Tarot of Marseilles (Camoin) - Review by Michele Jackson
This is a "reconstructed" version of the Marseilles deck. It is based on research by Phillipe Camoin, the current heir of the Camoin card factory, and Alexandre Jodorowsky. The Camoin card factory was founded by Nicolas Conver, the creator of one of the more popular versions of the Marseilles deck. Camoin and Jodorowsky spent two years collecting and researching cards and documents. This was followed by two years of computer graphics work to design this version.
The first thing you notice when you look at this deck is the use of color. This version makes use of more colors than my other Marseilles decks. The scenes are also more detailed. The overall effect is that the deck is more lively than other versions. Some of the colors are rather different: The Emperor and Hermit have blue hair; the Hierophant has a blue and white beard; and the High Priestess has white skin that gives her a ghostly look. The cards measure 2 1/2" X 4 3/4". Justice is VIII and Strength is XI. The Major Arcana and Court Cards have the card names in the bottom border. The Minors are pips with their number in the right and left borders. The card and suit names are in French. The backs have a purple pattern.
The little booklet that comes with the deck provides instructions in French, English, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese. It begins with a history of the Tarot, followed by a discussion of how this version was created. It emphasizes the fact that early manufacturers copied from each other - a process that allowed errors to creap in. Changes and improvements in the manufacturing process also presented unique problems that had to be adjusted to - sometimes resulting in the loss or corruption of esoteric symbols. This version uses a palette of ten colors, modified by using small purple spots. The booklet states that these colors have meanings which, when combined with the shapes and symbols on the cards, create an "optical alphabet." I would have liked to have more information about this "optical alphabet," but it is probably too much to be covered in a little booklet. Meanings for the Major Arcana are provided, but not for the Minors or Court Cards. Four spreads are briefly described.
I recommend this deck for those who are looking for a new version of the Marseilles. The bolder colors and details give this deck a strong visual impact. I would like to see a full length book describing the optical language and esoteric symbolism mentioned in the little booklet.
See more cards from the Marseilles Tarot by Camoin
You can find out more information about this deck on the Camoin Web Site.
- Tarot of Marseilles by Camoin
- Ordering Information