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Drawing the 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the fascinating world of the Tarot de Marseille, a realm where mystery and wisdom meet. If you are new to tarot reading, this article is for you. Whether you are curious, passionate, or simply seeking understanding, I will guide you through the subtleties of the Tarot de Marseille. We will explore together the advantages and disadvantages of the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot and the Tarot de Marseille, to help you choose the deck that suits you best. Discover the 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille, a rich and timeless divinatory tool.

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Which Tarot to choose?

When starting in the art of cartomancy, choosing the right tarot deck can be a real challenge. Two major names dominate the landscape: the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot and the Tarot de Marseille. Each has its peculiarities, strengths, and weaknesses. The RWS Tarot, with its detailed illustrations, seems to be an obvious choice for beginners. However, the Tarot de Marseille, with its more abstract and symbolic approach, offers depth and neutrality that can be more beneficial for a universal understanding of the cards. In this article, we will dive into the characteristics of these two decks to help you determine which one is most suited to your needs as a beginner in the vast world of tarot.

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The drawbacks of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Introduction

The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot is an emblematic work in the world of cartomancy, known for its rich and symbolic illustrations. However, it sparks debate among tarot enthusiasts. For some, it strays too far from traditions, with images that may restrict personal interpretation. On the other hand, these same detailed images make the tarot more accessible to beginners. This section aims to explore this paradox, highlighting the impact of the RWS Tarot on contemporary tarot practice, while pointing out its limitations.

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Polarization of the RWS Tarot

Polarization of the RWS Tarot

This tarot exhibits notable polarization. For example, the suit of Swords is predominantly negative, while in the major arcana, cards like The Devil are interpreted positively, in contrast to The Sun. This polarization can complicate balanced and fair interpretation, especially in complex situations. Moreover, this polarization can influence the emotional perception of consultants, leading them to interpret readings in a biased way, which is a challenge for tarot readers seeking to maintain neutrality.

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Imbalance of the 4 Elements

Imbalance of the 4 Elements

The RWS Tarot presents inconsistencies between the elements and the meanings of the cards. For example, the 3 of Swords, symbolizing a broken heart, contradicts the element of Air, associated with intellect and communication. Similarly, the 3 of Pentacles, evoking collaboration, would be more logically associated with Swords. This imbalance creates inconsistency in interpretations, potentially causing confusion for the tarot reader. This discordance between the elements and meanings can also limit the depth of interpretation, reducing the ability to weave symbolic connections between the cards.

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Esotericism of the RWS Tarot

Esotericism of the RWS Tarot

The major arcana of the RWS Tarot is filled with references to Kabbalah, ancient Egypt, and Hebrew, an esotericism that is also found in the minor arcana. This complexity can be intimidating for those not familiar with these fields. While this esotericism can enrich the experience for some, it can also excessively broaden the spectrum of interpretation, making readings more confusing and less accessible to beginners.

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Conclusion

In creating his tarot in 1910, Waite reshaped the traditional cards, assigning them new meanings without necessarily respecting the original symbolism of numbers, colors, and figures. More than a century later, users of the RWS Tarot and its variants sometimes struggle to interpret these cards based on the traditional structure of tarot. Although many authors attempt to explain the RWS through the meanings of colors, numbers, and figures, there are often inconsistencies and contradictions in their interpretations, revealing the inherent challenges in using this iconic tarot.

However, it must be acknowledged that while the original RWS Tarot is very esoteric, modern RWS tarots are not. These decks usually focus on pop culture universes, or they are the expression of a very personal vision of the tarot by the author. While these tarots may have the merit of being sometimes very beautiful, they are not necessarily more understandable or accessible for beginners. In any case, they are not more universal than the Tarot de Marseille.

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The advantages of the Tarot de Marseille

Introduction

The Tarot de Marseille, with its unique aesthetic and traditional approach, offers a distinct and enriching divination experience. Ideal for beginners, it combines simplicity and depth, providing an accessible gateway to the world of tarot. In this section, we will explore the key advantages of the Tarot de Marseille, highlighting why it remains a preferred choice for many readers.

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Neutrality and Simplicity

Neutrality and Simplicity

The Tarot de Marseille stands out for its neutrality. The 22 Trumps, for example, present a balance between positive and negative aspects, without excessively leaning to one side or the other. The Devil is less negative, and the Sun less positive, offering a more balanced perspective. Unlike the RWS Tarot, the Tarot de Marseille moves away from complex esoteric references, focusing instead on more universal and accessible symbols. The figures, while distinct in their roles, have unique specifics that facilitate their identification and interpretation.

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Abstraction and Focus on the Consultant

Abstraction and Focus on the Consultant

The pip cards of the Tarot de Marseille are abstract, with no detailed illustrations. This abstraction, far from being a disadvantage, allows for greater focus on the consultant. The absence of guiding images encourages the interpreter to use their intellect, reason, and intuition in a balanced way, without being influenced by specific visual representations. This fosters a reading more centered on the consultant, avoiding projections and reductive interpretations.

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Balance of the Four Suits

Balance of the Four Suits

The Tarot de Marseille offers a remarkable balance between its four suits. Each suit, with its abstract character, leaves a wide margin for personal interpretation, thus enriching the reading. Although the cards are abstract, they contain details and specifics that add depth to the interpretation, allowing for a clear distinction of meanings in upright or reversed positions.

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Conclusion

The Tarot de Marseille is an exceptional divination tool, particularly suited for beginners. Its simplicity, balance, and consultant-centered approach make it a wise choice for those who wish to delve into tarot reading. With its universal symbols and abstraction, it invites a deep and personal exploration, making each reading unique and meaningful.

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Reading with only the Major Arcana of the Tarot de Marseille

Introduction

Embarking on the journey of learning the Tarot de Marseille is an exciting adventure, and starting with the 22 Trumps cards is a common and practical approach for beginners. These cards, rich in symbolism and meaning, provide fertile ground for understanding the basics of cartomancy. However, it's important to recognize the limitations of this approach and consider exploring the 56 other cards for a more complete understanding.

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Progressive Learning

For beginners, initially focusing on the 22 Trumps is an effective method. It allows one to become familiar with the symbolic language of tarot without feeling overwhelmed. Each Trumps card is a universe in itself, full of meanings and lessons to be discovered. This initial step is crucial for building a solid foundation in the art of tarot reading.

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Limits of the Approach

However, limiting oneself to only the Trumps can prove restrictive in the long term. While these cards offer a wealth of symbolism, they do not encompass the full range of life's experiences and nuances that the 56 other cards can bring. By sticking only to the Trumps, one risks missing out on the diversity and complexity of human situations that the tarot can illuminate.

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Risk of Redundancy

Using only the 22 Trumps, one can quickly find themselves going in circles. The same cards may reappear frequently, thus limiting the variety and depth of the readings. This repetition can lead to superficial or repetitive interpretation, not doing justice to the complexity of the consultants' situations.

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Expanding the Horizon

It is essential to explore beyond the 22 Trumps for a more complete understanding of tarot. Learning the 56 other cards enriches the practice, offering a broader palette for interpreting life's subtleties. Moreover, familiarizing oneself with other tarot systems, such as the Rider-Waite-Smith or Lenormand, can provide new perspectives and deepen the understanding of tarot.

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Conclusion

Be cautious of those who say they only read with the major arcana of the Tarot de Marseille, and that they manage very well because these 22 cards are so rich that one can do everything with them (I know the discourse well). These people are tied and attached to the 22 Trumps of the Tarot de Marseille (very often in the way of Paul Marteau). Listen with caution to their assurance and confidence regarding the diversity and depth of their readings.

Starting with the 22 Trumps of the Tarot de Marseille is an excellent first step, but it is important not to limit oneself to them. Exploring the 56 other cards is a natural and enriching step in the journey of cartomancy. You might also be curious to explore in more detail the major arcana, these iconic cards that form the heart of many readings.

✨ Dive deeper into the mystical world of tarot with my detailed guide on the 22 major arcana. ✨

meaning of the 22 Trumps

Discover the secrets of the major arcana here

Whether you are looking to enrich your tarot practice or to deepen your understanding of these powerful cards, this article is an indispensable resource. Let yourself be guided on a journey through the symbols and hidden meanings of the major arcana!

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Reading with the 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille

Introduction

The journey into the world of the Tarot de Marseille expands when you start exploring the 56 minor cards, in addition to the 22 Trumps. This step, far from being more complex, is actually an invitation to a deeper and more nuanced understanding of tarot. I propose three innovative approaches to facilitate your journey through the minor arcana.

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Symbolism of the 4 suits (Pentacles, Wands, Swords, Cups)

Symbolism of the 4 suits (Pentacles, Wands, Swords, Cups)

Pentacles (Earth): The Essence of Need

My Interpretation: Pentacles, linked to the Earth element, represent more than materiality. They reflect your fundamental needs, your quest for security and stability in life.
Impact for You: Each Pentacle card speaks of understanding and responding to your essential needs, guiding you towards personal fulfillment and harmony with the material environment.

Wands (Fire): The Flame of Desire

My Interpretation: Wands, ignited by Fire, symbolize your burning desires, your passion, and your creative momentum. They are the engine of your transformation and personal growth.
Impact for You: These cards encourage you to recognize and pursue your deepest desires, channeling your energy towards what truly animates you.

Swords (Air): The Clarity of Thought

My Interpretation: Associated with Air, Swords represent the world of ideas, rational thought, and communication. They are your tools for navigating the realm of concepts and decisions.
Impact for You: Swords help you refine your thinking, clarify your ideas, and communicate effectively, enabling you to overcome intellectual challenges and dilemmas.

Cups (Water): The Deep Ocean of Feeling

My Interpretation: Cups, immersed in the Water element, are the mirror of your emotions and feelings. They reflect the depth of your relationships and your intuition.
Impact for You: These cards invite you to explore and understand your deepest feelings, helping you establish authentic and profound emotional connections.

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Meaning of the Pip Cards from 1 to 10

Meaning of the Pip Cards from 1 to 10

The Tarot de Marseille is a rich and complex tool that offers a multitude of perspectives on the human psyche. In this article, I propose a specific reading grid for the numeral cards ranging from 1 to 10. This approach is based on the plant cycle, a powerful metaphor for understanding the different stages of life and personal evolution.

1. The Seed

My Interpretation: The seed symbolizes the beginning and uniqueness. It represents the principle of everything, individuation, and self-mastery.
Impact for You: This invites you to recognize your unique potential and to initiate new projects or life paths.

2. The Sowing

My Interpretation: The sowing evokes duality, conflict, but also complementarity and fusion.
Impact for You: This may reflect the internal or external conflicts you are experiencing, while highlighting the importance of finding balance and harmony.

3. Germination and Growth

My Interpretation: This stage symbolizes manifestation, creativity, and sociability.
Impact for You: It's a call to express your creativity and to establish enriching social connections.

4. The Development of Stems and Leaves

My Interpretation: Here, the focus is on order, solidity, and tangible achievement.
Impact for You: This encourages you to structure your projects and to ground them in reality.

5. The Flowering

My Interpretation: Flowering represents evolution, openness, and transformation.
Impact for You: It's a favorable period for change and opening up to new opportunities.

6. Pollination by the Bee

My Interpretation: This phase symbolizes union, mediation, and the choices to be made in the face of contradictions.
Impact for You: It invites you to make important decisions and to find your way amidst dilemmas.

7. The Fruit-Bearing

My Interpretation: Fruit-bearing evokes dynamism, power, and full commitment.
Impact for You: This means fully embracing your choices and acting with independence and confidence.

8. The Consumption of the Fruit's Nectar

My Interpretation: This stage speaks of cosmic balance, abundance, and material expansion.
Impact for You: It's a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and recognize your achievements.

9. The Decomposition of the Fruit, Revealing the Seeds

My Interpretation: Here, it's about fulfillment, introspection, and integration.
Impact for You: It's a time for personal reflection and integrating the lessons learned.

10. The Dispersion of Seeds

My Interpretation: This final stage symbolizes completion, return to unity, and transmission.
Impact for You: It represents the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one, with the opportunity to share your wisdom and experiences.

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Reading Grid in 4 Aspects 'Fluid', 'Excessive', 'Rejected', 'Insufficient'

Reading Grid in 4 Aspects 'Fluid', 'Excessive', 'Rejected', 'Insufficient'

About the 2-aspect reading grid "Upright", "Reversed"

I do not use the usual 2-aspect reading grid "upright", "reversed" for the following reasons:

Lack of Nuances: The "Upright/Reversed" grid is often too simplistic. It limits to a binary interpretation of the cards, thus losing the richness of nuances and subtleties that each card can offer. In comparison, the 4-aspect grid allows for a deeper and more nuanced exploration of the energies of the cards.

Reduction of Complexity: Life and human situations are complex and multifaceted. The "Upright/Reversed" grid does not capture this complexity, offering an often Manichean view. The 4-aspect grid, on the other hand, recognizes and embraces this complexity, providing a richer and more relevant reading.

Limitation in Personal Interpretation: The "Upright/Reversed" grid can lead to too rigid or predictive interpretations, limiting the reader's ability to personally connect with the cards. The 4-aspect grid encourages a more personal and introspective interpretation, allowing for a better connection with the cards.

Less Dynamic Approach: The "Upright/Reversed" grid does not account for the fluid dynamic of energies. The aspects "Fluid", "Excessive", "Rejected", and "Insufficient" offer a more dynamic and evolving understanding of situations, better reflecting the changing reality of everyday life.

In summary, while the "Upright/Reversed" grid can be useful for beginners or for a basic understanding, it is significantly less rich and less suitable for a deep and personalized exploration of the Tarot de Marseille cards, compared to the 4-aspect grid.

Here is my definition of my 4-Aspect reading grid "Fluid", "Excessive", "Rejected", "Insufficient"

"Fluid" Aspect

My Interpretation: When the energy of the cards is fluid, it reflects a balance and harmony in the concerned aspect of life. It's the expression of a healthy dynamic, where the forces at play are well aligned and functioning optimally.
Impact on You: You experience a sense of stability and ease in this aspect of your life. This allows you to progress serenely, taking full advantage of the opportunities that arise.

"Excessive" Aspect

My Interpretation: Excessive energy indicates an imbalance where a particular aspect dominates disproportionately. This can manifest as an overabundance or an overly intense intensity, often to the detriment of other areas.
Impact on You: You might feel overwhelmed or overpowered by this aspect, which can lead to stress or anxiety. It is important to seek to rebalance this energy to find your center.

"Rejected" Aspect

My Interpretation: Rejecting an energy means denying, ignoring, or undervaluing it. This could be due to fear, past trauma, or simply a lack of recognition of its importance.
Impact on You: This rejection can lead to a feeling of emptiness or lack in this aspect of your life. Recognizing and integrating this energy can be a step towards greater fulfillment.

"Insufficient" Aspect

My Interpretation: Insufficient energy is manifested by a lack or weakness in a certain area. This can indicate neglect, a lack of resources, or an inability to fully engage.
Impact on You: You might feel frustration or a sense of incompleteness. It is essential to understand the causes of this insufficiency and work to strengthen this energy in your life.

This reading grid offers a rich and complex perspective, going beyond the simple positive/negative dichotomy, and allows for a deeper understanding of human interactions with the cards. It is particularly suitable for beginners, offering them a more intuitive and personal way of interpreting the cards.

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Conclusion

After exploring the subtleties of drawing with the 78 cards of the Tarot de Marseille, you might wonder how to deepen your understanding of each individual card. Fortunately, I have just what you need.

🌟 Discover the detailed meaning and interpretation of each card of the Tarot de Marseille in my dedicated article. 🌟

meaning of the 78 tarot cards

Explore the 78 Tarot cards here

Whether you are a curious beginner or an experienced tarot reader, this complementary article will, I hope, enrich your practice and understanding of tarot. Don't miss this opportunity to deepen your knowledge!

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Which is the Best Tarot de Marseille to Use

Which is the Best Tarot de Marseille to Use

The Jean Noblet Tarot, restored by Flornoy, is a treasure for anyone beginning in the divinatory art of tarot. I consider this deck as the best choice for divination due to its unique features.

Historical Authenticity: This deck is a faithful reproduction of the oldest known Tarot de Marseille, offering an authentic and traditional reading experience.

Deep Symbolism: Each card is charged with rich and nuanced symbolism, allowing for deep and personal interpretation. Perfect for those looking to connect with the cards on a more intimate level.

Artistic Quality: The carefully restored illustrations are visually captivating, facilitating immersion in the world of tarot and making learning more enjoyable and intuitive.

A Guide for Personal Growth: This tarot is not just a divination tool, but also a companion for personal reflection and spiritual development.

Practical Card Size: A major asset of this deck is its reduced size, making the cards particularly easy to handle. This feature is ideal for beginners, as it allows for better grip and easy manipulation during readings. Whether it's for shuffling or laying out the cards, this adapted size greatly facilitates learning and daily practice.

By choosing the Jean Noblet Tarot, you opt for an authentic and profound divinatory journey, perfect for those starting out and looking to explore the mystical world of tarot. If you want to discover it in detail, read my review of the Jean Noblet Tarot (1650).

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Reading with the Tarot de Marseille: the 'Elementary Spread'

Instructions

Reading with the Tarot de Marseille: the 'Elementary Spread'

The 'Elementary Spread' I propose is an innovative and intuitive method for exploring the depths of the Tarot de Marseille. This spread consists of 5 groups (Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Life) and involves drawing a total of 10 cards.

Preparation

Sort the deck into 10 piles: the pip cards divided into 4 suits, the court cards also in 4 suits, and the major arcana in 2 piles (from 1 to 10 with the Fool, and from 11 to 21).

Drawing by Group of Positions

Earth: One pip card and one court card of Pentacles (No. 1 and 2).
Fire: One pip card and one court card of Wands (No. 3 and 4).
Air: One pip card and one court card of Swords (No. 5 and 6).
Water: One pip card and one court card of Cups (No. 7 and 8).
Life: One major arcana from the first pile [1 to 10 + Fool] (No. 9) and one from the second pile [11 to 21] (No. 10).

Interpretation

  • The pip cards indicate the daily situation (the What).
  • The court cards reveal the personality traits of the consultant in play (the Who), and/or reactions to everyday life (the How).
  • The Earth group evokes the *Needs* of the consultant.
  • The Air group evokes the *Desires* of the consultant.
  • The Water group evokes the *Thoughts* of the consultant.
  • The Earth group evokes the *Feelings* of the consultant.
  • The 1st card of the Life group (from 1 to 10 + Fool) evokes the material dimension of the consultant's life.
  • The 2nd card of the Life group (from 11 to 21) evokes the spiritual dimension of the consultant's life.

Simplified Spread

Simplified 5-Card Spread (instead of 10): For the groups "Earth", "Fire", "Air", "Water", draw a single card (among the pip cards and court cards combined into 4 piles, one for each suit). For the "Life" group, draw a single card from the 22 Major Arcana.

Focused Spread: For beginners, use only the 22 Major Arcana (one card for each group "Earth", "Fire", "Air", "Water", "Life") to familiarize yourself with the major arcana.

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Variants of the Spread

Light preparation: Rather than preparing 10 decks of cards, you can simply group the cards into 3 piles (pip cards, court cards, major arcana). Thus, any suit (Pentacles, Wands, Swords, Cups) can be found in the 4 positions "Need", "Desire", "Thought", "Feeling". And any major arcana can be found in position No.5: "Life". This adds subtlety and finesse to the interpretation.

Romantic Variant: The positions become "What Unites", "What Separates", "To Build What", "For What Challenges" (with the pip cards and court cards), and the 5th group "Advice" (with the complete major arcana).

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Professional Variant: The positions become "Strengths", "Weaknesses", "Opportunities", "Threats" (with the pip cards and court cards), and the 5th group "Advice" (with the complete major arcana). This variant is derived from the decision-making tool called "SWOT" in English (for Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threat). You will find extensive documentation on this tool on the Internet.

Why Use This Spread

Flexibility and Personalized Approach: The various variants proposed allow for great flexibility, adapting to different situations and questions. You can customize this spread and adapt it to your specific needs, whether for personal, professional, or romantic questions.

Ease of Learning: Beginners will find in this spread an accessible method to familiarize themselves with the major and minor arcana, thus facilitating their journey in learning tarot.

Depth of Interpretation: By combining the 4 elements, the pip cards, and the court cards, this spread offers a richness of interpretation and a deeper understanding of the messages of the tarot.

Spiritual and Practical Guidance: The spread balances the spiritual and practical aspects of life, offering balanced and relevant advice.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, whether you choose to start your divinatory journey with the Tarot de Marseille or the RWS Tarot, remember that each deck has its own magic and lessons to offer. The Tarot de Marseille, with its simplicity, balance, and abstract approach, provides fertile ground for developing a deep and personal understanding of the cards. The Tarot de Marseille is the Tarot for you if you wish to develop your intuition and mediumship. As a beginner, you will find in the Tarot de Marseille a reliable and timeless guide to explore the mysteries of life and the soul. The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot will be more suitable for people with fertile imagination and needing more guidance and channeling (through illustrations). Be careful not to let yourself be confined by these same illustrations. Remember, the path of cartomancy is a personal and unique journey. Trust yourself and let the cards guide you to a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. Happy discovery and card reading!

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