What is the Tarot de Marseilles?
popular in France during the 18th and nineteenth century, the iconic Tarot de Marseille was an early version of the modern tarot card decks we know and love today. Named after the southerly french city of Marseilles, the deck is besides known as the Tarot of Marseilles, the Marseilles Tarot and the Marseille Tarot ( without the final examination ‘ mho ’ ) .
many of the features and artwork found today ’ south modern tarot card decks, borrow heavily from the Tarot de Marseille ’ s beautiful illustrations and dateless design traditions .
modern decks feature a amply illustrated Minor Arcana, while Marseilles decks feature numbered “ shoot cards ” like to play cards
If you ’ re used to modern tarot card decks, the biggest difference between modern tarot card cards and the Tarot de Marseilles is that modern ones feature a in full illustrated Minor Arcana. Marseilles decks on the other hand, sport numbered “ spot cards ” which are similar to playing cards. A common charge of raw readers is that the lack of an illustrate Minor Arcana can make the Tarot de Marseilles less intuitive and unmanageable to learn.
Before diving in, let ’ s clear up two coarse points of confusion about the Tarot de Marseilles :
- There is no single Tarot de Marseille deck. The name applies to a period and style of tarot cards, all of which share similar design traits and deck size.
- While the Tarot de Marseille was used principally for playing card games like tarocchi, and not for cartomancy, the deck’s popularity for use in tarot readings rose sharply in the late 19th century. As the deck’s popularity with tarot readers grew, some latter-day “Marseilles decks” were created which contain visual cues to assist with divination. While they can be excellent decks, these modern versions are not generally considered “true” Marseilles decks. A true Marseilles deck stays true to the historic tradition and time period.
How many cards are in the Marseille Tarot?
As with most mod decks of tarot card cards, the Tarot de Marseille contains 78 cards. There are 56 suit-cards or Minors and 22 illustrate “ Atouts ”, or Majors .
As with modern decks of tarot card cards, the 56 suit-cards ( the Minor Arcana ) are divided into four tarot card suits .
note : While the names “ Minor Arcana ” and “ Major Arcana ” were not used historically to describe the parts of the Marseille deck, tarot card readers today frequently retroactively apply these occult tarot terms to the Tarot de Marseille. To be historically accurate we will refer to them simply as “ Major cards ” and “ Minor cards ” here, rather than the Major Arcana or Minor Arcana .
The Tarot de Marseille vs. Rider Waite
When comparing the Tarot de Marseille with modern tarot card decks like Rider-Waite, the most detectable difference is the miss of meaningful illustrations on the number suit cards. The cards from Ace to 10, have much more in common visually with contemporaneous play cards than with we think of as tarot card cards today .
here ’ s an example of some Minor cards from the Tarot de Marseille :
Unlike the deck above, the Rider-Waite deck, illustrated by Pamela Colman-Smith, was the first tarot card deck to feature illustrations alternatively of the number “ shoot cards ” shown above. The lack of illustrations on the lower Marseilles cards is likely the biggest reason that the Marseilles pack of cards doesn ’ t delight more popularity today .
tarot card readers generally feel Colman-Smith ’ sulfur vogue of amply illustrated cards make tarot card interpretations easier
many Tarot readers feel Colman-Smith ’ south style of in full illustrated minor cards make tarot card interpretations easier. Remembering the tarot card meanings of the Marseille cards on the other hired hand, is a unmanageable job of rote memorization .
Another deviation between the Marseilles deck and contemporaneous decks like Rider-Waite is the names of the court cards are different .
The court cards in the Marseilles Tarot deck are as follows:
- Valet: Similar to a knave or a page.
- Chevalier: Similar to a Knight (Also called a Cavalier on some decks)
- Dame: Similar to a Queen
- Roi: Similar to a King
Like the Rider Waite tarot card, the The Marseilles Tarot uses four suits. While the names of the suits are basically the lapp, the french condition “ baton ” is often used in place of “ wand ” even in English versions .
The Tarot de Marseilles Suits
The Tarot de Marseilles is divided into the stick to suits :
- Batons (Wands)
What often make these suits confusing to those accustomed to modern decks, is how the suits are illustrated .
If it wasn ’ t already heavily enough to use a pack of cards without meaningful illustrations, the “ pips ” on Tarot de Marseille cards are frequently stacked on exceed of each other, forming beautiful and building complex patterns. These patterns can be difficult to read for beginners.
Read more: Cards of Marseilles – The Library at Hurtfew
Swords are typically drawn stylistically as curved lines. While Batons, are drawn as straight ones. Odd numbered cards typically have a vertical sword running down the middle .
The Tarot de Marseilles “Major Arcana”
The 22 trump cards of the Tarot de Marseilles are very similar to modern tarot card cards. Each of the 22 cards in the Major Arcana of today ’ south tarot card cards has a directly ancestry going back to the Marseille decks .
Most of the Major cards in Marseilles decks are one lead french translation away from our advanced cards, but there are some luminary exceptions :
- The High Priestess tarot card is called the “Papesse“, or female-pope, in Marseilles tarot decks.
- The Hierophant tarot card in Rider-Waite is called the “Pope” in Marseilles tarot decks.
- The Tower tarot card is sometimes called “The House of God” in Marseilles decks.
- The Death tarot card is frequently unnamed in many Marseilles decks — Most likely due to a superstition that to speak (or write) the name of Death was to invite his presence.
- The Hermit tarot card is sometimes called “The Hunchback” in Marseilles tarot decks.
For the most part however, the Major cards of the Tarot de Marseilles are well apprehensible to anyone with a cognition of tarot card .
Tarot de Marseilles Spreads
As with all other tarot card readings, the Tarot de Marseilles can be read using single circuit board or yes or no tarot card readings, or more complicate tarot card spreads .
While there ’ s no rigid definition over what constitutes a “ Tarot de Marseilles tarot spread ”, spreads using the Marseilles deck tend to be smaller and dim-witted. ( 3 and 4 tease Marseilles spreads tend to be the most common ) .
If you want to use any contemporary tarot card spread using a Tarot de Marseilles deck, there ’ s no cause why you can ’ metric ton .
There is however a big remainder in how you shuffle the Tarot de Marseilles, and how you draw the cards .
here ’ s how that works :
How to read the Tarot de Marseilles
While there are many different traditions for how to read the Tarot de Marseilles, the most common method acting is to first divide the pack of cards into the Majors and the Minors beforehand .
Tarot spreads using Tarot de Marseilles cards are typically completed using only the major cards .
Tarot spreads using Tarot de Marseilles cards are typically completed using alone the major cards. then after dividing the deck into Majors and Minors, you ’ ll shamble both halves individually. The drawing is completed using alone the Majors half .
When the Marseilles tarot card reading begins however, Minor cards can be added ( at the decisiveness of the reader ) to the reading by drawing a Minor circuit board next to a match Major card, in much the same way that clarifying cards are used in a conventional tarot card spread .
so for exemplar if you don ’ metric ton know precisely why you ’ ve equitable drawn the “ The World ” card ( or Le Monde, in French ), you can draw an extra Minor wag, and set it adjacent to the World poster for some extra insight .
In this manner, each Major card in a Tarot de Marseilles spread can have an optional “ clarifier ” or layer of extra meaning from a paired Minor card .
Is the Tarot de Marseilles Good for Tarot Readings?
The Tarot de Marseilles is an matter to area to explore for tarot card readers .
For most readers, Marseille decks are particularly challenge because the Minor cards aren ’ metric ton illustrated in a style exchangeable to Rider-Waite and other mod decks .
however, if you ’ re a fan of tarot card cards and you enjoy historic decks, learning to read decks from the 18th and nineteenth century can be a fascinate venture.
Read more: Marseille Tarot Cards FOR SALE!