Thursday, May 31, 2012

3. Cards and oracles combined to form a slide show.

In November of 2013 and again in February of 2014 I gave a slide-talk on the Chaldean Oracles and the Historical Tarot in Portland, for which I prepared a series of jpg files combining different historic versions of the cards with specific sayings from the Oracles. Since the Oracles are imbedded in other works, following no particular order, for the order I followed the cards as much as possible in its most common historical order, that of the Tarot de Marseille.

This blog is an expanded version of that talk, including besides the Oracles some additional parallels both to the tarot and to the Oracles in pseudo-Dionysius, another writer that was of considerable interest at the time and place the tarot first appeared, as well as to the Kabbalists' Tree of Life, which may have been influenced by pseudo-Dionysius.

To begin with, here are some images of Hekate, the principal goddess of the Oracles. Below is a statue which Sarah Johnston, Hekate Soteira, first page, says is a third-century b.c. relief from Aegina, Greece. It "was formerly in the Metternich collection of Schloss Koenigswart, Marienbad; but its present whereabouts are unknown. I got the photo off the internet. She is a triple goddess, originally that of the sky, the sea, and the earth, but also conceptualized as the three forms of Hekate, Selene, and Diana (theoi.com). She holds her wheel, the iynx (from which our word "jinx" is derived), on our left and a pitcher on our right. I have found no information on the significance of the pitcher. I imagine it to be similar to that of Hebe, cup-bearer of the gods before marrying Hercules; she poured out nectar in Olympus so that the gods could renew their immortality. Notice her girdle, which is referred to in the Oracles as that which separates the above from the below. There is also a characteristic rising of the edge of her outer garment toward the middle. I speculate that it is to draw attention to her womb, which the Oracles say is the source of souls.
The statue below is also from the internet; I do not know where it was found. There is again the girdle and the rising lower hemline; but the most prominent addition is th spikes from her head; they would be rays of light, as from the sun.
 
It seems to some that this statue of Hekate was the model for the Statue of Liberty.  Hecate, too, is a goddess of freedom.


The Oracles do speak of a "seven-rayed god", one who "through whom he causes the souls to ascend", (Majercik #194)  but from the masculine ending on theos, I would assume that to be Helios, another god in the Chaldean pantheon, rather than Hecate. Helios did have such a statue  raised to him, the so-called "colossus of Rhodes", and it is that statue, long since destroyed, that the internet articles on the Statue of Liberty say it was modeled on.

Above, notice also that  Hekate's characteristic outer garment, with the edge going upwards, is reflected somewhat in the Statue of Liberty.. Her torch identifies her, like Hecate as a goddess of enlightenment; and the book also has meaning for Hekate, too, as we shall see.

Another image, below, I also get from the internet. I do not know if it is a modern artist's creation or an actual ancient image. Nonetheless it does show many of Hecate's attributes. At the top is the moon, then two knives or trowels, whose significance I don't know. Then we have again the wheel and the
pitcher. Below them are the torches found on numerous ancient statues of her; she is a goddess of the night. Then come two of the dogs typically associated with her. When she escorted Persephone to and from the underworld, she was said to have taken them with her. Dogs are also associated with another moon goddess Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Since dogs bay at the moon, it is not surprising to find them associated with moon goddesses.

In the Roman Empire, Hecate had become a goddess of the underworld and of magic, because she was said to take charge of the restless souls of the dead who, due to their enmeshment in matter, could neither ascend to higher realms nor reincarnate. Magicians claimed to be able to bend them to their will in service to certain goals, such as making people fall in love with designated individuals.

But the Chaldean Oracles used this imagery of Hecate in service to higher goals. The legend was that these sayings were written down by a father and son, Julian the Chaldean and Julian the Theurgist (Dillon, Middle Platonism, pp. 392ff). One or other of them performed miracles for the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It is not clear which of them uttered them, apparently in trance, and which wrote them down. They were attributed to the gods. If so, as Dillon observes, these gods "were influenced themselves to some extent by contemporary Platonists" (p. 393). The Oracles reflect the worldview of Middle Platonism, a milieu also reflected in the Hermetic texts, Gnosticism, and the philosophers Plutarch and Apuleius, among many others. Otherwise, they have a Zoroastrian slant, as to be expected from a Chaldean, as Chaldea is another name for Babylonia. Now Hecate was a savior goddess, one that offered a path to be discovered experientially in ritual practice, supplementing philosophical study. As such they were greatly admired by the Neoplatonists of two centuries later, especially Iamblicus and Proclus. The sayings are imbedded in their works.

The Oracles came to the attention of Italians in the second or third quarter of the 15th century, in Northern Italy. The Greek philosopher Gemistos Plethon put together a selection of them, in 60 Greek hexameters, lines together with a brief explanation and a longer commentary (Woodhouse, Gemistos Plethon, p. 47ff). In 1438 Plethon, then about 80 years old, traveled to Florence, part of a delegation seeking to unite the Eastern and Western churches. There he made the acquaintance of Cosimo de' Medici, who managed to get, either by purchase or in exchange for his contribution to funding the conference, Plethon's copy of the works of Plato. Whether he also obtained the Oracles is not known. But shortly after Cosimo gave the edition of Plato to his protege Marsilio Ficino in the early 1460s, Ficino was also reading the Oracles. Evidence of their influence is present in his Commentary on Plato's Philibus (quoted in Ch. 2 of this blog), which he was writing and lecturing on at the time.

Ficino could have gotten Plethon's edition otherwise than by way of Cosimo. Former pupils of Plethon's had come to Italy after Plethon's death in 1452. Also, an Italian who had gone to Greece in the early 1420s, Francesco Filelfo, had returned with numerous manuscripts. The Oracles are not among those in his library at his death, but that is not to say he didn't have a copy. In the 1460s he corresponded with Ficino, in hopes of returning to Florence. In the late 1420s and early 1430s he had been Professor of Greek at the Florence Studio, a job he abandoned because of attacks on his life by people close to the Medici. It was no doubt Ficino's influence that finally got Filelfo his old job back, two weeks before he died at the age of 83. He had outlived 3 wives and had 24 children, the last at age 75 (Robin, Filelfo in Milan, p. 249f).

I have already said much about Filelfo earlier in this blog and will say more in later chapters. The Oracles could have provided a vehicle for interpreting the tarot, and perhaps even of influencing its designs, through him, or equally through Ficino in Florence. Woodhouse provides a summary of the various early editions (pp. 49-50):
Gesmistos' version of the Chaldean Oracles consisted of sixty Greek hexameters. Some were only hal-lines, and many were defective in prosody. A larger collection had been used by Michael Psellus in the eleventh century. Still more were collected by Francesco Patrizzi and published in Venice in 1591. About another hundred lines have been identified since then. The best and most complete modern edition of the Oracles includes 226 fragments, varying in length, from more than a dozen lines to single words, in some cases doubtrul.

Gesmistos' text of the Oracles was first translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino, Cosimo de Medici's protoge. His version gives the same sixty lines in the same order as Gemistos; he probably also used, but did not translate, Gemistos' Commentary. The Greek text and the Commentary were first published at Paris in 1538. A new Latin translation of both, by Jacobus Marthanus, followed from the same press in 1539. Finally, in 1599, the Greek text and Commentary were published by J. Opsopoeus with two Latin translations, his own and Marthanus'.
Thus by 1539 a Latin translation was readily available to anyone wishing to find esoteric interpretations of the tarot trumps. Consulting WorldCat, I see that the longer version, by Patrizzi (spelled Patrizi, the title advertises 320 oracles) was available in Latin by 1593, published in Hamburg and Venice, and another edition of 1611 in London and Ferrara. An English translation of Patrizi's collection was published in 1661. It is available online and is surprisingly good: http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/oraclesj.htm. The Oracles were also translated by William Westcott, of Golden Dawn fame, in 1895, online at http://www.esotericarchives.com/oracle/oraclez.htm. It is more complete than the 1661, but is also less clear and less accurate. I don't know what use the Golden Dawn made of it.

These Oracles fit in well with another ancient mystical text that had been newly translated in 1436-1437. That was the "Celestial Hiararchy" of pseudo-Dionysius, thought in the Middle Ages to have been written by Dionysius the Areopagite, the disciple of the Apostle Paul. But it had in fact been written sometime around the year 500, as it is much dependent on Proclus and in fact quotes whole phrases from that philosopher. The Greek Church had given manuscripts of ps.-Dionysius's work to the French king on a couple of occasions, and in the 9th century they had their first translation into Latin by John Scottus Eriugena. In the 12 century commentaries on it were written and it. became cited and endorsed by such authorities as Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas.

Ps.-Dionysius inspired an interesting manuscript in the 12th century that by the early 15th century ended up in the Visconti Library near Milan. It pictures the ascent of the soul upwards by means of revelations from above that the Oracles also speak of. Here is an illumination from that manuscript, which I get from the book Mysticism and Alchemy by Roob, p. 283:
 The people lower down are younger than those above. They are helping those less experienced to attain higher levels of divine illumination. Such a progression upwards is also implied by the tarot sequence, on this interpretation, or at least its latter portion. Notice that the first circles are labeled by the names of the elements. Then come the planets and finally the angelic hierarchy. This manuscript is not identified by Roob; however Ross Caldwell reports that it is Bibliotheque Nationale lat.3236a; see his post at http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=172&start=20#p14577.  While the account of the upper part of this sequence does correspond to some degree with ps.-Dionysius, neither he nor the Oracles use such a 32 step progression, nor do the descriptions of the 32 stations in that manuscript (translated at http://theamalricianheresy.wordpress.com/translation-peregrinatio-animae/), correspond to anything in the Oracles.

 Some Jewish scholars have speculated that Eriugena and ps.-Dionysius may have influenced the developing Jewish Kabbalah in Provence, Catalonia, and Castile. The names of the 10 sefiroth on the so-called "Tree of Life", in that they are names of God, bear some resemblance to the "Divine Names" of ps.-Dionysius, and its vertical orientation corresponds somewhat to the ideas expounded in "Celestial Hierarchies". Ps.-Dionysius refers to a a downward movement, which he calls the "positive way", of the divine names and an upward movement, the "negative way" in the "Celestial Hierarchies". We can imagine a similar downward and upward movement through the sefiroth as well, as a kind of "Jacob's ladder" of visionary experience.
In alchemy, too, there are diagrams with the planets, sun, moon, and earth. In this case the sun and moon are placed at the top rather than as the first and fourth in a series of seven planets, where they fit in the conventonal Ptolemaic picture of the cosmos. That is because the moon and sun were identified with silver and gold, the most precious of metals and so the secondary and primary goals of the work.
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The above are from works published after 1600. But ones similar to them were in illuminated manuscripts by the early 15th century.

One of the mystical orders that developed in the 12th century was a group known as the Camaldolosi, a branch of the Benedictines.  In 1436-1437 John Traversari, the head of the Camaldolesi order in Flornece, did a new translation of their revered Pseudo-Dionysius into Latin,. with support from Cosimo de' Medici. Renaissance humanists recognized very quickly that it was not from the first century. Ficino and his contemporaries considered him "the master of Proclus", (M. J. B. Allen, Marsilio Ficino and the Phaedran Charioteer, p. 34). In fact it was the other way around: ps.-Dionysius was much influenced by Proclus.

If Plethon's edition of the Chaldean Oracles was transmitted to Italy by Plethon in 1438, it would probably have gone to Cosimo de' Medici himself, because the complete works of Plato that Cosimo gave Ficino in the early 1460s was, according to James Hankins, probably Plethon's own copy, of which he had already made a copy. If so, the Oracles, as Plethon's own work, would have been a natural supplement, since Plethon believed Plato to have been a disciple several times removed from the author of the Oracles, whom Plethon identified as a Zoroastrian. In that case, Cosimo and Plethon would have needed an intermediary to translate, as neither spoke a language spoken by the other. That intermediary, according to Hankins, would surely have been none other than Traversari, the translator of Pseudo-Dionysius. He would surely have read the Oracles and  noticed the many parallels between the two works. However Traversari is not known to have translated any pagan work.

At that time in Italian cities there was increased contact with Jewish intellectuals, chiefly in an attempt to convert them to Christianity. According to Moshe Idel  (Kabbalah in Italy, 1270-1510, online at http://archive.org/stream/MosheIdelKabbalahInItaly/Moshe-Idel-Kabbalah-in-Italy_djvu.txt), Florence of  the time of Cosimo and Lorenzo de' Medici was one of those cities in particular, comparable only to Toledo in Spain two centuries earleir. However I do not want to make Kabbalah or alchemy a main focus here, as opposed to the Christian mysticism represented by pseudo-Dionysius.

 In "Celestial Harmony" there are numerous references to "Oracles" by the "Holy Theologians"; they are all biblical in nature, referring to ecstatic passages in Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. But similar imagery appears in the Chaldean Oracles, either as identified by Plethon or imbedded in Proclus and other Neoplatonist texts then available. One passage in particular in pseudo-Dionysius uses language that corresponds to the four tarot cards from Tower to Sun; there are biblical sources as well, but they are from a variety of chapters and books of the Bible,  not together as in the Oracles. Here is ps.-Dionysius (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areopagite_13_heavenly_hierarchy.htm#36):
We shall find the Mystic Theologians enfolding these things not only around the illustrations of the Heavenly Orders, but also, sometimes, around the supremely Divine Revelations Themselves. At one time, indeed, they extol It under exalted imagery as Sun of Righteousness, as Morning Star rising divinely in the mind, and as Light illuming without veil and for contemplation; and at other times, through things in our midst, as Fire, shedding its innocuous light; furnishing a fulness of life, and, to speak symbolically, flowing into a belly, and bubbling forth rivers flowing irresistibly; and at other times, from things most remote, as sweet-smelling ointment, as Head Corner-stone. But they also clothe it in forms of wild beasts, and attach to It identity with a Lion, and Panther, and say it shall be a Leopard and a rushing Bear. 
The verses in Plethon's edition corresponding to what I have highlighted are lines 40-42 (reproduced from Woodhouse at the beginning of Chapter 2):
If you speak to me often, you will see the word for ever
For then the curved mass of heaven is not visible
The stars do not shine, the light of the moon is veiled,
The earth stands not firm, all things appear as lightning.
As you can see, for Plethon's "curved mass of heaven", ps-Dionysius has "Sun of Righteousness"; for "stars do not shine" he has "Morning Star rising divinely in the mind" and  for ""light of the moon is veiled" he has "Light illuming without veil". Pseudo-Dionysius expresses in a way more directly related to the tarot sequence with its Sun, Moon, and Star--better than the biblical verses, too-- that which is alluded to in those verses. His language also consciously echoes that of the Bible, as indicated by the footnotes in the text: for "Morning Star", Num. xxiv. 17; 2 Pet. !:19; for "Light without veil",  John 1::5.
for "Fire", Exod. 3: 2, and for "Lion", Hos. 3:8.

In addition, Plethon mistook he Greek word for "lion" as the word for "word", according to Woodhouse, so that instead of his source Psellus's:
 If you speak to me often, you will perceive everything in lion-form...
He put:
  If you speak to me often, you will see the word for ever..
 Correspondingly, ps.-Dionysus in the next sentence (see above) says 
But they also clothe It in forms of wild beasts, and attach to It identity with a Lion...
The lion, of course, is on the Fortitude card, as early as the Cary-Yale deck of c. 1444. I will discuss these parallels in more detail when we come to the corresponding cards.

Ps.-Dionysius also gives a good account of why the meaning of the images should be so obscure.
Thus do all the godly-wise, and interpreters of the secret inspiration, separate the holy of holies from the uninitiated and the unholy, to keep them undefined, and prefer the dissimilar description of holy things, so that Divine things should neither be easily reached by the profane, nor those who diligently contemplate the Divine imagery rest in the types as though they were true; and so Divine things should be honoured by the true negations, and by comparisons with the lowest things, which are diverse from their proper resemblance.
It is partly to keep holy things from those who will not understand--or misunderstand--and partly to remind the initiated that the holy things are truly not amenable to sensible representation.

What I am going to do in the rest of this chapter is to correlate particular Oracles with particular cards, going roughly in sequence through the "major arcana" or tarot trumps and occasionally relating them to ps.-Dionysius. I am not necessarily saying that the designs were influenced by these Oracles, merely that they correlate and that such correlations would have been available to a few in the right place and time to influence the tarot and its interpretation, starting in the mid-15th century and to a wider audience later on..If nothing else, they serve as a pictorial way of presenting the Oracles.

I will be using mostly Woodhouse's translation of Plethon, which I gave in scans from the book at the beginning of Ch. 2 of this blog. Occasionally I have gone to Majercik's translations of the complete Oracles. these would have also been available to those who knew where to look in the works of Proclus or, in a few cases, other sources.. Filelfo and others had these works at hand in their original Greek, with only a few possible exceptions, when the source was not Proclus. .

I will start with the first trump, called the Bagatella in the 15th century, meaning "trifle" from its being the lowest one (Dummett, The Visconti-Sforza Tarot Cards), but today more familiar as the Magician.
On the left is the first known example of that card, done for the Sforza family in the 1450s, part of the so-called Pierpont-Morgan-bergamo deck (PMB). The one in the middle is by Noblet in c. 1650 Paris. The one at the right is by Conver in 1761 Marseille. He is presented as an itinerant practitioner of illusions, but the card on our left suggests a priest performing the mass, the cloth at his right covering the communion cup. In the middle one, notice the gray area between the conjurer's legs. Streams typically symbolize the separation of worlds; here he straddles two worlds. That is the job of the Chaldean Magus: to bring the divine world down to this world. The saying (Plethon l. 55) is about what a conjurer is supposed to do to cast a spell, a "iynx" as it was called, from which our word "jinx" derives. But in this case the spell is a thought of the Father, i.e. a divine archetype in a form accessible to humans. That they "think themselves" suggest that in fact they are daemons, which in Plato's Symposium were spirits that served as intermediaries between gods and humans.
The saying above (Plethon line 52) brings out another aspect of the Bagatella, that far from being a trifle, he symbolizes the creative power of the deity. The "fire", Plethon says in his Explanation, is the deity. In Egyptian mythology, the creator god, Khnum (at right next to the Bagatella), or in some places Ammon, was depicted as a ram-headed man with a characteristic set of horizontal wavy horns. I see a similarity between the god's hat and the Bagatella's. Since this attempt to elevate the lowly "trifle" to divine status might be greeted with some skepticism, I will dwell on this card longer than I will on the others.

 The objects on the Bagatella's table look like the objects that were on the four suits: the knife for Swords, the wand--or is it a writing pen?--for Batons, a cup for Cups, and round shells for Coins. These objects also were used to symbolize in various  ways the four elements and the four humors. Below, we have a stick for air, a sword for fire, coins for earth, and a cleric doing his rosary for water (I get this from Laurinda Dixon, Bosch). This last is not a cup, but water was surely associated with the Church; in Milan the early Aces of Cups showed a baptismal fount. .

In Plato's Timaeus, the creator god, called the Demiurge, or Craftsman, was said to construct the universe out of these four elements. Likewise, when a card player deals out the cards of the four suits, he is constructing a world in which the players around the table participate. We are all dealt certain cards at birth, so to speak, with which it is up to us to make a life.

Not all early decks have a Conjurer with a wide-brimmed hat. But that is the design that prevailed, smoothing out the jagged edges of the PMB figure. A connection with Egypt is not unthinkable. In fact, d. shortly before this deck was made, all the necessary players were together in Cremona at the same time, the autumn of 1451: the cards' commissioners, Francesco and Bianca Maria Sforza; the humanist adviser Filelfo (Robin, Filelfo in Milan p. 248); the Bembo family that produced the cards; and in addition the merchant and antiquarian Ciriaco of Ancona, who had visited Egypt three times and made sketches of  antiquities there (the ones of Egypt are lost, probably burned in a fire at the residence of another member of the Sforza family, Allesandro, in Pesaro. See Wikipedia's article on Ciriaco.)

If not Ciriaco, there were probably other sources, engraved tablets from the Roman Empire such as the so-called Bembine tablet that surfaced in Venice after being stolen elsewhere, probably in Rome during the sack of 1527 (see Wikipedia). I give a detail from it below. Besides the ram, notice the ram-horned headgear. It is a genuine pseudo-Egyptian design from Roman times. Even then Egyptomania thrived!.

People would have recognized the ram-headed god from Herodotus (http://perseus.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/GreekScience/hdtbk2.html, ch. 42); he describes as ram-headed the Egyptian high god Ammon, as Milan humanists would have known, especially a Greek scholar such as Filelfo.

Herodotus said Ammon was the Egyptian Zeus, and Jupiter is another figure who was portrayed similarly to the figure on our card. For example, in one 14th century illumination he is shown at a table with some of the same objects as on the card, and similarly with one hand raised (Panofsky, Meaning in the Visual Arts, fig. 14)
.In other illuminations Jupiter was portrayed as a monk teaching students or administering the sacraments (figures 62 and 64 from Seznec's Survival of the Pagan Gods).

In Christianity, the equivalent would have been not only a priest, administering the sacraments or teaching students, but also the creator god of the Gospel of John, of whom it was said, verse 1:3, "All things were made by him." Jesus, too, was taken for a poor itinerant magician, when in fact he made the world, just like Ammon.

In the Kabbalah, the top of the tree is what gives shape and energy to everything below it.It was named Kether, or Crown, a suggestion that here we have the King of the Sefiroth, just as Ammon or Jupiter was King of the Gods.

One other god was shown at a table, Mercury, in Greek Hermes, always portrayed as young, like the Bagatella usually was (after the PMB). In mythology Mercury was the god of communication, eloquence, and writing, among other things. Mercury's table, if he had one, was a lectern, as would be appropriate to a teacher, with a book on it. Here is the only example I could find, from Padua around 1355, as part of a series correlating the planets with the so-called "seven ages of man (reproduced in Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaisance Italy, ed. Bourdua and Dunlop, p. 129). Mercury represents the second stage, that of the child..

 Since the table slants and there is nothing on it  but a book, this is not as good a fit as the illustrations of Jupiter. But his youth and especially the sideways look of his eyes is characteristic of the Bagatella. Plato (Phaedrus 274c-d) said that Hermes/Mercury was called Theuth in Egypt and was the inventor of games as well as writing;  It is well documented that from the beginning tarot was a game, a trick-taking game with extra cards more powerful than the rest. Mercury is also of relevance in relation to the ascent of the soul. Mythologically he was the conveyor of souls between this world and Hades or Olympus. That gives the Bagatella another connection to Christ.

In the next card we see Hecate herself, She is our instructor in the fiery paths (Plethon l. 2-3).

Hecate is a savior goddess, and this is the message of salvation:  the soul can rise to the level of its divine origins if it can combine the "act" with the "word". The "act" here is the act of ritual practice, accompanied by sacred words, as symbolized by the book she holds.. In other words, it is the act of worship, not merely philosophical systemetizing or contemplation. The combination gives us access to the keys that will unlock the doors of heaven, described later as the "symbols in men's souls". Although the key being held by the Catelin Geoffroy Popess card of 1558 Lyon is modeled on the "keys to the Kingdom" that Christ gave St. Peter and St. Peter gave to his successors, Hecate was in fact called "key-bearer" in the Orphic hymn addressed to her, for her ability to access the other worlds (http://www.theoi.com/Text/OrphicHymns1.html:
I call Einodian Hecate, lovely dame,
of earthly, wat'ry, and celestial frame,
Sepulchral, in a saffron veil array'd,
Leas'd with dark ghosts that wander thro' the shade;
Persian, unconquerable huntress hail!
The world's key-bearer never doom'd to fail.
On the rough rock to wander thee delights,
leader and nurse be present to our rites.
The key in this case is knowledge of the necessary symbols, designated by words that function as passwords to higher levels.


The former come from Plethon lines 10-12,  the latter lines 48-49. As he reminds us (Explanation, line 1), the fire is the deity, by way of his second god, which here is Hecate. Within each of us before our birth, according to the Platonists, have been placed the sacred symbols, there to be discovered experientially in the course of ritual activity.. Knowledge of the divinity is also knowledge of what is inmost in ourselves.

I need to add that in Majercik's translation the line reads "The paternal intellect has sown symbols throughout the cosmos." This of course means outside our individual souls as well as inside. Particular types of thing in the world were correlated with particular expressions of the divine: gold for the Father, silver for Hecate, etc. This was a common practice in the Renaissance as well as in ancient times.

Here I think "paternal intellect" --the word for intellect is nous-- means a figure lower than Hecate. She herself is called "Power", as in::

The Power is clearly Hecate, the feminine hypostasis called in Greek Dynamis, who is "with" rather than "from" the Father. . But whether the Dyad is this second power, actualized or another, a third, who creates the sensible world from the ideas of the Father that it holds in its mind, is not clear. Plethon had only two, the Father and the second god, called "power of the Father" and "paternal intellect" as well. Modern commentators distinguish between these last two. Where the Renaissance stood I don't know.

From Hecate flows a two more that are described in the Oracles. Here is how one of them, the Cosmic (or World) Soul, is produced, metaphorically speaking, from the body of Hecate (Majercik 51):
Around the hollow of her right flank a great stream of primordially-generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light,fire, ether, worlds.
And so we have Soul, Psyche in Greek:(Plethon l. 22-24):

According to Johnston, this soul is also a form of Hecate. However other commentators consider it to be separate. Here I have put a c. 1500 version of the Empress next to a Roman coin of Isis and Horus. On the right is the image for Virgo in a zodiac from Ptolemaic Egypt built into the ceiling of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera. She carries the Ankh, Egyptian symbol of life, as well as an ear of grain.

In ps.-Dionysius, the corresponding image is that of the last part of a passage I quoted from him earlier, speaking of the Divine Revelations:

... furnishing a fulness of life; and, to speak symbolically, flowing into a belly, and bubbling forth rivers flowing irresistibly

Life or soul goes in and out of the womb of the world-soul continually.

Another Chaldean entity we might identify the Empress with is Nature, that which governs the universe as it appears to our senses.
At the same time the Oracles caution us not to become attached to the beauties of nature.

Or in Plethon's translation, "Her name is Destiny". Nature's very orderliness, apparently,  makes it an enemy of freedom. Also, being attached to this world impedes the soul's ascent to its home above the stars.On the other hand, Plethon's edition of the Oracles says:

So there is a purpose to Nature, despite its dangers; with the help of "pure daemons", i.e. good spirits, it produces worthy fruits, i.e. good souls, emerging strengthened from evil matter.

In Kabbalah, the second sefira is Wisdom, and the third is Binah, meaning Intellect, but it is also called "mother" because from it come all the sefiroth below it. Wisdom is a condition that does not require action, more a power than a producer. Intellect is what contains ideas.Also, it is indeed on the right flank of Hochma, if Hochma is facing us.  And at that level there is not yet the production of  things in the world of the senses.

After the Empress comes the Emperor. In the Oracles, he would be the "second intellect", the one who is from rather than with the first intellect. He is the one that that most of humanity would consider God. In the Roman Empire, that would be Jupiter or, for Jews, Jehovah, for Greco-Roman followers of the Egyptian gods, Serapis, for others the Sun-god, and so on. In Plato, it is the Demiurge, not necessarily evil, but sometimes oppressive due to his lack of deep understanding. Here he is, with the corresponding saying from the Oracles (Plethon l. 53-4):
There is more in the Oracles that might apply to him,  but it is difficult to separate what applies to him and what applies to Hecate. Between them, they both hold the Father's thoughts and bring them down to mortals. 

The Eagle on his shield represents the Holy Roman Empire, which in turn is consciously using the emblem of the Roman Empire of ancient times. However ps.-Dionysius (Ch. 15, sect.8) also gives a mystical interpretation of this symbol:
The representation of the Eagle denotes the kingly, and soaring, and swift in flight, and quickness in search of the nourishment which makes strong, and wanness, and agility, and cleverness; and the unimpeded, straight, and unflinching gaze towards the bounteous and brilliant splendour of the Divine rays of the sun, with the robust extension of the visual powers.
 The scepter that the Emperor carries might also have the significance that ps.-Dionysius gives it (Ch. 15, sect. 2):
The rods signify the kingly and directing faculty, making all things straight.
I do not see a mention of rods in the Oracles. What they correspond most closely to are the rays of fire coming down from above, from Hekate. The King knows the way forward, perhaps by intuitive means, through his connection with the divine. His crown might have been considered a kind of lightning rod for the rays. 

In the Kabbalah, the next sefira is Chesed, representing mercy or loving kindness. Mercy is what kings nand emperors are traditionally empowered to grant, and at his highest represents unselfish love for his people 

The next card is that of the Pope. In the Oracles, he would be the head of the institution created to preserve and extend the rituals and theoretical structures needed for experiencing the symbols needed for the soul's ascent (Plethon l. 30-1, 50-1).

Here what was called in another saying the "act" is now "the act of piety", in other words the rites of worship, including all the senses: sights, smells, hymns with the sacred words, tastes, and the handling of ritual objects. It would have been more than the simple wheel of Hekate. Candles substitute for her torches, the burning of incense for smell; instead of Hekate's pitcher there is the communion cup with its associated tastes and feel; and for the ritual repetition of words we have the words of sacred rituals. What is true for Christianity was probably true for most of the mystery religions of the Roman era.

By the "liquescent body" I think the saying means the soul. It is that substance which overflows from the right flank of the goddess, and to which the individual souls return. Plutarch in "On the Face that appears in the orb of the moon" speaks of spirit being united on the Moon with soul. Then on the earth it is given a material body.

The "flower of the intellect" simply means the best part of the mind, that which can apprehend the transcendent in ways inexpressible in words, by means of the "spells," or Platonic archetypes, which are also the daemons of Plato's Symposium, intermediaries between gods and men.

Ps.-Dionysius likewise attaches much importance to the rituals of worship, including its sensory qualities, e.g. to the sense of sight (Ch. 15, sect. 4) in the robes of the priests:
...the sacerdotal robe denotes their conducting to Divine and mystical visions, and the consecration of their whole life.
In a companion work, the "Ecclesiastical Hierarchy",  ps.-Dionysius presents the ritual of baptism as an act of initiation into the Divine Birth, It is in Heading Two, "The Mysterion of Illumination", Ch. 2, sect. 2. . One who already is a member of the order takes the candidate to the "hierarch" to be examined and approved.
He, who has felt a religious longing to participate in these truly supermundane gifts, comes to some one of the initiated, and persuades him to act as his conductor to the Hierarch. He then professes wholly to follow the teaching that shall be given to him, and prays him to undertake the superintendence of his introduction, and of all his after life. Now he, though religiously longing for his salvation, when he measures human infirmity against the loftiness of the undertaking, is suddenly seized with a shivering and sense of incapacity, nevertheless, at last, he agrees, with a good grace, to do what is requested, and takes and leads him to the chief Hierarch.
The Hierarch then, after giving thanks to God, collects the whole assembly, and there, after prayer and the singing, asks the man what has brought him there? There follows confession and the pledging of his life, after which he is led away to prepare for baptism. It occurs to me that the presence of the two men before the Pope on the Noblet and other Marseille-style Pope cards might well reflect some such stage of inititiition.  

In the Kabbalah what corresponds is Gevurah, Severity. In a Renaissance context, Popes and other could be severe in their judgments regarding their humanist subjects, especially ones that studied the Kabbalah..

We come now to the Love card, which I show below in the earliest15th century versions (Majercik 38-9).

 
In this conception of love, it is a positive force from the highest divine source, uniting not just men and women but all things in the cosmos. In later versions of the card, starting even in the Rosenwald deck of the 16th century. there is the suggestion of this source in the sun-burst behind Cupid, for which I have no other explanation. Below I show the more common representation in the Noblet card of 17th century Paris, because I want to talk about two of the other figures as well.

On the right I have put a popular emblem of the time. The Latin at the top is "image of faith"; and below are Honor, Love, and Truth. If Faith were moved down to take the place of Honor, we would have the three Chaldean virtues. They have counterparts on the card: the one with the laurel wreath  is now on the card the older woman on the left, representing Truth, while the other man is now the younger woman, who would be the representative of Faith. Above them is divine Love.

In ps.-Dionysius, the expressions for the candidate's love is  first "love of God" and then "true love of the life-giving way to truth"  that he feels and lives, and also a love for the "divine beauty" that is somehow behind and within all the fragrances, sights, and sounds of the holy places..

In the Oracles, these three virtues also attach to particular entities in the three realms of earth, sky, and beyond the sky, the so-called "teletarchs," teletarchai, literally "initiation-masters." Since the relevant Oracles are rather obscure, I rely on Majercek's summary in her introduction to her translation, which I quoted at the end of Chapter 2 (it is also at the beginning of Chapter 5). On either side I have put images of the two lower teletarchs, Helios and Luna, from the so-called "Tarot of Mantegna," a collection of 50 cards on classical themes done c. 1465.. In the one of Helios (here called Sol), is also depicted his son Phaeton, who had tried to drive the chariot of the sun but failed to control the horses, thanks in part to a flying scorpion that stung him.

Aion is the Roman mystery cults' god of Eternity, of which Time is the "moving image", according to Plato in the Timaeus. He was depicted as a lion-headed angel with the signs of the zodiac on his garment and a snake wrapped around him. The zodiac represents the year as one unit of time, that through which the sun passes in never-ending cycles.

Notice that he holds a torch in one hand and a road in the other. We will see this gesture repeated at the very end of the tarot sequence.

In ps.-Dionysius has much to say about love, of course, but this sentence will serve as an example:
They [the sacred writers] call it [the Good] beautiful, beauty, love, beloved,...Beauty “bids” all things to itself.  
In the Kabbalah, the next sefira is Tifereth, Beauty. The three teletarch'of love, truth, and faith could perhaps be identified with the middle pilla on the Tree, Kether in the Empyrian ,to  Tifereth in the etherial , to Malkhuth in the material.

The next card is the Chariot. This is the vehicle by which the soul descends. In matter it merges with the physical body. To start with, I want to show three early versions of the card. The one on the left is from the 1450s or 1460s, probably done for one of the Sforza family, but not in Milan (it is called a "Warsaw" card, from its present whereabouts). The second is the earliest known Chariot card, done for Filippo Maria Visconti, probably in the 1440s. The last is from the Geoffroy tarot of 1558 Lyon. The saying is Majercik 201.
[Particular souls become mundane through their] vehicles.
Although there is much of interest on these cards, all I want to discuss is the horses. In two of them one is white and one is red. In the center, the earliest one, one is orderly and one is disorderly. A groom is with the orderly one there, and similarly a groom is with the white horse in the Geoffroy.

The card I want to look at more closely is a bit later, from the Noblet of c. 1650 Paris. But to its leftt I include the surviving fragment of the earliest similar one, from c. 1500 Milan.  On the  Noblet card, the horse that appears brown was originally red, but the color faded. The saying is Majercik 44. 

This particular saying  comes from a source other than Proclus or Psellos, and so is less likely to have been identified by Filelfo or Ficino as Chaldean. Also, I don't see it in the 1661 English translation. All I see is, in the exposition by Psellus, two, a rational part and the irrational part, with the Chaldeans holding that both parts if purified can go to the supercelestial place. But Plato had three parts. The basic point is already in Plato's dialogue The Phaedrus, which I have no doubt is the source for the card's peculiarities. I will explain.

In both examples of the card, one horse is looking toward the other horse, while its body inclines the other way. What is being depicted, I think, is that the driver communicates by voice to the white horse, which is more obedient, while the other one, whose body tends to go its own way, looks to the white one for guidance. In the allegorical terms of the Oracles, which derive from the Phaedrus, the driver represents Intellect, the obedient horse Will (which Plato calls "the noble horse"), and the disorderly one Love, the part that the 1661 translation calls the "irrational" part. Plato calls it the "vicious" or "ignoble" horse (Phaedrus 247ff); he allows that it can be purified, but in the Phaedrus gives its purified state no name; in the Symposium, however,  he distinguishes between a heavenly and vulgar Aphrodite, Aphrodite Uranos and Aphrodite Pandemos. The transformation from one to the other  is a subject that Ficino emphasized in his commentaries on the Phaedrus and Symposium, following the lead of Proclus and the Chaldean Oracles. 

If Intellect governs the Will, and the Will in harmony with Intellect.controls the impulses of Love, everything goes smoothly. However Love is a disorderly emotion. In Plato's myth, that horse pulls the soul downward toward the material aspect of desire, lust demanding to be satisfied at any cost, and it takes the rest of the soul with it. In the material world, Intellect is clouded and Will irresolute due to the misapplication of Love.

A more familiar example is in the popular book and movie The Wizard of Oz, which in many ways is a very Chaldean story--not because its author knew the Oracles, but because he knew European fairy tales, many of which (I suspect) retain the ancient tradition expressed in the Oracles and other works of imagination from that time. When Dorothy is on her quest to find the Wizard, she meets three lost souls. One is the Scarecrow, who wants above all to have a brain. He already has one, but he doesn't know it, just as the soul loses touch with its Intellect (Greek nous, mind) in the world of matter. Dorothy also meets a Cowardly Lion, who wants courage, that is to say, Will. And finally they encounter a Tin Woodsman, who while well armored against attack, longs for a heart, in other words, the ability to feel love and compassion. These three are excellent exemplifications of what the Oracle is saying: three capacities in the soul that need to be rediscovered and exercised before the soul can ascend to God.

Other characters correspond loosely to archetypal figures in the Oracles and the Tarot. At the beginning of the story, Dorothy runs away from home with Toto until she meets a kindly-looking fortune-teller. Intuiting that she has run away from home, he sees in his crystal ball that Aunty Em is ill. So Dorothy is tricked into going home. That is the role of the Chaldean Magus, by his tricks to set people on the road home to God. Later, in Oz, the same actor plays the Wizard, a temporal and spiritual ruler similar to the Pope. As in most fairy tales, there are good and bad witches, corresponding to the high and low aspects of the triple goddess, and in the Tarot to the Popess and Fortune.

The way to re-acquire Intellect, Will, and pure Love is through the exercise of virtue. Exactly what corresponds to Intellect in the tarot is not clear; it corresponds to the virtue of Prudence, but that virtue is missing in the tarot; for the virtues that are there, intellect is needed in all. However of the three Justice is perhaps the one most in need of impartial discernment, a rational mind, so as to recognize what is just in a given situation. In the book corresponding to the movie, in the end the Scarecrow is chosen to rule Oz because of his discerning mind. To have a strong Will, of course, it is necessary to have the virtue of Fortitude. And so the Lion proves himself in struggle. And the disorderly ups and downs of Love, which the Tin Man protected himself by his armor, need Temperance to moderate them, whether the object is a person or one's favorite food or drink. In the book and movie, the three characters develop their brains, wills, and hearts as they overcome the challenges put before them.

The Oracles teach that the way to mind, heart, and courage is through virtue. In the Oracles, Hecate is the source of virtue, which flows from her left flank (Plethon l. 17f). And when one is deficient in virtue, it is she, wielding the sword of justice, that exacts the proper penalties (l. 36) in the form of "avenging daemons", as Plethon describes them (Woodhouse p. 57)

This "sword of justice" gets further amplification by ps.-Dionysius (Ch. 15, 5):
The spears and the battle-axes denote the dividing of things unlike, and the sharp and energetic and drastic operation of the discriminating powers. 
The administration of justice involves using "discriminating powers" to recognize like and unlike cases.  Given that scepters indicated "kingly and faculty, making all things straight", this analysis might also extend to the suits of Swords and Batons, that Swords are the power of discrimination, i.e. thinking, and Batons a connection to the divine. These days this is a typical way of seeing the suits; the symbolism involved thus goes back to the 5th century or before.

What does it mean that the source of virtue "remains wholly within and does not give away its virginity"? Plethon explains (Explanation l. 10-12)
...they mean the power of virtue belonging to the left part of our soul, which they describe as insensible through virginity. Whereas the soul's activity, on the one hand belonging to the right part and on the other hand being extrusible, is not insensible.
This also is not very clear. My interpretation is that within the soul the source of virtue remains unsullied, in that the source of right and wrong remains pure and discernible within ourselves, regardless of our past actions in the world.

On the Tree of Life, at this point the soul has descended as far as the bottom of the left side, the sefira called Hod, the one that carries out the judgments of the power above it, with the sword and counsel of Justice.. 

If the soul is to ascend, it must continue to reform itself. Here the Hermit card (PMB) points the way, which originally was a man carrying an hourglass. His posture is similar to representations of Saturn, who in Greece was called Kronos, which was then identified with Chronos, Greek for Time. His age reminds us that our life on earth is limited, so we need to think of what is beyond this life. The sayings are Majercik 185 and 195:.
 
Pseudo-Dionysius has something very similar:
Light is the measure ...of the hours, the days.
.He adds:
They call him ancient of days because he is the time and eternity of everything.  
In the Kabbalah one of the epithets of Yesod Is "Time", "tempus" in Ricci's translation of the 13th century Spanish Kabbalist Joseph Gikatilla, called in Latin the Portae Lucis, Gates of light.

Plato's Timaeus said that Time is the image of Eternity. In relation to the Oracles, that is the realm of Aion and the transmundane Sun. Suitably, later versions of the card (center and right below, c. 1700) show a sun and its rays in the folds of his robe, pointing to the transmundane sun as surely as the lantern he holds:
 "Spread wide all eyes upward," the Oracles urge (Plethon l. 37f). If we do so, our minds, after being emptied of everything material, might be filled with the rays of that Sun perceived by the mind, in a Time beyond time.

The alternative to a life lived by virtue is one subject to the vagaries of Fortune, which sometimes defeat the best-laid plans. The Oracles don't have Fortune in so many words. In fact, for them, Fortune seems to be an illusion. The material world of the senses is governed by Nature and its laws, which makes the one attached to Nature governed by what the Oracles call Fate. Nature conducts itself in an orderly manner, but its workings in any given situation are so complex that for practical purposes what results has a large element of what appears to us as chance. So Nature is an unreliable guide in life, and one that will be forever outside one's control after death. Thus, as we have seen, the Oracles, counsel:"Do not gaze at Nature, for her name is Destiny. (Majercik 99). Also (Plethon, line 44, Majercik 130).
:.
If we are too attached to Nature, despite her harmoniousness, not only will we be her victim, but at death our souls will be too heavy to break free of her grasp. The card above is one of the earliest Wheel cards, the PMB of the 1450s. Next to it is a marble tile from Siena Cathedral, 1470s, showing the Wheel with representatives of four different schools of philosophy, all advocating disdain for the world's rewards.


Pseudo-Dionysius does not talk about Fortune any more than the Oracles do. For him, what operates despite our best-laid plans is Providence, i.e. the will of God..

In the Kabbalah, the bottom of the wheel is Malkhuth, or kingdom, where, it is said, God rewards Israel when she is faithful and punishes her when she is not. Fortune is again the hand of God. But when Israe strays and is punished, she repents and may ascend again. Just as the Wheel of Flortune reverses at the bottom, so the path of descent changes to one of ascent at the bottom of the Tree. For what follows, spiritual tests on top of material ones, one will need the virtue of Fortitude first and foremost. Then God, who was also called the Lion of Judah, will send his angels to assist in the journey. It is Malkhuth in her positive aspect.

This is again Hecate speaking. What does it mean to "perceive everything in lion-form" (Majercik 147, correcting Plethon who has "see the word forever")? The lion is a symbol of the sun and of fire, and also of the "king of beasts," that is, the ruler over all. And of course it represents the virtue of Fortitude, which was the early name of the card, the daring to put one's hand in the lion's mouth if the mind tells one it is safe or necessary to do so. This is made explicit by ps.-Dionysius in his "Celestial Hierarchy" ch. 15, sect. 7:
We must consider that the shape of a Lion signifies the leading, and robust, and indomitable, and the assimilation, as far as possible, to the unutterable Godhead,... during Divine illumination.
It is also, of course, the courage of the Cowardly Lion. (A scholarly aside: "lion-form" is what was in the best text that was available in the Renaissance, the 11th century version by Michael Psellos. Some scholars argue that "in lion-form" makes no sense, and there is a similar-looking Greek word meaning "becoming dark," as a prelude to a lightning-storm also spoken of in the Oracles. I disagree, but the other opinion is noted.)
 
In such fashion, the soul becomes "intoxicated from God" (Plethon l. 20). That is my take on the Hanged Man, taking my cue from the upside-down creatures in Hieronymus Bosch's c. 1500 Garden of Earthly Delights, who seem to be the centers of some kind of group or individual trance. It is a method practiced by shamans as well as, in Norse myth, Odin in his endeavor to read the runes.

I could not find anything relevant in pseudo-Dionysius. While other mystics do talk of being intoxicated with God's spirit, he is not one of them, at least that I can find. In the Kabbalah, it seems to me that Yesod aply stands for the reconnection to God, because it is the sefira associated with circumcision and the covenant for which that act stands. 

 
I take "thrusting out the soul" (Plethon l. 16) to mean getting the soul to separate partially from the body as a result of ritual action, possibly involving some discipline with the breath. The result is a temporary loosening of the soul's rootedness in the world of matter and a kind of symbolic death.Majercik has "Those who, inhaling, drive out the soul are free" (124).

In the zig-zag path up the sefiroth we are at the place of Hod again, the agent that carries out the judgments passed above it by Gevurah. Death is part of its job. I could find nothing in particular in ps.-Dionysius that corresponds to the Oracles' language, but on the 32 stage cosmograph from the earth to God, this is where the soul leaves the earth. The next level up is that of water, which is what we get in the Temperance card.

The "she" here (Plethon l. 21) is Hecate again, glorying in the harmony that exists between what is above and what is below. Here she has the pitcher that is her attribute, along with the wheel. She seems to be pouring the "liquescent body" (Plethon l. 31) of the soul from one vessel to another, from a celestial to a material one. Or it could be the reverse, as the reversed colors on the other image, 10 or 20 years later, suggests.

The red and blue clothing suggests various things. Representing temperance, the combination could signify the blending of water that is too hot with water that is too cold to produce something neither one nor other, but "just right", as Goldilocks said. It could also be the blending of water with wine to make the wine less potent. Or it could be the mixing of wine and water in the Eucharist, an antidote to the precipice of death seen at the bottom of the card; or it is the red of fiery spirit mixing with the blue of watery soul.

If the ritual here is like that of the Eucharist, the cleansing of the soul of its materiality and sin, the result is indeed a victory, appropriate for Netzach, and a triumph of the soull as much as the Chariot is in the material world. 

Ascending, either in imagination before death or as an imagined scenario after death, the first obstacle is the demons of the air, the restless souls of those of the dead whose souls were too heavy even to be eligible for reincarnaton, much less the higher realms. These demons would capture the soul and drag it down. Hecate advises (Plethon l. 4):
 
Here the "sevenfold steps" (Plethon l. 5) would be the seven planets of astrological lore, who in the ancient and medieval mind were agents of Fate. They are pictured on the tarot Star card. In the Hermetic Poimandres, they are each associated with a particular sin, corresponding to the "seven deadly sins" of the Church. The "throne of dread Necessity" (Plethon l. 6) would  seem to be that of the lower Hecate, goddess of Hell, here merged as the lower face of a bisexual Devil. The ropes signify the devils which have no choice but to serve her.The next saying gives the consequence of being subject to the "throne of necessity." You are reduced to the level of "beasts of the earth" (Plethon l. 7) which is what we see on the TdM versions of the Wheel card, like hamsters in their cage, running forever in one place. Again, the Oracles consider it to be an illusion that things happen by "Fortune"; every event in the material world is the result of complex causes, many beyond our control.

In the black and white copy of the Venetian version  next to it, the one going up has an ass's head, while the one going down has an ass's tail but a human head. The implication is that while striving for the things of this world one is an ass, but in losing what one had gotten due to fortune, one has the chance to learn something: not only to be more careful next time, but, since things never happen the way we think they will, that in life it is better to be subject to virtue than to fortune.

In some versions of  the historical tarot (below 15th century Florence, early 16th century Bologna, and c. 1650 Paris), Fate is represented by a woman with a distaff, one of the three fates, traditionally Clotho.

However putting her on the Sun or Moon card she associates her with Plutarch, who had her spinning the substance of spirit on the Sun or soul on the Moon. In this context she is closer to the Chaldean Hecate than the traditional Fates, for in being given spirit, the substance of Intellect, humans are given the power to transcend fate. To experience one's full complement of spirit, however, it is necessary to climb higher.

This is another card that has no equivalent in pseudo-Dionysius. In the Kabbalah, it is the negative form of Tifereth, i.e. beauty, that which is alluring but false.

Escaping the devils, however, the way up looks just as bad as the way down (Plethon l. 42f):
All we have is the Chaldean virtue of Faith, which helps us to discern that the lightning is in fact the channel of fire toward our deliverance.

 For this card as well as the next three in the sequence, there is also the passage from ps.-Dionysius that I cited at the beginning of this post:
At one time, indeed, they extol It under exalted imagery as Sun of Righteousness, as Morning Star rising divinely in the mind, and as Light illuming without veil and for contemplation; and at other times, through things in our midst, as Fire, shedding its innocuous light; furnishing a fulness of life, and, to speak symbolically, flowing into a belly, and bubbling forth rivers flowing irresistibly; and at other times, from things most remote, as sweet-smelling ointment, as Head Corner-stone.
Thus we have the Fire or Lightning (as it was originally called), and in addition the Star, Moon, and Sun cards. In the Kabbalah they correspond to Gevurah, i.e. severity; Chesed, i.e. mercy; Binah, or repentance and return; and the Sun, or wisdom.

We turn now to the lady on the Star card, who offers liquid gifts from her two vessels..
In the saying above, Majercik (171) has "from forgetfulnes"; I think "of forgetfulness" makes more sense, with a reference to the River Lethe, from which in Plato's Republic souls drank from before entering a new incarnation). Saying 186 adds "[The river of forgetfulness (signifies) all the flowing of material things and] our rushing] vessel." There is also the Orphic Hymn to Memosyne: "Come, blessed power, thy mystic's mem'ry wake to holy rites, and Lethe's fetters break."

At the Oracle of Triphonius, as described by Pausanias (Travels in Greece 9.39) and Plutarch (On Fate), the one being initiated was required to drink from two springs, one to help him forget the world he came from, and the other to help him remember what he saw at the Oracle. Somewhat similarly, in Dante's Purgatorio, at the highest point of the Mountain of Purgatory, just before the entrance to Paradise in the sphere of the Moon, there were two streams; one of them causes him to forget everything, including his guide the beloved Beatrice. That serves to distance him from the world of mortality. The other, from which he must drink to proceed, causes him to remember his good deeds, and so his memory of Beatrice is restored. Borne aloft by these deeds, he enters Paradise.

For the Oracles the streams to be partaken of are "paths of fire". Similarly ps.-Dionysius speaks of
...creatures of fire, and men, flashing, as it were, like lightning, and placing around the Heavenly Beings themselves heaps of coals of fire, and rivers of flame flowing with irresistible force...
And what are these "rivers of flame"? In Chapter 15 sect. 8 he explains:
The rivers of fire signify the supremely Divine streams furnishing to them [the Heavenly Beings] an ungrudging and incessant flow, and nourishing the productive powers of life...
 According to Wikipedia, "to descend into the cave of Trophonius" became a proverbial way of saying "to suffer a great fright." Similarly, as we rise to the Moon in this tarot-driven reading of the Oracles, we are greeted by more frightening beings, which in this reading are the dogs of infernal or chthonic Hecate (Plethon l. 32f, Majercik 135):
What is important now is to be courageous, to use one's power of fortitude in dark times. Actually, these dogs don't look that frightening; they seem more intent on the Moon and its rays than on anything else. In the earliest version of this scene, however, the dogs seem to be replaced by two crocodiles crawling at the edge of the lake. These are more fearsome. I seem to see one of them holding something in its mouth.  In its equivalent in later cards, the giant crayfish or lobster, there is similarly something jewel-like in its claws. .What could it be?
Perhaps it is the "flower of the intellect" of which another Oracle had spoken, with which one will be able to perceive the Intelligible itself, as Plethon's translation had it. As such, it is worth getting, but one has to go into the most fearsome part of one's depths to get it.

While what Plethon included about the "depth of the soul" being leader is good,  there is another part to that saying that somehow got missed. Speaking of the Intelligible, i.e. the One at the top of everything else, which can be perceived by the "flower of the mind", the Oracle continues (Majercik 1):
If you should incline your mind toward it and perceive it as perceiving a specific thing, you would not perceive it.... You must not perceive it intently, but ...you should extend an empty mind toward the Intelligible in order to comprehend it, since it exists outside of (your) mind.
So while on the one hand you have to keep alert to dangers and traps, seductive lures,  you also have to keep part of your mind empty and purely receptive, to what is beyond the mind and its categories. That doesn't sound easy.

Then comes what Johnston has called "the Epiphany of Hecate," when the supermundane Hecate sends the Father's fire in the form of new images, the ones with which I opened this study. We know now what has been spoken: the sacred words, in the context of the sacred ritual; I am using Johnston's translation, Hekate Soteira p. 111; see also Majercik 146).
This is a savior figure, similar to that of the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux, sometimes seen flashing in the sky during battles. or alongside the soldiers to ensure victory. It could also, from the side of orthodoxy, be the "faithful and true" rider of Revelation 19:11; on a white horse, "with justice doth he judge and fight."


The dogs were a test of our courage; the lightning merely contained daemons of vengeance against the wicked, or were like arms reaching down from on high. The Oracles say (130), "From these flames, as they are descending, the soul plucks the soul-nourished flower of fiery fruits."..

Pseudo-Dionysius in his "Celestial Hierarchy" also talks about horses (Ch. 15, sect. 8), part of which I have cited in relation to the Chariot card.
That [imagery in the sacred writings] of Horses represents obedience and docility, and of those who are white, brilliancy, and as especially congenial to the Divine Light; but of those who are dark blue, the Hidden; and of those red, the fiery and vigorous; and of the piebald, the uniting of the extremes by the power passing through them, and joining the first to the second, and the second to the first, reciprocally and considerately. 
While the Bible does talk about horses in visions, most famously the "four horses of the apocalypse", the colors are not quite the same (one there is black rather than dark blue) and their meaning there is quite different from that in ps-.Dionysius. About the only thing in common, there and in another place, Zac. 6, is that they come "from the heavens" (Zac. 6:5). But they fit the Chaldean Oracles well, as an amplification of the one I have cited .

Vieville's horse looks to me piebald, that is, the mixture of colors, the union of extremes.. The Chariot cards I showed earlier have the other colors, the brilliancy of white and the fire of red. In the "Chosson" deck of early 18th century Marseille, which was the model for most "Marseille" style decks to follow, the horses are indeed blue, not dark but still with a ghostly quality to them (viewable at http://tarotmeditations.wordpress.com/decks/chosson/).

Now nothing remains but keeping to the sacred paths laid out by the fire. The Oracles say (Plethon l. 13f):This is the return to the source, which in the Kabbalah corresponds to Kether, or crown.

If you are wondering about the clothes, there is another saying (116): "For the divine is not accessible to mortals who think corporally, but to all those who, naked, hasten upward toward the heights." There is nothing left to do but mount heaven, with our love for God at the reins of the soul's chariot (Plethon l. 45 below), as we see in both an ancient Orphic medallion found in Brindisi, Italy, and a very similar scene on a Venetian Chariot card of the early 16th century. On the medallion, it is Hermes, i.e. reason, leading the horses. Presumably it is similar on the card.
For more perspective on this theme, I give you the entire medallion.It is filled with Orphic symbols, which are also invoked in the Oracles: the wheel of fate, the ladder as the means to transcendence, among others I don't know.
 You will notice that there are only eleven zodiac signs. For a few hundred years, that was the case, ending around the time of Julius Caesar; but I don't know how far before or after. On the medallion, the chariot seems to be heading for the space between the tail of Scorpio (which seems to have taken the place of Libra) and Virgo, in other words the Equinox. Allegorically, he should have been heading toward the Winter Solstice, which where the doorway to heaven was, according to the Neoplatonists Porphyry (in Greek) and Macrobius (in Latin, well known), in Capricorn. The doorway to the earth was in Cancer. This is from the perspective of Porphyry's "Cave of the nymphs," which in Homer's Odyssey was on the island of Ithaca but in Porphyry's hands seems to be somewhere in the ecliptic.

The tarot here does not have the image of a Chariot, since that was reserved for the card of that name. The Oracles merely speak of different vehicles at different levels. However  ps.-Dionysius does speak of chariots specifically at this upper level, and also wheels:
...the chariots [signify], the conjoined communion of those of the same rank; the wheels being winged, and advancing without turning and without deviation, the power of their advancing energy within a straight and direct path, towards the same unflinching and straight swoop of their every intellectual track, supermundanely straight and direct way. Also it is possible to explain, after another mystical meaning, the sacred description of the intellectual wheels; for the name Gel, Gel, is given to them, as the theologian says. This shows, according to the Hebrew tongue, revolutions and revelations. For the Empyrean and Godlike wheels have revolutions, indeed, by their perpetual movement around the Good Itself; but revelations, by the manifestation of things hidden, and by the elevation of things at our feet, and by the descending procession of the sublime illuminations to things below. 
Reaching the Empyrian, the soul will see Aion himself, god of Eternity. In ancient times he was portrayed very similarly to the Orphic Phanes, to whom one of the Orphic Hymns is dedicated; so here I put Phanes next to the appropriate card:
By the time of this medallion, there are twelve signs again, all circling around Phanes, as though around an image of the Good.

In the above, I used Phanes and a modern "restoration" of the TdM card (by Camoin and Jodorowsky) that isn't quite like any original that I have seen. The early TdM World cards (examples follow later) have the lady simply holding one baton in her left hand and nothing in her right. In the 1760 Conver, it isn't clear what she has in her right. Conver used the earlier "Chosson" deck as his model. In that deck, dated 1672 but perhaps early 18th century (cardmakers sometimes gave the earliest date of the company and its predecessors rather than the date of the deck), it looks like a small baton., A comparison to the picture of Aion that I showed earlier is of interest, in that like the statue she seems to have batons in both hands, but a smaller one in one of them..The hands are the reverse of the Aion statue.

The only thing missing now from this study is the Fool card, which I assign to the "Father" or First Intellect, the "single fire" from which everything following derives (the saying below is Plethon l. 58):


I identify the Father with the Fool because in the game that was played with the deck, the Fool was purely a wild card, not part of the trump hierarchy. In trick-taking, it was a complete zero and was sometimes given that number. Similarly, for the Oracles the Father is beyond all concepts; of anything definite, all that could be said was that he was not that. And the Matto, madman, was someone likewise who said to be mindless. There was also the "holy fool", however, the one out of his mind from love of God. Likewise the Fool card in the game was one of the most valuable cards one could have, along with the World, in terms of points.

Ps.-Dionysius's "negative way" is a repeated negation of all the attributes of the positive way, until nothing is left; God is not anything that can truly be described in human terms. God is in the position of the tarot Fool. Ps.-Dionysius says::
The foolishness of God is wiser than men.’ Here the divine apostle is said to be praising God for his ‘foolishness, which...uplifts [us] to the ineffable truth which is there before all reasoning.
  In the Kabbalah,  beyond all the divine names given on the Tree, there is the En Sof, Hebrew for "no limit". Concepts are limits; they mark off what a thing is from what it is not. God has no such limits.

Even though, in Plethon's version of the Oracles,  the Father has "snatched himself away", he nonetheless cares for his creatures. The last verse of Plethon's edition says, after the line just quoted (l. 59f):

You will have noticed the dog that accompanies the Misero figure on the "Tarot of Mantegna" card, the earliest representative I know of this combination of Fool and dog. Oddly enough, there is also a dog in The Wizard of Oz, Toto, who accompanies Dorothy to Oz. He plays an interesting role, and perhaps we can use him and the others as a summary for the second half of the sequence.

First, Toto is the one who discovers that the Wizard is just an ordinary man, despite his power over the people. In othe words, it is is not outer power that matters, but what is within.

Then, when the group goes to capture the witch's broomstick, after which they will get what they are missing from the Wizard, Toto and Dorothy are captured by the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys, a good equivalent to the evil daemons of Middle Platonism, as she is to the Devil. They take her to the  Witch's castle--which is what we see on the Tower card--where Toto escapes and brings the three companions to rescue her. Toto's role here is perhaps equivalent to the scene on the Moon card, if you imagine the dogs not as fearful but as alerting us to danger. As on the Tower card, there is a fire: the Scarecrow has accidently caught fire.. Like the lady on the Star card, Dorothy empties a pitcher of water on the scene, putting out the fire but accidentally also melting the witch. The liquid is what allows the victory over Fate, the seven small stars on the card.

Instead of a sun or the Chaldeans' fire or fiery child, in the movie we get the image of the Wizard's hot-air balloon in the sky, returning to Kansas--but without Dorothy, as Toto had jumped out at the last minute. Dorothy has one more thing to learn in Oz. Toto is nothing less than one of Hecate's dogs, on her business. What Dorothy needs to do is, in Hecate's words, to perform the act and say the sacred words; and so she does, on the advice of Good Witch Glinda. And Dorothy finds herself waking up in Kansas, saying Tthere's no place like home."

TWO SUMMARIES (ONE WITH TAROT AND ORACLES ONLY, ONE ADDING PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS AND THE KABBALIST SEFIROTH, FOR COMPARISON)

SUMMARY ONE: THE TAROT AND THE CHALDEAN ORACLES

Bagatella (Magician): “Spells are thought by the Father, and think themselves.” “All things descend from one fire.” The priest who works the ritual Also Egyptian god Ammon, creator god in Herodotus for the 4 elements.

Popess (High Priestess): “Power [Hecate] is with him, but Intellect is from him. Beside this one sits a Dyad, It has a double function: it both has the intelligibles in mind and brings sense perception to the worlds.” “To that order from which you flowed, you shall rise again, combining the act with the sacred word.” “The Paternal Intellect does not admit her volition...until she has spoken the word...the holy watchword of the Father.” “Then hearken to the voice of the fire. The Father has sown symbols in men’s souls.”

Empress: “Around the hollows of her [Hecate’s] right flank a great stream of primordially generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.” “Since the Soul is a fire, she remains immortal and is mistress of life, and shall be filled with many repletions from the depth of the world.” “Boundless Nature is suspended from the back of the goddess... Do not gaze at Nature, for her name is like Fate.” “Untiring Nature rules both worlds and works, so that the sky might turn around, pulling down its eternal course.” “Nature gives proof that the fruits even of evil matter are worthy and good.”

Emperor: “The Father perfected everything and committed it to the Second Intellect, which the races of men call the first.”

Pope (Hierophant): “By extending the fiery intellect to the act of piety, you shall also save the liquescent body,..Learn what is intelligible, for it exists outside the intellect. There is indeed something intelligible, which you must understand by the flower of the intellect.”

Love: “After he thought his works, ... the Paternal Intellect sowed the bond of love, heavy with fire, in all things. With this love, the elements of the world remain on course.” “Faith, truth, and love, that praiseworthy triad. For all things are governed by these three. (Love, governed by the teletarch Aion in the Empyrian; Truth, governed by Helios in the Etherial; and Faith, governed by the Moon, the material teletarch, in the sublunar.)

Chariot:
“[Particular souls become mundane through their] vehicles.” “The Father mixed the spark of soul with two harmonious qualities, intellect and divine Will, to which he added a third, pure Love, as the guide and holy bond of all things.”.

Justice: “In the left flank of Hecate is the source of virtue, which remains wholly within and does not give away its virginity.” “The penalties [Plethon: avenging daemons] are the restrainers of men.”

Time (Old Man): “The truer Sun measures the All together with Time, truly being Time of time.” Ps.-D “They call him ancient of days because he is the time and eternity of everything.”

Wheel of Fortune: Do not invoke the self-manifesting image of Nature!...Flee the shameful wing of allotted Fate.”

Fortitude (Strength): “If you speak to me often, you will perceive everything in lion-form.”

Hanged Man: “She [the soul] is utterly intoxicated from God.”

Death:
“Those who thrust out the soul and inhale are easy to loose.”

Temperance: “For she glories in harmony, beneath which is the mortal body.”

Devil: “Incline not downward: below the earth lies a precipice that drags down beneath the sevenfold steps, below which is the throne of necessity. Your vessel shall be occupied by the beasts of the earth. Do not enlarge your Fate.”

Fire (tower): The stars do not shine, the light of the moon is veiled, the earth stands not firm, all things appear as lightning.”

Star: “[The Father guides us, opening paths of fire] so that we do not flow into a stream of forgetfulness.” Orphic Hymn to Mnemosyne: “Come, blessed power, thy mystic’s mem’ry wake to holy rites, and Lethe’s fetters break.”

Moon: “Then from the depths of the earth leap forth the dogs of the underworld, showing no true sign to mortals...You must not gaze at them until your body has been initiated. Being terrestrial, these dogs are shameless.” “Let the immortal depth of the soul be leader.”

Sun: “Having spoken these things, you will behold either a fire leaping skittishly like a child over the aery waves, or an unformed fire from which a voice emerges; or a rich light that whirls around in a spiral. But [it is also possible] that you will see a horse flashing more brightly than light, either also a fiery child mounted on the swift back of the horse, covered with gold or naked; or even a child shooting arrows, upright on the horse’s back.”

Judgment: “You must hasten toward the light and rays of the Father, whence your soul was sent out, clothed in abundant intellect.” “For the divine is not accessible to mortals who think corporeally, but to all those who, naked, hasten upward toward the heights." “Draw tight the reins of the fire with an untouched soul.”

World: “But not shutting off his own fire in his intellectual power, the Father does not impel fear but diffuses persuasion.” Orphic Hymn to Phanes: “O mighty first-begotten, two-fold,...egg-born, ...pure and holy light, hence Phanes called.”

Fool: “The Father has snatched himself away.” “If you should incline your mind toward it and perceive it as perceiving a specific thing, you would not perceive it.... You must not perceive it intently, but ...you should extend an empty mind toward the Intelligible in order to comprehend it, since it exists outside of (your) mind.”


SUMMARY TWO: ADDING PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS ("DIVINE NAMES" AND "CELESTIAL HIERARCHIES"), ORPHIC HYMNS, AND THE KABBALIST SEFIROTH

Bagatella (Magician): “Spells are thought by the Father, and think themselves.” “All things descend from one fire.” The priest who works the ritual. Also Egyptian god Ammon/Jupiter, in Herodotus, creator god, And John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word. All things were made by him”, for the 4 elements on the table. Kabbalah: Kether, Crown, that from which all else flows..

Popess (High Priestess): “Power [Hecate] is with him, but Intellect is from him. Beside this one sits a Dyad, It has a double function: it both has the intelligibles in mind and brings sense perception to the worlds.” “To that order from which you flowed, you shall rise again, combining the act with the sacred word.” “The Paternal Intellect does not admit her volition...until she has spoken the word...the holy watchword of the Father.” “Then hearken to the voice of the fire. The Father has sown symbols in men’s souls.” Orph. Hymn to Hecate: “...the world’s key-bearer..” Kab: Hochma, Wisdom, whose medieval symbol was the book.

Empress: “Around the hollows of her [Hecate’s] right flank a great stream of primordially generated Soul gushes forth in abundance, totally ensouling light, fire, ether, worlds.” “Since the Soul is a fire, she remains immortal and is mistress of life, and shall be filled with many repletions from the depth of the world.” “Boundless Nature is suspended from the back of the goddess... Do not gaze at Nature, for her name is like Fate.” “Untiring Nature rules both worlds and works, so that the sky might turn around, pulling down its eternal course.” “Nature gives proof that the fruits even of evil matter are worthy and good.” Ps..-D.: “furnishing the fullness of life, and to speak symbolically, flowing into a belly, and bubbling forth rivers flowing irresistably.” Kab: the right pillar, of mercy. But also Binah, mother of what is below her, and the severity of Fate.

Emperor: “The Father perfected everything and committed it to the Second Intellect, which the races of men call the first.” Ps.-D: “The representation of the eagle denotes the kingly, and soaring, and swift in flight...and unflinching gaze toward the bounteous and brilliant splendor of the Divine rays of the sun...” Kab: Chesed, mercy, which is what emperors were empowered to grant..

Pope (Hierophant): “By extending the fiery intellect to the act of piety, you shall also save the liquescent body,..Learn what is intelligible, for it exists outside the intellect. There is indeed something intelligible, which you must understand by the flower of the intellect.” Ps.-D.: “The sacerdotal robe denotes their conducting to the Divine and mystical visions, and the consecration of their whole life.” Kab: Gevurah, severity, judgment. Think Inquisition.

Love: “After he thought his works, ... the Paternal Intellect sowed the bond of love, heavy with fire, in all things. With this love, the elements of the world remain on course.” “Faith, truth, and love, that praiseworthy triad. For all things are governed by these three. (Love, governed by the teletarch Aion in the Empyrian; Truth, governed by Helios in the Etherial; and Faith, governed by the Moon, the material teletarch, in the sublunar.) Ps.-D.: They [the sacred writers] call it [the Good] beautiful, beauty, love, beloved,...Beauty “bids” all things to itself.’  Kab: Tifereth, Beauty; also the middle pillar, Kether to Yesod/Malkhuth.

Chariot: “[Particular souls become mundane through their] vehicles.” “The Father mixed the spark of soul with two harmonious qualities, intellect and divine Will, to which he added a third, pure Love, as the guide and holy bond of all things Ps. D. That of Horses represents obedience and docility, and those who are white, brilliancy, and as especially congenial to the Divine Light; but of those who are dark blue, the Hidden; and of those red, the fiery and vigorous.” Kab: Netzach, victory.

Justice: “In the left flank of Hecate is the source of virtue, which remains wholly within and does not give away its virginity.” “The penalties [Plethon: avenging daemons] are the restrainers of men.” Ps.-D: The spears and the battle-axes denote the dividing of things unlike, and the sharp and energetic and drastic operation of the discriminating powers.” Kab: Hod, splendor; left pillar, carries out judgments from above.

Time (old man): “The truer Sun measures the All together with Time, truly being Time of time.” Ps.-D: “Light is the measure ...of the hours, the days,.” “They call him ancient of days because he is the time and eternity of everything.” Kab: Yesod called Time.

Wheel of Fortune: Do not invoke the self-manifesting image of Nature! ...Flee the shameful wing of allotted Fate.” Kab.: Malkhuth, Kingdom. Favor of God taken away.

Fortitude (Strength): “If you speak to me often, you will perceive everything in lion-form.” Ps-D: “We must consider that the shape of a Lion signifies the leading, and robust, and indomitable, and the assimilation, as far as possible, to the unutterable Godhead,...during Divine illumination.”) Kab.: Kingdom. Favor of God.

Hanged Man: “She [the soul] is utterly intoxicated from God.” Kab.: Yesod, circumcision, connection to divine.

Death: “Those who thrust out the soul and inhale are easy to loose.” Kab.: Hod, agent of justice.
Temperance: “For she glories in harmony, beneath which is the mortal body.” Kab.: Netzach, victory.

Devil: “Incline not downward: below the earth lies a precipice that drags down beneath the sevenfold steps, below which is the throne of necessity. Your vessel shall be occupied by the beasts of the earth. Do not enlarge your Fate.”  Kab.: Negative side of Tifereth, false Beauty, corresponding to alchemical Mercury as both medicine and poison.

Fire (tower): The stars do not shine, the light of the moon is veiled, the earth stands not firm, all things appear as lightning.” (Ps.-D.: “...creatures of fire, and men, flashing, as it were, like lightning, and placing around the Heavenly Beings themselves heaps of coals of fire..” Kab: Gevurah: severity, judgment.

Star: “[The Father guides us, opening paths of fire] so that we do not flow into a stream of forgetfulness.” Orphic Hymn to Mnemosyne: “Come, blessed power, thy mystic’s mem’ry wake to holy rites, and Lethe’s fetters break.” Ps.-D.: “The rivers of fire signify the supremely Divine streams furnishing to them [the Heavenly Beings] an ungrudging and incessant flow, and nourishing the productive powers of life...”. See also entry for Sun. Kab: Chesed, mercy.

Moon: “Then from the depths of the earth leap forth the dogs of the underworld, showing no true sign to mortals...You must not gaze at them until your body has been initiated. Being terrestrial, these dogs are shameless.” “Let the immortal depth of the soul be leader.” Ps.-D.: see entry for Sun. Kab: Binah, repentance.

Sun: “Having spoken these things, you will behold either a fire leaping skittishly like a child over the aery waves, or an unformed fire from which a voice emerges; or a rich light that whirls around in a spiral. But [it is also possible] that you will see a horse flashing more brightly than light, either also a fiery child mounted on the swift back of the horse, covered with gold or naked; or even a child shooting arrows, upright on the horse’s back.” Ps.-D: At one time, indeed, they [the mystic theologians] extol It [the divine] under exalted imagery as Sun of Righteousness, as Morning Star rising divinely in the mind, and as Light illuming without veil [i.e. Moon] and for contemplation; and at other times, through things in our midst, as Fire, shedding its innocuous light...” Kab. : Hochma, Wisdom, place of silence.

Judgment: “You must hasten toward the light and rays of the Father, whence your soul was sent out, clothed in abundant intellect.” “For the divine is not accessible to mortals who think corporeally, but to all those who, naked, hasten upward toward the heights." “Draw tight the reins of the fire with an untouched soul.” Kab.: Kether, crown, source.

World
: “But not shutting off his own fire in his intellectual power, the Father does not impel fear but diffuses persuasion.” Orphic Hymn to Phanes: “O mighty first-begotten, two-fold,...egg-born, ...pure and holy light, hence Phanes called.” Kab: Kether.

Fool: “The Father has snatched himself away.” “If you should incline your mind toward it and perceive it as perceiving a specific thing, you would not perceive it.... You must not perceive it intently, but ...you should extend an empty mind toward the Intelligible in order to comprehend it, since it exists outside of (your) mind.” Ps.-D; “The foolishness of God is wiser than men.’ Here the divine apostle is said to be praising God for his ‘foolishness, which...uplifts [us] to the ineffable truth which is there before all reasoning.”  “Kab: En Sof, no limit, i.e. beyond limits.

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