The single most popular post I’ve ever written on this blog was, far and away, my one attempt at Tarot-based humor. So let’s give it another shot. Below is a satirical list describing what your favorite Tarot deck says about you.
Before we proceed any further, remember, this is humor. It’s not serious, and it’s meant to be funny. I read with most (though not all) of these decks, and even the ones I don’t own I would love to have in my collection. Please, please, please don’t be offended by my deliberate exaggeration of stereotypes in the Tarot community. I promise, I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, without further ado:
Oh, gosh. You’re new to this Tarot thing, aren’t you? You were terribly nervous about getting a Tarot deck, because all the books (well, you’ve only read one book, but you assume they all say the same thing) told you your first deck had to be a gift. You keep your cards wrapped in yellow silk because the clerk at Barnes & Noble told you that would help you connect to their energy. You’re scrupulous about positioning the cards in the Celtic Cross, although you’re not sure why they’re arranged that way. Now if only you could figure out what on earth “LWB” stands for…
“You guys, the RWS totally isn’t just a beginner’s deck!” you protest. No one listens to you. You’ve been reading Tarot for more than thirty years. You’re giving a biographical talk on Pamela Coleman-Smith at the next Bay Area Tarot Symposium. Everyone tells you to be quiet and go home. You’re clearly a newbie if you use an RWS clone, and this conversation is for big-girl Tarot readers, okay? Why don’t you come back once you’ve read 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card or 78 Degrees of Wisdom? Tears stream down your face. You hang your head in shame and shuffle towards the door.
Let’s face it, you’re almost certainly a dude. You think women have no business in something as serious as Tarot. There’s a stick up your butt, which was placed there during your Minerval initiation to the OTO, although of course you’re not allowed to talk about that with outsiders. Anyone who hasn’t read the collected works of the almighty and infallible Aleister Crowley at least three times over is not a real Tarot reader. Anyone who doesn’t practice ceremonial magick is not a real Tarot reader. Anyone who hasn’t pathworked the Tree of Life on a Malaysian beach in the nude while singing Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde backwards is not a real Tarot reader. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Tarot de Marseille
You’re continental chic, and probably a Roman Catholic to boot. In college, you did a semester-long study abroad in Italy, and it totally helped you reconnect to your roots. You don’t read with reversals, and you think anyone who does is silly and is obviously new to Tarot. In your spare time, you knit and read Lenormand, although you’re unlikely to have more diverse divinatory interests like pendulums, scrying, or (God forbid) runes. You can be spotted at the monthly psychic fair, wearing a comfortable skirt and home-knitted shawl; you’ll be the only one there who isn’t calling herself “Madam” so-and-so or “Lady” who’s-her-face. You have at least two cats.
You’re young and fresh on the Tarot scene. You have an edgy haircut and a tattoo depicting a flock of birds circling your left wrist. There are other tattoos, too: one on your shoulder, one on your calf. Maybe even a sleeve running all the way down your right arm. If you don’t have the sleeve yet, you’re at least considering it. Your Facebook page for your professional readings is an alias with an animal name, something like Raven or Lupa. You wear flannel and ripped jeans when you meet with your clients, and you insist on smoking a cigarette and drinking a cup of coffee every time you read. The coffee is dark and bitter, just like you.
Tarot of Vampyres
You’re, like, super dark. You just turned sixteen, and when you got your driver’s license, you went over to your friend Karen’s house and dyed your hair black without your mom’s permission. She, like, totally freaked, but whatever. She doesn’t understand anything. You started reading Tarot just to piss her off, because you knew she would think it was Satanic. You love poetry and read a lot of Keats, because he totally gets you, you know? Aside from Tarot, your main interests are radical anti-capitalism, being sad, and the “Paranormal Teen Romance” section at your local indie bookstore.
You’re the most mellow Tarot reader on the market. You really don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Sure, you’re on the Aeclectic forum, but you can’t comprehend why there’s so much petty infighting among Tarot readers on the Internet. You’ve been around since the sixties, and when you attend conventions and meetups you’re the jaundiced hippie in the corner who quietly ducks out once people start screaming at each other. You have a magnificent moustache like the one sported by the Magician in your deck of choice, and a medical marijuana prescription for… Hm. You can’t seem to remember what it’s for.
“I’m an eclectic hereditary neo-Kemetic grey elemental sea witch with voodoo gypsy ancestral roots. I’ve been reading Tarot for five months and I’m already an expert,” you say to the actual Vodou practitioner sitting across the table from you. She’s unimpressed. You don’t notice. You explain that you read Tarot by using your powerful inborn psychic abilities (passed on by your voodoo gypsy grandmother) to channel Baron Samedi, who is actually the same as the Egyptian goddess Hathor. She’s your matron. The other woman leaves the table in disgust, but you just shrug your shoulders and begin your daily chakra cleanse.
Angel Tarot Cards (Doreen Virtue)
Everyone hates you. You don’t understand why everyone hates you. Have you done something to offend them? Have you accidentally disinterred someone’s beloved great-grandmother? Everyone was being really nice, and then you mentioned you use this deck and suddenly they all turned on you. They’re chasing you right now with pitchforks and torches, screaming, “We don’t want your kind here!” You just picked the deck because you liked the artwork, and because of the helpful phrases at the bottom of each card. You didn’t want to upset anyone. Oh, God, they’re catching up to you. Run. Run for your life.