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Tarot Bagatto Cards

In the 15th century, the modern Magician card was known as "Bagatto". The five surviving images of the Bagatto from the 15/16th century are shown in Figure 1. All show a man standing or sitting at a table. They wear Read More »


Tarot Death Cards

IntroductionThe material is this essay will eventually be developed into a complete analysis of the iconology of the 15/16th century Tarot images. But since I have decided to begin in the middle of the trumps, some brief introduction is required. Read More »


The Underground Streams: Esoteric Tarot Revealed

Welcome to the Christine Payne-Towler Tarot Library. Included here are excerpts from her book, The Underground Streams: Esoteric Tarot Revealed. Read More »


Tarot Symbolism

Welcome to the Dr. Robert V. O'Neill Tarot Library. Included here are research excerpts focusing on Tarot symbolism, iconology and influences. Read More »


The Continental Tarots

In the essay entitled "The Major Arcana" I emphasize that "something happened" to the Tarot in the late 1600s, when a new trend emerged in the images of the Major Arcana. I point to the Marseilles family of decks and the Etteilla Tarots to illustrate my point. Read More »


Fool Cards

Figure 1 shows the four intact cards from the 15/16th century decks. The fool appears in a variety of guises from the goitered idiot with feathers in his hair to the homeless man with bells to warn of his approach. In two cases, he is being played with or tormented by children. In all cases he is carrying an object: a staff, a branch, or a belt of bells. In two cases he has a foolscap with the ears of a jackass. In all cases his clothing is inadequate. Read More »


Empress Cards

In the early ordering (Type B) of the Tarot trumps, the Empress card appears as trump #2.  With the Empress card we move from the lowest estates of man, represented by the Fool and Bagatto, to the highest. Read More »


Papess Cards

The five surviving Papess images (card #4) are shown in Figure 1.  All of the images show a seated woman wearing the triple papal tiara. Two have a staff topped with a cross, two have a bishop's crozier and the last holds a key, the key of Peter as a symbol of the papacy. Three have a closed book in their laps and one is reading from a book open on a reading stand. Two show a tonsured assistant as found on some Pope cards. Read More »


Pope Cards

Figure 1 shows the 6 extant Pope cards from the 15th and 16th centuries. As with the Emperor, all of the figures are enthroned. The keys of St. Peter are shown on three of the cards, Read More »


Virtue Cards

 The three Tarot trumps that represent cardinal or moral virtues (Temperance, Fortitude, Justice) will be covered in separate chapters. However, the virtues form an integral subset of the symbolic system and some general observations are in order. Read More »


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