Where it all started

I got my first tarot decks in around 2009. I was living in Toronto at the time, and I remember that I got them from The World’s Biggest Bookstore, which was a pretty big bookstore, unsurprisingly. I don’t remember which deck I got first, or even whether I got them at the same time or not, but I do remember the process of choosing which deck to get.

I can’t remember why I decided to get a tarot deck in the first place, but I had been interested in paganism and wicca at the time and was reading all about those online, so I suppose I must have become interested in tarot along with that. Once I had decided to get a deck, I came across Aeclectic Tarot and quickly realised that there was a huge number of decks to choose from.

I did some more reading and research online, and decided that I should get a deck that I really liked, and also a Rider Waite deck because it seemed to be the one that all the books were talking about, so I thought it would be helpful to learn the card meanings and symbolism. I really didn’t like the look of the Rider Waite though, which seems like a strange thing to say because it’s come to be one of my favourite decks. I looked at a bunch of images of different cards from different versions of the Rider Waite, and eventually settled on the Radiant Rider-Waite which is more colourful I thought was less ugly.

The other deck I chose was purely based on the pretty pictures I found online. I looked through a lot of the categories on Aeclectic, anything that sounded reasonably interesting, and checked out the card images for any deck that I thought I might like. I settled on the Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti.

My first two decks #gildedtarot #ciromarchetti #radiantriderwaite

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Around the same time, I also picked up Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, which I think I also discovered through Aeclectic Tarot, on the forums.

Possibly because Aeclectic was my introduction to the world of tarot decks, I had my eye on a few more decks right from the beginning. Over the next five years I added the next six decks to my collection (Osho Zen, Thoth, Alchemy 1977, Tarot Nova, Quest Tarot and a Harry Potter tarot) and gradually became more and more interested in tarot and different deck styles.

In November 2015, I bought my first Lenormand deck to see what it was like, another Ciro Marchetti deck, the Gilded Lenormand, and I started buying tarot decks more often. In 2016 I got 72 more decks, including more cartomancy style decks as well as a lot of tarot. My other half may be pleased to know that so far this year I’ve only added 44 decks to my collection. He might not though, he thinks I already have way too many :-/.

What do I collect?

If you’ve had a look at my tarot collection you may have noticed that not all of the decks I own are in fact tarot decks. I have some lenormand decks and a few other types as well. Something I often say though is that I’m not a fan of oracle decks. So what exactly do I collect and how do I make the distinction between things I’m interested in and things I’m not?

For starters, I collect tarot decks. That much should be pretty obvious! I collect historic decks, pretty decks, mass produced, independently published, serious and silly. My interest started with tarot, and it’s still the type of deck I’m most interested in.

I first started to be interested in non-tarot decks when I began learning about the history of tarot and cartomancy in general. Tarot was originally a game, not a divination system, and although cards have been used for divination since before tarot came into existence, other decks were preferred for this purpose. I started to include decks designed for divination that weren’t tarot in my collection.

I’m still not a fan of oracle decks, although they are clearly designed to be used for divination as well, so I had to think about what it is that I don’t like about them that doesn’t apply to the other decks. The distinction I made is that the decks I do collect have a particular system to them, they’re of a particular pattern, like tarot. They each contain a particular set of cards which is common to all decks of that type. There are rules. Oracle decks, on the other hand, don’t follow any system, each deck has its own unique set of cards, and there are no rules to follow.

So my collection includes tarot, minchiate, lenormand, sibilla, zigeuner and playing cards, as well as a few historical decks that don’t really fit into a system but that I feel are relevant to the development of tarot or other divination systems. It also includes regional decks, those that are of a style typical of a particular place, even though they’re not related to divination, because I’m interested in how decks changed through time.

I buy both new and used decks. Some decks are readily available new and some aren’t. Some decks are out of print, so getting a used copy is necessary. Sometimes I get a used deck because it’s cheaper than a new copy. As long as the deck is in good condition, it doesn’t bother me.