Ancient Italian Tarot

Spectre Made Flesh

This might be a daft question, but does anyone know if the 'M' on Il Matto's back means something other than simply an M for Matto? I'm sure I remember reading somewhere that it had another meaning - could be something woefully obvious, but I can't remember or find info on it.


As far as I know, the M has always stood for Matto since it only appears on the Italian soprafino style engraved Marseille decks.

However Mark Filipas surmised that each element of a Major image has a Hebrew alphabetic allusion.

For the Fool:

Folly — ThHLH, ThPLH
Wandering, Waywardness — ThYVBA, ThOH
Knapsack, Travelling bag — ThRMYL
To carry a knapsack — ThRML
Staff, Crutch — ThGDA, ThGRA
Feather in a cap — ThHLH
Lace (around his shoulders) — ThChRYM
Leaves of a fig tree — ThANH
Stitch, Seam — ThK, ThKYPH, ThPYRH, ThPR
Mark, Sign (on the back of shirt?) — ThYV (tav, yud, vav)
Staves of bone formation — ThOOMTh
Bare foot — ThChThYTh
Heel — ThPVCh OQB
Goat — ThYSh


Filipas is quite free with his Hebrew associations though. ThHLH and ThPLH (תהילה תפילה) are not usually translated as folly. There were many words I couldn't find in Jastrow, and some of them were extremely rare or long out of use in the 19th century, only known to scholars of medieval Hebrew. I'm not convinced Dellarocca or any other card maker had a dictionary of medieval or Renaissance Hebrew at his elbow.

Just sayin'.


I came to the forum today...the final say goodbye I guess. I thought about a last post and decided I wouldn't make one. I started reading the farewell threads and the 'what was your first post' thread. Hit with a sudden wave of sentimentality I remembered this thread, my absolute favourite of all time. Such wonderful memories of a time of excitement and discovery, unlocking the magic of the Ancient Italian tarots, 'meeting' people I would have an ongoing connection with. This was my tarot peak, a highlight in a long journey, and a treasured memory.

Thank you to all those here over the years who have shared a little of themselves with others. Who have made these purple pages such a special place to visit. While my journey has taken me in other directions, there was comfort in knowing I could step back into this world at any time. After being connected to Aeclectic for nearly 16 years the sense of loss is greater than I could have imagined. But alas, time moves on and so must we. May tarot take you all wherever it is you need to go. And so for now, goodbye.


I'm excited AND heartbroken - just as I finally find my favorite deck, the forum closes. I was so looking forward to talk about it with everyone... Such a shame. :(

This deck is like a DREAM. I have a conver, which I love very much, but this one reminds me of the beautiful pictures great grandma had in her house. It has this "old" feel to it which is perfect for me.

Also, my very first Lo Scarabeo!