Chateau des Avenières rests beside the Salève (known locally as “the Balcony of Geneva”) in the hilly town of Cruseilles, about a half hour away from the Lac d’Annecy, an alpine “Caribbean” lake. On the outside, Avenières is like any other French chateau. It has soaring turrets, a sprawling parterre, and its own elegant dining hall. Yet, in addition to these ordinary features, Avenières harbours an extraordinary secret. The castle’s interior is decorated with a series of carefully arranged frescoes of symbols and characters from the tarot’s Major Arcana.

Château des Avenières à Cruseille via Wikimedia Commons

Château des Avenières in Cruseilles via Wikimedia Commons

The series of mosaics was built in the Gothic chapel of the castle in 1917 by a Mauritian engineer and metaphysical writer named Assan Farid Dina. Dina was an associate of famed scholars and magicians René Guénon and Papus (an important member of Paris’s premier esoteric literary circle, Salon de la Rose + Croix). Since Dina routinely hosted a number of spiritual figures for soirées at his estate, author Mary K. Greer has speculated that the unique style of the chapel art could have been inspired by the ideas of visiting occultists, such as Oswald Firth. Today the castle is a luxury hotel, but the tarot “grotto” hasn’t changed a bit. We’ve reproduced a few images below with permission from

"The Juggler" or "The Magician"

“The Juggler” or “The Magician”

"The Fool"

“The Fool”

"The House of God" aka "The Tower"

“The House of God” aka “The Tower”



"The Hermit"

“The Hermit”



"The Hanged Man"

“The Hanged Man”

For more images, visit

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