Symbolic Organisation of the Major Arcana
The tarot can be seen to describe the journey of the soul in five phases. Wisdom stands in the center, alone. The Fool, as ever, stands apart. Each phase has its own “gateway” and general atmosphere.
The Mountebank, incarnation, stands at the entrance to life, and opens the way to the four stages of CHILDHOOD (Papess, Imperatrice, Emperor and Pope). Construction of the physical body, assemblies and nations, the “we”;
For the youth, the time of APPRENTICESHIP is signalled by the Lover. Once the heart is open, an individual begins to emerge (Chariot, Justice, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune). Construction of the mental body, the “I”;
Force, which evokes reconstruction in and through the material world, opens onto the phase of COMPAGNNONAGE (Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, the Devil). Construction of the emotional body. The return of tears, emotional catharsis, energy
The fundamental unifying experience depicted by The House of God opens the way to the phase of MASTERY (Star, Moon, Sun, and Judgement). Construction of the energetic body. The masterpiece, the end of fear, heart to heart, transmission.
With the World, the evolution of the being is complete. WISDOM depicts the anima mundi. Consciousness participates in the soul of the world, Construction of the body glorious.
The Fool stands apart. His total refusal to act and evolve assures him total liberty as well. The being becomes a celestial bum, an Idiot Buddha or wandering Jew. It is as though materiality fades away, and with it both past and future, leaving only the here and now.
With respect to numbers, this arrangement has the advantage of harmoniously presenting the various phases of an inner itinerary. Amateurs of numerology and mathematical games will find many curious correspondences.
The mathematical base is 4
The number 7 is also very important.
If, for example, you add together the outer cards (or inner cards) of each group, you obtain:
first group : 7 second group : 17 third group : 27 fourth group : 37
You can also add between opposite groups :
Papess + Devil = 17
Pope + Hanged Man=17
Judgement + Chariot = 27
Hermit + Moon=27
There are surely more numerological harmonies to discover in this arrangement.
The images speak. Let us listen.
The images on the following pages are not all produced in the same way: the Noblet and Dodal are actual-size printed and stencil-colored cards, while the Conver were executed as 2.20 meter-high paintings. What we see here are photos of these giant canvases.