PS - It should be apropos in this regard to observe that Eliot does not scoff at the prophetic vision of either Tiresias or the Sybil of Cumae.


All said, Eliot looked rather suspiciously at all this tarot business, Madame Sosostris and Madame de Tornquist. That is not to deny his fascination for the mystical and the supernatural domain of life, an area of human experience he greatly prized and cherished. All the same, I am afraid, one would have to make a distinction between Eliot's regard for the ancient fertility rites on the one hand and his mockery of certain sham cults associated with occultism. The dividing line gets rather thin at times, though.


On Aug 19, 2013, at 9:39 AM, Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Excusez moi! The post I posted today belongs here. Please read that in this context.

Sent from my iPhone

On Aug 19, 2013, at 1:48 AM, P <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Not if Madam Sosostris is involved, not to mention the shadow walking beside us, or the dog & corpse, or the dead sound of the bell &c., &c.
If the structure is occult, how can the message not be? The medium IS the message. As it is, Eliot had no message, whereby the poem is a reverse monster, a monster being a figure without a ground. A ground without a figure is a genius invention, opaque and so occult.

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

You would agree with me, though, Peter, that Eliot utilized the cards for their symbolic value, and as structural devices, rather than as instruments of the occult.


From: P <[log in to unmask]>;
To: <[log in to unmask]>;
Subject: Re: The significance of the Tarot cards in 'The Waste Land'
Sent: Mon, Aug 19, 2013 3:25:09 AM

For a virtually contemporary take,
one could look at Chas. Williams' THE GREATER TRUMPS. Williams, like Yeats, Crowley, &c. belonged to the Society of the Golden Dawn which carried a lot of cultural weight at a time when the occult was very influential.

Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The Tarot Fortune in The Waste Land

Betsey B. Creekmore
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Winter, 1982), pp. 908-928
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
Article Stable URL: 

"[T]he Tarot fortune is more than incidental to the meaning and movement of The Waste Land. ... "[I]ndividual reflection" provides meaning for the cards, since "the pictures are like doors which open into unexpected chambers or like a turn in the open road with a wide prospect beyond."

looking afresh


From: Chokh Raj <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, August 17, 2013 8:31 PM
Subject: "and here the Wheel"

Could the list throw light on the various ramifications of the symbol of wheel in TWL?

I had one in mind but of that later, after I hear from you.