Wednesday, April 22, 2015

UPDATE: The Captain Obvious Tarot

Hello, all. Normally, I don't talk too much about my spirituality in specific. I'll talk about spirituality in general, I'll talk about religious fanaticism, etc. But today, kiddies, we're going to talk about Uncle Jeremy's Tarot deck.

Let's get the laughter done with first:


I use the Greenbriar Tarot, aka the Dollar Tree Tarot. So first, we'll cover the flaws.

1. It's cheap as hell. 

Thin cards, unlaminated, not even cardstock. I wipe my hands off before I use it for fear of damaging it with just the fine film of sweat on my hands.

Solution: $5 worth of baseball card sleeves.

2. They buggered the design.

The deck is advertised as having 78 cards. And it does. They even managed to print the majors properly, and got all the court cards right.

But eight of those 78 are "special" cards that have nothing to do with the tarot. They're layout markers, so you can use them to remember what order and placement you use for the spread they reccomend for the deck. Further, they printed the deck with an Ace of each suit, and a 1. that means the suits go ace, 1, 2, 3, etc.

For those playing along at home, that means that each suit is short three cards. Specifically, 8, 9, and 10. So each suit goes:

 A, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Page, Knight, Queen, King.

Solution:  Screw the numbered cards. I made a short deck of the majors, courts, and aces.

3. They put weird interpretations on all the named cards.


Every single major, every court card, and all the aces have these little "past, present, future" boxes on them. And sometimes the meanings are really simple or incredibly cheesy. The "future" meaning for The Star major, for instance, is "You discover YOU are a star!"


Solution: Actually, it's not that bad if you remember that this is a tarot deck. Reading those interpretations allegorically, they can be really quite useful. And most of them are vague enough to be as interpretive as most "normal" tarot readings.

So what are the upsides here?




Omigah, is it beautiful. Before I figured out how to use the darn thing, I seriously considered just framing the 42 unique cards and hanging them on my wall. It's comic-esque, but with a depth that just...agh, I could spend hours just looking at the bloody thing. Gorgeous.

What? Yes, I do look at art first when I buy a deck. I'm a friggin' artist. I have a perfectly serviceable mini deck that has all the cards needed for a proper tarot reading, and I've never used the darn thing because I just can't with the art.

Next upside: 42 useable cards. I'm a huge nerd, and I get a kick out of doing divination work with a deck that has the same number of cards as the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

Finally, it doesn't need the pips. I've been doing three card readings (past, present, future) for a couple of weeks now, and it rarely fails to give me something sane and understandable. On the occasion that it's abstruse, it's because I haven't had my coffee yet, and I forgot to keep track of the order I drew the cards in.

I've tried other decks, you guys. I bought and briefly used a Gilded Tarot, and it just never worked for me. I ended up giving it to my sister (hiya, Twin!) because I couldn't get a reading out of it to save my life. I have a Running Press minideck, and again, I don't use it because it just feels too simple, too..."meh."

After those, and after looking at a berjillionty decks and not seeing anything that resonated, I started doing the Gypsy 52 playing card divination, and that worked fine. But it just doesn't feel the same. (Although if you're interested, grab a deck of playing cards and go here.) I still do it, and it's great.

But about a month ago, I was looking at the Greenbriar and thinking, "there has got to be a way to make that thing work." Whereupon I stripped out the pips, and ta-da! It works.

Anywho, having defended my choice of deck:

Omigah, you guys. This deck.

I go back and forth between calling it the Obvious tarot, and the Derp Deck. It's like having an overly excited cockatoo screaming at you that a thing is happening.


Woke up today feeling pressured that I had too much to do, and not enough time, and that's been the story of my life for weeks now. Further, I have a meeting today for a mentoring thing I do. It gave me this:

Read left to right, past, present, future.

Read those meanings.

Know that that is all the thing it do.

The Greenbriar takes whatever is the loudest, most noticeable aspect in my life right at that moment and tells me about it. And every time, I'm going, "Thank you, Captain Obvious."

But you know what? It starts my day out with a laugh. It tells me what's bugging me that day. And it takes that background deal that would otherwise simmer in my subconcious and make me grr all day and goes, "LOOK AT EET. DO YOU GROK THE THING?"

And the funniest bit is that I did a reading with it for a friend the other day, and by gods, it did the same thing. Grabbed the biggest, most obvious situation in his life and tapdanced on that dead horse.

So yeah. If you look at your deck and go, "huh?" or "well, alrighty then;" or, like me, if your experience with tarot has been one of doom and gloom reading after doom and gloom reading, might I suggest the Derpy Deck?

Although, if you want one, it's going to have to be the reprint because Greenbriar sold it to Fantasma. Who rebranded it as the Wishcraft Tarot and promptly turned it pink.


But you know what? I'd still use it. Because we could all use a bit of derpy tarot in our lives, I think.

UPDATE: The Wishcraft version is apparently a full 78 card tarot, with all the pips incorporated properly, and larger, better quality cards. So you can use it both in derpy mode and Tarot mode. The only downside appears to be that the cards are "marked" like a magician's prop deck. But hey, burn the booklet or don't bother to memorize the marked code (or draw blind) and it shouldn't be a problem. Not plugging the thing, but Imma buy one!