Description & Symbolism
Unlike my previous card renditions (this is my third for this project, and have also made cards for AT I and II), I decided to stick as close to a traditional Marseille as possible - with the exception of colouration, which varies enormously from deck to deck.
I used as the basis for the card a model from the Payen Marseille - one of the earliest surviving Marseilles decks around.
The card depicts the six Bastons - later often called 'Wands' - as representative of the suit. Unlike current proponents of Tarot history, I tend to consider that the Marseille depiction has more in common with the Chinese suit of Bamboo than with the Mamluk suit of Polo-sticks.
As with any sticks, they may be weaved, and hence also shows the skills with which one may transform one's environment through the building, construction and transformation of the various raw materials at one's disposal: the natural environment provides for both our material and our creative wealth.
The flowers, though cut, should not be taken as necessarily dead, but again considered as prepared for propagation through cuttings. The very number VI, especially when written in the Roman form, virtually shows that another new beginning follows the V - it is also interesting, though accidental, that the Atouts I made for this deck is VI L'Amoureux (the Lover).
The key concept I often associate with six in the pips is that of harmony. Geometrically, the six corresponds also to the Star of David, ie, the interlaced triangles, signifying the hermetic maxim that as above, so below, and as below, so it is above - reminding us that both our thoughts and actions have ramifications and consequences beyond that which we dream.
In readings, I tend to allow wherever my eye is drawn to become the focus for a creative visualisation and metamorphosis of the imagery. It may be, then, that the top flower's surmounted form recalls a crown in blossom, about to be able to step out into the world and proclaim its edict... or of course something totally different.
Using an original grayscale image of the Payen Marseille as a base, I totally reworked it using PhotoShop v7 and AppleWorks on an Apple PowerBook G4 Titanium.
jmd has been exposed to the Tarot since birth, but only began serious investigation of this and other esoteric arts and sciences since his early twenties. Since 1982, he has also held various ritualistic positions in a number of esoteric orders located in Melbourne, Australia. In addition to previously teaching philosophy at University, he has also taught Tarot, Astrology, and Kabalah courses at various other adult educational institutions. jmd now teaches in a Steiner (Waldorf) high school and teacher-training institute.
Go back to the project index, read the traditional card meaning, or get a free tarot reading with this deck.