The Hit List - What I want tarot deck publishers to know

I did a live unboxing of a tarot deck a few weeks ago. These are great fun and a way to update my community on the latest decks. However, I couldn’t hide my disappointment as I thumbed through the cards. The art was decent, and so was the card stock. My issue was with the Minor Arcana.

Tarot decks are divided into two parts, which are called the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. Majors symbolize the spiritual side of life and the bigger picture, while Minors are associated with day-to-day life.

In the Rider Waite Smith tradition, all of the cards are richly illustrated, including the Minors. In Marseilles-style decks, only the Majors are, which means the Minors are simply images of Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.

The unboxed deck was Marseilles style. Now don’t assume I’m bashing Marseilles. I cut my baby tarot teeth on one. I still have a soft spot for it, and I adore some Marseilles decks (Robert Place’s Alchemical Tarot of Marseilles is my latest fave). But lately, there seems to be a rush to get decks out, which means shortcuts. One way to cut corners is to skip illustrating the Minors.

Tarot is more popular than ever. Big publishers have jumped on this and seem to be churning decks by the minute. Many of these have pop culture themes, which opens up the possibility of attracting consumers who are attracted to those topics. For example, you can find tarot cards based on Disney characters, television shows, and pop stars. If you’re a fan or collector of a particular thing, now you have a tarot deck to add to your memorabilia.

Perhaps these mass publishers assume the collectors won’t care if the Minors are not illustrated. Maybe they’re right. But for tarot readers and those who love the cards, it’s a bummer when every single deck by a big publisher is Marseilles style. Worse yet, they don’t tell you this upfront. If you look at the ads for these decks, they only reveal the Majors, so you might assume you’re getting a fully illustrated deck. This is a bit of bait and switch.

Part of me wonders if they don’t know the difference. The other, more cynical part thinks they are going this route because it’s easier, faster, and still a tarot deck. That’s lazy.

While the big publishers are filling the shelves with these decks, smaller publishers like Liminal 11 and Weiser are putting out ones with thoughtful details, gorgeous art, and special extras. Indie creators have raised the bar further with amazing card stock, gilded edges, and matching spread cloths. And did I mention most of the smaller outfits usually have fully illustrated Minors? (Check out the Silver Acorn Tarot by Stephanie Buscema.) Yep. They don’t skimp.

Tarot readers and lovers of the cards deserve better. We are visual folks, so we want beautiful decks. We don’t care if it costs a little more. Give us the showpieces, the readable decks, the ones that look amazing on social media, and the images our clients will “get” immediately. Hire artists and writers that understand the structure and symbolism of tarot as well as the pop culture thing (some of these decks seem “off,” like the writer or artist was a hired gun without the knowledge of either). At the very least, these publishers need to be upfront in their advertising so we know what’s in the box.

On my end, I won’t bother to unbox these sorts of decks any longer unless I know exactly what style I’m getting. I can’t fake enthusiasm (my face shows everything), and I never want to be in a position where I diss the artists because I don’t like being that person. Give me the visual feast, not crumbs, and I’ll gladly invite everyone over to celebrate.

By the way, if there is ever going to be a Succession or Sopranos deck, ahem. I’m your person.


Other stuff:

Here’s an Indie deck I LOVE: Tarot of Sacred Kingdoms. Let’s help the artist bring this deck to life! (Bigger tarot deck publishers: this is how it should be done.)

Learn about Monday’s New Moon in Cancer and check out the mini tarot readings with the cool 78 Tarot Magical deck.

Cosmo also has some info you might find useful: Your Horoscope for the New Moon in Cancer.

Sign up for Honoring Appetites with Anita Avalos and get your relationship with food on a better path.

Attention fellow authors: Goodreads Has No Incentive to be Good.

I love this from Mat Auryn: Björk Songs As Tarot Cards.

The Greatest Museum You’ve Never Heard Of.

The entertainment industry is going through some things.

From Royal Buckland: North Node Meaning in Astrology: Discover Your Destiny & Life Purpose Using Your Birth Chart.

There is a new political party.

I’m glad they finally arrested someone in this case: The Gilgo Beach Murder Suspect Was a Busy New York Architect.

Good: Over-the-Counter Birth Control Is Coming.

More good: Vice President Harris Announces New Rules to Lower Childcare Costs.

The Tampa Five: Students, Staffer Face Charges After Protests Against DeSantis Administration.

I love her: GloRilla Was Made for This Moment.

Oooh: Uncover the 4 Women That Helped Create the Legend of The Rolling Stones in Parachute Women.

I’m starting a new series on Tarot journaling.

Speaking of tarot journaling, check this out: The Weiser Tarot Journal: Guidance and Practice. It has stickers!!! Weiser are tarot deck publishers, so they know exactly what card lovers want. (I wrote the intro!)

Art is so necessary: Your Brain on Art: How the Arts Transform Us.

Moonology 2024 diary is coming soon.

This is so cool: Creative Wanderlust: Unlock Your Artistic Potential Through Mixed-Media Art Journaling Techniques.

Need: The Home Edit: Stay Organized: The Ultimate Guide to Making Systems Stick.

Want: Gatherings: Casual-Fancy Meals to Share.

This looks amazing: Safe Passage: Words to Help the Grieving Hold Fast and let Go.

I’m really excited for my next book. It’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart: The Cards You’re Dealt: How to Deal when Life Gets Real (A Tarot Guidebook).

Tarot and astrology can help you find your way, no matter what: Twist Your Fate: Manifest Success with Astrology and Tarot.

Children shouldn’t be glued to the screen 24/7. Give them other things to play with: Tarot For Kids. (This was Sounds True’s first foray as tarot deck publishers – and they knocked it out of the park.)

Once you understand tarot’s structure, your intuition can sing. Learn more: Tarot: No Questions Asked: Mastering the Art of Intuitive Reading.

Prefer to listen to your tarot lessons? Check this out: Tarot: No Questions Asked: Mastering the Art of Intuitive Reading is available as an audiobook.

Back in the day, astrology books were dry as hell. It made learning dull. That’s why I wrote this fun, accessible guide: Astrology for Real Life: A Workbook for Beginners (A No B.S. Guide for the Astro-Curious).

There is an audio version if you prefer: Astrology For Real Life.

Here’s a deck that you’ll love (complete with gilded edges): The Uncommon Tarot: A Contemporary Reimagining of an Ancient Oracle.

When I was trying to learn anatomy, I found coloring the body parts helped me to “get it.” If tarot seems difficult, you might want to try that too: The Tarot Coloring Book.

It’s been a rough ride out there lately. But you can find smooth sailing with Tarot For Troubled Times.

Need some summer fun? How about creating your own tarot deck: Create Your Own Tarot Cards: A step-by-step guide to designing a unique and personalized tarot deck. <-Cards are included!

I never make a business move without consulting the stars. Now you can too: The AstroBiz Digest.

**NEW** You carry your phone with you everywhere you go, right? Now you can get real-time astrological transits and daily tarot right in your text messages: Sign up here.

If you want to write a mystical book but don’t know where to start or what it entails, I’ve got this for you: The Metaphysical Author’s Confidential. Essays and lessons on writing, publishing, and marketing your magical book.


Classes and Events

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October 7, 2023: Tarot for Mediumship. Join me at the Boston Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan, and learn how to use Tarot to receive messages from the dearly departed. Details coming soon.

October 8, 2023: Ethics and Responsibilities for Professional Tarot Readers and Astrologers. In this workshop, we’ll discuss how to deliver ethical, responsible readings. Where: Boston Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan. Details coming soon.

October 13, 2023: Book signing at Free Spirit Crystals in Butler, Wisconsin. 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM. Come on down, say hi, get a copy of The Cards You’re Dealt signed, and check out the cool crystals in stock.

October 21st, 2023: Book signing at Aum Shanti in New York, NY. 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Meet me in the Big Apple and get your book signed. Yay!


What I’m Grateful For:

Going barefoot

Early bedtimes

Finishing a book

Fresh water


Soundtrack for 7/15/23

Padam Padam by Kylie Minogue

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2023

images from stock photography and personal collection 

*Some of the links are affiliate links. I receive a small fee if you purchase, but this does not affect the price of the item.*


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