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n.1.A female pope; i. e., the fictitious pope Joan.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by G. & C. Merriam Co.
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I The VIII Justice XV The Devil Mountebank II The IX The Hermit XVI The Tower Popess III The X The Wheel XVII The Star Empress of Fortune IV The XI Fortitude XVIII The Moon Emperor V The Pope XII The Hanged XIX The Sun Man VI Love XIII Death XX Judgement VII The Chariot XIV Temperance XXI The World According to Dummet (1980, 7), it is the presence of the twenty-two 'triumphs' that always "distinguishes the tarot pack from every other kind of playing-card pack." In a tarot deck, the minor arcana may or may not be painted with images; however, the major arcana are almost always illustrated with fanciful, mythological, spiritual, and cultural imagery.
I want to scream "women for president!", "women for popess!" or whatever they call a female pope.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan: Deploying the Popess Legend in Early Modern England.
Few legends associated with the history of the Roman Catholic pontificate have been as persistent as that of the "popess" Joan--the cross-dressing "she-pope," or "whore-pope," who allegedly ruled the see as John VIII before succumbing two years later to lust, pregnancy, and death either from childbirth or a Roman lynch mob.
Indeed, if the royal supremacy essentially made the monarch a pope (or popess), as the Calvinist Anthony Gilby claimed, the comparison would sit uncomfortably, despite Elizabeth's assumption of the title supreme governor rather than head of the church.
The afterlife of Pope Joan; deploying the Popess legend in early modern England.
In the trumps, women appeared as feminine personifications of the moon and astrology, the Theological and Cardinal Virtues, as the Popess (in more recent times known as the High Priestess), and as the Empress.
Next in the trump sequence are the Pope and the Popess. That these cards should be so closely aligned is not surprising, and is indicative of the close relationship between the Holy Roman Empire and the Church.
Further, the image on the Popess card did not resemble traditional representations of Pope Joan who was usually illustrated suckling or holding a baby.
He traces over the centuries the women who have wielded influence at the Vatican: the legendary ninth century "Popess" Joan, Catherine of Siena who got the pope to move from Avignon back to Rome, and Lucrezia Borgia, who--at just twenty-one--was left in charge of the Vatican by her father, Pope Alexander VI, while he was off inspecting his territories; Sister Pascalina, Pius XII's housekeeper/confidante; and Mother Teresa, whose canonization process has been speeded up by John Paul II.
As the title indicates, this book is not concerned with the papacy of Joan, for such popess never existed, as Ignaz von Dollinger established in 1836, but with the construction of her legend.
An exception to the polemical use of the popess, and at the same time an example of high moralistic Calvinism, was provided in 1647 by David Blondel, who published a refutation of Joan's legend, rejecting the use of such questionable story in the arguments against Rome.