Re: Use of Tarot de Marseille as a divinatory tool ???

EnriqueEnriquez wrote: You get the idea. I also pointed out that, besides the specific virtues depicted in the trump cycle, each one of these images possess attributes that could be worth imitating at some point i our lives. So, what I was wondering if is someone finds that useful, or if we can see the acknowledgment of these ideas as distinctive of reading with the Tarot de Marseille (or for that matters, any pre-Gébelin deck). I also wonder if we feel uncomfortable about this because the ideas in themselves or because they have a Christian origin/orientation. What makes the ideas useless: their content or our bias?

For me, I believe it is my own personal bias that gets in the way of seeing the usefulness of these ideas. I am getting past it, thankfully, but some kind of a block still remains. And to be honest with myself, it is the incongruity of a system that tells us "what is moral" or what is the higher ground that we should strive for...while it is busy hiding or keeping in plain sight some of the worst crimes the world has seen. The Church has become something so unholy, something so not in a position to tell anyone how to live, ever. Not that I am saying anything we do not already know...but this is what gets in my way of trying to embrace the morality tale in the cards, even though I know it is good and useful (and would probably lead to a longer healthier life) to do the simple things laid out in it.

But, it's a sticky subject...on a slippery slope.... what would be an example of helping a client to do the "right" (or as EE called it earlier, the "beautiful") thing? Is it as simple as trying to dissuade him/her from committing a vengeful act? It would be very difficult to attempt to morally guide a client who asked for a reading on his/her illicit'd just have to do the reading and accept the spot the client is in at the moment.... I am not sure how that would ever really come up though, an instance where I'd want (or feel morally qualified) to guide someone to do the right thing....

I am also not sure what all I'd consider moral or immoral. Too many gray areas and not enough stark black and white for me to make a judgment call. :-? There are the obvious ones, the no brainers, like mugging the elderly and infirm is not such a moral act....crimes against children...but what about a guy supplementing his income by taking some money here and there from the gigantic company he works for...which is a sleazy earth raping company not paying him enough to even insure his family etc siphoning off of the top of their pile of loot an immoral act...or is working for them in the first place the immoral act? Or how about a lawyer who works for the interests of the logging companies who want to rid northern California of their oldest redwood forests, is his occupation more morally sound compared to a prostitute?

I dunno. I'd like to discuss the real life scenarios in which this might actually come into play.
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: Use of Tarot de Marseille as a divinatory tool ???

Before we get into morality, Mary opened the door for a very simple application for the narrative of the trump cycle (as a rise-and-downfall sequence) that has to do with acknowledging that some cards depict very negative issues while some others may depict either more possitive ones, or ways to overcome or cope with that negativity. I am speaking strictly from the point of view of the client. There are cards that sucks to get, cards that are like a rotten egg. The usual reaction from any client to these cards is “this sucks”. The fact is there are at least 2000 years of iconographic tradition linking images like the Grim Reaper and the devil to negative concepts and a client doesn’t have to be a semiologist to get that. So, they look at these cards and they feel uncomfortable. What I am trying to say is that agreeing on the fact that getting such a card sucks pays off in terms of establishing rapport, eliciting ‘yes’ responses and underlying the positive traits of the other, more positive, cards. If we build our reading around the client’s reaction to the images instead of trying to make the client feel at ease about this or that image by changing the client’s perception of it, we are more likely to use a negative card in a positive way that if we insist on having the client denying her instinctive reaction to it. If a card sucks the suggestion it implants on the client’s mind is a negative one. If a person comes fro a reading, she comes willing to accept what the cards have to say. I would say that wanting a reading is in itself a suggestibility test. So, by saying “Hmmmm! The egg is rotten, what a wonderful thing! Lets delve into it!” we are only accomplishing the same thing a parent accomplishes by telling a kid who took a fall “it is nothing”: the client suspects that you are sugaring the pill, but that doesn’t cancels the suggestion the image is sending.

We are a musicians and the cards are our score. The ‘tune’ we play is on the table. How much emotion we put into it, how much ability we have to play it is up to us. But it all starts with the cards on the table. The thing is, our client can read the score too. Clients trusts that we can read it better than them, but still, they are reading at least part of it. We can put any spin we want in our tune, but only to a point. If someone gets The Devil and we start talking about a warm, mellow relationship, there is a dissonance. IF they point out their anxiety about an image and instead of using that we decide to contradict them we are missing an opportunity for building rapport and creating a ‘yes’ response that could help us modeling an attitude in the client that could apply to any troublesome scenario, not to any specific prediction.

On a daily basis I have people expressing their anxiety about cards like Le Pendu, Le Diable, la Maison Diev, La Roue de Fortune, Lermite or La Morte. I just find the ‘“it isn’t Death, is transformation” ruse silly. It is Death and it is there for a reason, and the more it hurts the closer you are to overcome it. Because if you tell people that everything is going to go great and things go wrong, they may not know how to react and they may lose confidence in you, but when you tell them that the it will be in hardship that they will find the strength they are missing, they will remember you when trouble arises, and they will remember that you were right, and if you were right about that, you probably were right about that strength you mentioned. This way they may see any problem as a cue to elicit any positive behavior you may have suggested in your reading.

That’s something I find useful.


What’s honeymoon salad? Lettuce alone
Don’t look now, mayonnaise is dressing!

A Pseudo-Historical Method of Fortune Telling with the Trump


Wheel of Virtues Spread and Method

A pseudo-historical method of fortune telling with the Tarot trumps!? Now what is the bloomin' point of that, you ask. Well, here we have a wonderful allegorical morality play via cards, the actual meaning of which mostly remains unknown in our century. Why not see if we can use some of the original meaning of the trump cycle in a fun and amusing way to delight and entertain? No need for heady esotericism or occult mythologies.

Let's travel back to the glorious paradiso that was 15th century North Italy. And of all the great visions of absolute beauty that we would encounter, perhaps the most delightful would have been the virginal daughters of the nobility. :x :D :x (Of course I'm assuming everyone has a thing for Catholic girls the way I do.)

No doubt, in 1444, as now, 14 year old girls would desperately want to find out who would be their one true love, and would figure out a way to "see the future" with the Trionfi cards. We'll call this the 14 in 1444 Theory. So, getting in touch with my inner 15th century feminine half slash inner child, I've attempted to recreate how I reckoned they would have done it.


The Wheel of Virtues Spread and Method is based on the TEMPLVM TRIVMPHE model. Only the 22 trumps are used. It is a 3 card spread + the Virtue the querent needs to embrace in his/her given situation.


I sometimes like to compare the tarot trump cycle to the three act dramatic structure from Aristotle's Poetics.

ACT I - Fool to Pope - Sets up the characters and location.

ACT II - Love to Death - The problem which the characters must overcome.

ACT III - The Devil to the World - The resolution of the problem.

And, of course we have the moral themes of being just, having courage, and being temperate.

This method takes one card from each 'Act' to determine our narrative, and then determines, by way of the TEMPLVM TRIVMPHE model, which Virtue is required for the querent. So, one of the cards from Fool to Pope will be a significator for the querent. One of the cards from Love to Death will represent his situation, or the quesited, and one card from the Devil to the World will represent how the querent and quesited interact, by way of the unseen celestial forces working behind the situation.

After we have our three acts, we look at the T.T. model and see from which vertical pillar the majority of the cards come from. If the majority are from the Sinister Pillar (left) then the situation requires Temperance. If the majority of cards are from the Dexter Pillar (right), then the situation requires Justice. If the majority of the cards are from the Center Pillar, then the situation requires Fortitude. If there is one card from each pillar, then I use the Virtue from the pillar of the card from the celestial tier (ACT III). Alternatively, one could interpret it as meaning ALL three Virtues are required.


First remove the three Virtue cards, and arrange them in an inverted triangle, with Justice on the bottom, Fortitude on the upper left side, and Temperance on the upper right. This keeps their given order in the Tarot de Marseille pattern. I call this their 'neutral positions'. They will rotate clock-wise if needed.

After shuffling the remaining 18 cards, lay down three cards face up. If you have one from each Act, you're finished. If you have any one Act represented more than once you must continue until you have a card from all three Acts. For example, you have,

ACT II ........... ACT I ............ ACT I

In this case, you'd keep placing cards in the third position until you get a card from Act III.

Or, another example -

ACT III ......... ACT III .......... ACT III

Here you'd keep putting cards down in the second position till you get either a card from Act I or Act II. Then you'd put cards down on the third position until you get a card from whatever Act you don't have in the first two positions.

Once you have one card from each Act arrange them in an upward triangle, around the virtues.


Determine which Virtue is needed by looking at the pillars, and ROTATE the virtues clockwise so that the needed Virtue is placed between the querent, and the quesited. All three Virtues will remain visible, since all three are always needed in any situation, but one Virtue will be most needed.


The Querent asks,

"My teenage daughter has been staying out late, and has come home a few times smelling of liquor. What should I do?"


ACT I (The Querent) - Emperor

ACT II (The Quesited) - Time

ACT III (The Interaction) - Sun

Judgement -

The querent is well dignified as the Emperor, who represents honest and good leadership. The mother has been doing the right things, and can not be faulted. The daughter is neutral as Father Time. The daughter is going through 'a phase' and in time the situation will change. The Sun is also dignified meaning things will change toward the better. For now, Justice is required. The querent should be firm, but fair with her daughter, and in time the daughter will grow out of this behavior.

I often like to make a little verse for each reading, especially when I read at pubs and parties.


The honest King, firm of stance,
Unmoved by Father Times advance.
Here he takes, There he yields,
The Sun doth rise on morrow's fields.

When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

Re: Use of Tarot de Marseille as a divinatory tool ???

This is so helpful and interesting, RAH. Thank you very much for posting it, as well as for dreaming it up. It will take a while for me to wrap my mind around it. I have also been looking at end enjoying your old fashioned pips and baked goods. I may sit down and try this out, so may come back with a few questions for you at a later date, if that is cool with you, I mean. :)

PS I am starting to get the impression that you may be a bit goofy. Gotta love The Donald. :D
"...he wanted to illustrate with his figures many Moral teachings, and under some difficulty, to bite into bad and dangerous customs, & show how today many Actions are done without goodness and honesty, and are accomplished in ways that are contrary to duty and rightfulness."

Re: Use of Tarot de Marseille as a divinatory tool ???

prudence wrote:
I am starting to get the impression that you may be a bit goofy. :D

I believe you've mistaken me for a much taller cartoon character!


I'm the one on the left, with the bill and the downy bum. ;)

Of course I'm okay with questions, comments, critiques, offers of home cooked meals, and shiatsu massages.

I've been playing with this spread for a week or so. People seem to be enjoying it.
When a clock is hungry, it goes back four seconds.

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