Looking back on five months of “decks of the week”

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For my 100th public post on this blog I’m going to look back on the “deck of the week” project that was the reason I started blogging here again pretty much exactly five months ago. So far, I have used 21 decks in 22 weeks (17 of them have been tarots, the remaining four were oracles, one of which was a non-card oracle). I think this is totally worth a toast!

Those have been 22 very different weeks in terms of my tarot-related activities.

Sometimes, I did a lot of readings in one week, like with the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA, Waking the Wild Spirit, or Deviant Moon (unfortunately, I can’t show you most of the readings here so you just have to believe me). The one thing I’ve stopped pretty soon is doing daily draws/readings. I just don’t have that many questions. As a result I currently don’t participate in exchanges all that much, and I also don’t read much for myself. I’m also doubting that readings are as interesting to the readers of this blog as they are for me (and hopefully my sitters). I may eventually go on to borrow the idea of Tarot Bonkers to read in second person or the one of Sharyn’s daily draws with more or less “impersonal” associations (and an interesting quote). Or I may try and read for fictional/historic characters that are somewhat well-known like Satu did a while ago (I especially liked the ones for Eve and Voldemort).

In other weeks I felt more like contemplating a certain aspect of the deck as a whole (e.g. gender in the Deviant Moon, flora and fauna in Waking the Wild Spirit, Hubble space telescope photos that have been used in the Quantum, the Classic suits, or relationships between men during the Renaissance inspired by the Da Vinci Enigma). That has always been fun, especially since all of these studies happened because I suddenly got curious about something…

In yet other weeks I’ve done experiments or exercises with the respective deck (e.g. rearrange furniture and write a Halloween story with the Margarete Petersen, read about Star Trek episodes with the Balbi, do a reverse tarot reading with the Songs for the Journey Home, try out unusual reading methods with the Da Vinci Enigma, chat away with the Silicon Dawn). I’ve also enjoyed those a lot, mainly because I like trying new things. I’ve come across several other great ideas for future experiments on other people’s tarot blogs, so I may use a few of them eventually.

Sometimes I read a lot of background material (like with the Discordian Deck and a little with the Da Vinci Enigma), and sometimes I read nothing but the cards. Often, I just explored individual cards and decks on the side while I was doing a reading (usually for myself). I’m aware that combined readings/card reflections aren’t the best way to present insights, so this is another aspect of this blog that may benefit from some changes.

And sometimes I just blinged the hell out of a card or two (Deviant Moon, Thoth [not a “deck of the week” yet], International Icon Tarot). I’m sure there will be other candidates for that approach.

I was surprised to discover that I wasn’t as happy as I thought when I had the chance to reconnect with old favorites (e.g. Housewives, Ironwing). This led me to the decision to focus mostly on my (nearly) unused decks in my selections for this project. I was also surprised – once again – how well I could read with non-scenic pips (Balbi, Classic, Oswald Wirth, and also the Discordian Deck), and how much I enjoyed that. Finally, I was surprised by how much I liked decks that I felt hesitant about at first (Balbi, Discordian), and how right I was about thinking I’d enjoy others (Key to the Kingdom cards, Silicon Dawn).

I once used two decks in one week (Discordian, Fantastic Menagerie) because I feared one of them (the Discordian) wouldn’t read well enough for me, but quickly noticed that not only had I erred in my assessment of this deck, I also didn’t have the time to look at two decks in just one little week. I also used one deck for three weeks (Silicon Dawn) because I had been looking forward to exploring it during my holidays and then extended the exploration for the entire duration of my time off work. I don’t plan to repeat this with another deck, but the Silicon Dawn was definitely worth it.

The main “trick” for me with this project was not to allow myself to use a different deck just because I don’t like the one I’ve picked for the week (exceptions were my short interlude with the Story Cubes, going back to the tarot deck of the previous week to fulfill an exchange agreement that I couldn’t do with an oracle, or one reading with an erotic deck for an exchange where only those decks were allowed). I found that I can get along with nearly every deck for a week (the Celtic Wisdom Sticks  were the disastrous exception, closely followed by the mess of the Northern Shadows – but I still stuck with each them until the week was over).

I have decided to let go of four of the decks I’ve used (Waking the Wild Spirit, Quantum, Celtic Wisdom Sticks, Tarot of Northern Shadows). I most regret not clicking at all with the Northern Shadows, but pretty pictures really don’t make up for incredibly sloppy research and egomania. I’m actually really glad that I managed to pick some decks for the trade/sale list since I don’t consider myself a collector for collecting’s sake. My idea still is to have a library of working decks, and I’d rather have a small one of tried and tested ones than an ever-extending one of decks I barely get out in a year. I have also acquired seven new tarots/oracles (most of them from fellow Aeclectic members) since I started the project, three of which I’ve already used.

The most-clicked post (excluding the Pagan Blog Project ones) was Bling the Deviant Moon! and the least-clicked one was Why “Deck of the Week”?. The Deviant Moon is one of the most searched-for decks, closely followed by the Margarete Petersen. Most people come here by way of a Google image search, but I hope that some of them also stay around for some of the text.

So far, the project has been totally worthwhile. It kept me using my decks and it made me explore new ones that I hadn’t used before. A week seems a good time to get at least a basic idea of a deck and its compatibility with me, so I’ll stick to that schedule. Anything less would be stressful, and anything more would make me procrastinate because there’d always be next week… Since I’m easily bored, a good deal of variety is key to sticking with something for an extended period of time. I’ve found a lot of interesting things to do with a tarot (or oracle) deck, and I’m sure I won’t run out of ideas anytime soon.

I also have a question or two for you readers (feel free to answer any or all of them):

  • What kinds of tarot/oracle posts on this blog do you like best? Why? (Excluding the ones for the Pagan Blog Project, because those are a completely different category of writing for me.)
  • How do you feel about the posts from the “reading” category, especially the ones that aren’t also “experiments”? Do you like them? Why (not)?
  • Would you like to see some other kind of tarot or oracle-related posts that I haven’t written so far? (I’m not saying I’ll fulfill any wishes but you may just inspire me!)

Please feel free to add any other comments you’d like to make about this project and my way of blogging about it. I’m very curious! I’d also like to get a better idea of your interests and preferences so I can better judge what of my writing is of public interest and what is better kept behind the scenes. After all, I don’t want to bore you!

And now all I have to say for today is: Good night!

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10 responses »

  1. Cat, that’s a very nice post! I have been wanting to start a project like the deck-a-week in my blog too, so I can go through my collection and, like you, ‘rediscover’ the decks that I own. This will also allow me to realize which decks are worth keeping and which ones should move to a new home.

    I specially like how you have managed to keep going without the daily readings! My fear has always been that in some weeks I do tons of readings while in another I barely use any deck, so that could lead to an unfair amount of attention of different decks… I still don’t know what I’ll do about it.

    Answering your questions:

    1. What kinds of tarot/oracle posts on this blog do you like best? Why?

    —> I honestly like almost any posts on tarot/oracle, as long as they are not… daily draws. LOL! Daily draws bore me a bit. Of course, I like the way Shalyn does it because she managed to keep it impersonal, as if the message wasn’t meant only for her but for her readers as well.

    I specially like posts that include analysis of a card or of certain decks in a card and how they relate to an specific issue (like your post “Of men, women, and other freaks”), reflections on card reading, reading analysis (I loved all the reading you did with the “Silicon Dawn” and with the “Key to the kingdom”) etc. I learn a lot through such posts, I learn about the decks and also about how you read your cards, how you are as a card-reader. It’s always inspiring.

    2. How do you feel about the posts from the “reading” category, especially the ones that aren’t also “experiments”? Do you like them? Why (not)?

    —> As I said, I like them. I have learn SO much watching other readers work… how they connect the cards, how the story unfolds before their eyes and how the cards can transform in different contexts. I know some people will not read reading posts because they tend to be long, but I don’t mind that. I think that such posts are a wonderful way to show the cards in action.

    3. Would you like to see some other kind of tarot or oracle-related posts that I haven’t written so far? (I’m not saying I’ll fulfill any wishes but you may just inspire me!)

    —> Hummmmmm… I hope you do more posts in the style “Of men, women, and other freaks”. Now, I don’t like the Deviant Moon tarot, but I liked that post. This kind of analysis really gives us new ways of seeing the cards and relating them to reality. Posts like “Old favorites neglected” are interesting too because they talk about your own experience when reading and working with your cards.

    I think you already talk about many different and interesting things. I confess I’d love to see a review written by you, but I am not sure if it’s your cup of tea! I just like your writing style! :-)

  2. I’d like to see your take on a end of week review or overview. I tried it on my blog for a month or two but bored myself stiff :) I couldn’t care less about the padding some reviewers do like card size or card stock unless it’s something really out of the ordinary.

    Readings kind of put me to sleep, but I like reading Elendil’s because she sees differently than me.

    Really, if you aren’t writing for yourself, your blog is doomed. Keep on keeping on with what interests you.

  3. Hi Cat,
    Have you checked out the Motherpeace Tarot? This is my favorite, although a little hard to shuffle.

  4. @ Marina:
    Thank you so much for the detailed feedback! It’s good to know that at least someone likes the “reading” posts – I admit, I don’t read them as much myself as I used to a few years ago. Unless I either feel a personal connection to the reader/sitter or the reading is done more openly (as in the examples I gave in my post).
    I’d also like to write more posts like the gender analysis with the Deviant Moon, but that takes a lot of time, which mostly goes into the Pagan Blog Project posts these days. I still regret not doing a gender analysis of the International Icon. Maybe next time! That said, I’m sure there will be more tarot-related posts of that kind later on.

    @ Sharyn:
    Thank you for your feedback, too! I’ve thought about doing tarot reviews for years now, but the fact that I haven’t written a single one probably tells you that I don’t feel a huge urge to write them. I just don’t feel prepared to write a serious opinion of a deck after only a week (unless it’s a snarky one, like I did with the Northern Shadows) because that somehow feels too “final” to me. I also find that I’m really bad at expressing why I like something (not just tarot decks) – it’s much easier for me to pinpoint what I don’t like. But maybe that would be an interesting challenge?
    You’re of course right about writing what interests me – I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s just that sometimes other people have good ideas that inspire me to discover new interests.

    @ ladyyaga:
    Thanks for stopping by! I’ve looked at scans of the Motherpeace deck but I don’t think I’ll ever buy a copy, except maybe out of historical interest. I may have liked it as a young feminist in the very early 1990s when I first got in touch with tarot, but my feminism and my understanding of gender these days are much more complicated than this deck allows for.
    I hear you on the difficulty of shuffling a round deck, though! The only round one I have is the Songs for the Journey Home, which I used earlier in this project. Tell me about cards falling all over the place…

  5. Wow. I am offended that you think motherpeace is somehow simplistic or an example of an extinct form of feminism. Is it because it features mostly women? Because they are engaged in cooperative tasks? Or because the deck doesn’t feature any transexuals (as far as we know!)?
    I am glad my feminism is so primitive and dated.

  6. lol, I guess some people are offended easily. I love all your posts and especially the more personally ones. I think that is what makes a blog come alive, otherwise I could just go to some automated tarot site for a daily card, I like that connection from card to a human down to earth message. We are all humans, our lives all touch bases in unexpected ways. Sharyns blog is one of the most personal I read and I love it :-D

  7. Huh? I’m pretty sure you’re not even talking to me here. Here’s a reply nevertheless, for the record and such.

    I am a queer-identified cis femme who shares her life with a queer-identified transgender butch. I also am a feminist. This does not imply that I agree with all other people who also use one or more of these terms for themselves. It does imply, however, that “my” feminism eventually had to change to make room for a non-binary understanding of gender because I simply stopped seeing and experiencing binary gender in my daily life. All I see is people who believe there are only two genders which are and should be easily distinguished from each other, one of whom is better than the other. This is a belief I don’t share. And I don’t want to be too closely associated with these people, no matter if they are feminists or not. If that offends you, I strongly recommend not reading this blog.

    More generally I seriously ask you to please refrain from making assumptions about my life and politics that are based on nothing but the few sentences I’ve said about these things on this blog. Also please don’t put any words into my mouth that I’ve never said anywhere (e.g. the wording in your post vs. what I actually said in my above comment).

  8. You don’t explain why or how a majority female deck somehow implies that men are inferior or implies “a binary understanding of gender”.

  9. Actually, I really don’t want to further explain my choice not to use the Motherpeace deck. I don’t click with it, and that’s that.
    If you love that deck, that’s great and I hope it gives you a ton of useful readings. I still don’t want it for myself, and no amount of talking is going to convince me to buy it, now even less than before.

    I also don’t want to discuss (let alone justify) my perspectives on gender, feminism, and women-only anything any further than I’ve done already, at least not here and now. I ask any readers who are interested in my thoughts about gender in relation to my spirituality to please wait for the G posts of the Pagan Blog Project where I will say more about that. Anything beyond that will be discussed when and where I feel the need to do so. This is not one of these times and places.
    In the meantime, please assume that my life and politics are complex, that I have read vast amounts of feminist theory from a variety of perspectives and therefore already know the arguments for pretty much all long-term feminist issues (gender and women-only anything being two of them), and that I am furthermore able to think for myself and form an opinion based on both practical experience and theoretical analysis. Thank you very much. *curtsy*

  10. It’s not a women-only deck. It’s obvious that your opinions on it are not based on actual knowledge. But whatever, I’m not trying to sell you anything.

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