Tirage en Croix


On a different matter, while casually exploring the summing of Minor Arcana cards, I was rather delighted and entertained by an apparent numerological pattern that emerged. See diagram at: https://goo.gl/photos/SvTno6PdWxQL8HGC8

I was using the Minor Arcana cards in the Tirage en Croix layout, despite that traditionally the layout uses only the Major Arcana. The pattern may be coincidental, but I find it nevertheless intriguing.

For easier reading and reference, I copy here the explanatory text from below the diagram in the image.

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"In this exploration, the Major Arcana cards are from 0 to 21 (with The Fool as card 0 but not 22), and the cards of the Minor Arcana’s four suits (Batons, Cups, Swords and Coins) are from 22 to 77. Then, numerologically summing the first four cards of a suit, to arrive at a number less than 22, yields the number of a Major Arcana card containing symbolism relatable in theme or appearance to that of the given suit.

"- For Batons, the sum of the first four cards is 13, the card number of Death. In the Visconti-Sforza deck, one of the oldest, Death holds an arrow and a man-high wooden longbow; in later decks Death holds a sickle or, in the Waite-Smith design, a standard (pole with flag). The connection at first glance seems far more tenuous than the others below, but Batons have combative implications (and despite movies and fiction, swords were not as significant in battle as spear and bow), so perhaps Death and longbow are fitting here.

"- For Cups, the sum of the first four cards is 6, the card number of The Lovers which does not depict a cup but does relate thematically in that it touches on emotions and love. Indeed, in modern playing cards the Cups have metamorphosized into the suit called Hearts, hearts being a primary symbol of love.

"- For Swords, the sum of the first four cards is 8, Justice bearing a sword (disregarding some modern decks that swap cards 8 and 11.)

- For Coins, the sum of the first four cards is 10, the card number of The Wheel of Fortune which is both circular like the Coins and tied to ideas of prosperity and impoverishment.

"Are these connections happenstance? Perhaps! A more striking organization of cards is the Lemniscate Tableau, where the 22 Major Arcana cards are organized in the form of a figure 8, making visually obvious the complementary aspects of cards positioned opposite each other."

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The instructions you posted here are identical to those on page 313 of Le Tarot des Imagiers du Moyen Age published by Tchou. A long time ago, I experimented with this method of drawing the cards, and I recall getting the same card twice in a few spreads. It's a great learning experience, figuring out how to interpret the same card when it's the negative aspect of the situation and the advice at the same time. Or worse, yet, both the positive and negative aspect.

I just looked through my small stack of how-to-read-tarot books in French. They all have the cross spread, but none use this method. They have you pull four different cards from the deck as you would for any spread, then derive the center card from the sum of the four.


Thank you so much for the corroboration, and for checking your other books in French!

Some contemporary English language Web sites outline what they term the "Wirth method" but they either omit or are unclear that a card can be used in more than one position. I have been casually working on basic French vocabulary but it is not up to snuff for anything serious.

The reason I began looking at this spread is because I have been working on a pet project with scanned images of several historical decks for comparison and contemplation, and I had been debating whether to list more than one traditional procedure under this spread.

And I am intrigued by the challenge you point out, to be open to interpreting a card from different perspectives and frames. I will take this method as a cue to work on a more creative and divergent thinking process. When I started looking into Tarot, I felt an impulse to draw cards out at random from different parts of the deck, rather than as a consecutive group, but it did not occur to me to allow the same card for more than one position.

This also makes it possible, though extraordinary, for the synthesizing calculation to place very low numbered cards (Le Bateleur, La Papesse) in the central position of this spread.