In the middle ages, there was a "Pope Joan," a woman who hid her gender and rose through the ranks of the Church, became a cardinal and was elected pope. No one knew she was a woman until, during a papal procession through the streets of Rome, she went into labor and gave birth to a child. She and the baby were killed on the spot by the mob, enraged at her imposture.
...In any case, the fact is, there was no Pope Joan. She exists only as pure legend, but one that makes for a sexy story. And when it comes to sexy stories, you know Hollywood will try its hand at making a blockbuster out of this piece of pope fiction.
"...The Papesse and the Pope are the first and last of the four temporal rulers, each of which trumps the ones before. The word temporal literally means 'the world of time,' in contrast to the timeless and eternal. This is a fitting name for these rulers because they are all trumped by the images of time that come in the next act -- which in turn are trumped by the images in the third act that transcend time...
After the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century, the Papesse and the Pope were sometimes replaced with other images. For example, in the Belgian deck that developed in the seventeenth century, they became the Spanish Captain and Bacchus, and in the 1JJ Swiss Tarot... they became Juno and Jupiter...
"In Tarots other than the Visconti-Sforza (which places a cross in the hand of the Papesse) it is likely that the Papesse represents the priestess of Venus, as the image from the Hypnerotomachia suggests. If this is so, she represents classical paganism and the Pope represents the triumph of Christianity over paganism, just as in the Psychomachia, Christianity or 'Faith' was shown to triumph over 'Pagan Worship'. In the Tarot, therefore, the Empress and Emperor are seen going away from paganism and submitting themselves to the authority of the Pope. However, the next card, the Lovers, which is dominated by the classical god Cupid, triumphs over all of them. This represents the triumph of sensuality... Cupid is Venus' son, and, although the Pope has demoted her priestess, she has the last laugh, because even he cannot free himself from the desires that the Classical gods represent."
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