## The Minchiate Zodiac Order

### The Minchiate Zodiac Order

1
Hello all,

I would like to propose a new theory about the ordering of the zodiac cards in the Minchiate, with some further suggestions regarding the overall order and structure of the deck.

The idea is based on an earlier hypothesis given by Ross Caldwell here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=661&p=10022&hilit= ... ips#p10022

The key insight to this theory is that the Cancer card # 30 served as a pivot for pairing up the other zodiac signs. But, whereas the earlier theory posed the Rulerships of the planets as a design feature, I believe that instead it was the Exaltations.

Of the seven classical ‘planets’, the Sun and Moon each rule one zodiac sign; Saturn, Juppiter, Mars, Venus, & Mercury each rule two. And among the 12 signs, 7 of them are considered the Exaltation of a classical planet, and 5 are not. There is overlap here, which is the origin of the difficulty in placing the Minchiate zodiac. The Sun rules a sign (Leo) which is not also an Exaltation; the Moon rules a sign (Cancer) which IS also an Exaltation. Four of the planets rule two signs, one of which is an Exaltation, and Venus rules two signs, BOTH of which are an Exaltation (Taurus and Libra). This duality for Venus is what causes an imbalance; complete symmetry would only be achieved if the Sun ruled a sign of Exaltation, and Venus had only one of her ruling signs as an Exaltation. So that is the background against which the order of the zodiac had to be determined.

If we accept Ross’s premise that the sign of Cancer acted as a pivot, with the other signs being paired on either side of it, it can be seen that the first two pairs are indeed ruled by two different planets, Juppiter and Saturn. Then Mars is split over two pairs, and the only way to save that rule is to have both signs of Mars joined together to balance out the Sun, followed by Mercury paired with Venus and vice-versa. This has enough structure to show that it wasn’t by chance, but not enough to show a consistent rule. Why is this the case? The designer of the pack could have very easily started with the sign of Leo ruled by the Sun, and then had 5 pairs ruled by 5 different planets, ending with Cancer ruled by the Moon. This is Basic Astrology 101. But the designer chose not to do the obvious.

They also eschewed a very simple arrangement of ruling planets. Ross had noted that both Rulerships of Mars come in sequence (Scorpio-Aries), but if Aries and Leo were kept on the same pair, only swapped in their positions, you would have the first 7 signs ruled by 7 different planets, and the last 5 signs ruled by 5 different planets (without the Lights). But this was not done, even though all other design parameters would have been maintained. I find this strong evidence that the Rulership was not the defining feature of this sequence. Because the designer repeatedly chose to not do the obvious, we are entitled to look for an alternative explanation. I propose that the alternative is found in the Exaltations of the planets, as shown in the following diagram (I will use English translations of the original card names).

The numerals are those found on the cards, (excepting the last five, which aren’t always numbered, but their sequence implies the numbers from 36-40). The 20 new cards were added en bloc ending at position number 35. This is a clue to the sequence. Beginning with Libra, the sequence has 5 cards before Cancer, then 5 more after it. On either side of Cancer, the pairs of signs include exactly one sign that is an Exaltation; the final pair is Libra and the Star.

It is very important to note the numbers on these cards. The sum of the numbers on the zodiac cards is 354. This is the number of days in 12 synodic lunar months, and thus constitutes a lunar 'year', symbolizing the Moon in each of the 12 signs. And each pair surrounding the Cancer card has numerals that sum to 60. This number is the basis of the design, both for the zodiac and the Minchiate as a whole.

60 is one of the most symbolic numbers in the history of arithmology. It goes all the way back to the Babylonians, founders of astronomy/astrology. It is important because of its flexibility – all the integers from 1 to 6 are factors of it. But it has a very specific role in the Minchiate, because 60 is the Golden Ratio point of the 97-card deck: 97 / 60 = 1.6166

It is entirely possible that the tarot deck was expanded to have 97 cards precisely because 97 is the golden ratio pair to the number 60. We could also do this from the other direction: 60 x 1.618034 = 97.082. Once you have two successive numbers established in the golden ratio, the others follow from it, as in the famous Fibonacci sequence. In this case, the numbers would be: 1 – 4 – 5 – 9 – 14 – 23 – 37 – 60 – 97.

So, within a deck of 97 cards, both position 37 and position 60 is important. The cards are not numbered beyond the 40 majors, so position 60 is one of the minor cards, (possibly the 5 of Cups). Position 37 however, is held by the Moon. And depicted on this card is an astronomer with a pair of compasses, with which he can either chart the heavens, or divide a line ‘into extreme and mean ratio’ i.e., into the golden ratio.

I submit that the 20 new cards added en bloc were positioned specifically to make the Moon card number 37, as the golden ratio point of the entire deck. With this card being pre-eminent, the next phase is to order the zodiac around Cancer, ruled by the Moon. This sign is, in turn, the Exaltation of Juppiter, which perhaps suggested the next pair of signs outward, which are both ruled by Juppiter, one of which is the Exaltation of Venus. The pairs continue from there, and wind up with Libra, ruled by Venus and the Exaltation of Saturn. This is necessarily paired with the Star, and this pairing is likely the reason for starting the sequence with Libra.

Libra is the Balances, and it appears that the whole idea behind the Minchiate was to create pairs that are balanced. Thus, the deck was expanded by doubling the 20 majors with 20 new cards. These new cards pair up with each other, as well as the five final cards - four of which line up with the four elements. But the specific pairing of Libra with the Star is pertinent because it symbolizes the sign ruled by Venus, aligned with the Star that symbolizes two stars that are one – Venus as the Morning Star and Evening Star.

The only way the scheme of Exaltations can work is if one of the signs ruled by Venus is set apart to start the sequence. This is either Taurus or Libra, but since the card will be paired with the Star, the obvious choice is Libra, to emphasize the duality. We can conclude that this is deliberate because Taurus actually would be a nice balance to Cancer – Taurus is the Exaltation of the Moon as Cancer is her Rulership. But the designer, again, chose not to do the obvious.

By using Libra instead of Taurus, the latter is then paired with Scorpio, possibly to emphasize that the Babylonians used the brightest stars in these two signs – Al-Debaran and Antares – as fiduciary stars that marked the axis of their zodiac. They are almost exactly 180 degrees apart and very bright, making them very useful to the earliest astronomers.

As we look at the pairs of cards whose numbers sum to 60, the first step outside the zodiac sequence is the Moon and the element of Air, at positions 37 and 23. These happen to be the golden ratio pair: 37 / 23 = 1.608. This can hardly be accidental. The more typical elemental sequence would be Fire-Water-Air-Earth, but here the latter two are switched, so that Air can precede Libra, the Cardinal sign of Air, and be paired with the most important card of the upper sequence, the Moon. And of course, the five highest cards are known as arie or ‘airs’ – it is significant that they are paired with four Elements and the Cardinal Air sign.

With these pairings in mind, we can see that the lower cards can also be paired. Setting aside the Excuse, there are 19 cards below the pairs shown above; these pair up so that their numbers sum to 20 – the number of both the initial majors and the added set. This results in a similar diagram, where the pivot is the Chariot.

The first four Papi align with the newly-added Virtues. This, again, could not have been random – it would have been simple to add the four new Virtues to the three already present (and even keep Death at 13 in the process) but the designer chose not to do so. The reason seems to be that these cards should pair up surrounding the Chariot, as though they were participants in a tableau based on a triumphal procession.

The other five cards that precede the Chariot are relatively positive – Love, three Virtues and the Wheel of Fortune, versus the five cards that succeed the Chariot, which are all negative. All of these pairs deserve exploration as to their symbolism.

The zodiacal pairs that surround the Cancer card have numerals that sum to 360, representing the full circle. The nine pairs that surround the Chariot have numerals that sum to 180, a half-circle. The four pairs of the Elements and the arie have numerals that sum to 240. This set of numbers 180 – 240 – 360 provide the ratios of 3:4 – 2:3 – 1:2. In music these would represent the intervals of a fourth, a fifth and an octave. In astrology they would be the Opposition, the Sextile and the Conjunction.

The golden ratio also provides another reason for the exact placement of the 20 new cards in a row; they begin after position 15, so that the 40 majors finish with 20 new cards and 5 existing ones. 40 / 25 = 1.6, approximating the golden ratio. Therefore, the golden ratio point of the 40 majors is at position 15, where the existing sequence is interrupted by the new cards.

If we step back a little bit, we can see a larger pattern occurring. In the expanded deck, you have 40+1 majors and 14 cards in a suit: 41 + 14 = 55, a Fibonacci number. This total can be split into 21 existing majors, and 20 new cards plus 14 in a suit, making 34. Thus, you have the classic Fibonacci pair of 21 and 34 embedded in the structure of the deck.

Let us now return to the original problem, which is the sequence of the zodiac. We can see that the order of the cards allows 7 levels to be created, with a different planet exalted at each level. But the consequent order of the planets is highly idiosyncratic. It does not follow the Chaldean order, the days of the week, or any other well-known planetary sequence. And even if it did follow a known order, there would still be lots of room for variations as to which sign appeared on which side of Cancer for the pairing.

I am inclined to believe that the planetary Exaltations are possibly an alchemical reference. But there is another possibility; that the order is derived from the year of the creation of the Minchiate. If we look at the sequence Saturn-Mercury-Moon-Sun-Mars-Venus-Juppiter, it is possible to find a time when these seven were in that order in the zodiac. For example, on August 1, 1532 (Julian), these seven were at: 6 Cancer – 29 Cancer – 15 Leo – 17 Leo – 5 Virgo – 3 Libra – 17 Scorpio. I am not suggesting this is the year of the creation, just that it is entirely possible that the planets could be found in that particular order in that (or any) era.

This unusual order is, again, not arranged in the simplest way, such as putting the Exaltation signs in their natural zodiacal order. The designer was doubtless aware of such a simple astrology and eschewed it for something a little more puzzling.

The idea of duality permeates the zodiacal order. We begin with Libra, the sign of the Balances. This is followed by Virgo, the only sign that is the Rulership and Exaltation of the same planet, an inherent duality. It is paired with Gemini – the Twins, another duality, which is also ruled by Mercury, a god that has plenty of duality symbolism.

Balancing this pair is the pair at the other end, surrounding Cancer. These are Pisces and Sagittarius, the signs opposite Virgo and Gemini, both of which are ruled by Juppiter. The further duality is that Juppiter’s Rulerships are the Detriments of Mercury, and vice-versa; this is the only case in the zodiac where that happens between two planets.

The third zodiacal pair is Scorpio – Taurus. The first duality to notice is that after Libra, the next sign was Virgo, adjacent to Libra. Then the next sign is Scorpio, also adjacent on the other side. The inherent duality of this pair is that they formed the axis of the Babylonian zodiac. They are the only pair in the Minchiate which are also opposite each other on the zodiac circle. This pair could have easily been Scorpio-Aries, both ruled by Mars, but the designer chose not to do this. The axis of Al-Debaran and Antares is the likely reason. They are balanced against another pair with duality: Capricorn and Aquarius are both ruled by Saturn.

The final pair represents another duality with regard to Libra: Aries is her zodiacal opposite. This pair also has an inherent duality: Aries and Leo are the Exaltation and Rulership of the Sun. They are the only pair in the Minchiate which have this characteristic, and being the central pair of the sequence seems appropriate for the Sun.

While each of the pairs shows some kind of duality, the order of the pairs seems to derive from Libra. First a sign on one side of it (Virgo), then on the other side (Scorpio), then across from it in the Zodiac (Aries). The first two pairs are balanced against two other pairs (each with their own inherent duality), while the center is occupied by the two signs most important to the Sun.

The subsequent creation of 7 different levels of Exaltations could be numbered in either direction. If Cancer is the 7th level, it makes sense because the Moon is the 7th planet in the Chaldean Order. Also, the 6 other pairs sum to 60, which is a multiple of all numbers from 1-6, whereas 7 is not a factor of 60. Conversely, if Libra and The Star are at the 7th level, then you have Libra as the 7th zodiac sign, and both Libra and The Star have a relationship to Venus, long associated with the number 7.

The reasoning for the particular pairs looks solid. But even if the pairs are locked together, (so e.g., Scorpio must be with Taurus) their order is still changeable (why Scorpio after Virgo?). The answer to that must be in the sequence of the planets in their Exaltation.

The following section is highly speculative. Taking the order of the planets in their ‘Minchiate Exaltations’, and then calculating the number of cells in their classic magic squares, we get this chart:

Saturn – 9
Mercury – 64
Moon – 81
Sun – 36
Mars – 25
Venus – 49
Juppiter – 16

Taking the differences between each successive square, we get 55 – 17 – 45 – 11 – 24 – 33
Now pair these up, radiating from the Sun at the center: (45 + 11) - (17 + 24) - (55 + 33). The sums are then 56, the number of minor cards; and 41, the number of major cards; then 88, made up of a near-Fibonacci pair, with a ratio of 1.666

So, you have a reference to the two main divisions of the deck, and the golden ratio. This could well have been a means of encoding this planetary sequence, as the difference-values between squares would obviously change depending on what order they are in. If the position of Juppiter is a given, based on Cancer, and Saturn is a given based on making a link with Libra and the Star card, then the remaining group of five pairs is easy to figure out on the basis of magic squares; there are only a few combinations to work through, and only one that will give you the result indicated above. The sum of all the differences is 185 = 5 x 37, the number of the Moon card, and the golden ratio point in this deck.

In summary:
• the 97 cards of the Minchiate split into 37 and 60 as golden ratio segments.
• 37 is the number of the Moon card. It is paired around the sign of Cancer by card 23 – Air.
• The remaining cards surrounding Cancer are paired up as 4 elements/4 arie, and the zodiac signs, beginning with Libra, which pairs with the Star.
• The six remaining pairs of signs include one Exaltation of a different planet at each of 7 levels
• These culminate in the sign of Cancer, Rulership of the most important card – the Moon.
• The sequence of Exaltations may be explained by a calendar date or the magic squares of the planets.
• All of the upper section card pairings have numerals that sum to 60, a golden ratio point of the 97 cards.
• The most important subset of these is the 12 zodiac cards, whose numbers sum to 354, the days in a Lunar Year, i.e. the Moon in each of the 12 signs.
• These pairings are mirrored in the lower section of the majors by nine pairs around the central card of the triumphal Chariot.
• Each of these pairs has cards that sum to 20, the number of new cards added, which doubled the number of majors and allowed all of these balances to emerge.

Litlluw
R. Leo Gillis
Attachments

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

2
Thanks Ross!, got it figured out now.

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

3
RLG wrote: 30 Nov 2020, 15:33 Thanks Ross!, got it figured out now.
Great. I've deleted mine to avoid clutter.

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

4
Ross wrote:
The scheme looks like this (arranged hierarchically for clarity, but
all in the right order):

-------------------------------Cancer
-------------------------Pisces------Sagitta.
-------------------Aquarius--------------Capricorn
---------------Leo---------------------------Aries, Scorpio
----------Taurus--------------------------------------Virgo
-----Gemini-----------------------------------------------Libra

-------35--34--33---32----31-----30----29----28--27,26--25--24

Substituting Ruling Planet for Sign, we get the following -

-------------------------------Moon
-------------------------Jupiter---Jupiter
--------------------Saturn---------------Saturn
---------------Sun------------------------------Mars
-----------Venus------------------------------------Mercury
------Mercury---------------------------------------------Venus

The series begins and ends on an Air sign -(Libra-Gemini), the
symmetry of which may explain the switch between the Mercury and
Venus ruled signs in this place.
If we accept Ross’s premise that the sign of Cancer acted as a pivot, with the other signs being paired on either side of it, it can be seen that the first two pairs are indeed ruled by two different planets, Juppiter and Saturn. Then Mars is split over two pairs, and the only way to save that rule is to have both signs of Mars joined together to balance out the Sun, followed by Mercury paired with Venus and vice-versa. This has enough structure to show that it wasn’t by chance, but not enough to show a consistent rule. Why is this the case? The designer of the pack could have very easily started with the sign of Leo ruled by the Sun, and then had 5 pairs ruled by 5 different planets, ending with Cancer ruled by the Moon. This is Basic Astrology 101. But the designer chose not to do the obvious.

They also eschewed a very simple arrangement of ruling planets. Ross had noted that both Rulerships of Mars come in sequence (Scorpio-Aries), but if Aries and Leo were kept on the same pair, only swapped in their positions, you would have the first 7 signs ruled by 7 different planets, and the last 5 signs ruled by 5 different planets (without the Lights). But this was not done, even though all other design parameters would have been maintained. I find this strong evidence that the Rulership was not the defining feature of this sequence.
It seems to me that Ross's structure has a perfectly consistent rule: the planets are in their Ptolemaic order except as adjusted so that the series has Gemini on one end and Libra on the other. The explanation for the latter pair is that they are both air signs, which might be related to "arie" for the last five Minchiate cards. I am not sure that is the total explanation - I mean, why not Aquarius? - but it is close enough. One hypothesis I had is that Libra and Gemini correspond to someone's death and birth. I'm not sure who, but Dante considered himself a Gemini and he died on Sept. 13 or 14. What I don't know is whether that is Julian or Gregorian, and whether the difference would have him dying in Libra rather than Virgo. And perhaps

Having failed to pass Astrology 101, I am not sure I understand what RLG means by "The designer of the pack could have very easily started with the sign of Leo ruled by the Sun, and then had 5 pairs ruled by 5 different planets, ending with Cancer ruled by the Moon." Why would he want to do that? Leo is not an air sign. Nor is Cancer. You seem to assume that the designer would have mainly wanted something symmetrical and neat. Why so? Please explain further, perhaps with a diagram like Ross's, as I can think of a couple of interpretations of what you are saying he could have done.

Then you say "if Aries and Leo were kept on the same pair, only swapped in their positions, you would have the first 7 signs ruled by 7 different planets, and the last 5 signs ruled by 5 different planets (without the Lights)." I would like to see that diagrammed, too, as again it seems like you are thinking he would prefer something neat and elegant. But perhaps that is not the object. Perhaps the sequence is about the descent and ascent of the soul, as governed by the Ptolemaic order of the spheres, with the low point being the Moon and the high point being a zodiacal air sign (i.e. Ross's diagram upside down).

Perhaps I am missing the point entirely. If so, please explain your objections to Ross's explanation in terms that someone who has only a passing acquaintance with astrology can understand.

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

5
mikeh wrote: 05 Dec 2020, 13:54
Having failed to pass Astrology 101, I am not sure I understand what RLG means by "The designer of the pack could have very easily started with the sign of Leo ruled by the Sun, and then had 5 pairs ruled by 5 different planets, ending with Cancer ruled by the Moon." Why would he want to do that? Leo is not an air sign. Nor is Cancer. You seem to assume that the designer would have mainly wanted something symmetrical and neat. Why so? Please explain further, perhaps with a diagram like Ross's, as I can think of a couple of interpretations of what you are saying he could have done.

Then you say "if Aries and Leo were kept on the same pair, only swapped in their positions, you would have the first 7 signs ruled by 7 different planets, and the last 5 signs ruled by 5 different planets (without the Lights)." I would like to see that diagrammed, too, as again it seems like you are thinking he would prefer something neat and elegant. But perhaps that is not the object. Perhaps the sequence is about the descent and ascent of the soul, as governed by the Ptolemaic order of the spheres, with the low point being the Moon and the high point being a zodiacal air sign (i.e. Ross's diagram upside down).

Perhaps I am missing the point entirely. If so, please explain your objections to Ross's explanation in terms that someone who has only a passing acquaintance with astrology can understand.

You mention a couple of examples I gave of what the designer did NOT do. I included those as evidence for the sequence that was actually chosen, because in my mind if you skip over the obvious when creating a sequence, you are most likely doing that for a reason. Another example is that if you want to add 12 zodiac cards to a game, you could very easily put them in normal zodiacal order, Aries to Pisces; easy to do, easy to remember. But the designer chose not to do so. The explanation is either that the order is totally random, which it appears is not the case, or that the order has a more nuanced structure.

I said the designer could start with Leo and end with Cancer, with 5 pairs in between, like so:

24--Leo - ruled by the Sun
25--Virgo- ruled by Mercury - Gemini--35
26--Libra - ruled by Venus - Taurus--34
27--Aries - ruled by Mars - Scorpio--33
28--Capricorn - ruled by Saturn - Aquarius 32
29--Sagittarius - ruled by Juppiter - Pisces--31
30--Cancer - ruled by the Moon

This would rotate three cards from the Minchiate order, and place them so that you have Rulerships pivoting around Cancer. This isolates the two planets that only rule 1 sign apiece, and then pairs up the two signs that are ruled by the same planet. In this case Cancer pairs with itself, and Leo would pair with the Star card. This would have been a very simple and balanced way to show the Rulerships. But the designer again chose not to, which suggests to me that he didn't want Rulerships to be the sole determinant of the order of the signs.

The second example I gave is simply the same chart I already posted, (i.e., the actual Minchiate order) but with the positions of Aries and Leo switched:

24--Libra - ruled by Venus
25--Virgo- ruled by Mercury --- Gemini--35 ---- ruled by Mercury
26--Scorpio - ruled by Mars ---- Taurus--34 ---- ruled by Venus
27--Leo - ruled by the Sun -------Aries--33 ------ ruled by Mars
28--Capr. - ruled by Saturn ----- Aquarius--32-- ruled by Saturn
29--Sagitt. - ruled by Juppiter --- Pisces--31 ---- ruled by Juppiter
30--Cancer - ruled by the Moon

As you can see in this chart, on the left side you have 7 signs ruled by 7 planets.
On the right side, continuing from Cancer back up, you have 5 signs ruled by 5 different planets.
That would have been very simple to do, but it wasn't, which intrigues me.

To be clear, I am not presupposing that the designer had some objective or other in mind. That would be begging the question. I'm looking at what was actually done. And what was done was ordered enough to show it is not random, but not ordered in a relatively simple way to show Rulerships as the only key to the sequence.

That is my corrective to Ross' explanation. I think the Rulerships were obviously known, and used in part, but they were not the sole algorithm. Ross has the two sequential signs ruled by Mars (Scorpio and Aries) paired together. I could buy that explanation if the next two pairs reverted to being ruled by the same planet, but they do not, they split between Mercury and Venus. This is where the wrinkle starts in that explanation, and I think it shows exactly where the designer veered off from an easily achievable objective of using Rulerships. Ross' explanation only pairs zodiac cards, and does not consider that the Star card was intended to be part of the pairing. But from my way of looking at it, if you have a rule that cards will be paired on either side of Cancer, then you have to follow that rigorously and see what happens. And when you do, you have 7 sequential pairs that have a single Exaltation in them, followed by four of the arie paired with the four elements. That is a consistent rule that doesn't require a tweak to make it work. And it ultimately derives from the positioning of the 20 new cards as it relates to the Golden Ratio and the Moon card.

The reasoning that I'm proposing does not obviate the possibility that the sequence of those 7 levels of Exaltations is also related to the descent and ascent of the Soul. But if it is, it is a novel sequence of planets. That is what is so intriguing about this. Honestly, it wouldn't be very interesting at all if the zodiac was in normal order. That would be tantamount to counting from 1 to 12, which I think would be no more interesting than numbering the pips from 1 to 10. But here you have a designer who obviously knew his astrology (why else include the cards in the first place?) and chose to do something more intricate. You mention that Ross' plan has a consistent rule that include the planets in their 'Ptolemaic order'? How so? I always thought that order was Moon, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and I don't see that in evidence here.

Part of my argument can be summarized as;
if you want a consistent rule that puts the zodiac signs in a sequence of Rulerships surrounding Cancer, this was not done.
if you want a consistent rule that puts the zodiac signs in a sequence of Exaltations surrounding Cancer, this was done.

Litlluw
R. Leo Gillis

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

6
One thing that shows the intentional cleverness of the designer is that he places Prudence among the Theological Virtues, not before them as a group. This is deliberate. Hope is followed by Prudence; this is not a canonical order.

I'm not sure there was a preferred order of the four elements; the only one I can think of is order of creation, or density, so, backwards or forwards, Fire, Air, Water, Earth, or Earth, Water, Air, Fire. This also he did not do, instead it goes, in ascending order, Fire, Water, Earth, Air. This is perhaps the most counterintuitive order you could think of, unless you were making a statement.

The Ptolemaic order of the planets is, from outer to inner - Saturn (3), Jupiter (4), Mars (5), Sun (6), Venus (7), Mercury (8), Moon (9). This is also not strictly observed, but it seems to be there, with variations that can be explained ad hoc as I tried to do.

The key, or center, remains Moon and Cancer. But there is no "center" in an even number, you need an odd one, and this is part of the attraction of Leo's design for me - by pairing the Star with Libra-Venus (Saturn exalted), Cancer and Moon can be placed at the center.

Here's how I laid out my explanation, but using exaltations instead of ruling planets, and La Stella. This makes pairing Aries and Scorpio as a single Mars-ruled pair to equal the Sun-Leo on the other side, unnecessary.

As Leo points out, it seems there is something going on with both the rulerships and exaltations. There are only seven signs with exaltations, to match the seven planets.
The Minchiate order -

--------------------------------Cancer
-------------------------Pisces------Sagittarius
-------------------Aquarius---------------Capricorn
---------------Leo--------------------------------Aries,
-----------Taurus-----------------------------------Scorpio
-------Gemini-------------------------------------------Virgo
---Stella------------------------------------------------------Libra

(36)--35--34--33---32----31-----30----29----28--27,26--25--24

Substituting planetary exaltation for Sign, we get the following -

-------------------------------Jupiter
-------------------------Venus---(no exalt)
------------------(no exalt)---------------Mars
------------(no exalt)---------------------------Sun
-----------Moon--------------------------------------(no exalt)
------(no exalt)-------------------------------------------Mercury
La Stella (Venus?)--------------------------------------------Saturn

-----------------------------Jupiter/Moon
---------------Venus/Jupiter-------(no exalt)/Jupiter
-------(no exalt)/Saturn---------------Mars/Saturn
-----(no exalt)/Sun---------------------------Sun/Mars
---Moon/Venus------------------------------------(no exalt)/Mars
(no exalt)/Mercury---------------------------------------Mercury/Mercury
La Stella----------------------------------------------------------Saturn/Venus

If there is a pairing of the elements and final four arie, or Virtues (backwards and forwards, depending on how the pairing might work) -

Moon------------Air/Fire-----------------Charity/Hope
Sun---------------Earth/Water----------Faith/Prudence
World------------Water/Earth----------Prudence/Faith
Trumpet--------Fire/Air-----------------Hope/Charity

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

7
I try something simple ...in Tarot the first and the last have special importance (Pagat and Mondo get 5 points for instance).

24 Libra
25 Virgo
26 Scorpio
------------
27 Aries
28 Capricorn
29 Sagittarius
------------
30 Cancer
31 Pisces
32 Aquarius
------------
33 Leo
34 Taurus
35 Gemini

I observe, that Libra and Germini are related to "twins", Libra has two scales and Gemini are anyway twins. And I realize, that Libra ist the first and that there was a time, when Libra was indeed the first zodiac sign. And I look for twins in the form, that they are close in their positions inside the old zodiac

(1) 24 Libra
(12) 25 Virgo
26 Scorpio
------------
27 Aries
(4) 28 Capricorn
(3) 29 Sagittarius

------------
30 Cancer
(6) 31 Pisces
(5) 32 Aquarius

------------
33 Leo
(8) 34 Taurus
(9) 35 Gemini

I look for the rest, which are not part of these eight ... this are Scorpio, Aries, Cancer and Leo. Well, Scorpio + Aries are a pair cause of Mars and Cancer and Leo are a pair cause they are connected to Moon and Sun. But I personally prefer to assume, that Libra+Aries and Cancer+Leo are the "4 against the other 8".

24 Libra
25 Virgo
26 Scorpio
------------
27 Aries
28 Capricorn
29 Sagittarius
------------
30 Cancer
31 Pisces
32 Aquarius
------------
33 Leo
34 Taurus
35 Gemini

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

8
Cosimo di Medici (the elder) had a twin brother, Damian, I remember. The names were chosen for the saints Cosmas and Damian, who were considered to be physicians. So the twins had some "Medici-function".

Cosimo was born at 10th of April 1389 (according English wikipedia). That would mean sun in Aries.
Cosimo was born at 27th of September 1389 (according German wikipedia). That would mean sun in Libra, perhaps. French and Italian wiki state the same.
Cosimo died at 1st of August 1464. That might mean in Leo.

Minchiate might have gotten the specific zodiac in Cosimo's life time. Or short after his death. The first note about Minchiate as a card game appeared relative short after his triumphal burial.

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

9
Thanks for your careful and clear explanations, RLG. They fit what you said precisely. Now I can go back and study what you wrote again.

RLG wrote,
You mention that Ross' plan has a consistent rule that include the planets in their 'Ptolemaic order'? How so? I always thought that order was Moon, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and I don't see that in evidence here.
Yes, I didn't explain. Sorry. What I said was that Ross's diagram had the planets in their Ptolemaic order except for wanting to end on Venus on one side and Mercury on the other. That of course isn't strictly true. So, well, it isn't an obvious Ptolemaic order. Here again is Ross's original diagram:
-------------------------------Moon
-------------------------Jupiter---Jupiter
--------------------Saturn---------------Saturn
---------------Sun------------------------------Mars
-----------Venus------------------------------------Mercury
------Mercury---------------------------------------------Venus
The left side divides into sections. Mercury to Sun is one section, in one Ptolemaic order, Saturn to Jupiter is the other section, in the other order. The right side also divides into sections. On the right, it is Jupiter to Saturn going out, and Mars to Mercury, going in, except that Venus and Mercury are interchanged, so that the series can end on Venus. As the course of a soul, of course, it looks rather ridiculous. All I can say is that the designer might have wanted to avoid the obvious while still suggesting it, in the way that poets sometimes did with their sometimes stretched double meanings. Or as Ross says:
The Ptolemaic order of the planets is, from outer to inner - Saturn (3), Jupiter (4), Mars (5), Sun (6), Venus (7), Mercury (8), Moon (9). This is also not strictly observed, but it seems to be there, with variations that can be explained ad hoc as I tried to do.

Huck's solution is quite elegant and makes no dubious assumptions that I can see.

RLG's solution adds one thing to Ross's, putting Stella on one side, making the two sides equal. The addition doesn't quite fit, in that a "Stella" has neither a ruler nor a dignity, but it can just be Venus, as Ross says. Then there are two Venuses on the left side, matching the two Marses on the other side. The nice thing about Ross's diagram is that the planets are mostly in the same order, with the substitutions reasonable ones, and only one planet put twice, on one line. I can't see how Ross's and RLG's mix otherwise.

As far as correlating virtues with Arie, Ross, the only thing I can see that they have in common is that they are both groups of four. As for why Prudence is with the Theologicals, it may be that it was moved there when Minchiate and Trionfi became two different games, so that the sequence would conform to Trionfi's as far as the cards they had in common. It's less confusing that way. As to why Prudence went between Hope and Faith, we may never know. My personal hypothesis is that it needed to be there so that there would be a cardinal virtue in every row of a 4x5 (without celestials) or 4x6 (with celestials) array. See section 9 and the end of section 11 of my blog "From Marziano to the Ludus Triumphorum", https://marzianotoludus.blogspot.com/20 ... velop.html. The order Hope, Faith, Charity is on a c. 1420 tomb in Florence probably painted by dal Ponte, shown in section 8.

In my view Star correlates allegorically with Hope, Moon with Faith, and Sun with Charity. The Star is the Star of Bethlehem, the Sun gives its warmth freely without expectation of return. Faith is the weakest correlation, the order in the heavens confirms God's ordering of the cosmos by number. There are also visual correlations with the Sforza deck's celestials.

### Re: The Minchiate Zodiac Order

10
For Libra as the start of the zodiac signs in the Minchiate (24-35) ....

.... we have another "strange zodiac" example in the lot book, which I presented in the pope-monkey-thread (The Pope with the donkey / "Oldest Tarot").
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=663
There the system looked this way:

"Zodiac-zone
**************
1. Mercury - Libra - NORTH
2. Mercury - Aries - WEST
3. Jupiter - Taurus - EAST
4. Jupiter - Cancer - NORTH
5. Mercury - Leo - EAST

---------
6. Mercury - Raven - SOUTH .... 13th zodiac sign
----------------------
7. Jupiter - Virgo - SOUTH
8. Venus - Pisces - EAST
9. Mars - Aquarius - NORTH
10. Jupiter - Gemini - WEST
11. Mars - Sagitarius - SOUTH
12. Mars - Scorpio - WEST
13. Mars - Capricornus - EAST

Birds-zone
************
14. Venus - Crane - NORTH
15. Sun - Eagle - NORTH EAST
16. Venus - Nightingale - SOUTH
17. Venus - Camel - WEST
18. Moon - Parrot - SOUTH-EAST

Top-zone
***********
19. Saturn - Stag - WEST
20. Saturn - Dog - EAST
21. Saturn - Hare - NORTH
22. Saturn - Donkey - SOUTH"
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=663&p=9977&hilit=libra#p9977

The connected lot book should be older than the Tarot/Trionfi deck with 22cards and it had also 22 oracle objects. And likely also older than Minchiate with its zodiac version.
Later I detected a probable forerunner lot book version, which had 32 objects instead of 22 and it also had a zodiac part and this also started with Libra:
01 Wag (zodiac Waage/Libra, FL 1)
02 Gauch oder Guguck (cuckoo, new)
03 Esel (donkey, FL 22)
04 Falck (falcon, new)
05 Nachtigal (nightingale, FL 16)
06 Fuchs (fox, new)
07 Hierß (stag, FL 19)
08 Per (bear, new)
09 Hunt (dog, FL 20)
10 Krebs (zodiac Krebs/Cancer, FL 4)
11 Leb (zodiac Löwe/Leo, FL 5)
12 Junckfraw (zodiac Jungfrau/Virgo, FL 7)
13 Zwihling (zodiac Zwilling/Gemini, FL 10)
14 Visch (zodiac Fische/Pisces, FL 8)
15 Weßrer (zodiac Wassermann/Aquarius, FL 9)

16 Sperwer (sparrowhawk, new)
17 Schutz (zodiac Schütze/Sagitarius, FL 11)
18 Krannich (crane, FL 14)
20 Hann (cock, new)
21 Taube (pigeon, new)
22 Scorp (zodiac Scorpio, FL 12)
23 Einhorn (unicorn, zodiac Steinbock/Capricorn, FL 13)
24 Awle (Owl, new)
25 Rab (Raven, 13th zodiac sign, FL 6) ... 13th zodiac sign
26 Wieder (zodiac Aries, FL 2)
27 Ochß (Einhorn, zodiac Taurus, FL 3)
28 Kamel (camel, FL 17)
29 Sitich (parrot, FL 18)
30 Haß (Hare FL 21)
31 Aglaster (bird, Elster = magpie ?, new)
32 Gaiß (goat, new)
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=663&start=40#p15544

So we have 3 times Libra as the first sign of these different curious zodiac presentations. Lot book with 22 elements, Lot book with 32 elements and Minchiate with 41 or 97 elements. It looks probable, that this Libra preference occured not just by accident.

For this reason I consider Libra as the dominant sign in the Minchiate arrangement, not Cancer and Moon.