Most of the time the Fortune Deck is a very well thought out system. However there is one group of cards that seem to defy the elegance of the rest of the deck, The Court. This group is not linked to elements like the rest of the deck, but to the planets in the solar system.
The Roman 7 Planet System
This seems to be the source of the Court and their meanings more than any other cards in the Fortune Deck. I will be using a classic deck for this comparison.
The Fool comes from The Fool with meanings of extravagance, unrestrained excess, inconsideration and carelessness in promises.
The Hermit comes from The Hermit with meanings of Loner and Recession, but also from the High Priestess for wisdom and learning
The Peasant comes from Strength with meanings of physical strength and action, but also from The Lovers meaning oblivious to possible consequences
The Priestess comes from The High Priestess with meanings of understanding (more emotional) and The Hierophant with good advice, inspiration and inactivity
The Smith comes from The World meaning completion, synthesis, success and from The Tower meaning adversity, calamity, and misery
The King comes from The Emperor meaning authority and dominance, and also Justice meaning justice, virtue and self-satisfaction
The Soldier comes from The Hanged Man meaning sacrifice and outside factors having strong influence, Temperance meaning accommodation and The Star meaning culmination of hard work and easily influenced.
Some of these fit well with the cards chosen, others not. Why didn't they just use the cards from the existing Arcana? All have positive and negative meanings (with a couple of exceptions) and many would fit with the ideal of a court. So why did they make them up (I'm assuming they don't appear in a less well known deck like the Medieval Scapini)?
The fortune deck consists of 36 cards split into groups. Each card has elemental affinities with the exception of cards in The Court and The Usurper (which may or may not depending on what it is in a realm).
For each Element there are 11 cards with links to it
Each group has the same number of links to each element
In no group do two cards have the same elemental links
There are 13 cards linked to 2 elements
There is 1 card linked to all 4 elements
So if we wish to provide elemental links we need to be careful. We need to use 7 cards to provide equal number of links to all 4 elements without repetition. I see 2 ways of doing this, please note that the elements given are suggestions.
The Fool Fire
The Hermit Air
The Peasant Earth
The Priestess Water
The Smith Fire & Earth
The King Air & Water
The Soldier All 4 elements, or no elements
The Fool Fire & Air
The Hermit Air & Earth
The Peasant Earth & Water
The Priestess Water
The Smith Fire & Water
The King Air
The Soldier Fire & Earth
I find neither completely satisfactory, but prefer Method 2.
Instead of linking to elements The Court is linked to the Planets;
The planets in the solar system with no links are Earth, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto
There are 2 cards linked to the sun (1 is The Defender not in The Court)
There are 2 cards linked to the moon (1 is The Creator not in The Court)
OK, the system used is that of the Roman's Seven Planets. They linked them to 7 of their Gods, as follows;
|Apollo||Sun||God of Enlightenment due to the Sun being bright||The Fool|
|Diana||Moon||Goddess of Hunting, Diana was the sister of Apollo||The Priestess|
|Mercury||Messenger of the Gods since it's the fastest planet||The Hermit|
|Venus||Goddess of Love since it was the brightest planet||The Peasant|
|Mars||God of War since it was red||The Smith|
|Jupiter||King of the Gods for the largest planet||The King|
|Saturn||God of Time since it was the slowest||The Soldier|
In a bit more detail then;
Apollo was literally the god of the Sun, and also of healing. Not really like a Fool then.
Diana was the goddess of hunting and helped in childbirth, I can see some links to the Priestess, but not much.
Mercury was the god of travel and thieves, as well as science and business, again a bit linked to the Hermit, but they don't fit that well
Venus was the goddess of love, and responsible for the Trojan war. Not really anything to do with the Peasant.
Mars was the god of war, and originally agriculture, not really the Smith then.
Jupiter was King of the Gods and ruler of the air. I can see a link here.
Saturn was the god of Time and the only link with the Soldier I can see is that time can kill all but air, water and death.
Another association of the 7 planets was each had a link to a stone and a metal, as follows;
I can't find anything in this to help work out why the different cards where used, except maybe to link the Smith to Iron.
It might be possible to create a whole fortune deck from the astral bodies in the solar system, the sun, the planets and some of their moons, however Iím not going to attempt it.
So what do I think? At the end of the day I think that they tried to do too much with The Court, and ended up with something that didn't do enough. The lack of elemental links makes it more difficult to interpret, and knowledge of the associations seems detrimental to using them. Had I been creating the deck I would have either used the planets, or tarot cards and specified elements.