Pair 3 - The ascent of the human soul to God



The next card in the Ascent to Light is the Sun. On the Estensi deck we see a young lady with behind her a wavy radiant Sun. She is spinning a thread. The waves represent the heat and the straight lines the light that the Sun is emitting. So the Sun gives us heat and light, to be short the Sun enables life. Without sun, no life. 

The spinning lady is a representation of Clotho, one of the three Fates (or Moirea) in the Greek mythologie. She is spinning the thread of Life, also called the thread of Destiny. In spinning this wire, Clothos is giving life to a person. Her sister Lachesis measures the wire and assigned fate to every human being.  The third sister, Atropos, cuts the wire and decides in this way the moment of Death for everyone. In the same way as Clotho is giving life to a human being, the Sun is giving life to every living organism on Earth.

Also on the second deck we know from Ercole I of Este, the Sun is the central symbol on the card. On this card (here at our right) we see the Greek Philiosopher Diogenes in discussion with the still young Alexander the Great. Diogenes was someone who had abandonned everything unnecessary in life. When the temperature was good he would wear nothing at all, when it was cold he covered himself with a simple blanked. He lived in a ton. But he had a great name as a philosopher. He is famous for once, in clear daylight, walking around in the city of Athens with a burning lantern. People ask him,

what are you doing?”

He answers,

I'm looking for a honest man”.

When Alexander the Great, still not much older than a boy, visits Athens, he hears about Diogenes. Curious about the weird Philospher he goes to see him. Looking at the apparently poor man who has no belongings, he asks him,

“Is there anything I can do for you”?

And Diogenes answers,

“Yes, please step aside, you are blocking the sun.”

Alexander who came with many soldiers continued his questions

“Aren't you afraid for me.”

“Do you represent the Good or the Bad?”

“The Good of course”

“Why should I fear someone who is Good?”

So again the Sun is the real subject of the card, and the scene is just there to accentuate the importance of the Sun.

On the second card of this pair we see on the Estensi deck two Angles calling the Dead to rise for Judgement. The light represented by this card is the glory and splendour of God. The card is a variation of the card we met when considering the Visconti decks. But, there is a great difference, on this deck there is no representation of God the Father nor of his son Jesus. Only the Angles are there. The card represents here only the ressurection of the Dead for Judgement. For the Este deck we don't know how this card looked like, it did not survive time.

The final judgement announced by this card is described in Revelation 20: 12-13

12. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the

      books were opened : and another book was opened, which is the

      book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which

      were written in the books, according to their works.

13. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it ; and death and hell

      delivered up the dead which were in them : and they were judged

      every man according to their works.

The Virtue that is ruling the group of the ascent of life is Justice, a card that we encoutered in the previous section about the 14 trumps structured Visconti Sforza deck and that we will meet again on the next page

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