Queen of Coins

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Synthetic Meaning

            Holding in her left hand a scepter topped with a floral motif and holding up a coin in her right hand, in profile and almost standing, the Queen of Coins, with her crown thrown back on her blue hair, suggests powerful internal working of an animistic order to assure, in their best state, the preparation and the organization of exchanges between the individual and her environment.

Analytic Meaning

            The crown suggests radiance in the Universal; here it is pushed back on her headandbarely visible when the Queen of Coins is seen from the front. This shows Universal access is not the goal sought by her, and that her action, in conformity with the meaning of the Coin, must be directed towards material working.  This position of the crown also indicates, by its receding position on her head, a psychic and mental condensation, coming from the past, and forming the skills that serve as the basis for the favorable making of exchanges; the inner netting and the outer flowers symbolize the means for penetrating into matter.

Specific Analogies

            Her posture, half-sitting and in profile towards the left, brings to mind the activity which characterizes the Coin, but it is activity exercised by necessity on the interior, since the Coin is passive; this shows an intimate effort towards a solution close to any constructive question considered by the Queen of Coins, who has completed the preparation for the active work of the King of Coins. The Green throne reinforces her support in the physical world, and the yellow border, her intellectuality.

            The blue color of her hair shows that she is clairvoyant and that her designs are essentially intuitive; her clothing of a similar color reinforces this tone since it shows her entirely enveloped in psychism.

            The scepter, black like the coin, recalls the obscurity which reigns between the three zones of the coin and which exists in intuition, whose formation always remains secret; the flowers at the end show the development of the concentration achieved by the Queen of Coins.

            The coin, presented face-forward, makes manifest the wealth provided by the Queen; it is positioned on her fingers and held high to show that the action which she has prepared is ready to be put to use, as well as her attraction to higher states which the Queen has put in rapport with the physical plane.

            The belt, separating her chest from her abdomen, symbolizes mutual support and conciliation between the animistic and material dispositions; the 12 points which appear there show that they are at the end of a cycle and are oriented towards the Universal. The large yellow stripe connecting the flesh-colored belt to the collar of the same color, shows the divine intelligence illuminating her psychic activity.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL.  Assurance of success in one’s research undertakings, especially those of an abstract order.

            ANIMISTIC. Comfort, strong affection, power, radiance.

            PHYSICAL. Good health; in the case of sickness, certainty of recovery. Business matters in good order and conducted rationally.

            INVERTED. All kinds of embarrassment, confusion, great difficulties in extricating oneself from bad situations, because the means which the Queen possesses to act over matter encumber her and trap her there.


            In its Basic Meaning, the Queen of Coins represents the latent and intuitive work of Man, which must precede all construction and change so that such things may be realized in their optimum state.

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Forward to Paul Marteau’s LE TAROT DE MARSEILLE

[by Eugène Caslant]

ROUGH DRAFT (A very rough draft, in fact)

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            If one were to attempt to show a man of science the value and the divinatory properties of the Tarot, it is likely that the demonstration would be met with skepticism, if not irony, since the Tarot would provoke in him the memory of card readers, fortune tellers, and he would regard it entirely as a product of superstition and a means of exploiting human credulity.

            Perhaps he would change his mind by considering that it necessary to challenge one’s preconceived notions, that more often a remnant of the past as enduring as Tarot conceals an original and profound meaning which may have been obscured by the notions of the present. Possibly, when remembering that the Tarot has engendered the cards, that is, one of the principal instruments of passions of gaming, would he seek out the cause for the role which they play in humanity, and would he want to know why people would submit themselves to risks of their own devising, with the hope of obtaining from them their fortune, whereas too often they only reap disappointments? And wouldn’t he be inclined to wonder whether this attraction of the cards for people came from profound sources?

            People will receive a response if they take the trouble to examine how they arrive at knowledge; then they will recollect that the logical modes which they employ in the search for knowledge are primarily reasoning based on identification and reasoning based on analogy. The former serves as the basis for the modern sciences, from which are derived mathematics and most branches which are taught in our schools. The second is used by Nature; this one ignores our so-called exact sciences, which in reality are nothing but abstract methods, born from our heads, chosen by us because their mechanism is easily adapted to the imperfection of our faculties.  Nature does not accept rigorous reasoning, whose lack of flexibility would paralyze its efforts, since it never creates two things which are identical; it only knows qualities and, to organize these qualities among themselves, it is based on analogies and proceeds by affinity.

            Also, to understand the laws and principles of Nature, it would be necessary to determine the analogical links which connect everything. But this operation, by the immensity and complexity of the elements which it encompasses, beyond the reach of human understanding, so that it can only be realized by limiting it to the study of the simplest and most accessible connections to our spirit. However, those who meet these conditions must enter the framework of tangible things and, therefore, take the aspect of the forms which are familiar to us. They then serve as a basis and allow a glimpse of other levels through their similarity. This is how people have been driven to resort to symbolism, which is to say to the transference of cosmic laws to the physical world, by making them concrete, in the form of pictorial scenes. Such are the causes which have led people in times past to conceive of the images of the Tarot.

            What knowledge do we have about the origins of the Tarot and the vicissitudes of form and interpretation which it has undergone across the ages?

            A chronicle of Giovanni de Juzzo de Caveluzo, preserved in the archives of Viterbe, fixes the time when the cards appear in Europe in the following passage:

            “In the year 1379 was introduced to Viterbe the game of cards which came from the land of the Saracens and which is called “Naïb” among them.”

            This shows that the cards have a very foreign origin. If we put historical writings aside and look to the oral tradition and to certain books such as those of Paravey[1], or Moreau de Dammartin[2], the Tarot goes back to the Egyptians who themselves may have borrowed it from anterior races. We may suppose that the elite of these peoples, in contemplation of the heavens, perceived in the groupings of stars and the movement of the planets, the manifestation of cosmic laws, which their sense of symbolism expressed in a series of images. Each of these, through the arrangement of their colors, objects, and figures, highlighted, with their implications, the principles which their authors had recognized. Their number and their sequence was determined by the rules of analogy, and their organization, to which was given the name of Tarot, constituted a synthesis, which offered a summation of the evolution of the universe. According to the authors whom we have cited, these images, schematized to the furthest extent, have been the origin of hieroglyphic writings. Moreau de Dammartin, in support of these ideas, combines many constellations and draws them in such a way so as to represent “The Bateleur” in the sky and some other Lames of Tarot along with the alphabetic signs which correspond to them.

            Anyway, according to oral tradition, the Lames of the Tarot constitute a pictorial representation of the history of the world and their combinations express the undulating and various play of universal forces. This is why those who wielded these Lames felt that their combination, if it were done in affinity with the mental or emotional projection of the querent, would be able to detect the cosmic law in play and revel, up to a certain point, his or her destiny.

            The consequence of these origins was to present the Tarot in three aspects: one symbolic, another divinatory, and the third related to various combinations. From these result three currents: the initial one, accessible only to analogical minds, represents the Tarot proper; the second, called fortune telling, used by cartomancers, is translated by the figures derived and degraded from the original Tarot; the third, which is only concerned with selection and creating combinations, constitutes playing cards.

            This triple current has given birth to innumerable images varying by particular details, by the nature of the figures, by meanings philosophical, ritualistic, or humorous which we have wanted to attribute to them, but relating with some degree of fidelity and fantasy to the principles of Tarot. Thus, besides playing cards, we find either a multitude of decks representing scenes and historical, political or satirical figures, or groups of symbolic images suitable for facilitating divination, such as those of Mademoiselle Lenormand who, it is said, had predicted to Bonaparte his destiny; or finally, drawings intended to reconstruct the original Tarot, as much from personal inspiration as from the data of ancient works, such as those of Etteila, Eliphas Levi, Papus, Stanislas de Guaita, or Oswald Wirth, composed in the previous century and at the beginning of this one.

            What must one think about this mass of images, which of them are the most interesting? Does there exist one of them which stands out among the others and which deserves particular attention? It was up to Paul Marteau to answer that question.

            Paul Marteau, grand master cartier of France, is one of the directors of the House of Grimaud whose renown for the manufacture of decks of cards is worldwide. He ignores nothing of what has been said or done with respect to cards. Merely to walk into his office, lined with decks of every kind and from all periods, is sufficient to attest to his competence in such a field. He recognizes their value, he knows how to describe all their particulars with humor. But in his eyes no deck is comparable to the ancient Tarot called “Marseilles,” because, according to him, it conforms most to the tradition and is the richest in analogical meanings. As its design is mystifying and the profundity of its symbols, which can only be appreciated through minute analysis, has resulted in its neglect, Paul Marteau has thought it advisable to call attention to it and to present his interpretation of it to the public.

            This is why he first re-edited it with such care, then composed the present book in which he is eager to show to the reader that nothing in this Tarot has been left to chance, that the designs have been conceived in such a way so as to give a meaning to the smallest details, that the colors are always appropriate for the master idea of each Lame, and that the whole thing reveals a transcending philosophy. His work does not cover, therefore, either the history of the cards or even any critical commentary about the conception of the Tarot of Marseille. He treats solely of its symbolism.

            A delicate operation, which is easily made apparent when considering the difficulties of the problem. Few are the things which one can use as a starting point or for support. As a point of departure, there are some rules of symbolism: it is known, for example, that in general yellow signifies intelligence or spiritual things, blue psychism or a mystic state, red the passions or the appetites. In support of this, there are commentaries published on similar Tarots, but besides that most of them are only concerned with the 22 Majors and leave the 56 Minor Arcana in the dark, they scarcely go beyond the philosophy of their authors and their designs are incomplete or distorted, since they have neglected to represent that which they have misunderstood. On the other hand, little is known about the origins of the Tarot of Marseille. Certain characteristics of design, the form of costume and of the faces lead one to suppose that it goes back to the middle of the 16th century and that it has been traced to Germany. According to the occult tradition, it would a reproduction, adapted to the clothing of the present epoque, of a more ancient Tarot belonging to the Greeks in Phocee—the ancient Marseille—who themselves had taken it from the Egyptians.

            Faced with such meager information, it was necessary to proceed often with a minute analysis, often through synthesis,  in order to interpret the minor nuances of the images and organize them in a way so that the results form a coherent and rational whole. This arduous work still remains insufficient if we consider that the Tarot, in order to make flexible all the laws of nature and of the Cosmos which it purposes to reflect, had to adapt the elements of its design, its colors, shapes and presentations, to the specific meaning of each Lame, without however deviating from their principle meaning. The white, for example, a synthesis of all colors, indicates among other nuances, the abstract, nothingness, or repose; the abstract, if the card envisages it as a symbol of the universal; nothingness or a negation, if it is considered from a material and tangible point of view where there is no abstraction; repose, if it is attached to some idea of action or inertia. The red signifies, sometimes, the stagnation of the soul in matter, and sometimes, in a more concrete sense, the impulsivity of the instincts and animal passions. This results in a multitude of nuances which are not only difficult to appreciate, but also are beyond the means of expression of the French language, rich as it is.

            Another difficult lurks in the extent of the meanings which a single symbol may indicate. For to interpret a symbol is to discover by analogy the idea which is attached to this or that pose, this or that contour; more exactly, it is to establish the passage from the concrete to the abstract; but this is a passage from the most down-to-earth meaning to that which derives from the highest metaphysics, and it travels from one extreme to the other through an indefinite series of levels. Consider, for example, the first four Lames of the Tarot which form an ensemble: the Bateleur, the Papesse, the Impératrice, the Empereur, and let’s consider them first in their higher sense.

            The Bateleur signifies the first emanation, and, consequently, it represents the nebulous laws which preside over its development. The Papesse symbolizes the universal matrix, and with the book which she holds on her knees and which describes all the cosmic combinations, she draws the ideograms, which she projects in space and they become the germs of worlds. The Impératrice is the universal Fate and she weaves the threads of cosmic destinies with which the Empereur constructs worlds.

            In their lower and concrete meaning corresponding to human undertakings, the Bateleur is no more than just the beginning of something, whose outcome is indicated by the cards which surround him, the Papesse becomes the appearance of something unexpected, the Imperatrice is a gestation, an unknown factor which one must await to emerge, and the Empereur is domination over the unstable, an ephemeral power, a momentary plan.

            We can arrive at another interpretation of the Lames, then, purely abstract, when interpreting by analogy the significance of the numbers inscribed at the top of each card. The I (Le Bateleur) signifies the beginning of all things, the primordial principle, the action taken in its essence; the 2 (La Papesse) constitutes, on the contrary, the essence of passivity, because the two things united which comprise it, from a qualifying point of view, are taken in an inverse sense, they are opposed to each other.  They engender, through their collision, a movement in place, a dynamic stabilization, which symbolizes any substance with the mysteries which she contains and which she owes to the effect of her receptivity to universal forces.  The 3 (L’Impératrice), which characterizes the notion of “succession” (1 + 1 + 1), symbolizes the evolutionary passage from one plane to another; there is, in the Trinity, the current which goes from the Father to the Son and from the Son to the Father through the Holy Spiri. The 4 (L’Empereur), or 2 opposed to 2, indicates a double polarity which, depending on whether or not they oppose or conciliate each other, are represented by the square and the cross, expressing matter with its four elements (fire, air, water, earth), or the balance of forces in constructive action.

            Between these extremes there are multiple transitions. Paul Marteau could not think of touching on all of them; he had to make a choice and stick to an arena accessible to the public and likely to be of interest. He stopped at the psychic level, as the Tarot had led him to it, that is to say, at the oscillations of the human soul between the embracing of matter and the call of the Divine.

            Added to this limitation is another: the Tarot subordinates its philosophy to that of numbers, that is to say, to their analogic laws. Logic would have liked for Paul Marteau, in order to make his deductions comprehensible, to offer a preliminary presentation on the symbolism of numbers. By doing so, he would have satisfied readers eager to see the interpretations resting on a logical base. Besides the fact that this would have been a tedious task because of its abstraction, it would have required a supplementary volume; so he had to reduce his examination of numbers to that which was strictly necessary for the understanding of the Tarot.

            Besides, criticism is easy in a field which does not include the rational form of our contemporary sciences. This is why, we repeat, Paul Marteau did not want to conduct a reasoned study of Tarot in general, nor criticize what may be good or defective, complete or incomplete, in the Tarot of Marseille; he has sought out the meaning and has revealed it to the reader so that he may appreciate for himself a work which human wisdom has given birth to over the centuries.


L’Ecole Polytechnique


[1] (Le Chevalier Charles -Hippolyte de Paravey, orienataliste français, 1787-1871. —Différents ouvrages:  overview of the manuscripts which were still handwritten, about the origin of the globe, the age of the Zodiacs, etc., Paris, 1835. — Confirmation of the Bible and the Egyptian and Greek traditions, by the hieroglyphic books discovered in China, Paris, 1838. — Astronomical knowledge of the ancient peoples of Egypt and Asia about the satellites of Jupier and the rings of Saturn, etc., Paris, 1835— Hieoryglyph documents seized by Assyria and preserved in China and in America about the first Flood of Noah, etc., Paris, 1839. — Essays on the unique origin and the hieroglyphics of numbers and letters of all peoples, preceded by a quick glance at the History of the World, between the age of the Creation and the Age of Nabonassar, and about certain ideas about the Formation of the First of all writings, which existed before the Deluge, and which was the Hieroglyphic system. Paris, Treuttel nad Wurtz, 1826.— Illustrations of Hieroglyphic Astronomy and the Planispheres and Zodiacs discovered n Egypt, in Chaldea, in India and from Japon, Paris, Delabaye, 1835. —A new consideration about the Planisphere of Dendera, etc., Paris, Treuttel et Wutz, 1835. — On the Sphere and the Constellations of the ancient Hieroglyphic Astronomy, etc., Paris, 1835.

[2] Origin of the shape of the alphabetic characters of all nations, the Chinese keys, the Egyptian Hieroglyphics, etc., by Moreau de Dammartin, member of the Historic Institute, Paris, 1839.

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Queen of Cups

Rough (very) Draft

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Synthetic Meaning

            Seated and facing to the left, on a dais, and wearing a double headdress, holding in her right hand a capped cup and in her left a scepter in the shape of a white taper, the Queen of Cups symbolizes the intimate condensation of animistic forces in order to express them in the form of love in its universality, as much in devotion as in affection, and with the feeling of its daily application.

Analytic Meaning

            The Cup, resting on her right knee and held firmly in the right hand, denotes its power of realization in the material world in its full animistic radiance.

            The dais, with its enveloping shape, the double headpiece, and the cop, with its cap and spherical shape, all show the great passivity of the Cup, accentuated by its orientation towards the left, concentrated at the interior of Being and clothed, moreover, in universality, the sphere being the representation of the universe as a whole.

            This is also indicated by the shape of the scepter, its white color symbolizing the abstract and the synthesis of principles. It constitutes a antenna capacitor of universal forces. These are collected at the base by her left hand which transfers them to the psyche of the Being. 

            The spindle symbolizes, in general, day-to-day work, carried out with perseverance. This idea, added to the preceding ones, demonstrates the application of feelings, represented by the Queen of Cups in the concrete and the details of life. They are the thousand nuances of love that ennoble its material side. The color of the dais, flesh and yellow, illustrates as well this willing descent into life and the intelligence of matter.

            The red stripe connecting the neck of the Queen of Cups to the end of the scepter and her hand represents an active current powering the force of action in the physical world, the scepter functioning as an antenna.

            Her belt, with its 9 points, is evocative of the triple ternary, which is to say, the harmonious agreement of all its modes, on the three planes. They also indicate the complexity of the domains where psychic activity can be exercised, because the primordial numerals end with 9.

            Her blue headpiece, decorated with a red disk and interposed between her hair and the crown, indicates a wish not to be exposed to the Universal (the crown signifying radiance into the Universal) before it has considered good material undertakings imbued with dedication and designed with a material spirit (the red of the headpiece is surrounded by blue).

            The red ball, separating the tetrahedral base of the Cup from its upper spherical part, symbolizes, Queen of Cups’ capacity for diffusion and by virtue of her specifically intelligent nature, an effort energetic, willful and unceasing, what the spirit must do in the material world in order to reconcile the universal and synthetic role of the animistic intelligence manifested by the sphere with its structure in the physical world, signified by the tetrahedron.

            The covering on the Cup reinforces its passivity in principle, and accentuates the animistic condensation implied by this Card and which is expressed by the treasure of love that all Being is able to possess in its own foundation; but it requires an effort to open the Cup, that is to say, to manifest it. An indication of this effort is that she is holding the Cup in her right hand.

            On the very top of the cup are arranged three rectangles representing the ternary: Love, Light, Life on the spiritual plane and the six motifs in a Greek pattern at the center, locate the double ternary: Love, Light, and Life, in their double aspect of passivity and activity.

            The eight lines below symbolize the four states of matter in passivity and activity, and the three lines on the central red ball are the reflections of the ternary on the material plane.

Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL. Transcendence. Connection with universal forces or with great intelligences.

            ANIMISTIC. This card transcends sexual love, and represents universal love, a superior altruism.

            PHYSICAL. Mastery, complete success. Any matter of feeling is achieved in full. Perfect health.

            INVERTED. Very bad. A darkening which persists, because all principles are disrupted, turned upside down. Total distraction. Escape from this requires in this case the assistance of the Page of Swords and, above all, the Knight of Swords.


            In its Elementary Sense, the Queen of Cups represents feelings of altruism which Man carries deep within himself, but which he cannot manifest except through daily effort with dedication and affection.

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Jumbo Marseille Deck by Anna Maria Morsucci and Mattia Ottolini

For a long time I had been wanting to find an oversized Marseille deck. Morsucci and Ottolini’s Professional Edition deck, published by Lo Scarabeo, is similar in details to the standard Conver TdM. The cards are sturdy and the quality of printing excellent. This deck was published last year along with an English translation of Morsucci’s handbook Readings and Understanding the Marseille Tarot. Here’s a quick flip through the majors.

Queen of Batons

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Synthetic Meaning

            Sitting and neatlywrapped, the Queen of Batons, oriented towards the right with her scepter in the shape of a club, her crown resting on her long hair, white and scattered on her shoulders, she represents the intimate grouping of energies of Being for ensuring mastery of matter and defense against the opposing forces which can arise.

Analytic Meaning

            The active preoccupation of the Queen of Batons, facing an unforeseen circumstance, is indicated by her observant gaze turned towards the right, and her mastery, by the shape of her baton.

Specific Analogies

            The interposition of locks of hair between her head and the crown decreases the influence of the later and shows that her mastery is exercised more downwards than what is on High. The red garment, with flesh-colored lining, which drapes her completely, is similarly an indication of her activity in the physical world, as the yellow border is of her intelligence on the various planes oriented around matter.

            Being female and passive, she is not able to act and is therefore sitting, her baton resting on her shoulder; but she is internally gathering her powers as well as forming the gesture with her left hand to draw back and hold in place the blue fabric on her knees sufficiently to cover herself up against an exterior attack. This covering indicating the psychic powers she has in reserve at her disposal and the attack can signify an affliction as much as an adverse situation.

            The elevated seat of the Queen of Swords is here replaced by a low seat, hardly visible, to show that, being more material, she does not rely as much as on a higher plane.

            Her belt, the function of which is to support and to adjust the middle part of her body, indicates with its seven points that she is able to vibrate with confidence in the seven states of matter.[1]

            The black lines going in different directions on the ground illustrate the imperfections of the material world on which she is based and symbolize the sources of resistance, the obstacles, the difficulties which Being faces in order to ensure the workings of the energies on the material world.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL. Absolute confidence in one’s undertakings with respect to their resilience and their success.

            ANIMISTIC. Protection in the event of discord or disunity. She boosts confidence because the covering on her knees indicates her power of protection.

            PHYSICAL. Great internal energy, preservation in business and in health.

            INVERTED. Matters being weighed down, confusion, and vulgarity because of its matter, one has difficulty negotiating obstacles.



            In Sum, the Queen of Batons represents the gathering of his intimate forces which Man must complete beforehand to ensure his triumphovermaterial energies and his protection against their reactions.

[1] Physical, liquid, gaseous, to which are added the four ethereal states.

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Page of Batons

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Synthetic Meaning

            The Page of Batons, by its orientation towards the right, his left foot forward, prepared to walk, by his two hands placed on the vertical green baton, as if he were about to use it, indicates a tension between his passivity and an action about to take place in the material world, regarded as a source of energy.

            It indicates that the forces of nature are at the disposal of Man and are always ready to be used by him.

Analytic Meaning

            The green baton in the shape of a club, indicates the vital energies which the man will use for support, as a lever, as a hammer or, as a subtle force, by its blazing. The hands of the page are positioned on the baton without gripping it, thus indicating an awareness of these forces, and the space between them shows activity and capability in all domains, since his hold on the baton is complete.

            The Page’s red cap suggests that his work is organized on the physical plane, crowned with intelligence and the absence of subjectivity, as shown by its two bands, one yellow and the other white.

Specific Analogies

            The green of the baton signifies that matter is not able to produce any fruits until it has a state of awareness. Its shape, thicker end downward, symbolizes that matter will always be heavier, but that it will have, for the one who knows how to use it, a very solid foundation and will become his servant in all things. It may, however, be the instrument of his destruction, depending on to what use it is put.

            The red mantle, lined with yellow, worn over a blue jacket with blue and flesh-colored sleeves, symbolizes the fact that the forces of nature are only effective if one does not venture into the spiritual domain. If he does enter it, these forces will no longer be manageable by him. It will therefore be necessary for him, in order to make use of them, to cover himself with a red mantle (material), but he may not forget that, while handling them, he must dress himself inwardly with spirituality (blue).

            His bare legs remind us that these forces which are able to serve Man on his journey will not, however, bring him anything which he himself can hand down; he will remain naked, because these forces do not contribute anything in the purely spiritual domain and they do not assist his evolution.

            The black lines on the yellow ground (the mental), on his blue clothing (spiritual), and on bis flesh-colored lower half (physical action), as well as on his white hair (objectivity), represent resistant forces in the material world, but the tufts of green grass and the baton are the guarantee of an energy which will permit him to triumph over these obstacles.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Things brought to work and ready to be put to use. Shaping something which will take on a definite form.

            ANIMISTIC. An imminent union which is preparing to manifest; its physical realization.

            PHYSICAL. Imminent action (the Page holds the baton and is ready to maneuver it). Health regained. Getting started on some matter in preparation. It will proceed from the planning stage to actualization.

            INVERTED. Delay.  Complicated plans in disarray.


  In sum, in its Elementary Sense, the Page of Batons indicates the fermentation of material energies available to Man and which motivate him to act.

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Page of Cups

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Synthetic Meaning

            The Page of Cups, by the orientation of his movement, by the tall uncovered cup which he is presenting before him, and by his white hair, garlanded with four-petal flowers, indicates that all work, all effort either physical or spiritual, accompanied with an offering, is becoming the harbinger or the transmitter of a beneficial contribution.

Analytic Meaning

            The passivity of the Cup, joined to that of the Page, is indicated by his step towards the left. Not having any initiative, the Page would have to remain immobile; his movement indicates therefore that this is internal and that his step symbolizes a tendency and not a reality.

            On the other hand, it is useful to remember that his change of position is only towards the left from the point of view of the person looking at the card and that, for the Page, the movement he makes is towards the right. [1]  This contradiction is apparent. The activity of the Page towards the right is within him and suggests a pronounced internal elaboration; in its exterior manifestation, this activity reverses its meaning, as the act of a personfrozen in the moment, and this reversal symbolizes a strong psychic disposition, strong owing to the internal operation of the Page, who is altruistic since it is turned towards his right,psychic in its aspect since it appears on the outside as an expansion of the heart.

Specific Analogues

            The Cup, tall and narrow, indicates depth and the retention of that which it contains; it is open so that it can be filled, thus indicating that some things must be given in exchange for the promise made by the movement of the Page, so that there is a communion.

            He holds the cup in his right hand and the lid in his in his left hand to show that Man conceals or reveals his achievements according to the needs of his undertakings.      

            The red bulge in the middle shows that the offering must be a sacrifice made in the material world.

            The veil, flesh-colored against the cup, the underside of the yellow veil surrounding his neck, is the protection which an intelligent design and the use of vital forces provide for him, since the psychic gifts born by the Page are by necessity balanced and must be protecting against any forfeiture.

            Furthermore, these offerings, half covered and not plainly revealed, are hopes, promises not yet fulfilled, and thus possibilities and not realities.

            The large red vest, floating around him, unlike the one that tightly clings to the Page of Swords, shows that he is more free of matter than is the later.

            The garland of flowers indicates that the mental elaboration of what is given and what is received by the Cup are on the animistic level, but susceptible to turning into emotional feelings; the four petals, as a set of four, suggest their becoming concrete.

            The whiteness of the hair shows the impersonality of the Page, which is to say, the absence of individualism in the beginnings of a psychic operation.

            The red shoes indicate undertakings on the lower plane.

            The black ribbing, the yellow ground, uneven, specify resistances on all the planes; the green tufts of grass indicate sources of energy vital for overcoming them, and the yellow tufts of grass are intellectual contributions.

            While the cards in the suite of Cups from Two to Ten display cups entirely yellow, with the exception of their red interiors, symbolizing the vessel of human undertakings, passionate sentiments dressed in intelligence, and which, if they start with a sincere spirit direct at that which is Above, will come to fruition; but the Cup of the PAGE has a red center, round [2], implying an energetic effort which the soul must make in the material world in order to reconcile the universal and synthetic aspects with animistic intelligence, manifested by the sphere.  [?]

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Comfort in spiritual thoughts, projects. Elimination of doubt.

            ANIMISTIC. Comfort even more powerful than in the previous one, because the Cups are psychic, comfort in hopes. Emotional support.

            PHYSICAL. Being set free from an emotional matter, liberation from sorrow.  For matters of health, the hope of being healed, if there is a serious affliction.

            INVERTED. The weight of distress, psychic neediness. A feeling of complete abandonment.


            In sum, in its Elementary Sense, the happy, spiritual contribution which comes to Man when his psychic evolution is accompanied by the offering of his soul.

[1] On this topic see the discussions about the position of the figures presented in n. 1 on the Magician.

[2] The same detail exists for the Knight of Cups and the Queen of Cups.

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Page of Coins

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Synthetic Meaning

            The Page of Coins, wearing a hat in the shape of an 8, with one side drooping, standing firmly on grassy ground, lifting up Above a coin held in his right hand, the other hand touching his belt, while another coin is on the ground next to his right foot, suggests the existence of a plan to connect the mental and material states, resulting in a fertile yield on the planes of the material world.

Analytic Sense

            The place between the high and the low is established by the extreme placement of the two coins; the one below is not held by the Page because he does not raise matter up to mind, but rather brings mind down to matter.  The hat in the shape of an 8, with a brim bending towards the ground, also accentuates, though in an intellectual way, this action of the Page. His role as a mediator continues to be apparent because of his hand resting on his yellow belt with 4 triangles, separating the upper from the lower part of his body, thus marking the work of intelligence being exercised with a perfect balance between the higher part of matter, represented by his torso, and the lower part, indicated by his legs. The perfect balance results from the 3, a reconciled balance, repeated 4 times, as 4 constitutes material balance.

            The passivity of the Page is marked by his immobility, but the action of his right hand of holding the coin shows that this passivity contains willful activity and is the harbinger of actions to be carried out, since the right hand expresses the efforts of a human directed outward.[1]

Specific Analogies

            The hat’s figure-8 shape indicates as well that time does not exist, owing to the permanence of the balance represented by the 8, and the figure’s fixed regard for the coin he holds up indicates a persistent vigilance.

            The variety of the colors implies that the action is exercised in all the spheres.

            The tufts of green grass on the ground, flesh-colored, indicate the physical component of nervous impulses; the yellow tufts indicate the mental component, fighting against the inertia of matter represented by the black lines.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL. Creative intelligence, which is to say knowing how to choose the elements necessary for creation.

            ANIMISTIC. Choice of the elements necessary to arrive at one’s ends.

            PHYSICAL. Balance in business or in health.

            INVERTED. It is neutralized; the liaison officer no longer exists, and his action is rendered inoperative.


            In its Elementary Sense, the Page of Coins is presented to Man as a messenger announcing the realization of his projects because he has designed them in accord with that which Above and that which is below.

[1] v. the information about the Pages in the introduction to the court cards of the Minor Arcana.

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Page of Swords

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Synthetic Meaning

         The Page of Swords, through his figure turned to the left, through the use of his left hand to hold the sword, through his firmly-planted pose emphasizing immobility, expresses his passivity.[1] The large yellow sword which he holds vertically, while holding its red scabbard, indicates a strong mental action, disengaging itself from matter in order to orient itself towards the Above. The combination of all these things synthesizes the preparation of Man to detach his mental activities from matter and organize his spiritual powers on a higher plane.

Analytic Meaning

         The sword symbolizing the extension of a base (the pommel), in a specific direction (the blade), indicates the prolonging of an action whose origin is rooted in matter (the red scabbard).

         The passivity of the Page does not allow this extension to be effective and bring about a realization; it makes him accomplish a task standing in place, that is to say, a preparation in view of a future concrete action.

Specific Analogies

         The yellow lining of the cape indicates the potential of the powers of intelligence, all potential being latent and constituting a kind of envelope of forces, just as the cape envelops the man. This yellow also represents a mental action, protected by a spiritual force, designated by the blue, which will acquire its power of manifestation from physical force which, located on his shoulders, is indicated by the flesh color.

         The blade of the sword has at its base a double black line, extending into a single about two-thirds along its length, underlining thus the potential of strength [2]; its double edge and impressive pommel indicate that the man has, at the origin of his actions, a mental power with a double action, which is to say, the ability to be directed towards the good or the bad.

         The seven buttons on his tunic signify his affinity with the first seven cards and, most of all, with the 7th card.

         His hat with its large red brim, lined with blue, shows that it is being weighed down by matter, this not being able to act without the vibration of spirituality, but his yellow hair indicates that the intelligence which will motivate him and emerge from this state will come from Above.

         His head, inclined to the left, underscores his passivity as well, and his white hair his impersonality; it neither directs nor influences his undertaking, but it prepares him. The white trim of his collar, on his wrist and on the wrist guard of is sword, reinforces this notion, indicating a volitional absence of action, a negation of the personality.

         His blue legs, ending in feet shod in red posed in opposite directions, are the indication of a future progression by means of the spiritual, but now in a latent state.

         The two tufts of grass, one green and the other yellow, emerging from the rough yellow ground, offer vital and mental energy.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

         MENTAL. Events on the move, close by.

         ANIMISTIC and PHYSICAL. This card is inoperativein the physical, the blue legs and the red feet indicating a weak contact with the physical.

         INVERTED. Obstruction. Powerlessness in the face of superior forces. The inability to organize mental activities


         In sum, in its Elementary Sense, the Page of Swords represents the mental elaborations which are produced in the mental world of Man, when he is deciding to act.

[1]  The reader will want to refer to [p. 231]: the Page of Cups, the second paragraph of the Analytic Meaning and n. 1.

[2] With reference to this subject see the explication given for the Seven of Swords, as well as those for the Three and Five of Swords.

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Introduction to the Court Cards of the Minor Arcana

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            The Court cards of the minors are for synthesizing the polarity of numbers; activity and passivity, indicated by odd and even numbers respectively, are represented, on the one hand, by teh Knights and the Kings, and on the other hand, by the Pages and the Queens. Human representation has been used to mark a plane elevated over that of the numbers, a plan where responsibility and freedom are to be found in acts.

            More abstractly, one might say that the figures symbolize a synthesis of the quality of the numbers on a plane superior to that of the four Aces and that they are an adaptation of unity–the principle of ten numbers–to the Universal, in which Man finds himself situated.


            The conscious quaternary, formed by the figures, implies a terrestrial value and an evolutionary value, the first symbolizing the state of Man in the physical world, and the second, the need he has to disengage himself from the material in order to evolve.

            This is indicated by the quaternary of Pages who are distinct from that of the Knights, which differ themselves in turn from those of the Queens, as these later do from the Kings.


            These figures are characterized in the following way: THE PAGE, in his elevated form, is a point of departure representing consciousness, not yet with the breath of life, and enclosed in the immobility of 4; this is why it is conscious Chaos, ready to act, a potential under pressure. He is equally an annunciator and his costume and his attributes symbolize the character of an announcement.

            More elementarily, he points to things in power and in the process of being carried out, without having sufficient force himself to act because of his own passivity.

            The four Pages denote internal workings in the sense particular to each card. This is clear from the spin on each of their symbols. The Pages are represented by, in order, a very long sword, a large baton, a deep cup, and by two coins; no other court card has a doubled symbol.


            The KNIGHT is that Chaos which emerges from his own immobility under the influence of the spirit as it evolves. The figure is on a horse and not on foot, showing therefore that the principle of the Page is carried along in its evolution. From this it results that, not being his own master, he cannot direct his horse unless he maintains his balance.

            In its basic class, it is essentially active; it transmits and acts, pursuing the directives of the Page.

            To complete its evolution, the Knight must be in attendance of THE QUEEN who represents spiritual passivity, along with wisdom and temperance, since the feminine principle, by reason of its passivity, maintains the calm and the equilibrium necessary to receive wisdom. A fertilizing and thus creative, principle, which, in its elementary sense, brings the contributions of the Knight to light.   


            The three preceding figures permit the ultimate realization of THE KING, the principle of strength and power resulting from the fusion of the the passive element, the Queen, and of the active element, the Knight. The King represents domination over all the planes–the cosmic plane, for example, over the elements.

            In its elemental principle, it is a director.


            The court cards of the minors consist of a mix of Universal laws–ones which the set of four obeys–and the laws of matter which it directs. These cards are therefore placed last, since they are mediators.


            The Tarot consists, therefore, of three series relating to combinations of numbers: the first, formed by the Major Arcana, represent the action of the Universal over the combinations of the numbers; the second, formed by the Minor Arcana from 1 to 10, indicate the combinations of the numbers in themselves, and the third, formed by Court of the Minor Arcana, specifies Man’s reactions to the combinations of numbers. 

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