The Marseille Cat Tarot is more than a novelty deck. It creates a bridge between the Marseille tradition and the Rider-Waite-Smith images by including tiny scenes woven into Marseille-style pips. The booklet is a tiny treasure, filled with useful information that will help you get reading with confidence in no time!
The Marseille Cat Tarot has so much to offer and is quite a nice achievement. As with most anything with cats, it could have stayed at the strictly novelty level. There is nothing wrong with novelty decks, but when a potential novelty-only deck reaches further and offers more, well, that's something to get excited about.
Marseille-style decks are becoming more popular in the US. People are intrigued by the mystique and the history. However, so many US readers are trained with Rider-Waite-Smith-style decks, with their helpful scenic Minor Arcana cards, that a straight up Marseille deck can seem intimidating.
This deck creates a bridge between the two styles. The Minor Arcana cards feature the suit emblems in the traditional Marseille fashion, with a sweet and surprising addition. They each feature a small scene (with cats of course!) that encapsulates the card meaning. These scenes are artfully done, being non-intrusive because they are woven into the emblems.
The booklet is a tiny treasure. Written by the knowledgeable and skilled Tali Goodwin, it includes perfect nuggets of information, such as a clear and concise history of Marseille Tarot decks, a sample reading, and a suggested reading list for those who want to learn more. The card meanings are derived from researching meanings used by real readers and years of experience. In a nice twist, the Minor cards are given a bit more attention than the Majors, which is very unusual in Marseille companion books and booklets.
It is a delightful and clear reading deck, appropriate for many situations. Because of the lack of human nudity (or any humans!), it can be used for public events. It is perfect for the Marseille-curious folks who are hesitant to read suit emblems only. Even staunch Marseille-lovers will enjoy this deck because the scenes are based on Marseille meanings and are so delightfully incorporated into the traditional Marseille pips.
Name of deck: Marseille Cat Tarot
Reviewer's Byline: Barbara Moore
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator(s) name(s): Severino Baraldi
Artist(s) name(s): Severino Baraldi
Name of accompanying book/booklet: Marseille Cat Tarot
Number of pages of book/booklet: 63, 12 in English
Author(s) of book/booklet: Tali Goodwin
Magical Uses: None
Reading Uses: General
Theme: Cats, Marseille
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: No, this is Marseille deck, so Justice is VIII and Strength is XI.