as pressure eases
of vivid emotion
into the light
by the kiss
of your love
as you finally see
and curled tight
into a knotted bud
#TwentyOneTarotQuestions Non-VR to Lisa Papez
So recently (as in sometime in the past two weeks?) Lisa Papez on YouTube did a hashtag challenge and I really enjoyed it. I haven’t done one of these “non-VRs” in quite a while and I thought this would be a fun one to jump in on.
1: What is the deck they’ll have to pry out of your cold dead hands?
Tarot of the Hidden Realm and Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Oracle. I have back ups of both (and multiple back ups of the latter due to experiences with past mishaps). I use these two decks more than any other decks in my very extensive collection, both individually and together.
2: What’s your guilty pleasure deck?
All of them? What is a “guilty pleasure deck”?
After some digging, I like Marlene Theresa’s definition of a “guilty pleasure deck”. (I watched a number of different replies to this question to figure out what this term means and I like her take best). She called a guilty pleasure deck as a deck that “you enjoy, but that is not necessarily highly regarded or people might tease you because you enjoy it”.
Okay, so… I made myself a Hilda Tarot deck (and printed off a copy for my partner as well). At the time, there was a “Hilda Tarot” out there that was selling by someone on Instagram, but I really didn’t like some of the art choices, and I felt it was a bit plain. I wanted it to feel like spring and summer and celebration, and so I made one for myself that embodied that theme.
I can’t tell you how many people have given me strange looks and questions about it, considering it’s a deck filled with a lovely plush red-haired woman primarily dressed in bikinis throughout the cards. And yet? It’s one of my absolutely favorite summer decks.
3: What’s the deck you wish existed?
I want a tarot deck based on tea. Majors being tools for tea like the cup, pot, strainer, etc. Each minor suit a different type of tea such as herbal, black, etc… with each card in those suits a different flavor of tea within those types. Done in watercolor artwork ala Siolo Thompson’s style, with botanical illustrations mixed into the artwork. Not something just slapped together but done with meaning and intention, with a guidebook that goes into why each was chosen for the card it represents.
4: What deck would you give to a new reader?
I very much feel that the Rider Waite Smith is the -best- deck to learn from. It’s what all the literature out there is based off of, and holds a great deal of symbolism that many clones lack. I know, though, that a lot of beginners are turned off by the artwork and color scheme.
For those people… the This Might Hurt Tarot is very accessible and is becoming more and more easy for people to get their hands on. It’s very relatable to modern perspectives as well. I have a whole list of tarot decks I might recommend to a beginner, but that one is one that has been climbing to the top of the list steadily since it was first created.
5: What deck do you want to get along with but it just never clicked?
This would be the Tarot of the Sidhe. There’s just something about it that makes it a deck I struggle to read with. I can’t quite put my finger on it.
I’ve tried modifying the deck to find the “sweet spot” for reading it, and yet? It’s still one that, the mass majority of the time, I’ll avoid reaching for if there are pretty much -any- others available.
It has something to do with the artwork, clearly, but I’m not sure exactly what it is. Something about the harshness or color use or… I’m just really not that sure but there’s just -something- in there that throws me off every single time.
That doesn’t mean I can’t read with it, but it’s just not one of those that I immediately reach for.
6: What deck do you only keep for the art?
My collection of Anima Antiqua decks by Lo Scarabeo. I don’t really read with them all that much. I just very much enjoy the historical context and artwork, and exploring how things developed over time in the area of tarot as a whole.
7: What deck did you buy because everyone else did?
The Alleyman Tarot. I can’t say I’m overly impressed with it, and honestly? A lot of the art choices just completely turn me off. It also bugs me how many of certain cards their are (such as the Death card), and yet only one of others that could really have used an alternate (such as the Chariot card). It could have been… better in so many ways, and I just feel like I fell for the hype and ended up let down in the end.
8: What deck is over your head or just baffles you?
Benebell Wen’s Spirit Keeper’s Tarot. I’ve read her books and I’ve studied the deck, but I think it’s just… too cerebral for me.
The thing is, I read cards first and foremost by intuitive hits off imagery, and in this deck that is muffled by the massive amounts of symbolism and imagery that is triggered not by intuition but by knowledge and study, logic and academia.
This heaviness in intellectual symbolism seems to create a sort of tug of war during my reading the cards that I find difficult to get past.
Tarot of the Animal Lords was really surprising for me. It was one of my very first animal decks, and I didn’t expect it to be so easy for me to read.
At the time, I knew that I really leaned into decks that featured plants and plant symbolism, but I wasn’t sure how I would feel about an animal deck. It clicked right away, though, and it was through this deck I found one of my favorite tarot niches.
It was also one of the first decks that taught me that I was far better as a reader when pulling messages through my intuitive hits off imagery and my intuition, rather than just the “intellectual” memorization of traditional meanings.
10: What deck doesn’t really work for you but you keep it because it’s a collectible?
The Anima Antiqua Wiener Secession Tarot. It does not speak to me at all and doesn’t really fit in my collection either, but it is a part of the Anima Antiqua series, and I have all the others so I had to add this one to have the complete set.
11: What deck is your favorite gilded deck?
Okay so this is a weird answer, I know. But… the Bontanica Tarot.
Specifically? This is because when I shuffle it in the sunlight, it’s like it is farting fairy dust, and for some reason I find that ultra fine tuft of gold dust to be extremely amusing.
At first? I was a bit irritated by it. But over time it’s grown on me and I really find it fun now instead of irksome.
12: Which deck do you love – but hate the card stock?
The ASL Tarot fits this particular descriptor. The colors combined with its illustration style really speak to me, which is a bit surprising since the colors are a bit garish… but, they do.
The thing is though, the cardstock is atrocious and makes the deck extremely difficult to work with. It’s the thickest cardstock I’ve ever worked with, and has absolutely no bend to it at all.
Let us not also forget to mention the fact that because of cardstock choices made by the creator, the deck doesn’t fit in the box. In fact, it doesn’t even come -close- to fitting in the box.
13: What deck gives you the willies?
The original Thoth deck with Lady Freda Harris’ illustrations. The artwork makes my stomach churn and creates the uncomfortable feeling of being in the room with an abuser (raised hairs on my arms, clench in the solar plexus, burn in the breast bone area). I keep it around for research and study purposes, but I don’t use it outside of those reasons.
14: What’s your favorite deck for shadow work?
It’s a tie between the Ritual Abuse Tarot and the Tarocchi di Connessione. A lot of people like lighter and brighter decks for their shadow work, but I find that I require something that gives a bit of a punch and can wring out my insides. Both of these decks have that in common.
One of them has a very “screaming in the dark” feel to it that speaks to my frustrations and angsts (Ritual Abuse Tarot). The other has this sort of gothic lost in the dark feeling of danger and unrest that I sometimes need to address when I’m dealing with inner child work (Tarocchi di Connessione).
15: What deck do you love in theory but not in practice?
The Fablemaker’s Animated Tarot. I really liked this deck when I received it and love the artwork, but that quickly shifted and I ended up so damned pissed off at this deck when I tried to use. So much so that it went immediately into the “leaving” pile, and I had it listed and then sold within a day. You can read all about my irritation and complaints with this deck in one of my previous blog posts.
16: What deck would you never use to read for someone else?
I can’t think of any decks that I won’t use for someone else, although I have a handful of very adult themed ones that I won’t read for someone else without making sure they know what they’re getting in for with the imagery first.
I take that back. I have a deck handed down to me from a dear friend that used to be her grandmother’s. It’s just a regular RWS deck, but I feel it would disrespect the energy that lingers in the deck to use it to read for anyone other than this friend’s family and that’s what it’s reserved for. I have plenty of other RWS decks I can read for others with if need be.
17: What deck would you never use for yourself?
I have a handful of Egyptian themed decks that I’ve added to my collection specifically at client request. I’ve actually tried using them to read for myself, but they don’t click for me in that context. They seem to read fine, though, when using them to read for others.
18: What deck could you NOT bring yourself to buy?
I’m going to say the Slow Holler Tarot here (it’s mentioned below in #21 as well) primarily because of the price. It’s not that I don’t want this deck. I’ve wanted it for a very long time, and missed my opportunity to purchase it when it was first printed. It’s that I cannot bring myself to pay the prices being -asked- for the deck since it’s gone out of print.
19: What’s your favorite pip deck?
Oh, that’s easy. The Tarot de Marseille par Pole Ka. It’s creepy and cute and entirely pip because… well, it’s a Marseilles deck. I love it. I really enjoy the bit of macabre with the cranky faces and dose of cuteness.
20: What deck slaps you with the truth?
The Wonderland Tarot in a Tin is definitely the deck that slaps me with the truth, and anyone I read for using it as well. It’s very sharp toned in its messages and it doesn’t pull punches. It’s one of those decks that’s excellent for when you need to hear the truth but think you probably won’t -listen- even if you hear it, as it cuts through all that bullshit.
21: What’s the deck that got away?
The Slow Holler Tarot (as mentioned above in #18). I have been kicking myself for years about this deck. Back when it was being sold by the creators on their website, I decided to pick it up. But, because I didn’t want to shuffle money around between bank accounts, I decided to wait for pay day to purchase it.
And… on payday it was sold out, and was never restocked. Ever.
The price immediately skyrocketed beyond my reach, and I’ve never managed to get my hands on a copy as a result. Considering what it goes for these days when someone wants to part with a copy? I’m sort of doubting I ever will.