The Tarot of Marseilles, the Sola Busca, their meaning and divination

The History of Tarot

The origins of the Tarot are not certain. Seems that originated in the Middle Ages in northern Italy, and yes spread across Europe with great speed. They were 78-card decks destined to play in the courts, a refined and intellectual pastime. The wealthiest they commissioned the painting of their papers to more or less famous painters; who he could not afford it instead he bought decks of cards printed in series, created with wooden matrices and colored with mattes. The "divinatory" reading does not was still known, it would become prevalent only with the French school of the eighteenth century. 

Others say they derive from hieroglyphs of the Book of Thoth, are a synthesis of Egyptian knowledge and religion. Others argue that their birth is Chinese, due to the different similarities with the I Ching, the guardian book of ancient Chinese ancient wisdom more than three thousand years. Still others argue that the origin is all Italian, placing them in the court of the Duke of Milan at the beginning of the fifteenth century. 

Sure is that the Tarot cards are very hermetic cards, with symbols other than tradition to tradition, and different methods of use and divination. 


The Tarot of Marseilles

The Tarot of Marseilles or "THE MAJOR ARCANA":

1) The fortune teller can divine to others present, or to himself. They must be ask questions as clear as possible. The Tarot does not give specific answers, but they address the moral, psychological or distinctive characteristics of what they want to show us.
2) The Consultant officially exposes the question aloud, and fixes it in the his mind. The Fortuneteller mixes the 22 Arcana and invites the Consultant to cut the deck and choose a number from 1 to 22 inclusive.
3) The Fortuneteller counts from the covered deck the number expressed by the Consultant up to arrive at the corresponding card, and uncover it, noting the number in Roman letters present in the upper part of the image (The Magician is 1, The Popess is 2, etcetera; The Fool is marked with zero and is worth 22; The death is worth 13. This first card that will come out will represent the Affirmation, and will indicate the favorable elements of the present situation, the quality or the behavior that should be maintained. For example, if the number chosen is 18, the Fortuneteller will choose the eighteenth card from the deck, for example it could be The Force, which is numbered 11, and will therefore come noted the number 11.
4) The card is reinserted into the deck, shuffled again, another is chosen number (even the same) and the chosen card is revealed. The one that will come out represents the Negation: it will indicate the elements unfavorable to present situation, behavior or quality that you are opposed to those of the statement.

5) The deck is shuffled again and the operations repeated. The card that will come out this time he represents the Mediator: he will indicate the behavior or the quality that must intervene between affirmation and denial in order to get what you asked for.
6) The last card to be discovered will be the Solution, and will give the answer of the Tarot on the situation for which, until now, the cards have been limited to Give advices. It is linked to the first three cards through an operation mathematics instead of the method used so far: the numbers of images of the three cards chosen previously. If the sum is greater than 22 the two digits of the number obtained must be added.
For example: The Force 11 + The Wheel 10 + The Empress 3 = 24, so 2 + 4 = 6 
To look which card corresponds to the number obtained (for example 6 = The Lovers), e consider it as the general opinion on the whole situation.

Example: How to overcome the current moment of crisis at work? Affirmation: The Emperor (IV), Denial: The Hanged Man
(XII), Mediator: The Wheel of Fortune (X). Operation 4 + 12 + 10 = 26, 2 + 6 = 8, number of Justice. Response: use calculation and tenacity, do not wait passively the change of events, but still have faith in provisional nature of the situation, which can lead to a fruitful future. There Justice suggests that you always remain righteous and just in your actions you will undertake.


You there are many ways of divining with the Tarot, some of which include that the cards can come out upside down, acquiring different, opposite readings.

0 - The Fool (the value to be noted for divination is 22): it is the incitement to let ourselves go, to live freely, freeing ourselves from the excess of logic, of rationality. It is inspiration and genius (often misunderstood). If it comes out upside down, yes highlight all the negative aspects: irresponsibility, irrationality, obsession, immaturity, lack of logic, acting instinctively in the wrong way, lack of guiding values. Or also: little respect for oneself; break up passively lead from events.

I - 1 - The Magician: it is the imagination applied rationally, certainty of self, willpower, ability to choose the right action. Represents activity, he who is the creator of his own fortune, enterprising, who it acts and gets results. Reversed it can mean acting for evil, without thinking, being in too much haste, careerism, mistrust of one's own abilities that there are, obsession with material results by neglecting true values.

II - 2 - The Popess: Intelligence, discernment, perspicacity, generosity e sweetness in romantic relationships, clarity in business. If overturned represents being pedantic and presumptuous, using information for purposes questionable, or pitfall from a very intelligent woman.

III - 3 - The Empress: Stability, inner strength, willpower, government some things. In love, fruitfulness, fertility, marriage, fidelity. A figure strong external that helps us in a situation, a support, a point of stability and strength. If reversed, it is moral rigidity and in acting, an excess of drastic measures, excessive protective instinct towards another person.

IIII - 4 - The Emperor: Male correspondent of the Empress, he is energy, authority, power, firmness, tenacity. Strong character, reagin capacity to every situation and to dominate passions with intelligence. In love it is fidelity, protection, sweetness. In business it is security, intelligent calculation, loyalty. On the contrary, rigidity, arrogance, severity, drasticity, excessive use of strength.

V - 5 - The Pope: Faith, meditation, discernment of the mystery, resignation, pity, selfless good advice, faithful and loyal person you can rely on. To the opposite is to seek too much approval from others, not to make decisions on your own, take sides where the wind blows, not have the strength to support our positions.

VI - 6 - The Lovers: Pure affections, deep feelings, sometimes temptations. To leave the past, safety, tradition to go towards the unknown, tension or doubt about two opposites, even for business. Upside down can be too much love that is oppressive, non-positive union, separation and breakup.

VII - 7 - The Chariot: Victory, success, ability to triumph, tendency to travel and big business, especially triumphs when diplomacy is needed. Reversed emphasizes how success must be managed and guided, to have satisfaction and no negative effects.

VIII - 8 - Justice: Impartiality, independence of spirit, respect for hierarchies, ability to overcome temptations not to commit evil, fairness and righteousness. It is also a reckoning, verification, test passed, virtue. Self upside down is a break in the balance, injustice, excessive severity, unfavorable evaluation.

VIIII - 9 - The Hermit: Wisdom, prudence, silence, confidentiality, recollection. Reversed it is excess of prudence, of isolation from others, of reflection and scarce Act. Imprudence, bad orientation on what you are doing, not having still understood how things really are, and who to trust.

X - 10 - Wheel of Fortune: Success as for The Chariot, but obtained for luck and not for personal merit. Remember the precariousness of situations destined to evolve and change, with the possibility of a fruitful opportunity. On the contrary it represents the changes in the situation for the worse, fate adverse, lack of readiness to exploit change as an opportunity.

XI - 11 - The Force: encourages the use of one's intelligence to solve the situations, without drastic measures, to hasty solutions, or to force. Reversed denotes poor results due to excessive use of force or reactions impulsive, without thinking.

XII - 12 - The Hanged Man: the situation of those who are not deep in efforts that would be useless, and awaits the change of events knowing that the situation
unfavorable is only temporary. It symbolizes a sacrifice, a condition unfavorable to endure, to achieve a goal. Upside down is a bad one reaction in the face of a temporary difficulty, useless efforts to modify a situation for which instead there is only to wait.

XIII - 13 - Death: symbolizes a traumatic phase in the cycle of life that it precedes a new birth, it is change. It can also relate to the end of a negative cycle and consequent renewal. Associated with other cards unfavorable, it helps to outline a negative picture. Upside down can to denote only the bad ending of a situation, or misfortunes.

XIIII - 14 - Temperance: An invitation to moderation, self-control, al relaxation, to avoid excesses. Or also: you are taking one situation with the right balance, and must be maintained. On the contrary, it is lack of moderation, excesses, not taking the situation with the right balance, making mistakes the attitude.

XV - 15 - The Devil: The devil card is the most negative card of the tarot. It can symbolize evil or danger. Immorality, degeneration, wickedness, and various vices. On the contrary it is pure evil, or unbridled passion, or even the end of a dangerous situation.

XVI - 16 - The Tower: It is an unfavorable card, the punishment of pride, foretells a failure due to our lack of humility. Calls not to flaunt too much one's success, not to be too presumptuous or arrogant with others. Reversed is an excess of pride, ostentation, or ambition, enmity strong of someone who will try in every way to put a spoke in the wheel, however it indicates losses.

XVII - 17 - The Stars: encourages us to be optimistic because the stars are with us and they are emanating their beneficial influences, fertility of ideas and circumstances favorable. We will find joy, good humor, that we will be satisfied and happy. Reversed it is a favorable situation that has not been seized, opportunities not exploited. Excessive pessimism.

XVIII - 18 - The Moon: pay attention since the external circumstances are unfavorable, tempting and deceptive. Hidden pitfalls, deceptions, people deceitful, enemies disguised as friends. Upside down you are undergoing a deception, or short-term pitfalls.

XVIIII - 19 - The Sun: period of serenity and good humor. Great satisfaction personal after less fortunate moments. Upside down is a negative situation that
slows to turn to the best. It is hard to get joy and carefree from situations that are positive.

XX - 20 - The Judgment: renewal of a situation, moment of the surrender of the accounts. Do not procrastinate or postpone, but face the showdown and the related consequences. Knots that come to a head, closure of a situation, final judgement. Reversal is unfavorable showdown, punishment suffered, operated incorrect that is discovered and sanctioned.

XXI - 21 - The World: purity and harmony, creation and human knowledge. The objectives they will be achieved, you will be successful in what you are doing, it will be achieved inner serenity. Reversing is achieving success by acting incorrectly, but despite this everything will be fine.


THe Sola Busca Tarots

History of Sola Busca Tarot

The Sola Busca Tarots date back to 1491, and bear the name of its previous owners, the Marquise Busca and Count Sola. It is the oldest complete deck in the world and is therefore of exceptional importance, increased by the quality of the representations. Precisely for these reasons it was bound in 1924 by the then Ministry of Education. In 2009 the owners decided to sell it to the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, and today they are publicly owned.The game of Tarot is cited by sources as a pastime of the upper classes starting from the fifth decade of the fifteenth century, especially in the area Ferrara. These were 78-card decks intended for play in the courts, a refined and intellectual pastime, very different from the card games that were played in taverns, deplored and sanctioned by the laws. The wealthiest commissioned the painting of their papers to more or less famous painters; those who could not afford it bought instead decks of cards printed in series, created with wooden matrices and colored with mattes. The "divination" reading was not yet known, it would become prevalent only with the French school of the eighteenth century. The Sola Busca deck is composed of 78 cards, 22 "trumps" and 56 cards of the four traditional Italian suits (coins, swords, sticks and cups): these are prints on paper from burin engravings, which were then illuminated with tempera and gold colors. The more traditional images of the fifteenth-century "triumphs" are replaced by figures of warriors from Roman antiquity and heroes of history biblical.

Among the characters depicted there are some that are difficult to identify, also due to homonyms and probable distortions. The Roman characters are those linked to the Catiline conspiracy and civil wars, examples of virtues of illustrious men for their skills (in war, in politics, in social roles) to be imitated., With a possible allusion to events of internal politics that today they are difficult for us to specify, at least until a more in-depth investigation is carried out on the classical sources of the fifteenth century and the Middle Ages. deciphering made it possible to interpret the deck as a living testimony of alchemical-hermetic knowledge. Thanks to the reading of the coats of arms present in the deck and the monogram “M. S. " Marin Sanudo the Younger was identified as the owner of the deck and responsible for its "coloring" in Venice in 1491.
The first 22 cards of the Triumphs of Sola Busca are different from the known numbers and symbols reproduced in the Tarot of Marseille, so the interpretation of the images is also different. This Tarot series has not yet been fully interpreted, so everyone can give their own personal interpretation to each image. The table below represents our personal interpretation, based on the Marseille symbology and the history of the characters represented, and in many cases it goes beyond the classical numerology of the Marseille people. We have reported the explanation at the bottom of the page.


There are many methods of reading the Tarot, the 3-card Method is the simplest and most useful for training.

After the precise and detailed question the cards are shuffled, the questioner chooses 3 cards and they turn over on the table. The first to the left of those who ask the question, the second to the center, the third to the right. The 3 cards represent the answers to the question.
Left: the past, the energies that have worked so far 
Center: the present, the current path, the problem to understand
Right: the future, where the energies that are at stake lead
With these 3 objectives the question is interpreted on the basis of the intuitions that suggest these canonical meanings of our interpretation:

Attention: the numbers are different from the classical Tarots: read the "Explanation of our interpretation" at the foot of the page.

MAJOR ARCANAS  (signed by roman numbers)

0 – the Fool: Potential, Energy in motion

I - The Popesse: Rest, Gestation, Preparation

II - the Pope: Look over, Dare to Dream

III - the Magician: Talents, Possible dreams

IV - HangedMan: Observe upsidedown, Listen, Healing

V - Judgement: Presence balance, Right thought

VI - the Lover: Follow the heart, Crossroads, Rebirth

VII - Chariot: Project creation, Let it happen

VIII - Strength: Tame the beast, Apocalypse

VIIII - Emperor: Rationality Stability, Emotion control  

X - the Wheel of Fortune : Precarious balance, End of a cycle

XI - the Moon: Female matrix of everything, Diffucult trip

XII - Hermit: Separation crisis, Advance confident

XIII - the Death: Total change, Clean cut

XIIII - the Judjment: Annunciation, New being, Celestial forces

XV - Devil: Face fears, Physical awakening

XVI – the Sun: Revelation, Exceeding limits

XVII – the Temperance: Understanding of the past, Healing

XVIII - the Stars: Sacred act to make dreams come true, Link to sky

XVIIII - Empress: Courage Creativity, Provocation

XX - the Tower: abandonment of the Ego, Initiation, Break

XXI - the World: Flowering balance, New cycle

MINOR ARCANAS (signed by arabic numbers)


1 - Clubs Creation of new things and ideas

2 - Clubs Union and strong collaboration

3 - Clubs Shield and perfect protection

4 - Clubs Symmetry, Harmony

5 - Clubs Break balance, Dynamism

6 - Clubs Positive and favorable situation

7 - Clubs Unlock situation, Positive surprise

8 - Clubs Very stable and lasting balance

9 - Clubs Perfect action, number 3 for 3 times

10 - Clubs The maximum of dynamic energy

11 - Page Positive young initiative

12 - Knight Defender Strong success

13 - Queen Exceptional and selfless woman

14 - King Very strong and very good man


1 - Cups Fertility and joy of living

2 - Cups Close union with other person

3 - Cups Tuning, fellowship

4 - Cups Affective balance stable

5 - Cups Good news, Opportunity

6 - Cups Return of the good times

7 - Cups Magical period of unexpected things

8 - Cups Opportunity to reflect and create

9 - Cups Very good in all fields

10 - Cups Great inner wealth

11 - Page Powerful attraction to young people

12 - Knight Vitality and rediscovery in love

13 - Queen Smart maternal woman

14 - King Generous and charismatic man


1 - Swords Strength and fearless ambition

2 - Swords Fight ally found

3 - Swords End of a collaboration

4 - Swords Solitude Conflict Obstacles

5 - Swords Serious loss of rationality

6 - Swords Choice to be taken with indecision

7 - Swords Great new project

8 - Swords Great new project

9 - Swords Knowing how to move between pitfalls

10 - Swords Maximum willpower

11 - Page Advantages from incorrect actions

12 - Knight Aggression to defend injustices

13 - Queen Woman of great loyal and virtues

14 - King Important man who can help us


1 - Coins Euphoria and happiness economic

2 - Coins Business collaboration

3 - Coins Excellent development prospects

4 - Coins Balance in resource management

5 - Coins Great successes every field

6 - Coins Unexpected gifts and fortunes

7 - Coins Excellent results, Acknowledgments

8 - Coins Serenity free from money

9 - Coins Economic security

10 - Coins Opportunities able to seize

11 - Page Good too economic news

12 - Knight Success in business, Help received

13 - Queen Woman helping to find happiness

14 - King Rich and powerful man

Explanation of our interpretation of the major arcana

The Sola Busca have yet to be interpreted and studied in depth. We have given our personal interpretation, based on the search for the classical symbology of the Marseillais, and on the life of the historical characters represented. Our interpretation therefore goes beyond classical numerology, and only a few cards coincide. The next interpretation is up to you! 

0 - The Fool: Rich headdress, raven looking at him in the eyes and mirror each other.

I - Panfilo - The Popess: he was sent to Greece where he managed to settle the conflicts between the Thessalians and the Macedonians. In addition, it reduced the Apuani Liguri or the inhabitants of Liguria who lived in the Apuan mountains, under Roman rule without shedding a single drop of blood. In such
sense, the triumphal crown that surrounds the head of the character acquires a significant value, as a reward for his victory.

II - Postumio - The Pope: he was appointed praetor and sent to the Gallia Cisalpina, the current Po Valley, to tame the inhabitants of those lands. However, the Roman legions he commanded were defeated in the woods Litana from the Galli Boi, allies of Hannibal. His head was hollowed out inside and, once decorated with gold, it was used by the Gauls as a sacrificial cup, a sacred vessel with which in solemn feasts they celebrated the sacrifice, and the itself served the use of the priest and the presidents of the Temple. In the card his skull colored in gold was depicted.

III - Lenpio - The Magician: Concept of transformation for the cup, and the stick in your hand and a herb that is about to be used or burned or cooked, and vision beyond things given by the character Strabo, with sight defect, symbolized by the hand covering one eye.

IIII - Mario - The Hanged Man: The symbolism leads back to a character immobile against his will and in precarious balance. It has just leaning on a two-branched shrub, ready to go as the gaze shows us attentive and not at all relaxed, and with his right hand he holds a rod on which waving a red flag, a symbol of the revenge against Silla. The winged helmet that adorns his head expresses the sign of further imminent victory.

V - Catulo - The Justice: One appears in the card trutina, the scale used by the Romans to administer Justice.

VI - Sesto - The Lovers or Love: Symbolism of uncertainty and of the crossroads given by the fact that the young man holds a shield leaning on ground while observing a torch that he holds in his left hand, and the body he is facing the shield and his head towards the torch  VII - Deotaur - The Chariot: symbolism given by the character known as upright, upright, virtuous and faithful

VIII - Nero - The Force: symbolism given by keeping with firmness of the child's legs as he removes him from the flames (or places him there?), from the pose of the arms and from the bare head and full of hair.

VIIII - Falco - The Emperor: symbolism of wisdom e of the power given by a man crowned and kneeling, with a long gray beard, who holds a pole in the right, a symbol of power, while the shield and the helmet they are resting on the ground, signifying his non-violent attitude.

X - Venturio - The Wheel of Fortune: character “touched by ventura” (lucky), symbols are the winged shoes worn by the character who they are not a sufficient guarantee of victory, precisely because they are a symbol of Fate that decides human destiny.

XI - Tulio - The Moon: the character observes the torch, and a large, heavy shield hangs from his back causing him to stagger.
It symbolizes self-observation through energy, the unconscious and the emotions.

XII - Carbone - The Hermit: symbolism given by the cup with the flame held high in the right hand, with the left hand facing in low leans on the decorated stick, and the moon on top of the paper 
XIII - Cato - Death: the character holds a spear with which he pierces the head of a killed man and holds papers in his hand, meanwhile, a star at the top illuminates the scene and there are few other elements recognizable are poured out on the ground

XIIII - Bocho - The Judgment: the image represents the resurrection of the dead in the last judgment, with a man rising from
earth with the help of a shield, and the bewildered face, the uncovered head and the red flag of the rescue. The character was portrayed as a traitor when instead Sallust in his works "resurrected" him as a wise man e moderate and sad in having to make decisions that, in one sense or another, they would have condemned him to be valued as a despicable man.

XV - Metelo - The Devil: symbolism given by the character wearing a red and conical hat, with the tip folded forward, that is one of the attributes of the religion of Mithras which was introduced in Rome in II / I century BC, together with the sacral scepter and the flame, represented from the lit urn above the column. Mitra was one of the many masks of the light-bearing god, of the sacred fire of the Romans or of the Lucifer of later Christian tradition.

XVI - Olivo - The Sun: symbolism given by the sun above a right and the basilisk, which was said to be necessary in alchemy to produce gold

XVII - Ipeo - Temperance: old man in Franciscan habit with two huge wings on his shoulders praying in front of a tree on whose top the face of an angel appears. He is the humble servant of earthly wisdom of the tree of life and the illuminating one of the heavens represented by angelic cherub rising from the top of that same tree.

XVIII - Lentulo - The Stars: in the stars the character is a naked woman, and here the character wears the toga transparent purple worn by aediles, and in all the chronicles this consul Lentulo is praised as a man of extraordinary wisdom, honesty and rigor intellectual. The symbolism is the man who observes the torch symbol of the truth (in the future it will be a woman who will observe the stars), and touch her own beard and the base of the torch, symbolizing the connection between a world and the other

XVIIII - Sabino - The Empress: the kneeling man looks at the sky and holds in his hand a fine staff symbol of the scepter, in the other an overturned helmet symbol of the triangle pointing downwards. Man holds the role of universal recipient of the Gospel message, a sun of truth

XX - Nenbroto - The Tower: founder of a powerful empire in Babylon whose initial nucleus was the city of Babel. Probably to him yes owes the construction of the tower instigating the whole world to rebel against sovereignty of God proudly raising an instrument with which to overcome the same divine height.

XXI - Nabuchodenasor - The World: character depicting Babylonian ruler who conquered and destroyed Jerusalem. The figure in the middle bust contemplates, almost asleep, the crown and the staff, and above her the world covered with stars, divided into 4 parts and surmounted by the griffin, animal
half lion and half eagle, symbol of Christ in his human and divine form al place of the 4 evangelists.

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