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Tarot de Marseille Books in English: The Big Four

Recently, I’ve been rotating through the four TdM books listed below, reading about each trump card in turn. I’m struck by the individual voice and unique viewpoint in each book. It’s like holding a gem up to the light and turning it back and forth to appreciate each facet individually.

Ben-Dov supplies meat-and-potatoes card meanings and practical advice for readers. J-M David gives us a foundation in art history and 15th century iconography interspersed with practical exercises. Jodorowsky is an original who shares his deep understanding of the cards while presenting the deck as an organic structure. Elias invites us to look over her shoulder as she interprets spreads for her clients.

My tarot education would be incomplete if I neglected any of these books. If you’re wondering which one to start with, I’ve reviewed all four books in this blog. Here are the links:

Reading the Tarot de Marseille by Jean-Michel David

The Way of Tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky

Tarot: The Open Reading by Yoav Ben Dov 

Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading by Camelia Elias

In addition, let’s not forget Lee Bursten’s quick and easy system for learning the cards found in the booklet that comes with Lo Scarabeo’s Universal Tarot of Marseille.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. JB #

    What about Joseph Maxwell’s “The Tarot”, first published in French in 1933, English translation published in 1975, reprinted in 1988? Supposedly a rather poorly translated effort, but still…

    April 4, 2015
    • Hi Jonah,
      Yes, Maxwell’s book would qualify. How about the Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus? And Rolla Nordic’s Tarot Shows the Path. Her deck is a TdM-RWS-unique design blend. I was focusing on my favorite contemporary authors who emphasize reading the card image while keeping occult correspondences to a minimum, since esoteric tarot gives me hives. Perhaps I should be more up front about my biases. Thanks for broadening the scope.

      April 4, 2015
  2. Thank you so much for the intriguing article – serendipitous for me in every way:-)

    April 4, 2015
    • Hello Heather, I’m so glad the article was helpful.

      April 4, 2015
      • It was – I enjoyed your informative assessment of each book and look forward to staying in touch

        April 4, 2015
  3. 1. Well, I guess I will have to get Camelia Elias’s book, as I’ve already read the others. I’m hoping this increasing (?) interest in the TdM might result is some of the European books getting English translations.

    2. I think it’s practically criminal that Lee’s booklet languishes in a now hard-to-find box set currently unavailable from the publisher. Something should be worked out with Lo Scarabeo to bring this important text to a wider audience.

    April 8, 2015
    • I’m being tongue in cheek about Camelia. I’ve been following her blog, and it is with anything but reluctance that she’s on my “next” list. Only finances are in the way.

      April 8, 2015
      • Hello Bill,
        Thanks for your comments. Camelia’s book is definitely worth putting on your shopping list. Lee really needs to expand the booklet and write a stand-alone book, perhaps for Llewellyn. It’s easy-to-grasp system is right up their alley.

        April 8, 2015

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