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MikeH  MikeH is offline
Join Date: 03 Nov 2007
Location: Oregon USA
Posts: 443
Hyginus, Juno, Joseph

I had already cited Hyginus in an earlier post, but from a later edition that has the conventional man with one jug. I had not found the 1535 edition, which has the more feminine Aquarius. My general point was that in one brief period of time, 15th to early 17th century, Aquarius suddenly became feminine, and pronouncedly masculine before and after. I looked on cathedral sites, for example, which have lot of zodiacs. The only possible exception I've found is an Aquarius in a cathedral in Spain, which I can't make out. Perhaps it is a Muslim influence.

Your alternative for how this came about is certainly plausible: there is a famous painting of Francis I of France as androgynous; and with Leonardo da Vinci, one never knows what to think (i.e. his John in the Last Supper, his angels, his Baptist, maybe even his Mona). However after this free-wheeling period Aquarius went back to his masculine welf; but the Star figure went the other way. Why is that? That's even more where I suspect the influence of Dendera. At some point (after I have finished a certain project on another thread, I will post some other images from Greco-Roman Egyptian zodiacs that may have seeped into the tarot.

Your point about Juno is well taken. I had investigated the Juno connection but did not find enough information to present more than a brief sketch. The Milky Way is the path from the constellations to the realm of the gods, like the "spring of remembering" in Pausanias.

An addition to your point about Joseph: His interpretation of Pharoah's dream, that there would be 7 lean years and 7 fat years, is indirectly connected to the seven smaller stars. The Nile had a 7 on/7 off flood pattern. So 7 came to be associated with fate, in fact the "7 hathors" were said to appear at a child's birth to predict the course of its life. This Joseph-Hathors connection is in Desroche-Noblecourt's book about Egypt (in French) that I quoted earlier.

I doubt if the Renaissance knew about the Egyptians' interpretation of 7 as fate, but it may be an aspect of the Greek astrological idea that that the "7 planets" determine one's destiny. In the New Testament there is the sentence about Jesus "casting out7 devils" from Mary Magdalene. In the apocryphal "Gospel of Mary Magdalene" (part of the late 18th century Bruce Codex) Mary has a vision in which the soul passes by the 4 elements and then confronts 7 "powers.of wrath," described in planetary terms, after which it is free. The "Poimandres" in the Corpus Hermeticum has a similar passage, extremely well known in the Renaissance. Some examples: Henry Vaughn, 17th century, put the Poimandres version into poetic form, and Fludd put an extended version of it (from Reuchlin or Agrippa, ultimately back to Pico and Ficino if not earlier) in picture form. Beyond the 7 is freedom (through Jesus or whatever), the one large star.
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