Reflection On:Tarot Deck Collecting and Consumerism: My Thoughts

Deck collecting and deck reviews are not part of my “spiritual practice.” They’re my hobbies. The handful of consecrated and well-loved, worn-in workhorse decks I go to when life’s a mess– yes, that’s part of my spiritual practice.

Tarot Deck Collecting and Consumerism: My Thoughts

I’d highly recommend reading Benebell’s post before reading on.

Read it? Good. Let’s get into it.

Maybe Lenormand

Firstly, I have to say that the picture of Bell’s collection gave me tinges of envy. That’s not right. I had tinges of regret.

You see, I have bought a lot of decks over the 25 years that I’ve been into tarot. I have hunted down and obtained almost all of my unicorn decks (the masonic is my deck that’s got away). But then, I’ve had many of them sitting on my shelf collecting dust, unused and unloved.

I have rehomed decks only to obtain them again as the regret of rehoming, and it was missing from my collection became an itch I needed to scratch.

But I think that was more that we (the deck & I) had/have unfinished business.

Some decks that I reacquired and have kept (for now) include:

  • The Wild Unknown Tarot (First and Second editions)
  • Naked Heart Tarot
  • Prisma Vision & Light Visions Tarot
  • Next World Tarot
  • Spacious Tarot
  • Way of the Panda Tarot
  • The Shimmering Veil 2nd Edition (is on its way thanks to Tom Benjamin’s video mentioned in my last post)
The Shimmering Veil

I have reacquired decks only to rehome them again. The Dante Tarot probably wins the award for being reacquired and rehomed. I must have done it five or so times.

I have rehomed different editions of the same deck. I once sold a copy of the first edition of the Alchemical Tarot by Robert Place to fund the 3rd edition.

And mostly, I have no regrets about cards leaving my collection. If a Dante came along again for a bargain on eBay, I might add it back into the collection. But it would go against my ‘why’ of having a ‘collection’ of tarot decks.

Benebell’s ‘why’ is pretty straightforward. I am still wrestling with mine.

A hallmark of a compatible personal workhorse deck is that it’s going to be versatile. A querent can come at you with any sort of question and your personal workhorse deck is at the ready. But again, that’s different from the decks in a deck collection. The personal workhorse deck, at least for me, is now a tool. Not every deck in my collection is a tool.

Tarot Deck Collecting and Consumerism: My Thoughts

I am the opposite, in that every deck needs to have a purpose beyond being a pile of Tarot cards on my shelf.

I used to collect decks for art; Dante is a prime example. I had collected a complete set of Robert Place’s work before realising that the Buddha, Vampire & Angel Tarots would rarely come out of their boxes. I did have a broader range of historical reproductions than I do now.

I have had decks I wanted to study, like the Pythagorean and Babylonian Tarot, but I know that they’d never get the time they needed, and they’ve left the collection with no regrets from me.

Crystal Unicorn Tarot

I will not stop buying decks, as each has the potential to teach me something. That’s why the Way of the Panda is back in my collection and being used. And why the Shimmering Veil is on the way back again? More recent acquisitions have also become firm favourites – Benebell’s Spirit Keeper’s Tarot is one example.

I will also back Kickstarter projects, even if I rehome them at a later date. I want to hear for myself what the cards say.

Since I decided to study tarot seriously in 1996/7, I have always had a range of ‘voices’ to choose from. They included the Universal Waite, Halloween, Medieval Scapini, Sacred Rose, Ancestral Path, and Thoth – all boxsets, and I wanted to read what the creator (or their collaborator’s views on the cards). That’s one thing that hasn’t changed; if there is a book for the deck, I’ll get it.

I have reviewed decks in the distant past, which was fun, and those decks have also found new homes.

But coming back to my ‘why’. For most of my decks, I have to feel that they will be a practical tool. I have a small section of sentimental decks & a sub-collection of historical reproduction, and a few decks that probably need releasing, but I’m not ready.

The minimalist voice in my head says 22 decks total is ‘enough’, but I definitely need some variety, and if I strip out the sentimental and historical decks, I can’t quite reach that number. And that’s OK.

Playing Card Arcana

Jaymi Elford replied to Benebell’s public Facebook post saying she was ‘right-sizing’ her collection. And I agree. That’s what I want mine to be.

I also ‘right-size’ my other cartomancy decks. Over the last few days, I have had a bit of regret around the Whitman’s Old Gypsy Fortune Telling Cards being rehomed. But The Life Line Lenoracle, the Hermes Playing Card Oracle, and the Maybe Lenormand incorporate some of the cards and their concepts. These are ‘enough’ for me to get what I need.

I guess I already have a deck for ‘that’ might be in the back of my head, but it’s not really a strong voice. But it does get me to check my ‘why’.

I will keep adding and subtracting decks to feel I’ve got the ‘right-size’, but I won’t let it balloon. That might change if I have much more space, but as I’ve explained above, I’d rather my decks had a purpose for me above being just ‘decks on the shelf.’

Everyone’s why varies, and not having a why is also totally fine, but I hope I’ve explained mine.

What’s yours???