The one thing that Tarot de Marseille has taught me so far is to slow down. So much can be seen in such simple images, I have been spoiled by the RWS with the vivid imagery. When I slow down and really soak in every aspect of the card, the card reveals more and more. This is also true for any deck, not just TdM and RWS – slow down and really soak in the symbolism.
Yesterday, while reading The Open Reading by Yoav Ben-Dov, I got caught up in the Devil card imagery on the page. Ben-Dov has been great at pointing out little things in the Conver deck and he stats often that everything is a message, nothing is by accident. He has talked about the littlest of things in the cards, like why part of the leg in the Magician card was left uncolored, he believes it wasn’t an accident. He didn’t mention two things on the Devil card that I saw though, perhaps someone else in another book has… or on a blog, this may have been talked about a million times for all I know. Someone did share a fantastic link with me called the The Mysteries of the Tarot de Marseille… I will be diving into this blog big time!
Here are some of my thoughts…
In the Devil card shown in the CBD Tarot (which was a reproduction of the Conver deck), the Devil has 9 toes. Going along with Ben-Dov’s quote “everything is a sign” I took this as just that, a hidden message.
I associated the 9 toes to Card 9 – The Hermit. When thinking about what the Hermit and the Devil had in common, I was drawn to the robe of the Hermit. The Devil has no robe, he bares it all with nothing left for the imagination. The Hermit on the other hand, is fully cloaked like he’s trying to hide something (and yes, the Hermit is often associated to the clothing of a Monk). Then it clicked, what if the Hermit was the Devil… he uses his robe to hide who he truly is.
Going along with this theory… in the Hermit card, he is seen holding up a lamp and walks with a cane or walking stick… this could be seen in the Devil card as the torch the Devil is holding, hidden in plain sight in the Hermit card. The Hermit could then be using his lamp to help his search for someone or something to fuel his hidden desires – like the imps in the Devil card.
Then I was thinking about the imp’s on the Devil card and noticed one had three dots on the chest, the other did not. It was brought to my attention that it could be an association with Free Masons, which is interesting! Going along with my own theory, what if the 3 dots were associated to the Empress (Card 3) and the other imp would then be the Emperor (Card 4).
Jumping to another card (I was all over the place in the Major’s last night)…there are two heads in the Pope card (The Hierophant) that are like two children, what if they were also the Empress and Emperor… being warned by the Pope about the Devil. Then later on, falling trap to the Hermit’s lure and in turn revealing his true side by lifting the robe, ta-da! The Devil!
The Pope in the Pope card is looking in the direction of the Hermit and the Devil – and the Hermit’s looking right back at him as if his eyes are saying “shhhh”! Maybe the Pope is giving the Empress and Emperor a “heads up” about him and telling them to beware, or perhaps he is sending them in that direction. Who knows?! Perhaps the Major Arcana is about their journey and not the Fool’s journey. Maybe the Fool started off solo, with no gender and was transformed by the Magician and “split in two” by the Popess (High Priestess). Or… maybe I’ve had way too much coffee lately and need to lay off a bit lol!!
Anyways, I was hesitant on sharing this on the blog… I’m always nervous with sharing any of my personal thoughts when it comes to tarot. I always fear what most fear “judgement” as being perceived as either stupid or plain crazy LOL!