Marseilles Tarot Deck Images

* The fool is generally unnumbered. 'Beware, Sir Gawain: if the lance catches your backside, the ladies in the tower shall have another moon at which to stare.' If this fool is not made simple by love like Sir Gawain, then perhaps he might just be simple: 'Lament, Parsifal the wretched: through your simplemindedness, the Fisher King yet suffers from his wound.' Click on each card to see a larger version of it. Some cards have extra secret links. Or download all the cards in a single 4.5Mb zip file. The Marseilles deck was made in France in the 18th century. I became interested in Tarot cards after reading The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino (available from and In this book the cards are arranged in grids and each sequence of cards tells a different fairy tale.

The Magician, also known as The Trickster, or La Batailleur, or Il Batillo. He looks like a Faust, ready to sell his soul to the devil. The Papess, also called the Priestess The Empress The Emperor The Pope, also called the Pope or the Hierophant. Consider him, perhaps, as a symbol of blessing or benediction. The Lovers. But look closely: perhaps the young man in the center is in fact torn between two women. The Chariot, symbolising travel (possibly to heaven, since the beasts appear magical) Justice The Hermit The Wheel of Fate, or the Wheel of Fortune. Its revolutions may refer to the passage of time, or perhaps to reincarnation Force, also called Strength The Hanged Man The name of this card is never mentioned Temperance The Devil The Tower, also called, somewhat enigmatically, The House of God. I suspect that this card refers to Babel. Sometimes the fire from the sky is shown as lightning The Star, or sometimes The Stars in their plural The Moon, symbolising fickleness and the feminine (and crustaceans) * The Sun; or perhaps these are a pair of magical twins Judgement The World, also known as Lady Luck


Cups might symbolise sensual and spiritual fulfillment.

* Ace of Cups. This card must be a special cup indeed; it might be a grail, or the fulfillment of any worth quest; perhaps its spires are of ivory, lifted up from the ground, and it represents a University Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten. This card might represent a wedding banquet, with the bride and groom at the head and the wedding guests lined at the tables Knave Knight Queen King


Coins are often taken to represent wealth, intellectual (said to be the more important) and material. They are sometimes called 'Pentacles' through a translation error.

Ace of Coins. This card must surely be no less than a giant mandala, symbolising fulfillment, wisdom, and the happiness which that entails * The Two of Coins in the Marseilles deck is unusal in that it shows the two coins bound together, perhaps representing close ties of friendship or love. Maybe the Two of Coins should be the patron card of Computing, since it is shows the binary dialectic: true, false; yes, no Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten. High coins might well refer to great financial success Knave This knight is very dapper, all dressed up in his finery and riding a decorated horse. Perhapos he represents a brash young youth, setting off on his life Queen This King of Coins is the ultimate symbol of age and wisdom; or, he represents a financially succesfull merchant who is preternatually aged through his devotion to money


One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten. These high clubs look like a dense forest * Knave Knight Queen King


One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Knave The Sword Knight is the warrior of the pack. Queen King

The End

I believe that the cards are not copyrighted.