Tarot Deck Piracy and Anti-Chinese Sentiments

See also: 7/07/2020 Edits below

“My legal counsel advised me to never do business with Chinese companies, because all of them will rip off your intellectual property.”

Paraphrased, but an accurate representation of what was said by a very prominent deck creator in our community. She’ll tell you my paraphrase isn’t accurate and that I’ve misrepresented her. She takes issue with me saying she used the word “all.”

I can’t recall if that precise word “all” was ever used, so let’s believe her and say I’m mistaken. She never said “all.” It was me who read into what was absolutely, unequivocally implied in the subtext.

Oh, wait. The below was sent to me, after I started feeling pretty terrible about maybe misconstruing what she had said. I was beginning to second-guess myself, thinking, man, I now feel like crap for thinking she said “all” when she didn’t. Many of her friends were messaging me, privately and publicly, telling me I got her all wrong, I am remembering her words wrong, and she never, ever said “all.”

Some deck creators saw that same post I saw and immediately thought it was problematic and insensitive.

Other deck creators believe she means well, but perhaps she worded her sentiments wrong– let’s chalk this one up to poor word choice. Maybe. But what I’ve seen from her, she is one fine writer.

And still others think I am the one who is way out of line, being overly sensitive, probably because I’m Asian, and poor, poor Karen for getting misunderstood.

I’ll concede that the truth is probably somewhere in that middle “no man’s land” intersecting point of the Venn diagram. I’m not 100% right, but then neither is she.

Here’s the thing. That was not her first offense. From what I have personally witnessed, it was her third. If we consider what the entire community has witnessed, who knows how many times she has repeated this rhetoric.

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XIII Tarot by Nekro: Deck Review

XIII Tarot - 01 Box Cover

The XIII Tarot by Nekro, published in 2014 by Fournier/Lo Scarabeo (and distributed in North America by Llewellyn) is a Gothic-inspired art deck with ornamental detailing, intense, evocative emotion, and a macabre motif. The art is in grayscale, with select sections of each card digitally enhanced a brilliant red.

The audience for the XIII Tarot deck is going to be aficionados of dark/gothic tarot decks, though without illustrated pips, it’s going to be better suited for Marseille readers.

XIII Tarot - Unillustrated Pips

Many of the reviews for the deck that I read on Amazon complain about the non-illustrated pips, but that didn’t bother me. You just have to know what you’re getting, as a deck buyer. In the context of Nekro’s highly detailed artwork, I like the non-illustrated pips. Illustrated pips, given Nekro’s highly detailed art work, along with the already highly detailed Majors might have been overkill.

Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.
Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.

When the cards are set out in spreads, the images on the Majors step forward beautifully, the Courts speak to us in their respective voices, and the pips provide supplemental information. For me, the deck reads quite well, but I see how visual-spatial-right-brained readers are going to prefer the illustrated pips that you might find in other Gothic decks like the Dark Grimoire Tarot by Michele Penco also by Lo Scarabeo, or the Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony, which sadly, is now out of print (I believe).

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