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The Thomson-Leng Tarot Deck, 2

April 5, 2014

The Rods Court Cards

The Thomson-Leng King of Rods is crowned, in full armor and draped in a yellow cloak. He stands holding a long rod, like a quarterstaff, in his right hand and his right foot rests on the neck of a recumbent lion. There are waved flames at the front of the scene. There is a strong resemblance between this card and the King of Scepters from Eudes Picard’s deck. (See below.) The model is certainly not the seated monarch of the Waite-Smith deck. The Queen of Rods also stands. The top of the rod she holds in her right hand has burst into flame. There is an arrow at her feet. All this is borrowed from Eudes Picard’s Queen of Scepters; it owes nothing to Waite’s Queen of Wands.

mmTarot 51                         mmTarot 52

e-picard kgr                            e-picard qr

The Knight of Rods from the Thomson-Leng deck is a mixture of elements drawn from both Picard and Waite. Picard has his knight riding fiercely, surrounded by flames. His helmet is on the ground, just as the Thomson-Leng’s knight is. Two scepters in the form of an X decorate the card. These are absent from the Thomson-Leng design, whose other elements are closer to Waite: the knight carries a rod, somewhat in the form of a club; his costume is decorated with salamanders circling round to hold their tails in their mouths. The salamander was known as ‘the creature of Fire’ because ancient peoples believed it could live in fire and not be burnt by it.

A description of Picard’s Page of Scepters runs thus: “Kneeling down, he plants a scepter into the ground not far away from a wood fire.” This applies equally well to the Thompson-Leng Page of Rods. Salamanders again decorate his tunic.

mmTarot 53                          mmTarot 54

We will meet this fusion of Picard’s and Waite’s symbolism in a great many other cards of the Thompson-Leng deck.
A.T.

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