What Your Favorite Tarot Deck Says About You

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:

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Rider-Waite

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…

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Universal Waite

“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.

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Thoth

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.

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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.

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Wild Unknown

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.

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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.

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Morgan-Greer

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.

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Crystal Visions

“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.

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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.

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8 thoughts on “What Your Favorite Tarot Deck Says About You

  1. I was smiling at the RWS section, grinning once I got to the Universal Waite, and then had to start laughing at the very beginning of the Thoth.

    The casual appropriation stereotype is particularly funny.

    Now I’m finding myself glancing over at my shelf of decks and thinking what stereotypes they might represent.

    Like

    1. Jokes about culturally appropriative Tarot readers are a low-hanging fruit, but I’ll be damned if they’re not still funny. I’m so glad you liked the post. Be sure to let me know which stereotypes I’ve missed!

      Like

  2. Thank you for this. It made me laugh so much.
    I don’t have any of these decks, so let’s see what that means: I’m the stereotypical special snowflake Tarot reader who’s so isolated from the community that they buy weird decks like they’re collecting artwork and not based on traditions/etc. at all. (So Tarot-illiterate that I can’t possibly even understand the subtle nuances of finding the five of pentacles next to the three of swords in a reading. For shame!) And to top it off, I’ve committed the ultimate sin by telling people that it’s not scientifically valid and more related to having spiritual experiences. (Get outta here with that attitude—don’t you know my quantum pseudo-science focused intention mumbo jumbo and this one paper by this one author in the nineties proves that this particular set of data backs it up?)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 😂😂😂
    I think you forgot about the Rider Waite Quick & Easy Tarot purchased by housewives in their late 40’s – mid 50’s who “don’t believe in tarot” because their wine circle would never approve. They are often hiding in their closet while trying to figure out if the Celtic Cross spread is demonic. Questions usually stem around relationships, and why their kids still don’t talk to them.

    Like

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