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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Review of the Tarot of Marseille Grand Trumps

This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
posted under Tarot of Marseille Grand Trumps

Summary:

This large-sized edition of the Marseille Grand Trumps is a perfect for insightful Majors-only readings, professional readers, and collectors. 

In-depth Review:

The family of decks from the Marseille tradition pre-date the more commonly used Rider-Waite-Smith tradition. In the US, RWS decks are more common; however, in parts of Europe, the Marseille tradition is more often used. One reason for this is that Marseille decks have unillustrated pips and we in the US seem to prefer decks with fully illustrated Minor cards.

About 40 years ago, Tarot seemed to burst in popularity. Not only were more people interested in learning Tarot, but people also started designing decks. Again, most of these were, and are, based on the RWS tradition. Currently, the Tarot community seems to be moving in two distinct directions. Some people are peering into the future, experimenting, and seeing what Tarot can become (see for example, the Tarot of the Silicon Dawn and the Universal Transparent Tarot). Others are looking back toward Tarot’s ancient roots. In fact, more and more innovative teachers are re-examining decks of the Marseille tradition.

One particular focus of using Marseille cards is to use the Majors only. This eliminates the non-illustrated pips, making using the deck more attractive. Because the Majors are only 22 cards, the spreads used with them tend to be smaller, usually only two or three cards.

This edition of Marseille Grand Trumps is particularly nice one, comprised of only the Major Arcana. The cards are larger than traditional cards (3.25” x 5.75”), which work well with smaller spreads. Also, this edition, with its larger, easy to see cards, is also useful if you are reading at a party or in darker environment such as a bar.

Besides being a nice edition, the little booklet has a rather wonderful three card spread. If you’ve been reading a while, you know there are tons of variations of three-card spreads and it is rare to find one that is really different and unique. The one in this booklet is surprisingly deep.

If you are interested in reading with the Majors only of a Marseille deck, this would be an excellent investment. Sure, you could buy a standard Marseille and just separate out the Majors. But if you really aren’t going to use the Minors, why not get the larger cards as well as the spread? And no, I’m not going to tell you the spread here.

Do note that because this is a Marseille deck, Strength is numbered 11 and Justice is numbered 8 (Justice as 11 and Strength as 8 wasn’t generally used until Waite popularized it). 

Deck Attributes

Name of deck: Tarot of Marseille Grand Trumps
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN: 9780738732411
Brief biography of artist: This deck is based on the woodcuts made by Claude Burdel in 1751. They are popularly used as the source of many Marseille decks.
Name of accompanying booklet: Tarot of Marseille
Number of pages of booklet: 23, 4 in English
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Magical Uses: None
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: Woodcut
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot major arcana
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes, except for the minor number change
Does it have extra cards? If yes, what are they?: No
Book suggestions for Tarot beginners and this deck: Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom


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