Lexical Corrections Coming Soon

A few (not many) terms that Marteau uses I had only given provisional English translations for until I could talk to some Francophone esotericists. I have now found such esotericists, and soon will be tweaking my translation accordingly. And many thanks to everyone else who has written to me with interesting questions and suggestions.

Card VIII: La Justice

Rough Draft

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            The number 8 can be broken down into (2 + 2) + (2 + 2) or 2 x 4. The first grouping implies a polarization of the number 4, that is, the quaternary viewed as active-passive and, in its opposition, as spirit and matter. On the other hand, as the 4 is essentially material, it can be said with 2 x 4 that the 8 is material balance developing between the passivity of matter and its activity.


General and Abstract Meaning


This is why this card comes after the Chariot, in order to inspire humanity with the idea of balance and regulating his obligations and rights in the course of his evolution.


Specific Analogies

             Depicted on the card is a woman whose feet are not visible, seated on a yellow throne, substantial and solid, because cosmic justice, issued from the divine, is immutable, impassive, and grounded in intelligence. Her sword, held in her right hand and flush with the upper border of the throne, and with its pommel resting on her knee, indicates implacability, vigor, and rectitude; it is the sword posed to strike, resting on the base itself of justice, and its yellow color means that it represents sanction applied with intelligence and without the spirit of retribution.

The scales denote its capacity to make judgements in the material plane; they are yellow along with the harm that holds them. The weighing is carried out with intelligence.

Her head is completely surrounded with yellow hair. This protects her against a mixture of thoughts in questions which she must pass judgement on, as well as detailing the fact that justice is  completely enclosed, that is, away from all influence and infringement, and that her intelligence does not come from her own head, but from the intelligence of all those who realize themselves what they are owed and what they owe. Her sovereignty is affirmed further by the golden crown resting on her hair and the central circle in the shape of an eye, symbolizing her gaze which man cannot escape, along with the rectitude of her judgement.

Together, her collar and the braid of gold which she wears on her chest show the portion of humanity which she introduces into her judgement, while remaining bound to the law of balance.

Her red robe and her blue mantel represent the passionate activities on the psychic and physical planes which she wears in support of her judgements.

The tufts of yellow grass represent passive fertility, and the yellow earth is the base of wisdom.



Orientation of the Figure

             She is facing boldly forward; this is the only card which is presented in this way; it implies direct action to the full extent, but through inner workings (given her seated position).



Specific and Concrete Meaning

             The title “LA JUSTICE” has been given to it to represent the judgement of actions which Man has performed for good or ill in the course of his passing through the material world, as indicated by the previous card.



Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes

        MENTAL. Clarity of judgement, advice for making just evaluations, knowing how to do things and appreciate eventualities.

        ANIMISTIC. Curtness, contribution of strictly what is owed, possibility of cutting emotional attachments, divorce, separation. This card is the principle of rigor.

        PHYSICAL. Trial, rehabilitation, justice rendered. Balance of health, but with abundance, owing to the immobility of the card.


          INVERTED. Loss, condemnation, injustice, trial with conviction. Tremendous disorder, people victimized by crooks.


            In sum, in its Basic Sense, “LA JUSTICE” represents the judgement imposed on Man by his deep conscious, in appraisal of the balance and imbalance engendered by his acts with all their happy and unhappy consequences.


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Card X: La Roue de Fortune

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            The number 10, in context, is formed from the unity followed by zero, symbolizing a departure and an accomplishment, and consequently, an evolution.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card represents THE PREPARATION OF MAN FOR A NEW CYCLE, ONE RESULTING FROM THE PRECEDING CYCLE. It is a law of destiny and comes after Card VIIII because truth and wisdom are at the foundation of evolution.


Specific Analogies

            This card presents to us three phases, as indicated by the three figures depicted in animal form, to show us that they apply to all beings of creation.

The first phase, a monkey on the descent, represents a descending evolution, a phase of instinct, which has never been conducted by intelligence, but by ruse or by a clever adaptation to physical life. It corresponds to involution, which is to say the descent of the divine spark into matter, whose embedding in it is symbolized by the flesh color. The animal is raising his head because he is not descending willingly. His red and blue clothing indicates that this instinctive adaptation to the Cosmos is realized as much in the material as in the spiritual. It separates the lower parts from the higher parts of the animal, in the sense that the lower parts, more attached to the land, must fade with evolution.

In the second phase, the dog represents for us the first degree of ascending evolution, the first spark of intelligence, which is why it must be yellow. His head, turned upward, shows the germ of the first human thought. His vest, blue with red on the sides, signifies that his intelligence is beginning to perceive the rudiments of spirituality and to leave matter behind; his claws indicate that he continues to feel desire [?]; his necklace, that he is still a slave, and also that he is beginning to break free, this being shown by his ears. His green color represents for us the scientific adaptation which is beginning to manifest in the second phase of his evolution.

In the third phase, the third figure, in the form of a sphinx, shows us the destiny, unknown to Man in the course of his evolution, the aspiration towards an unknown which he must decipher. This is the mystery to be unveiled, the last stage, which he is, however, obliged to pass through, because the sphinx not answering the question he asks him about his ultimate end, he continues to enter into matter, to get out, to return anew and to come out again through his successive lives, until he has found on his own an answer to his question.

The sphinx is the manifestation of the role of the Divine in the evolution. His crown of gold represents his supreme royal authority, the reliability of his judgement. His sword is certain justice. This, held in his left hand, indicates his passivity, and the white blade expresses is neutrality. His red wings show that divinity, of which he is an expression, is ubiquitous, and that, having interpreted the world of matter, it must not dwell on it, but escape. His body is blue, because it is the representation of pure and essential spirituality. The platform on which he reposes is yellow, characterizing divine intelligence.

The two yellow posts supporting the wheel are the two poles of intelligence, active and passive, between which evolution must take place. They in turn are set up on beams, also yellow, and connected with two cross-bars, in order to emphasize the solidity and immutability of their base.

The wheel represents the Cosmos; its rim is flesh-colored, streaked with back, as this has to do with the role of the Cosmos in the physical plane. The hub is red, because the two poles must operate first in the material plane,in order to find their way, by the attached blue spokes, on the spiritual plane and, from there, by the white spokes, on the mental plane. This last is represented by the color white and not yellow, because it is void of the intelligence appropriate to physical life. The separation in the form of the blue ring-shaped joints represents the barrier, often impassable, which separates the spiritual from this higher mind.  When Man breaks through this obstacle, he ceased to keep undertaking successive lives.

The spokes of the wheel, being of a similar essence, represent a link between interior and exterior life. Their number indicates the six planes of evolution, which is to say, proceedings from those of the most sluggish vibrations to the finest: the Physical, the Psychic, the Mental, the Causal, the Spiritual, and the Divine. There are six spokes and not seven, since a seventh plane would symbolize a terminus and would deviate from the card’s correct meaning, which is about marking the process of evolution.

The crank indicates that Man is of his own able to slow down or speed up evolution; it symbolizes his capacity for free will, and indicates that he is not a slave of his own destiny. Its whiteness underscores the independence of his power.

The ground, flesh colored, is streaked and represents the fulcrum of the poles in their subtle resistant way, which is to say, on the physical plane. The flesh colored bars joining the two beams of the base are the currents of life on the physical plane which connect to the mental plane in an inseparable way, so representing both involution and evolution.

Arrangement of the Figures

             The separate positions of each of them makes this this a complicated card. The sphinx is facing forward and motionless, the dog is in profile and ascending, while the monkey is in profile and descending. While it is the sphinx who commands and forces the action, one of the animals ascends and is actively rising, the other descends and is passive, but the wheel is turning so that the active and the passive alternate and substitute for each other in the evolutionary process.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

             The Name “LA ROUE DE FORTUNE” has been given to it because the movement of the wheel implies a cycle whose return to origin brings with it the experience acquired during its course, experience which will result in favorable or detrimental circumstances.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

             MENTAL. Logic, with the wheel evocative of balance and regularity. Sound judgement, balanced.

        ANIMISTIC.  Apport, animation, and strengthening of feelings.

        PHYSICAL.  Whatever events present themselves in the lfe of the consultant, they are not stable, they are moving towards an evolution, a change, necessarily a happy one, because the card does not point backwards. Security in the midst of doubt.

With respect to health: good circulation. For a marriage: actions to bring it about.

        INVERTED. Transformation will come about with difficulty, but it will come about all the same. It is not maleficent, but delayed through an upheaval of movements; this indicates that there is change in fundamentals and in new beginnings.


In sum, in its Elementary Meaning, the “ROUE DE FORTUNE” represents Man in the midst of present actions which have their origin in cyclic works of the past and which prepare those of the future, on which the Divine will confer a beneficial outcome in the end, whatever their vicissitudes are.

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Card XII: The Hanged Man (Le Pendu)

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            While the number 10 represents a periodic cycle in nature, like the days, the months, or the years, the number 12 represents a cycle completed but unable to renew itself except through a change in the principle which formed the basis for the cycle. The number 12 implies, therefore, a renunciation so that the cycle starting over again, if there is one, is not hindered by the operation of the preceding cycle and can re-orient itself according to a new and different principle. This is why this card is not directly related to the Strength card [La Force], but rather to the entire preceding series of cards, because it completes the first cycle, that of 12. The 22 Majors of the Tarot are, in effect, formed by the two cycles 12 + 10.

One could regard the 22 cards as consisting of 3 x 7 + 1, but this interpretation, which stands up to theoretical rigor, represents only an inferior aspect of the Tarot, secondary to the groupings of three (3 x 7), followed by the principle of Beginning (1) without connection to what came before.

It is the passive will of Man (2), facing a self-acting organization (10).


General and Abstract Meaning

             This card signifies a halt or suspension in the evolutionary work of Man.

The representation of this suspension by an upside-down man indicates that a person who is elevated is a person who is low, and that all acts of Man on the material plane are reflected on the spiritual plane; this is to say, that Man leads the spiritual towards the material, and vice-versa, in order to make possible the union of these two aspects of the cosmos.

Specific Analogies

            The Hanged Man’s blue slippers indicate that Man puts is clothed in spirituality while at the same time plunged into matter, and his red legs show that he directs to the Heights all his material acts of a lower order. His blue jacket with its yellow skirt signifies that Man submerges the spiritual into the material, since his head, that is to say what is normally his superior part, is at the bottom of this card, but also that he does so with intelligence and with the spirit of sacrifice; as his hands drawn behind his back prove, showing  that this return into the material world is voluntary and that he accepts his destiny; by being buttoned up, his jacket indicates that he is willingly held in a state of sacrifice. The 9 buttons which keep his jacket closed and which, along with the buttonholes, create a polarity, represent with their groupings the three divine states and on the blue jacket, the ten phases of an evolution which lead to self-denial: they are white to indicate that this is determined by a spiritual synthesis.

This sacrifice must be undertaken without a calculated recompense; it is why his hands are hidden and his pockets are useless. By the way, through their relationship with the physical plane, upside down, they show that all material good acquired on the physical plane does not last. The white belt delineates the separation of the physic and the mental (the yellow part) and the determining role played by the later which, through the inversion of the hanging man, is above the spiritual (the blue jacket).

His arms, flesh-colored with red sleeves, recalls the links which connect Man to his passionate and vital powers, but his blue hair signifies that his spirituality remains firmly within him. The green of the ground from which the trees rise up indicate on the one hand that the sacrifice is a rich sowing which bears fruit, and, on the other hand, that they are also intellectual knowledge which directs Man towards his evolution.

The two trees which support the Hanged Man represent the Tree of Life, with their green branches extending sideways to form a portal, enclosing the man and subjecting him to a constant repetition of his struggles. The duality of the trees recalls the polarization of male and female. They are yellow because Man’s intellectual knowledge always elevate him towards profound and divine intelligence, and the six branches with red sections mark the six stages which the two poles of humanity must cover in order to evolve on the material plane.

The man is suspended from a green branch because he is often held up by the creations of science; the rope is white, which is to say, neutral, because Man is able to bind himself through an act of will. He does this in two ways: on the spiritual plane by his foot–that is to say, through himself–but also on the physical plane by his hands, in other words, through the spirit of sacrifice, and so  he is not able to set himself free. However, he shows with his leg bent and loose that he is always able to get free. This would be the case, for example, with a deeply religious man hindered by his religious belief and, as a result, slowed in his evolution, unable to advance.

Orientation of the Figure

            The position of the Hanged Man symbolizes latent activity.


Specific and Concrete Meaning

             The name “LE PENDU” symbolizes a halt in preparation for a transition, a transformation, a passage from the concrete to the abstract and, consequently, a state of non-affectivity, an arresting of the power to act.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL. Diverse possibilities, a reminder of the past, of the present, and of the future in the face of decisions to make or from which result hesitation. This card indicates things which have not reached sufficient maturation; the lack of a conclusion.

SPIRITUAL.  A mask of determination, of indecision, particularly as relates to an emotional choice.

PHYSICAL.  Forsaking of something or renouncing it, doubtful projects. Momemtary loss of the power of action. If some business were undertaken, it would remain dormant and not brought to realization without outside help.

With respect to health, circulatory troubles owing to the disharmony resulting from the position of the snagged foot.

INVERTED. Possible, but limping, success in a project, rather sentimental, disagreeable and without pleasure, because of the circumstances of the Hanged Man who is standing, but standing in a perverse state of balance and with his hands bound behind his back. Reticence and a hidden project.


            In sum, in its basic sense, “LE PENDU” represents Man subverting his action in order to orient himself towards the spiritual, in a feeling, waiting, and in self-denial.

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Card V: The Pope (Le Pape)

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          The number 5= 4 + 1 indicates the unity of superior action or consciousness standing before matter, as represented by 4; it has therefore the power of acting and of purifying this matter.

The number 5 can also be defined as 2 + 1 + 2, the principle of unity mediating between the two aspects of the material world: that which tends towards a stasis, and that which tends towards action; between what leans towards the negative and what tends to rise above it, that is, towards the positive. Card V, depicting the Pope before two figures, indicates more specifically the second sense given to the number 5, that of the mediator.

General and Abstract Meaning


Specific Analogues

          This card occurs directly after the Emperor since it dominates over it, for the Pope represents the spiritual immensity which dominates the world, the spirituality in all things, and without which there can be no evolution. Without the Pope, the Emperor and the Empress would be negatives and remain sterile.

The Pope wears a crown [tiara] identical to that of the Female Pope. His red cloak, longer than the Emperor’s, shows that his force of action is more powerful and that he can wrap himself around matter at will, realizing thus an act of concrete manifestation permitting him to express himself in the physical world. Its border is gold and indicates, by keeping the tangible within its confines, that it is surrounded by intelligence. It is equally the symbol of the presence of the divine spark in the concrete.

Under his red cloak he is dressed in a blue robe, indicating a capacity for psychic undertakings.

The gold medallion attached to his collar in whose center is a white gem shows his purity of intention.

His arms, covered in white, indicate their abstinence from action and show that this card represents a mental symbol that can only act on the physical plane through the mind.

He holds a cross of gold with three arms representing the three worlds–the physical, the spiritual, and the mental—and symbolizing as well as dominance over the temporal and the spirit of sacrifice. His left hand, covered with a yellow glove bearing a cross, shows that he must not handle the cross without appealing to his intelligence, marked by the seal of sacrifice.

The two blue pillars placed behind the Pope represent through the right pillar the ascent   of action, and that of feeling through the left pillar; when these two poles are balanced through spirituality, they are planted on a solid foundation which cannot be toppled.

The two figures at his feet symbolize the dualism of the forces which are in Man and which are able to turn towards Good or Evil, depending on whether they emerge from matter or sink into it.

The person to the right of the Pope has a yellow tonsure, signifying intelligence, and a crown of hair, flesh colored, indicating the physical plane. With his right hand turned downward, he represents the descent into physical manifestation whose good qualities he releases through spirituality, and that which he directs through white magic or the kind of magic permitted when overseen by higher intelligence (the yellow coat of the figure) or by spirituality (the blue hat). The red hood shows that he is able to cover himself for protection on the plane of passions.

The person on the Pope’s left, whose hair and tonsure are both flesh-colored, represents the work on the plane of passions for his elevation into the spiritual plane, as indicated by his left hand directed upward.

The yellow stole wrapping around his red robe signifies that the lowest life most always, in order to elevate itself, have a particle of intelligence embedded in it; it is the divine spark which permits it to evolve. The absence of a hat shows that spirituality is not able to change the material world directly, and can only act through the intermediary of mentality.

Orientation of the Figures

          The position of the Pope, sitting and facing us, represents direct action through instruction. The two figures, seen from behind and facing the opposite direction, indicate their standing still because of their submission and attention.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

         The name of the card indicates that “LE PAPE” represents the one who receives divine inspiration and who judges and instructs with complete fairness.

Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes

          MENTAL. The Pope, representing an active form of human intelligence, only gives logical solutions.

        ANIMISTIC. Powerful feeling, deep affection, solicitude which does not give way to sentimentality; it indicates normal feelings in the circumstances in which they occur.

        PHYSICAL.  Balance, security in a situation and in health. A secret revealed. Religious or scientific vocation.

Inverted. The card of the Pope inverted is very unfortunate, as it indicates beings left to their judgement and to their instincts lost in confusion, because they have no spiritual support. A project delayed, a vocation coming late in life.


         In sum, in its elementary sense, “Le Pape” represents the obligation Man has to apply divine teachings to his actions and to subordinate himself to their laws.

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Card IIII: The Emperor (L’Empereur)

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      The number 4 = 2 + 2 = 2 x 2 = 22, that is, the fundamental operations of arithmetic. It is the only number which possess this property which makes it synthetic and gives it an integral multiplicity of combinations.

2 is found, thus, twice in 4 with three different characteristics; as, in essence, 2 represents matter as still and as plastic, one of the 2s underscores the idea of remaining still, thus, matter proper, just as the other aspect of the number 2 represents the active part of this matter in all its aspects and with all its combinations.

One can, on the other hand, regard this double 2 as forming a crosswise polarity, one passive, the other active, which combined guarantee a balance; 4 signifies therefore a balanced force in matter.

General and Abstract Meaning

            Card IV shows a man (therefore an active principle), but remaining passive since he is in a sitting position and, as he is in complete profile facing left, he is giving himself over to reflection, medication, and making judgements about matters.

It represents THE ACTIVE POWER OF MATTER and, consequently, its changes and alterations, because this activity never leaves it motionless. This results from a mental influence subordinated to cosmic principles; it operates through the impression it makes on consciousness more than through direct action; it creates life on the spiritual and biological planes.

The Juggler and the Female Pope represent the two poles of the spiritual world, the Empress and Emperor the two poles of the material world.

The Empress symbolizes the passive power of matter, the Emperor its active power. The Empress symbolizes the passive power of matter, the Emperor its active power. The Empress emphasizes evolution, the Emperor expresses development. This card therefore denotes a state which has been achieved, a production.

Specific Analogies

            The meaning of the scepter is the same as in the preceding Empress card; the orb of gold surmounted by a cross shows the power of matter when it is penetrated by a spiritual influx. This is the sign of scientific knowledge.  Without this quality, the septer would be without any power, because all science which is not animated by spirituality is sterile. The Emperor bears the scepter in his right hand because it is the positive pole; the Empress holds hers in her left to indicate the negative pole; the two cards taken together are the realization of a balance of the poles. The Emperor holds his scepter before him to affirm his actions, while the Empress lets hers rest against her shoulder to underscore her passivity. The Emperor’s scepter also indicates that his thoughts are directed in accordance with justice and harmony, without any ambiguity.

The positive pole represented by the Emperor can only animate the matter when connected with the negative pole, as represented by the Empress.  This is why the shield, a symbol of the powerful flights of intelligence acquired by man, rests on the ground at his feet, at his disposal although he makes no use of it, while the Empress holds hers against her belly, available to ensure the birth of material creations.

The eagle depicted on the two shields is nearly identical, the only difference being that the Empress’s eagle has its head turned to the right and the Emperor’s eagle is turned to the left, each one to the side of the scepter to indicate that the idea which presides over intellectual impulses is intuitive and inspired by the Empress, but reasoned and willed by the Emperor. This is underlined by the position of the wings of the eagle, raised upwards on the Empress’s shield, but naturally spread out and symmetrical on the the Emperor’s shield, and how, in the case of the latter, the eagle brings an applied intelligence to practical things. By straddling a fissure its legs indicate that it unites two separate entities: it establishes an equilibrium.

While the Empress is seated squarely on a throne, the Emperor is merely leaning back on a small, flesh-colored chair, in an unstable position to indicate that although he is motionless, he is posed to stand up and is not as sedentary as the Empress. Only one of his feet is resting on the ground: a symbol of his disposition to advance, therefore to evolve, with some indication that the positive pole is able to have only intermittent contact with matter. He is wearing white shoes, a symbol of nothingness, thus emphasizing the fact that he is not able to walk: the Emperor who seemed like he always ought to be in motion can neither advance nor retreat; he has “immobility in action,” an apparent contradiction which means that, although positive and therefore performing actions, he is in matter that he is fundamentally negative and holds him in his place, as noted in the preceding paragraph.

His white collar, next to his head, is an indication that he is able to achieve understanding by himself and assures his sterility if he remains isolated  […est l’indice qu’il peut attendre l’intelligence par lui-même et confirme sa sterilte s’il demeure isolé]. This white collar also indicates the seperation between the head and the body, specifying that in matter, the Fall comes by means of the head, the Principle Animator.

His crown, similar to that of the Empress, has the same meaning.

His necklace consists of a cord of golden rope; this braided link signifies an attachment and not an enslavement like that of the Empress. It shows that the positive pole, being only a state of spirituality, can have nothing but a fragile bond with the spiritual. The ring attached to his collar represents the circle and its principle, to which the Emperor must subordinate himself in order to bring about accomplishments.

His clothing, a tunic and breeches, is blue ending in white on the collar and feet, denoting therefore a latent state of spirituality, but the blue of his legs shows that he is always able to go towards it and achieve it. His red coat indicates that he is enveloped in the Matter of which he is the animator.

His left hand is holding onto his yellow belt to show that he is able, through a psychic contact, to seize, to grasp the bond which attaches intelligence to the material plane, and to use it in order to exercise his dominion over the material world.

The tuft of yellow grass has the same significance that it does in the preceding card: passive fertility; the yellow earth: the fulcrum of wisdom.

Orientation of the Figure

             The position of the Emperor, leaning against a throne, indicates passively waiting prior to an action, which his raised foot represents as imminent. It is a complete realization [?], because every realization implies a result, a change. The Emperor makes a decision before acting.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name of the card, “THE EMPEROR” indicates somehow who judges actions and who has the power of creation. From a utilitarian point of view, it is a card of practical applications and useful councils.

Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL. Balanced intelligence not exceeding what is useful for a plan of action.

ANIMISTIC. Agreement, peace, understanding, an accordance of opinions.

PHYSICAL. Transient goods, transient powers. Signature on a contract, the fusing of two or more societies, a given situation. A healthy balance but overcrowded.

INVERTED. Results contrary to those described above, everything returned, a disruption of balance. A fall, the loss of property, of heath, or of control.


            In sum, in its Elementary Sense, “THE EMPEROR” represents the material energies necessary for Man to impart to his fleeting creations a momentary reality.

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