Angel/s of the New Year


DianeOD said:
Thanks Baba - I did know the order of the angelic figures, simply had no particular reason to mention the rest. It was the 'word' scuss which I had noticed. (In some cases, the fool or a particular game etc. in ordinary tarot games is known as skuss. The remark was not entirely serious. But I hadn't 'got' the allusion to Sanctus.. holy, holy etc.

Comment about such images being common. Actually Hus. mentions only this one example of Seraphim as standing on a wheel.

Depictions of this series are fairly conventional - I'd agree with what jmd says and won't repeat his words. If I have some time (which won't be for quite a while - I have a deadline) I can pull out some other images of figures standing on wheels - and spheres of course (which may be related). But to focus on the wheel is in any case to miss the main point, which is that this figure is not - wheel or no- linked to the tarot Fool by any argument that I can see.

The point about a series and the reason it's relevant, in fact I'd say crucial, to mention this, is that it's in looking at the series that you can determine the meaning of the images. When we look at this series, it's surely apparent that it has nothing to do with either The Fool or an angel of the New Year.

Anyway, I have a feeling that you are not going to concede this point and I only really jumped in because I know the town of Southwold well and was curious.

If it's of any help, then, as I say, the angel of the New Year is, as far as I know, a sentimentalised figure of central European 19th century and early 20th century popular culture. It pops up in many of the popular graphics of the time. I have never looked into its origin so can't make any further suggestions.


Angels etc.

Oh, I think I see the problem. My original post seemed to be about the one thing. No - I was asking about any traditions of an Angel of the NEw Year (hadn't even heard about a 19thC tradition of one, so thank you for mentioning it.)

it was only because the subject was an angel that I added as a 'by-the-way' that apparent use of "scuss' in relation to that entirely other figure. No interest in the wheel, which represents the 'wheel of the world' anyway.

Ang yes, you are quite right that there are many manuscripts showing angelic figures from one or another of the formal orders. I simply found it curious that only one example of ecclesiastical sculpture should be mentioned in a standard work on the subject.

But the whole question is now academic, because I find that a post from Rosanne made shortly before I joined has had the answer to my question all along.

See her "Angel and Devil' - in Sicily post.

I daresay its so long ago that noone would recall, or know, that in putting up the summary of my research in 1998/9, I said that I believed the elements required for our earlier packs - i.e. paper, 'game' of paper-pieces and moralised astronomical figures - were all demonstrable in Sicily under the Normans, and that I believed this was the source from which the idea for our larger pack had first come.

My paper on Michael Scot's marginal figure is from the section of my ms in which I discuss the cross-disciplinary, and inter-linguistic character of that court. It also contained a discussion of how the best, and most obviiusly paired, cards among the Charles VI cards show the same fluency in multi-lingual and interdisciplinary allusions, though these build on the ground of moralised astronomy in the style of the older near east.

Anyway.. that's why I think Rosanne's reference will solve my query. Sounds to me as if I should be looking at whichever 'year's beginning' they used in Sicily at that time.

Thanks for the beautiful picture references, too.


Apology re 1.1.1441

I have just been looking back over longago posts at Ltarot.

I see there that 'Lothar' did bring up the subject of a special celebration on that day, but my focus was less on the day than the ?banners made, their likely material and decorations.. the date slipped from memory.

Sorry to the person above. I had heard of the 1.1.41, just forgotten all about it!



DianeOD said:
Seraphim are depicted in an English cathedral-church of Southwold as standing on a wheel, with face and hands red, the rest gold, and scroll in left hand inscribed Scus, Scus, Scus.

This seems to me a reference to the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel:

001:004 And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north,
a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness
was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of
amber, out of the midst of the fire.

001:005 Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living
creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the
likeness of a man.

001:006 And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.

001:007 And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet
was like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the
colour of burnished brass.


001:011 Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward;
two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two
covered their bodies.

001:012 And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit
was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.

001:013 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance
was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of
lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the
fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

001:014 And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of
a flash of lightning.

001:015 Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon
the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

001:016 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the
colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their
appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle
of a wheel.



Seraphim etc

Yes, I'm sure that's relevant.

And - there's a fairly well accepted idea that the works of psuedo Dionysius (which builds on Biblical sources) influenced the design of St. Denis in Paris, the first cathedral of the 'Gothic' style, and from which we must then posit some direct connections to later architectural works which show similar emphases - i.e. on light and vaulting methods - and also architectural works of the late Anglo-Norman period, because about the same time. Hence my interest in seeing imagery of the angelic orders in an English ecclesiastical building.

Abbot Suger was the designer of St.Denis.

We hear of an architect in Norman England carrying what are called 'beautiful (individual) intitials/letters' about with him in his scrip, and referring to them often as he worked.

I don't know if there's anything on the web about the architectural connection between our 'Gothic' architecture and its techniques, and those of Islamic architecture, but the technical aspects show the influence clearly - and again Norman Sicily is suggested as the place for this cross-fertilisation.

In architectural works of this same time we begin to find that themes of the celestial rota and what I'll call the proto-Atout figures are being transferred from their older forms in ms to motifs in keystones etc. within western ecclesiastical architecture, and in forms recognisably like those used for cards - 'cards' currently accepted *by all* as existing from the late 1300s. I personally think the use of card-sets in the wider sense dates to the 12thC.

I'm not arguing for or against directly (psedo-)Dionysian influence on the pack's imagery. Mainly because I don't need the grief:)

But it is interesting that the other sort of 'Dionysian' elements appear later in card-sets, and quite commonly. It happens, I think, as the neo-Platonics start equating the classical deities with older Christian equivalents as a supposed 'original' substrate to Christianity.

BTW - if you are interested in the *classical* Dionysian connection: One contributor to Ltarot, some time ago, explored that pattern of correlations in depth.

Hmnn - seem to have strayed a bit from Angels of the New Year.


It's very likely that Lumiere (aka 'Gothic') architecture developed and blossomed with not so much because of St Denis (a masterful construction with Suger not only as abbot but also arguing strongly in favour of beauty as the proper adorning of works dedicated to God), but perhaps in the developments at the Abbey of Cluny, by way of which Suger would have passed on his way from Rome to Paris.



We'll agree yet jmd.

Remember the 27/28 altars?

but that's for another time.

From the prologue of one of Abbot Suger's work ..

To the most reverend lord bishop of Soissons, Goslen, Suger by the patience of God abbot of St. Denis the areopagite, servant of God as best he can be, hoping to be united episcopally with the bishop of bishops.

We ought to submit ourselves and out works to the deliberation and judgement of those by whom, on the day of judgement, the sentence of love or hate will be pronounced according to deserts, when (Proverbs XXXI, 23) 'the noble man shall sit in the gates with the senators of this earth'.

One of the old theologians - probably Augustine (I'll have to look it up) speaks of the heavens as the 'senatus'.

Anyone interested in following up the "st. denis Aereopagite" reference and Sugar's book: