Card XVIIII: The Sun (Le Soleil)

[Back to Table of Contents]


            Along the same conceptual lines of the previous card, the number 19 breaks down into 10 + 9, 10 representing the universal cycle and 9 representing perfection, as it realizes the product of 3 x 3, which is to say, the union of the two ternaries, one in the Individual, the other in the Universal, a fusion which presents a complete harmony.

            19 can also be considered as issuing from 9 + 9 + 1; the two 9s forming a new ternary adjustment of the individual with the universal, no less complete than the preceding one, and unity. This other aspect of perfection represents a resumption, but on firm foundations.By its evolution, this cycle, this world, necessitates a change of plan.

            The principles of the Universal, while fusing with those of the Individual, cause matter to vibrate; it is illuminated, achieves autonomy, extends its vibrations and rays over that which surrounds it. This is why Card XVIIII represents the concrete expression of this harmony through the Sun.

General and Abstract Meaning


            It stands in opposition to the preceding one which represents the action of Man, separated, distanced from that of the divine, while through its image of the Sun, as well as the number which designates it, it shows the reception of a divine form, radiant and beneficient; it follows that this grants the spirit a harmonious mastery over matter.

Specific Analogies

            The Sun is depicted facing the viewer to show that its force is universal and does not have a light side and a dark side. It is represented with the appearance of a man, indicating therefore that the manifestation of the divine takes on a human appearance.

            The rays alternate between triangles and flames. The triangular rays denote the perfect accord which emanates from this star, and the rays in the shape of flames, the devouring effect it exerts, because the man going forth under their radiance is entirely absorbed by the divine force which has sent it forth. They are of all colors to make the universality of their harmony manifest.

            The teardrops falling from the Sun, represented with their points upward, indicate a fertile emanation, without any loss to itself (as in the Moon card), but rather with a fullness which is exalted in their approach to what is below. Their red, yellow, and blue colors indicate that they have their foundation as much on the material as on the spiritual plane or that of intelligence.

            The two beings placed under the Sun represent a perfect union of the spiritual and the material. Their sexes are different to show that their quality is connected as much to their active as their passive sides. The one which rests its hand on the other’s shoulder indicates the active principle, while his companion, who is placing a hand on the center of the other one’s body and holds the other hand back, shows that it holds something in reserve and removed. This disposition highlights the balance which exists between them and which is due to them being a creation of the divine plan. Their flesh color specifies that the action of the divine plane takes place on the plane of existence.

            Their waistbands highlight the demarcation of the high and the low, the spiritual and the material, whose fusion has been indicated in the discussion about the number of this card; it is blue to show that there is in this representation neither low principles nor elevated ones, but only a spiritual emanation.

            The little yellow wall, topped with red, indicates the possibility of constructions in the physical world without obstruction, a possibility of creating a harmonious edifice, stable and solid.

            The ground is yellow to show that the base has been constructed through divine intelligence.

Position of the Figures

            The position of the face of the Sun underscores its direct action, full, direct, and having come from Above. The two beings turned towards each other denote an balanced and harmonious activity, since passivity is to the left and activity to the right, turning towards each other, imbuing each other.  They are very much the counterpart to the two beings of the card “LE DIABLE.”

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name “LE SOLEIL” has been given to it in the sense of radiance, because the sun which shines on the world gives it vitality and harmony.

Meanings As They Relate to The Three Planes

            MENTAL.  Towering vision. Wisdom in writings, harmonious diffusion on the multitude below,radiance of thought with great import.

            ANIMISTIC.  Chivalrous affection, selfless devotion. This card only refers to great passions.

            PHYSICAL.  Health, physical beauty. Element of triumph and success in some situation in which you find yourself.

            INVERTED. Great adversity, unlucky fate, fumbling in the dark.


            In sum: in its Elementary Sense, “LE SOLEIL” represents the light always present in Man, which appears in the activity of day, veiled in nocturnal medications, which enable one to raise up with clarity and harmony one’s edifices–material, emotional, or spiritual

[Back to Table of Contents]

Card XIIII: Temperance (La Tempérance)

[Return to Table of Contents]


            The number 14 is equal to 12 + 2, which is to say, to a evolutionary period which has been completed, locked within a polarity. This is why this Card, drawing its power from a concentration resulting from the experience of a completed cycle, operates in a closed circuit, motivating a movement between two passive reservoirs which compensate for each other.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card symbolizes THE GREAT RESERVOIR OF POSSIBILITIES BETWEEN THE ETERNAL GAME OF THE ENERGIES OF MATTER; it represents ETERNAL CONTINUATION; it comes after Card XIII because it does not mark an end.

Specific Analogies

            The figure is that of an angel in order to signify immateriality and to show that its action is not the fruit of human endeavor. It has blue hair, a sign of spirituality. The red star on the figure’s forehead gives guidance and shows that it can only act on the physical plane. The figure’s wings, flesh-colored, locates its action on the living plane.

            The red arms show her penetration into the physical plane, her bodice of diverse colors makes it above all intellectual and spiritual, a covering which conceals the divine; its work takes place entirely in the world of energies.

            The robe is half red, half blue, because equilibrium must be maintained as much in spirituality as in the material, and they cannot be separated.

            The angel is leaning to make it clear that it is the blue vase of physical spirituality which it pours into the the red vase of materiality. The position of its hands and its posture are unchanging; if the angel remained upright, it would suggest that she could lean in the other direction.

            The two vases symbolize the perpetual renewal which establishes balance between the material and the spiritual; the one eternally passing into the other without ever filling it, the material forever renewing itself. The colorless water, which is to say, neutral, represents the fluid uniting the two poles and thereby neutralizing them; leaving the same blue vase and returning, following the principle of the flux and reflux of forces.

            The angel is standing on yellow ground with green herbs in order to show that it has a divine base in its action on the material plane, a base which produces an earthly, but not divine, bloom.

Orientation of the Figure

            The body is facing the viewer, but her head is turned to the left, thus indicating that she is taking time to reflect since, as temperance reconciles extremes, action requires taking the time necessary to be performed effectively.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name “TEMPÉRANCE” has been given to it since this card has to do with reconciliation in all things.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL.  She bears the spirit of conciliation, the absence of passion in judgement; she expresses a sense of the profundity of things, thus representative of an eternal principle, a psychic personality, not imposing any notion of fixity, but rather something plastic–which is to say, moving, and adapting to circumstances.

            ANIMISTIC.  Entities brought to gather by affinity; under the influence of this card, they are contented, but do not evolve and do makes exchanges between one another.

            PHYSICAL. In business, conciliation. Weighing the pros and cons, finding the right arrangements to make, but not knowing if the undertaking will be crowned with success; reflexion, a decision which will not immediately be acted on.

            With respect to health: incurable affliction, since it is engendering its own fermentation.

            INVERTED. Trouble, discord, but prevarications and and hesitations will be eliminated.


            In sum, in its Elementary Sense, “LA TEMPÉRANCE” represents the task of adapting in the face of a new pursuit, the task of becoming malleable which which Man accomplishes in order to adapt to something new, and in a broader sense, material energies adapting to spiritual energies.   

[Return to Table of Contents]

Card: XI: Force (La FORCE)

[Return to Table of Contents]


            The number 11 is equal to 10 + 1, which is to say, the starting principle of 1, coming after a cycle of 10 which the Wheel of Fortune had analyzed. This principle, consisting of what has been acquired in the cycle, represents therefore a force which does not come from Above, but which manifests as an energy acquired.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card represents the powers which come from completing a cycle. It indicates, therefore, the struggle and the will to win, a state which can only be realized if Man obtains mastery over this force, rather than being controlled by it. This will of the spirit is symbolized by a woman to show that Force should be exercised without violence.

Specific Analogies

            Her hat, blue, yellow, and white, represents the three states of consciousness: spirituality, intelligence, and the higher mind. The area with the braided robe indicates the space between the spiritual and the mental. Its shape, ∞, the algebraic symbol of infinity, that which has neither beginning nor end, signifies that it encompasses the entire universe and that it ensures its strength through equilibrium. This is the will of Being over all the planes of existence.

            The black line on her neck is the demarcation between the intelligent higher physical plane and the lower physical plane which remains subordinate to intelligence.

            The blue robe and the yellow corselet with its tight lacing shows that the spiritual is a state in her, surrounded by intelligence, and the cloak, with its red pleats billowing and not clinging to her body, shows that its action is exercised in material activities, but she is only able to achieve fleeting victories without anything to show for them.

            The arm which symbolizes the acts of force is covered by pleated yellow sleeves, with flesh-colored cuffs, indicating therefore that her acts, directed by human intelligence, operate in the plane of physical life as well as outside it, which is to say, in incarnate being  as much as in disembodied being, and this is why her foot is bare and protrudes out from under her skirt, specifying that victories are bringing about advancement and that this movement forward can take place on any plane.

            The yellow lion the intelligent forces of nature, against which it is necessary to struggle lest one be devoured by them. She spreads its jaws apart showing thereby that she must look into its interior in order to remove the hidden forces which reside within in order to know and make them submit. This lion is also the representation of the intelligent and immutable force of the Divine which is in the Cosmos and in Man,  one which cannot be separated from them, since it sits in opposition to Force, without an aggressive attitude and half concealed, as if it were all part of the same entity.  No force can deliver effective action without a close union between Man, the Cosmos, and the Divine.

Orientation of the Figure

            Force holds her face towards us, right sight facing us. The position of her head, inclining to her left, indicates thought and reflection; she is oriented towards an action which she must take her time in executing. Her body, not being entirely turned toward the right, signifies, finally, that she is emerging from her reflection towards an effective action.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name of the card, “LA FORCE,” specifies that this is in the sense of personal power over matter.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL.  It gives tremendous power to distinguish the truth from what is false, the useful from the useless, and a precise clarity in judgement.

            ANIMISTIC. Dominance over one’s passions, the power of conquering. Example: a woman getting married will draw strength from affection. Affectionate protection.

            PHYSICAL.  The will to overcome calamities and to master the situation when one is one the side of right. The power to lead in any material matter.

            INVERTED.   The person is no longer the master of his own strength; he is brutal, unruly, or else has let go of it and is not using it.  Calamities or people will knock him down, his strength will be annihilated and he will be the victim of higher powers.


  In sum, in its elementary meaning, “LA FORCE” represents among the powers of Man, that which is the fruit of his efforts and which he is able to exercise fully over all the planes, when it keeps it in accordance with divine laws.

[Return to Table of Contents]

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

[Back to Table of Contents]




            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.


[Back to Table of Contents]

Card X: La Roue de Fortune

[Return to Table of Contents]



            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.

[Return to Table of Contents]

Card XII: The Hanged Man (Le Pendu)

[Back to Table of Contents]



            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.

[Back to Table of Contents]