Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Wicked Queen | Snow White | Villains in the Court

'Bring me back a Crunchie and a 99 cone'
In Walt Disney's 1937 classic 'Snow White' the wicked Queen is the young princess's step-mother.  Beautiful - in a glacial Hollywood Bitch sort of way - the Queen erupts into a jealous rage when her magic mirror tells her that she is no longer the fairest in the land.

Raven-haired step-daughter Snow White has become the most beautiful in the land! Which can only be bad news for Snowy.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tarot in Art | Besancon Tarot

Again I have been dusting in the vaults and stumbled upon this jewel lurking in a darkened corridor, the Besancon Tarot.  Reader, there should be a cedilla underneath that 'c', but my keyboard won't let me insert one *ashamed of uncouth keyboard face*

This French Tarot by Guillaume Mann has some interesting omissions - from this image we can see that the King of Cups and Queen of Swords have had their titles removed and also their crowns, thus ensuring that this is a politically astute deck for Revolutionary France!  Better their crowns and titles swiped than their heads :-D

Interesting to see that Major Arcana V is named  Jupiter and not The Pope.  This change wasn't so much brought about by the Revolutionary attitude towards cutting links with the church as much as it was the church itself having been quite keen on getting rid of the figures of the Popess (Juno) and the Pope (Jupiter) from the deck - it's not terribly dignified having the Pope as a trump in a card game that was no doubt played in inns and brothels all over Europe and goodness knows what the blessed cardinals thought of the mythical Pope Joan as the Popess!

Created in 1795 in the town of Colmar in Alsace, this particular 78-card deck sold for £2,375.00 in November 2013.  The Besancon Tarot was a fore-runner for the IJJ Swiss

Monday, 10 November 2014

Meet the Family | Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel

A while back I was enthusing about this Dame Fortune deck because it had a ready-made significator which absolves you of appropriating another Tarot card to use as the significator for your client.  At the time, I said that the Courts of the deck were worth a post on their own, so here they are.

A year later.

What can I say? I'm in a Pentacle-type sloooooooow state of mind :)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Full Moon | Taurus

As we creep towards Yule, the nights here in Scotland are definitely chillier. I've unearthed my bed socks for another season and the central heating has been turned on*.  For us at Tarot Thrones, November heralds the full moon in Taurus.

In Tarot, Taurus is represented by the King of Pentacles, so for 6 November, here's how he will be influencing us all!

In the Druidcraft Tarot, we see an older man who sits in his great hall in front of a roaring fire upon which a boar is roasting. I love how the carved points of the pentacle behind him look like horns!  Perched in the window is a little red-breasted robin.  The sky is darkening.  As the Stark family in that OTHER Game of Thrones might say... 'Winter is coming!'

Pentacles is the suit governed by the element of Earth and this, coupled with his Fiery Kingly energy tells us that the Full Moon in Taurus is a very productive time (think of how fire and elements from the earth come together to make pottery, ceramics, glass etc).

This is a very sensuous character - he's all about the experiencing (Pentacles/Earth) through the doing (Fire).

He is very much at home with the finer things in life (just look at his fine robes and surroundings!) and while we may not all have the wealth that the King of Pentacles clearly enjoys, we can make the most of all the wonderful things that we DO have in our lives. Yeah, this is where I get all mushy and point out that even the dog lying snoring gently by your desk brings wealth of a sort to your life.

Maybe not his in-sleep farting though.

The King of Pentacles enjoys great wealth, but he is no risk-taking gambler.  His approach is steady and responsible and if you are in business, his influence shows sustainable progress.

This full moon, he tells us:

Be productive!
Slow and steady wins the race!
Enjoy life!
Be generous!

* How do you turn on your central heating system? Simple. You just say 'hey baby, you are the sexiest heating system that I've ever seen.'  Old jokes.  Golden :-D

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Heroes | Warriors |Worthies

A long time ago,  I promised to show you the Court Cards from the Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel deck (by Paul Huson) because they are REALLY interesting: They are all named after well-known characters from classical literature and the Bible.

I know.  CLASSICAL LITERATURE!!  THE BIBLE!!! Here on m'blog!!!!

Before we meet those Court families, I thought that it made good sense to take a look at just why these cards bear the names that they do.

*does the wobbly hands time thing*

Back in the 1400s in France, it was the custom to pop names onto the face cards of the standard deck of playing cards. Two groups of names were common; one that became known as the Paris pattern and the other, the Rouen pattern.  These patterns, or lists of names,  have quite a bit of overlap and it is the Paris pattern that we are interested in today because this is the design that influenced early Tarot decks, such as Etteilla's Tarot in the 1700s. And it is Etteilla's deck that forms the basis for The Dame Fortune's Tarot Wheel.
The Paris Pattern

                   Hearts         Spades            Diamonds          Clubs
Kings          Charles       David              Caesar                Alexander
Queens       Judith         Pallas              Rachel                Argine
Knaves       La Hire      Ogier               Hector          Judas Maccabeus *
                                                                                   Judah Maccabee

Although we're not talking about them today, here are the famous stars of the Rouen Pattern.
The Rouen Pattern

                   Hearts          Spades    Diamonds    Clubs
Kings         Alexander     David        Caesar          Charles
Queens      Rachel           Pallas        Argine          Judith
Knaves      La Hire          Hector      Ogier            Judah Maccabee **
                                                                             Judas Maccabeus
Info from the International Playing Card Society website                                                                
You will have noted, because I know that you are a clever and discriminating personage, that there is a Tarot rank missing - the Knights are not included in either the Paris or Rouen Patterns.  There's nothing sinister about this, just that in ordinary playing card decks (where these patterns come from) there were only the three ranks of King, Queen and Knave.   We'll be talking about this again when we get on to the Sola Busca Tarot in a week or so, because it's contrary!  I know, it's almost like I've PLANNED these posts.

13th century 'Nine Good Heroes'
(City Hall, Cologne)
It was also suggested to me that the Nine Worthies (Neuf Preux) play a role in the names selected for the Paris and Rouen patterns.

These Worthies were famed rulers of the Christian, Jewish and Pagan worlds and were first mentioned in a chanson de geste (a type of epic poem), 'Voeux du Paon'  ('The Vows of the Peacock') by Jaques de Longuyon around 1312 - all about chivalry.

It seems likely that similar chivalric tales (which were all the rage) influenced the naming of the cards in both the Paris and Rouen patterns.  

The Nine Worthies 

Pagan         Hector, Alexander and Caesar
Jewish        Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus
Christian    King Arthur, Godfrey of Bouillon,  Charlemagne

I've highlighted the overlapping names in the Paris Pattern with the Worthies in red.

* Edit:  Paul Huson very kindly commented on this blog post and provided the following correction:  "Judas Maccabeus was one of the Nine Worthies but his name was never attached to the Knave of Clubs. From 1490 the Knave in both Rouen and Paris patterns bore the name "Lancelot" (of Camelot fame) although the name "Roland," another name from French legend, was briefly tried but didn't last". 

In the late 1300s,  Lists of 9 Lady Worthies were created, but only Judith seems to be an overlapping name. However, the Lady Worthies seem to change depending on who is creating the list!

So while the Worthies must have influenced the naming of many of the male characters in the Paris system for playing cards,  the sources of the Lady Worthies just seem to be sourced from the Bible (Judith and Rachel), Argine isn't a name that I've managed to find as a heroine anywhere (but it means 'dam' or 'bank' in Italian) and Pallas will be referring to the Greek goddess, Pallas Athene.

King Arthur and Lancelot need no introductions from me but some of the others might need a Big Up:  La Hire was a French military commander during the 100 Years War and comrade of Joan of Arc and although Ogier (The Dane) was one of Charlemagne's Knights, he became more widely known as a subject of European literature.

Anyway, now that we've cleared all that up, I hope that you're all geared up to meet Dame Fortune's Families......in Monday's post!

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