Okay so I want to do a bit of a rant today that was inspired by my use of the Harmony Tarot this month.
Although the Harmony Tarot is not the only one guilty of this. And I guess before I start, I should define just what exactly tarot is…. and isn’t.
Tarot is a specific system of card reading. This specific system has a structure of 22 trumps (called the Major Arcana) and four groups (suits) made into 14 cards which are collectively called the Minor Arcana.
Each card is numbered in this deck has a specific meaning attributed to it, and that meaning is the same across all tarot decks. The Magician, for example, is card #1 in the Major Arcana, and in all tarot decks it means the same thing. Readers can then intuit more from the cards through imagery, but the base meaning of the #1 card in the Major Arcana is always the same. That holds true for all 78 cards in the deck.
An oracle, on the other hand, does not share the same structure. Each deck is it’s own system, it’s own structure, and builds it’s own meanings on the cards. If you have the structure of tarot, but not the meanings attributed to match the tarot system, it is not a tarot deck.
It irritates me when decks are marketed as “Tarot” that are not tarot. Examples of this include (but are not limited to) the Morgan’s Tarot, Dreams of Gaia Tarot, Osho Zen Tarot, Wildwood Tarot, Merlin Tarot, Harmony Tarot, Daemon Tarot, and Jane Austin Tarot. None of these decks should have the name “Tarot” in the title as none of them are actually tarot decks. They are oracle decks with their own structures and their own system. This isn’t to say that they’re not excellent oracle decks… but they aren’t tarot decks and thus shouldn’t have that word in their titles.
I feel that the use of the word “tarot” in these decks is a marketing ploy. They know that people who read tarot are interested in new tarot decks, and that more people out there read with tarot decks than with oracle decks, and so they use the word “tarot” in their title to draw these people in, even though the deck isn’t a tarot deck at all.
And that? Pisses me off. Oracle decks are NOT tarot decks. Anyone that is making a tarot deck -or- an oracle deck should know this, or they haven’t done enough research and shouldn’t be making a damned deck in the first place in that case.
The word is not interchangeable and I feel that using the word in the title of a deck that’s not a tarot deck is false advertising. A marketing ploy. Essentially? A lie meant to fool people into spending their money.