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Different Types of Decks

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on February 23, 2012 | Comments (4)

We all love our tarot decks. And no one more than me loves a brand new deck done in the recognizable Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. I adore the feeling of familiarity with just enough freshness to invigorate my intuition. But I confess to falling into a bit of rut sometimes. There are other kinds of decks, after all. If you want to explore something new without leaving legacy, structure, and a sense of authenticity behind, allow me to suggest the following:

1. Minchiate Tarot

This deck, although often called a tarot, is not. It is a 97 card deck with many of the same major arcana and all of the minors. In addition there are cardinal virtues, astrological signs, and the four elements. We can trace its roots to 15th century Italy and our version is a reproduction of an 18th century deck. This deck is handful, but worth the effort. It is an especially helpful choice if one wishes to work more with astrological symbolism.

2. Lenormand Oracles

These 36 card decks are derived from the stories of Madame Lenormand who read for Josephine Bonapart and other ladies during that era. We are not really sure if she used a deck like this, but whether she did or not, many readers since then have, with great results. It is said that readings with these are very specific, especially if you are looking for details about every day life types of things.

Our version is available HERE.

3. Tarot of Marseille

Marseille decks are quite different from decks in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. Marseille decks are the style of deck that developed in southern France sometime after tarot began to flourish in northern Italy. These decks do have Major Arcana and Court cards like the RWS deck. However, the Minor cards do not have pictures on them like the RWS. Instead they have the suit designators in the appropriate number on them. When people first approach them, they worry that they won’t be able to read them. However, many come to find that their intuition actually becomes more engaged and more free. If you’ve not taken one of these decks out for a spin, it’s definitely something to try.

We have several versions, such as this one CLICK.

Reader Comments

Written By Alison Cross
on February 24th, 2012 @ 9:44 am

Currently learning Minchiate – as you say – quite different from Tarot deck, although it helps that so many Tarot trumps are included.

I have a Petit Lenormand and I really enjoy using it…..

But cannot get into a Marseilles type deck – I’m useless at pip cards as I keep recalling my RWS imagery!

Ali x

Written By Lisa Frideborg Lloyd
on February 24th, 2012 @ 11:54 am

If they’re cards I’ll have a play. You made me want to get my Minchiate deck out. I have the Brian Williams version… I do like the one you linked to on here too though. If I’m not careful, my ‘clicky-buy-ee’ finger might slip 😀

Written By Jim Maher
on February 24th, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

Interesting article that simply & succintly answers many questions that I have been asked by clients/non tarotists over the years.Examples shown are clear & concise showing the differences between ‘types’ of decks. I could never be one to think one type is better than another, I could only think that they are just in fact different & nothing else.

Written By Blackbird "BB"
on February 29th, 2012 @ 7:39 am

I would strongly recommend to anyone that if they are interested in the Tarot of Marseille; they should look into the Camoin Tarot of Marseille which is a painstaking reconstruction of the Tarot of Marseille and may be as close to the Orignal Tarot as any of us is likely to encounter in our lives; I would also recommend to Llewellyn, that like their relationship with Lo Sacrabeo it would be a huge win win if they should become the US distributer of this deck.


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