Interpreting Minors in Marseilles Decks


Keep going Inanna, this is great! I love it when people new to the Marseilles start to post because even more incite is brought to the deck. :D (I said 'incite' and NOT 'rubbish')

Upright or not depends very much on the reader with a Marseilles. The Cups are easy, but the other suits not so the best thing is.... you get to choose!! :D Does the image 'look' upright? And if so, then it may not the next time you get that card... that's the beauty of reading with a Marseilles. Don't you just love it! Of course, you can make your own rules if you like and write them down so that you can tell the uprightness of the cards, some people even mark them (please don't.. at least not yet).

Getting back to your 7 of Coins example; which way is that triangle facing? And what does that mean to you? What does a square mean to you? This is actually a good reason that I don't have a right way up for my cards because sometimes that triangle is facing up and sometimes down.


Moonbow, I could kiss you!
Whilst I was typing up that post, I felt an inner eureka moment brewing. I felt 'ah! I can seeeee into these cards now, just just 7 lifeless 2D coins infront of me'... and then after posting my self-deprecating and doubtful thinking mind threw up a million reasons why it was a load of rubbish...

I thank you for your incite on my incite :D

And I think pictorial arrangement will be far more meaningful to me as a reader rather than just learning keywords and a codex for TdM readings. Although some readers like the idea of that, making it a scientific repeatable and reliable system, I much prefer the intuitiveness of it all.

But thats today, tomorrow might be very different lol.

Thank you again Moonbow :)

strings of life

Moonbow* said:
Keep going Inanna, this is great! I love it when people new to the Marseilles start to post because even more incite is brought to the deck. :D (I said 'incite' and NOT 'rubbish')
I was always fearful of TdM Minors and now I am growing fond of embracing them. I said it in another thread, but I have a sense of freedom when I view the Minors.

I am tossing everything out of the window with my TdM studies and am relaying on basic numerology and what the cards look like and how the cards communicate with each other (from left to right, right to left, or from center to left and center to right).

inanna_tarot, we are both starting out at roughly the same time, so it will be fun posting in this part of the board with you :).

For instance, in Bernice's first post in the Marseille 3-card combinations thread, when I saw the 8 of Swords, I immediately thought of being pulled at both ends, bulging opposites, not working together; total lack of cooperation; being delusional (seeing things in one way and not another = inflexible).

I am finding that it's fun to read this way. Who would have thought ;)?


I'm a suit + numbers man, and anyway usually see the pattern of the seven of coins not as the triangle and square, but rather the quincunx on wheels. But there's a way I sometimes look at the picture that I find dynamic and interesting, and which seems to give that card a creativity or conception twist.

Seen one way, the card shows a triangle and a square, as Inanna has said. You can see that as the triangular male thingamabob approaching the empty womb. (In this reading, I don't pay attention to the decorative plant life.) Then reconsider the arrangement of the coins, and the square has swollen into a rectangle because there's new and different triangle growing inside her. We've moved from "triangle approaches square" to "pregnant square."

Perhaps one of the reasons I'm fond of this is that I mostly see the illustrations of the pips as static, and this one sort of moves. The card changes from one picture to another, and the sequence tells a story.


a couple of questions..

Is it OK to read intuitively with the pips? Do you need to have a system or work with the meaning of numbers etc? Or is intuitive reading like that a bit fashionable at the moment, and so looked down on by the 'TdM academics'? Would a numbers system be the better way to go?

Secondly - I am realising more so now that the Grimaud colouring and general feel of the deck just isnt for me. Which is probably why I havent enjoyed TdM before as its the first TdM I got. I made the awful mistake that all TdM decks were the same, and actually I am realising that they are not.
I always used to hate the RWS with a passion. It was so lifeless and awful looking. Then I bought the Pamela Coleman Smith 100 years edition, I realised how much the colouring of the RWS had stopped me from liking the overall idea of the deck until I got the PCS edition and absolutely loved it.

I think with the right (as in right for me) version of the TdM my journey will it will grow tremendously. Does that sound odd? As TdM would be basically the same no matter the version you get, but, to me it doesnt feel like that.


Its fine to read intuitively with Marseilles pips, many people use intuition and imagination to read them, or even a combination of a few things.

As for the best deck, it really is worth owning a few Marseilles for comparison exercises. I love to read with the Grimaud but its definitely not the prettiest colour wise. I would recommend the Noblet, its size is perfect and you would find it very different to the Grimaud.


Reading intuitively with the TdM pips is, as Moonbow says, fine. I think it's easier with the cups and coins than with the swords and staves. But go with whatever works for you.

There is a variety of approaches to color in TdM decks. Photo-reproduction versions of the old decks will tend to have somewhat duller, aged colors. (There's a notable exception to this.) The line work in these decks is frequently vague, leading to a "What the heck is that?" for the reader. That might help or hinder an intuitive reader.

Modern, restored decks have clear line work, often because the restorer has decided for us just what the heck that is. The colors are brighter. But as in the photo-reproductions, they tend to be pretty straightforward: the red is just plain red, the blue is dark blue or light blue, yellow is yellow. Some decks use more colors, some, like the Grimaud, use fewer.

The Fournier and the Universal break away from the "woodcut lines with flat stenciled colors" style, by using shading in the colors to shape the pictures. The Universal keeps the strong black outlines, though.

The Hadar and the A.G. Müller break away from the straightforward "red is red" palette and use toned-down colors. The Hadar colors are grayed a bit, the AGM uses tones reminiscent of autumn leaves.

At the other end of the scale, you can find shrieking fluorescent colors on the Tarot Classic and Lo Scarabeo's OOP, but probably obtainable, Ancient Tarot of Marseille. This latter is the exception to the photo-reproductions have subdued colors rule. In this deck its the yellow and green you expect to glow in the dark. With the Tarot Classic it's the blue and red (cerise, really).

For someone who doesn't fancy the colors in the Grimaud, it might matter just why those colors don't satisfy. Is the palette too limited? Are the colors too unsubtle? Is the stenciled woodcut style unsatisfactory? Is the blue so darned dark you can't see the crawdad in the Moon card, or any line work covered by blue, for that matter? Then look at whether the preference is for the sometimes vague linework of photo-reproduction or the clearer lines of more modern decks. And sometimes size, as they say, matters. (The Heron, like the Grimaud, is in the Conver tradition. It has a more extensive, but dull, set of colors, and the old lines. There's a "what's that supposed to be" dark color. And it is fairly small, in Tarot deck terms.)

For someone who hates the standard RWS and loves the PCS edition, I'd say check out the A.G. Müller. It's been showing up new on ebay for around ten dollars for a while now. And a couple of years ago I bought a copy in a store in Canada for about the same price. Hopeless TdM queens like myself may point out that that deck is a Schaffhouse, and not a "real" TdM. This is a technicality, though. The main difference is that the Schaffhouse Le Pendu is hanging by both feet, and the TdM guy hangs by one.


I've read the 37 pages, excellent !!

After much thought about coding Marseille came to the conclusion that value would only use if I do not put anything from outside. Moreover, even numerology. Before adding an external coding system I prefer to use a deck that already contains that encoding. If employment Marseille is because it has some intrinsic value, it has, of course. I think the use reveals the meaning of each letter of the numbered minor arcana cards supported in court and the major arcana. You do not need more. I do not like the method of analysis of each letter separately, the cards are revealed only during the responses on a roll. Sure, the beginning is very difficult trying to read a circulation without prior coding, but ultimately is better.

I think this is the best way: discover how the deck is expressed.

What advantage regarding Marseille decks illustrated? A letter numbered minor arcana can end up saying much more than an illustrated letter, as illustrated chart only shows one possibility of minor arcana. It is also true something they have said here regarding Waite deck, swords are too negative.

Summarizing, I think the best way to discover Marseille is through use. Distrust of external encodings and global systems analysis to understand each card. Also distrust the analysis of the letters statically, stare May 1 sword to try to understand what it means not help much, only when that letter is involved in a roll is revealed.

(I clarify that my English is poor and I should use the Google translator to assemble this message)