Isn’t it funny how our tastes can change over time? We start our card reading explorations drawn to certain types of decks. We may start with a Waite-Smith tarot, and find comfort in decks following that same pattern, or which are also illustrated such as the Robin Wood or Hanson-Roberts. After some time we may wake up and decide we prefer more realistic artwork. 

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Waite-Smith 8 of Pentacles

 Or we find the Marseilles pattern to be “dullsville,” and some years later enjoy sinking our teeth into this classic pip pattern and it’s suddenly “coolsville.” Our interest in occult tarot decks like the Golden Dawn and Thoth may wax; our interest in making associations to kabbalah, astrology or i-ching may wane.

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Thoth Tarot

The tarot audience was psychologically focused in the mainstream for some years, I think, coming out of the classic books in the 1970s. Now tastes have changed and predictive models and styles of reading cards are becoming acceptable again.

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Lo Scarabeo Tarot

People who thrive on classically structured tarot decks with a “give me 78 cards or get out!” attitude become enamored with freeform oracle cards that have no inherent structure. People even move between tarot, Lenormand, playing cards and the myriad other oracles that are readily available. (What would our card-reading ancestors think of the selection so readily available to today’s reader? It’s astounding how much choice there is now; even in the 60s it was hard to come by tarot decks, or so I understand.)

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Card Deck of the Sidhe

This post was prompted by some musing on my part due to some personal taste change. I recently found a copy of the out-of-print, large-sized Voyager Tarot available in the used bookstore. I recall seeing this deck in the 90s, and being aware of both the artwork and reading aesthetics in the 00s, and neither one appealed to me. Suddenly, grabbing this copy at the store, I find it an enchanting deck with its own merits, as well as being worth study for its system and the approach of creator James Wanless.

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Voyager – 6 of Wands / Trust

Why is it appealing to me now? One reason is that I’m interested in putting the tarot to work outside of prediction. For example, I like using the tarot to explore the present, whether that is via readings or via brainstorming. I’d like to try the tarot as a creative writing tool, and to assist with coming up with ideas for my job. (Which could then be followed up by readings, of course!) 

Activities beyond tarot readings don’t come naturally to me, being rather entrenched in my style after all these years. Having non-traditional decks helps me break my mold (or think that I can!). 

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ASS Bilder Lenormand

As a general rule, I favor decks that are illustrated, and that aren’t too busy. The more photorealistic the deck, the less likely it is to appeal to me. The more that is crammed into an image, the less I like it. I’m not a reader who relies on analyzing cards based on the symbols in an image, so I don’t need that visual clutter. The Voyager deck is very visually cluttered. Yet somehow I don’t mind it. Perhaps having some Photoshop knowledge, and appreciation for the effort needed to make a seamless collage, assists in my new appreciation. (Yes, I know Voyager predates the use of Photoshop.)

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Wildwood Tarot

The winery visit season is almost upon me. I’ve found people enjoy readings there. However, I’m there to enjoy myself as well, and doing lengthy private readings is draining and takes more of my time than I want to give. I have been thinking of ways to do group readings. The Voyager seems like it might offer some options there, and would be very non-threatening to everyone in a group, should there be some who are secretly uncomfortable with the tarot.

I’ve taken the opportunity now to also listen to some old podcasts where James Wanless does some Voyager readings; and I got a copy of his book that focuses on ways to use tarot for business. His ideas and his enthusiasm are very inspiring to me, and even if they aren’t new and fresh to everyone, some of them are new to me. I like finding those who inspire me, which encourages me to reach to new heights in my own practice, and brings out my own creativity in response.

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Mystical Lenormand – Key

Lastly, I have found that I enjoy comparing and contrasting different “systems” of reading. You can probably see that in the older posts on this blog, where I was really exploring the intricacies of Lenormand, the the variety of older cartomancy (playing card) methods. The Voyager makes some modifications to the tarot by treating the minors as reflections of the majors which numerically correspond. This isn’t totally unique; Sandor Conraad describes similar, and I believe Angeles Arrien influenced Mr. Wanless’s approach by way of the Thoth tarot. Yet it seems apparent to me that Wanless took these concepts and gave them his own spin, along with building up his own style of approaching the tarot. So it’s a chance to look through yet another card person’s creative thought process.

So there are many reasons are tastes can change. Here have been a few of mine, particularly in regards to suddenly appreciating the Voyager Tarot: technical appreciation, looking for new ways to use cards, the need for a broadly appealing deck, a chance to break down someone else’s creative process and enthusiasm from the creator. 

How have your tastes in cards changed? Were there any reasons that drastically differ from what I describe above? Let me know in the comments!

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