I have been fascinated by, if not the greatest practitioner of tarot since I was a teenager.
My love of astrology has generally kept me from continually using tarot over the last thirty years or so. This is no excuse, as both methods of divination are generally complementary.
For a time, somewhere in the 1980s, I did use a deck called ‘astro tarot’, which I think you can still buy, but I ‘lost’ these years ago.
In more recent times, particularly over the last few years, I have been drawn more fully into the mysterious and magical world of tarot, its practise and its disputed history.
Most particularly I have learned to respect and invariably use Tarot de Marseille (TDM), rather than the more well known Rider-Waite style tarot decks.
I much prefer the ‘unillustrated’ pip cards of TDM; I don’t like my intuition being influenced too much by the more illustrative and suggestive Rider-Waite, particularly in the swords suit, where, for example, if one draws the Nine of Swords, this can leave people quite worried!
No, I much prefer to stick to basics: swords is the mind, our thoughts and 9 is attainment. It is up to the tarot reader to interpret this. But more of this in another piece some other time.
One particular deck I’ve enjoyed for some time is the Grimaud Cartomancie TDM, ‘Ancien Tarot de Marseille’. It comes in a beautifully presented, sturdy box, with the usual mini-book with basic interpretive ideas – in French.
The illustrations are very clear and basic, with strong colours and bold black linework. The word is emphatic, which I like. The card stock is likewise quite sturdy with a grey-blue patterning on the reverse.
The history of TDM, like all tarot, is complex. There are many variations of TDM but this overall style developed, as the name suggests, in the south of France, but also has strong links to northern Italy, Switzerland and even southern Germany over the years.
In other words, this card style does not owe everything to the city of Marseilles, which could be regarded as a name of convenience – and it sounds good too, doesn’t it? After developing from the seventeenth century onwards, it was in 1930 when Paul Marteau of the Grimaud family truly established and perpetuated this particular artistic style of TDM.
I am very glad that he did, as these cards are a particular favourite of mine and I would very much recommend them.
Mende a beautiful town in Lozere France. There is so much to see. We got a circular, information leaflet that took us on an historic tour of the old town! Boy it was old! There is evidence that there have been people living in the town since 200BC. Read about it here it is very interesting. This […]
For centuries, tales of unjustly treated heroines, eventually finding happiness, have featured in the traditions of cultures worldwide. In Europe, the best known example is probably the tale of Cinderella. Variants of this story abound and one of several versions found in Brittany is the tale of the Grey Wolf’s Wife.
Self portrait French post-Impressionist artist Georges Seurat was born, December 2, 1859 in Paris, France, at 60 rue de Bondy. ❦ He is best known for devising the painting techniques known as chromoluminarism as well as pointillism. While less famous than his paintings, his conté crayon drawings have also garnered a great deal of critical […]
In many societies death needed a servant that would guide or bring the soul of the deceased to the place of the afterlife. Such servants were called psychopomps and presented here is a brief discussion of two psychopomps from Breton folklore and mythology.
Marriage, whether motivated by romantic idealism or social necessity was a key concern for the people of rural Brittany. A number of unusual customs and superstitions once surrounded marriage and the quest for love.
Tales of ghosts and ghostly apparitions form a rich vein in the folklore of Brittany although, in the Breton tradition, there was once no significant separation between the living and the dead, both were seen as dwelling in two discrete worlds that were in perpetual relation with one another.
French 19th century writer, Jules Verne, has been rightly lauded for his literary creations. To many he is simply the father of modern science fiction.
Jules was the son of a magistrate and went on to study law in the footsteps of his father. However, he soon developed a keen interest in the theatre and began writing plays and opera librettos. Fantasy was a subject which consumed him, as did travel and adventure. Gradually his creative processes overtook any interest in pursuing a career in the law, much to the chagrin of his father.
Later, books like ‘From the Earth to the Moon’, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’ and ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ became legendary and are still popular today.
The Forward Thinking Aquarian
So astrologically speaking, can we glean what made this farsighted man tick?
Although I have a little doubt as to the accuracy of the birth time, given as 12 pm (midday) precisely, I suspect he was born very close to this.
I was not at all surprised to discover his Sun and Mercury conjunct a 9th house midheaven. Aquarians are noted for their farsightedness and detachment. However, I believe too much has been accredited to Uranus as being the new ruler of Aquarius.
The traditional ruler is Saturn and this will always be the case. There are two sides to Saturn: the ambitious, materialistic, highly organised side as seen in the sign of Capricorn; and the detached, scientific and farsighted side which is Aquarius. The forward thinking element of Aquarius is down to Saturn’s careful, seriously communicative and associative side. I think this latter notion forms an accurate backcloth to Jules Verne’s career as a writer and literary prophet.
Science and Adventure
In a nutshell, his sun and Mercury in Aquarius close to the MC in the 9th house, says so much about Jules, his life and career. The MC or midheaven indicates the nature of our aspiration, probably our career.
Sagittarius and the 9th house also relate to the law, so if he had followed his father’s career this would also have been quite fitting, though probably not as rewarding.
Aquarians are scientific in approach and the 9th house relates to long distance travel (adventure), the higher mind and philosophy. Jules was to push the boundaries of writing in terms of science fiction far more than anyone else known up to that time.
With Gemini rising, Jules had a youthful, insatiable, witty curiosity too, which simply had to communicate knowledge to others. Mercury is his ruling planet, therefore, being the ruler of Gemini and assumes much importance in this chart; Mercury in Aquarius is both tenacious and experimental, especially in the 9th house.
Ideals and Fantasy
Interestingly, Venus well placed in Pisces in the 10th house (career again), is probably symbolic of his love of ideals and fantasy, plus their unifying ability. Neptune is in good aspect to his Venus, and whilst I see the outer planets as wholly negative influences these days, nevertheless this aspect will only increase the strength of his imagination and inspiration. Here may have been his initial interest in the theatre, performance and music.
What is more, Venus is part of what is called a Grand Trine in the water signs and practical ‘earth’ houses, the 2nd, 6th and 10th. Venus trines both Saturn in the 2nd house and the Moon and Jupiter in the 6th house.
Jules was clearly, despite being a detached Aquarian on one level, a highly emotional person too, usually kindly and generous but also likely very secretive too. He was able to utilise his great depth of feeling in practical ways and we the public of the world have benefited from this.
Saturn in Cancer is difficult, however, indicating a lack of feeling at one level; the Moon in Scorpio too is not so easy, highly emotional and secretive. Yet Jupiter so close to the Moon and in good aspect to both Venus and Saturn, brings out the positivity of this Grand Trine. And Jupiter is of course the planet of the higher mind and travel, subjects which were close to his heart.
Venus being in romantic Pisces indicates a love of being in love, an almost spiritual attitude towards relationships. This would have brought much pain from time to time.
This Venus as part of the Grand Trine, links it to Jupiter, ruler of the 7th house of relationships. I’m sure in many ways he was hopelessly romantic. It is interesting to note that Jules married a widow with two children — Venus aspects to Saturn often indicate loss in relationships, subjects who marry older, more experienced spouses.
Mars in Sagittarius in his 7th house of relationships indicates eventful and possibly difficult partnerships; even powerful enemies. Uranus is in positive aspect to his Mars, yet the influence of Uranus is always to disrupt, break apart. Relations with his father, son and business partner were often strained.
When Jules Verne departed this life in 1905, he left a literary contribution that is unparalleled. One wonders what he would have made of our own world — and what would a modern Jules Verne write about?