It is because of the gradual degradation of the editions of the Marseilles Tarot over the centuries, and in view of a few recent hazardous restoration attempts, that the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition was produced. It responds to the need for the existence of a faithful, precise and as exact as possible restitution of the traditional canon of the Marseilles Tarot, which, precisely defined in its structure as well as in its iconography, is indeed comparable to a program, to a software. Therefore, in order to function properly, it needs to be correctly rendered and «tuned» with precision. Thus, by the precision of the restitution of its traditional iconography, and by its rediscovered geometric purity (its «Word», its language, its logos), the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition finally gives back to this initiatory and playful game all its dimension, and by there, all its effectiveness as a universal instrument of knowledge, in addition to being, by its refined and harmonious iconography, more pleasing to the eye for the game. Moreover, until now the reissues of the historic Marseilles Tarots only rarely respected the original colors, dimensions, and geometric designs of the back of cards (the “tarotage”), presenting to the public only very altered models compared to the traditional geometric canon, as can be found in some historical Tarots which had never been reissued before Yves Reynaud and the present author undertook to do so with the label Tarot of Marseilles Heritage (www.tarot-de-marseille-heritage.com). It is therefore in order to restore the traditional truth, as well as to preserve and ensure the transmission of this philosophical and artistic legacy that the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition (www.tarot-de-marseille-millennium.com) was produced, as well that the reissue project of the most beautiful historical «Marseilles» type Tarots, totally faithful to the original editions.
On what bases rests the Tarot of MarseilleS Millennium Edition ?
The historical Marseilles Tarots are classified by historians according to the “Tarot de Marseille type I” (TDM I) and “Tarot de Marseille Type II” (TDM II) categories. The Tarot of Marseille Millennium Edition corresponds to the latter. TDM II is a category of which the oldest known models to which it corresponds date from the 18th century, while the oldest known models of TDM I date from the late 15th or early 16th century. However, the present author demonstrates in his first book The Sacred Code of Tarot - The Rediscovery of the Original Nature of the Marseilles Tarot (2011), as well as in the present work, that the origin of the Marseilles Tarot “Type II” in fact goes back very probably to at the end of the 14th or at the very beginning of the 15th century. Moreover, the structural rediscoveries of the present author demonstrate that, if one cannot reasonably affirm that the Tarot known as “of Marseilles” (many were created in other cities, of which the oldest known) is the first Tarot in the historical sense, it is now clear that it constitutes the most archetypal model, and therefore the first model on the purely intelligible level (arkhè meaning «first» in Greek), that is to say on the metaphysical level, which is peculiar to the Tarot itself, which the present author demonstrates to be conceived as a symbolic analogue model of the Universe, entirely generated by the Sacred Geometry of the Metatron’s Cube, diagram of the instrumental Matrix of the logos –”language- system” in Greek, or“ Verb ”– of Creation.
The main historical “Marseilles” Tarots constituting the reference base
for the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition are:
• Pierre MADENIÉ, Dijon (France) 1709
• François HÉRI, Solothurn (Switzerland) 1718
• François TOURCATY son, Marseilles (France) 1727
• Claude THOMASSET, Morat (Switzerland) 1731
• Jean-Pierre LAURENT, Belfort (France)1735
• François CHOSSON, Marseilles 1736 (there is disagreement about the year 1672, supposedly inscribed on the II of Coins, which doesn’t correspond to historical official records of this card maker, nor to some specifics of this deck which are typical of the 18th century, the wrapping paper having been deposed at the Union chamber of the merchants manufacturers card makers in 1736)
• Jean-Baptiste MADENIÉ, Dijon (France) 1739
• ARNOULT, Paris 1748 (official date for the model used by Paul Marteau in 1930, acquired by the Grimaud House from Lequart but that most probably originates 1778 by Lefer, Paris)
• Pierre CHEMINADE, Serravalle (Italy) 1742
• Rochus SCHAER, Mümliswil (Switzerland) 1750
• Claude BURDEL, Fribourg (Suisse) 1751
• Claude ROCHIAS L’héritier, Neuchatel (Switzerland) 1754
• François BOURLION, Marseilles (France) 1760
• Joseph FAUTRIER, Marseilles (France) ±1760
• Nicolas CONVER, Marseilles (France) 1760
• François BOURLION, Marseilles (France) 1760
• Antoine BOURLION, Marseilles (France) 1768
• ARNOUX AMPHOUX, Marseilles (France) 1801
• Jacques BURDEL, Fribourg (Switzerland) 1813
• François GASSMAN, Geneva (Switzerland) 1840
• LEQUART, 1890 (acquired by the Lequart House from Maurin and sold to Grimaud in 1891 but which most probably originally dates from 1778 by Lefer, Paris)
The following “Marseilles” decks , of different origins and graphic canons,
have equally been analysed :
• Jacques VIÉVILLE, Paris (France) 1645
• Jean NOBLET, Paris (France) 1650
• Jean DODAL, Lyon (France) 1701
• Jean-Pierre PAYEN, Avignon (France) 1713
• François HÉRI, Solothurn (Switzerland) 1730
• Jean PAYEN, Avignon (France) 1743
• Conrad ISELI, Solothurn (Switzerland) ±1750
• François CARRAJAT, Chambéry (France) 1794
• André ARNOUX, Marseilles (France) ±1800
• Bernardin SUZANNE, Marseilles (France) 1839
Besides, other models of Tarots and printed sheets have been analyzed, as indispensable complements of study.
Why do the icons of the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium
appear to be smaller in comparision to most of the historical Tarots ?
The rediscovery of the Gacred Geometry Matrix of the Marseilles Tarot has enabled the present author to fully regenerate its icons as precisely and faithfully as possible, in respect to the traditional canon of historical Tarots. The precision of this Matrix and the fact that the frame of the cards is traditionally a double square (cf. The sacred code of Tarot), enabled the author to discover that the icons of the cards of the known historical decks are more or less “cropped”, that is to say that the tightening of the frames did cut the side parts of the icons. However, on certain ancient decks, such as that of Jacques Viéville, Paris 1643, or of François Heri, Solothurn (Switzerland) 1718, notwithstanding the degradation of their geometric rigor, the icons are fairly respected in their integrity, and do reveal many details which subsequently disappeared.
Thus, in the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition, the frame having been “reopened”, but the size of the physical cards being fixed (approximately 64x123 mm), the icons appear, in proportion to the frame, smaller than in other known Tarots. Next to the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition, the cropping of the icons of historical Tarots is now obvious. This new edition therefore makes it possible to rediscover in an exclusive way the beauty of the icons of the Marseilles Tarot, restored as much as possible today in their original integrity, thanks to the rediscovery of the rules of the geometric constitution of cards. However, it took several years for the author to definitively establish the correct relationship between icons and their frames.
Why do the names of the cards of the Tarot of Marseilles
feature a V and I instead of U and J ?
While the names of the cards of the oldest Marseilles Tarots do not include any apostrophe, the words being merged as in VIIII LERMITE (The Hermit), some names were “reformed” in the second half of the 18th century, beyond the simple modification of the alphabet, dramatically altering the traditional names of the cards. On analysis, it is apparently from the time of Nicolas Conver’s Tarot, around 1760, that these modifications were made. Indeed, none of the “Marseilles” type of Tarots known from the first half of the 18th century is altered by these modifications. Still, other Tarots from the end of the 18th century, such as François Bourlion, Marseilles 1760, Arnoux & Amphoux, Marseille s1793, or even Bernardin Suzanne, Marseilles 1839, although they are very much altered iconographically, have preserved the traditional names of the cards. There are, however, “hybrid” cases, such as that of André Arnoux, Marseille ± 1800, whose names include apostrophes, and where the “U” replaces the “V” on some cards only, the traditional names and spellings having been preserved otherwise.
Here is the complete list of changes to the traditional names of the 22 Major Arcana, especially found in the deck of Nicolas Conver, 1760 :
. I LE BATELEVR became I LE BATELEUR
. III LIMPERATRISE became III L'IMPERATRICE
. IIII LEMPEREVR became IIII L'EMPEREUR
. VII LE CHARIOR became VII LE CHARIOT
. VIII IVSTICE became VIII LA JUSTICE
. VIIII LERMITE became VIIII L'HERMITE
. XII LE PENDV became XII LE PENDU
. XIIII TENPERANCE became XIIII TEMPERANCE
. XVII LESTOILLE became XVII LE TOILLE ( not LE TOULE) then XVII L'ETOILE
. XVIII LA LVNE became XVIII LA LUNE
. XX LE IVGEMENT became XX LE JUGEMENT.
In the Nicolas Conver’s 1760 deck, only VI LAMOVREVX, X LA ROVE DE FORTVNE and XVI LA MAISON DIEV retained, for unknown reasons, their exact spelling, leading more than one researcher to believe that a numerical code based on Roman numerals were present in these three cards, which led them to much speculation, which in fact rests on erroneous grounds. Regarding the Minor Arcana, BASTON became BATON, DESPEE became D’ÉPEE, and COVPE became COUPE. For its part, the Tarot of Marseille Millennium Edition fully restores, in addition to the structural and graphic canon of the icons, the traditional names and alphabet of all named cards.
Why are the Arcana VI LAMOVREVX, XIII (unnamed),
and II DE DENIER of the Tarot de Marseille Millennium Edition mirror-inverted compared to most known decks ?
Throughout its known history, the Marseilles Tarot presents, in some editions compared to others, cards reversed as reflected in a mirror (names and numbers excepted). This inversion was as much due to the decals of the molds with reverse copy transfers, as to the fancy of the engravers who were no longer necessarily initiated into the traditional codes of the Tarot, whereas the production became purely commercial. Sometimes it is just a few cards, as in the Tarot of Jacques Rochias 1782, sometimes it is the whole deck, like that of Jacques Viéville 1643 for example. However, if the cards of the finest known copies of the Marseilles Tarot (very few are preserved), such as Pierre Madenié 1709, François Tourcaty 1727 and François Chosson 1736, present identical orientations, the study of the iconography and of the symbolism of the Marseilles Tarot, deepened and guided by the rediscovery of the structural codification of the cards in the Sacred Geometry Matrix (as well as by the archetypal organization of the Rota, the Wheel of Tarot, or Tarological Table), reveals that three precise cards are reversed in the historical copies’ known. These are VI LAMOVREVX (6, The Lovers), Arcanum XIII (which had also lost its empty bottom cartridge) and II de DENIER (2 of Coins). These three cards, however, show a correct orientation in Tarots of other types, notably Italian, and partially in the so-called «Besançon» model. VI LAMOVREVX is an exception, being strangely half right and wrong in many of these historic Tarots. To see examples of such inversions, the reader is invited to read The Tarot of Marseille - Fundamentals of History, Symbolism and Practice of the Philosopher's Tarot by the present author (2020), to visit the Tarot of Marseilles Heritage website, and to consult The Encyclopedia of the Tarot from Stuart R. Kaplan (Ed. US Games, 4 volumes). Finally, the irrefutable demonstration that these three cards are indeed reversed in most of the known Marseilles Tarots, and that the correct orientation of these icon is restored in the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition, will be presented in a future book by the present author, entirely dedicated to the traditional symbolism of the 78 Arcana.
Why does the Arcane XX LE IVGEMENT du Tarot de Marseille Millennium Edition include an "Angevin ribbon" and not a vaporous cloud around the Angel?
The ribbon from Anjou, or “ angevine ribbon ” (from Angiers, in Anjou, France) is actually found around the Angel of the Arcanum XX LE IVGEMENT on some of the oldest known Tarots of Marseilles, but all belonging to the Type I category (see above). We thus find it in the Tarot of Jean Dodal, Lyon 1701, Jean-Pierre Payen, Avignon 1713 (soon in the Historic Tarots gallery), but also in Italian Tarots of the beginning of the XIXth century, such as the Giacomo Draghi and the Stefano Vergnano. Regrettably, we find it on none of the Tarots of Marseilles known of the Type II category, to which belongs the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition. However, the fact that the ribbon from Anjou was in fact present originally in this model of Tarot, and that the vaporous thick cloud, for its part, was a late modification implemented from the XVth century, is doubtless. Indeed, the Ace of Wand and the Ace of Sword present both this ribbon from Anjou, and not a vaporous thick cloud. Now, besides the fact that, in the popular symbolism of the Middle Ages, these two cards and the Arcanum XX LE IVGEMENT represent a comet (formerly interpreted as the demonstration of the divine power and as a celestial messenger), these three cards also express the conjunction of the four Elements, from which results the Quintessence, that is the spiritual and transcendent plane. The Arcanum XX LE IVGEMENT is indeed bound, in the archetypal organization of the Rota (Cf. Sacred code of the Tarot) to the Cup and the Disk (so forming the Elemental square), and the Ace of Wand and the Ace of Sword do symbolically merge in the Arcanum XXI LE MONDE, which represents the universal man or the philosopher child, to whom XX LE IVGEMENT gives birth. This symbolic, too complex to be presented here in detail, will be explained in a future book of the present author.
Besides, what also allows to assert that the ribbon from Anjou was certainly present originally in the Tarot of Marseilles Type II, is the fact that this last one, as demonstrates the present author in the introduction of his book Sacred code of the Tarot, dates of the XIVth century, period when the celestial clouds were still represented by the ribbon from Anjou, and not by the vaporous thick cloud. This one is indeed characterized by a naturalist realism which was effectively imperative in Europe from the XVth century. Indeed, certain engravings of this period show these same allegories with vaporous thick clouds. Here are for example two engravings of the heroic slogans of Claude Paradin, dating the XVIth century, who show us well that, from then on, the vaporous thick cloud had replaced the ribbon from Anjou, probably considered then as being “ old-fashioned ”. Besides, this shows that if, in the Tarot of Marseilles, the ribbons from Anjou of the Ace of Wand and of the Ace of Sword were not replaced by thick clouds, unlike that of the Arcanum XX LE IVGEMENT, it is because already, in the XVIIIth century, the minor Arcana were considered as being of lesser value. This “ modernization ” was thus made only at the level of the major Arcana, on which pays all the attention first of all. Finally, for the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition, the present author had realized initially the Arcanum XX LE IVGEMENT with the vaporous thick cloud, such as we find it on the Tarots of Marseilles Type II known. It is afterwards that he understood that the ribbon from Anjou was actually the first shape of this cloud, and that it was necessarily present originally in Tarot of Marseilles Type II. But as says the Chinese proverb, “ an image is worth one thousand words ”. So, it is still the comparison of both versions of this card, flanked each by the Ace of Wand and the Ace of Sword, who finishes demonstrating that the vaporous thick cloud, indeed, is a modification of the traditional cannon of the Tarot of Marseilles. Click here to see the version with the thick cloud, and click here to see that with the ribbon from Anjou. It is certainly obvious to all that the version with the vaporous thick cloud presents a graphic incoherence with the two other cards, but also a formal flimsiness. In the version with the vaporous thick cloud and without flying sparks, the angel indeed seems motionless, and the space left by their absence is striking. Besides, the beams passing behind the flag are inconsistent, these overlapping if we prolong them, another sign that an unrefined modification was made. On the contrary, the version with the ribbon from Anjou and the flying sparks is complete, alive and balanced, livened up, and expresses well the “ dramatic ” side of this major Arcanum, keeping in mind that this card, quite as the Ace of Wand and the Ace of Sword, represents traditionally a comet, as demonstrate engravings of the period, like this one. No doubt that not much time will be necessary for the reader to realize by himself that indeed, the deletion of the ribbon from Anjou and the flying sparks was well and truly an important damage, and that their restoration was necessary to regenerate the traditional cannon of the Tarot of Marseilles.
How much does the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition
respect the tradition of the master cardmakers ?
The Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition is entirely realized in the sacred geometry of the Metatron's cube, that the present author demonstrates to be not only the integral matrix of the Tarot of Marseilles, but also the very source of the whole sacred science and traditional art, geometrical secrets of the Tarot having been known of only certain master cardmakers and engravers till the end of the XVIIIth century. Although it was realized on computer (in pure vector graphics), the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition is realized according to the “ rules of the art ” traditional of the Tarot of Marseilles. Besides, the author, a professional computer graphic designer, was trained in the traditional graphic arts in Paris at the end of the 80s, as well as in the professional computer graphics in the 90s, and worked one time in printing office. Finally, the Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition was completely realized in Marseilles, city having counted one very large number of master cardmakers, among which some realized Tarots of reference, which we can admire in the historic Tarots gallery of the present website. The author, being born in the Oise, northern France, having lived and worked in Paris until 2001 when he came to settle down in Marseilles, was so able to draw at the source of a secular (millennial ?) tradition, as well as that of an antique inheritance, this city being actually the most ancient of France, established by the Phocaeans (this city was originally named Massalia), more than 2600 years ago. The Tarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition thus joins legitimately in the authentic tradition of the Tarot of Marseilles, and immortalizes, by the medium of computer graphics instead of the wood of pear tree (traditionally used to engrave the moulds of the cards, this wood being very fine and very hard), the inheritance of the Ancients at the beginning of IIIth millennium, the change of scientific and philosophic paradigm of which allowing now to rediscover this extraordinary initiatory legacy.
What is the sacred geometry and the Metatron's cube,
the integral matrix of the Tarot of Marseilles ?
The sacred geometry, unlike the simple geometry, is considered as such as the archetypal matrix geometry at the root of all things, encompassing both the microcosm and the macrocosm, constituting the expression of the universal Logos (language-system in greek) of the whole Creation. The greek word arkhè, origin of the word archetype, indeed indicates the “ original principle ”, or “ ruling, commanding primordial principle ” (cyber/kuber in greek, related to
kýbos, the cube) at the very root of all things. The Metatron's cube, as diagram of the hypercube, hyperdimensional universal matrix of which each of the parts is similar to the totality, so constitutes the instrumental matrix structure of the whole Universe as a dynamic unity, which ultimately expresses itself as the toroïdal vortex, or torus, the hypersphere encompassing the all. The geometrical, mathematical and metaphysical aspects of the geometrical archetypes of this matrix, known since the Highest Antiquity, were originally described by Pythagoras (580-497 BC), Plato (427-346 BC), Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Euclide (325-265 BC).
From the Monad to the Metatron's cube, isometric diagram of the Tesseract, the universal cosmological Matrix
More than fifteen centuries later, it was described by Leonardo Pisano (Italy 1175-1250), more known under the name of Leonardo Fibonacci, famous for the “ cube of Fibonacci ” and an eponymic suite related to the golden mean. It is Leonardo Fibonacci who would have demonstrated the first that the Metatron's cube constitutes the matrix of the five archetypal geometrical volumes called the Platonic solids, so named because they were evoked (with their correspondence with the five Elements) for the first time by Plato in the Timaeus.
The five Platonic solids in isometric view within the Metatron's cube, and in perspective in space
As regards the Tarot, the cosmological matrix of the Metatron's cube defines at once the number of all the cards, the various groups which these constitute, as well as the interrelation of these cards and of these groups between them. It also defines their drawings, their colours, their framing, as well as the letters with which their names are composed. Contrary to the other models of Tarots composed of 78 cards, (model said “ Venetians ”), as the Italian decks of the Renaissance (XVth to XVIIth century) or the Tarot said “ of Besançon ” (XVIIIth to XIXth century), all the aspects of the Tarot said “ of Marseilles ” (type II) are generated by this one and only matrix, holographically embedded within each and every parts of it, expressing in turn its multiple aspects. It is the uniqueness of the Tarot of Marseilles there : content and form make only One, the set expressing a universal cosmological code, the multiple aspects of which underlying our whole life and evolution. The Tarot of Marseilles so constitutes the most archetypal model of Tarot, and thus the most original, or primordial (arkhè in greek) on the metaphysical level, that which belongs exclusively to it, the Tarot of Marseilles constituting ultimately an analogical model of the Universe, symbolical articulation of the logical tree of Knowledge.
IIII LEMPEREVR of theTarot of Marseilles Millennium Edition, within the sacred geometry of the Arcanum
Videos on the sacred geometry, the flower of Life
and the Metatron's cube
In order to understand better the nature and the metaphysical implications of the sacred geometry, here are some videos (to look rather in full screen and with the sound) presenting the metaphysical genesis of the Universe, the Metatron's cube being its archetypal cosmological matrix. To discover in what exactly the Tarot of Marseilles is generated by this hyperdimensional matrix, and in what the Tarot of Marseilles constitutes a structural and symbolic codification of life (including DNA) and the whole Universe, the reader is invited to refer to the book of the present author Sacred code of the Tarot- The rediscovery of the original nature of the Tarot of Marseilles. Besides, the reader is invited to visit www.thrivemovement.com which presents in a developed way the global implications of this universal sacred code of Creation, and the benefice its understanding, integration and practical applications will bring to the human race.
The Metatron's cube, the flower of Life and the imbricated Platonic solids
Another animation of the Metatron's cube, the flower of Life and the imbricated Platonic solids
Animations of the Torus or toroοdal vortex, ultimate nature of the Rota of the Marseilles Tarot