A New Arrival


Many many moons ago, when I was a young whippersnapper, my eldest sister gave me a deck of Tarot cards, specifically the Swiss 1JJ deck. Little did she know it would be the catalyst of a life-long obsession with the Tarot. I still have that deck, in the original box. It traveled around the world with me while I was in the Navy, and I recall reading for friends with it in our rooms in the barracks at various bases. Incredibly it is still in virtually pristine condition. The box itself is just a teensy bit dinged up, but that’s not too bad, all things considered.

My next deck I purchased myself: The venerable Rider-Waite, aka Waite-Smith. It too is still in its original tuck box, although the top flap has left us. But the cards themselves are still like new. Since those days, I have collected both books and decks. Then, as now, I only acquired decks because I loved them. I liked the different themes and artistic takes on the those same 22, or 78 cards. I never gave a thought to anything becoming ‘collectible,’ I just acquired what I liked, or what was given to me.  The only urgency I felt to buy something was if I became concerned that a deck I liked was going out of print, and I would be unable to get it if I waited.

Fast forward to today. My collection now stands at fifty-four decks, fifty-five as of yesterday with the arrival of my first truly collectible, limited-edition art deck. I’m so excited about this one, I am now the proud owner of  :::drumroll please:::

The Goth Tarot, by Winny.  Here’s one of my favorite cards from the deck:

Click the image for a larger-than-life scan. Truly, the scans do not do it justice, the artwork and colors are lovely. This is a Majors-only deck, printed by Adam McClean who publishes a small assortment of art decks out of his shop in Glasgow. The cards are laminated with a glossy laminate, making them durable enough for every day use,  and resistant to coffee spills. I won’t go into his whole process here, as he details it nicely on his site if you’re interested. The deck is signed and numbered by the artist, and I have copy #12 of 100. All I can say is, it’s stunning. I can only hope someday Winny will do a full 78-card version of this deck, which I will also have to have.

I’ve also found out recently that several of the decks I own which were readily available for many years are now out of print, and going for some eye-popping prices on the secondary market. All my decks were mass-market, put out by one of the large publishers of Tarot cards: Llewellyn, U.S. Games, A.G. Mueller, Lo Scarabeo, Piatnik and so on. I’m still a little bit in shock at the values of some of these that I’m finding out there on the Web.  And there seems to be no end of gorgeous new decks coming out. Thankfully we seem to have gotten past a period that saw some pretty schlocky decks, designed around silly themes of mermaids, or baseball, in most cases poorly done. The market seems to be driving demand for higher quality decks these days, and the fact that people are willing to pay into the hundreds of dollars no doubt has something to do with it. I had no idea so many of them would be so sought after. When I was bitten by the Tarot bug, I didn’t even know there were people who collected Tarot decks, except of course Stuart Kaplan, who made me practically salivate at the range of his collection pictured in the Encyclopedias of Tarot, Volumes 1 – 4. Some of those would stop your heart.

Anyway, I think I will spend some time getting acquainted with the newest addition to the household.

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25 thoughts on “A New Arrival

  1. maryjblog says:

    What do you do first with a new deck, once you’ve admired the aesthetics: ask it a question? do a general reading for yourself? for somebody new?

    • I kind of let it hang around the house for a few days, and then I like to do the ‘card a day’ pulls, to get acquainted with it. I don’t usually read right away with a new deck. It takes me awhile to get the vibe (I know this all sounds very woo-woo and goofy, but it’s like going to a museum and looking at paintings of different artists’. You get a whole different sense from each one, don’t you? It can shift your mood and state of mind.) Once I feel like the deck is ‘settled in’ I’ll do a reading for myself with it. I also got the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night just a few weeks ago, and I’m still sort of in the process with that one as well.

      • maryjblog says:

        The whole thing’s a little woo-woo – it’s not hard science, after all -but that doesn’t make it goofy.

      • Heh, yeah, that’s true. I’m just not used to talking about it with anyone other than other Tarotists. Feels strange to explain this stuff to someone who is not similarly afflicted ;)

      • maryjblog says:

        I didn’t think you were flaky BEFORE I knew you were into Tarot; why should I feel any different now? Especially since the couple of times you’ve read for me were very accurate.

      • Not everyone is as broadminded as you, believe me! Just mentioning the word “Tarot” can have people running for their bibles, and looking at me like I was Satan incarnate.

      • maryjblog says:

        I’ve never understood the people who think that just because you believe in one thing, it means you are somehow violently opposed to another. The world’s just more complicated than that.

      • Unfortunately, for a lot of people that is true. It’s their way or the highway. It’s this incredibly black-n-white view of the world, that only one way can be RIGHT, but of course anyone you talk to thinks they have the One True Way(tm). This is what drove me away from organized religion.

  2. Hi Tasha,

    It’s a remarkable deck. After I got home last night and was looking through the deck again I wished I’d put up the Judgement card instead. It’s a whole new take on it. Maybe if I can get a good photo of it tonight I’ll add it to the post. My scanner is defunct at home, so I can either try to take a photo at home and upload it, or bring the deck in to work tomorrow and use the scanner here.

  3. maryjblog says:

    BTW, Gypsy, Didge, it’s a little off-topic, but I’ve posted this year’s Oscar ballot on my blog – drop by and start thinking of how you want to vote!

    • maryjblog says:

      Have you seen many of the movies yet? I’ve hardly seen any of ‘em so it’ll really be a crapshoot for me this year.

      • Haha, it’s always a crap shoot for me. I hardly ever go to the movies. I’m not sure I even went to the theater last year, I just base my choices on the buzz and reviews that I read online. It’s kind of fun that way, it’s more like taking the pulse of pop culture. I just guess at who I think did the most sucking up and where the collective mindset is at.

    • maryjblog says:

      I like the picks they run in the NY Times Arts & Leisure section, and Entertainment Weekly’s pre-Academy Awards issue, but take that for what it’s worth as I’ve only won an Oscar pool once in my life. Last year most of us made our picks based on headlines, buzz, word of mouth, and whatever sort of divination we could manage – it was a blast.

  4. Hi Winny!

    Thanks for coming by! I LOVE your deck, your art is just beautiful! Do you have a Web site? I was never able to find one. I would love to see more of your work. Are you ever planning to do a full 78-card deck?

  5. Winny says:

    Hi! Thank youuu! The reason you cant find my work is because i use Winnyfreis like name, not Winny, cause is very common.
    I have some works here:
    http://winnyfreis.deviantart.com/gallery/
    are not very good, but i have all my works there.
    Im actually working on my web site. Im not thinking to do 78 cards, cause i dont have time, and i prefer 22. Maybe one day, :)

  6. Thanks! I looked through your gallery, you have some wonderful art. I liked the “My December” series, and La Dama del lago. “La Bella mato la bestia” is beautiful, and macabre :) Do you sell the originals? You have an amazing range of styles.

    I can only imagine how much time a full 78-card deck would take. If you ever do get around to it, though, let me know! :)

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