Huck: Where does the quotation from Reugelith come from? Where is the rest of the post? I do not like to comment on isolated sentences taken out of context.
That said, in Wirth's case, the details on his cards are, at least in part, mnemonic devices for remembering what he says about them. So it is essential to look at what he says, as Ronan suggests. Unlike in the pre-Etteilla days, we have a tarot card designer who spells out what he has in mind (pp. 67-68 of 1980 English translation):
On leaving Unity in which all is merged (Aranum 1) we come to the sphere of the Binary or of differentiation: it is the entrance square to the Temple of Solomon, wherein rise the two columns of Jachin and Boaz between which is enthroned the Priestess, in front of a veil with iridescent folds which mask the entry to the sanctuary.
So the yin-yang on the book is related to the polar opposition of the two columns. Yin-yang is female-male and active-passive, one type of binary opposition. Yachin-Boaz in Freemasonry is similar. Here is a passage from one Masonic site (https://www.rimasons.org/trestleboard/2 ... az-joachim
However viewed, the pillars as stated earlier represent the equilibrium of two opposing forces. Aside from their dimensions, in York Rite Masonry the pillars are most often seen with a ball or globe placed on top. In essence the pillars most likely had a bowl, one containing fire and the other water. The celestial globe or fire bowl surmounting Jachin symbolized the divine man, the terrestrial globe or water bowl symbolized the earthly man. The pillars also connote the active and passive expressions of divine energy, the sun and the moon, sulphur and salt, good and bad, etc. The door placed between them leads to the House of God and standing at the gates of Sanctuary they are reminded that Jehovah is both androgynous (both male and female) and an anthro-pomorphic (having human qualities) deity.
However there seems to be no agreed upon interpretation among Masons. Another site, besides speaking of male and female, speaks of the columns as symbolizing "the great architect" as a "pillar of fire" and a "pillar of cloud." These are in Anglo-American Masonry; Wirth's would have been in a slightly different tradition, that of the "grand orient".
As far as Wirth's intent for the yin-yang symbol, Firepickles is surely right. Supporting that interpretation are the Popess's two keys, of the Sun and the Moon. Wirth says (p. 67):
Of these keys which open hidden aspects of things (Esotericism) one is gold and is related to the Sun (Word, Reason) and the other silver, hence having an affinity with the Moon (Imagination, intuitive lucidity). That means that one must unite strict logic and sweet impressionability if one aspires to divine hidden things, the knowledge which Nature hides from a great number of us.
There is also the colors of the two columns (p. 68):
Of the two columns one is red and the other blue. The first corresponds to Fire (vital, devouring warmth, male activity, Sulphur of the Alchemists), the second is related to Air (the breath which feeds life, feminine sensibility, the Mercury of the Wise). All creation stems from this fundamental duality: Father, Mother - Subject, Object - Creator, Creation - God, Nature - Osiris, Isis, etc.
Fire and air correlates with the Masonic "pillar of fire" and "pillar of cloud".
In these quotes I have left out Wirth's astrological symbols for Sun and Moon, and alchemical symbols for Sulphur and Mercury, the standard ones in each case. The quotations are from the 1980 translation of Wirth's Le Tarot des imagiers du Moyen Age.
, 1927. I have checked its accuracy against the French.
Of the three versions of the card that Huck presented in the first post, the top one is that of 1927, done for his book, and the bottom one is of 1889, done for Papus's book. The middle one is an engraved one done for the reprinting of Wirth's book after his death. There may be elements in it that Wirth never anticipated.
For esotericists at the end of the 19th century, all civilizations came from a first, mythical civilization that must be rediscovered. See the books by René Guénon cited above.
I am not sure what you mean by a belief that "all civilizations came from a first, mythical civilization that must be rediscovered." How can one rediscover a civilization that one believes is mythical? I assume you mean "all civilizations came from a first, myth-based
civilization that must be rediscovered", where "myth-based civilization" means one once actually existing with a non-Judeo-Christian prisca theologia
I do not see Wirth in 1927 taking that position. He writes of the tarot subjects (p. 22), after surveying the proponents of a "supposed Egyptian origin" for the Tarot:
These ideas are timeless: they are as old as human thought, but they have been expressed differently, according to the climate of the age. The philosophical system of Alexandria gave them verbal expression, whereas the Tarot was later to present them in the form of symbols. If not by its substance, at least by its form, the Tarot proves itself to be an original work which in no aspect at all reproduces pre-existing models. Archeology has not found the slightest trace of what could constitute the remains of an Egyptian Tarot, either gnostic or even of Graeco-Arab alchemy.
(The last bit is translated wrong. I think it should be "...the remains of a Tarot, whether Egyptian, gnostic or even of Graeco-Arab alchemy" ["...les vestiges d'un Tarot egyptien, gnostique ou meme alchemiste greco-arabe."]) Wirth's orientation is rather that there are archetypal ideas common to many if not all civilizations, expressions of the human species once it has reached a certain cultural level. In this case, it is simply a matter of the word "two", combined with various dichotomies present in the culture, some of which, such as male/female, are probably common to all cultures. It is not far in space, and none in time, between Wirth's Geneva and Jung's Zurich.