A Tarot de Marseille Process Analysis

As I gain experience with it, I find that divination with the Tarot de Marseille (TdM) is best suited for providing a literal perspective (as with the Lenormand cards) rather than for the more symbolic, impressionistic approach used with most modern tarot decks. This is due primarily to their spare presentation that doesn’t encourage much in the way of free-association from the images. With this in mind, I chose a just-completed spread for the analysis of multi-phase processes to test this assumption. Note that I generally don’t use reversals with the TdM, but in this spread I apply it to the court cards to show whether the “human element” has its “eye on the ball” (upright) or is being distracted by collateral issues (reversed). The facing of a court card is intended to indicate whether that particular “process facilitator” is an entrepreneurial self-starter (looking away from the trump-card “originator”) or more a subordinate drone (looking toward and appealing to the associated trump card for direction). Use of reversal allows a wider range of possibilities for this determination. See my previous post for a full description of this spread and its use.

Procees Management Playbook Spread.JPG

The question I asked for this test case was “How can I improve my on-line business presence?” Here is the layout. As you will see, the court cards were perversely uncooperative in this reading and I had to go to the “bench” a couple of times to replace team members who were ill-suited to their role. This is legitimate because the purpose of this spread is to arrive at the best possible recipe for success. Additionally, there was very little entrepreneurial spirit in it since most of the court card “facilitators”  were looking back toward the “originator” for instructions rather than running their own ship. Since I have a one-man operation, these conditions reflect facets of my own management style (in this case, second-guessing myself) that need adjustment.

All images copyright U.S. Games Systems, Inc, Stamford, CT

The premise card for the “Seeking” phase of process development was Le Monde. The two strategic cards were the Valet de Coupe and the Cavalier d’Epee, both reversed.  The two tactical cards were the 4 of Coins and the 10 of Swords.

TdM Seek Option.JPG

The purpose of this 5-card chain is to pursue insights about effective ways to expand my sales reach in the world of electronic commerce. Le Monde shows that I need to seek a more comprehensive solution than I have heretofore attempted, and to cast a wider net in search of instructive role models. The two “facilitators” are both reversed and facing back toward Le Monde, suggesting that my present approach is too timid. The Valet de Coupe always reminds me of Hamlet’s soliloquy with the skull of Yorick, a theatrical example of navel-gazing that suggests I’m avoiding the issue. The Cavalier d’Epee emulates the braggart Pistol speaking to Falstaff in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor: “Why, then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword will open.” But here he’s heading in the wrong direction and may be more inclined to “tilt at windmills” anyway.  Neither one looks  ready or willing to stand firm in the cause. The practical point here is that I’m not really very comfortable with self-promotion.

I pulled two more court cards to see what management philosophy would be better to adopt and came up with the Roy de Deniers and the Reyne de Coupe, both reversed; these two certainly seem more mature and worldly-wise if not much more enterprising. The Reyne de Coupe is dependent on Le Monde for guidance but the Roy de Deniers is poised to strike out on his own. Of the two, the Roy de Deniers comes across as more capable of “carrying the ball.” I will have to study his symbolic methods in detail.

The two “implementer” cards show that I need to invest money to make money (4 of Coins) and that I must be prepared to face some uncomfortable (or at least inconvenient) truths before I can gain any traction (10 of Swords). None of this is insurmountable as long as I remain determined, which the Roy de Deniers can certainly help with.

The premise card for the “Understanding” phase of process development was L’Etoille. The two strategic cards were the Roy d’Epee reversed and the Cavalier de Baton upright. The two tactical cards were the 3 of Swords and the 6 of Coins.

TdM Understand Option.JPG

Clarity of vision doesn’t seem to be a problem with L’Etoille in discerning the scope of the task ahead; in essence, I’ll “know it when I see it.” Of the two “facilitators,” the Cavalier de Baton seems more eager to “club the opponent into submission” and is wheeling to go out and confront it, while the reversed Roy d’Epee would rather analyze it to death from his throne without reaching any conclusions. I pulled another court card to replace the “armchair engineer” and came up with the Valet de Deniers upright, who amounts to little more than a wet-behind-the-ears squire to the Cavalier de Baton (at least they are pushing in the same direction). I decided to put all my money on the proactive stance of the Cavalier de Baton.

The 3 of Swords and the 6 of Coins as “implementer” cards show the need for a piercing, no-nonsense scrutiny of the playing field that keeps the goal firmly in sight. There may be a tendency to be too critical of the cost-benefit model, which could succumb to “bleeding red ink” in the early going.

The premise card for the “Executing” phase of process development was L’Amoureux. The two “facilitator” cards were the Cavalier de Deniers and the Roy de Coupe, both reversed. The “implementer” cards were the 5 of Coins and the 9 of Coins.

TdM Execute Option.JPG

Right off the bat, L’Amoureux presents me with a challenge: where do I strike first to make the most of the initiative? The man is looking toward the older woman, so it seems I should make the prudent choice rather than the more tempting one (although his roaming hand is reaching toward the “pot of gold” symbolized by the 9 of Coins . . . and “other things”). The pertinent commentary here is “All in due time.” This card also suggests that I might benefit from having a collaborator.

The reversed Cavalier de Deniers and Roy de Coupe are capable enough but they don’t seem to have the “fire in the belly” necessary to pull off an entrepreneurial tour de force. Both are leaning too heavily on L’Amoureux to become consummate self-starters. I pulled two more court cards and got the Valet d’Epee and the Cavalier de Coupe, both upright; while they may be slightly more spry than their predecessors, they still aren’t well-favored to independently “bring home the bacon” since they’re both clearly relying on L’Amoureux to light a fire under them. Of the four, the Cavalier de Deniers at least knows a profitable opportunity when he sees one, so he’s my guy.

The two Coins seem to be “ripe for the picking,” although both are more interested in protecting the principal than cashing in rapidly through risk-taking (hardly an option in this business at the best of times). As “implementers” they suggest minding the store and patiently building on success. Since I’m not counting on this effort to be a major money-maker, I’m perfectly fine with this scenario.

The premise card for the “Transcending” phase of process development was La Justice. The two “facilitator” cards were the Roy de Baton and the Reyne de Deniers, both reversed. The”implementer” cards were the 8 of Cups and the 8 of Wands.

TdM Transcend Option.JPG

As always, La Justice is a card of “receiving one’s just deserts.” The trick with this card is to make sure you’re found deserving and not unworthy when the verdict is handed down, so the advice is to keep to the moral high ground in all things. Given what has gone before in this reading, this seems like a good position to start from for an upward push.

The reversed Roy de Baton and Reyne de Deniers are both enterprising and business-savvy. The Roy de Baton is facing away from La Justice and is better-fitted for a leadership role, while the Reyne de Coupe is tethered to La Justice by her gaze and gesture, and may be too insecure to step out in tandem with him. But she can certainly “keep the home-fires burning.”

The two Eights demand some skillful positioning as I attempt to penetrate more deeply into the public arena. The 8 of Cups is feeling its way cautiously, but the 8 of Wands has no such reservations about a misstep or two in its rush to engage. The Roy de Baton is clearly looking past the 8 of Cups at those waiting staves, eager to wield them. The Eights partake of the equilibrium of La Justice, the eighth trump card. There appears to be much disciplined momentum and dynamic intensity on this path if it can be brought to bear in a controlled manner. All it needs is to be kicked off and rigorously guided.

In summary, the court-card “facilitators” are the keys to  success in this reading since all four trump cards are fairly well-matched in temperament. Only two of the courts were explicitly entrepreneurial in the original pull: the Cavalier de Baton and the Roy de Baton; this was augmented by substituting the Roy de Deniers on the “Seeking” team. With this alignment, it appears there are adequate ambition and practical wisdom available under the circumstances, as long as I’m able to summon them to my use and then follow through. The ball is clearly in my court and victory is mine to gain or lose in the old “Smith-Barney” sense: “We make our money the old fashioned way. We earn it.”.


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