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The Ladder of Virtues

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The Ladder of Virtues


Place the cards so:

21 20 19
18 17 16
15 14 13
12 11 10
09 08 07
06 05 04
03 02 01


Consider the central cards as the rungs on a ladder of virtues. It is debatable of course as to which card one should attribute which virtue. But to make a start I make the speculative suggestion, commencing with 02 at the bottom rung with prudence/wisdom, 05 faith, 08 justice, 11 fortitude, 14 temperance, 17 hope and 20 charity/love.

Kwaw
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The Ladder of Virtues


Interesting, insightful, soulful center arragement. Fortitude is the central rung of the ladder, as if to say, " I am the axis of your soul-development. Master me and reach your Star." But why are Wisdom, Faith, and Justice below Fortitude? Are these seven virtues in a sequence of self-development or just a set? Must ponder this...
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Even taking kwaw's arrangement and virtue attributions, there is no presumption that those virtues of Wisdom, for example, need be below that of, again for example, Strength.

A similar 'ladder' may also arise, in the same pattern, by starting the sequence like:
1 2 3
4 5 6
etc...

Personally, I consider that placing cards in such sequences very useful for seeing various relations.

In threes (as kwaw has here done), as well as in twos, fours, fives, sixes, sevens, eights, nines, tens and elevens.

With these, the additional question then also comes as to which appear to have greater internal merit. For myself, I find that the threes, fives, and tens have the best 'fit' (the tens essentially pairs the cards, except for XXI, which forms a triple with I & XI).

But going also to the cards, as suggested by the title of this thread, as a ladder of virtues (rather than just looking at the suggested trippling), another suggestion is the one I personally regularly use - with the seven traditional virtues mentioned.

For this, first the cards are paired by sequencing them in rows of ten, with the final two cards (XXI and the Fou) together.

As pairs, I then place them upon my personal preferred version of the Tree of Life, and the Virtues then emerge quite readily:

XXI/Fou

XVIII/VIII-----------------------XVIIII/VIIII
Justice--------------------------Wisdom
____________________________
XX/X
_________[Knowledge]________

XVII/VII-------------------XVI/VI
Hope----------------Love/Caritas

XV/V
Faith
____________________________
XIIII/IIII-------------------XIII/III
Temperance-----[no trad. virtue]

XII/II
[no trad. virtue]
____________________________
XI/I
Strength
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The Ladder of Vitues


Yes, what goes up also goes down. Justice and Wisdom certainly are paramount, especially in the Christian/Neoplatonic formative phase of the Tarot. That certain "Western Mandalas" based on the virtues can be intelligently arranged out of the early decks suggests more than gambling possibilities (obviously). You win more than money with Justice and Wisdom.
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Caritas and Judgement.


Within Augustinian theology we are all irredeemedialiray contanminated by orignal sin; as such we are all condemned to hell. Good works and personal virtue just doesn't cut it, our salvation lies not in our personal good works but upon the love, grace, mercy of God. Thus the connection with caritas/judgement. In Ausugustinian theology salvation is dependent upon the love, grace or caritas of God. The notion of 'Judgement' is not related to any idea of the 'harshness' of God', but upon his grace, love and mercy that we are salvationable at all and deserve anything other than hell. God's judgement therefore, in Augustinian theology, is the ultimate exemplar of God's mercy and love and forgiveness [caritas].

In the first rank of seven cards we have wisdom and faith. Wisdom, as 'reason', can only take us so far, it is totally unable to fathom the mysteries of the Godhead, which we must take on faith. At the same time, wisdom is the foundation upon which temporal, mortal virtue is founded. It is the root of civic and secular [pre-christian, according to christians, but founded in pagan Orphic theology] concepts of virtue.

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Place the cards so:
21 20 19
18 17 16
15 14 13
12 11 10
09 08 07
06 05 04
03 02 01
Very interesting - although there were some stretches to your analogy. For instance, shouldn't the Papess be Faith since she's an exact replica of several paintings entitled Fe?

Now put the cards in the following order
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
The middle row begins, ends and has as middle card the three virtues -
Strength - Justice - Temperance - holding, as it were, the vissisitudes of fate: time, fortune, punishment, death.

I like Justice in the center in that it expresses the Dantean vision in which Justice was also a central motif.

Mary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
Now put the cards in the following order
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
The middle row begins, ends and has as middle card the three virtues -
Strength - Justice - Temperance - holding, as it were, the vissisitudes of fate: time, fortune, punishment, death.

I like Justice in the center in that it expresses the Dantean vision in which Justice was also a central motif.
But Justice is at the onset of the three virtues - and in the Tarot the Virtues are back to front compared to the neoplatonic order

(Christian Neoplatonic order: Temperance-Strength-Justice- Wisdom; Tarot order: X-Justice-Strength-Temperance)

You can't use the RWS order when discussing the Renaissance or Marseille decks.

And neither of the organisations mentioned in this thread explain why the virtues are back to front. It is bothering me, this back-to-frontness.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
Now put the cards in the following order
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
The middle row begins, ends and has as middle card the three virtues -
Strength - Justice - Temperance - holding, as it were, the vissisitudes of fate: time, fortune, punishment, death.

Mary
The second rank of seven defined by the three virtues is also discussed in some other threads, for example post 29 in this thread:

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...535#post518535

Although dealing with the traditional Marseille order Justice-Fortitude-Temperance rather than Waites order. I am tempted to call this middle ranking of seven cards the 'mirror of happiness', in that it has some comparison with allegories of happiness.

Kwaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw
Place the cards so:

21 20 19
18 17 16
15 14 13
12 11 10
09 08 07
06 05 04
03 02 01


Consider the central cards as the rungs on a ladder of virtues. It is debatable of course as to which card one should attribute which virtue. But to make a start I make the speculative suggestion, commencing with 02 at the bottom rung with prudence/wisdom, 05 faith, 08 justice, 11 fortitude, 14 temperance, 17 hope and 20 charity/love.

Kwaw
It is perhaps also an interesting exercise to consider whether there is any apparent theme to the septenary triads produced. Such would indicate the intended division into a group of 3x7.

In the more common pattern of 3 rows of 7 for example we may note:

Bateleur - devil = both tricksters;
Popesse as church [congreation of the faithfull] and House of God [struck by lightening, 'faith under fire'];
The earthly and celestial Venus [empress and star];
The chariot as 'parvus mundum' or 'little world' [as called in the steele sermon], that is the microcosmos, and the 'mundo' as the 'macrocosmos',
with tempernance in between pouring from from one vessel [macrocosmos,
] to another [microcosmos].

A few, IMHO, pertinent quotes relating to the 6th triad of:

Love - Death - Judgement

Love and death

Eros and Thanatos, are a common thematic pairing:

quote from Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance by Edgar Wind:

"....why was it an amorous adventure of Jupiter was chosen to decorate a tomb. He could not fail to notice that the loves of the gods appeared on sarcophagi with remarkable frequency. The love of Bacchus for Ariadne, of Mars for Rhea, of Zeus for Ganymede, of Diana for Endymion - all these variations of the same theme; the love of a god for a mortal. To die was to be loved by a god, and partake through him of eternal bliss. 'As there are many kinds of death,' a Renaissance humanist writes*, 'this one is the most highly approved and commended both by the sages of antiquity and by the authority of the Bible: when those... yearning for God and desiring to be conjoined with him (which cannot be achieved in this prison of flesh) are carried away to heaven and freed from the body by a death which is the profoundest sleep; in which manner Paul desired to die when he said: I long to be dissolved and be with Christ. This kind of death was named the kiss by the symbolic theologians [the mors osculi of the Cabbalists...], of which Solomon also appears to have spoken when he said in the Song of Songs: Osculetur me osculo oris sui."

"Pico in a long excursus on the morte di bacio in his Commento III,viii: 'Through the first death, which is only a detachment of the soul from the body... the lover may see the beloved celestial Venus...and by reflecting on her divine image, nourish his purified eyes with joy; but if he would possess her more closely...he must die the second death by which he is completely severed from the body...and observe that the most perfect and intimate union the lover can have with the celestial beloved is called the union of the kiss...and because the learned Cabbalists declare that many of the ancient fathers died in such a spiritual rapture, you will find that, according to them, the died... the death of the kiss: which they say of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, and several others..."
*Valeriano: Hieroglyphica.

Death and Judgement

Another common thematic pairing, but we may note also connected with the number 6 [as in this our 6th triad]:

Quote from the Zohar, Vol 2 of I. Tishby translation:

"This snake will in the future give birth to these bodies before its time. This is the meaning of 'Before it travailed it gave birth'. The period of gestation for a snake is seven years, and in this case it is six - which is not its usual time. And at the same time it gives birth to them it will die - from the act of giving birth, as it is written 'He will swallow up death for ever' (Isaiah 25:8) and it is written 'Your dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise (Isaiah 26:19" (Zohar II, 219b-220a).

Of which Tishby's note of commentary and explanation state:

153 When a man dies, the Shekinah takes the soul, and the 'other side', ie death, takes the body.
154 When the dead are resurrected they are taken out of the snake's (ie death's) jurisdiction. This is depicted here as a snake giving birth, which will happen during the sixth millenium. This is an 'untimely' birth, because the snake usually gives birth seven years after conception.
155 'the other side' will perish at the end of days, and its death will occur as a result of giving birth to the bodies of the dead at the resurrection.

p.740 Vol. II of Zohar by Tishby & Lachower, tr. David Goldstein.

Kwaw
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Love - Death - Judgement continued:


Love and Judgment

Within Augustinian theology we are all irredeemably contanminated by orignal sin; as such we are all condemned to hell. Good works and personal virtue just doesn't cut it, our salvation lies not in our personal good works but upon the love, grace, mercy of God. Thus the connection with caritas/judgement. In Ausugustinian theology salvation is dependent upon the love, grace or caritas of God. The notion of 'Judgement' is not related to any idea of the 'harshness' of God', but upon his grace, love and mercy that we are salvationable at all and deserve anything other than hell. God's judgement therefore, in Augustinian theology, is the ultimate exemplar of God's mercy and love and forgiveness [caritas].

The word for Grace [ShVFRA] and several words connected to the imagery of the Judgement card are linguistically connected in Hebrew. Grace [ShVFRA], Trumpet, SHVFR [trumpet], 'to blow' [ShVF] and 'to judge', 'judgement' [ShVFT] all share the root ShFR, meaning to cleanse, make pleasing, to beautify; conciliate, harmonize. As in Sotah 11b [Talmud]where it says :"The Lord sent an angel from on high who cleansed them and made them beautiful, like a midwife that cleanses a child." So we may say the blow of the trumpet not only awakens, but is simultaneously an act of Grace that like a wind cleanses away the dust of the earth, the stain of our sins; like a midwife that cleanses the newly [re]born; and makes us beautiful before G-d.

Our salvation and resurrection therefore, is seen as exemplfiying God’s love. Grace, love and ‘to beautify’ are aspects of Venus, attributed to the number 6. The Day of Judgment it is said takes place in the 6th millenium and is consubstantive with the death of death itself.

Kwaw
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