Friday, 8 September 2017

Tarot de Marseille Keywords

I have been reading and learning the tarot for about five or six years and during that time have been using the rider Waite Smith style of cards.
But I am not a fan of the 20th century occultists and additionally since watching Poldark on television and seeing aunt Agatha using her tarot cards at the end of the 18th century I decided I wanted to learn a much older tarot system and after doing a bit of research decided to buy a Tarot de Marseille deck.
So I sold my Osho Zen, Voyager and Morgan Greer tarot decks and with the money I raised I treated myself to a tarot heritage deck from Yves Renaud, The Pierre Madenie version from 1709.

I knew the biggest challenge would be reading the minor Arcana. But my father has just passed away and I wanted something to completely occupy my mind so I was up for a challenge!
After hours and hours of Internet searching where I was only finding RWS style keywords, I decided to do a Google search in French and once I entered "mots clefs tarot de marseille" a whole new world of websites was offered.
Les Secrets du Tarot site has a superb entry about Pythagoras numerology and as the key to reading the pips seems to be a good numerology system I found this the most helpful.
I apologise for the poor quality of the image, but if you expand it you should be able to make out enough of my hand writing to start understanding the keywords.

The court card keywords are from Lee Bursten, and whilst very simple, they work for me.

I have had a basic understanding of numerology for years and I always knew THREE was a positive vibration, the first level of perfection. And I knew NINE was also positive. So seeing such negative images and interpretations on RWS style decks for these cards has always felt intuitively wrong to me. You must read the Secrets Du Tarot post of the 3 methods of reading the Tarot de Marseille Minors as it will give you lots of indepth information about how these keywords are obtained and why some of them may not be what you are used to reading in more modern intpretations.

Anyway, I came across all of this useful information just as I was about to give up and revert to my Pamela Colman Smith Centennial cards, and I really wanted to share it on the internet as there is a humungous void in the area of good quality, English language information on the TdM minors.

Hope it helps. Good luck. Best wishes. Adam

update: I have since bought Thomas Saunders' book "The Authentic Tarot" which is all about the Marseille Deck and how to interpret it. Learning numerology and suit meanings is the best way, in my opinion, to set about learning this lovely, ancient tarot. In his book Thomas Saunders suggests three different numerology systems: the Plato one which he uses and gives the most information about, a renaissance one by Cornelius Agrippa that I found resonated well with me and was really interesting, and another one (Hermetic) which I found less helpful and too "Crowley-like" and was poorly detailed. Later in the book he suggests possible keywords for the number/suit combinations which gives you a great starting point and which I have personally found extremely valuable.

He does a similar thing with the court cards.

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