and practices originating with Gurdjieff from then on. He shared the (Gurdjieff) "system" for 25 years in England and the United States, having separated from Gurdjieff in 1924 personally, for reasons he explains in the last chapter of his book In Search of the Miraculous. All in all, Ouspensky studied the Gurdjieff system directly under Gurdjieff's own supervision for a period of ten years, from 1915 to 1924. His book In Search of the Miraculous is a recounting of what he learned from Gurdjieff during those years. While lecturing in London in 1924, he announced that he would continue independently the way he had begun in 1921. Some, including his close pupil Rodney Collin, say that he finally gave up the system in 1947, just before his death, but his own recorded words on the subject ("A Record of Meetings", published posthumously) do not clearly endorse this judgement, nor does Ouspensky's emphasis on "you must make a new beginning" after confessing "I've left the system".

30 review for The Symbolism of the Tarot: Philosophy of occultism in Pictures and Numbers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Taliesin Mcknight

    This is an interesting booklet, but i cannot give this a good rating for several reasons. First of all, i would like to say that it's good for a student to get as many perspectives as possible on tarot, and this does present some interesting points. It explores each of the 22 major arcana in a narrative form and some interesting ideas about esoteric teachings of tarot are presented. However, this text reproduces a lot of the false history of tarot that originated with Court de Gebelin about the c This is an interesting booklet, but i cannot give this a good rating for several reasons. First of all, i would like to say that it's good for a student to get as many perspectives as possible on tarot, and this does present some interesting points. It explores each of the 22 major arcana in a narrative form and some interesting ideas about esoteric teachings of tarot are presented. However, this text reproduces a lot of the false history of tarot that originated with Court de Gebelin about the cards being a survival of ancient Egyptian wisdom (i.e. The legendary Book of Thoth). While i think such legends and traditional stories are interesting, they are not accurate. So, books like this continue the spread of inaccurate information in the occult community. Also, this is not long enough to be considered a "book." It's more like an article. So, be sure and look at how many pages before you decide to buy it--supposing you're purchasing online and may not be aware of how short the text is. That's really my main issue is that it's so short and superficial a look at tarot. It only really addresses the meanings of the 22 major arcana and that only in a very superficial narrative form that doesn't tell us much. In conclusion, i think this is a very interesting read, and it's good to see all different perspectives on a subject, but i cannot recommend this book or give it a good rating because it's too short, incomplete, superficial, and has some inaccurate information it perpetuates.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vin

    I really like the descriptions of the cards and the way he breaks down the suites was very helpful. A quick read, less than 60 pages. I wouldn't turn to this for an introduction to Tarot but I think it enhanced my understanding and interpretation of the cards as a narrative. 3 stars. I really like the descriptions of the cards and the way he breaks down the suites was very helpful. A quick read, less than 60 pages. I wouldn't turn to this for an introduction to Tarot but I think it enhanced my understanding and interpretation of the cards as a narrative. 3 stars.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alex Tello

    In spite of being specific to the Rider Waite deck, the symbolic attributes and conceptual explanation of the the Tarot that Ouspensky delivers on this booklet is really comprehensive and clear. Totally recommended for beginners or anyone trying to form a general concept of the major arcana

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Picked up this one because Jodorowsky in one of his youtube tarot readings mentioned it as a book that really formed him. It's a nice reference material, just a small pamphlet that provides a pathworking-style look into the mystical aspects of the cards Picked up this one because Jodorowsky in one of his youtube tarot readings mentioned it as a book that really formed him. It's a nice reference material, just a small pamphlet that provides a pathworking-style look into the mystical aspects of the cards

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marina Resende

    mind-blowing!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elenapetulia

    Un'introduzione meravigliosa e una prima parte anche. La seconda, con un viaggio sui generis negli arcani, per me meno bella. Ma profondo e intenso. Un'introduzione meravigliosa e una prima parte anche. La seconda, con un viaggio sui generis negli arcani, per me meno bella. Ma profondo e intenso.

  7. 5 out of 5

    A

    This is an interesting but problematic little tarot guide written by Ouspensky, prior to his involvement with Gurdjieff (if I understand correctly). On the broadest, most basic level, I am not sure I can recommend this as a guide for beginners or those in need of a resource for card meanings. Ouspensky only covers the Major Arcana in any detail, and his basic breakdown of the card meanings is too general and in some cases questionable. His brief breakdown of the Minor Arcana elements is also prob This is an interesting but problematic little tarot guide written by Ouspensky, prior to his involvement with Gurdjieff (if I understand correctly). On the broadest, most basic level, I am not sure I can recommend this as a guide for beginners or those in need of a resource for card meanings. Ouspensky only covers the Major Arcana in any detail, and his basic breakdown of the card meanings is too general and in some cases questionable. His brief breakdown of the Minor Arcana elements is also problematic, and he doesn't really touch on the implied meanings of numbers and royals. The more extended meanings of the cards are treated in a narrative fashion, which is a wonderful technique in terms of reading and interacting with the cards, but isn't going to detail the specific symbolism used. Ouspensky undoubtedly refers to the Rider-Waite tarot, which consciously borrows elements from several traditions and is quite specific in terms of meaning. While I support more intuitive approaches to the tarot and have found that approach personally quite liberating, decks like the Rider-Waite or Thoth are constructed in such an intentional way that it is useful to understand the reference points and grounding system. According to editor Donald Tyson in his notes, Ouspensky might also be making reference to Wirth's tarot, which is essentially just a modernized form of the early Renaissance tarot decks like the well-known Marseilles tarot. These very probably aren't making the same references, or are at least not grounded in modern magick/occult systems. But then this bring us to the next issue with the book, which is that the text is rife with misinformation about tarot that is still getting repeated nearly 100 years later. Most notably, the idea started in the 18th century by Antoine Court that the tarot originally came from Egypt, along with the idea that tarot was brought to Europe by Gypsies. None of this is supported by factual evidence, and it is more likely that tarot began as a card game influenced by similar games going further back in China and India. This, of course, doesn't mean that there isn't inherent symbolism in the cards, it's just not some hidden knowledge from occult societies in Ancient Egypt and any current occult implications have been pasted on by folks since. I'm not going to detail the rest of the information, as editor Donald Tyson in my edition does a great job qualifying Ouspensky's statements in his notes. If you can find this particular edition, I recommend it. Returning to my point regarding the narrative approach used by Ouspensky, I will say that this is the greatest point of interest in the book. As I said before, he doesn't really delve into all the symbols, and many readers will find the out-of-order sequence difficult to work with as a resource. However, those unfamiliar with this technique will find it very interesting and hopefully be able to apply the idea to their study of the cards. Mary K. Greer uses some similar exercises in her Tarot for Your Self, directing you through the process, which Ouspensky sadly does not do. But the thoughtful reader with a deep interest in using tarot for self-work will no doubt find the demonstration of this method quite useful. The connections he is able to make from card to card to create a continuous narrative might even help those applying tarot to the writing of fiction. The numbering system he lays out is quite interesting and worth exploring, though I wish he'd used it to organize the demonstration. Nonetheless, I plan on playing around with the system he proposes and see what I can glean from it. In conclusion, while I have some pretty strong criticisms of the content here, I did find much of it interesting and worth the read. It didn't introduce me to much I was not already aware of, and I don't recommend it to beginners or anyone looking for another tarot guide that will break the meaning and symbolism down in a clear manner. With the Rider-Waite specifically, you're probably better off picking up Alan Oken's Pocket Guide... or reading Waite's own Pictorial Key (if you can stand the Victorian verbiage). Mary K. Greer is another writer on tarot I highly recommend, and she covers more or less the same method Ouspensky uses in this text, with a more no-nonsense approach.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mario

    This is a narrative journey through each card of the major arcana. The conceit of the work is interesting, but very limiting in terms of story telling. Like trying to tell a coherent story using only a single image from each TV station in order, there is only so much you can do when your medium is essentially random. Even taking that into account, though, I still think it's disappointing. More could be done with the material, scant as it is. This is a narrative journey through each card of the major arcana. The conceit of the work is interesting, but very limiting in terms of story telling. Like trying to tell a coherent story using only a single image from each TV station in order, there is only so much you can do when your medium is essentially random. Even taking that into account, though, I still think it's disappointing. More could be done with the material, scant as it is.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Devilsjourney

    So far, this is the most brilliant explanation of the tarot I've ever read. Quite possibly because the vast majority of the common "tarot books" for sale in the occult sections of most bookstores are absolute crap, regurgitating common definitions but lacking substance. This is far above that. It is important to look at it as more than a story. So far, this is the most brilliant explanation of the tarot I've ever read. Quite possibly because the vast majority of the common "tarot books" for sale in the occult sections of most bookstores are absolute crap, regurgitating common definitions but lacking substance. This is far above that. It is important to look at it as more than a story.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    This inexpensive little book is one of the most helpful when it comes to utilizing the major arcana of the Tarot. Quite a happy find for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amber Moors

    It was good kind of helpful but a little egoistic. I don't see ouspensky like that really. It was good kind of helpful but a little egoistic. I don't see ouspensky like that really.

  12. 5 out of 5

    the kenosha kid

    Man, what a trip!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sam K

    Amazing, amazing explanations to the symbols of the taraot cards.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Syncreation

    Hello PhilTarotReaders and Ka Rene! This book is great! A very enriching way of looking at our archetypes!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Teleri

    While Ouspensky is better known for his work documenting the mystical system devised by his mentor, G. I. Gurdjieff, this early work is quite solidly researched. I have it on Kindle.

  16. 5 out of 5

    C.J. Prince

    I've read other Ouspensky books but haven't seen this one. I've read other Ouspensky books but haven't seen this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mariya

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liam Griffin

  19. 5 out of 5

    Predrag Kandic

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marico

  21. 4 out of 5

    Donna Bassett

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christoph

  23. 4 out of 5

    H A

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristine Pensinger

  26. 5 out of 5

    Martine Devos

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

  28. 5 out of 5

    M

  29. 5 out of 5

    Julian Cheek

  30. 4 out of 5

    Felipe Munoz

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