Upright interpretations of Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles and Strength VIII: The Rider Deck
In the following posts we talk about Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles, (B.P. Grimaud, France) that, together with many of the older European tarot decks, is an archetype that represents a need for great courage and self-control; usually necessary in a situation of considerable internal and external conflict, and sometimes, both. She is one of the Four Virtues of the Major Arcana. When we are gripped by challenges to our core beliefs and to our sense of fairness, usually surrounding events that involve significant relationships, Force XI: Marseilles and Strength VIII: Rider often appears in a tarot reading indicating a need for compassionate and ethical behaviour.
Force XI: Marseilles Is a call to us to develop inner-strength and to triumph over potentially self-destructive feelings; offering the opportunity for a level of self-reflection that can bring us greater wisdom.
Force XI: Marseilles depicts a graceful yet gritty young woman wearing an enormous hat in the shape of a lemniscate; also the sign for Infinity and the ouroboros (worn by The Magician I). Her broad hat touches the very top of the card’s image and appears to extend past the card’s uppermost border; an indication of qualities that lie beyond the realms of the physical and seen world. Her hat is the shape of a number eight and positioned at the eighth chakra; signifying divine love, spiritual compassion and selflessness.
Her hat is an elegant pattern of blue, white and golden-yellow. White, which is also the colour of the eighth chakra, indicates the pure intentions and unlimited potential. Deep-blue represents the sixth chakra; that of inner-sight and ‘knowing’. This colour depicts a person of integrity and a vibrant intellect. Golden-yellow is the colour of the third chakra and suggests self-confidence, generosity and abundance.
In the Tarot of Marseilles, the direction in which the Major archetypes face - their whole body language - is entirely intentional. The face of Force XI: Marseilles is raised and, when she appears upright in a spread for a tarot reading, her head and body turn towards the right; traditionally the direction of the future. Her facial expression appears a little weary but one of quiet confidence; and her eyes convey a sense of clarity and solid determination. Her gaze is steady and her attention seems drawn beyond that of her immediate challenge, that of comforting the beast below her, to a further challenge of The Hanged Man XII. Even while she has successfully dealt with a threatening or fearful situation, calmed the beast and quieted ‘the rage within', Force XI: Marseilles might now see that a personal sacrifice lies ahead in order that she grows as a person.