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Ramon Llull

Ramon Llull Perhaps it would be well to step back from the generalities and abstractions about magic and consider an individual 'magician'. In the 15th century, Ramon Llull (1232 - ~1316) was considered one of the greatest minds of the late middle ages. His magical thought and alchemy influenced Agrippa and Bruno (Yates 1982) and this influence was still alive in the 19th century (Levi 1860). Read More »

Defining Magic

4. Defining magic The Church condemned magic. But what exactly was magic? The Church's position reminds one of the judge who declared that he couldn't define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. If one wished to preserve the cult of saints who performed miracles while damning the magician for almost identical acts, then one had to be extremely cautious and precise in defining exactly what was condemned and what was accepted. The dilemma was faced by drawing a set of fine distinctions concerning what was miraculous and what was illicit magic. Read More »

Iconology of the Early Tarot Conclusion

Our analysis of the early Tarot images confirms the documentary evidence that the Tarot originated in 15th century Italy. An excellent summary of the documentary evidence can be found at Collected Fragments of Tarot History. Read More »

Iconology of the World Cards

IntroductionFigure one shows the eight surviving World cards from the early Tarot. The modern viewer may be surprised to find that none of the oldest images correspond to the Tarot de Marseille card with a figure within a mandalora and four beasts. Read More »

Iconology of the Justice Cards

IntroductionRecall that since we are adopting Dummett's (1980) Type B ordering, the next card in sequence is the Justice card, numbered 20. Read More »

Iconology of the Sun Cards

IntroductionSeven images of the Sun card have survived from the 15/16th centuries (Fig. 1). All of the images of the Sun are shown as a full circle with rays and a face. The rays are straight on 3, curved on three, and one card shows both curved and straight rays. Read More »

Iconology of the Moon Cards

IntroductionThere are seven extant Moon cards from the 15/16th century (Fig. 1). Three of the cards show astrologers observing the moon and taking measurements. Read More »

Iconology of the Star Cards

IntroductionIn the previous chapter we examined the Star, Moon, and Sun cards as representing the general concept of the Heavens. And, indeed, the majority of the related imagery from the 15/16th centuries shows these celestial bodies in various combinations. Read More »

Iconology of the Heavens

Introduction Before we examine individually the iconology of the 16Star, 17Moon and 18Sun cards, it will be helpful to consider how the card-player would have viewed the Heavenly Spheres. Read More »

Iconology of the Tower Cards

The early Tarot imagesThere are five surviving images of the Tower from the 15/16th centuries (Fig. 1). Four of the towers are square with doorways and four show rocks, hail, or masonry falling. Read More »

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