Books on European Tarots written in English are rare, and only a few by Europeans have been translated into English.

The Spiritual Roots of the Tarot: The Cathar Code Hidden in the Cards by Russell A. Sturgess reveals what he believes to be the Cathar’s greatest treasure. There is much to learn here including the significance of various details of the imagery. Especially interesting are revelations of where persecuted Cathars found refuge and perhaps perfected the versatile symbolism of the trump images in a way that made them meaningful not only to their own followers, but also to those of Judaism, AND to Catholics (much to the chagrin. of the Church). Each of us sees what we need—such are the riches of the Tarot legacy.

ALSO  (Reviewed in “Strange and Wondrous,”) Robert Swiryn’s book, The Secret of the Tarot is yet another book linking Tarot to the Cathars. It, too, is a real treat for those of us who are Tarot history geeks!

Seeing the World: Tarot Signposts on the Path to Perception by the late Jean-Claude Flornoy and translated into English by David Vine. Jean-Claude was a man who dedicated the better part of his adult life to the study of Marseilles-style Tarots, and he was the first to my knowledge to do accurate recreations of historic decks. His understanding of the images was informed by a life steeped in French culture and richly flavored by its traditions—fascinating! Visit:




All are Non-Scenic Pip (NSP) Tarots. They fall into 3 general categories:♦ FACSIMILES & RESTORED TAROTS   RECREATED TAROTS   CONTEMPORARY TAROTS.


Tarot Jean-Pierre Laurent 1735 is one of two reproduction decks I purchased from Yves Reynaud. No one surpasses Yves when it comes to making high-quality repro’s of historic Tarots, and much to my delight, they keep on coming! The presentation is always beautiful. This particular deck is said to be of the “Besançon” type since it has the Jupiter and Juno” cards, but it also has The Popess and The Pope. The cards are clean and bright with the green and blue pigments having the translucent intensity of today’s Phthalo green and blue.

Tarot Jacob Joerger 1801 is a delightful version of the Tarot more fully in the “Besançon” category. It has many quirky departures from the usual images giving the deck a charmingly primitive personality. You’ll see the front-facing Moon with no rising droplets, the less-common zig-zag wall on the Sun card, and a judgment card with both the pointed rays and descending droplets. The World wreath is divided with flower motifs. Here again, the colors are clean and bright with the brilliant green and blue described above. This is a fascinating deck.

Tarot Francois Heri 1730 is another wonderful reproduction by Yves Reynaud. The small cards bear a resemblance to the French Jean Noblet Tarot of 1650/59? and yet there are differences: Juno and Jupiter replace the Priestess and Priest and still other surprises await one who compares these cards with those of the Noblet restoration by Peterson, or the beautiful recreation by the late Jean-Claude Flornoy. This Heri deck has the richness of its German-Swiss tradition. This deck would remain unknown to most of us were it not for the indefatigable dedication of Yves Raynaud. It is beautifully boxed as all of his decks.

Tarot Francois Gassmann 1840, also by Yves Reynaud follows a German-Swiss folk style.The colors are light, bright and translucent in nature with the exception of the deep indigo blue which acts as an accent. The festive motifs follow the Claude Burdel style. The more usual Papesse (Priestess) and Le Pape (Priest) do appear in this deck. The cards are in the common Tarot size and proportion. This is a lovely deck.

Tarot Claude Rochias 1754  by Yves Reynaud. Excellent work as always. Fresh exuberant colors / lovely fleur-de-lis pattern backs / an attractive and sturdy box.

Tarot Madenié 1709 by Yves Reynaud (2nd Edition, 2016) A high quality TdM, oldest surviving of the Type II category. Colors are adjusted slightly lighter, brightening the mood and making its detailed linework more visible. Lovely satin finish.

Tarot Jean-Pierre Payen 1713  by Yves Reynaud, a beautifully reproduction of a Type I TdM similar to the Dodal Tarot of 1701. Soft yellow overtones give this deck a warm sunny vibe. Beautiful satin finish. Visit:


Le Tarot de Marseille 1760 by Dal Negro (Accademia Dei Tarocchi / Carlo Bozzelli). A cleanly rendered version of the Conver TdM with pleasant colors arranged according to extant versions of the historic deck. The small 2-3/16 x 4-1/16″ deck is easy to hold. Card backs have a double-sun motif.


Tarot de Maria Celia by Lynyrd-Jym Narciso published by U.S. Games. This deck is a stylistic take on the Tarot de Marseille. Its images are imaginatively drawn and beautifully colored in the varying hues of watercolor techniques. The cards are small, 2-1/4 x 3-1/2,” and fit well in hand. Card-backs have lovely floral motifs reversed out of a terra-cotta field. Both sides have a mottled aged look. A charming deck. www.usgamesinc

Endless Skys Minchiate Tarot by Pennie McCraken is a creatively rendered version of a 97-card Italian Minchiate c. 1860-1890. The lively character of its linework combined with a limited palette of beautifully variegated color makes this deck a stand-out presentation. The deck I chose is called the golden version, but 2 other choices are available. There is a large array of card-back designs, but my favorite is an all-over pattern created from the background of the card images. See more of her decks at

NOTE: I am not compensated for book or deck reviews. The items are either purchased or personally examined by me, and reflect my own preferences, but I cannot purchase, or even know about every publication available. Decks reviewed here are of the Marseilles-type (having non-scenic pips); sometimes they are called Continental Tarots.     Questions? Email me