Discover more from Erica Drayton Writes
My Tarot Deck Collection
And Why I Collect Them
EDIT: 3 New Decks added as of 5/23/23
It’s likely not common knowledge as I never really talk about it, but my mother dabbled in witchcraft when she was younger. I inherited many of her books from that time and keep them locked away as it’s a time in her life I don’t want to forget. And although she stopped practicing she never stopped reading tarot cards. I can still remember as a pre-teen hearing her do readings for friends and family and total strangers. The sound of the cards being loosely shuffled in her hands. The way her extremely long nails sounded as they dropped the cards on the table and shuffled them even more before asking the person opposite her at the table to make their selection.
What made those memories even more real for me was getting to look at the cards when my mother wasn’t around. She kept them (as I do to this day) wrapped in a black cloth, usually tucked away in her purse. I would sneak in there and just examine the illustrations on the cards. I’d always tell myself that one day I would use those cards, but not how she did. I wanted to tell a story with them. Delve deeper in the hanged man and why he chose to hang upside down. Or did he? There was so much story to be told from the very classic Rider-Waite tarot deck. The most widely known and recognized. But when I discovered, much later on in life, that tarot decks were being made to depict different things in hundreds of different ways with new interpretations, my wallet quickly drained! I wanted them all. Alas, I can’t afford them all but I have dropped a coin or two on a few choice decks. The main place I look for new and unique decks these days is Kickstarter. And now that my predominant purchase there is tarot decks, that’s all I’m shown when I visit the app. To save my wallet I try to stay away as much as possible.
Here are the decks I own, in no particular order. As some of these are Kickstarters they may have been accompanied by more than just the deck and the small guide book. I’ll be sure to share the other bits alongside and a link to where you can purchase the deck yourself, if you want and if it’s available to purchase after the Kickstarter has ended.
NOTE: There is one deck not listed here and that is the deck I inherited from my mother. The one she used for most of her adult life. It is a deck I hold near and dear and would not dream of ever photographing for this list.
*Ignore the mess that is my desk. I did not realize till after I took the pictures just how microscopically messy my desk mat actually is!*
A Jane Austen Tarot Deck - $18.99
An Amazon purchase. Just be aware this isn’t the traditional Tarot Deck of 78 cards. This is actually a deck of playing cards (diamonds, spades, hearts, and clubs) with just one Joker card. So it’s 53 cards. It comes with a small guidebook as most decks do. Also, the cards are more square-ish in shape than the more traditional size for tarot decks.
A closer inspection of the deck doesn’t show much by way of inspiration (for me) and I’m not sure if they would be worth using for future writing projects but you never know. I may just find a way.
A deck that looks like it was made by the same manufacturer who did the Jane Austen deck, they are in a box that opens like a keepsake box. The cards are also the same not quite square but not quite tarot shaped, making them not so easy to hold.
The deck was difficult to divide as there are just the “literary witches” and then their “magical materials.” What I will say is that unlike the Jane Austen deck, this one gives me many ideas already. I won’t say too much except that I will be using this deck for future writing inspiration. Also this deck is based on the book, Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers.
Edgar Allan Poe Tarot - $31.99
This deck is crazy good. Like, seriously! I’m still blown away by this deck and glad I was able to get my hands on it. I will without a doubt use this deck for a future writing exercise as it will get me to read more Poe short fiction. Something I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. The illustrations and the box artwork. All of it is quite exceptional. I wouldn’t be surprised if it started out as a Kickstarter as the level of quality is that good.
The companion book is almost 300 pages and full color! Just that alone made this deck more than worth it. But to be accompanied by some really stellar card illustrations as well. I chose to show the Ace cards as I didn’t want to give away too much of what is illustrated on each card. More on that when I use them for my writing in the future!
Hocus Pocus Tarot Deck - $17
Purchased through Amazon one day while I was searching for random Hocus Pocus stuff. I came across a bunch of other “Disney themed” tarot cards that I might want to get in the future but for now I do love the illustrations in these cards.
As you can see, what makes them unique, besides the illustrations that pertain to the movie, is the minor arcana changes. There are Potions, Pumpkins, Candles, and Lightning.
Tarot Emblemata - $60
Kickstarter Description: A magical & mystical deck of 88 metallic-gold Tarot Emblems & a Guidebook creatively interpreting Tarot archetypes & symbolism. Includes 10 Oracle cards.
This was a Kickstarter purchase from a few years back. I may have gotten the basic tier with my purchase because I was a bit disappointed with how dull the color gold is on the black cards. That may have been a fault of my own. This deck was expensive either way and not a regret purchase just an unfortunate one as I think if the cards had a glossy finish they would pop way more than they do.
Taking a closer look at the cards themselves, they are the same minor arcana as the classics except they add archetypes and symbolism into each card.
Modern Witch Tarot - $21.99
The website art does this amazing deck way more justice than my rudimentary pictures I took on my iPhone, check them out there. The creator also has a coloring book, poster, journal, and puzzle for Modern Witch if you’re so inclined. What I love about this deck (purchased via Amazon) is that every card is female centric. Even the Kings are women dressed in mens clothing. Really it’s all just so cool. The cards are amazing quality as well and I love the box and the little hardcover book that comes with it. Well worth the purchase.
The minor arcana are just as the original Rider-Waite cards are, with the added twist I mentioned and I think that’s what makes them even that much more worth having in any collection.
Book of Shadows - $77
Another Kickstarter deck, this one caught my eye because it involves elements of storytelling. The book that comes with it, written by Andre Aste, is called An Alchemist’s Story and it’s just so amazing. I read some of it and I just love the illustrations, the attention to detail and especially the way the cards are incorporated.
What I was surprised about was the lack of a guide book. I wouldn’t consider the book that accompanies the deck to be a guidebook for the cards. I checked and it does not come with a guide. So, if you’re not familiar with tarot and are looking for a guide you might want to make sure you have one separately. Also, it’s similar to the Rider-Waite version with the except of using coins instead of pentacles. Same difference if you ask me.
The Chromatic Fates - $55
Unfortunately, from what I can find, this deck is not available for purchase anywhere. They had a preorder for them early last year and it seems that has ended. I do hope they do a second run of the same deck or perhaps a new deck with either new illustrators or the same with a new theme. I was told about this deck from a fellow Twitch streamer (Stevieraedrawn) who is one of the many illustrators in this set. I jumped at the chance to get it when I heard about it and I’m so glad I did. This deck is probably my favorite, even beating out the next deck I’m going to talk about, just because of the design and the feel of the cards in hand. From the box art to the individual decks themselves, I feel sorry for anyone who missed out on getting their hands on this deck.
Again, the minor arcana are the same as the original but the artwork could not be more different! I mean just look at all of those Ace cards! Fire!
The Literary Tarot - $80
Okay, I won’t go into a rant about this deck too much here as that’s not what this is about. Let’s just say it was a Kickstarter by a non-profit (Brink Literacy) who do great work within the prison system and with children, teaching them to love reading and writing. However, this Kickstarter was a labor of love as it was funded close to $800k (I’ll get into the why) in June 2020 and it took till May 15th, 2023 to finally get my hands on it. This is the longest, my a mile, that I’ve ever waited for a Kickstarter. It was worth the wait. I can’t share a preorder link as, due to the issues I won’t go into, they are constantly taking down and putting up the preorder link for those who missed the Kickstarter. Either way, if you do preorder it will take a while. So be patient!
The idea behind this Kickstarter was what hooked me straight away. Living authors, many (if not all), of well known status in the many genres of the community, came together and each took one tarot card that they then paired with a classic work of literature. I believe the only rule for what book was paired with the card is that it has to be a book in the public domain. The reason being so anyone who got the deck and were interested in reading the book pairing could easily and freely do so. Clever.
Many things came in the box. The big book was an add-on for an amount I can’t remember. Let’s say $25? The box next to it is gorgeous. Then there was a pin and the two postcards (yes, I’m keeping them in the plastic). There is also a small guide book in the box along with the deck. Oh, and I got a booster pack of 6 additional cards that can be swapped out as they have different depictions on them.
Can you guess the classic book pairing above? I’ll tell you The Fool card as that one should be obvious: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. The living author who chose that pairing is none other than Patrick Rothfuss!
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
If you’re interested in seeing all of The Literary Tarot cards, who chose them and what the books are depicted on each, make sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter (tell your friends) because starting June 1st, 2023 I will be writing a 100 Word Story for each card (using them as inspiration), but I will also accompany my story with a little backstory of the book pairing as well as the author who brought the card and the classic book together! It will be a bit of history, a bit of tarot, and a short story all wrapped up in one!
I will update this post with a convenient link to this Tarot Series of stories when it begins if you find this late but still want to take a peek.
What tarot decks do you have in your collection?