Help! I've fallen in LOVE with Marseilles!


So I am in search for my soul mate tarot deck. Yes, I believe its out there, haunting me. Tempting me, calling to me, luring me in to my demise of being so enamored I never buy another deck ever again! I'd be like Beyonce and put a ring on it. Then we would share secrets between wine and chocolates, forever enjoying eachothers company.

You see, I never owned a Visconti or Marseilles type deck. The color combos and unillustrated pips turned me off when I was younger. But I find myself constantly liking art styles of tarot I have not liked and my taste are changing, unbeknownst to me! So one day not too long ago I took a gander in the aeclectic gallery out of curiosity. And by the time I was finished I had three decks vying for the attention of my wallet. I guess these high class decks really do like folks with money :p. The three decks were Sola-Busca (I know, its not a Marseilles), Le Tarot Noir(Love at first sight), and then I came upon the Papess that stole my heart. I could not get a deck idenity, but later that night, it must of been destiny. It turns out the Papess I was crazy for was the one from the Soprafino!

Oh my! The images made me swoon! The feeling was not the same as I get with other decks on the net. These two could be the one! Or heck, I might let them duke it out. But these decks called to me in their siren song and I have become entranced. Help!

So I am brand new to the world of TdM. We were all new at one time. I wanted to ask you all how should a beginner like myself start with this exploration. I think I have picked two decks to start off with that are good examples. Excellent in my opinion. Are these good and true to the TdM system or is their other decks to benefit a newbie? Book recomendations? Tips from your experiance? Links? What are your opinions for a person with a RWS background, should adress in learing and studying? Oh, and why are TdM interpritations sound a lot like Rider interpretation? Does anyone have thoughts to share on the two decks I have chosen?

I hope this thread is a good learning platform for veterans and newbies alike! I want everyone to feel free and spill the beans about TdM here and offer anything they can beneficial to a newbie. Thanks!


TdM is what originally got me into Tarot. I wanted a deck so badly. A well-meaning soul got me my very first deck... and it was RWS. I hated it. I still hate it, but it's taken me over a decade to work through the hatred so that I can read other decks.

I still don't have a TdM because I want mine to be special. After all, I've waited for it for such a long time now...


I hear you! I want a special deck as well, so I understand. I feel Le Noir and Soprafino popped into my life at the perfect moment. Seeing as I am fed up with some decks, it was like the universe was like, 'i know what i have in mind for you!' Totally unexpected but it made the right call. I NEED a TdM now. Goodluck with finding a match!

Mr Timothy Gray

I always knew I was interested in the Marseille Tarot, but I didn't understand the differences between the variations. It wasn't until I started using the Flornoy reconstruction of the Noblet and the Dodal that I began to understand and appreciate the Marseille Tarot. Suddenly the images came alive, danced with one another, and made 'sense'. I now exclusively use the Dodal and haven't looked back.


I'm glad you brought up Le Tarot Noir. Not enough seems to have been said about this gorgeous deck. You have to admit, though, Noir's dimensions make it a handful to shuffle. Oh well: the price for beauty. I've gotten some of my very best and most insightful readings with this deck.

In no particular order, these are the things *I* used to learn Marseille. Your mileage may vary:

1. Enrique Enriquez's eye rhymes method (search the threads on this forum)
2. Dawn Jackson's "hedgewytchery" for playing cards
3. Pythagorean numerology--not as scary as it sounds

Really nothing else has been more helpful than the above . . . *for me*. I don't do astrology; I don't do woo woo; I don't do alchemy or Qabbalah or Tree of Life. We all pick what we like to layer into tarot.

Yoav Ben-Dov's 'Open Reading' book is quite decent if you are starting from nothing. I'm in the middle of Camelia Elia's Marseille book, and I love it and find her voice inspiring, but it's a little advanced for beginners. A lot of people talk about the fabulously expensive book by Jean Michel David, but I haven't been stirred to order it yet.


TdM might well be your soulmate deck, DesertDream. :D Both decks are gorgeous, so good luck choosing. ;)

Meanwhile, some links for you:
The Forum index with links to many links - look through the methods sections especially closely
Hedgewytchery method

In my experience, setting up a system for reading the pips is a good start. Be it Hedgewytchery, Pythagorean or any other numerology, pips-as-trumps, Tree of Life, or anything else, once those numbers have meanings to you, you add the meanings for suits, and there, you already have a framework for your readings. And then read, read, read. Both books and the cards, I mean. :)

And, of course, you're always welcome in the TdM Circle. You might want to look through the previous exchanges to see how people read those cards. The latest one can be viewed here.


I've just started my journey with the TdMarseille too - I have over the years tried and failed to understand these decks. It is always the pip cards, I look and see nothing or worse still try and read them the same as a Rider Waite which is pointless.

A few days ago I pulled out Lee Bursten's book and the companion deck Universal Tarot of Marseille, a re-coloured Burdel and for the first time I got what the deck was trying to say. It was a big eye-opener because usually I get these decks out, try to do a reading, get disheartened and then put them away. But having had this little break-through has made me more interested, I'm now exploring different systems of how to read these cards and finding out which one's I can work with. There aren't that many printed books of how to read the Tarot de Marseille but the resources are there online, it's just a matter of finding which system or systems I like the best.

As for the decks - I have a Conver, Hadar, Fournier, three versions of the Soprafino, and two Burdels and it is the Burdel version I like the best. :)


Hey DesertDream, just a couple observations:

Regarding reading with TdM, I have found that the French editions, like the Noblet, are more expressive in the faces, and are easier to read than the Italian editions, like the Soprafino (the Italian cards are really their own group, not actually TdM). Also, the Italian characters mostly face the viewer. When reading a story from left to right in a spread, I enjoy following the glances of the French characters. I feel like this adds a unique dimension to a reading.

There are so many cartiers to choose from, right now! I highly recommend anything from Yves, link listed above. Argentina's Pablo Robledo is a master, for sure:

Lastly, the Noblet by Flornoy is my main squeeze. Have fun!


I also would suggest looking at "real" TdM decks. TdM reconstructions (such as Flornoy's Noblet or Dodal), or even the popular Conver restorations (such as ISIS, CBD, or Grimaud) read much better than the Italian decks, although the latter are indeed beautiful.