Marseille versus Rider Waite Smith

I’ve decided that I need to try a deck with different imagery to help my learn how to read Tarot. I now realize that my Shadowscapes deck is just too detailed for me to read intuitively.

But that’s okay, because practice is about finding what clicks with you the best. I have a friend who absolutely loves fairies that I can give the deck to.

I’ve been doing RWS flashcard/keyword lessons on Labyrinthos and it’s really surprising to me how quickly I can interpret the cards correctly since the artwork is plainer. Tarot is less about knowing what the cards represent individually, and more about understanding what they represent as a whole in the context of a situation.

What I’d like to know is which deck type I should progress with. I know that the RWS Tarot is the “standard” American/English deck, while the Marseille Tarot is the older, more traditional deck.

I know that RWS reads with reversals (156 card meanings) and that Marseille doesn’t. Marseille also has more structure because the Minor cards are read with numerology of the Major cards, instead of the individual story illustrations in RWS. I’ve also read that Marseille can either be clearer or more difficult to read, depending on the person’s interpretation style.

I don’t think that I’m interested in trying to learn Thoth Tarot at this time because I don’t like astrology and the Tree of Life.

While I do like having a structure to follow because I’m a logical thinker instead of an emotional thinker, that link confuses me, even though I recognize that it’s simplified into different sections. I recognize that I am not at the level needed to understand that theory.

I also think it’s funny to note that Waite and Crowley hated each other and made different decks based on their interpretations.

Does anyone have a pro/con list of Marseille versus RWS, or some suggestions on how I can figure out which deck fits me better? Thanks!

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Kerrie Mercel

Currently Kerrie Mercel, inspirational speaker, author & facilitator for the health and wellness industry. Kerrie enjoys working with professional business women helping them to find the power to live life on their terms.