The feminine in the Tarot
I would like to share with you some considerations about the feminine in the Tarot. In the OniroTarology method the term “feminine” does not necessarily coincide with “woman”. We’d better call it “feminine energy”, which exists in every man as well. It is what Carl Gustav Jung named “Anima”, defined as the feminine principle in the male psyche.
On Facebook I came across an image of the Virgin Mary. It is a Madonna represented as a vulva. (You can see it by clicking here). Can you imagine what indignation would arouse this image in the eyes of a believer? Once the initial astonishment is overcome, we would find a very deep symbolic meaning in this image. This recalls what Jung viewed as the problem of the “excluded fourth”.
The theme concerns the exclusion of the female element originating from the Christian-Catholic orthodoxy. The feminine, the matter side, the earthly, the world of the senses, has always been exiled from Christian dogma, and has assumed devilish connotations over time. Just think of the role of Eva as co-responsible for the expulsion from the Earthly Paradise and the infamous “witch hunt”.
The cult of female goddesses linked to the earth and fertility is instead the basis of any religious form, in every time and area of the world. Even in the primitive Christian dogma we can find traces of this phenomenon. Think of Sophia, the bride of Christ of the Gnostic tradition. It is well known that the cult of Mary spread thanks to the overlap with pre-existing female divinities, previous cults deeply rooted in the agricultural / peasant imagination. It is the case, for example, of Isis (the “Black Madonna”?).
The “official” Marian tradition has only formally recovered the feminine element, yet depriving it of any earthly or sensual connotation. Just think of the name “Virgin” Mary. The Virgin Mary is also excluded from the Holy Trinity, which has purely male characteristics. Even the Holy Spirit, as a spirit, is psychologically a male archetype.
The Virgin Mary and the Vescica Piscis
Try to search for other sacred images of Mary on Google: paintings, frescoes, statues, etc. It is striking how similar most of these depictions resemble the female sexual organ. The feminine fourth, excluded from Christian unilaterality, reappears under unconscious forms unwelcome to the consciousness. Just as in the case of the cited image!
The femininity of Mary, eradicated by force from the Church, has unconsciously rematerialized in the hands of “very Christian” artists, painters and sculptors. But this haze of unpleasantness is the result of a false morality. The idea of Mary as “world vulva” is symbolically very correct. Even in the “conscious” depictions, the Madonna is depicted in an “almond”. It is the “vescica piscis” symbol.
The vescica piscis is a symbol with multiple meanings. It is the cosmic egg, union of the spheres of the divine and human, the “eye of God”, the ouroboros. And the vescica piscis is also related to the female sex. It is the element that generates everything … even Christ!
In this context, Courbet’s celebrated painting The Origin of the World must no longer appear to us as a shocking provocation, but as a sacred truth!
The recovery of the feminine in the Tarot
Having said that, let us observe how in the Tarot the theme of the “excluded fourth” is masterfully solved.
In the Tarot the dignity of the feminine is fully restored.
- a masculine force is always accompanied by a feminine force. The Empress precedes the Emperor and next to the Pope we find nothing less than a Popess!
- to the Christian Trinity the Tarot counterpoises the sacred “Quaternity”. In the Judgment, in addition to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we find the figure of the Mother. And it is placed at the same level of importance as the Father!
- the most important Arcanum, the final one, The World, replaces the traditional “Christ in majesty” with the figure of a woman. As a matter of fact it is the alchemical “rebis”. The rebis is the androgyne of the alchemists. Psychologically it is the Jungian Self. That is the reunification of opposites: male and female. Visually, however, the female characteristics stand out. And what do we notice? That also in this Tarot is depicted the vescica piscis the emblem of femininity!