Derek Smith's views on the Amber Tarot Deck

Date: 29-AUG-1994 20:53
To: (Amber Mailing List)
Subj: Court Cards
I have finally seen the Ambre French Tarot deck, and what struck me most was the lack of correlation between the traditional tarot meanings of the suits, and the Amberites representing the royal cards in those suits. Having Fiona as Queen of Pentacles doesn't make sense from a Tarot perspective. The Artist, or publisher, obviously thought that it made sense on a superficial level, but just plain didn't know very much about Tarot. Also, the mere presence of Swayvill and Dworkin in the deck doesn't jibe with Corwin's description of who was represented.

Here are the associations I would have made, and, in some cases, why.

WANDS/RODS/CLUBS (Fire): (Wands, representing fire, also [sometimes] connote magical ability. Furthermore, in those decks that even admit to the existence of people with red hair, they are [often] represented as members of the Wand suit.)

King		Oberon	(Placed here for his magical prowess 
				and for the position of Wands as the
				"first" suit, as Fire is the "first" element
				represented by a Zodiacal sign (Aries).)
Queen		Fiona	
Knight		Bleys	
Page/Knave	Brand

PENTACLES/COINS/DIAMONDS (Earth): (Pentacles are earthy and fixed, often represented as Coins. THEY DO NOT IMPLY ANYTHING MAGICAL in Tarot usage, but refer rather to mundane, practical matters, such as money, and to people who take a more down-to-earth view. It is possible to rearrange this to make Random the Page - as he would certainly have appeared at the time that the Trumps were drawn.)

King                        Random

Queen		Llewella
Knight		Julian
Page/Knave	Caine


King		Caine
Queen		Llewella
Knight		Julian
Page/Knave	Random

SWORDS/SPADES (Air): Swords, representing Air, do NOT necessarily refer to anything Martial or Militaristic. Instead, they refer to the workings of the intellect. Hence Benedict as Knight, rather than King (because he never had it in mind to *be* King), and Corwin as Page, representing more than anything else his tendency to be erratic.
King		Eric
Queen		Dierdre
Knight		Benedict
Page/Knave	Corwin

CUPS/HEARTS (Water): Cups, representing Water, refer primarily to matters of the Heart, AND also *usually* refer to people with light colored hair. So we can see Gerard and Flora in this category, as motivated more by heart certainly, than by any proficiency in Rocket Science. Also, the angry way in which Osric and Finndo stormed out of Amber (and later went down in flames) might qualify them for this suit. Besides, I had to put them somewhere, since Corwin mentions them being in the original Trump Deck.
King		Finndo
Queen		Florimel
Knight		Gerard
Page/Knave	Osric

Derek Smith
These opinions were spun out of the Primal Chaos 3.218 Eons ago.

George: "If we do happen to step on a mine, Sir, what do we do ?" Edmund BlackAdder: "Normal procedure, Lieutenant, is to jump 200 feet in the air and scatter oneself over a wide area."
- somewhere in No Man's Land, BA4

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