Different Decks, Different Voices

I take all Querents regardless of religious, spiritual, or esoteric beliefs. Often my Querents have an entirely different worldview than I do, and that’s okay. It is not my place to teach or correct. As a cartomancer, it is my place to inform and reveal. And to do that properly, I must fit my answer to the Querent’s worldview. Having different tarot decks helps me do just that, as each one reads with a unique “voice”.

The six tarot decks that I use for cartomancy each have a different niche to read for. While I first started using Waite’s meanings for the Universal Waite, over the years, my personal set of meanings have drifted away from his teachings into an amalgam of his meanings adjusted by the application of my experiences and observances as a cartomancer. As such the Universal Waite and the Dollar Tree Tarot are now my “universal decks” and are used in an all-purpose, “one size fits most” sort of way.

The Thoth Tarot, birthed from the collaborative effort of that evil man Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris is very much an esoteric and occult deck. As is fitting for it being the introduction to, and summary of Thelema. I have found that while it can be used for “everyday” sort of questions, it is used best for the introspective and internal work on the person and for those external matters where the Querent is not afraid to get “dirty” with having to apply themselves to the work necessary to achieve the desired outcome. This deck is not friendly to the usual questions of love (or lust). However if the Querent seeks spiritual, religious, or esoteric advice, the Thoth will answer directly and with an extensive answer.

The Legacy of the Divine uses a set of meanings by Leisa ReFalo that harmonizes Waite’s and Crowley’s divergent meanings and systems. In the process, the heavy handed esoterica of Crowley’s system is relaxed while the strict boundaries of Waite’s system is expanded. The result is a deck that reads well for personal, interpersonal, and spiritual work, but is not well suited to religious or divine matters. It is friendly to questions about love, but will not be comfortable to those wishing to deflect blame.

The Bosch Tarot assigns a keyword with a one sentence story to each card. Some card meanings are unsurprising to those acquainted with Waite or Crowley. Many card meanings are unexpected and challenge those that have never seen Atanassov’s meanings for the Bosch Tarot. I had surmised that the Bosch would be good only for personal and internal work because of the paucity of card explanations. I have found that the Bosch reads very well with religious and spiritual matters as well as internal and interpersonal work. It is useless for esoteric work by itself, but as an aid for other matters, it works much like a Greek chorus. It tends to answer questions about external love with frustrating riddles.

The Fey Tarot’s meanings is based on Waite’s system, but is even further removed from anything esoteric. The soft imagery makes it a safe deck to use with complete strangers, or with anyone that approaches the table with fear. However the meanings are sharp in the way your favorite aunt is soft-spoken yet vicious. There are a few cards that carry unwelcome misogyny, but it is trivial to correct them to better answer the query without insult. It is very well suited to answer questions about internal work, love, and spirituality. It stumbles over religious questions and is useless for esoterica.

The Sweeney Tarot’s meanings is also based on Waite’s system, but is adjusted to meet “everyday” situations. There is no esoterica to be had in this deck, and any spiritual answers are constrained to that which the Querent needs to consider for themselves. That does not make this a useless deck! This is my first choice of decks for queries that ask about the rent, office politics, university choices, lust, and self-care. It is a very down to earth deck that does not try to answer All Life’s Questions or pass on messages from one’s divinities.

Sometimes I read for Querents that have a very different worldview and set of religious beliefs than I do. I am just a courier running messages to them, translating what I see in the cards into words the Querents can understand. What the Querents do with that information is between them and what they believe to be the source of that information.

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