Comparison of tarot de Marseilles and G.D. decks.

The Minor Arcana.

By Uri Raz.

The Minor Arcana
Marseilles Book T Rider B.O.T.A. Thoth Comments
Ace of Swords, Marseilles deck A WHITE Radiating Angelic Hand, issuing from clouds, and grasping the hilt of a sword, which supports a White Radiant Celestial Crown; from which depend, on the right, the olive branch of Peace; and on the left, the palm branch of suffering.

Six Vaus fall from its point.
Ace of Swords, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
A hand issues from a cloud, grasping as word, the point of which is encircled by a crown.
Ace of Swords, B.O.T.A deck Ace of Swords, Thoth deck
The card represents the Sword of the Magus (see Book 4, Part II) crowned with the twenty-two rayed diadem of pure Light. The number refers to the Atu; also 22=2 X II, the Magical manifestation of Chokmah, Wisdom, the Logos. Upon the blade, accordingly, is inscribed the Word of the Law, This Word sends forth a blaze of Light, dispersing the dark clouds of the Mind.
The similarities between the cards and the description in Book T are evident. Notice how similar Waite's card is to the Tarot de Marseilles, with a the same hand being drawn and the olive branch drawn on the left and the palm branch drawn on the right - in contrast to the description of Book T. The decks by Wang and the Ciceros have the branches drawn as described in Book T.
As the aces are associated with the sphere of Kether on the tree of life, it's no surprise that Crowley kept the crown on the card even though he dropped the angelic hand, six Vaus, and the branches.

It's noteworthy that, in contrast to the Tarot de Marseilles aces, all the Minchiate Etruria aces feature a crown.
Ace of Wands, Marseilles deck A WHITE Radiating Angelic Hand, issuing from clouds, and grasping a heavy club, which has three branches in the colours, and with the sigils, of the scales. The Right-and Left-hand branches end respectively in three Flames, and the Centre one in four Flames: thus yielding Ten: the Number of the Sephiroth. Two-and-twenty leaping Flames, or Yodh, surround it, answering to the Paths; of these, three fall below the Right branch for Aleph, Men, and Shin, seven above the Central branch for the double letters; and between it and that of the Right twelve: six above and six below about the Left-hand branch. The whole is a great and flaming Torch. Ace of Wands, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
A hand issuing from a cloud grasps a stout wand or club.
Ace of Wands, B.O.T.A deck Ace of Wands, Thoth deck
This card represents the essence of the element of Fire in its inception. It is a solar-phallic outburst of flame from which spring lightnings in every direction.

These flames are Yods, arranged in the form of the Tree of Life.
The similarities between the Tarot de Marseilles & Waite aces and the description in Book T are evident. Notice how similar Waite's card is to the Tarot de Marseilles, with the right hand drawn in both.
Waite has turned the flames into leafs, and thus all the wands in the deck have ten leafs, grouped just like in Book T (two groups of three leafs on the sides, and a group of four leafs in the middle). Crowley made the connection to the tree of life explicit, and the flames are arranged the same way the spheres are arranged on the tree of life.
Ace of Cups, Marseilles deck A WHITE Radiant Angelic Hand, issuing from clouds, and supporting on the palm thereof a cup, resembling that of the Stolistes.

From it rises a fountain of clear and glistening water: and sprays falling on all sides into clear calm water below, in which grow Lotuses and Water-lilies. The great Letter of the Supernal Mother is traced in the spray of the Fountain.
Ace of Cups, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
The waters are beneath, and thereon are water-lilies; the hand issues from the cloud, holding in its palm the cup, from which four streams are pouring; a dove, bearing in its bill a cross-marked Host, descends to place the Wafer in the Cup; the dew of water is falling on all sides. It is an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.
Ace of Cups, B.O.T.A deck Ace of Cups, Thoth deck
This card represents the element of Water in its most secret and original form. It is the feminine complement of the Ace of Wands, and is derived from the Yoni and the Moon exactly as that is from the Lingam and the Sun. The third in the Hierarchy. This accordingly represents the essential form of the Holy Grail. Upon the dark sea of Binah, the Great Mother, are Lotuses, two in one, which fill the cup with the Life-fluid, symbolically represented either as Water, as Blood, or as Wine, according to the selected purpose of the symbolism. This being a primordial card, the liquid is shown as water; it can be transformed into Wine or Blood as may be required.

Above the Cup, descending upon it, is the Dove of the Holy Ghost, thus consecrating the element.

At the base of the Cup is the Moon, for it is the virtue of this card to conceive and to produce the second form of its Nature.
Book T describes a card very different from the Tarot de Marseilles. Waite's Ace of Cups is very similar to the description of Book T.
Two of Pentacles, Marseilles deck TWO wheels, disks or pentacles, similar to that of the Ace. They are united by a green-and-gold serpent, bound about them like a figure of 8. It holds its tail in its mouth. A White Radiant Angelic Hand holds the centre of the whole. No roses enter into this card. Above and below are the symbols of Jupiter and Capricorn. It is a revolving symbol. Two of Pentacles, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
A young man, in the act of dancing, has a pentacle in either hand, and they are joined by that endless cord which is like the number 8 reversed.
Two of Pentacles, B.O.T.A deck Two of Pentacles, Thoth deck
The card represents two Pantacles, one above the other; they are the Chinese symbols of the Yang and Yin duplicated as in the Hsiang. One wheel is dextro- and the other laevo-rotatory. They thus represent the harmonious interplay of the Four Elements in constant movement. One may in fact consider the card as the picture of the complete manifested Universe, in respect of its dynamics.

About them is entwined a green Serpent (see Liber 65, chapter iii, verses 17-20). His tail is in his mouth. He forms the figure Eight, the symbol of the Infinite, the equation 0=2.
Note that all cards keep the banner from the Tarot de Marseilles in one form or another - Book T & Crowley turned it into an Ouroboros, while Waite turned it into the sign of infinity while keeping the green colour.
Only Paul Foster Case, whose pips have nothing but the suit's sign in the appropriate number, dropped the banner completely.
Two of Cups, Marseilles deck A WHITE Radiant Hand, issuant from the lower part of the card from a cloud, holds lotuses. A lotus flower rises above water, which occupies the lower part of the card rising above the hand. From this flower rises a stem, terminating near the top of the card in another lotus, from which flows a sparkling white water, as from a fountain. Crossed on the stem just beneath are two dolphins, Argent and Or, on to which the water falls, and from which it pours in full streams, like jets of gold and silver, into two cups; which in their turn overflow, flooding the lower part of the card. Venus and Cancer above and below. Two of Cups, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
A youth and maiden are pledging one another, and above their cups rises the Caduceus of Hermes, between the great wings of which there appears a lion's head. It is a variant of a sign which is found in a few old examples of this card. Some curious emblematical meanings are attached to it, but they do not concern us in this place.
Two of Cups, B.O.T.A deck Two of Cups, Thoth deck
The hieroglyph of the card represents two cups in the foreground, overflowing upon a calm sea. They are fed with lucent water from a lotus floating upon the sea, from which rises another lotus around whose stem are entwined twin dolphins. The symbolism of the dolphin is very complicated, and must be studied in books of reference; but the general idea is that of the "Royal Art". The dolphin is peculiarly sacred to Alchemy.
Waite's Cadaceus and lion head come from the Soprafino deck, by F. Gumppenberg at 1835, and republished by Il Meneghello, reproduced here thanks to James Revak : Two of Cups, Soprafino deck
Other decks feature two bird heads or no animal heads at all.
Three of Swords, Marseilles deck THREE White Radiating Angelic Hands, issuing from clouds, and holding three swords upright (as though the central sword had struck apart the two others, which were crossed in the preceding symbol): the central sword cuts asunder the rose of five petals, which in the previous symbol grew at the junction of the swords; its petals are falling, and no white rays issue from it.
Above and below the central sword are the symbols of Saturn and Libra.
Three of Swords, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind.
Three of Swords, B.O.T.A deck Three of Swords, Thoth deck
This card is dark and heavy; it is, so to speak, the womb of Chaos. There is an intense lurking passion to create, but its children are monsters. This may mean the supreme transcendence of the natural order. Secrecy is here, and Perversion.

The symbol represents the great Sword of the Magician, point uppermost; it cuts the junction of two short curved swords. The impact has destroyed the rose. In the background, storm broods under implacable night.
This a good example of dissimilarities between the Tarot de Marseilles, Book T, Waite's deck, and Crowley's deck. In this case, The Waite three of swords is very similar to the Sola Busca three of swords :
Three of Swords, Sola-Busca deck
Ten of Pentacles, Marseilles deck AN Angelic Hand, holding by the lower extremity a branch whose roses touch all the Pentacles. No buds, however, are shewn. The symbols of Mercury and Virgo are above and below. The Pentacles are thus arranged :

*   *
  *  
*   *
*   *
  *  
*   *
Ten of Pentacles, Rider-Waite-Smith deck
A man and woman beneath an archway which gives entrance to a house and domain. They are accompanied by a child, who looks curiously at two dogs accosting an ancient personage seated in the foreground. The child's hand is on one of them.
Ten of Pentacles, B.O.T.A deck Ten of Pentacles, Thoth deck
The disks, or (as they have now become) coins, are arranged on the Tree of Life, but the Tenth coin is much larger than the rest; the image indicates the futility of material gain.
Here, book T dictates that the coins are to be arranged as in the Tarot de Marseilles, while both Waite, Crowley, and Paul Foster Case had the coins arranged like the spheres on the tree of life.
Paul Foster Case took this pattern further - many of the pips are arranged on the pattern of the tree of life.
Queen of Cups, Marseilles deck A VERY beautiful fair woman like a crowned Queen, seated upon a throne, beneath which is flowing water wherein Lotuses are seen. Her general dress is similar to that of the Queen of Wands, but upon her crown, cuirass and buskins is seen an Ibis with opened wings, and beside her is the same bird, whereon her hand rests. She holds a cup, wherefrom a crayfish issues. Her face is dreamy. She holds a lotus in the hand upon the Ibis.Queen of Cups, from Darcy Kuntz's The Golden Dawn Court Cards as Drawn by W.W.Westcott Queen of Cups, Rider Waite deck
Beautiful, fair, dreamy--as one who sees visions in a cup. This is, however, only one of her aspects; she sees, but she also acts, and her activity feeds her dream.
Queen of Cups, B.O.T.A deck Queen of Cups, Thoth deck
She is represented as enthroned upon still water. In her hand she bears a shell-like cup, from which issues a crayfish, and she bears also the Lotus of Isis, of the Great Mother. She is robed in, and veiled by, endless curves of light, and the sea upon which she is enthroned conveys the almost unbroken images of the image which she represents.
Waite follows tradition and has the cup drawn closed - in contrast to the description of Book T.

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