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Reading a Trump-Suit Combo with the Tarot de Marseilles

My favorite card-of-the-day draw involves shuffling the trumps and suit cards separately, then pulling a card at random from each stack. I like to flip the two cards over simultaneously so they hit my retina at the same time, setting up resonance between them.

Suit cards describe the details and address specifics. The trumps are like a color filter or a pinch of herbs – they bring out certain qualities of the suit card without altering its core meaning. Here’s an example from my tarot journal of several entries for one suit card in combination with different trumps.

The Four of Coins for me is about enclosure, safety, consolidation and stability. The downside is being stuck, stagnant, rigid and reluctant to change.

Several years ago, I pulled the Four of Coins along with the Hermit on a day when my aching joints and muscles made me feel one hundred years old. I was trapped in a soul-deadening job where I sat at a computer all day dealing with repetitive stress injuries. The Hermit as Kronos can be a stiff, inflexible old person, so he emphasized the Coins’ feeling of physical rigidity.

A few years after this, when my life circumstances had changed considerably, I got the Four of Coins as my card of the day along with the Papesse. This day was spent pleasantly at home reading and writing in my journal. The Papesse nudged the Coins toward being a safe haven. A few months later, the Four of Coins paired up with the Empress when I spent the day organizing my books and papers. I see the Empress as a practical manager, so on this day she helped me get things in order.

The last time I got the Four of Coins as my card of the day, it was paired with the Hanged Man. The two people closest to me had just died within a few weeks of each other, and I felt suspended in a block of ice. The Hanged Man reinforced the stillness at the center of the enclosure.

On all of these days I had a Four of Coins experience that was flavored by a particular trump card.

You can use this technique as a two-card spread for a quickie reading on a specific question. When I’m using this as my daily draw, I sometimes ask “what do I need to focus on today?” Or “what do I need to be aware of as I go about my day?”

Click here for instructions on setting up a tarot journal to keep track of your card combinations.

The cards seen above are from the Jean Noblet Tarot, first published in Paris in 1650. It’s one of the few extant examples of a TdM I style deck, with some unique details that set it apart from the standard Tarot de Marseilles. This deck has been beautifully restored by the late Jean-Claude Flornoy. It can be seen and purchased at

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and finally got
    the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Lubbock
    Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the excellent

    February 12, 2014
    • Thanks for the encouraging words. I’m so sorry it took me this long to approve your comment: I’ve been taking a break from being online every day.

      February 17, 2014
  2. Stunning quest there. What occurred after?


    February 15, 2014
    • I checked my Tarot journal and see that I haven’t gotten the Four of Coins as my card of the day since that awful time in December 2012. Using my favorite technique for getting more information on a card, I shuffled the deck then looked through it for the Four of Coins and the card on either side of it. Death to the left and Ace of Batons on the right. The Four of Coins suddenly turned into a bare garden plot that has been tilled and raked over in preparation for Spring planting and the germination of new seeds. This Spring may be a new beginning for me. Thanks for getting me to re-visit this card.

      February 17, 2014
  3. That is a great tip especially to those fresh to the
    blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.

    A must read article!

    February 17, 2014
    • Thanks so much for the encouragement. Sometimes I feel like I’m just talking to myself, so it’s heart-warming to know someone out there is reading and appreciating.

      February 17, 2014
  4. Joan #

    Should I separate out the court cards or just ignore them.?

    July 30, 2021
    • I keep the court cards shuffled in with the pips. Court cards are an essential part of the deck. But, you can always pull them out if you want to, if you’re not comfortable reading with them. No fixed rules in my universe.

      July 30, 2021

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