Thanks Peter I'll order that right now. No one seems to be selling All Hallow's Eve.


Sent from my iPod

On Jun 30, 2010, at 11:08 PM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

A through sense of the dynamic of the tarot is to be had by reading
Charles Williams' novel THE GREATER TRUMPS
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">Chokh Raj
To: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]">[log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:01 AM
Subject: Re: The Occult in Modernist Writing

lest I overlook
Modernist alchemy: poetry and the occult
By Timothy Materer
Cornell University Press, 1995 - 218 pages
"The occult has been a source of both ideas and images for modern poets from W. B. Yeats to James Merrill. Poets as diverse as Ezra Pound, H.D., Sylvia Plath, Robert Duncan, and Ted Hughes were both fascinated by, and skeptical of, such phenomena as alchemy and astrology, Ouija boards and Tarot cards, Indian mysticism, the kabbalah, and gnosticism. All of these poets, Timothy Materer says, approached the occult with a modernist sophistication and a self-consciousness that are not entirely credulous nor entirely skeptical. Modernist Alchemy takes a close look at the work of twentieth-century poets whose use of the occult constitutes a recovery of discarded beliefs and modes of thought: Yeats and Plath try to dismiss conventional religion, Hughes captures a sense of adventure, H.D. seeks to liberate repressed concepts, while Duncan and Merrill hunt for a lost understanding of sexual identity which will allow for androgyny and homosexuality. Materer ends with Merrill, whose attempt to suspend both doubt and belief marks the culmination of the poetic style initiated by Yeats."
A tour de force of the book is its perspective on "T.S. Eliot: Occultism as Heresy" [p.71- ].
an excerpt  [from p. 75]
"The tarot pack indeed provides a major structural device in The Waste Land. In the occult tradition, the Tarot is considered a book, or the fragments of one: the book of Hermes Trismegistus, the legendary Egyptian priest whose Hermetic lore is a major source of many forms of occultism. The characters in The Waste Land are identified when the fortune teller, Madame Sosostris, lays out her "wicked pack of cards": the "man with three staves," or the wounded Fisher King who must be healed if the Waste Land is to revive; the Phoenician sailor, or the doomed quester who fails the king; the "Hanged Man," or the sacrificial victim whom Sosostris fails to elicit from the pack; and Belladona...the lady of situations," who may be any of the various women in the poem who fail the quester."
"The occult tradition in The Waste Land is of course not used without reservations. Like Madame de Tornquist in "Gerontion", Madame Sosostris is a tawdry figure despite the wise instruction she gives unconsciously through the Tarot. Moreover, her role is negative because she can only identify the reason for spiritual failure in the absence of the redeeming "Hanged Man." Nevertheless, the Tarot is, like the other sacred books cited in the poem, a medium of spiritual wisdom."