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on 28 May 2017
It's nice to read a Tarot book that isn't clogged full of Cabbala or Astrology. The tarot, according to the author can't easily be shoehorned into any other occult discipline. YBD instead uses his powers of observation to extract the meanings of the cards. This is rather brilliant, except that these interpretations are often seriously at odds with the traditional ones. Some of the interpretations are rather obscure and I am not sure how they could work in a reading, for example "8 of Swords": Entering another's domain with permission. 3 of Swords: victory. A third party intervenes and wins over two weakened opponents. I would like to have bought it as a real book rather than an ebook as it is rather attractive.
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on 8 July 2013
When this book appeared I hit the "buy" button so fast you couldn't have seen my hand move, I was practically jumping up and down with excitement. I already have his beautiful self-published deck and was very impressed with the "LWB" that came with it so I had a feeling this would be good, I am delighted to say that I was absolutely right in my assumption.

I have been waiting for a book like this for ages. It has really opened up the world of Marseilles tarots for me and I am finally managing to make sense of the cards. I love the way it is written, it feels like he is talking to you directly. The words just flow and he explains things really clearly. When I had finished reading it I went straight back to the beginning and started to read it again, Kindle in one hand, and his deck in the other, because I enjoyed it so much.

I feel it is also worth mentioning that this book has an excellent linked table of contents which is often missing in other Kindle books.

If a printed version did become available I would happily purchase that as well. Love this book. Fabulous!
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on 19 July 2013
Tarot- the Open Reading is a guide to the Conver Ben-Dov Tarot de Marseilles: the deck is also available to purchase from [...] Since there are few books on the Tarot de Marseilles in the English language, this book is immensely valuable to the reader. Each card is illustrated and cross-referenced with impeccable formatting. The subtitle, The Open Reading, speaks to the secondary level of the book which frees the tarot reader from interpreting cards upon positions, but rather upon the internal resonance and the outer appearance of the cards themselves. The author is a student of Jodorwsky but this book is entirely free of his teacher's somewhat heavy Freudian and quirky opinions. It is very clearly written with a modesty of authorial presence that is rare in these days. By concentrating upon the cards themselves, Ben-Dov allows us to understand the cards on their own terms, enabling a possible interpretation of the pip cards in ways that can liberate the reader from reliance upon memorised meanings. I thoroughly recommend this book for its clarity and its ability to allow this ancient tarot to speak its wisdom so directly. Caitlin Matthews, [...]
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on 16 August 2014
I haven't had much dealing with the Tarot de Marseille, and the main reason is that I think the majors and courts are, to be frank, extremely ugly. And yet, I find the pip cards gloriously beautiful, and so I keep finding myself drawn to the deck. I do love unillustrated minor cards (or 'pips only' cards, as I like to call them), and the TdM pips are wonderful, particularly the swords suit, with its amazing curving shapes,and the coins, with all those scrolling vines and leaves twining around the disks. If it weren't for those god-awful majors...

This is a review of both the CBD Tarot de Marseille (Yoav ben Dov, 2010) and the companion book, Tarot: The Open Reading (sold separately). The full title of the deck is 'CBD Tarot de Marseille: A faithful reproduction of the traditional Tarot based on the standard deck printed by Nicholas Conver 1760, restored and adapted by Yoav Ben Dov.' I just call it 'CBD Tarot', which is an acronym for 'Conver-Ben Dov'.

The Deck
Ben Dov says he didn't set out to create a tarot deck, but rather to write a book about tarot. During the course of writing the book, he realized during the process of copyright negotiations that he might as well create a deck himself. Using several Conver decks, he kept the original lines, including their bizarre anomalies, and selected shades of the original colours. If it was red in Conver, it's red in CBD, but of course Ben Dov had to choose the shade. He also made adjustment to faces to be more appealing to modern eyes. He commissioned an illustrator to draw the lines of the original by hand, then a digital graphic designer to correct line details and add titles and colour. He then tweaked the designs digitally himself, and there we have the CBD Tarot de Marseille. The deck can be purchased online at www.cbdtarot.com.

It comes in an off-white tuck box featuring an illustration of the World card on one side, and the figure of the Fool on the other. The box has Hebrew writing on it (because Yoav Ben Dov lives in Israel, though the deck is printed in Belgium), but the LWB is in English. The 63-page LWB is well written, with decent sized print for easy reading. The tuck box itself is fairly sturdy and should stand up to gentle handling.

The full deck measures 12 x 6 x 2.5 cm (4.75 x 2.5 x 1 inch, approximately). It is a long, skinny deck. Some people like that, and consider it 'tarot shaped'. I prefer a chunkier shape, but never mind. All of the cards have white backgrounds, not stark white but not off-white. They are noticeably white. The deck has eight colours: white, black, yellow, red, blue, light blue, green and 'flesh colour', a red-beige. Each of these colours has taken on symbolic meaning to TdM readers, and one of the reasons I wanted this deck is that it is acknowledged (by those who know) as having 'correct' colours for a TdM, which apparently is significant if you want to read the TdM in a traditional way. (I am just getting my head around traditional cartomantic techniques using the TdM.) The titles of majors are in French. The serial numbers on minors are on the left and right sides, or not at all. There is an extra blank card ('carte blanche') which can be seen as a wild card in readings. The card backs are a plain but pleasant blue design.
The card stock itself is supple and soft, riffles like a dream straight from the box, and has very slight waxy feel. No lamination to speak of; if it's there, it is very light indeed. It is really lovely stock, neither too thick (like Tarot Illuminati, Enchanted Lenormand, or Tarot of the Sidhe) nor too thin (like Druidcraft).

The Book
The book has a similar plain off-white cover with The World on the front and The Fool on the back. I ordered mine from Amazon. It is available in paper or Kindle format, and just came out recently. This 259-page book consists of eleven chapters, plus card interpretations. In the usual manner, the majors get several pages each, while the minors receive only a half page each (less than half a page, really, as a large chunk of space is devoted to a black and white image of the card), and actually about half of the text for each card is devoted to a description of what the card looks like. I've never understood why companion books do this. I can see the card. I can see the illustration of the card. I don't need you tell me what it looks like, I need you to tell me what you think it means, please. But oh well. In essence, each minor card gets roughly 6 lines of interpretation. The same material is in the LWB that comes with the deck. This is not unusual in tarot publications, but I do wish a little more thought would be put into the minors. I think minor cards are underrated.

The chapters in this book are:

1. The Tarot Deck, in which Ben Dov gives an introduction to the history of tarot and overview of the French and English schools of tarot.
2. The Reading Session, in which he gives his ideas about the proper way to set up a reading space and conduct a reading.
3. Reading the Cards, which is more of Ben Dov's thoughts on how to go about a 'proper' reading.
4. The Symbolic Language, in which we get information about directions, colours, numbers, figures and body parts.
5. The Major Suit, which takes a close look at the majors, and of course goes into the 'Fool's Journey'.
6. The Major Cards
7. The Minor Suits, in which we are instructed in the meanings of suits and their correspondences
8. The Ace Cards
9. The Court Cards
10. The Number Cards, where the minors are looked at individually
11. Additional Spreads
and then Quick Interpretations.

So far I have read through Chapter 4, and skimmed the rest of the book (I will finish it this week, I hope) and I believe that, armed with this book and deck, a beginner could start out with the Tarot de Marseille and do quite well, learning traditional cartomantic principles and techniques, without all the Golden Dawn bumpf you encounter in a Rider Waite Smith deck. I have said before that I wish I had started with the TdM, but it didn't work out that way for me.

All the information in this book seems to me be entirely solid and acceptable to firm tarot tradition. There is nothing here that is idiosyncratic or highly personalized. Some of Ben Dov's thoughts on how a reading should be conducted are his personal opinion, and it would have been nice to see a few alternatives given, but that is a minor point. In most cases, he does do that.

I think this book and deck set is a must-have for tarot enthusiasts. I see it as my definitive (and probably only) Tarot de Marseille, and the book is certainly the best and most expansive guide to the TdM I have yet seen, written in English.

To me, the definitive collection for any tarot newbie would be this:

CBD Tarot with the book Tarot: The Open Reading by Yoav Ben-Dov
Yellow Box Rider Deck with Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack
Green Box Thoth Tarot with Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette

If you were to lay your foundations with these three decks and books, I have no doubts you could go on to read with anything out there.
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on 17 February 2014
I can only enforce what has already been said. I have studied, taught and worked with the Tarot for over 40 years and this is the best book I have ever come across. It gives good interpretations and explanations in such a fashion that it engenders personal development just by reading it because it keens up your own sense of awareness and thereby boosts your intuitive processes. It is a most empowering book, regardless of what deck you use or spreads you practise. This book does not give you cardboard cut out interpretations of the cards, this book teaches you how to truly read them. If you are serious about becoming a reader of Tarot then this is the best book you could wish for. There are plentry of coffee table books out there proclaiming to be advanced, secret, or whatever, but this one really cuts the mustard for the serious student because it teaches you the art of intuitional reading coupled with a good grounding knowledge of the cards. It teaches you how to get to know your own cards. It teaches you intuitional and inspirational Tarotcraft.
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on 24 April 2015
One of the very few books on the tarot of Marseille. This book gives you some nice hints on how to read the tarot intuitively and it is surprisingly nice. The author chose to use the tarot of Marseille in his book but his teachings are applicable to whatever deck you choose, they are by no means limited to the tarot de Marseille, in fact, he talks about the 2 main traditions of the tarot: The French and the English school. At the end of the book, the author gives you the traditional meanings attributed to the cards of the deck he chose to use in his book (TofM)
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on 12 November 2015
An excellent book, to accompany his equally excellent deck. This book I will use as a reference, it is well laid out and easy to follow and understand. The only slight niggle is sometimes he see's things in the cards that are not there. For example he see's a short tail on one of the figures and assigns a meaning to it, but it seems to me just a line indicating a natural fold in an item of clothing, but its only a minor detail, by and large its an excellent book good for both beginners and more experienced readers.
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on 8 July 2013
For those wishing to use the Tarot de Marseille rather than more modern decks that have illustrated pips, there are less resources available. This book is one of those that helps to fill this gap. Plenty of well-organised background material and practical guidance. The book is illustrated with the author's own CBD deck.
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on 3 February 2014
This is wonderful, the book I've been hoping to find for so long. Working with the Tarot de Marseille is not the easiest of steps to take but it really felt like coming home when I dedicated myself to it and this book has made everything slot into place. Thank you so much, Yoav!
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on 1 April 2014
I have been searching for a book to help me on my Tarot journey and this is the one to buy! It is beautifully written and explains things so clearly, it is almost as if the writer is in the room with you. Definitely the book to have, I wish I had found it sooner!
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