What constitutes a "true" deck?


I've been reading through old threads and the phrases "true tarot" and "true Marseille" comes up quite a bit.

My question is, what determines if a deck is "true" or not. Is it the absence of one feature? one word? the addition of an item? Is it a "three strikes and you're out", thing?

Just curious.


It's a lovely anarchy ... anybody defines it for her/himself.


~X~ said:
Is it a "three strikes and you're out", thing?

LOL. That's kind of it!

When we're discussing the Marseille for instance, I think there are a few things which are essential and if they're not there, most Marseillists will say it can't be a true Marseille deck. Here are a few examples amongst many:

Take the Bateleur: He needs to have a leminscate, his table needs to have three legs (not four).

The Emperor: It is preferable that his legs form a cross. (Same with the Hanged Man.)

The Lovers card: Always a "cupid", one man and two women.

The Moon: Two dogs, a lobster/crab/crayfish and two towers on either side (the two towers are not the same.)

The Fool: If he is numbered 0, he's out. Not even three strikes here - one strike and you won't know what's hit you.

The World: An angel, an eagle, a lion and a bull in the four corners.

XIII (if this card is given a name, watch out). Chopped off heads are pretty important here.

etc. etc.

There are some basic stuff without which a Marseille deck can't be a Marseille deck. Because it wouldn't make sense anymore.

Also, turn the way they're facing and you're lost. Justice looks straight ahead, the Hermit turns to your left side (his right).....


Thanks, Diana.

Every little bit of information helps to keep up with the threads!

I had a feeling it was something like that. :)