#DatingTheTarot2020 a (non) VR to Candy Soul and Soil

So, this prompt was brought to my attention by Simon at The Hermit’s Cave, bit it originates from Candy Soul and Soil on YouTube. The concept here is what decks would fit these ten dating categories listed below. Although it was encouraged that you could use any kind of deck for this challenge (not just tarot decks), but I will be sticking to tarot specifically.

1: The Cheapskate Date… who did you date because they were cheap as chips and what was the outcome?

Student Tarot v2 Stained Glass

Student Tarot v.2 (Stained Glass) – Other than free decks and gifts, this is my cheapest deck. I paid $3.73 for it in a bargain bin at a little Asian market up in British Columbia, Canada. It was tucked away at the very back of a shelf cluttered with stationary and books. It is a beautiful deck and actually got me into collecting all of the different Student Tarot decks. Each one has a different style of art, and I currently have… seven versions. I’m not entirely sure how many versions there are total, because every time I think I know about them all I then end up finding another one.

2: The Slow Burner Date… the one you weren’t sure about on first meeting but over time you suspect it’s turning to love!

Ostara Tarot

Ostara Tarot – I bought this tarot because I was attracted to the artwork, but owned it for over a year before eventually using the deck for the first time. There was just something about this deck that I felt I needed to hold off on. Then, a year ago in November I finally pulled it out and used it for the full month and didn’t want to stop using it even at the end of the month. This is extremely rare for me as I usually want to rotate out to use different decks pretty regularly.

3: The Blind Date… because we are impulsive humans and sometimes we just rush in! Who did you date without looking or thinking?

Raja Tarot

The Raja Tarot – I saw exactly three cards in this deck when I bought it. All three cards were majors, and that was it. No one had pictures of this deck up to view. The creator didn’t either. I had an impulsive “fuck it” moment and bought it, and it was the worst purchase I’d ever made. Jesus… it’s bad. The cardstock is bad, the pips are bad… even the tuckbox is crap. So yeah. Bad. Bad bad date.

4: The Rebound Date… the one you keep going to break up with but keep being pulled back together!

Liz Dean's Golden Tarot

Liz Dean’s Golden Tarot – I have gotten rid of this deck and had it come back to me multiple times. I bought it from Amazon, gave it away, found it at a thrift store for $4 and bought it, edged it… gave it away. Found it at a GoodWill in Ontario Canada and bought it again. It just comes back again and again. This last visit from my rebound date, I’ve trimmed off the borders and titles to make it image only.

5: The Surprise Love Affair Date… the one you thought would be just ok but from first meeting it was love at first sight that took you by surprise!

Tarot of the Hidden Realm

Tarot of the Hidden Realm – When I ordered this deck, I really didn’t expect the reaction I had to it. I thought the artwork was lovely, and was interested because of it, but didn’t think it would be anything particularly overly special. Then I opened the box and touched the cards and it was so…. perfect. The art. The energy. The cardstock. The energy. I’d never felt anything like the energy I felt in these cards when I got them in my hands, and this is my very first “soul deck” connection. I’d been reading tarot for 15 years at that point, which just goes to show, sometimes surprises happen even to the well seasoned readers.

6: The “Not My Type” Date… the one you went on thinking it wasn’t really your cup of tea but what the hell… what happened?

Thoth Tarot Golden Edition

Aleister Crowley’s Golden Thoth – Right… so… I find Lady Freda Harris’ artwork to be extremely disturbing. It gives me really bad vibes and prolonged exposure (over a few minutes) can give me nausea and cold sweats. I bought this deck with every intention of studying the Thoth and exploring the system at length along with its original artwork. But I was never able to get over extremely visceral reaction to the artwork. I still own it, but probably won’t for much longer so I suppose this also could have gone down into the next category, but another Thoth style deck takes that slot.

7: The “I May Have To Delete Your Number” Date… the one that really didn’t work but you still haven’t broken up with yet, what’s stopping you?

Tabula Mundi Tarot en Minima

Tabula Mundi Tarot in Minima – This one doesn’t give me the same bad/uncomfortable vibes as the Crowley Thoth, but there’s something about the artwork that bothers me and I find myself often confused when I look at the cards in this deck. This is a weird sensation for me. I’ve been reading tarot for over 18 years, and reading imagery cards for years more… and yet these cards are just so confusing to me and no amount of familiarizing myself with them seems to solve the problem. For some inexplicable reason, I haven’t quite given up on them yet tho.

8: The Forever Love… True love… ok this one might be on the favourites list too but I’m curious and couldn’t resist!

Herbal Tarot

Herbal Tarot – I could have put one of my soul decks here, but if I’m entirely honest? Even though this is not one of my soul decks, it will forever hold my deep and abiding love. This was my second tarot deck and I have worn out multiple copies of it over the years. It’s diverse, multi-national, and there are a number of androgynous characters presented in the imagery. And… it’s all about plants. Unlike my very first tarot deck, which was horrible, this deck made sense to me immediately and was easy to read from the start.

9: The Stormy On/Off Date… the one you can’t stay away from, equal parts passion, lust and fighting! The one you have to have a break from but can’t stay away from either!

Tarot of the Sidhe

Tarot of the Sidhe – I find the artwork in this deck garish, and sometimes abrasive. And yet… there’s something about this deck that draws me back again and again. I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t help reaching for it in the summer months, even if I can only use it a few times before having to set it back on the shelf again.

10: The Friends With Benefits Date… who can you run to without commitment whenever you just have a need for them? The one who always just slots right back in like you’ve never been apart?

Hanson Roberts Tarot

Hanson Roberts Tarot – This was my third ever tarot deck, and like the Herbal Tarot mentioned above, I have worn out multiple copies of this deck over the years. There’s just something very “coming home” about picking up this deck and working with it. The artwork, the faces, the colors… it’s like a close friend giving a warm hug.

#TarotCollector a (non) VR to MoonBaby

Today’s post is inspired by Brant’s #TarotCollector challenge over on his channel, Moon Baby on YouTube. Your most expensive deck

The Fairy Tale Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Your most expensive deck: The Fairy Tale Tarot by Lisa Hunt (English Edition). I had this one a handful of years ago when it was first published and it was destroyed in an accident. I paid a hell of a lot more than the publisher’s price to replace it when I finally got around to replacing it. It’s one of the few decks that I’ve kept the box for.

Student Tarot No.5
Student Tarot Version 5

Your least expensive deck: I have a number of decks that I’ve gotten for free over the years, either as gifts, prizes, etc. But this is my least expensive deck that I actually paid money for. It cost me just a few cents under $3. I’ve had a few playing card decks I’ve payed less for over the years, but I was trying to primarily stick to tarot for this challenge (although you’ll see I did deviate on an answer later on).

The deck other collectors want to steal from your collection: See the first question above. I probably have a good number of decks that people would like to steal from my collection, but since my motivation for collecting seems a bit off from others’ I’m not sure I have a very good idea which ones they’d be. Probably a good number of my Il Meneghello decks.

Deviant Moon Tarot Borderless Edition
Deviant Moon Tarot Borderless Edition

Your strangest deck: Okay… so I confess. I have a LOT of really strange decks. I’m a big fan of really strange decks. And, I know that a lot of people don’t find the Deviant Moon Tarot to be a strange one, but I do. Definitely. And as many other strange decks as I get? This one always tops the list for me. So I’m going to say that my strangest deck is the Deviant Moon Tarot.

Hokusai Tarot and 22 Talismani in 22 Arcani Tarot
Hokusai Tarot and 22 Talismani in 22 Arcani

The deck other collectors are least likely to have in their collection: Honestly? Any of a number of my Il Meneghello decks would fit in this category probably. Not just because they are limited run decks, but because they are not really all that well known. Add to that that a number of those Il Meneghello decks are majors only decks and… well I picked two of my favorites and went with them.

Gypsy Witch Fortune Cards c.1920
Gypsy Witch Fortune Cards c. 1920

Your oldest deck: This one, I went by publication date. And it’s the only category that I strayed away from tarot. My oldest deck by publication date is my mother’s set of the Gypsy Witch Fortune Cards that was printed in 1920. Alternately, I also have my great great (great?) grandmother’s canasta set that she used to read divination with, but I have no idea what the publication is on that one so I didn’t include it here.

Sacred Circle Tarot
The Sacred Circle Tarot

The deck you’ve had the longest: For this question, I switched back to tarot only I started with tarot when I was fourteen years old. Before tarot, I was taught lenormand and playing card reading and I have had decks of both far back into my childhood. But I honestly don’t remember which was my first… or second… or fifth. I do, however, know which deck was my first tarot deck and thus, the one I’ve had the longest. That would be the Sacred Circle Tarot. As you can see from the pictures? I have modified the fuck out of this deck.

Tarot of Trees and The Revived Gassmann Tarot Marseilles
The Tarot of Trees 10th Anniversary Edition and The Revived Gassmann Tarot Marseilles

Your newest deck: In my last visit to the post office, I had a good handful of decks come in, but the two that really stuck out to me the strongest were these two. The Tarot of Trees 10th Anniversary Edition is a beautiful large-card version of the earlier deck that came out in small cards. And The Revived Gassmann Tarot Marseilles that came out this year from Patrick Valenza.

Herbal Tarot and the Hanson Roberts Tarot
The Herbal Tarot and the Hanson Roberts Tarot

The deck that made you want to collect decks in the first place: After the debacle of the Sacred Circle Tarot as my first deck, I was a bit discouraged as I couldn’t connect to the Sacred Circle at all. Then I got my hands on the Herbal Tarot and the Hanson Roberts Tarot within weeks of each other, and it made me realizes that there was a great deal of potential out there to tap into. I’d made a mistake with my first tarot deck, and ended up with something that didn’t work for me at all and thus was extremely difficult for me to read. When these two came along, it was a breath of fresh air and I’ve been collecting ever since.

Tarot of the Hidden Realm and The Stolen Child Tarot

Your favorite deck from your collection: I am unable to pick one but I can manage to whittle it down to two. My two absolute favorite decks are the Tarot of the Hidden Realm and The Stolen Child Tarot. There are a couple of runners up tho….

Hush Tarot, The Brady Tarot, The Botan Tarot
Hush Tarot, The Brady Tarot, and The Botan Tarot

The three above are my runners up to my favorites. The thing is? Interestingly enough all five of these are relatively new decks. I’ve been collecting decks for eighteen years, and other decks besides tarot for even longer, but it hasn’t been until these last few years that I’ve actually managed to find decks that I deeply connect with. I had favorites before them… absolutely. But the connection is not the same as what I have with these decks mentioned here now.

#shoppingfortarot (non) VR to LadyKnight of Avalon

Back in October, LadyKnight of Avalon on YouTube did a video where she talked about deck collections and how we go about the process of curating our personal collections over time.    The fact is that I have a rather large deck collection, and not just of tarot but also playing cards, oracle cards, lenormand, and other game cards and cartomancy cards. I love decks of cards.  I love the diversity of artwork available and the variety “voices” that the different styles of artwork speak with.

Anyway, she devised this list of questions for those that shop for and collect decks, no matter the size of your collection.  So here we go….


1. What was the last deck you bought and why that one?

The last deck I bought was the Divine Muses Oracle.  I actually saw this one on Kickstarter when it was being launched, and I waffled on it and ended up not backing it because some of the cards didn’t appeal to me all that much (Ancestors, Astral Ascent, and the Muse of Art cards, for example).   But since then I have seen this deck on many videos and images, and I’ve been SUPER attracted to it and had some of the cards really stand out to me super strongly (such as the Totem of Water, Lattice of the Soul, and Raven King).  In the end, I decided that the cards that really spoke to me outweighed the cards that I was a bit “meh” on and I picked it up to see how I could get on with it.

2. What’s your decision process when you buy a new deck?

Does the imagery on the deck speak to me?  Will the words get in my way? If so, can they be removed?  Is it worth (to me) what they’re asking for the deck?  Can I afford to buy it?  Is it something I want to buy right now, or do I want to wait and see if I still want it in a few weeks?

3. What are deal-breakers in a deck that keep you from buying it?

Well at the top of the list is if I can’t connect with the imagery.  If the imagery doesn’t speak to me then there’s just no point in buying the deck.   Other deal-breakers include a Hanged Man card or Two of Pentacles card that I just can’t work with, super crappy cardstock (I’m a riffle shuffler… if it can’t handle being riffle shuffled then there’s no point in me owning it), too few cards for too much money, or well… too much money in general because if it’s out of my price range?  Then it’s out of my price range.

4. Little white book or big guide book?

I don’t really care as long as there is quality content.  I’ve seen some spectacular little white books…. and I’ve seen some big guide books that are just sheer crap.

5a. Do you have new deck rituals?

Yes.  When I get a new deck, I like to do a cleansing and a deck interview.  Unless I allow others to handle the cards, or for some reason the deck’s communication starts to feel “muddled”, chances are  that this is the only time the deck will ever be cleansed while in my possession.

5b. How do you break in a new deck?

By using them.   Also, meditative shuffling.  And, sometimes, with deck modification as well such as edging and/or trimming the deck if  feel that it needs it.

6a. Have you ever been disappointed after getting a deck because it looked/felt different than expected?

Yes.  Usually this has to do with how it communicates with me.  There have been times I’ve purchased decks and when I get them in my hands I just can’t get them to communicate as clearly as I’d like.   The most prominent example of this is the WildWood Tarot, which has artwork of a theme and style that I felt should have spoken to me very clearly, but even after years of trying, I couldn’t manage to work with them very well.    (It turns out, cutting off the titles on the cards so that it is artwork-only finally solved this issue for me.)

6b. Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a deck after getting it?)

Yes.   Most recently?  The This Might Hurt deck, which I backed on Kickstarter in the spring and just arrived this week.  It was far and above the quality I was expecting and I’ve been avoiding walk-throughs and other images of the cards, etc because I wanted it to be a surprise.

7. Do you interview new decks?

Usually just when it first comes into my collection, although if I feel that the “tone” of a deck’s readings have changed over time then I will do it again to re-familiarize myself with the energy of the deck and it’s “voice”.

8. Do you ever buy decks for a specific purpose (only using it for that one?)

Yes.  I have a few decks that are solely for my personal use.  I have a few that are solely for shadow work.  And I have a few that I’ve purchased solely to use in one-card draws.

I have also occasionally bought a bootleg deck or two for the purposes of spellwork, because often in those cases the deck is destroyed in some way in the process of the spell casting.  Destroying a $5 deck in a spell is one thing.  Destroying a $50 deck in a spell is quite another.

9. Do you differentiate between decks you buy for yourself and decks you would use for other people?

Only in a few special cases.   The vast majority of my decks are open to be used for both.

10. What is one thing you wish deck creators would do, do more of or stop doing?

Do:  I wish more deck creators would consider cardstock as a top priority. (Hello Llewellyn, I’m talking to you.)

Do More:  I’m all for more illustrated pip cards.  I hate it when you have glorious and beautifully done Majors, and then the Minors are just sparingly done pips; or else they are illustrated, but in a way that makes it clear not as much effort was put into them as the Major Arcana.

Stop Doing: This one is specifically for creators on Kickstarter.  A lot of creators on that platform add on “Stretch Goals” which is great, but I really wish that they would focus less on little trinkets, pins, fancy boxes, etc….. and more on upgrading cardstock and making the actual CARDS nicer.

The #LunaAndOwlAndBones Challenge for November


I think that I need to precursor this post by saying that these are my answers at this moment.  Many of the questions are about favorites and preferred decks for different things.  These types of answers can easily change over time.

1. First Deck – Gypsy Witch Fortune Cards
2. Newest Deck – The Circle Lenormand
3. Deck You Want To Know Better – Rust Belt Arcana (I’m still familiarizing myself with the imagery and symbolism.)
4. Deck Gifted To You – Mystical Shaman Oracle
5. Deck You’d Gift to A Beginner – Borderless Smith-Waite Tarot
6. Deck with the Deepest Connection – Tarot of the Hidden Realm
7. Favorite Majors Deck – Sad Story Tarot
8. Favorite Animal Deck – Anima Mundi Tarot
9. Favorite Deck for Artwork – Stolen Child Tarot
10. Most Unique Deck – Again, the Stolen Child Tarot
11. Most Whimsical Deck – Annnnnnd again, the Stolen Child Tarot
12. Full Moon – I like using the Anima Mundi for full moon readings.
13. Deck for Reading for Others – I actually love using my Dixit decks for reading to others. That’s my favorite.
14. Deck for Personal Readings – Tarot of the Hidden Realm
15. Deck for Clarity – Dixit Deck v.6 Memories Edition
16. Deck for Decision Making – Herbal Tarot
18. Deck for Career Readings – 1889 Lenormand
19. Most Blunt Deck – Visions of Life Tarot
20. Most Positive Deck – Skele-Tarot for advice. Guardian Angel Tarot for a gentle, positive feel for others.
21. Favorite Oracle – Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Oracle
22. Deck for Meditation – Again, the Stolen Child Tarot
23. Deck for Spiritual Work – Cheimonette Tarot (or the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot)
24. Deck for Shadow Work – Tarocchi di Connessione
25. Deck on your Altar – At the moment, the Slow Tarot and the Tarot of the Unknown.
26. New Moon – I also like using the Anima Mundi for new moon readings.
27. Deck to Travel With – Any of the Dixit decks and/or the Morgan Greer in a Tin
28. Deck for Thanksgiving Ritual – I don’t have one, but I think the Slow Tarot would work really well for this.
29. Deck You Learned the Most With – Herbal Tarot
30. Deck Used – Ok, so I’m going to take this one as the decks used/am using this month, which I already have set out. Those are (and will be)… Herbal Healing Tarot, Distant Past Tarot, Children of Litha Tarot, Chelsea Lenormand (red), Herbcrafters Tarot, Bottanical Deck, Delos Tarot, Tarot of Pagan Cats, Heart of Faerie Oracle, Illuminated Earth Oracle, Dixit #8 Harmonies Ed, Oracle of Mystical Moments, Lenormand Wahrsagekarten Mit Astrologischen Symbolen, L’oracle des Murmures, Rust Belt Arcana, Dixit #4 Origins Ed, Wooden Tarot, Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, Tarot of the Unknown, Slow Tarot, Sasuraibito Tarot, Badger’s Forest Tarot, Pam’s Vintage Tarot, Earthbound Oracle, The Moon Deck, Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Oracle, and the Gravity Tattoo Tarot.