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Tarot Reflections


 November 1, 2003

Are You a TarotHolic?
Debbie Lake

Debbie Lake is a cranky, opinionated Tarotholic who was born and bred in Hell's Kitchen, NYC. She has been married for 15 years (which explains the crankiness) and just loves working with Tarot, reading and driving friends and family crazy with her know-it-all-ness. She's also the FRN Assistant Manager of Readers. Visit her at her website at beachbanrion/born (note that this link was not functional when checked 1/15/2004)

(This is a photo of Debb with the Strength card from the 1910 RWS deck purchased on eBay by Stuart Kaplan. Taken at the Chicago World Tarot Congress.)


So, youíre a Tarot reader.  You may even have one favorite or comfort deck that you use for the majority of your readings, especially readings you do in-person.  Maybe you use certain decks for certain types of questions - one for romantic or relationship readings, maybe another deck for business or career related questions, and perhaps a third deck that you use for personal or meditative uses. 

Then one day youíre chatting with a friend or online and a deck is mentioned with which youíre not familiar.  You look for it in stores, you check out reviews online and in Tarot journals.  You read the opinions of others who use the deck.  And you decide youíd like to own this deck even if you donít really need it because you like the artwork or the theme.  You open the deck, inhale that new deck scent and happily start getting familiar with your new companion.

You explore your new deck and gain new insights.  You may add it to your reading rotation or you may not.  And for a while youíre content.  Then one day while wandering through a bookstore you spot a new deck youíve never seen before.  You hesitate for a moment, debating with yourself.  Do you really need a new deck?  Are you sure youíll like this deck?  You may purchase the deck or you may not. 

But if not, it may linger on the fringes of your mind.  Perhaps you do a little research - read reviews, check out images on-line, ask questions on mailing lists.  Maybe you see it again - open so you can look at the cards.  You flip through the cards, feeling the need fill you.  You look for a favorite card and you are blown away by the portrayal.  It speaks to you.  You must have this deck.  You grab an unopened deck and race towards the cashier eager to get home and explore this new gem.

This may happen a few more times and before you know it your collection has doubled.  You find yourself needing new places and more space in which to store your decks.  Your spouse or family may begin joking about your collection.  But you still feel in control.  You know that you can stop buying decks at any time.  Itís not a problem.  Youíre fine.

Then one day you read about a deck that youíve never seen before.  Maybe itís a privately published deck or perhaps itís only available from Europe.  You love the deck but decide that you really donít want to start ordering decks from overseas.  You manage to stave off the craving for a while - maybe even months.

Then one day you decide to check out this Tarot store in San Marino that everyone is talking about and once there via the Internet you start checking out the other decks they offer.  You find several that youíre not familiar with but which intrigue you.  You decide to read some reviews and ask a few questions of your online friends.  What you learn only adds to your desire for these decks. 

And one day you realize that you must have this deck too. 

So you visit the online store again and find the two decks you want.  You may even add another deck or two - after all the shipping isnít that much more expensive and if you tried to find them in the US the cost would be much more prohibitive.  Then you wait impatiently for your international package to arrive.  Once itís in your hot little hands you rip off the wrapping paper and reveal the precious treasures concealed within.  Your hands explore the decks, you hesitate for a bit before you open the shrink-wrap.  Youíre enjoying the anticipation.  Will you like this deck as much as you hope? 

Finally you take a deep breath and rip the deck open and explore the cards.  A feeling of deep satisfaction fills you as look through the images.  Each is everything you wanted in a deck.  And for a few more months the Tarot beast sleeps.

Then you stumble across a privately published deck.  The images absolutely blow you away.  Maybe itís a collage deck or perhaps itís a fabulous reinterpretation done by a talented artist.  Something about this deck touches a chord in your soul.  You must have this deck.  Then you look at the price and your heart stops.  You canít possibly spend that much money on a Tarot deck - itís ridiculous.  I mean really $25 or $35 you can justify, but $50 or $100 - absolutely not! Youíve got responsibilities Ė children, bills or repairs on the car.  Real life has gotten in the way of your Tarot collecting. 

But maybe, just maybe, if you save up a little bit at a time you can afford the deck.  After all itís a limited edition or a unique work of art.  Whatever the justification you use - something about this deck is calling to you and you know you must have it.  So you scrimp and stash dollars here and dollars there and finally you have saved up enough to purchase that deck of your dreams.  You hurriedly send out your order and wait for the deck to arrive.  On the day it is delivered you feel a sublime sense of satisfaction as you open the deck. For that moment your world is perfect.  With a deep sigh of contentment you hold you deck and your soul is complete.

Slowly, over time, your Tarot collection grows.  You begin seeking new decks to add to the collection and eagerly looking at the information about new deck releases.  And one day you realize the your Tarot collection has taken over a significant portion of your home.  You look back and realize that it was a slow progression.  First it was new decks that you bought for the artwork - whether you planned to read with the deck or not.  Then it was imported decks - from Italy, New Zealand or Germany.  Then it was independently published decks costing more than you anticipated. 

You see the milestones in terms of dollars - your first deck over $50, then your first deck over $100 and then your first deck over $150.  You may draw some limits - no Majors only decks or no black and white decks or no decks without an English little white book.  But deep in your heart you know that if the right deck comes along youíll break those boundaries too.  So take a deep sigh and repeat after me ďMy name is (blank) and Iím a TarotholicĒ

Donít worry, there are many of us out there.  Unfortunately we often end up enabling each other much more than helping each other overcome our addiction.  But hey, life is short and if thatís the worst addiction you have - well who are you hurting?  So enjoy the variety and beauty of the decks you own and eagerly await all those wonderful little beauties being released somewhere down the road.



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Tarot Reflections is a publication of the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2003
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