I’ve slowed down considerably in buying new tarot and oracle decks over the last couple of years. It’s not that I don’t lust after the latest-and-greatest releases touted by people I trust on the cartomancy forums, it’s just that – short of superlative artwork or a magnificent companion book – there just isn’t much to entice me. I have beautiful art decks that I never use but don’t want to part with for aesthetic reasons; I certainly don’t need any more of those. I have a few RWS-based “workhorse” decks that I use for public readings (I don’t need any more of those either.) The smallest “working group” includes the esoteric decks I use for personal study and, although I have nearly a dozen such decks, I’m always looking to add to that population. It presently includes just two decks that are worth my time: the Thoth and the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus. My foothold in the Tarot de Marseille world is similarly tenuous; I have only three TdM decks and I’m still puzzling over how to read them. My stable of Lenormand decks is probably the closest to an ideal “fighting weight,” with a handful of worthy modern renderings by Ciro Marchetti, Robert Place and Edmund Zebrowski, backed up by a pair of traditional decks, the Piatnik and the Blue Owl (neither of which gets a lot of use since my sitters prefer the “flash” of the newer versions). Most oracle decks don’t appeal to me because they can be “all things to all people” and have no established core of accepted interpretation; only the Psycards have captured my imagination in the last year.
Next year looks much the same, but I have a few holes in my collection that I would like to fill. The Hermetic Tarot deserves a place among my esoteric decks, while I’ve also been eyeing the new Sola Busca release by Lo Scarabeo and the U.S. Games mass-market reissue of Yoav Ben-Dov’s CBD Tarot de Marseille. That’s about it for tarot decks. In the Lenormand area, I’m keen on getting one of Lauren Forestell’s masterful restorations, as well as the Wanderwust and possibly the Nordic Lenormand by Lynn Boyle. New decks by Anna K and Rana George are also high on my list. No other oracle decks interest me at the moment.
Among books, Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot calls to me, as does the recent Anthony Louis tarot compendium for Llewellyn. A couple of horary astrology books (by Derek Appleby and Anthony Louis) to supplement John Frawley’s excellent Horary Textbook will probably make it in the door as well. Volumes on occult number theory (not popular numerology) by Dusty Bunker and Faith Javane, Thomas Taylor and Neoplatonist philosopher Iamblichus are knocking at the threshold too. Heres’s one that already arrived for Christmas, a replacement for my tired old 1969 edition of The Book of Thoth, one of my most-used reference works, in cloth-bound hardcover no less. Although some people have complained that the color plates aren’t presented in the same order as the original, they’re all there. Brilliant timing by Weiser, and the end of an era for me. I may burn the old one ritually in the Midsummer bonfire.
It’s not a long list at all. I’ve decided to work mainly with the numerous decks and books I already have, many of which languish in storage. But there will always be the special new one that won’t be denied.