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The Law of Four, or the "Law of 3 + 1"

Copyright © Philippe CAMOIN

In the Marseilles Tarot, certain symbols are coded according to the "Law of 3 + 1". This means that they appear four times. But in the group of four elements, three are similar and the fourth is different.

The most basic example, which is also the linchpin of the "Law of 3 + 1", is found in the card The World, in which there is a group of four "beings". They are a group of four, but three of them have halos while the fourth, the bull, does not.

But we can find other examples of this law. For example, in the group of four horses in the Knights of the Minor Arcana, three are blue and the fourth is white. In the group of four angels in the Major Arcana, three are in the sky (The Lover, Judgment, and The World) and the fourth is standing on the ground (Temperance).

It is noteworthy that the eagle does not follow the Law of Four because it only appears three times in the Major Arcana and five times in the entire deck.

Philippe Camoin

Copyright © Philippe Camoin
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