On cutting back

I feel sort of bad talking about this here, especially seeing as one of the decks I recently got rid of was one I spent a bit of time with here, BUT: I’ve been having a bit of a tarot clear-out lately. It started after the frenzied trading of a Trade Train (have I spoken of this before?) where many decks were swapped and acquired. I started to look at my collection. It was starting to feel a bit unwieldy. A bit wobbly.

I decided to take the plunge and sell off those decks that I either wasn’t using, wasn’t sure about, or couldn’t imagine using particularly well. Some of them are well-loved decks by a large number of people in the “tarot community”, but we just did not click one bit, including:

  • Alchemal Tarot: renewed
  • Touchstone
  • Mary-El
  • Rabbit (2nd edition)
  • Hermetic Tarot
  • Rohrig
  • Buddha (Place)
  • Jane Austen
  • Dante Tarot
  • Dreaming Way
  • Wisdom of the Four Winds Oracle

And in a way I feel like I’m only getting started.

I feel like doing the ‘One Deck Wonder’ thing has set me along this path. Sticking with just one deck for a few months has made me a lot more critical about the decks I want to use, and also my buying habits! It’s so easy to be tempted by every pretty “face” that comes along (I’m thinking of you, Dreaming Way). But all too often those pretty faces don’t have a great deal of substance behind them. I know I dutifully recorded my weekly use of DW (and I am honestly not meaning to pick on just one deck; the DW is whimsical, pretty, with gorgeous card stock, and backs), but when I think of picking it back up again I just feel no desire at all. Strange?

The Alchemal is another one that many people love and I feel quite cold about. I love Place’s Vampire tarot, but the Buddha and Alchemal don’t do anything for me. After really, really trying with these I set myself a new tarot rule: I’m not going to use a deck that I have to learn a new system for. I’m comfortable with the symbolism, archetypes, numbering, etc. of tarot. I don’t feel as comfortable when there’s a layer of alchemy or religion on top of that. (As for alchemy, what the hell? I mean, alchemy is fascinating, in that it was instrumental in the development of chemistry as a science, but I find it incredibly hard to take something like that seriously.)

The Dante was another. I’m a bookworm, and so have been drawn to literary decks in the past (cue the Jane Austen). But invariably these do not translate well to tarot (the Place Vampire excepting). Again, just too many layers. Usually I like layers. Art with depth. But I guess my tastes in tarot do tend toward the simplistic. I’m ok with that.

Anyway, whew. I feel like I had to get that off my chest a bit. My collection is down to forty-two, now, but I still feel uncomfortable with that number. I’d love to have five decks, but I don’t think that’s quite possible yet. Oh wait – forty-one. I gave my copy of The Secret Life of Birds Tarot to my sister while she was here last week. Maybe I could do thirty…

3 thoughts on “On cutting back

  1. I have been meaning to ask you… what about the Dreaming Way did not click for you? I know you say not a lot of substance but since my quest for pictures of it drew me to your blog I am curious. It is on my to buy list and I haven’t fondled it in person. Like you I fall for the pretty faces {tho my collection is very small relatively speaking}

    • I think there were just too many things that would pop up and bug me – for example the wheel of fortune girl making a complete mess of her spinning wheel! As a spinner I cringed every time I saw it, hehe. I guess it’s not so much that there was anything really terribly wrong with the deck, but that I was trying to get my collection down to something more manageable, and there were other decks I wanted to keep more…

  2. This is Jess from the future (2019). Just wanted to say I wound up getting the Dreaming Way again, and I’m so glad I did. Just goes to show how our moods and interests can fluctuate really wildly and certain decks may resonate at different times!

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