2002 Holiday Tarot Gift Giving Ideas -- From Diane "Tarot-holic" Wilkes to You
Every year at holiday time I put together a list of unique tarot gifts for the tarot-person in your life (yes, this can be you). Listed below are suggestions for every budget--most of which support individuals in the tarot community, which is my idea of true holiday spirit.
If you're looking for the financial equivalent of a stocking-stuffer, homemade tarot bags are always a winner. Can you ever have too many? There are numerous people in the tarot community who sell tarot bags--and there so many different kinds and styles and fabrics, you are sure to find one to suit you. You can find a list of some of them, along with many other tarot (re)sources here. I'd like to draw your attention in particular to Joyce Shaffer's Tarot Tankas, as they are an affordable and unusual form of tarot fabric art. I am also very fond of Clarice Sedgley's Tarot mugs, which you can see a sample of on the tarot sources link above.
Now that Llewellyn and US Games have ceased making Tarot calendars, Thomas Schick has entered the fray with the Tarot Lovers Calendar 2003.This totally cool calendar presents many unique spreads, as well as religious holidays and moon phases. Best of all, it features images from popular-but-unpublished decks like the exquisite Mary-El Tarot, the Masque Tarot, Supletion's Tarot, The 21st Century Tarot, Kayne's Celtic Tarot, the International Icon Tarot and Major Tom's Tarot (a deck by the calendar's entrepreneur). Each deck does double duty, with images appearing on two months of the year, with the exception of Supletion's Tarot and the 21st Century Tarot, which only appear on one. Finally, there is A Tarot Lecture, wherein Sir Holmes offers his thoughts on "the tarot and its mysteries." You can see a sample month here and order this very special calendar here. The calendar is very professionally done; the images are in color and the paper stock is a good quality. Just remember: if you want to see future tarot calendars, saluting the Major and supporting this project is a step in that direction.
Arnell Ando is now creating beautiful Tarot mirrors, each based on one of the 22 archetypes. You can see some samples of them here.
I must belabor the obvious and mention some tarot books and decks. For me, several great book/deck sets were published this year. Two eminently affordable ones emerged from mainstream publishers: the Victoria Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall and Georg Patterson and The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghem. Both are artistic triumphs that work on a number of levels.
On the self-published front, I have to mention Tarot of the Crone by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince. Its price tag of $130 may seem steep, but each card is made by hand and the deck comes with its own lined bag and a spiral-bound book. That's not why I am mentioning it, though. There will only be 100 copies made (unless a smart publisher picks it up), but that's not why I am highlighting it, either. I think it is truly a visionary deck on the lines of Shining Tribe or The Wheel of Change, in that it is truly a tarot deck, but has its own language and vision. There is a learning curve--and it is a fairly steep one--but the powerful poetry and images reward even the smallest effort with insights you simply can not gain from any other deck. I tend not to speak in superlatives, but this seems to me the most important deck since Thoth (how's that for superlative?).
I don't recommend this deck merely to tarot collectors, despite its being a rare deck. I recommend it to anyone who, like me, wants a tarot deck to be a tarot deck, yet values something truly innovative and wise.
And, of course, if you don't have the Blue Rose Tarot or the Animal Tarot, what are you waiting for?
For those who are interested in Majors-only decks, the Portal Tarot is on sale for the holidays. This is another unique and beautiful deck. You can read my review here.
Two truly great tarot books were released this year. Tarot Reversals by Mary K. Greer and Rachel Pollack's The Forest of Souls are both essential tomes for tarot enthusiasts on every level.
Thinking of creating other tarot-holics? I have some ideas for them, too.
Susan Levitt has recently created what I think is an ideal gift for the new tarotista: The Complete Tarot Kit. It contains small versions of the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth, as well as a "cheat sheet" for each deck that is printed on a snazzy cardboard panel. Not only that, there's a journal and a book by Levitt that are more than adequate for a beginner. I am not damning this effort with faint praise, but I can't say that the book is better than Learning the Tarot by Bunning or Crowley's The Book of Thoth. Still, it's perfectly beginner-appropriate and that's for whom this kit is marketed. At $24.50 (Amazon's price), it's a steal!
But perhaps your potential tarotist thinks tarot is for terrorists? You need something subtle...Try the Epicurean Tarot, 78 recipes decorated with a matching tarot image from the Universal Rider Waite. When munching Ten of Wands Garlic Bread Sticks, his or her mouth will be too full to argue when you point out the symbolism suggesting it's time to delegate. Another great item is Tarot Affirmations, a tarot set that has built-in affirmations which the most neophyte of novices can start using immediately. I bought one for a friend for Yule this year.
If nothing on this list appeals to you...or you have everything on it...there's always a gift certificate for a reading with Diane Wilkes. I hear she's an excellent tarot reader. Click here for more information.
In the meantime, have a happy holiday, whichever one you celebrate.
Article and page © 2002 Diane Wilkes