The Devil, Part I

The Devil is perhaps the most popular Marseille Tarot card of the entire deck and the most readily recognized. My favorite Devil is found in the Tarot de Jacques Vieville as redrawn by Roxanne Flornoy.

Seen on the left it is the most engaging Devil I have ever seen in a Tarot deck period! The Flornoy cards are not easy to come by so I will show the image here to aid in comparisons.

The J&C TdM deck shown below has a bit more symbology than most decks but less agency than the Vieville.  The Devil is standing on a globe. The minions are tied to the same globe and also stand. Standing in Tarot symbology indicates an active energy or force.

This devil has antlers not horns is winged, blue, naked and dual sexed. It has the breasts of a female and the bottom parts of a male. It has a face smiling out from the solar plexus region, eyes at the knees and clawed hands and feet.

The blue skin indicates the sky, symbol speak  for mental levels. This is also why the devil stands on the globe. The wings symbology affirms the power moves in the thoughts as a function of  the mind.

Of course there is much more. I will be showing two alternate Devil cards in the next post to conclude this discussion. One will be from T: The Aquarian Tarot by the late John Starr Cooke, the original hippie deck, the other from Crowley’s  Book of Thoth. So review the symbols on the TdM cards shown above and stay tuned for part two.


The Cartomantic Energetic Interface

Much has been said about meanings in card reading. For some meanings are traditional which  generally means these discussions of the cards and their symbols have been passed down for hundreds of years,  memorized and quoted like verses in some holy tome- without ever examining  the images on the cards themselves!

Tarot, Lenormand and Kipper are graphic at their core. It is obvious the images on these decks have changed and morphed over the last 5 years.

The decks made today in general seek to break established traditions.

Yes, the path of  reading cards begins with an awareness of assigned meanings. However, the old meanings do not match the scenes on the new style of cards being manufactured today!

Be so advised continuation on the road to Cartomancy as a skilled diviner is not about traditional meanings memorized but all about the reader’s ability to decode imagery, symbols and patterns between cards in proximity through the filter of a particular query.

Meanings beyond the beginning entry level are consequential, i.e. developed as the result of the reader’s direct experience with the cards.

Rote meanings are stagnant. Whenever stagnation enters into a process the outcome becomes rigid and removed from the flow of life as we live it. Quite simply meanings cannot show one anything occurring beyond the tip of their own nose!

Cartomancers who prefer traditional decks ultimately over time will interpret them divergently or in a non-traditional manner.

Why? Card readers develop personal styles. Ones style is the by product of using a single deck with a  method  consistently until that deck opens up and begins to “speak” or to put it another way- a feedback loop is established between the deck’s energy and the unique perceptual ability of the reader. Before the 19th century ended these energies were usually classified as spirits!

While the practices or methods used for development can be shared with others or taught, the result of their application  which one may call facility or personal style cannot.  It is earned, the fruit of a reciprocating relationship between a deck of cards and the unique energy matrix of their reader.




Sweet Sixteen XVI : Part II

       J.C. Marseille; Crowley, Book of Thoth and El Gran Tarot Esoterico

The Tower as a sixteenth ranked Arcana can be reduced to a seven vibration or seen as being connected with the sevens of the Minor Arcana. The number seven relates to visible phenomena or events.

The lightning comes from above in the J.C. deck and El Gran Tarot. Fire symbolizes intelligence, illumination or enlightenment. In some tales the lightning is associated with the Fall of Lucifer, the Bright One. In these two decks the image of fire from heaven hits the turrets of the Tower literally knocking the top of the edifice asunder.


Crowley’s Book of Thoth changes things up . There are no people images falling instead there are a dove and a serpent. He inverts and then converts placing the fire below. It issues out from the mouth of a Beast as dark red flames. This is the Kundalini or libido rising up as either the dove or serpent which flank the eye of Ayin overlooking with shattered continuity of perception the broken mirror of a fractured landscape.


In El Gran Tarot Esoterico’s version of the Trump there are several bodies falling and one person exiting below in the doorway. The Tower itself is the color of red clay and reminds one of an alchemical athanor or oven blazing.  Here lightning comes down from above and ricochets striking the mid-section of the Tower to create an inferno which consumes the life-force itself.



The concepts mentioned here of daemonic descent as shown in the J.C. Marseille;  the Kundalini rising in the Book of Thoth and the energetic battle of lightning’s electrical dispersion  versus the magnetism of the life-force as depicted in El Gran Tarot Esoterico all share a common point of transfer – the sushumna or central channel of the subtle body. More information is available to you by the practice of image comparison and contemplation.



XVI: Sweet Sixteen

The sixteenth card of the Major Arcana holds an image that most people immediate recognize and associate with disaster. Is the connection real? Has the modern era somehow changed with time the meaning of the 16th Arcanum? What is the process or the archetype behind the Tarot imagery? Where is the root or the Source of the image? What does it really point to in Hermetic and metaphysical teaching?

To be fair I will look at three Marseille decks images. Left to right below are:  The Jodorowsky- Camoin, (France,) The Thoth Tarot (UK) and El Gran Tarot Esoteric (Spain).


Some alternate names for the image are The Lightning Struck Tower, The Ruined Tower, The House of God, and The Hospital.  A traditional reference is made to the ancient Tower of Babel.  A more modern connection is with  Tesla’s Long Island, New York, Wardenclyffe Tower never completed and dismantled on July 4, 1917 . The world’s first wireless transmission tower. The cultural lyrical reference is the song : “Skyfall” by Adele, the title song of the 2012 James Bond 007 movie.

Wardenclyffe, or the Tesla Tower.

All of the images share 1) a vertical structure and 2) electrical energy / lightning and 3) contact of the electrical blast with the tower. In the J.C. Marseille people are falling from the Tower. In The Book of Thoth one sees no people only a dove and serpent and flames emerging from the open mouth of a beast. The Spanish deck shows only the burning tower. In the case of Wardenclyffe photo as was mentioned the whole tower was felled.

The Hebrew letter associations for the card of course varies according to system and or lodge. In the case of Crowley and the Golden Dawn the Tower is associated with  Ayin ( symbol of the eye) while  Mouni Sadhu’s Hermetic system uses  Phe (symbol of the mouth) for this card.

This is a two part post. Take a look at the images here and pull out your own. Jot down a few notes.

See you later!



Elemental Dignities in Tarot

Elemental dignities are not a new thing.  Back when I first began to read cards for clients too many solar returns ago my Hermetic study partner told me, “it’s not good to tell everything you see”. I laughed but he was certainly on point.  E.D. can show you things a client will swear up and down just ain’t true!


Fire and Air – Wands and Swords

Water and Earth- Cups and Disks


Fire and Earth – Wands and Disks

Water and Air – Cups and Swords

Akasha-  All the Major Arcana


Fire and Water – Wands and Cups

Earth and Air – Disks and Swords

As mentioned in prior posts on the TdM the Major Arcana are universal impersonal processes encountered by every man during an incarnation. The Royal or Court cards are personal. They are the psychological matrix of the Querent and/or the personality traits reflected back to awareness by the actions of those around him. The pips are powers external to the Querent over which he or she has no influence which can interfere in plans made for good or ill.

I do not assign elemental dignities to the Major Arcana only to Minors which are suited cards. The Major Arcana in the system I use are assigned to Spirit aka the Akasha. This is how I learned elemental dignities back in the day.

The use of the 5 card Pentagram Spread’s placements for divination allows one to read combinations based on what card falls where. Two contrary elements in proximity is a “flagged position” because the free harmonious flow of energies is stopped by their meeting. The Solar Cross (equal armed cross) also works well with E.D.

Needless to say the ED system works extremely well in playing card divination. More on that come Fall.


A Quick Lennie Look


The English language changes. Each generation has its own slang or brings new portmanteau or combinations into the mix. This is what keeps a language vibrant. Some of the new speech changes resemble texting in that they are more akin to shorthand or abbreviations than actual new words.

For example and the reason for this post, Gen Y’s are using the word ship to refer to a relationship! This immediately brought to my mind the lenormand Ship card.

Using the same techniques which keep a verbal language alive, one could use the Ship card in a pairing or visual read such as with the 25-03, Ring-Ship to mean a long-term enduring relationship or with the 18-03, Dog-Ship pair to indicate a life long devotion or following.

In my generation folk used to say any involved or complicated situation was a trip. Social media once had an “it’s complicated” option to describe a relationship. Ha! As they say: “There is nothing new under the sun” and “Everything is connected”.

Just my gloss on Lenormand evolution with a small dash of quantum entanglement.


40 Pips

We have seen the Four Aces and attributed them to the elements and the Hermetic Virtues. They are also the beginning of the numerical cards  or the pips. The Minor Arcana includes the Royals and pips.

The Tree of Life with its 10 sephiroth  in the 4 different Kabalistic worlds gives a graph of the 40 numeric cards. The 16  Court Cards would be representative of the 4 vertical levels on each Tree, i.e.  Atziluth (King) Briah (Queen)  Yetzirah (Knight) to Assiah (Page).

Elements to Suits

Atziluth relates to the Fire world, Briah the Water world, Yetzirah, the Air world and Assiah the Earth world in terms of elemental energies, density and principles. One can relate suits and their emblems in Tarot and in the standard deck of playing cards as follows:

Atziluth- Wands  and Clubs

Briah- Cups  and Hearts

Yetzirah- Swords and Spades

Assiah- Disks and Diamonds


Suits to Dimensions

So the Pips can be visualized as four Trees of Life, each complete and facing in a different direction. When making a  3D model the  four sides of the Tree of Life are joined at the central pillar, i.e. the Ace, 6,  9 and 10. The figure below illustrates a model of this Tree.

Daath or Zero Point Energy

The Daath point or the empty circle shown in the first series of figures in this post  can in theory be said to represent a metaphysical or invisible singularity or nexus point occupied by a single Major Arcana card in Tarot, i.e. the numberless card known as The Fool  or the Joker in the standard playing card deck.

The Fool as the Daath point can be considered as an invisible portal which connects all four faces or levels of the 3D tree model in our local space to non-local dimensions, quantum spaces or enfolded realities outside of space time.

The Aces to the fives in any suit are a pentad of invisible energies. The six to nine are a rhombus or diamond of visible effects. The tens are in a sense set apart as places where transition occurs from one state into another.

The pips in Tarot divination are a quantitative representation of external powers, energetic forces or spirits interacting or interfering with the Querent.



The Royal Arcana: Cards of the Court

The royal arcana are 16 in number. They are shown under the Four Aces of the Minor Arcana in the photo above because of the heavy influence the elements have on the Royal Arcana.

 It is from the royals that a Tarot Significator  is chosen.  Divination operations like the ” Opening of the Key” require a significator to represent the Querent. The archaic “complexion” method of selection used both in Tarot and in playing card reading as well is based on an element to suit transferal. As an example, the Queen of Wands as the Queen of Fire is also the Queen of the South and hence should equate to the darkest skin tone but… not so in the traditional selection methods where the fire is equated to light and she is a pale red head.

The elements can be used in selection of a Significator as Wands = Fire; Cups= Water; Swords= Air and Disks= Earth. Each card in the Royal Arcana however is a combination of two elemental forces:

King of Wands -Fire of Fire
Queen of Wands – Water of Fire
Knight of Wands – Air of Fire
Page of Wands – Earth of Fire

The royals or court cards besides having an elemental allocation have a zodiac correspondence. Since there are 16 Court cards and 12 zodiac signs the reader has to decide upon a system of correspondence. Once done they simply apply the method.

The Knights remind one of how the elemental energy functions. The Knight of Wands is a radiating  electrical energy which pushes; Knight of Cups- an attractive energy which pulls ; Knight of Swords-  an electromagnetic energy which is dispersed in all directions and the Knight of Disks an energy of stasis or a standing wave of stored energies.

As an aside, in my work with Tarot I do not use reversed cards but elemental dignities to see how energy in a reading  either flows or is blocked.

Removing the four Knights from consideration leaves twelve court cards*. These are then classified as being cardinal, fixed or mutable signs in the zodiac. So in my approach the King of Wands would be the cardinal sign Aries, the Queen of Wands the fixed sign Leo and the Page of Wands a mutable sign Sagittarius. This is how the sun sign can be used to select a Significator.

The Royals or court cards represent psychological influences on the personality matrix in  Tarot divination.

* I chose to take the Knights out when assigning zodiac signs because they are absent from the standard deck of playing cards.

The Minor Arcana

Just as the Magician introduces one to the Major Arcana or the Trumps of Tarot, the Aces of the deck introduce one to the Minor Arcana or the Pips.

The Four Aces are the pillars which support the house of the Minor Arcana. Each one is a Book in and of itself.

The Aces seen from the Hermetic  perspective are the Virtues: To Will, To Dare, To Know and to Keep Silent. In practice they represent the four poles of the tetrapolar magnet.

To students of the Kabbalistic system the Aces symbolize the “so-called” name of God i.e. the law of cyclic manifestation or the Tetragrammton.

For most Tarot readers however the four Aces represent the four “magical” elements and/or the seasons of the solar year.

Geometric Layouts

A simple linear reading moves either left or right of the cards drawn. The single line is the province of fortune tellers. As mentioned previously Tarot divination traditionally used geometric layouts rather than linear ones. Geometric forms like pyramids,  equal arm crosses and stars add dimension by giving height and depth i.e. a below and above and in some layouts provide a diagonal path which gives a fuller view of the situation or the person being divined for.

The simple 3 card pyramid layout is great for relationship and comparison reads, as is the hexagram. The 5 card pentagram is a very basic layout and shows the elemental energies present in a situation.

When the cards are considered as energy holders then the energies are activated  by Chaos which is the randomness produced by the shuffle. They then flow into the geometric design their connection to the abstract intact and by way of geometric form reveal a message.

Readers from a Hermetic background often use the Tree of Life as a layout. ToL is a composite diagram which contains the forms of pyramid, cross and diagonal lines. A card is placed in each position of a sephira.

In using the Marseilles Tarot all 78 cards Trumps, Courts and Pips are put into play when using the layouts shown and mentioned here. Each card has a meaning which is modified by its position in the layout.  Do not be deceived. More cards do not necessarily a better reading make. A masterful reader can answer a query in depth with just one Tarot card.