I went through the list of tarot decks at Aeclectic yesterday, because I’ve been doing a lot more readings lately, and I’m starting to get the old, familiar itch for a new deck. It was a little embarrassing for the friend who was looking on to see how many of them I stopped on, remarking, “I have that one,” or “I used to have that one.” It made me think, you know, I’ve had a LOT of decks in my time. So I figured I’d catalog which ones I still own, which ones I’ve owned before, see if that makes a difference in my craving. (Hint: it doesn’t.)
Marseilles–my first real tarot deck, when I graduated from my teenage habit of reading playing cards (which I still do from time to time, but only with the Spanish type, not a 52-card poker deck like the one I learned with) to tarot. It was more of a gateway drug than anything else–I have all the respect in the world for the legacy of the early decks, but all the Marseilles ever did for me was help me to learn the Major Arcana.
Colman-Smith: WAY too brightly colored for me, but it was the first deck I’d ever had with illustrated minors. It was also my first foray into Rider-Waite-Smith style decks.
Aquatic–downloaded and printed it myself, because it’s unpublished. It’s a Rider-Waite-Smith type, and it’s hard for me to connect with most of those, but if this one were available in print, I’d snap that sucker up in a minute. Gave it away to a classmate while I was at UVI.
Shadowscapes: One of the most beautiful decks I’ve ever owned. I would have kept it forever, but I showed it to my cousin, and the vibe I got from her and from the cards as soon as she picked them up was such that I knew the cards had picked a new home. One of these days, I’ll pick up another Shadowscapes–I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
Tiny Universal Waite: The idea of a tarot deck small enough to carry around on a keychain is cute, I’ll grant that much. But it’s just too small for a reader who’s used to the shuffle-and-draw method. Gave it to Nick before I moved back from the VI, for novelty purposes.
Universal Fantasy: Love the artwork, but it tries a little too hard to be “fantasy art” without quite catching the symbolism for me. The colors are gorgeous, but the deck just didn’t speak to me. Ended up giving it to my friend Zeke, who I’m convinced would be an amazing reader with the right deck and a little practice.
Sharman-Caselli: You know how I commented that I usually do better with decks that aren’t based entirely on the Rider-Waite-Smith style? Well, I bought this one to do readings for other people, thinking it would be more universally accessible. For me, though, it didn’t seem to have much personality. I ended up giving it away.
Gilded (first time around): Bought because I was itching for a new deck, and the Easy Tarot kit that came with the Gilded deck and a book I could give away was the cheapest thing the bookstore had. I think the fact that it came in a beginners’ kit gave me an attitude that I didn’t need to spend the usual amount of time and attention getting to know the deck, and that’s always a mistake. I ended up selling that one to my aunt before I had time to get used to it. I purchased it again later and kept it that time.
Tarot of the Druids: Nothing to write home about, as my mama would say. I’d say it went missing in one of the moves, but that would imply that I missed it.
Decks I currently own:
Llewellyn: Love the tie-ins with Welsh myth. Because of the connections to the myths, though, the associations with the Major Arcana are a little different, and I’m still learning.
Tattooed: I was given this deck in early 2010, and I’ve carried it through hell and back. It’s a hard one to learn, but once you grok it, it’s really blunt, doesn’t sugarcoat ANYTHING. Amazing for reality-check type readings.
Lo Scarabeo Tarot Art Nouveau: I have the mini edition of this one, which is really too small for readings. Love the Alphonse Mucha-style art in it, but the minors aren’t really illustrative of what’s going on–better to consider them more like pip cards, the way the Marseilles have, than an illustration of the scene.
US Games Art Nouveau: This deck by Matt Myers is the Art Nouveau deck I hoped I was getting when I ordered the other one. It’s a lot more user-friendly, with illustrated minors. The art isn’t quite as intricate, more inspired by Tiffany stained glass, but it’s still beautiful, and I love the bright, vibrant colors. I about had a heart attack last week, because I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE, and when I looked into replacing it, I found out that it’s out of print, with “no plans for reprinting.” Curse you, US Games!
Gilded (take two!): I bought this deck again, as part of the Easy Tarot kit, because I wanted the book to give to a friend. I thought about giving that friend this deck, too, but when I got to looking at it, I found the connection I didn’t have with it the first time. So he got the Universal Fantasy instead. Now I use it pretty consistently–it’s one of my go-to decks.
Hanson-Roberts: I bought this one on a whim, as part of the Tarot To Go mini-kit. “Aww, so cute, it fits in my pocket!” (I used to buy mini decks all the time, just for that.) It’s a Rider-Waite-Smith type, very beginner-friendly but not fluffy. It’s approachable when I’m reading for people who aren’t very familiar with tarot.
Lo Scarabeo Celtic Tarot: I still have this one…somewhere? I think? which kind of tells you all you need to know about how I feel about it.
See? I really don’t have that many…anymore. But I may be buying more in the near future. I’ve got the itch again, for either the Lo Scarabeo Manga, the Fenestra, Legacy of the Divine (I heart Ciro Marchetti!), or another Shadowscapes. Realistically, though, that’s subject to change at any time. I have probably 20 decks on my Amazon wishlist.