I’ve been wanting an oversized Tarot de Marseille for a long time but wasn’t sure one even existed. When someone on Facebook posted a link to such a deck on Amazon, I clicked the “buy now” button sight-unseen.
When the deck arrived, I was delighted to discover it’s a facsimile of a 1760 Conver deck originally printed in Marseille and reproduced by Bounty Books. Read more
Since the Ace announces the energy of its suit, let’s look at some Aces of Cups to see if they conjure up romantic associations.
In the image above, the 1830 Vergnano ace is a big bowl of flowers. The Avondo Brothers 1880 knock-off of the soprafino pattern (published by Lo Scarabeo as the Ancient Italian Tarot) has a cherub popping out of the window in a fancy urn. Green dolphins, sacred to Aphrodite, play around the base. Claude Burdel’s 1751 ace (from the Universal Tarot de Marseille by Lo Scarabeo) is energetic and cheerful, with a phoenix rising from a fire under a bright sun. To my mind, all three cards conjure up love, romance and friendship. Read more
You may have heard people say the 22 trumps were grafted onto a pack of playing cards for gaming purposes. Actually, the 22 trump cards and the four suits were always a set. You need 78 cards to play the game of Trionfi/Tarocchi/Tarot. The 22 trump cards were never sold separately until occultists put them on a spiritual pedestal while scorning the suit cards (minor arcana) as a vulgar fortune-telling tool.
Many contemporary French and Italian tarot books discuss only the trump cards. If they deal with the minor arcana at all, it’s with a few lines for each card in the back of the book, as if the author were embarrassed to be caught talking about them. Read more
This exciting book by Camelia Elias is a new addition to our small supply of Tarot de Marseille books in English.
We hit the ground running on the first page with an actual reading done in a café. This sets the tone for the book, where every card, and every teaching, is accompanied by a three-card spread illustrated in color.
The essence of Elias’s technique is to tell a concise story with three cards, staying close to the reality of the images. When she amplifies her card meanings with another system, she goes to folk traditions in cartomancy, which she calls the “cunning folk” method. Read more
The author of several poetry books based on historic tarot decks now offers us poetic meditations on all 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille.
Each card is given a double-page spread. On the left-hand page we see a black-and-white reproduction of the 1701 Dodal deck restored by Jean-Claude Flornoy. On the opposite page there’s a very compressed and evocative meditation on the card. Read more
This series of live webinars is one of the most exciting things to happen in my tarot life since I first learned to read with the TdM over a decade ago. Instead of registering for a conference and paying for transportation and hotel, I sat in my California living room with teachers from Chile, Denmark, Toronto, NYC and Tel Aviv, learning about their cutting-edge techniques for reading with the TdM.
Here are highlights from the five videos, which can be purchased from The Hermit’s Lamp (Link at bottom). Read more
Giordano Berti, creator of a facsimile 15th-century Sola Busca deck, has made another treasure available to collectors — a very beautiful 19th-century Piedmont-style deck.
The Piedmont region of Italy has a vigorous, centuries-long tradition of tarot deck production. Its unique spin on the Tarot de Marseille is documented back to the late 18th century. In 1832, card maker Stefano Vergnano of Turin was honored by the Chamber of Commerce for the quality of his playing cards. Berti’s deck re-creates a Vergnano tarot deck printed at that time. Read more
If you want to learn how to read with the Tarot de Marseille while immersing yourself in tarot’s early history, this is the book for you. The heart of the book is an in-depth examination of each trump card accompanied by a web of historic associations illustrated with numerous examples of medieval and renaissance art. The book features the 1650 Noblet deck restored by Jean-Claude Flornoy, but each chapter offers illustrations of numerous decks for comparison; so the book works easily with any TdM. Read more
The other day, I read the booklet that comes with the Tarot de Marseille published in France by Heron hoping to find some traditional card interpretations. Instead, I found myself in a topsy-turvy world where the Star card means death, the Death card indicates marriage, and Temperance can predict disasters of a sexual or marital nature. (Temperance with the Ace of Batons means an illegitimate child, and reversed Temperance means a man will kidnap a married woman.)
The card meanings are evidently derived from a traditional cartomancy system where fortune tellers aren’t squeamish about predicting death (Star and Ace of Cups). According to the LWB, if the Five of Swords with reversed Emperor turns up in your spread, a relative will drown. The Star next to the Ace of Batons means the death of a child, and the Star and World together predict the death of a beloved pet. Read more
For years, English-speaking Tarot de Marseille readers have been complaining about the lack of books in English. Well, the book we’ve all been waiting for has arrived! Ben-Dov’s book has everything one could ask for in a comprehensive how-to manual: history, card meanings, symbolism, tips for conducting a reading session, and examples of spread interpretations. Read more