Actually what I said: "I also find the notion of the trumps as primarily spiritual problematic because those explicitly “spiritual” cards can simply be viewed as vignettes of the late medieval worldview..."
But the renaissance thinkers reinterpreted the late medieval worldview in new terms, stemming from Platonic/Middle Platonic/Neoplatonic/Kabbalist documents that came to them in the 15th century as well as older documents (i.e. Aesclepius, the Golden Ass, other writings attributed to Apuleius). That is not very simple and for people who identified with that movement a very important reivisioning of old symbolism. I am only disagreeing with your denigration of the spiritual, not with there being other meaning there. And the late medieval worldview is also there, as a kind of lowest common denominator, the "surface meaning" as opposed to hidden allegorical meanings, in which--according to everyone until the 18th century--one thing stands for another and there is more than one possibility.
In this regard I have some issues with Marco, as usual. He writes:
Michael talks of the “trump cycle”. It is a cycle because its meaning is in the sequence of the images. As stated by Dummett (quoted by Michael): “The search for a hidden meaning may be a unicorn hunt; but if there is a meaning to be found, only a correct basis of fact will lead us to it. The hidden meaning, if any, lies in the sequential arrangement of the trump cards”.
I am not sure I totally agree with the quote from Dummett, as the order, in its variations, might be a patchwork of original cards plus additions, subtractions, transformations, and interpolations (in particular, between Death and Angel or World). But I assume you agree with Dummett. If so, then your analysis of the Cary Sheet and Vieville Sun cards (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=402&start=70#p15576
) should also make sense in terms of the preceding cards in the sequence relating to "end times". If you are going to use the bottom parts of one card as evidence, you should also consider the bottom parts of the preceding cards. It is easy to do that for the Cary Sheet and Vieville Tower cards. The falling circles are also seen in a French/Norman manuscript of the end times. No allegory, just actual depiction.
So likewise in the Sun card, although I question whether the child with the flag, and maybe a hobby horse, is "the generic human soul". We are always "children of God", not just at the end times. Also, I am not sure about the appropriateness of the hobby-horse to the end times. In the illustration you took it from, it is an attribute of Christ, with the planets in awe of a child. But that seems like something of a joke in the context of the fearful imagery of the Apocalypse. So I prefer Pollett, but the child still as Christ, the child born of the virgin clothed with the sun, proclaiming victory (over the crustacean?)--and also, allegorically, the "generic soul" in a sense, proclaiming its own victory as it returns home.
I can see the Vieville rider more easily as the rider on the "white horse" of Rev. 19:11, the child of the Virgin now old enough to ride a horse:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called faithful and true, and with justice doth he judge and fight.
The only trouble is that Christ is not usually portrayed as a child that age, riding a horse or not. So would he be recognized? I'd like to know your perspective.
Most importantly, what do the other Cary Sheet images have to do with the Apocalypse? What do you make of the figure pouring out liquids into a lake? Is he or she pouring out fire and flood at the Apocalypse? And the crustacean in the pool? Is that one of those monsters that appear in the Apocalypse? I am not objecting, just asking. There is a methodological point involved. Allegories aren't literal depictions of what is represented; they involve interpretation, some of it loose. That's why I can accept an "end times" interpretation here, of crustaceans, Aquariuses, etc.
Then there is the issue of how to interpret the "end times" allegorically. It isn't just a prediction of future events, rapturists to the contrary. As I think Augustine emphasized, it applies to the present time as well, our own "end times" in this life, and our own New Jerusalem. Here is where I think pseudo-Dionysius's works and the Chaldean Oracles come in, both of which appeared suddenly in 1438 Florence, the one in an elegant new translation by a principal player in the conclave, the other, it seems reasonable to me, in the hands of Gemistos Plethon, whose spoken Greek the the other would have translated to Cosimo. The Oracles were published in a new Latin translation in Vieville's time, 1597, (https://www.worldcat.org/search?q=ti%3A ... dblist=638
); so a deck alluding to them would have been of great interest to esotericists then (I think this is true even if they were also of interest to the Golden Dawn later).
Ps. Dionysius says, in "Celestial Hierarchies", http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areop ... chy.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.
No horse here, just "wild beasts" such as the lion of the Fortitude card, of which the giant crustacean of the Moon card might be an example. There is also the "bubbling forth rivers", perhaps having something to do with the Star card, and of course the Morning Star and the Sun are there, both shining bright. The "rivers" are "rivers of flame", as ps.-Dionysius says later:
..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...
It seems to me that the "men flashing like lightning" is a reference to the Dioscuri, i.e. the Gemini, described in similar terms by Plutarch in On the apparent face in the orb of the moon
The Chaldean Oracles say, in Plethon's version (lines 13-16, p. 49 of Woodhouse, Gemistos Plethon
You must hasten towards the light and rays of the Father,
Whence your soul was sent out, clothed in abundant intellect.
The earth mourns them continually unto their children:
Those who thrust out the soul and inhale are easy to loose.
Perhaps this is a breathing exercise, among other things. And later,
Draw tight from all sides the reins of the fire with an untouched soul.
"Reins" suggest a horse, with the explicit reference somehow edited out. "Children" suggests the child that was already on the PMB. (That card must also be taken into account, when interpreting the Cary Sheet, because one is descended from the other.) But the child on the Cary Sheet might also be the soul that "was sent out, clothed in abundant intellect"--the generic soul, now returning home.
As for the PMB child, another passage in Plethon (I think from his Commentary on the Oracles) is relevant, paraphrased by Woodhouse (p. 56):
The soul uses a heavenly body as its vehicle, and that vehicle itself possesses soul of an irrational kind (called by philosophers the 'image' of the rational soul), but equipped with imagination and sensation. Through the power of imagination the rational is permanently united with such a body, and through such a body the human soul is united with the mortal body. The souls of daemons have superior, immortal vehicles, and the souls of stars have still more superior vehicles. 'These are the theories of the soul which appear to have been held from an even earlier date by the Magi following Zoroaster.
So the child on the PMB could also be the soul of the Sun, aiding the human soul.
Apart from Plethon, two centuries later, the version that corresponds to what Vieville would have had (from Proclus, then accessible, as far as I know, only to Filelfo, in 1438 not in Florence but not yet in Milan):
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 whirs around the field 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 upon the horse's back.
This is fragment 146, as quoted at http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=56819
. I think Johnston, at least in her book Hekate soteira
, used the Majercik translation, 1989, A translation closer to Vieville's time has
But also to see a Horse more glittering than Light.
Or a Boy on [thy] shoulders riding on a Horse,
Fiery or adorned with Gold, or devested,
Or shooting and standing on [thy] shoulders.
). In any case, we again get the explicit addition of the horse, without reference to hobby-horses.
This seems to me a valid allegorical interpretation quite in line with that of the medieval "end times" imagery, but an example of Renaissance reinterpretation in the light of new texts. Similar interpretation also works for the other "end times" cards, as I show at http://tarotandchaldean.blogspot.com/20 ... -form.html
. In fact, all the sequence, not just the the ones at the end, might, interpreted allegorically, relate to this text, the Chaldean Oracles, although not, of course, determining the surface content or precise order of the sequence, for which other considerations apply.