In Is the Greenwood Tarot Worth It? (Part 1), I started writing about whether the Greenwood Tarot deck, by Chesca Potter and Mark Ryan, is worth the effort and expense to obtain. This was continued in Is the Greenwood Tarot Worth It? (Part 2), where I looked into worth in three contexts. Now that we’ve reached the third post in this series, it’s time to bring it home and come to some conclusions!

Context and Worth

When I examined context for “worth it,” I suggested three contexts for this deck’s use that may be summarized as collectible, study or working (readings). Any of these contexts are valid, but I felt that having a working deck is the riskiest, because it subjects the cards to wear-and-tear — maybe literally! They are so expensive and in limited quantity that use is a risky proposition.

So, is the Greenwood Tarot worth it? Like so many things, it depends.

ROI and a Thought Experiment

Worth depends on your use case, and your finances. It’s like any investment: what’s the ROI (return on investment)? This isn’t necessarily a financial return, but the value you get in return for the value you put out. Let’s try a thought experiment based on buying a Greenwood Tarot deck.

It’s exceedingly rare that you’ll find a Greenwood for under $200USD, I think, and even then you have to be looking outside of eBay or amazon.com. So let’s imagine you were able to buy a copy for $200. Will you keep it tucked away in its box, and only view it on special occasions? Do you enjoy knowing you own the Greenwood, and are able to admire the artwork when it suits you? Then you’re probably set for life and can bask in the glow of owning a Greenwood Tarot.

Are you going to study it? Perhaps lay out the cards in the wheel of life format, or journal comparisons of individual cards to other decks you own? And you’ll never take it out of the house? Then maybe $200 was okay, since you’re very careful and aren’t handling the cards heavily. Plus, within a few months you can wrap up your studies and move onto something else.

Suppose you want to read with the Greenwood. After spending $200, are you going to only read for yourself at home? Will you be reading for self or others in public settings? Will your cards be exposed to coffee spills or handled by other people? If these things aren’t a concern, then you can enjoy your deck but know that you might not find or afford another copy if you lose yours.

Is your ROI on buying the Greenwood going to be worth it? For $200, do you feel that you’ll have enriched your tarot experience or that your readings offer a new level of precision or accuracy, or simple pleasure in the process? Or maybe you’re a professional and Greenwood readings bring in more business. These are cases where you might feel your ROI has been met.

The above scenarios were imagined with a “cheap” Greenwood. Now go back and imagine that you spent $300. Or $400. At what point does it feel uncomfortable? Don’t forget that the deck isn’t easily replaced, and if you become dependent on it then replacement is a real problem. How much is it “worth it” to you?

An Alternate Option

For those who can’t afford a Greenwood, or who have one but want a replaceable copy, there is an alternate solution: print your own. The artist has made the images available for personal use via Voices Within the Cards. After two almost-accidents with my own deck, I had a copy professionally printed for myself, which arrived as I drafted the first post of this series. I took the images and formatted them into cards, adding titles in a font of my choice. As a bonus, I processed the images that looked faded to improve color and contrast. The new cards are smaller, and scrutinized up close this means some details are lacking. However, only someone comparing to the originals would notice.

Here are some pictures comparing the original and my personal deck. The smaller deck is my printed copy. Click for larger images.

Although many of the new cards above look worse in these photos, they are sharper in person. Most of the above minors with dark backgrounds were cards that I processed to counter the faded artwork.

Okay. But do I Think the Greenwood is Worth It?

That’s probably what you’re asking me. And I still don’t have a definitive answer. If it was a mass-market deck or indie deck, then yes it would be worth it. The fact that the Greenwood Tarot is a highly priced, out-of-print deck is impossible for me to ignore, though. This experience has brought home the advice to use an inexpensive deck that can be readily replaced when worn out!

I lovingly and painstakingly processed every single image to create my own printed version as a test “workaday” deck that was relatively inexpensive. The smaller size is nice to handle, but the smaller images feel odd. My initial impression is that I prefer the original deck’s size.

I didn’t expect to find the Greenwood so appealing. I first bought one in 2015 after my oldest cat died, and didn’t like it much. (In retrospect it was really faded. Plus that turned into a bad eBay experience.) Imagine my surprise to feel so drawn to the deck now! Unfortunately, I find it challenging to detach from knowing the deck can’t be readily replaced if damaged or worn out. I also find that processing the images to print my own becomes a project in itself that takes me away from the deck after investing my creativity into improving the image quality.

For now, I find the Greenwood Tarot worth owning. I got mine for a fair price, and owning it makes me happy. I find it very readable, but mostly, I know that I’d miss it if I sold it. That last feeling answers the question for me.

Do you have a Greenwood? Do you want one, or do you wonder what the fuss is about? Let me know in the comments!

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