Marseille 1736 Tarot Deck Interview

Marseilles 1736 Deck Interview .jpeg

It’s a great idea to ‘interview’ a new deck before you start to work with it, and many people rely on the following 6 card spread in that process for an effective intuitive exercise. (Six, you say? I often see seven (or eight!) in these posts. Yup, I can’t resist making this a Seven Card Spread.)

(Full Disclosure: I did this interview a while ago, and upon review like it so much I chose not to do it over for my Deck of the Week challenge. If you are a regular reader you will recognize it. However, if you are a regular reader, you will know it’s a super busy time of year, and you’ll forgive me for not giving myself extra work!)

I got this reproduction of the Tarot de Marseille by Francois Chosson at BATS as an impulse purchase. I don’t normally find myself attracted to reproduction decks, but figured it could be good to stretch myself a bit. I will admit that the first reading I did with the deck was nuts! I could not tell if I’d drawn a sword or a wand – one of my big fears about non-illustrated pips. One I’d laid them all out and taken a good look at the differences between the pips, I gave it another go. The result? A really interesting reading with ‘bad’ cards that are good and lots of ladies speaking for a deck I’d always considered rather masculine.

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?

King of Swords. If this card could speak it would say: “I say what I mean and I mean what I say.” As this deck isn’t lushly illustrated, I think it’s a great deck for straightforward questions and readings.

2. What are your strengths as a deck?

The Tower. It says: “False assumptions get dismantled.” Actually, here this is a tremendously positive card. I was hoping that exploring a deck like this would push me a bit, and test my skills. I need to make sure that I really know what I know about how to read the cards, and don’t simply rely on the images of that deck to get me through a reading.

3. What are your limits as a deck?

Page of Swords. The card seems to say: “Sometimes, my communication style is simplistic.” True. While simple illustrations are good for my studies, it might mean that the readings are constrained.

4. What do you bring to the table? What lessons can you teach me?

10 of Swords. This card always reminds me of those days when you are teaching a room full of kids and everyone has a question. It can wear on you, but mostly because it calls to your attention that you must not have explained something properly. So you start the lesson over even though it sets you behind in your lesson plans – because after all the point is to have everyone understand, right? This card speaks of removing illusion and getting to the heart of the matter. Again, a normally negative card with a positive connotation.

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?

Strength. It seems to say: “Don’t push. Don’t rush. We’ll work together if you move slowly, with a tender purposefulness.” A good idea with a reproduction deck. In fact, as I was doing the interview I put on music like normal, and realized that the modern ambient sounded wrong. Chant from the 1700’s sounded much better – gentler and more respectful somehow.

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

Justice. She speaks of harmony, fairness, and the ability to see both sides of a situation. Interesting that I’ve had some cards that are normally ‘bad’ but have been ‘good’ here. Perhaps through working with this deck I’ll see more of both sides of each card.

7. Anything else I should know? Any question I didn’t ask?

Queen of Cups and High Priestess. They both jumped out. Wow! Not only the card I associate with my hopes for being a full-time professional tarot reader, but the card I most closely associate with the wisdom of the tarot. I think this is an indication that studying with an older deck will give me much needed perspective on the tarot in general.

Also, I can’t help but notice that this is a deck where Strength and Justice are flipped from what I’m used to. Perhaps this deck will help me come to a conclusion about where I think they ‘really’ are in the order of the major arcana.