Card-a-Month for February: Pop a Wheelie

February 6, 2019

For the new card-a-month feature I decided that I'm going to spotlight a different deck each time, while still relying on the astrological cards from the Minchiate to act as the subject of the reading. This time, for February, that means Aquarius and Pisces (numbered out of order, because the Minchiate is wacky).

 

 

And for this month's deck, I used the Visconti Tarots from Lo Scarabeo. These are reproductions of the oldest known tarot deck in existence, the exquisitely designed Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo version of the Visconti-Sforza deck. This deck was commissioned in 1451 by the wealthy Milanese duke Filippo Maria Visconti, and is named after the places where most of the deck is currently housed: the Pierpont-Morgan Library and a private collection in the Italian city of Bergamo. This version from Lo Scarabeo was restored by A.A. Atanassov and the cards have a fancy gold foil stamping that the box proclaims was "imprinted hot in gold." It's quite a deck, especially for historical readers.

 

So what card will guide this February?

 

 

X The Wheel of Fortune.

 

Note that the figures going up, down, and underneath the wheel are all speaking, though the text coming out of their mouths is obscure. You can imagine that they are shouting out for joy and complaining, respectively. The only figure riding the wheel who isn't speaking is the king up a the top, with its head adorned in rays of gold. But if you look closely, this person carries what looks like a speech balloon in its left arm, almost as if it is part of the sleeve itself. The words, the promises or curses of the other figures, are for this person tangible and material. At the opposite end of the wheel, the figure below the wheel is considerably older than the others, and looks eerily similar to the figure of Time/The Hermit, which as was discussed here, in older decks can represent a time of withdrawal to regenerate.

 

So this card represents a range of outcomes, though overall stresses the renewing nature of a cycle: beginning, rise, decline, and reset. I'm always on the look out for social upheaval, especially the deposition of kingly power, and this is a good trump for that, we can only hope. On a personal level, you may find yourself on any spoke of this wheel; just be aware that it is always spinning, always in motion, and everything can change.

 

And just for fun, here's a comparison between the original Visconti-Bergamo Wheel of Fortune with the Lo Scarabeo restoration. Note that Atanassov gave special attention to the speech balloons, the tail of the descending figure, and Fortune's wings: 

 

 

Personally, I like them both.

 

 

 

[Original Visconti-Bergamo image was found here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Visconti-sforza-10-fortune.jpg#filelinks, all other images: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 .]

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