Tarot Decks

I am in a tarot buying frenzy.  First, I found an edition of Marteau’s classic book on the Marseilles deck in Spanish.  As far as I know, it’s never been translated into English, but I don’t read French well enough to get through a whole book.  But Spanish . . . that’s another story.  I’ve already read several books on cartomancy in Spanish, so I think I’m up for the challenge.  Then I found a nice price on the Visconti deck, which I’ve wanted for some time.  The other day I bought the 1JJ Swiss deck.  And now I really want a more authentic version of a Marseilles deck.

The thing is, these things will likely pile up in my tarot drawer.  As did several other decks already.  I already have decided I do not like the 1JJ Swiss deck as much as I had hoped to.  And I’m not sure how I’ll feel about the Visconti deck yet: what I’ve seen of some of the major arcana I do not like, but other things I do (I don’t like this version of the Fool.  I don’t like a man rather than a woman taming the lion in Force.  But I like the idea of the Moon being replaced by Diana.  And I have a strong, strong preference for unillustrated pips).

My Amazon cart now has a Marseilles deck, but I’m holding off on buying it until the Visconti comes, or it will be an embarrassment of riches.  I really look forward to the Visconti, but how will a read a deck where the Fool has no dog chasing after him?  We will see.


13 Responses to “Tarot Decks”

  1. Awakened Says:

    I can recommend Crowley’s Thoth tarot

    • P. Dunn Says:

      I agree. That’s a great deck. I have two. But I’m looking for something a little bit more historical and hermetic than cabalistic.

  2. They sit in your drawer until they don’t. Or at least that’s my experience. Such delightful things to amass. If the price is right, go for it.

    You know the ancient saying, “when the shopper is ready, the cards will appear.”

  3. I’m in love with the Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Tarot. It’s honestly the first rendition of the Smith-Waite cards I’ve seen that looks and feels mystical, rather than like someone set a child loose on a photocopied coloring book.

  4. My only “real” deck is the Science Tarot, but I’ve been using playing cards since I was a preteen living with my fundamentalist parents. I’m rather fond of them.

    • P. Dunn Says:

      That’s a neat looking deck. I like using playing cards too. I use the Hedgewytch system which is unfortunately no longer available online (or, as far as I can tell, anywhere).

  5. I’ve found that sometimes I get decks as a go-between. It’s not for me, but I don’t know who it ‘belongs’ to yet. Then, sometimes years later, I’ll re-home the deck (or other item) with a person it’s just perfect for. I love that.

    • Awakened Says:

      This actually happened to me few times, too. Both my Egyptian deck and Botticelli’s Golden Deck have new happy owners now :).

  6. The IJJ Swiss deck was the first deck I owned, when I was 12. It was not a good deck to learn on. I think any deck without images on the minor arcana are boring, but I’m an artist and I like seeing the artistic interpretations of the cards.

    If you’re interested in trading a few decks, I’ve still got that LeNormand deck and something else really tasty (which I might keep but will show you anyway, 😉 ), as well as a bunch of other decks. Let me know if you want to discuss it.

  7. Oh, and if you’re not familiar with the Hanson Roberts deck, check it out. It’s smaller than average, which is good for my hands, and I like the art. It’s very Waitesque, but still pretty.

  8. Cal Godot Says:

    Went through the same process many years ago, accumulating and evaluating. I differ in that I like illustrated pips as they work well with my tendency to “tell a story” through the cards. The deck that I finally ended up with is one I rarely see others mention: the Morgan-Greer tarot. Susan Gerulskis-Estes wrote a wonderful and somewhat hard-to-find book about the deck. Not as heavily cabalistic as other decks with a fair amount of hermetic symbolism and imagery that evokes or suggests “medieval.” My favorite thing about the cards is the borderless images – the art goes all the way to the edge of the card. My least favorite thing is the back (but that’s true of every deck I’ve ever held).

    Patrick, what’s your take on the PoMo Tarot? It’s a somewhat rare deck to find, larger than standard cards, with a complete redoing of the arcana and pips to reflect “postmodern” themes. Another odd deck of cards (not really fair to call them “tarot”) I’ve acquired is Morgan’s Tarot – a fun deck that has no overarching organization or design but is filled with very contemporary (and Sixties) ideas and ideals.

    Interesting that the author of “Postmodern Magic” has such a strong affinity for the classical design of things like Renaissance tarot cards, Almadels, etc. (Interesting in a good way, mind you, lest you think I’m being snarky.)

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