Tag Archives: Marseille Tarot

What’s In A Number?

What’s In A Number?


What’s in a number? Numerology is a science in and of itself. For those of us that read the Tarot, numerology has a definite place. I recently had the privilege to read the book “Marseile Tarot – Towards the Art of Reading”, by Camelia Elias. Regarding numbers, Elias talks about the cartomantic oral transmission that numbers signify quantity and direction, or length. She also makes an important point in that cartomancy is a system that has developed from making logical inferences.

Aces are defined as new beginnings: Ace of Cups (house), Ace of Batons (an opportunity), Ace of Coins (wealthy means), Ace of Swords (death, or a decision).

The Two’s are viewed as either cooperation or “splits”.

The Three’s are viewed as either increments or scattering.

The Four’s are viewed as either stability or constraint.

The Five’s are viewed as health and the body (i.e. five limbs).

The Six’s are viewed as paths and choices.

The Seven’s are viewed as challenges.

The Eight’s are viewed as wishes and fears.

The Nine’s are viewed as changes.

The Ten’s are viewed as “a little, and a lot”, endings spilling over into new beginnings.

Elias adds another dimension – Cups and Coins indicating closeness, while Swords and Batons create distance. Cups and Coins are viewed as slower than Swords and Batons.

Allow the story to play out … allow the numbers to talk.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Tarot


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Review: Marseille Tarot – Towards the Art of Reading

Marseille Tarot –
Towards the Art of Reading

Author: Camelia Elias
EyeCorner Press
ISBN #978-87-92633-42-2

Marseile Tarot cover

“If the cards address the querent’s issues in a
very direct manner, then they do so because
there is a question to begin with.”
~ Camelia Elias

I love Elias’ very direct approach to things – even though it sometimes has me mumbling to myself, and even though I don’t always agree with her. Let’s start at the beginning – Elias’ stated purpose with this book is to cover the following four basic questions:

  1. Why do we read cards?
  2. What’s so special about the Marseille Tarot?
  3. How can the cards uncover our blind spots?
  4. What does it mean to live a magical life, when we allow the stories that the cards tell us to offer solutions to our real problems?

The images in this book are from Carolus Zoya’s Tarot de Marseille, a rare Tarot deck made in Turin at the end of 1700. The deck is from the private collection of K. Frank Jensen, and the images are being used with his permission.

Elias notes that context is everything, and that the answer to the question unfolds from the question itself via the images in the cards. In her readings she combines the cunning-folk method of reading (based on making logical inferences about the meaning of the cards) with the visual argument method (which relies on the subjective and individual art of perceiving).

“Marseille Tarot” features full-length readings, based on real-life tarot consultations, which is a tremendous boon to understanding Elias’ method of reading. The stories that evolve in Elias’ readings are based on first hand observation of the categories of Embodiment (human, animal, celestial), Function (to lead, to split, to cut, to illuminate), Gesture (sitting, walking, pointing, howling), and Voice (silence, loudness, beyond the verbal).

Each card is presented with a full color scan, a short discourse on the card and its function, a short question (with three cards drawn in response, all presented as full color scans), an interpretation of the cards, keywords for the card being discussed, function for the card being discussed, health indicators, and public life.

Sample questions include: The Fool – “Can I trust my partner?”, The Charioteer – “What is my strength?”, and The Moon – “I would like to buy a new house for my family. Is this a good time?”

Functions include: The Popess (cunning woman, study), The Lovers (partnership, dividing), Strength (overpowering, dominating, enduring), and Temperance (measuring, moderating, regulating).

Health indicators include: The Magician (stress, nervous agitation, migraines), Justice (respiratory problems), and The Devil (binding, enslaving, manipulating).

Public life includes: Death (with Justice, forensics analyst), The Stars (with The Moon, a spa), and Judgment (with The Hermit, gurus).

There is note made of color and numbers, and how they apply to the cards.

For the Court cards, Kings are seen as symbols of power, Queens as emblems of truth, Knights as Emblems of development, and Pages as symbols of initiation.

At the end of the book we see several readings interpreted.

The card images are full color, and gorgeous! This book is well written, beautifully formatted, with a stunning full color interior and a list of references that impresses! It is packed with information that is meant to be put to use. Whether you are a beginning student, a Tarot Sage, or somewhere in-between, you will find wisdom and value in this book.

© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without the written permission of the author.

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Posted by on January 31, 2015 in Tarot


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I am in the midst of experiencing Enrique Enriquez book “Tarotology” – his view of the “Tarot de Marseille” through the lens of pataphysics (the science of imaginary solutions). Yes, this is a book that you experience, rather than read. It’s more fun that way … and, quite frankly, I immediately got lost when trying to be a big girl and to logically understand what was going on. I will not, at this point in time (and more than likely I will never) review this book. I don’t have the depth of understanding to do that. I will talk about what I see, and what I am experiencing.

It was entirely freeing to acknowledge that I had no clue what was going on, and to just be a “bystander with privileges” – I could laugh at what I understood, and be simply fascinated by the rest. I will experience this book many times over my lifetime, I am sure. I reread all of my books – and either find something new, or simply enjoy the read anew each time.

In her comments on this book, Camelia Elias (Professor of American Studies and Tarot de Marseille Reader) notes that in going from pataphysics to poetry and back again, Enriquez performs the Tarot in a way that is free of cultural preconditioning to the workings of myth and symbol. She goes on to note that Enriquez also proposes the following rules: “watch and learn”, keep it simple”, “stay on track”, “be surprised”, “be fearless”, and “let the image talk the walk”.

Enriquez, as anyone who has encountered him or any of his work knows, is a totally unique individual. I encountered him at the RS 2011, when he was filming the proceedings. He did his work so well that you never really knew he was there – but he

was! My regret is that I did not have the courage to introduce myself to him. Talk about lost opportunities!

I am about half-way through the book. What have I experienced so far? Tarology defined (the definition is transitory – it only holds true for the time it takes you to read it), the concept that the tarologist fees are variable, depending on the nature of the question. (It is suggested that the tarologist charge twice the amount for an unimaginative question than they charge for an imaginative one. I concur.) Letters are carriers of movement, pataphysics is the “science of exceptions”.

From page 66: “The French language allows for an exceptional playfulness that has turned the Marseille tarot tradition into a unique house of mirrors.”

The last page in this book is Enriquez’ biography. When I get the funds together, I am going to see if I can’t get him to “ghost” my bio!

There is more … I will write about it later. Get the book … it’s worth it!

© March 2012 Bonnie Cehovet


Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Tarot


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