The Tarot de Marseille set I ordered last week arrived today. It’s Mary Packard’s TdM set, published by RacePoint, and the cards are a reproduction of the Pierre Madenié Marseille Tarot. I vaguely remember seeing somewhere that the cards were larger than a standard deck but I wasn’t prepared for how huge they would actually turn out to be. In the picture below you see the deck out of this set on the left and a standard-sized Tarot deck on the right.
The 144-page companion book behind the cards is the length of the deck and about 50% wider than the deck, so quite small. The card meanings for the trumps mention the soul of appetite, the soul of will, and the soul of reason, which makes me wonder if Mary Packard was perhaps inspired by Robert M. Place when she wrote this book. She also mentions Prudence in connection with The World which I have never seen anybody but Place do before… I would really like to know if she is referencing his work or where else she got these ideas but there are no notes so I’m left guessing…
There are colour images of each card, along with the card meanings, although very small images for the Minors. Reversed meanings are included.
The book also briefly covers the history of the Tarot. I wish they would stop doing that in every single companion book. It becomes a rehash of a rehash after a while.
There are three spreads included at the back of the book: the standard 3-card spread, a 5-card spread and a mandala spread. The whole set comes nicely presented in a large, sturdy cardboard box.
And here are the card backs of both decks above…
For this deck interview, I’m interviewing not just this particular deck but the Tarot de Marseille in general. I want to go quite deep because I have a great love for the Marseille Tarot so I have chosen the 7-card astrological deck interview spread.
DECK INTERVIEW WITH THE TAROT DE MARSEILLE
1. Moon (Archangel Gabriel) – How will the TdM work with me on an intuitive level?
4 of Cups – Really well, I’d say! This is Moon in Cancer and you don’t get much more intuitive than Moon in Cancer (except maybe Moon in Pisces). According to the book, when upright, this card means ‘Ability to adapt and fit into any social scene; comfortable in one’s own skin.’
2. Mars (Archangel Camael) – What is your motivation for wanting to work with me?
The World – I could cry. Really, that’s how happy seeing The World in this position makes me. Since I did my first ever reading 31 years ago, I have almost exclusively worked with RWS style decks but the pull from the TdM is fierce and I know it is because I long to work with a deck that has its root in Medieval times and a Christian ethos. The World means ‘perfect harmony’ and ‘successful completion’ according to the companion book. The astrological correspondence is Saturn, ruler of my Capricorn Sun sign.
3. Mercury (Archangel Raphael) – What sort of messages are you wanting to pass on through me?
The Moon – Messages that help you and your clients face their deepest fears and surrender to grace. The corresponding sign for this card is Pisces. (I know, I know… these are Golden Dawn correspondences and don’t necessarily apply to the TdM but old habits die hard!)
4. Jupiter (Archangel Sachiel) – How will I benefit from working with you?
10 of Pentacles – You will become part of a greater legacy.
5. Venus (Archangel Anael) – How can I use this deck to bring more beauty, harmony and joie de vivre?
7 of Swords – By allowing your readings to come to them as a thief in the night, to take away their burdens.
6. Saturn (Archangel Cassiel) – What will be my main challenge when working with this deck?
King of Cups – To remain receptive to subtle visual clues and to always stay optimistic and balanced in my emotions.
7. Sun – Please show me an aspect of yourself that you want me to get to know a better.
The Star – This almost also makes me want to cry. The Star is a card of hope, faith and mercy. I love Her… we all love Her! Can you tell I’m falling hard for the Marseille Tarot?
Below, I’m sharing a collage of the box the book and deck come in and some sample pages from inside the little book. I would recommend this set to anyone who is looking for an inexpensive TdM ‘starter kit’ and who doesn’t mind unusually large cards. (Check THIS out if you struggle with shuffling large decks.)