Historical Cartomancy Divination, 18th c Tarot de Marseille


A faithful reproduction of an early French Tarot de Marseille, first printed in the 18th century. Not so much for playing games, this deck would be used by magicians, mystics, occultists as a microcosmic universal formula to explain the happenings in the Universe and to interpret the meaning of existence.

The Tarot de Marseille traces its origins far back in time. Although “Tarotists” generally agree that ancient Egypt already knew about divinatory card games, the very first tarot cards originated in northern Italy, early in the 15th Century (1420-1440). The earliest existing cards are lavishly hand-painted decks from the courts of the nobility of that time. The predecessors of the Tarot de Marseille would then have been introduced into southern France, taking the name Tarot de Marseille around 1856 as a collective name for the related designs that were being made in the city of Marseille.

Various interesting, possibly outlandish, connections have been made drawing parallel between the Tarot and early biblical scriptures, Astrology and the Zodiac, the Hebrew alphabet, and ecstatic utterances found in the bible. In a contemporary setting, given the context of meditative practice, there is much compelling attraction to take up cartomancy and divination as a hobby, for which this deck of cards is a great starting point.

This deck of cards, contains 78 cards, composed of the 22 of the Great Mysteries (Major Arcana) and 56 lesser mysteries (Minor Arcana). 

A natural progression for our shop and our love of paper, given the parallel narrative between card manufacturing and decorative paper making both utilising the craft knowledge of woodblock print.  

78 cards
630 x 110 mm