Traditional Tarot

Desultory Notes on the Tarot

Book Review: Marcel Lecomte on Paul Marteau: Le Tarot de Marseille

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Paul Marteau, Le Tarot de Marseille, 1949.

Translator’s Introduction

Following on from a first piece on the Tarot by Marcel Lecomte, Tarot Vertigo, we present his book review of Paul Marteau’s classic work, Le Tarot de Marseille, published a couple of years after the first article. A third article, Exegetes of the Tarot, is published here. One will note the repeated insistence on the importance of Jean Paulhan’s preface, which likewise has been translated here.

* * *

Paul Marteau: Le Tarot de Marseille,

préface de Jean Paulhan, Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1949.

Marcel Lecomte

What makes the problem of the Tarot fascinating is incontestably the link that is established, through the interpretation of the cards, with a Reality that appears to deliver up to us its secret dialectic. It seems that, thanks to the cards, this Reality must open itself up to us in its true unfolding. These cards are a sort of grid, placed onto the world, which responds to the stimulation of the grid. Thus it is no longer a question of knowing if the cards tell the truth, but rather, to what extent they tell that truth.

Jean Paulhan has written a preface for this book in which he adopts a point of view on the Tarot that is outside all esotericism. He wishes to treat of the Tarot in much the same way, more or less, as he would of a language. But he devises these traps and these tricks wherein we find his Taroist position, this bias of attention and distraction by which the mind gives itself its penetration, its surprise.

The Tarot signifies for those who observe Reality. Moreover, it would seem that the singular error of the Marxists, at least those of today, is precisely to not know, or to fail to acknowledge, that everything always exists, that the dialectic they continually put forward never prevents it from integrating into its movement such facts, such structures, as are connected to “lost and recreated secrets”, and on which, for their part, they refuse to meditate, to return to, but these secrets catch up with them, sometimes quite curiously, in the heart of History.

M. L.

84, n° 14, September 1950.

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