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Tarot picture
No. 21

Tarot 21

L'Angelo, The Angel: At the top of the picture is a winged angel leaning down from a cloud and blowing a valveless trumpet. Below, three to six nude humans rise out of coffins or out of the earth. The Angel is its only early title in Italy. Also, in the oldest known card known to Sigurd Agrell, there are two angels above the humans, and not just one.

The picture is invariably termed The Angel in the oldest references. "Angel" suggests what the focal point of the scene was. The winged being in the sky could be Hermes, known to Romans as Mercury, the guide of souls, a messenger between humans and gods, amd much else, according to myths. But we do not know exactly who is depicted; it might just as well be Gabriel or Michael. Who the angel might be, if anyone in particular, has to remain unsettled for now. [Sharman-Burke]

The (Last) Judgement as a title and motif, must have been added, and the picture changed too. It now incorporates "the End of the World" idea. Some interpret the picture to represent evaluated accounts, perhaps condemnation of excessive egotism, and some brought to the surface [Allen; Hollander]. If so, those in the Rider-Waite deck are in need of sunlight . . .

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Tarot study, Literature  

More:

Agrell, Sigurd. Die pergamenische Zauberscheibe und das Tarochspiel. Lund: The University of Lund, (Sweden), 1936:153-55.

Allen, Toni. The System Of Symbols: A New Way to Look at Tarot.. UK: Self published, 2003:157-62. Online at Google Books (limited view).

Farley, Helen. A Cultural History of Tarot: From Entertainment to Esotericism. London: I. B. Tauris, 2009. ⍽▢⍽ Helen Farley is Lecturer in Studies in Religion and Esotericism at the University of Queensland. Her book is a researched and well written study of tarot symbolism and the changing imagery in the cards. She explores ways in which the tarot reflects aspects of European culture from Medieval Italy until our times.

Hollander, P. Scott. Tarot for Beginners: An Easy Guide to Understanding and Interpreting the Tarot. Illustrated ed. Woodbury MN: Llewellyn Worldwide, 1995:109-13. Online at Google Books (limited view).

Sharman-Burke, Juliet. The New Complete Book of Tarot. Rev ill ed. New York: Macmillan, 2007:122-24.

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