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Ayumi 
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Question Oswald Wirth, the Empress, and the Moon


Does anyone know why Wirth put a cresent moon on his Empress card? Most of the occult 'gurus' of the day were associating the Empress with Venus, and the Papess with the moon. Could it have been a return to the Hermetic/Alchemical association of Queen/Moon and King/Sun?


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayumi
Does anyone know why Wirth put a cresent moon on his Empress card? Most of the occult 'gurus' of the day were associating the Empress with Venus, and the Papess with the moon. Could it have been a return to the Hermetic/Alchemical association of Queen/Moon and King/Sun?


Ayumi
"...The Christian artists were inspired by Alchemy when they placed a crescent beneath the foot of the heavenly Virgin,but they often made the error of drawing the crescent with its horns upturned. Others have followed the right tradition, witness the Spanish sculptor of the 18th century to whom we owe the very symbolic Madonna, as drawn opposite, after the original preserved in Paris in the sacristy of the church of St. Thomas Aquinas."

"This sovereign, dazzling with light represents 'Creative Intelligence', the mother of form, pictures and ideas. She is the immaculate Virgin of the Christians, in whom the Greeks would have recognized their Venus-Urania, born shimmering in light out of the dark waves of the wild Ocean.

"As Queen of the sky she moves in the sublime heights of the 'ideal', above all contingency, as is shown by the foot which she places on the crescent with its horns turned downward. Thus domination is confirmed over the sublunary world, where everything is but mobility, perpetual change and continual transformation. In contrast with this lower realm on which the Moon [18] sheds only a vague and deceptive light, the Empress's sphere corresponds to the high Waters where Supreme Wisdom resides. There everything is fixed and unmovable, hence perfect: it is the region of the archetype, that is to say of ideal forms or of pure ideas according to which everything is created....

"...This Queen of the heaven of ideality dominates creation. She places her foot on the moon, the maker of concrete images, for the conceptions of the immaculate sovereign woman are related to pure ideas, prototypes according to which creation is accomplished. She whom the builders of cathedrals called Our Lady was, in their eyes, the mediator, communicating to them the plan of the Great Architect of the Universe...

From The Tarot of the Magicians by Oswald Wirth.
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Rosanne 
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Sorry this is so late in an answer Ayumi. I have a friend called Fulgour who is unable to answer himself at this time so I am the messenger. Here you go.....

Quote:
It has nothing to do with the Queen/Moon and King/Sun. Wirth was using the Christian alchemists' symbol of old times who often placed a crescent moon under the foot of the Celestial Virgin. (Sometimes they made a mistake by placing the crescent moon with the points upwards, but they should in fact be faced down).
By placing her foot on it, she affirms that she dominates the SUBLUNAR world, where everything changes constantly, and transforms without end.
I love the 22 Majors of the Wirth deck myself. ~Rosanne



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It may perhaps be worth remembering that Wirth designed the images about 30 years before his book came out (if I recall the dates correctly).

This is taking the cards as dating from the late 1880s, and his book from the mid 1920s.

Though of course Wirth continued to be guided by the works of Guaita, Christian, Papus and Levi, he also developed his views as expressed in his wonderful book.

At the time of the deck's design, I would suggest, contra Ayumi's suggestion, that it was not so simple that "Most of the occult 'gurus' of the day were associating the Empress with Venus, and the Papess with the moon".

For example, though Papus does make that association, he also suggests that the Empress has at her feet the Moon.

Interestingly, by the way, the images Papus uses of the 'first' version of the Wirth deck has the 'horns' of the Moon pointing UPWARDS, not down as in later versions (Cf pp 91 and 115 of The Tarot of the Bohemians).

In any case, the clearest reference I have come across for the reference to the Apocalypse (though indicated in Levi), is from Paul Christian's History and Practice of Magic, p 97:
"Arcanum III is represented by a woman seated at the centre of a blazing sun; she is crowned by twelve stars and her feet rest on the moon. [...] This woman, celestial Isis or Nature [...]. The moon beneath her feet signifies the weakness of matter and its domination by the Spirit"
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Thanks Everyone.

While browsing Lilly's Christian Astrology (1647) last night I noticed he writes that the Moon rules Queens, and Venus rules mothers and virgins. (Some may see the Papess as representing Christ's virgin mother.) He doesn't mention nuns at all.
Lilly equates the Sun with Kings, Emperors, Dukes, etc., and Jupiter with Ecclesiatical men, Bishops, Priests, Ministers, Cardinals, etc..

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