So, I had a library full of witchcraft and pagan stuff and all of that. My mother also used to consult a regular deck of playing cards--spades, diamonds, hearts, clubs--and "accurately" predicted the future. I still don't know for sure what system she was using, but I'm pretty sure it was the Tarot. She refused to tell my fortune, though she did let me get a reading once when I was 14. (no, nothing was accurate)
Then I met the man who would later be my husband, who was into the occult and had a tarot card deck--the Tarot of the Witches. (I kind of love that he chose the witches deck over the testosterone-he-man deck). He only did readings with the Major Arcana.
|he loves folk art, so its clear why he chose this deck|
I'm sure you're all familiar with the tarot, but there's Major Arcana that kind of symbolize the linear passage of being born, raised, married, death, spirituality etc (these cards are named. see below: Devil, Judgement, Death, etc). Minor Arcana deal with more day-to-day topics like money, travel, sorrow, joy, teamwork, friendship, leadership. These cards are the playing cards--cups, pentacles, wands, swords and the suits. In the witches deck above, you'll see the 10 of cups in the lower right. You'll see how limited we were by doing readings with the major arcana only.
We had so much fun telling fortunes (eventually, we got tired of looking them up in the book and just made up card meanings) that he bought me the "original" and "official" deck, the Rider-Waite deck.
I have one other friend who studied tarot and he's a bit of an elitist about the whole thing. For him, the Rider-Waite is the only "real" deck. Even though this had a writer and commissioned artist just like every deck today.
Decks aren't all equal. The cards themselves have different meanings, multiple meanings, and certain decks may decide to illustrate one meaning over the other. The Hermit could mean loneliness or introspection. a deck may illustrate him as sad or happy with his isolation. See the original Waite card:
I'd say this is a negative card at worst, ambiguous at best. Head bent down, empty card--is he lonely or serene? I took a look at the other cards I had:
|decks, clockwise: witches, Running Press, Steampunk, Vertigo|
So, my advice for getting a tarot deck:
1. pick an artist's style that's inspiring to you. you're going to be telling stories (fortunes) based on these pictures.
2. pick a deck that has the minor arcana drawn out. I don't know why deck artists do this. There's many a deck I didn't buy because of this. As I said, my husband never used the minor arcana in readings with the witches deck, probably because they weren't drawn out. Of course, to each his own: my mom would have found those pictures distracting and would have preferred just the number and suit. I prefer the pictures to be inspired and for learning the cards better. I can't stand it when they aren't drawn out. Take a look at the ten of swords, probably the darkest card in the entire Tarot, which is normally drawn as a man with 10 swords piercing his back. Who could tell what this means with the tarot of the witches?
|actually the 8 of swords, but add 2 more cards and you've got the idea.|
In other news, alas, I am a blogger without a camera. I had a Nikon D70, which fell and shattered. It would cost me $300 to repair the camera and lens. My Canon Powershot S50, which I think is celebrating its 10th birthday, still works... but I can't find the charger. I have a Pentax SLR (film) camera, but no way I'm buying film for blog posts! So, shitty/reposted pictures for now...
Any of you guys read tarot? for fun or for real? Else, recommend me a camera (lol)?