The Dream Directive: Tarot de Marseille or Rider Waite Smith?

Over the past few months, I’ve been posting about my experiences with Tarot de Marseille, which I started studying and reading at the end of last year. As a result, readers of the blog have asked me to continue sharing those experiences.

If you’re no stranger to the blog, you’ll also know that I sometimes share (sleep) dreams I have related to my journey as a cartomancer. This post will be among them.

I’m sharing this particular dream (which I had the morning of 9/3/19), because a reference was made to the Tarot de Marseille in it:

I’m talking to a man; we’re discussing Tarot. He says to me, “When it comes to Tarot, you need to choose either Marseille or Rider Waite Smith.”

I ponder that for a moment. Then I reply, “I think you should have a working knowledge and understanding of both. What could then happen is that one may have more of an appeal or attraction than the other.”

As you could imagine, the dream intrigued me. Was I thinking or feeling, on an unconscious level, a need to choose one system over the other? Was I leaning more toward one?

The Rider Waite Smith has been such a huge part of my life and work as a Tarot student and practitioner. It’s the system I use in my readings with clients.

And, the Marseille has been the system I’ve been using regularly for my personal readings since picking it up. I’ve set a conscious intention to work and read with it differently than I do with RWS, which allows both to have their own unique and distinct experience.

As I often do in these cases, I decided to turn to the cards for additional insights into the directive being made in the dream, about the “choice” between Marseille and RWS.

With journal open and pen in hand, I decided to pull three Major Arcana cards from each system, with this question in mind: “Which is the better option for me at the moment: Marseille or RWS?”

Representing the Marseille option, the three cards I pulled from the Conver Ben-Dov deck were Judgement, House of God, and Empress.

For Judgement, I wrote: Calling to me at the moment; serving a purpose; overcoming “limitations” and “restrictions” (coffins = boxes).

And then I realized Judgement was saying that Tarot de Marseille has been “breathing new life” into my Tarot study and practice.

For House of God, I wrote: Liberation (keeping with people rising from graves on Judgement); revelation, sudden clarity; brainstorming; mind-blowing; earth-shattering; mind-opening.

Where Judgement talked about breathing new life into my study and practice, House of God was suggesting that, to work with TdM, I was liberating myself from the way I read with RWS—a form of “deconstruction,” if you will.

At this point, I noticed that, for me, Judgement and House of God are both “awakening” cards, suggesting a “wake-up call” of sorts. I also noticed that, on each card, the figures below are reacting to something “on high” (the angel on Judgement, and the wind/storm on House of God). It isn’t lost on me that House of God can indicate “acts of God,” suggesting more may be at work than I might think.

For Empress, I wrote: Growth and development; productivity, and being productive in the future (Empress looks to the right).

I noticed the Empress was embracing her shield, as if to protect her from the scene on House of God. With that, this message came: Don’t let the deconstruction process affect your creativity; liberation will lead to productivity.

Representing the RWS option, the three cards I pulled from the Universal Waite were Fool, Emperor, and Moon.

For Fool, I wrote: New phase; beginning/start; was a novice when I picked up RWS; have so much faith/trust in it, I almost don’t have to look at it; being “on the edge.”

For Emperor, I wrote: A level of mastery; discipline; RWS is boss, holds a certain “position,” as I use it in my work with clients; a lot of red and orange in the card—fiery energy, passion.

And then I noticed that the Emperor looks to be giving the Fool the “side eye,” as if to say, “Surely you jest!”

For Moon, I wrote: A reference to the dream, with the Emperor being the man telling me what to do (choose); being led and guided by my intuition; uncertainty in the future.

Then I noticed the Fool looks like he’s walking away from the Emperor—and offering him a white rose as he does so.

And both the Fool and the Moon have elements of the unknown associated with them, possibly reinforcing the future uncertainty hinted by the Moon.

Also of note were the colors of the RWS cards: the “temperature” moves from warm (yellow of the Fool) to hot (red-orange of the Emperor) to cool (blues of the Moon), suggesting a “cooling down/cooling off” period.

Since the Moon mentioned being led and guided by my intuition, I felt led to pull an additional card for each line; one next to Empress, the other next to the Fool.

Asking, “What does Empress face (in the future)?” I drew World.

For this card, I wrote: A whole new world opens up; a new level of awareness; seeing the big picture.

I then noticed that both Judgement and World have angels on them, and, for me, angels are “messengers,” suggesting that TdM will have a lot to say as time goes on.

Asking, “Where is the Fool headed?” I drew the Devil.

For this card, I wrote: Long-term commitment; conditioning, programming; limitation/restriction; carrying a torch; guilty pleasure; “attachment”/connection/bond (chain).

In assessing the cards as a whole, my impression is that the RWS cards pointed out working with that system for a long time, and there’s some “conditioning” with it, as a result. Conversely, the TdM cards noted a rejuvenation or resurgence that system brings to my study and practice, which will continue to grow and develop (perhaps in very surprising ways).

It would seem that the cards are leaning (a pun for House of God) toward TdM at the moment.

And while I may not make an outright choice right now, I will go with what my dream self suggested, that one may have more of an appeal or attraction than the other—but to continue to build a working knowledge of both.




About James Himm

James Himm Mitchell, the Dreamer and Visionary of LifePlan Coaching & Consulting, LLC, works as an intuitive life coach, with a focus on personal growth and development. His specialties are Dream Decoding, Oracles (Tarot, playing cards, and Lenormand), and Energy Medicine (Reiki), and he uses those modalities coaching individuals to create the tools and develop the strategies that transform their lives.
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8 Responses to The Dream Directive: Tarot de Marseille or Rider Waite Smith?

  1. I love how you paid attention to how the cards are interacting with each other in your interpretation. And I’m glad you’ve been stepping into the Marseille world! I agree about that liberating feeling one experience when working with the TDM. It feels like being in an ever expansive landscape with an array of roads to follow.

    • James Himm says:

      Thank you, Tobi! I’m enjoying my experiences with Tarot de Marseille so much, especially working with it in ways that are unlike how I work with RWS, making them each distinct. TdM really has breathed new life into my Taromancy study and practice, and I couldn’t be happier.

  2. Kelly says:

    The detail you seen in the cards never ceases to amaze me James!

  3. michele says:

    merci pour cette interpretation du tarot de marseille , comme vous expliquer les cartes , je me sens bien en lisant avec les mots clefs , j avais etudier pendant 1 ans a un cours du soir , je n aimais pas trop , donc je n ai pas continuer , et voila que je vous lis et que ca me parle beaucoup plus que ce que j avais appris , donc je prend note ,et je vais perceverer avec le tarot ,jai un camoin , , y a t il plusieurs t marseille , merci

  4. I’ve just re-read your post by chance. And what a strange coincidence since I’m right in the middle of a RWS “fatigue” and was thinking just yesterday how the TDM was a breath of fresh air for me right now. I can’t tell you enough how much you amaze me when you describe and interpret your readings! I hope someday you’ll consider writing a book about the Tarot. 🙂

    • James Himm says:

      Hi, Tobi!
      Thanks so much for giving the post another read. I appreciate your kind words on how I interpret the cards; that means a lot to me. Tarot de Marseille continues to breathe new life into my study and practice and inspire me. I just got Ryan Edward’s “Playing Marseille,” so I’m excited to see what it will contribute to my readings going forward.
      As for a book: In the past, I might have passed on the idea, but given that was my position on a deck of cards – and you know that’s changed – I’ll just say we’ll have to see. Funnily enough, before replying to you, I did have a “working title” come to mind… 😉

      • Aaah a working title! 🙂 I had a look at the Playing Marseille. It looks like an interesting take on the Marseille! I have the feeling things will evolve with people starting to develop more interest in Marseille decks. It’s a great contribution to the adventure of any Tarot reader 🙂

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