Mary Greer wrote:
Someone back on Aeclectic mentioned Joseph Maxwell's 1933 Le Tarot (Paris). This book featured the Marseille tarot explained according to color symbolism, numerology and the geometric associations (of the Minors).
Edmond Billaudot (c. 1865) attempted a synthesis of the Tarot de Marseille and the Egyptianized cards of Etteilla and Paul Christian. I don't think his work was published until 1966 (Grand Tarot Belline) but I believe he was a teacher and may have had an influence on others.
Eudes Picard used the Marseille Majors but created his own idiosyncratic Minors. J.-G. Bourgeat referred to the "Tarot Italien" Majors, which were similar to the Marseille (and created some Egyptianized designs of his own). Papus compared several decks, including the Marseille (1889), though he eventually created his own deck (1909).
So, except for Maxwell (which I understand is terribly mangled in the English version so I can't judge it), Marteau's 1949 work does seem to be the first presentation of the Marseille deck as a divinatory tool in which the specific Marseille symbolism of all 78 cards is to be used in interpreting the meaning of the cards.
I think this is a very significant point. It seems to undercut the idea of the Marseille deck as being an older and therefore "more correct" divinatory tradition than the Egyptianized or Golden Dawn traditions.
Good summary of some of the previous discussions, Mary - thankyou.
I think there's a number of various points that need to be taken and separately considered. I'll start with the last first.
It seems to undercut the idea of the Marseille deck as being an older and therefore "more correct" divinatory tradition than the Egyptianized or Golden Dawn traditions.
I'm not sure who may be suggesting that there is a 'more correct divinatory tradition', irrespective as to what deck or decks are used. There are certainly suggestions made for ways to specifically interpreting cards by Etteilla (I suppose that this is what you mean by the 'Egyptianised' divinatory tradition) back in the early 1800s, which was an expansion of his late 1700s divinatory book on how to interpret (non-tarot) cards: ie, pips and courts. These are NOT
Egyptianised, and the 'egyptification' occurs as a result of De Gebelin's Monde Primitif
essay that claims that tarot (specifically the Marseille-type in terms of the images therein used) 'originates' from Egypt. Picking this up and incorporating the same within a broader divinatory context he had earlier written, and later still developing what we now know as the Etteilla decks, there is a process of movement in the divinatory views of Etteilla that is entirely based on pips-and-courts, and then his divinatory 'insights' into what is inevitably based on the Marseille that he then in time modifies to allow De Gebelin's views of its 'origins' to somehow be incorporated.
Does this make his views more accurate than the divinatory views suggested by GD proponents? not at all: they both suffer from the same type of suggestion that locks extraneous considerations onto the image rather than working from the active-imagination based on the image that opens one to inspiration and developing intuitive insights.
There is no 'more correct' divinatory
'tradition' in my personal view.
In terms of other works on divination that make as their basis the Marseille - though again, as for Etteilla, as also for the GD-derived decks, including the Waite-Smith, consequentially altered to bring it in line with their divinatory views - is the Papus 1889 Tarot des Bohémiens
(Cf chapter XX, on divination), on which I personally strongly suspect that even the GD relied at least in part as the latter developed its views. Within the book, incidentally, he uses images from both the Marseille and the Wirth, considered a 'cleansed' or rectified (Tarot de Marseille) tarot.
And to return to De Gebelin for a brief view: he concludes his essay with a brief section titled 'Application of this deck to divination', and links therein not only various other types of decks to what must be the 'original' and Egyptian deck, but also, and therefore, to the Tarot de Marseille-type. The essay in the same volume that follows De Gebelin's own, the C. de M.'s, similarly has sections on using the deck for divinatory purposes, even giving examples of not only meaning, but precise methodology of separating the trumps and suits, shuffling, and drawing in parallel. Again, the deck implied is the Tarot de Marseille.
Does this make it a 'tradition'? no... it makes it the suggestion of a couple of 18th century authors that have been taken up by the likes of the incredible populariser Etteilla in the 19th century, and via others weaved in differing ways by Papus and still others.
Where I agree with others who have said something of the kind is that it is P. Marteau who, by (tediously) outlining 'precise' interpretations to line-detail and colour, provides the Grimaud Tarot de Marseille its own 20th century 'tradition' of interpretation. Is that
view, from a divinatory perspective, any the more 'accurate' than any other systems? No, to my view. Divination is not about systemisation, but rather, I would suggest, to opening up to the insights of the spirit of the moment via, in the case of tarot, its imagery.
Does that mean that 'any deck will do'? In terms of divination, even a drop of water running along a cup will do. In terms, however, of seeking to understand tarot
, not all decks are equal.