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Raphael in The Lovers

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Originally Posted by Thirteen View Post
It hardly matters how many books claim it's Raphael if Waite never does.
Perhaps, but Abrac specifically asked me why I thought it was Raphael in the first place. I was answering him, not trying to provide evidence.
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I dunno, but if we're going to box all the RWS's meanings to what Waite just says, we're never going to get really far. I mean, his book on the subject is not that detailed. Waite was pretty vague on the point after all (I mean, "great winged figure"?), so experts are of course going to weigh in and give their own interpretation on the matter. I think that with the RWS being chock full of Christian imagery and with other major arcana cards having angels too, thinking that it's an angel is quite reasonable really. Which angel it is is open for debate, tho some Tarot authors have weighed in that it is Raphael.

What I do know is it's not only Brigit Esselmont who believes that the angel in the Lovers card is Raphael. Just perusing some of my books, the same association was made by Anthony Louis in his two of his popular books: Tarot Plain and Simple, and Tarot Beyond the Basics. Eden Gray in her widely known book, A Complete Guide to the Tarot, also stated that the angel in the Lovers was Raphael. It was also noted in Liz Dean's The Ultimate Guide to Tarot. Even if Rachel Pollack in her magisterial Tarot Wisdom book did say that there were other associations to the angel in the Lovers card, she personally believed that it was Raphael. The Amberstones also made that association in their book The Secret Language of Tarot. Doreen Virtue also assigned Raphael to the Lovers card in her angel Tarot decks.

That's only from some of the books I have. Aside from Biddy's website, I counted more than six other websites (I did not even google to deeply) that said it's Raphael. So with the great number of resources (some of them written by reputable authors) saying so, I can't blame Charlie Brown if he thinks the angel in the Lovers card is Raphael. It's still a good thing that other members here question this or that we are made aware of other perspectives, but let's not dismiss this one.
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From the description of Lovers in P.F. Case's Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages

"Our version is essentially the same as Dr. Waite's, and both are based on the unpublished esoteric Tarot. We have been at some pains to clarify certain minor obscurities, but otherwise the symbolism is the same... The angel is Raphael, angel of air, the element attributed to Gemini, and in the symbolism of the Roman Church, the particular angel of the planet Mercury. He is also the great archangel of the eastern quarter of the heavens."

The unpublished esoteric deck most likely refers to the deck by Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and all these attributions sound like GD ones.
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I don't think it's necessary to box the RWS into only what Waite says, but I do believe in trying to find out what was in Waite's mind, at least for the sake of inclusiveness. To those who might say it's impossible to know what was in Waite's mind I only quote the Introduction from the Pictorial Key:
"As regards the verbal meanings allocated here to the more important Trump Cards, they are designed to set aside the follies and impostures of past attributions, to put those who have the gift of insight on the right track, and to take care, within the limits of my possibilities, that they are the truth so far as they go."
It's fairly easy to know what was in Waite's mind once you're on the right track.

A list of popular authors can be compiled a mile long, but I'll go out on a limb here and say none of them have a clue what was in Waite's mind. That's not to say they have nothing to contribute, only that they can't be relied on if you want to understand Waite.

I think there's a good possibility that in Waite's mind the figure represented Metatron, the external manifestation of Shekinah. In the Waite-Trinick Lovers image—which is essentially the same as the Waite-Smith—the figure hovering overhead is identified as Shekinah:
". . .and it is this which you see before you, the wedlock of the soul and the Christ natures, under the wings of Shekinah."—The Ceremony of Reception in the Portal of the Third Order



In The Secret Doctrine in Israel (1913), Waite cites numerous references from the Zohar which identify Metatron as the vesture, or outer manifestation of Shekinah. Here are a few:
"So also Metatron, who is an aspect of Shekinah, is indifferently male and female. . ."—Pg. 194.

"Shekinah herself, in the state of distinction which—as we have seen—is postulated concerning her, is either, the first of created things or may be such when she assumes the vesture of Metatron."—Pg. 202

"She is the Mistress of the Celestial School, called the Abode of the Shepherds, and this is a school of Metatron, understood as a vesture or form assumed by Shekinah.—Pg. 205
On pages 262 & 263 there's a lengthy footnote in which Waite compiles a list of references to Metatron in the Zohar. Item "(n)" says:
"There is an obscure suggestion that he may be the Angel of the Sun, and it is said also that he draws milk for his purification from his mother, as if she were the Matrona [Shekinah] in Binah and he were the Begotten Son or Vau.
This is of interest for a couple of reasons. First, the reference to Metatron as the Angel of the Sun; and secondly it suggests Metatron is the Son, or Zein Anpin, the Lesser Countenance.

In the Waite-Smith, what we get is a lot of surface meaning; but there's meaning within meaning. The subsurface meaning is illustrated more openly in the Trinick images. There's also the benefit of Waite descriptions of the images in the FRC rituals.
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I think the Golden Dawn influence is pretty plain to see in the imagery of RWS deck, so it's useful to listen to someone like Case who comes from the same background, and of course, he can make his own interpretation on some things.

Waite's ideas probably changed somewhere after publication of RWS, or I can see Waite-Trinick deck being more personal for him. And didn't he also changed some attributions for that deck like the path of Lovers in the Tree of Life?
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Thanks for your ideas on Metatron. Abrac! He is surely one to consider. You yourself have said that there's a good possibility that Metatron is the manifestation of the Shekinah in the Lovers card. It's still not a certainty.

What seems sure is that as you said, under his book The Ceremony of Reception in the Portal of the Third Order, he stated that the figure flying overhead is Shekinah. Samweiss did say that Waite may have changed some of his ideas from the RWS to the Trinick, and who's to say that he still previously thought of Shekinah when he made the RWS deck? Who can really say that for sure?

Even if (and only if) we accept that the figure in the RWS was Shekinah, I'm curious about your assertion about Metatron and Shekinah. You posted three quotes from his book The Secret Doctrine in Israel, and I was curious about the phrasing.

"So also Metatron, who is an aspect of Shekinah"

"Shekinah herself . . . when she assumes the vesture of Metatron."

". . . Metatron, understood as a vesture or form assumed by Shekinah."

So it seems like Metatron is only an aspect of Shekinah? If Metatron is only a vesture of Shekinah, then why say that he's the angel in the Lovers card? Waite sounds like a very precise guy, like the sort who likes getting his ducks in a row. It seems that if he wants to say it was Metatron, he would say Metatron and if he wants to point to Shekinah, he would state Shekinah, so when he said that the figure in the Trinicke is Shekinah, I would assume it was her and not Metatron, because he would have said otherwise, would he not? There are a lot of depictions of Shekinah in angelic guise too.

Again he talked about the Waite-Trinick here, and not the Waite-Smith, which may have been a real angel and not Shekinah for all we know since again, it seems he did change some of his ideas going from the latter to the former.

I don't think that your correlation is logically faultless. You did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that it is indeed Metatron who was on Waite's mind when he had the RWS Lovers card painted. It's still conjecture, not certainty. I still respect your assertion, but I think that it is only as good as many experts' claim that it was Raphael.

Also, Samweiss quoted Paul Foster Case, who stated that the angel in the Lovers card was Raphael. Would he be among those popular authors who do not have a clue as to what was in Waite's mind? In any case, your statement about the authors I listed was quite intriguing, really. I guess it would apply to all of them who doesn't think the Lovers angel is Metatron? Come to think of it, I haven't read a Tarot book who thought it was him. Can someone point out a book that stated so? Because if there's none, it might mean that there's no Tarot book writer who has a clue about what's on Waite's mind. And that's a scary thought.

But still, thanks for mentioning Metatron, Abrac. It's food for thought, and if I do delve into Waite's more obscure books. I shall keep this in mind.
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The popular authors I mentioned usually make claims based on their own assumptions of what Waite meant without ever bothering to pick or read any of his books; or they come up with their own ideas then parrot each other as Thirteen mentioned before. My theories are based on research of Waite's own words and ideas. I never claimed to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt, but I believe ideas based on Waite's own words would certainly carry as much, if not more weight than something pulled out of a hat. Again, I never said no other interpretation of the symbolism is valid except for Waite's, so if a person interprets it differently then good for them.

As for Case, he's probably the worst of all. In his earlier work, An Introduction to the Study of Tarot, he uses the Waite-Smith cards as the basis for his study. At some point after this he decided to create his own deck based on the W-S but with many "corrections." In his book The Tarot, A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages he makes ridiculous claims asserting Waite's deck is full of errors which he has corrected. The reality is Case couldn't crack Waite's symbolism so he copped out and invented his own.
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Smile Agree.


Quote:
Originally Posted by EmpyreanKnight View Post
I dunno, but if we're going to box all the RWS's meanings to what Waite just says, we're never going to get really far. I mean, his book on the subject is not that detailed. Waite was pretty vague on the point after all (I mean, "great winged figure"?), so experts are of course going to weigh in and give their own interpretation on the matter.
Oh, I agree, and I apologize if I implied that if Waite didn't say it, it isn't true. You're right that Waite was vague, and you're right that scholars will and should fill in the blanks. I'll also add that I have no objection to the angel being seen as Raphael by any given reader or scholar. Airy Raphael works very well for the Lovers card. I just think that we can also box ourselves in if we say (or think) "it's obviously Raphael" as there are no clues on the card to support that (never mind what Waite said). We have the Angel with a trumpet on the Judgement card, a good clue that it's Gabriel....(or wait! Others argue it's Michael who blows the Judgement day Trumpet... Check out my post below on the other Angel's thread. Things are not so obvious as they seem even with the right iconography!)

But where's the clues that the Lover's angel is more-than-likely Raphael? So, while I agree that it's wrong to say to anyone "It isn't Raphael and it can't be..." I also think that we should allow that there is no knowing for sure who or what that Angel is. As to whether it's an angel (or more to the point, archangel)....
Quote:
I think that with the RWS being chock full of Christian imagery and with other major arcana cards having angels too, thinking that it's an angel is quite reasonable really.
Yes, RWS is chock full of Christian imagery, and, again, other evidence in the Lovers card (Adam and Eve) would support seeing that winged figure as an angel rather than, say, a greek god. But there are a lot of other types of iconography in the RWS, and we do have to be careful of going into Judeo-Christian default. Take the Wheel of Fortune: there are Egyptian sphinxes, Hebrew letters, and a "Set" (Egyptian god) figure along with an angel in the upper left corner there...but wait, all creatures in corners have wings! They stand for the four zodiac signs (making that winged man NOT an angel but Aquarius with wings!).

So...apparently not every winged person depicted in the RWS tarot is an angel. But granted the Biblical setting makes it more likely that the Lovers winged figure is an angel...even when we do have an unambiguous angel, named so by Waite, like in Temperance, that doesn't mean the winged figure is more than just an angel (i.e. an archangel). Though there have been discussions about which angel Temperance is, most agree that Temperance is a cardinal virtue and the angel represents that. So...why not just see the angel in the Lovers card as the spiritual connection between the Lovers rather than a specific archangel like Michael or Uriel?

Which is all to say: I totally agree that I was wrong to imply that if Waite didn't call his figure an angel that it's not an angel. But I do think relying on first impressions or what's obvious can equally box us in.

Maybe? Yes?
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Talking Another Angel Thread


Found another early thread arguing which Angel is which in the RWS:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=48583

Just to add more fuel to the fiery winged figure Which, by the way, I'm beginning to think is Uriel.
From Wiki:
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Uriel..."stands at the Gate of Eden with a fiery sword",[6]....In the Life of Adam and Eve, Uriel is regarded as the spirit (i.e., one of the cherubs) of the third chapter of Genesis. He is also identified as one of the angels who helped bury Adam and Abel in Paradise.

Stemming from medieval Jewish mystical traditions, Uriel has also become the Angel of Sunday (Jewish Encyclopedia), the Angel of Poetry, and one of the Holy Sephiroth.
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Found a reference in R. A. Gilbert's Hermetic Papers of A. E. Waite, Ch. 11, "The Symbol of the Rosy Cross." Presumably it's a record of a lecture given by Waite to the Independent and Rectified Rite of the GD, Gilbert doesn't say.
"In like manner, the Zohar recognises an identical middle point from which the four quarters of heaven are equidistant, and that point is the Rose of its own system—that is to say, the Rose of Shekinah. This indwelling spirit of Kabalism has many names, several of which are familiar. Adonai, Elohim, Adonai Ha Aretz and Metatron are all titles representing various aspects of Shekinah."
This is simply to show that Waite did recognize Metatron as an aspect of Shekinah. His references from the Zohar aren't merely accounts from a historical perspective, he incorporated it into his own methodology. Of the four names listed, Metatron is the only one who's an angel.
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