Collector's Note: The Royal Fez Moroccan Tarot deck is collated at the printing facilities of A. G. Muller & Cie, Switzerland, in the following sequence: 22 Major Arcana cards (The Fool, followed by 1 to 21) and 56 Minor Arcana cards (Pentacles, Wands Cups and Swords, King through Page and Ace through Ten). The cards shown on our website have been published in 1975. The cards are still cello-wrapped and have never been used. The box is in good condition, but shows a little wear and tear at the angles
The Minor Arcana cards represent occupations, social position and status.
Swords represent executives, upper class and aristocracy.
Wands represent peasantry and lower class.
Cups represent clergy and religious groups.
Coins represent merchants, tradesmen and business class.
Click "Read More" below for a detailed description of this fascinating Tarot deck created by the founder of MENSA.
The Royal Fez Moroccan tarot deck was conceived by Roland Berrill, the founder of MENSA, an organization formed of people of high intelligence with minimum I.Q.s of 170. MENSA is derived from the Latin mensa, which means a table for measuring. Its etymology is from the ancient Sanskrit ma, meaning to measure, such as the measurement of intelligences. A further derivation comes from the Latin expression, mens sana corpore sano, a sound mind in a sound body.
Berrill had a life-long interest in various aspects of the occult, although not as a member of any special group. His particular interest was tarot and he believed that a link existed between tarot, astrology and certain forms of gnosticism:
According to Berrill, after the fall of Fez, Morocco, in the twelfth century, tarot symbolism was misunderstood by those who inherited it, including the Romany race, who it is alleged brought tarot to Europe. Subsequent packs were crude and primitive. In the late nineteen-fifties, Berrill commissioned Michael Hobdell, a British artist, to produce a tarot pack that would reflect the imagery of design prevalent in twelfth century Fez. The artist died shortly after completing the commission, and Berrill died before he could market a limited and numbered edition of 500 Royal Fez Moroccan tarot decks. These decks lay dormant for many years until marketed by Rigel Press, London. In 1975, U. S. Games Systems, Inc., New York, and Rigel Press, London, marketed the first authentic reproduction of the Royal Fez Moroccan pack based upon Hobdell's original designs and color tones.
The Royal Fez Moroccan tarot deck bears several similarities to the Rider-Waite tarot deck drawn by Pamela Colman Smith in 1910 under the guidance of Arthur Edward Waite. Both these decks transpose two of the Major Arcana cards. Strength (Force, Fortitude), usually depicted in other tarot decks as 11, is designated in both the Royal Fez Moroccan and Rider-Waite tarot decks as 8. Justice, generally number 8, IS designated in the Royal Fez Moroccan and Rider-Waite decks as number 11.
In the Royal Fez Moroccan tarot deck, the 22 Major Arcana cards and the 16 court cards do not contain titles printed on the cards as is frequently found in other tarot packs.
Both the Royal Fez Moroccan and Rider-Waite decks bear the unique distinction of having all the pip cards (numeral cards 1 to 10 in each of the four suits) represented as emblematic designs suitable for visual interpretation. In contrast, most other tarot decks bear designs which numerically repeat the suit symbols.
In the Royal Fez Moroccan deck, the artist relies considerably upon black and white drawings and many landscapes featuring rocky cliffs and large stone structures.
The tarot reader will observe that although it appears that Michael Hobdell was influenced by the earlier work of Pamela Colman Smith, there are some differences between the cards of the Royal Fez Moroccan and Rider-Waite packs.
One noteworthy distinction between the two decks lies in the positioning of the unnumbered card, the Fool. In the Royal Fez Moroccan tarot deck, the Fool is placed before The Magician as in the sequence used in the majority of tarot packs. By contrast, Waite's tarot pack places the Fool between card number 20, The Last Judgment, and 21, The World.
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