Discovering Tarot de Besancon: A French Twist on Tarot Cards

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Tarot cards have been a source of fascination for centuries, with people using them to gain insight into their lives and to uncover their futures. One of the most unique and intriguing of all tarot decks is the Tarot de Besancon, a French transformation that has stood the test of time. With its intricate artwork and detailed symbolism, this deck has captivated those who seek to unravel the mysteries hidden within it. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the Tarot de Besancon, exploring its history, structure, and how to interpret its powerful messages. Whether you are a seasoned tarot reader or a curious beginner, the Tarot de Besancon is sure to pique your interest and inspire your imagination.

What is Tarot de Besancon?

As we delve into the world of tarot, we may come across the Tarot de Besancon deck. This deck has a rich history and unique features that set it apart from other tarot decks. The Tarot de Besancon deck has been part of the tarot world for centuries and many readers still use it to this day. But what exactly is the Tarot de Besancon deck? How does it differ from other popular decks like the Marseille Tarot deck or the Rider-Waite Tarot deck? Let’s take a closer look without forgetting the influence of the Golden Dawn on this topic which we have covered previously in our Golden Dawn Tarot Occult Article.

A Brief History of Tarot de Besancon

A Brief History of Tarot de Besancon

The Tarot de Besancon is a French transformation of the traditional tarot deck. It is also known as the Tarot de Besancon-Jeu du Dames since it was originally designed for women in the 18th century. The city of Besancon, located in eastern France, became a hub for card makers during this time, and the tarot’s popularity spread throughout the region.

One of the earliest versions of the Tarot de Besancon was created by François Guyot, a Besancon card maker, in 1748. However, this version had fewer cards and was not as intricate as later versions. It was not until the 19th century that the tarot gained popularity in France, and the Tarot de Besancon started to become one of the leading French tarot decks.

In the early 20th century, card makers in Besancon began to make adjustments to the original Tarot de Besancon design, adding more vibrant colors and intricate details. One of the most prominent changes was the addition of a 79th card, a blank card to represent the idea of fate or the unknown.

Today, the Tarot de Besancon remains a popular deck among French tarot enthusiasts. Its traditional French suits of cups, swords, wands, and coins are similar to those of the Marseilles tarot deck, but it also has distinctive features that set it apart from other traditional tarot decks like the Rider-Waite tarot deck, such as the use of gold leaf in the design.

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The Deck

The Deck
When exploring the world of tarot, the deck itself is the heart of the experience. The Tarot de Besancon is no exception, showcasing unique designs and symbols that set it apart from other tarot decks. The deck has a rich history and is a French transformation of the original tarot deck. If you’re familiar with other classic tarot decks, such as the Marseille Tarot deck or the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, then you may already have a basic understanding of tarot decks. However, the Tarot de Besancon has its own distinct qualities, and learning about it can enhance your experience with tarot even further. Let’s delve into the deck and discover its unique features.

The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a foundational part of Tarot de Besancon, consisting of 22 cards that represent key archetypes and universal themes. The cards are numbered from 0 to 21, and each has a unique pictorial representation that conveys its meaning.

The following table summarizes the Major Arcana cards in Tarot de Besancon:

Card Name Meaning
0 The Fool Represents new beginnings, innocence, and spontaneity
1 The Magician Symbolizes skill, willpower, and manifestation of goals
2 The High Priestess Signifies intuition, secrets, and hidden knowledge
3 The Empress Represents motherhood, fertility, and nurturing energy
4 The Emperor Symbolizes authority, structure, and stability
5 The Hierophant Signifies tradition, conformity, and belief systems
6 The Lovers Represent partnership, choice, and harmony
7 The Chariot Symbolizes control, willpower, and success
8 Strength Signifies inner strength, courage, and fortitude
9 The Hermit Represents introspection, solitude, and seeking knowledge
10 Wheel of Fortune Symbolizes the cyclical nature of life, destiny, and change
11 Justice Signifies balance, fairness, and the law
12 The Hanged Man Represents suspension, sacrifice, and letting go
13 Death Symbolizes transformation, letting go, and renewal
14 Temperance Signifies harmony, balance, and moderation
15 The Devil Represents materialism, bondage, and addiction
16 The Tower Symbolizes upheaval, chaos, and sudden change
17 The Star Signifies hope, inspiration, and guidance
18 The Moon Represents the subconscious, intuition, and the unknown
19 The Sun Symbolizes joy, success, and vitality
20 Judgement Signifies rebirth, awakening, and making amends
21 The World Represents fulfillment, completion, and integration

Each card in the Major Arcana has a different meaning, and their placement in a Tarot de Besancon reading can provide insight into the querent’s personal journey and overall life path. Understanding the symbolism and interpretation of the Major Arcana cards is an essential aspect of becoming proficient in Tarot de Besancon reading.

The Minor Arcana

When it comes to the Tarot de Besancon deck, the Minor Arcana cards are divided into four suits: Swords, Cups, Coins, and Batons. Each suit contains ten numbered cards (Ace through Ten) and four court cards (Page, Knight, Queen, and King).

The Swords Suit: The Swords suit represents the element of air and is associated with intellectual pursuits and decision-making. The imagery on the Swords cards often depicts struggle, conflict, and hardship.

The Cups Suit: The Cups suit represents the element of water and is associated with emotions and relationships. The imagery on the Cups cards often depict themes of love, joy, and happiness.

The Coins Suit: The Coins suit represents the element of earth and is associated with material possessions and finances. The imagery on the Coins cards often depict themes of wealth, craftsmanship, and stability.

The Batons Suit: The Batons suit represents the element of fire and is associated with creativity, energy, and passion. The imagery on the Batons cards often depict themes of inspiration, growth, and transformation.

The numbered cards in each suit represent different stages or aspects of the suit’s theme. The court cards represent different people or energies that may be influencing the situation.

It’s important to remember that the meaning of each card can be influenced by its position in a spread and the surrounding cards. For example, the Three of Swords (depicting a heart with three swords piercing through it) may indicate heartbreak, but if it appears in a spread with other Swords cards, it may suggest a need for clear communication and conflict resolution.

While the Minor Arcana may not have the same level of symbolism and weight as the Major Arcana, they still provide valuable insights and details for the reader to interpret.

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Interpreting Tarot de Besancon

Now that we know about the history and composition of Tarot de Besancon, it’s time to delve into the art of interpretation. As with any tarot deck, the meanings of the cards are open to interpretation and can vary based on the individual’s intuition and perspective. However, there are certain traditional interpretations that can serve as a guide. With its unique imagery and symbolism, Tarot de Besancon offers a distinct approach to divination that can be both fascinating and enlightening. So, how do we begin to unlock the secrets of its cards? Let’s explore some tips and techniques for interpreting Tarot de Besancon.

How to Read Tarot de Besancon

Reading Tarot de Besancon can be a perplexing process for someone who is not familiar with the deck. However, with a little practice and patience, anyone can master the art of reading this deck. Here are a few tips on how to read Tarot de Besancon:

Familiarize Yourself with the Cards
Before you start reading with Tarot de Besancon, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the cards. Each card in the deck has a specific meaning, and knowing the significance of each is critical to interpreting the cards accurately. Take some time to study the cards and their meanings. You can also refer to a tarot guidebook for additional information and insights.
Set Your Intention
Before you begin your reading, take a moment to set your intention. Ask yourself what you hope to gain from the reading and what questions or concerns you want to address. Having a clear intention will help you focus your energy and attention on the cards and their meanings.
Shuffle the Cards
Once you have familiarized yourself with the cards and set your intention, shuffle the deck. You can shuffle the cards in any way that feels comfortable to you. Some people prefer to shuffle the deck while others like to spread the cards on the table and mix them around.
Draw the Cards
When you feel ready, draw the cards one by one. As you draw each card, pay attention to how it makes you feel and what thoughts and images come to mind. This intuitive process is an essential part of interpreting Tarot de Besancon. You do not need to memorize the meanings of each card, as your intuition will guide you to the right interpretation.
Interpret the Cards
Once you have drawn the cards, it is time to interpret them. Look at each card individually and then consider how they relate to each other. Tarot de Besancon is designed to tell a story, and each card represents a different chapter. Pay attention to the symbols and imagery on the cards, as they can provide valuable insight into the message the cards are trying to convey.
Trust Your Intuition
Finally, trust your intuition. Tarot de Besancon is a tool for self-discovery and personal growth, and the interpretation of the cards is a highly personal and subjective process. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut feeling and trust the insights that come to you during the reading. After all, the more you trust yourself, the more accurate and meaningful the reading will be.

By following these simple steps and practicing regularly, anyone can learn to read and interpret Tarot de Besancon. Remember that the power of the deck lies within you, and the cards are a tool for tapping into your inner wisdom and intuition.

Common Tarot de Besancon Spreads

Reading Tarot de Besancon involves using various spreads to better understand the question at hand. The spread determines the number of cards drawn and their placement. Here are some common Tarot de Besancon spreads:

  • The Three-Card Spread: This is a basic spread that can be used for simple questions. Draw three cards and place them in a row. The first card represents the past, the second card represents the present, and the third card represents the future.
  • The Celtic Cross Spread: This is a more advanced spread that can give more detailed information. It involves ten cards placed in a cross shape. The first card represents the present, the second card represents obstacles, the third card represents the subconscious, the fourth card represents the past, the fifth card represents conscious thoughts, the sixth card represents the future, the seventh card represents the querent, the eighth card represents the environment, the ninth card represents hopes and fears, and the tenth card represents the outcome.
  • The Relationship Spread: This is a spread for questions related to relationships. It involves seven cards placed in a circle. The first card represents the querent, the second card represents their partner, the third card represents the current state of the relationship, the fourth card represents the obstacles in the relationship, the fifth card represents the strengths of the relationship,

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    the sixth card represents the future of the relationship, and the seventh card represents advice for the querent.
  • The Career Spread: This is a spread for questions related to career and work. It involves seven cards placed in a row. The first card represents the current job, the second card represents the obstacles in the job, the third card represents what the querent should focus on in their career, the fourth card represents what the querent should avoid in their career, the fifth card represents the strengths of the querent’s career, the sixth card represents potential opportunities in the career, and the seventh card represents the outcome of the career.
  • The Problem-Solving Spread: This is a spread for questions related to solving a problem. It involves six cards placed in a row. The first card represents the problem, the second card represents the root cause of the problem, the third card represents possible solutions, the fourth card represents what action the querent should take, the fifth card represents the outcome of the action taken, and the sixth card represents the lesson learned from the problem.

Remember that these are just a few common spreads and there are many more that can be used depending on the question and situation. Interpreting Tarot de Besancon takes practice, so don’t be discouraged if it takes time to become proficient.

Collecting Tarot de Besancon

For those who want to own a piece of Tarot de Besancon’s history or simply want to explore the deck further, collecting these cards can be a rewarding experience. While it may seem daunting to start a tarot card collection, with so many different decks and versions out there, the Tarot de Besancon is a unique and historically significant choice. In this section, we will explore some tips for collecting Tarot de Besancon and where to find these classic cards.

Where to Buy Tarot de Besancon

If you are interested in buying Tarot de Besancon, there are several options available to you. Below is a table outlining where you can purchase new and used Tarot de Besancon decks online:

Website Selection Price Range
Amazon New and used decks $10 – $50
eBay New and used decks $5 – $100
Etsy Handmade and vintage decks $15 – $100
Collectors Playing Cards New and vintage decks $20 – $200

Aside from online marketplaces, you may also find Tarot de Besancon decks at specialized metaphysical stores or through Tarot communities on social media. Keep in mind that vintage or rare decks may be more expensive and harder to find. When purchasing online, be sure to read seller reviews and product descriptions carefully to ensure you are getting a quality product.

Tips for Collecting Tarot de Besancon

If you’re interested in collecting Tarot de Besancon, here are some tips to help you get started:

Tip Description
Do your research Before you start collecting, do some research on the history and background of the Tarot de Besancon. This will help you make more informed decisions when it comes to purchasing and collecting.
Buy from reputable sellers When purchasing Tarot de Besancon decks, make sure to buy from reputable sellers who specialize in tarot decks. This will help ensure that you are getting an authentic deck and not a fake.
Consider the condition When collecting Tarot de Besancon decks, consider the condition of the deck. Decks in good condition are more valuable and can be harder to find, but may be worth the investment for serious collectors.
Explore different editions There have been many editions of Tarot de Besancon over the years, each with its own unique style and artwork. Consider exploring different editions to see which ones you prefer and which ones are missing from your collection.
Store and care for your decks properly Make sure to store and care for your Tarot de Besancon decks properly to keep them in good condition. This includes storing them in a cool, dry place and avoiding exposure to sunlight or moisture.

By following these tips, you can start building a valuable and interesting collection of Tarot de Besancon decks. Remember to enjoy the process and choose decks that resonate with you personally.

Conclusion

After delving into the world of Tarot de Besancon, it’s clear to see why it has become such a beloved and historically significant deck. The intricate and symbolic artwork on each card captures the essence of 18th-century France and provides insight into the societal norms and beliefs of that time period.

Tarot de Besancon has a rich history, with its origins rooted in the Italian Tarot tradition but heavily influenced by French artistic and cultural trends. Its unique characteristics, such as the inclusion of a fifth suit and the renaming of certain cards, set it apart from other Tarot decks and make it a valuable addition to any collection.

For those interested in learning how to read Tarot de Besancon, there are many resources available, from books to online tutorials. The key is to approach the deck with an open mind and a willingness to dive deep into its symbolism and meanings.

And for collectors, Tarot de Besancon is a must-have for any serious collection. Whether purchasing new or hunting for vintage editions, there are many options available for acquiring this iconic deck. And with proper care and storage, it can be cherished and utilized for generations to come.

In conclusion, Tarot de Besancon is a fascinating and complex deck that offers a glimpse into the past while still remaining relevant in the present. Its artistic and historical significance, along with its practical applications in divination and self-reflection, make it a valuable and worthwhile addition to anyone’s Tarot journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Tarot de Besancon and traditional Tarot decks?

Tarot de Besancon has unique features such as the blue and red color scheme and French-style illustrations.

What is the origin of Tarot de Besancon?

Tarot de Besancon originated in France in the 18th century.

What is the significance of the colors in Tarot de Besancon?

The blue and red color scheme in Tarot de Besancon represents the French Revolution and the working class.

What are the Major Arcana in Tarot de Besancon?

The Major Arcana in Tarot de Besancon consists of 22 cards, including The Fool, The Tower, and The Magician.

What are the Minor Arcana in Tarot de Besancon?

The Minor Arcana in Tarot de Besancon is divided into four suits: Coins, Cups, Swords, and Batons.

How do you read Tarot de Besancon?

Reading Tarot de Besancon follows the same principles as other Tarot decks. Use the imagery and symbolism in each card to interpret the meaning for the querent.

What are some common Tarot de Besancon spreads?

Common Tarot de Besancon spreads include the Three-Card Spread, the Celtic Cross, and the Star Spread.

Where can you buy Tarot de Besancon?

You can buy Tarot de Besancon online through various retailers, such as Amazon or Etsy.

What tips do you have for collecting Tarot de Besancon?

When collecting Tarot de Besancon, look for antique or vintage decks, and consider the condition and completeness of the deck before purchasing.

What is the significance of Tarot de Besancon in Tarot history?

Tarot de Besancon is significant in Tarot history as one of the earliest French Tarot decks and a predecessor to modern Tarot decks.

References

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