I'll take that as a gloss or moralization on the card, a homily on it, but the sequence doesn't demand it, and the tradition of interpretation doesn't support it (not that this is decisive, but it does show how various interpreters far closer than we are understood it).
What exactly is this “tradition of interpretation” if not precisely the earliest interpretation of the card as the arrow
? I have clearly shown that the arrow was synonymous with Jupiter’s lightning bolts and that is what was interpreted – that the lightning, also known as arrows, but only in the context of Jupiter’s bolts
, were slung at erring man. I’m still awaiting your explanation of how the sagittal/saetta
could be interpreted as fire (without the Juptier bolt/arrow gloss)?
Back to the most relevant cognates and the cards themselves…
c. 1400, Speculum humanæ salvationis
(Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Paris, Ms. lat. 593.), Florence, God striking Sodom = God’s Wrath (clearly a precedent for Massaccio)
c. 1425, Florence, Massacio ‘s Adam and Eve expelled from the garden, protected with a tower derived from the the copy books used for the Speculum humanæ salvationis
(God’s wrath is mediated via his archangel armed with sword, but the meaning is the same) ; significantly the tower was interpreted in a later Minchiate deck as this same God’s wrath with the same tower:
c. 1480, CVI tower – the earliest surving tarot tower, closely paralleling the same three attributes we have seen in all of the towers: 1) square-based, 2) crenellated, and 3) with arched gate (a protytpe that goes back to the Florentine Speculum humanæ salvationis
The other major tradition of interpretation
is La Maison Dieu
“House of God” – and again, “Jupiter” is the commonly encountered humanist name for God…who once again, is striking his wrath at erring humanity. Otherwise how could House of God possibly indicate fire, divorced from its use in striking humanity?
Nothing forces us to understand the lightning striking a tower as the wrath of God. It's tempting, as you can see from the traces of my own peregrinations on the subject, but it is ultimately a dead end.
The only dead end is the over-emphasis on SEQUENCE to the detriment of viewing the clear as day meaning of the individual card before you: the fire/lightning is striking humanity.
Finally, I’d like to give you my dossier on quattrocento works of art that feature a hierarchy of lightning/star/moon/sun but, alas, they don’t exist.
PS Marco – what’s it matter if a tract was written in Italian (saetta
) or Latin (sagitta
)? They both meant arrow and anyone that would have been behind the tarot program would have known both, including sagitta/Sagittarius.
But only the Steele sermon was in the 15th century and closest to the source.