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le roy père amour oracle de Marseille
Roue gauche chariot triomphe -oracle de Marseille

The King

“We all participate in the creation. We are all kings, poets, musicians; it is only to open like a lotus to discover what is in us.”
—Henry Miller


The name of this card is called “le roy” in French. It can be translated as “the king” in English. If you notice any translation errors in this article, please let us know for our entire community. You can leave your comment at the bottom of this page.

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The main difference between a king and an emperor is in their position and political power. A king is usually the head of state of a kingdom, who has inherited a lineage. It is a royal road. A king’s powers can vary greatly between countries and times, but in most cases they are limited by a constitution or laws. Traditionally in the tarot of Marseilles, the arcana N°IIII is representative of the emperor. It dominates in all sectors with the empress. They form a tandem looking at each other. The emperor is represented semi-seated, semi-standing, according to our vision on a high chair, showing a dynamic character and turning to the left in the direction of the empress. Unlike the other mysteries of the Tarot de Marseille, such as the king of swords, the king of cups, the king of sticks and the king of deniers, which form a set of comfortably seated kings. The emperor, holding his orb, reminds us of his power, his dominance over the world he rules in all areas, and the society he wants. Unlike the Oracle of Marseilles, the emperor is traditionally the ruler of an empire, a state that controls several different nations or peoples. Emperors are often conquerors or rulers who have extended their power over distant lands, often using military force. Emperors traditionally have absolute and unlimited power, although they can also be governed by laws and traditions.

The king, a figure of power and authority, sets a course, a direction. Holding in his left hand, hand on the heart side, the egg of the queen, he is about to discover new horizons. His steed, wearing a harness with a heart in its center, follows the path of love. This path of the heart is offered to us with a symbolic and alchemical wink, on the meaning of our quest introduced by the philosopher’s egg. The king holds the egg, but does not look at it. He touches it, but does not feel it. He holds it without knowing it. The way is open.But who is this bird, this dove bringing a key? Key to what? When we are king, all doors are open to us. Could this be a language that the bird tends to transmit to us? The king is alone in the world. The king seems to be in search of his kingdom, guided by his mount on the path of the heart. Catching the key would be the key to success. Like the queen, the king of the oracle of Marseille is here a king without a throne, therefore without a kingdom. He seems to flee from the materiality of the world he governs. It marks its difference, because it is in a very different quest than those of the origins of the Tarot de Marseille game. Here, the king is not posed, he is active and taken on a royal ride , a cavalcade.

The e roy is a form of reference, because when everything goes wrong, we turn to him so that he can deal with the situation. The king is always surrounded by his court, his servants and these fools. In the oracle of Marseilles, nothing of the sort, the king flees this world, made up of interpersonal skills, privileges and futile advantages. According to an old French proverb, “to the court, everyone is there for themselves“. The king should not be like King Ubu, forced to leave his kingdom, dispossessed of his money by the manipulation of the queen. The influence of the queen plays a big role in the future of the kingdom. The king is still looking for descendants in his kingdom. He was then the father of many children.The father is above all a landmark. Far from a macho vision, the father or the masculine side of the person who embodies this role must be a driving force. Like any engine, it has horsepower. The horse to be guided needs a rider, symbolized by the father. Protector, he guides us on the path of our heart. A misguided, lost father brings instability that destabilizes those under his protection. Thus, if the father is Roy in his kingdom, there will be no danger in his home. The father must be loyal to his proteges, this is an essential virtue. Disloyal, he will lead the kingdom to ruin and bankruptcy. The sentence of Luis Vas de Camoens illustrates our point, “A weak king weakens the strongest people“. The father and the mother form an animus, anima duo, which we each carry within us. This duo brings an essential cap to our psychological construction, making this alchemical couple an emotionally constructed being with a better relationship to the world.

In sum, the key difference between a king and an emperor is that the king rules over a kingdom, while the emperor rules an empire.Their ways of ruling can be similar or entirely different. The dove, symbol of peace and freedom, brings the key to an unknown kingdom that the king seeks. Would he like to become emperor? Riding with his steed the lands of his kingdom, the path of the heart has been traced for him. We will finish our reflection on this path that is open to us, this royal road. The oracle of Marseille invites us to discover the mysteries and riches of our inner kingdom, in search of our philosopher’s egg. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king, so let’s seek the light.


Carte arcane du roy de l'oracle de Marseille



Quest for an uncharted realm

Loss of control


Ride towards his goal






father figure


To change of way



To reign


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