This post is a combo, a two-fer. First, above, I share Episode #22 of Bell Chimes In, a cheeky rant on tarot deck creators. Oh, by the way, the deck I’m displaying is the Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski, which I love and have been using religiously for all my personal readings as of late. Vinitski’s deck is totally not one of the decks I’m whining about in the video rant. I literally just showed this deck for the cover pic because it matched my outfit.
It turns out this video is somewhat related to something else. This month (January, 2018), Ethony over at Tarot Readers Academy is hosting the annual “31 Days of Tarot” challenge. For Day 26 (Friday), the prompt was to share your thoughts on tarot going mainstream. I have had so much fun watching people’s YouTube videos on this. Can’t link them all, but the most recent ones I watched are listed below. There’s a diversity of perspectives offered here, so definitely check out more than one.
- Alison Spokes
- Nandora Tarot
- When My Soul Whispered
- Cape Cod Creatures
- The Peculiar Daughter
- Nobody Here
- Katey Flowers
- Lucie M. Bland
- Dreaming Angel Tarot
- The Sibyl’s Tarot
Mad props and shout-out to Cape Code Creatures for keeping it real. I also love how personal Nobody Here gets.
There is, however, a pretty big distinction between what I think about tarot going mainstream and the dilution of tarot deck publications.
I’m a huge proponent of tarot going mainstream because it’s like yoga and meditation going mainstream. The more expansive the reach, the more people these practices can help. When yoga is extending the years on our grandparents, helping injured war veterans in physical therapy, and dramatically changing so many people’s physical and emotional health for the better, are old guard purist mystics seriously going to cry about yoga going mainstream?
I’ve watched so many people, both I’ve-got-my-shit-together and I-do-not-have-my-shit-together types, who thought tarot was bullshit, learned just a little bit more about tarot, and opened up to the enormous personal benefits that these cards can offer. So tarot going mainstream is a wonderful thing.
On the other hand, every third hipster graphic designer jumping on the “I’m gonna self-publish my own tarot deck and launch it on Kickstarter”… that’s a different issue for me. If you’re going to produce and sell a tarot deck, then do a little homework first. No, strike that. Do a lot of homework first, please.
I’m so not against kitschy tarot decks, by the way. I love me a good tongue-in-cheek cutesie tarot deck. In fact, those are awesome. Man, I own so many “oh whut, they made a tarot deck out of this?” tarot decks and treasure every single one. But guess what. All of them were made by creators who seemed to know a thing or two, or ten about tarot. That’s all I’m saying. Know your shit.
The ones that get under my skin are when clearly the deck creator is taking him or herself way too seriously and yet the blatant ignorance in the realm of tarot fundamentals is undeniable. Or when people turn a pre-existing project into a tarot deck because the tarot is cool and trending, so what’s actually going on is the project is about the creator, not about the tarot. A tarot deck should be about the tarot, always.
But I’ve seen this deluge of sub-par tarot decks on the market these days where the deck creation project itself becomes nothing more than a means to self-congratulatory glory. The project isn’t about producing something extraordinary. It’s about fanning the personal ego. I’m not against deck creators doing that. I would simply urge tarot deck creators to be better than that.