Review by Fern Mercier
originally published in the Tarot Guild of Aotearoa's Tarot Pages, July 2011
This book is a must-have for any serious student of Tarot. Lately I had been bemoaning the lack of tarot books for ongoing students like myself. Most new tarot books seem to be money-spinners re-gurgitating the same old stuff in different words, with new artwork nearly always based on the Smith-Waite deck’s formula.
Here is some real meat to chew on! Jean-Michel David moves us away from contemporary preconceived ideas about tarot and takes us back to the original historical blueprint upon which the Marseilles decks were conceived. He compares the images to other artwork and historical figures of the period from which the tarot emerged, revealing the context in which the tarot was conceived.
Jean-Michel is a metaphysician, philosopher, bible scholar, historian and tarot lover. He is also a great teacher. His depth of knowledge about cultural history combines with careful observation of the cards to produce a reading of the deck that brings untold wealth. He casts new light on the cards meanings and even if you are not using a Marseilles tarot, you will find plenty to utilise in your tarot practice (and theory).
His teaching and writing style is lucid and practical. He gives us many exercises to practice, which support the reader to make their own connections between the different cards. He provides ideas for research we must do for ourselves, that will open and extend our own creative imagination.
Reading the Marseilles Tarot is published by the Association for Tarot Studies.