A History of Tarot Decks

So I've mentioned before that I collect Tarot decks. I find them interesting, and the artwork can be quite lovely. People sometimes ask me which Tarot deck(s) I use, so here's a little history of the ones I have.

The first deck I ever bought was the Mystic Faerie Tarot. I liked the artwork, and I tried to learn to read the cards, but I couldn't. There is some kind of block between me and these cards. Though I do find it interesting that when I opened this deck, I found two Eight of Pentacles. All the rest of the cards were there, but there was this extra Eight of Pentacles . . . So maybe there's some life message about "mastering my craft" that I'm supposed to heed.

Anyway, since I wasn't getting anywhere with those cards, I picked up the Harmonious Tarot. I absolutely adore these cards. This is the deck I use every morning for my three-card draw. I keep them in the drawer beside my bed. If I had to get rid of all but one Tarot deck, this would be the one I would keep.

Still, I have an illness. I am compelled to collect these cards. So the next set I got was . . . I get confused here, actually, because I got two at around the same time. I got the Mystic Dreamer Tarot and the Pamela Coleman Smith commemorative deck. For the latter, it was really that I wanted a "traditional" deck to reference. And the book that came with it—it's so old school but really very interesting in its interpretations. Sort of shows how much things have changed over time. I feel like meanings were far harsher back in the day, and I wonder whether in modern times these have been toned down somewhat to make the Tarot more "friendly" and approachable. Like, maybe the old way was scaring people off from trying Tarot or something. Or maybe it's just that contemporary readers prefer to seek out the up side, the positive. After all, we've learned positive reinforcement works far better than negative.

And then I was in a store somewhere and I found the Paulina Tarot. I thought it was pretty, so I picked it up. I've had mixed results in reading these cards, however. I sometimes feel like they're secretly taunting me. Or they're only telling me part of the answer and smiling slyly behind my back. So I don't use them much.

Then, a couple weeks ago I got the Hermetic Tarot. I thought they were interesting and different, liked that they incorporated the astrological symbols into the designs. However, I have since decided I am not fond of them. Something about them puts me off. So I never use them.

In a few days my Shadowscapes Tarot will arrive. I'm excited about this. Stephanie Pui-Mun Law does some of the loveliest artwork, but I hadn't picked up her Tarot deck. And then I tried the iPhone app and it's terrific. So I decided to go ahead and get the cards as well and can't wait to try them out.

I have one other Tarot deck, this one from a long time back, a bootleg X deck from the CLAMP manga. I've never tried to use them for readings, though. I have Clow Cards, too, come to think of it. And I have used those to read fortunes, but not in a long, long time. Though I was told my readings with these cards were very accurate . . .

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