Review by Katrina de Witt
I have been using tarot since I was 15 or 16 yrs of age. Over the years I would buy a deck, start using it and after a period of time like a week or a month, I was always left unsatisfied - there was a lack of a connection, always something was missing. Therefore I would put that deck away and search out another deck. This went on for many years. When I found the CBD Tarot de Marseille deck thread in the Aeclectic Tarot Forum, there was a calling to this deck that I hadn't had before. After some time spent using the cards all of a sudden there was a connection, I was finally actually reading the cards they way I always wanted. This is what I was searching out for in other decks. Finally I can stop searching, there is complete satisfaction, the connection with this deck is amazing, and the more I use it the more it shines.
Here is what different writers from the Aeclectic Tarot Forum say of the CBD deck: "great deck, lovely vibe.. an excellently produced deck, so bright and cheerful.. a beautiful restoration, tactile, vibrant colours, discreet backs.. a deck that will be a pleasure to read and study from" (Le Fanu). "It is a lovely edition.. wonderful creation. The colors are crisp and bright, the cardstock silky smooth. It shuffles like a dream" (emmsma). "I am very pleased with it. I like everything: the way the images are rendered, the colours, the general tone and also the technical aspects like card stock and hand-feel" (Alta). "I just love this deck so much. The images seem so accessible and talkative and the readings I'm doing are flowing..I think I'd come to a plateau and using the CBD Tarot has given me the push I needed" (Sulis). "the most accessible of the Marseilles that I have used. It's got such wonderful vibe to it" (starlightexp). "I like it a lot.. perfect for someone like me who likes the cheerful coloring.. a great job" (Lee). "colorful and beautiful, exactly what I had hoped for" (LRichard). "wonderful!" (le_charior). "best version of the Conver TdM I've seen" (Mabuse). "Wow and gorgeous and wow again " (inanna_tarot).
My personal experience with this deck - it is full of energy, balanced and accurate. The images look alive, they move and they trigger emotions deep within one's self. The cards draw you in through their creative work. I give a lot of artistic merit to this deck. Being an artist at heart, I feel this restoration is very well done. The lines are crisp and clean, with flowing movement. The colors are successfully blended, softly rich and intense, but gentle and calming to the eyes. The imagery is well defined. What I like especially about this deck is that with the illustrated cards when laid side by side create a frieze sequence, a landscape in which events follow each other somewhat in the manner of a cartoon. This echoes some of the art of the Renaissance.
This deck truly speaks through your emotions. It is friendly, kind, inviting you to step into the unknown making a bond, a friendship with the cards. I have found that I don't need a book to read this deck. It is easily accessible, attainable to being in touch with one's self and the surrounding energies. Working with the cards, their color and facial expression triggers certain emotions, and the images and icons push you deeper to find your own true meaning. The cards at first are quiet, then they unexpectedly catch you off guard speaking clearly, they guide you into their or your own depth.
The energy with the cards is strong, like there is a mystical force coming from them that is amazing. This deck has a way to synchronize with you. I have had unique experiences with the deck that only happens once in a lifetime, to me anyway. It is like a spark which frees you from your bonds, awakens. This deck is perfect, beautiful. I love it.
CBD Tarot de Marseille was created and published by Dr. Yoav Ben-Dov, a quantum physicist, philosopher of science and Tarot teacher from Israel (I got some of the technical information for this review from Ben-Dov's writing on the internet and private emails). The logo card from the deck says "A faithful reproduction of the traditional Tarot cards, based on the standard deck printed in Marseille by NICHOLAS CONVER 1760, restored and adapted by YOAV BEN-DOV 2010". But Ben-Dov says this is not meant to be an exact museum replica of Conver's original. Instead, he tried to translate the artistic genius of Conver into a form that can touch and move Tarot readers today. For this he had to adapt the line textures, the face expressions and the colors to the new printing techniques and visual sensibilities without changing the basic details of the cards.
The CBD deck was printed in Belgium by Carta Mundi. The cards have a white background, with a thin black border around the image. they measure 62 x 120mm, the image frame is 57 x 114mm which is the size of the original cards. In the majors, the card number appears in Roman numerals at the top of the card while the card title in French runs across the bottom. Justice is 8, Strength is 11. The titles of the minor suits and the court cards are also the traditional French. The back of the cards is a blue symmetrical repetitive pattern, designed after a Andalusian tile. It is reversible, relaxing and calm to the eye, which helps on many levels and affects your overall experience.
The deck feels comfortable in my hands, not too large. It has a semi gloss matte finish, not heavily laminated. It shuffles easily (poker style), it's a bit thin, very flexible, and feels durable. The card stock could be thicker in my opinion. The box (tuck box) is very nice, the color is off-white cream, light almond. On the front of the box is the image of the world card and on the back is the fool. The text on the box is in Hebrew, but inside the box there is a leaflet in English with suggested interpretations for the cards.
My impression of the overall restoration of this deck is superb. There is so much depth and intensity, and it is a must have for any tarot enthusiast or collector.
See sample card images from the CBD Tarot de Marseille
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