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Monday, 12 September 2016

When life gives you Lemonde...

TdM Jean Dodal, Flornoy 2009
The last time I drew this card was in July, see entry 'We are the World'. It's not a card I see very often in my draws. Even when reading for clients, this card almost never turns up. But I drew it again here, and I've explored it in the past here and here. It's a strange card, until you know what you're looking at.

In the centre is Christ in glory, surrounded by the vesica piscis traditionally seen around figures of Christ or Virgin Mary. The 'Four Living Creatures of the Apocalypse' are present in the four corners of the card. These are mentioned in the books of Ezekiel and Revelations:

'The first living creature was a like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. ... And they do not rest night or day, saying "Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come."' - Revelations 4:7-8

These are also said to stand for the four evangelists: Mark the Lion, Luke the Ox, Matthew the Man and John the Eagle. It was St Jerome who worked this out. These four creatures were often depicted as one being known as a Tetramorph. These four aspects are also considered four facets of Christ: Matthew the Man shows Jesus's earthly lineage; Mark the Lion shows Christ's royal dignity, king of kings and lord of lords; Luke the Ox shows Christ as the sacrifice; John the Eagle is concerned with Christ as the Word.

The ox and lion are positioned at Christ's feet and the man and eagle near Christ's head because the ox and lion were considered lower beasts than man, who can reason, and the eagle, who can fly.

Apparently, though, these animals as symbols predate Biblical associations and originate in Babylonian symbols of the fixed signs of the zodiac: the ox is Taurus, the lion is Leo, the eagle is Scorpio, and the man is Aquarius. We also see them associated with the four elements: ox is Earth, lion is Fire, eagle is Air and man is Water.

To make a long story short, this card represents the king of the hill. (Cue the music--)
Top of the heap.
A-number one.
Top of the list!

...  This little Lemonde! Is coming your way! You'll make a brand new start of it, Lemonde! Lemonde! If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere, it's up to you, Lemonde Lemonde!

2 comments:

  1. I knew about the evangelists, but not about the other symbolism associated to these four. Interesting that in the bible it says "like" an eagle, not actually an eagle. Makes me think about avatars and animal-headed Gods...

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    1. Well, they are heavenly, not earthly, creatures. They are 'like' these critters, as the nearest approximation. Who knows what they actually looked like in John the Revelator's vision!

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