I’ve backed off on collecting Tarot decks after getting a couple of real stunners that I fell in love with, but (you knew there was a ‘but’) as a fan of Nathalie Hertz’s art after getting her Vampire Tarot I found a really cheap copy of the Fantastical Tarot on EBay. Bidding started at $.99, so why not? Well, of course it couldn’t be that simple. I ended up paying just over $10 for it after a couple competing bids came through which is still a good price. The deck arrived in the mail today, and of course first thing I do with a new purchase from Ebay is take it out to make sure all the cards are there. Imagine my surprise when I saw not one, but two LWB’s (little white books, the small, typically useless instruction books that come with each deck) in the box. I also saw right off that the cards didn’t really fit, they were much too narrow for the box. One of the LWBs was in fact for the Fantastical Tarot, but the other one was for the Ibis Tarot, an Egyptian-themed deck. Oh no, I thought, the seller accidentally stuffed both books in the box. The box is for the Fantastical Tarot, but a quick look at the cards and I realized I had an Ibis Tarot deck in my hands.
Despair! Disappointment. Phooey. I’ve never had much interest in Egyptian-themed decks, or Egypt in general really. I’m not one of those people who’s all gaga over ancient Egypt and Egyptian gods and whatnot. So I contacted the seller and explained the situation, offered to send it back, thinking there had been some kind of mix-up and somewhere someone was getting the Fantastical deck but expecting the Ibis deck. (Now that I think about it, though, the Fantastical cards would never fit in the Ibis box, the Ibis deck is much narrower.) It wasn’t long before I had an apologetic e-mail from the seller who told me not to bother even sending the deck back, and fully refunded my money. Apparently it was acquired at an estate sale, and never really looked at. She assumed all was well and just sent it out. In essence, it’s a freebie.
And, as has often been the case with these things with me, the more I’m looking at this unexpected arrival, the more it is drawing me in. I always think I know what I’m getting when I decide I like a deck, and never would have purchased this deck knowingly. Frankly the whole Egyptomania thing escapes me. But (another ‘but’), I am finding the art vibrant and appealing, and there’s a great deal of symbolism on the cards.
The minors are essentially pips, but as you can see on the Eight of Pentacles they’re more than just the suit symbols. The Eight of Pents, and the Eight of Cups both trace out the Cube of Space. The Fool has been renamed “The Crocodile” and renumbered from Zero to Twenty-Two. Justice here is Trump 8 and Strength is Trump 11, following Crowley and the Golden Dawn system, rather than Marseilles. So, to my own surprise, this turns out to be an intriguing deck, which begs closer study.
I just hate it when the Cosmos knows better than I do what I like. Oh well, thanks for the present!