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Tarot Reflections

 July 15, 2004

Tarot to Go
Tracy Hite, ATA Treasurer, Networks Manager

Tracy began her own Tarot journey while recovering from her first son's birth on New Year's Eve, 1996. She tried to study on her own for nearly a year, picking up what she could from books and websites, but she had a lot of trouble piecing everything together. Through membership in  the American Tarot Association, she met the contacts and gained the expertise needed to gain her certification as a Certified Tarot Master.

Tracy uses a variety of decks to gain a fresh perspective on problems, or to point out ideas or issues she might not have considered otherwise. She admits that she can't predict the future, but does believe that working with the cards can help "move life forward."

Tracy is honored to serve as Manager for both the Free Reading Network and the Free Tarot Network. She also volunteers as Treasurer of the ATA and webmaster of the Comparative Tarot site.


With the explosion in tarot variety over the past few years, deciding on a new deck can be a daunting task. Once you’ve settled on a set of images, your next question could very well be “Which size?” If you need your tarot to go, please consider purchasing a miniature deck.

Most mini decks are simply smaller versions of regular decks. These pint-sized offerings are often small enough to tuck easily into a pocket or purse, making them far more portable than their big brothers. Smaller still, the Tiny Tarot (a Universal Waite deck) comes with a keychain case – with enough room left over for two title cards and a foldout list of keywords. Lugging a handful of decks around can feel awfully heavy by the end of the day; with minis, the same variety weighs little more than one standard deck.

 Standard and Pocket Rider-Waite and the Tiny Tarot (upper right) © US Games

If you’re a closet tarotist, mini decks can be easier to conceal at the office. Inspirational cards can be hidden in inconspicuous places. Tuck your card of the day into a wallet photo holder or the edge of a picture frame, or prop it up under your monitor or on your keyboard. Unfortunately, smaller cards are also easier to misplace. I thought perhaps I had dropped my Tiny Tarot deck somewhere over a year ago and that it was lost for good, but my husband found it again while I was working on this article.

In most cases, reduced size also means a reduced price, so mini decks can come in handy if you’re on a tight budget. Of course, smaller can sometimes mean cheaper – poor print quality on paper-thin cards – but major publishers like Lo Scarabeo and US Games charge less for miniature decks simply because they use less ink and cardstock to make.

Speaking of cardstock, a pocket deck made from the same material as a full-sized one will be a lot thicker in proportion. With practice, a mini deck might be easier for someone with smaller hands to shuffle, though a larger person would probably have more trouble with them. Some decks may be simply too small to shuffle normally at all. For these, one idea is spreading them facedown on a table or desk and drawing cards at random. Or like shuffling Scrabble tiles, place them into a bag and shake them up.

Unfortunately, a printed image loses detail as it gets smaller. Focusing on individual symbols in a card becomes more difficult in miniature. In some cases, a magnifying glass can help, but that’s one more thing to carry around. But if you’re already familiar with the full-sized version, a pocket deck can be enough to jog your memory.

Another common difference between miniature decks and full-sized ones is the accompanying booklet. While some pocket decks include smaller copies of the same LWB, others come with an abbreviated version, or none at all. I have two Lo Scarabeo mins, a Fairy Tarot and a Universal Tarot. Both came with exactly the same booklet, apparently written for the Fairy Tarot’s unusual suits of Hearts, Leaves, Bells, and Acorns. I wrote the publisher to ask if the Universal deck had been mispackaged; they said they include the same LWB with all of their miniature decks and mailed me the full-sized Universal booklet free of charge. So if you’re not one to throw the LWB away without even looking at it, a mini deck’s booklet could be a big consideration.

Deciding between purchasing a regular deck or a mini is similar to the choice between paperback or hardcover books. A paperback is cheaper and easier to carry around, but if you really like the story, the full-size version will usually hold up better to repeated readings over time.


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