Universal Marseille Tarot Cards – 1 Jul 2006
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The Universal Marseille Tarot takes us directly to the origin of tarot. The highly sought-after de....
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Top Customer Reviews
My cards arrived, almost miraculously, on the promised day.
The cards are of a very high quality and.I look forward to useing them regularly.
(I must add this: I only collect Tarot. I don't 'use' them)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Sound complicated? It's not, really; read on.
The Marseille Tarot is the Grand Daddy of 'em all -- designed and executed by an artist unknown 'way back in the 15th century for use as a card-game-playing deck, it is composed of basic, instantly-recognizable archetypal images. Some folks suspect these images were created to pass along knowledge forbidden by the church of that time in such way that even illiterate persons could tell at a glance what was being discussed. Not "occult" knowledge, that came later, after the early occultists found that the images in this deck corresponded with certain notions of their own and began adapting the cards to present their own unique visions of life.
The Rider tradition added pictures to the minors that are not, strictly speaking, archetypal; but which make the job of imparting a more-or-less complete philosophy rather easier -- WE will interpret those "pips" for you, thank you very much! The Crowley traditon maintains the "pip" idea. but here, too, the import of the number and suit is dramatized and dogmatized to support Crowley's own theories.
The Marseille has none of this. You turn up a Seven of Wands, well ... how does that strike you today? Do the vines seem to form brackets to indicate that the cards on either side have something to do with today's interpretation? Or are they just vines this time? Is Seven a lucky number today, or a warning that you're about to get in over your head? Much more of a "self-Rorschach" experience, and, since you know better than Crowley or Waite could possibly know just how you're feeling today, of very great value for those who want to invest in a little extra self-examination.
This particular rendition is a restoration based on a Swiss version of the classic Marseille (which was virtually unchanges for hundreds of years -- THAT'S how on target its images are!) created in 1751 by Claude Burdel. The original line work has been preserved, but the colors have been revivified -- the look is clean, light, and bright, and so the cards lend themselves to hopeful, optimistic readings as befits the mind-set of the just-barely-pre-Renaissance era that inspired them; one's own mood, however, can provide all the darkness required for a really scary reading, if that's what you need and want.
The Majors are unparalleled. Stripped down and to the very essence, with humor, wisdom, insight, and just the right amount of vagueness to make the meaning change creatively from day to day: Is that Knight smirking, smiling, or grimacing? You make the call -- that's what makes an archetype an archtype! Is that lightening (or something stranger) striking the crown of The Tower, or is it a hot cloud of who-knows-what escaping from The Tower's too-narrow confines?
A lot more interactive than Rider or Crowley cards, by me, and a lot more personally meaningful.
The Little White Book which comes along for the ride is small but magnificent -- Tarot scholar Lee Bursten provides basic interpretations of the Majors as they would have been understood by those first viewing them 'way back then; Suits are quickly defined by the same method, as are the numbers 1 - 10. Court Cards are likewise reduced to the essential ranking: Knave = Learning; Knight = Focusing; Queen = Encouraging; and King = Controlling. The goal in this simplicity is to return the cards to the magic of their original conception:
The magic you yourself bring to them when reading.
If you want one of those older decks: Cartamundi have produced a recoloured version of the Dodal deck, but the recolouring is not very sympathetic - if you were going for an older deck, then the colouring would be important to you. In this case, you have to go to the hand-coloured works of Jean-Claude Flornoy.
This deck also appears under the ISBN 0738710415: Universal Tarot Marseille Kit.
Now comes this modern update that has a great LWB and very elegant backs. Now that tarot is becoming common place in America, this is the deck that can ease the reader back into this classic achetype. Marseille decks are not easy to find in the USA. This one belongs in every collectors library. The meanings were never associated to them until now. Yes, Mr. Bursten assigns them according to the modern esoteric tradition. That is good, since the original artist never left any meanings. In fact, they were just used as playing cards at the time. It wasnt until the following centuries that mystics started giving meanings to the cards. If you just have a passion for the tarot, then by all means, get a copy of this beauty!