Well July has been a month of stuff happening. I feel like I’ve been led through the obstacles blindfolded. The much needed Hermit time has been in very short supply. Here’s hoping August is more conducive to hermit-ing and writing. Anyway, one of the things I’ve really noticed about the Tarot world once I got more involved this year, especially on Instagram, is much like any field (yarnie crafts are just as bad) there seemed to be a huge emphasis on ‘look at this shiny new deck I have’ ‘you gotta buy this deck’ and all the things related. And wow did I feel like I was being sucked into it. But in between July life I had the chance to do Abundant Life Tarot’s free Choosing Your Next Deck & Curating your Tarot deck collection course – https://abundantlifetarot.com/courses/choosing-your-next-deck-curating-your-tarot-deck-collection/. I found out about it when I commented on @AuntyKsTarot great Instagram post – https://www.instagram.com/tv/CP_llwrnAPu/?utm_medium=copy_link – about not needing to buy all the decks even when you want to support the creator.
Now I had the one deck – Wildwood – for a long time. Actually that’s not true, I also had the Tarot de Marseille and the Rider-Waite at one point but I sold those when I eventually gave myself permission to not force myself to work with them (hint, we didn’t click). When I got re-focused on the Tarot in a big way earlier this year I ended up following people on Instagram and learning about all these great decks out there and so I wanted to buy more BUT….
….aside from money, especially as I seem to always like the usually more expensive Indie decks, I thought about the material consumption and the impact on the environment. One of the reasons I love the Wildwood is that its underpinning ethos is eco-focused. Yes I want to support creators, especially indie deck makers who are creating decks that are more appropriate and meaningful in today’s world, but at the same time, buying stuff just because you want it is not, when sized up across the Tarot world, sustainable. Think about the resources going into producing the cardstock, the inks, the production, the shipping. I found myself being constantly torn between wanting these beautiful decks but also knowing that consuming mindlessly was not who I want to be, especially with something like Tarot, which for me is a part of what I consider to be my spiritual (in a ‘everything is interconnected’ meaning) life.
I now own three decks – well four right now, but the Star Spinner deck is off to a new home because we haven’t clicked either – and have two on pre-order. Each deck has a strong reason for being with me and I feel confident that each was bought mindfully. So when I found out about the Deck Collecting course, I was so pleased to do something which wasn’t about look at these beautiful decks, I just got to have them, but is about consciously choosing your decks.
The course is self-paced with a quiz at the end of each module. There are lots of videos to watch and handouts of spreads and tools, such as examples of setting up a spreadsheet to manage your collection. Kimberly goes into a lot of detail about the way she has done things and what she has learnt from her Depth Year when she committed to not buying any new decks. One module, my favourite, goes into all the criteria like financial, environmental, spiritual that might affect our choices. At the heart of the course is this idea that we don’t just jump on the bandwagon because everyone’s raving about such and such a deck, but that we stop and think, how does this deck fit with my collection. As part of it I did the Deck Collection Philosophy Spread and it was just, wow! As always I say the cards aren’t magic but somehow their relevance to the questions was spot on. (In fact, having read a comment about this recently, I am training myself to stop saying the cards aren’t magic because who really knows. Though I still don’t think a box of cards bought from a shop has the power, the magic comes from the human using them. Anyway, I digress…)
For this spread I decided to use cards from all four decks. I’ve not mixed decks before but my gut told me this was a good place to experiment. Below is a summary of what I found working with this spread.
1. What is the overall energy of my current collection? – (Textured Tarot) 6. The Lovers – Balanced, beautiful, in relationship, diverse. Well, what more could I ask for?
2. How large is my collection meant to be? – (Star Spinner) 16. The Tower – Don’t let it get too big. But it’s also outside of my control. Something unexpected will stop it growing if I don’t consciously stop buying myself.
3. What does my deck collection say about me? – (Wildwood) 19. The Sun [reversed] – Low energy, paced, measured approach, but the potential to shine bright. Given my chronic fatigue and other issues, this card seemed very apt! It’s another reason to keep my collection small. When you have limited energy it is best to focus rather than scatter it across many things.
4. What are some shadow aspects to my deck collection? – (Textured) 7 of Swords – Hmm, running away from something, in denial. I’m thinking maybe this is about trying too hard to have decks that are different and diverse in representation. I do spend a lot of time worrying about whether a deck is consistent with my values. Am I worrying too much about what other people think instead of trusting my intuition?
5. What have (or can) I gain from my collection? – (Wildwood) Ace of Bows [reversed] – lots of reflection and patience as opposed to lots of action. The potential for action is there but needs to be used thoughtfully. Like the Sun, this feels very apt for my low energy levels.
6. What is my deck collecting philosophy? – (Way of the Panda) 5 of Wands – Fun, joyful, chaotic. Now I know that 5 of Wands is traditionally about conflict, but to me this particular card speaks of joyful chaos. I have got to remember not to lose myself in that though so there is something about getting out of the bundle of panda fluff and taking a step back from time to time.
7. Any advice on how I can ensure I honour my deck philosophy? – (Way of the Panda) 20. Judgement – Kind of linked to above, stay awake to what my philosophy is, don’t fall into a rut (or a panda scrum) or take it for granted. Be discerning.
8. What’s next for my deck collection? – (Star Spinner) 10. Wheel of Fate – Change will come. It will be what it will be. Don’t overthink it.
I loved mixing the decks for this spread, it worked so beautifully. One interesting observation is that both of the really positive high energy cards – The Sun and Ace of Bows – were both reversed. They also both happen to be from the Wildwood which I consider to be a very earthy deck. So there’s a clear message here for me about remembering that my collection needs to work with my energy limitations. It is something I hadn’t really considered a factor before but actually is a very important one. I can be a bit of a squirrel and want to have all the things but then I find myself overwhelmed by what I have and everything needs a place to be kept, and then there’s the energy of feeling guilty of having things I’ve spent money on that sit unused.
This spread, and Kimberly’s whole course, definitely helped me think more clearly about what I need from my Tarot Decks. Since completing it I no longer look at all the lovely decks being shown on Instagram and feel the urge to buy. There will be other decks I buy, there’s currently 2-3 on my wishlist, but there’s no hurry and if they don’t get bought, well I have more than enough to work with right now. If I really want to support a creator or a specific project, there are usually ways to do so without buying the deck, even just liking and sharing social media posts helps them. In fact when I first found out about Aunty K’s Landback Tarot Kickstarter I loved the idea but wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate for me to work with that deck and I wasn’t sure how much international orders were going to cost. So I made a small Kickstarter pledge for no reward.
There will always be far too many Tarot Decks out there than I can afford money/energy-wise, especially with all the indie projects now. Some people collect decks because collecting is their motivation, like Kimberly says in the course, decks are works of art and we can collect them simply to enjoy their beauty and variety without ever reading with them. But I know I am not a deck collector in the purest sense of the word, for me my decks are a tool and I want them to be used.