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The Tarot

     
 

The tarot is a pack of cards used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists for divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways.

The tarot has four suits corresponding to the suits of conventional playing cards. Each of these suits has pip cards numbering from ace to ten and four face cards for a total of 14 cards. In addition, the tarot is distinguished by a separate 21-card trump suit and a single card known as the Fool. Depending on the game, the Fool may act as the top trump or may be played to avoid following suit.

Occultists call the trump cards and the Fool "the major arcana" while the ten pip and four court cards in each suit are called minor arcana. The cards are traced by some occult writers to ancient Egypt or the Jewish Kabbalah but there is no documented evidence of such origins or of the usage of tarot for divination before the 18th century.

The English and French word tarot derives from the Italian tarocchi, which has no known origin or etymology.

Playing cards first entered Europe in the late 14th century, probably from Mamluk Egypt, with suits similar to the tarot suits of Swords, Staves, Cups and Coins (also known as disks, and pentacles) and those still used in traditional Italian, Spanish and Portuguese decks. The first documentary evidence of the Tarot's existence is a ban on its use in 1367, Bern, Switzerland. Widespread use of playing cards in Europe can be traced from 1377 onwards.

The first known tarot card decks were created between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna in northern Italy when additional trump cards with allegorical illustrations were added to the common four-suit pack. These new decks were originally called carte da trionfi, triumph cards, and the additional cards known simply as trionfi, which became "trumps" in English. The first literary evidence of the existence of carte DA trionfi is a written statement in the court records in Ferrara, in 1442. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from fifteen fragmented decks painted in the mid 15th century for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan.

Divination using playing cards is in evidence as early as 1540 in a book entitled The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino DA Forli which allows a simple method of divination, though the cards are used only to select a random oracle and have no meaning in themselves. Manuscripts from 1735 (The Square of Sevens) and 1750 (Pratesi Cartomancer) document rudimentary divinatory meanings for the cards of the tarot as well as a system for laying out the cards. Giacomo Casanova wrote in his diary that in 1765 his Russian mistress used a deck of playing cards for divination.

Picture-card packs are first mentioned by Martiano DA Tortona probably between 1418 and 1425. He describes a deck with 16 picture cards with images of the Greek gods and suits depicting four kinds of birds, not the common suits. However the 16 cards were obviously regarded as "trumps. Special motifs on cards added to regular packs show philosophical, social, poetical, astronomical, and heraldic ideas, Roman/Greek/Babylonian heroes, as in the case of the Sola-Busca-Tarocchi (1491).

Three mid-15th century sets were made for members of the Visconti family. The first deck, and probably the prototype, is called the Cary-Yale Tarot (or Visconti-Modrone Tarot) and was created between 1442 and 1447 by an anonymous painter for Filippo Maria Visconti. The cards (only 66) are today in the Cary collection of the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University. The most famous deck was painted in the mid-15th century, to celebrate Francesco Sforza and his wife Bianca Maria Visconti, daughter of the duke Filippo Maria. Probably, these cards were painted by Bonifacio Bembo or Francesco Zavattari between 1451 and 1453. Of the original cards, 35 are in The Morgan Library and Museum, 26 are at the Accademia Carrara, 13 are at the Casa Colleoni and four: 'The Devil', 'The Tower', 'Money's Horse (The Chariot)' and '3 of Spades', are lost. This "Visconti-Sforza" deck, which has been widely reproduced, reflects conventional iconography of the time to a significant degree.

Hand-painted tarot cards remained a privilege of the upper classes. Sermons inveighing against the evil inherent in cards can be traced to the 14th century.

Because the earliest tarot cards were hand-painted, the number of the decks produced is thought to have been small, and it was only after the invention of the printing press that mass production of cards became possible. Decks survive from this era from various cities in France, and the most popular pattern of these early printed decks comes from the southern city of Marseilles, after which it is named the Tarot de Marseilles.

The original purpose of tarot cards was for playing games, the first basic rules appearing in the manuscript of Martiano DA Tortona before 1425. The game of tarot is known in many variations; the first basic rules for the game of Tarocco appear in the manuscript of Martiano DA Tortona (before 1425; translated text), and the next are known from the year 1637. Tarot games were popular in Italy, France and central Europe.

Tarot cards become associated with mysticism and magic.Tarot was not widely adopted by mystics, occultists and secret societies until the 18th and 19th centuries. The tradition began in 1781, when Antoine Court de Gébelin, a Swiss clergyman, published Le Monde Primitif, a speculative study which included religious symbolism and its survivals in the modern world. De Gébelin first asserted that symbolism of the Tarot de Marseille represented the mysteries of Isis and Thoth. Gébelin further claimed that the name "tarot" came from the Egyptian words tar, meaning "royal", and ro, meaning "road", and that the Tarot therefore represented a "royal road" to wisdom.

De Gébelin also asserted that Romanies (Gypsies), who were among the first to use cards for divination, were descendants of the Ancient Egyptians (hence their common name; though by this time it was more popularly used as a stereotype for any nomadic tribe) and had introduced the cards to Europe. De Gébelin wrote this treatise before Jean-François Champollion had deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs, or indeed before the Rosetta Stone had been discovered, and later Egyptologists found nothing in the Egyptian language to support de Gébelin's fanciful etymologies. Despite this, the identification of the tarot cards with the Egyptian Book of Thoth was already firmly established in occult practice and continues in modern urban legend to the present day.

A variety of styles of tarot decks and designs exist and a number of typical regional patterns have emerged. Historically, one of the most important designs is the one usually known as the Tarot de Marseilles. This standard pattern was the one studied by Court de Gébelin, and cards based on this style illustrate his Le Monde primitif. The Tarot de Marseilles was also popularized in the 20th century by Paul Marteau. Some current editions of cards based on the Marseilles design go back to a deck of a particular Marseilles design that was printed by Nicolas Conver in 1760. Other regional styles include the "Swiss" Tarot; this one substitutes Juno and Jupiter for the Papess, or High Priestess and the Pope, or Hierophant. In Florence an expanded deck called Minchiate was used; this deck of 96 cards includes astrological symbols including the four elements, as well as traditional tarot motifs.

The Tarocco Piemontese consists of the four suits of swords, batons, clubs and coins, each headed by a king, queen, cavalier and jack, followed by numerals 10 down to 1. The trumps rank as follows: The Angel (20 - although it only bears the second-highest number, it is nonetheless the highest), the World (21), the Sun (19), the Moon (18), the Star (17), the Tower (16), the Devil (15), Temperance (14), death (13), the Hanged Man (12), Strength (11), the Wheel of Fortune (10), the Hermit (9), Justice (8), the Chariot (7), the Lovers (6), the Pope (5), the Emperor (4), the Empress (3), the Popess (2) and the Bagatto (1). There is also the Fool (Matto).

The Tarot de Besançon and the Swiss Tarot 1JJ are similar, but is of a different graphical design, and replaces the Pope with Jupiter, the Popess with Juno, and the Angel with the Judgement. The trumps rank in numerical order and the Tower is known as the House of God.

The Tarocco Bolognese omits numeral cards two to five in plain suits, leaving it with 62 cards, and has somewhat different trumps, not all of which are numbered and four of which are equal in rank. It has a different graphical design.

The Tarocco Siciliano changes some of the trumps, and replaces the 21 with a card labeled Miseria (destitution). It omits the Two and Three of coins, and numerals one to four in batons, swords and cups: it thus has 64 cards. The cards are quite small and, again, of a different graphical design.

Etteilla was the first to issue a revised tarot deck specifically designed for occult purposes rather than game playing. In keeping with the belief that tarot cards are derived from the Book of Thoth, Etteilla's tarot contained themes related to ancient Egypt. The 78-card tarot deck used by esotericists has two distinct parts:

The Major Arcana (greater secrets), or trump cards, consists of 22 cards without suits: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, and The World.

The Minor Arcana (lesser secrets) consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits of 14 cards each; ten numbered cards and four court cards. The court cards are the King, Queen, Knight and Page/Knave/Jack, in each of the four tarot suits. The traditional Italian tarot suits are swords, batons/wands, coins and cups; in modern tarot decks, however, the batons suit is often called wands, rods or staves, while the coins suit is often called pentacles or disks.

The terms "major arcana" and "minor arcana" were first used by Jean Baptiste Pitois (also known as Paul Christian), and historically were never used in relation to Tarot card games.

Tarot is often used in conjunction with the study of the Hermetic Qabalah. In these decks all the cards are illustrated in accordance with Qabalistic principles, most being under the influence of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and bearing illustrated scenes on all the suit cards. The images on the 'Rider-Waite' deck were drawn by artist Pamela Colman Smith, to the instructions of Christian mystic and occultist Arthur Edward Waite, and were originally published by the Rider Company in 1910. This deck is considered a simple, user friendly one but its imagery, especially in the Major Arcana, is complex and replete with esoteric symbolism. The subjects of the Major Arcana are based on those of the earliest decks, but have been significantly modified to reflect Waite and Smith's view of tarot. An important difference from Marseilles style decks is that Smith drew scenes with esoteric meanings on the suit cards. However the Rider-Waite wasn't the first deck to include completely illustrated suit cards. The first to do so was the 15th century Sola-Busca deck.

Older decks such as the Visconti-Sforza and Marseilles are less detailed than modern esoteric decks. A Marseilles type deck is usually distinguished by having repetitive motifs on the pip cards, similar to Italian or Spanish playing cards, as opposed to the full scenes found on "Rider-Waite" style decks. These more simply illustrated "Marseilles" style decks are also used esoterically, for divination, and for game play, though the French card game of tarot is now generally played using a relatively modern 19th century design of German origin. Such playing tarot decks generally have twenty one trump cards with genre scenes from 19th century life, a Fool, and have court and pip cards that closely resemble today's French playing cards.

The Marseilles style tarot decks generally feature numbered minor arcana cards that look very much like the pip cards of modern playing card decks. The Marseilles' numbered minor arcana cards do not have scenes depicted on them; rather, they sport a geometric arrangement of the number of suit symbols (e.g., swords, rods/wands, cups, coins/pentacles) corresponding to the number of the card (accompanied by botanical and other non-scenic flourishes), while the court cards are often illustrated with flat, two-dimensional drawings.

A widely used modernist esoteric tarot deck is Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. Crowley, at the height of a lifetime's work dedicated to occultism, engaged the artist Lady Frieda Harris to paint the cards for the deck according to his specifications. His system of tarot correspondences, published in The Book of Thoth & Liber 777, are an evolution and expansion upon that which he learned in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

In contrast to the Thoth deck's colourfulness, the illustrations on Paul Foster Case's B.O.T.A. Tarot deck are black line drawings on white cards; this is an unlaminated deck intended to be coloured by its owner.

Other esoteric decks include the Golden Dawn Tarot, claimed to be based on a deck by SL MacGregor Mathers.

The tarot created by A.E. Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith departs from the earlier tarot design with its use of scenic pip cards and the alteration of how the Strength and Justice cards are ranked.

Crowley-Harris Thoth deck: Each card in the Thoth deck is intricately detailed with astrological, zodiacal, elemental and Qabalistic symbols related to each card. Colours are used symbolically, especially the cards related to the five elements of Spirit, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Crowley wrote a book - The Book of Thoth to accompany, describe, and expand on his deck and the data regarding the pathways within. Unlike the popular Waite-Smith Tarot, the Thoth Tarot retains the traditional order of the trumps but uses alternative nomenclature for both the trumps and of the courts.The The Mythic Tarot links tarot symbolism with the classical Greek myths.

Hermetic Tarot utilizes the tarot imagery to function as a textbook and mnemonic device for teaching and revealing the gnosis of alchemical symbolical language and its profound and philosophical meanings. An example of this practice is found in the rituals of the 19th Century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In the 20th Century Hermetic use of the tarot imagery as a handbook and revealer of perennial wisdom was further developed in the work of Carl Gustav Jung and his exploration into the psyche and active imagination. A 21st century example of a Hermetic rooted tarot deck is that of Tarot ReVisioned, a black and white deck and book for the Major Arcana by Leigh J. McCloskey.

 

I. Le Bateleur
(The Mountebank, The Juggler, The Magician)

 

II. La Papesse (The Papess, or The Female Pope)

 

III. L'Impératrice (The Empress)

 

IV. L'Empereur (The Emperor)

 

V. Le Pape (The Pope, or The Hierophant)

 

VI. L'Amoureux (The Lovers)

 

VII. Le Chariot (The Chariot)

 

VIII. La Justice (Justice)

 

IX. L'Hermite (The Hermit)

 

X. La Roue de Fortune (The Wheel of Fortune)

 

XI. La Force (Strength, or Fortitude)

 

XII. Le Pendu (The Hanged Man)

 

XIII. [usually left un-named, but "called" L'Arcane sans nom, La Mort, or Death]

 

XIV. Tempérance (Temperance)

 

XV. Le Diable (The Devil)

 

XVI. La Maison Dieu (The House of God, or The Tower)

 

XVII. L'Étoile (The Star)

 

XVIII. La Lune (The Moon)

 

XIX. Le Soleil (The Sun)

 

XX. Le Jugement (Jugement)

 

XXI. Le Monde (The World)

The Tarot of Marseilles (or Tarot of Marseille), also widely known by the French designation Tarot de Marseille, is one of the standard patterns for the design of tarot cards. It is a pattern from which many subsequent tarot decks derive.

the Tarot deck was probably invented in northern Italy in the 15th century and introduced into southern France when the French conquered Milan and the Piedmont in 1499. The antecedents of the Tarot de Marseille would then have been introduced into southern France at around that time. The game of tarot died out in Italy but survived in France and Switzerland. When the game was reintroduced into northern Italy, the Marseille designs of the cards were also reintroduced to that region.

The name Tarot de Marseille was coined at least as early as 1889 by the French occultist Papus (Gérard Encausse) in Chapter XI of his book le Tarot des bohémiens (Tarot of the Bohemians), and was popularized in the 1930s by the French cartomancer Paul Marteau, who used this collective name to refer to a variety of closely related designs that were being made in the city of Marseille in the south of France, a city that was a centre of playing card manufacture, and were (in earlier, contemporaneous, and later times) also made in other cities in France. The Tarot de Marseille is one of the standards from which many tarot decks of the 19th century and later are derived.

Like other Tarot decks, the Tarot de Marseille contains fifty-six cards in the four standard Suits. In French language versions of the Tarot de Marseille, those suits are identified by their French names of Bâtons (Rods, Staves, Sceptres, or Wands), Épées (Swords), Coupes (Cups), and Deniers (Coins). These count from Ace to 10.As well, there are four court cards in each suit: a Valet (Knave or Page), Chevalier or Cavalier (Horse-rider or Knight), Dame (Queen) and Roi (King). Occultists (and many tarot readers nowadays, whether English- or French-speaking) call this series the Minor Arcana (or Arcanes Mineures, in French). The court cards are sometimes called Les Honneurs (The Honors) or Les Lames Mineures de Figures (The Minor Figure Cards) in French, and the "Royal Arcana" in English.

In the Tarot de Marseille, as is standard among Italian suited playing cards, the pip cards in the suit of swords are drawn as abstract symbols in curved lines, forming a shape reminiscent of a mandorla. On the even numbered cards, the abstract curved lines are all that is present. On the odd numbered cards, a single fully rendered sword is rendered inside the abstract designs. The suit of wands is drawn as straight objects that cross to form a lattice in the higher numbers; on odd numbered wands cards, a single vertical wand runs through the middle of the lattice. On the tens of both swords and batons, two fully rendered objects appear imposed on the abstract designs. The straight lined wands and the curved swords continue the tradition of Mamluk playing cards, in which the swords represented scimitars and the wands represented polo mallets.

In this abstraction, the Tarot, and the Italian playing card tradition, diverges from that of Spanish playing cards, in which swords and batons are drawn as distinct objects. Cups and coins are drawn as distinct objects. Most decks fill up blank areas of the cards with floral decorations. The two of cups typically contains a floral caduceus-like symbol terminating in two heraldic dolphin heads. The two of coins usually joins the two coins by a ribbon motif; the ribbon is a conventional place for the manufacturer to include his name and the date.

There are also the standard twenty-two trump cards. At times, the Fool, which is unnumbered in the Tarot de Marseille, is viewed as separate and additional to the other twenty-one numbered trumps. Occultists and tarotists call these twenty-two cards the Atouts (trumps), Les Lames Majeures de Figures (The Major Figure Cards) or Arcanes Majeures (major arcana) in French.

I. Le Bateleur (The Mountebank, The Juggler, The Magician)
II. La Papesse (The Papess, or The Female Pope)
III. L'Impératrice (The Empress)
IV. L'Empereur (The Emperor)
V. Le Pape (The Pope, or The Hierophant)
VI. L'Amoureux (The Lovers)
VII. Le Chariot (The Chariot)
VIII. La Justice (Justice)
IX. L'Hermite (The Hermit)
X. La Roue de Fortune (The Wheel of Fortune)
XI. La Force (Strength, or Fortitude)
XII. Le Pendu (The Hanged Man)
XIII. [usually left un-named, but "called" L'Arcane sans nom, La Mort, or Death]
XIV. Tempérance (Temperance)
XV. Le Diable (The Devil)
XVI. La Maison Dieu (The House of God, or The Tower)
XVII. L'Étoile (The Star)
XVIII. La Lune (The Moon)
XIX. Le Soleil (The Sun)
XX. Le Jugement (Judgement)
XXI. Le Monde (The World)
no number. Le Mat (The Fool)

The use of Christian images (such as the Pope, the Devil, the Grim Reaper and the Last Judgement) and controversial Christian images such as La Papesse - thought to represent the legendary Pope Joan - have spawned controversies from the Renaissance to the present.

The Papess card has sparked controversy because of its portrayal of a female pope. There is no solid historical evidence of a female pope, but this card may be based around the mythical Pope Joan. Many variant names have been used to avoid such controversy, including Juno, The Spanish Captain and The High Priestess.

One variant of the Tarot de Marseille, now called the Swiss Tarot or the Tarot of Besançon, removes the controversial Papess and Pope and, in their stead, puts Juno with her peacock, and Jupiter with his eagle. More recent decks, following a suggestion by Court de Gébelin, often rename the Papess as the "High Priestess", and the Pope as the "Hierophant" ("High Priest").

During the French Revolution, the Emperor and Empress cards became the subject of similar controversies and were displaced by Grandfather and Grandmother.

Just as to the east of the French centre is the Besançon/Swiss Junon-Jupiter (II-V) variant, so to the north are variants in the Flemish decks. The Papesse is replaced with Le 'Spagnol Capitano Eracasse (Italian > the 'Spanish Captain' Fracasso, a stock character from Commedia dell'arte). The Pope. often depicted holding an orb or a covered communion chalice, is replaced by Bacus (Bacchus, the Greek god of wine) holding a wine cup or bottle and a fruited vine cane or bunch of grapes while astride a beer barrel or wine cask.

The XIII card is generally left unnamed in the various old and modern versions of the Tarot de Marseille, but it in the Noblet Tarot de Marseille (circa 1650), the card was named LAMORT (Death). In at least some printings of the French/English bilingual version of the Grimaud Tarot de Marseille, the XIII card is named "La Mort" in French and named "Death" in English. In many modern tarot decks (e.g., Rider-Waite-Smith), the XIII card is named Death.

The Valet de Bâtons (French > "Page of Batons") is another card worth noting in this regard. In the Tarot de Marseille, the title of that card generally appears on the side of the card, while in some old versions of the Tarot de Marseille that card, along with either some or all others, is left unnamed.

In the Flemish decks there are certain peculiarities as well. The Hanged Man is shown still pendant but right-side up. Temperance bears the motto FAMA SOL (Latin > "The Rumored or Omened Day") in a scroll, probably counselling patience until the day of their deliverance from Spain. The Tower is renamed La Foudre (French > "The Lightning"), and shows a man sitting beneath a tree being struck by lightning. The Star is unnamed, but is often called "The Astronomer" or "The Navigator", and shows a man with compasses staring up at the sky next to a tower. The Moon shows a woman holding a distaff and The Sun shows a man on horseback bearing a banner. The World depicts a naked woman atop a globe parted into a moon in a starry sky and a sun in a blue sky over a tower on land.

Each card, whether in the major arcana or minor arcana, was originally printed from a woodcut. The cards were later coloured either by hand or by the use of stencils. One well-known artisan producing tarot cards in the Tarot de Marseille style was Nicolas Conver, who produced one early attested deck in 1760. Other early attested decks in the Tarot de Marseille family of decks include Noblet's (circa 1650) and Dodal's (circa 1701).

It was the Conver deck, or a deck very similar to it, that came to the attention of Antoine Court de Gébelin in the late 18th century. Court de Gébelin's writings, which contained much by way of speculation as to the supposed Egyptian origin of the cards and their symbols, called the attention of occultists to tarot decks. As such, Conver's deck became the model for most subsequent esoteric decks, starting with the deck designed by Etteilla forward. Cartomancy with the Tarot was being practised throughout France by the end of the 18th century; Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier reported an encounter with two "sibyls" who divined with Tarot cards in the last decade of the century at Avignon.

In the English-speaking world, where there is little or no tradition of using tarots as playing cards, tarot decks only became known through the efforts of occultists influenced by French tarotists such as Etteilla, and later, Eliphas Lévi. These occultists later produced esoteric decks that reflected their own ideas, and these decks were widely circulated in the Anglophone world. Various esoteric decks such as the Rider-Waite-Colman Smith deck, and the Thoth Tarot deck - and tarot decks inspired by those two decks - are most typically used. Waite, Colman Smith, Crowley and Harris were all former members of the influential, Victorian-era Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at different respective points in time; and the Golden Dawn, in turn, was influenced by Lévi and other French occult revivalists. Although there were various other respective influences (e.g., Etteilla's pip card meanings in the case of Waite/Colman Smith), Waite/Colman Smith's and Crowley/Harris' decks were greatly inspired by the Golden Dawn's member-use tarot deck and the Golden Dawn's tarot curriculum.

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was essentially the first in the Anglophone world to venture into esoteric tarot. Francophone occultists such as Court de Gebelin, Etteilla, Eliphas Lévi, Oswald Wirth and Papus were influential in fashioning esoteric tarot in the French-speaking world; the influence of these Francophone occultists has come to bear even on interpretation of the Tarot de Marseille cards themselves. Even though the Tarot de Marseille decks are not 'occult' "per se", the imagery of the Tarot de Marseille decks arguably shows Hermetic influences (e.g., alchemy, astronomy, etc.). Referring to the Tarot of the Bohemians, Eliphas Levi declares: "This book, which may be older than that of Enoch, has never been translated, but is still preserved unmutilated in primeval characters, on detached leaves, like the tablets of the ancients... It is, in truth, a monumental and extraordinary work, strong and simple as the architecture of the pyramids, and consequently enduring like those - a book which is the summary of all sciences, which can resolve all problems by its infinite combinations, which speaks by evoking thought, is the inspirer and moderator of all possible conceptions, and the masterpiece perhaps of the human mind. It is to be counted unquestionably among the very gret gifts bequeathed to us by antiquity..."

In the French-speaking world, users of the tarot for divination and other esoteric purposes such as Alejandro Jodorowsky, Kris Hadar, and many others, continue to use the Tarot de Marseille, although Oswald Wirth's Atouts-only (major-arcana) tarot deck has enjoyed such popularity in the 20th century (albeit less so than the Tarot de Marseille). Tarot decks from the English-speaking tradition (such as Rider-Waite-Colman Smith and decks based on it) are also gaining some popularity in French-speaking countries.

Paul Marteau pioneered the number-plus-suit-plus-design approach to interpreting the numbered minor arcana cards ['pip cards'] of the Tarot de Marseille. Prior to Marteau's book Le Tarot de Marseille (which was first published in the 1930s), cartomantic meanings (such as Etteilla's) were generally the only ones published for interpreting Marseille pip cards. Even nowadays, as evidenced by tarot readings of members of French-language tarot lists and forums on the Internet, many French tarotists employ only the major arcana cards for divination. In fact, in recognition of this, many French-language Tarot de Marseille tarot books discuss the symbolism and interpretation of only the major arcana.

The term "Tarot de Marseille" has, in the past, most often been translated into English as "Tarot of Marseilles" because of the English spelling "Marseilles" for the city whose name in French is spelled "Marseille"

Some writers have speculated that certain Tarot decks contain concealed information about the Counts of Toulouseand the Cathars of the Languedoc.

If you want to learn more about these questions from experts like Henry Lincoln, on location in the Languedoc, you might be interested in Templar Quest Tours.

 

 
 
 

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