DAS: A Joyful Scourge

Around the end of every year there seems to be a flood of new-deck announcements and glossy (albeit online for most of us) catalogs from Lo Scarabeo, U.S. Games Systems and a few smaller publishing houses. These feed the pernicious addiction many of us share: “Deck Acquisition Syndrome.” Every tarot forum I’ve participated in (I’m presently on hiatus from all of them) has had something similar to “enabling” and “de-enabling” threads aimed at either pointing members toward worthwhile new decks or warning them away from less impressive fare. Because not everyone has the same interests or tastes, I’ve learned not to trust these opinion-mills since I’ve been burned more than once on highly-touted “clinkers.” (By the same token, I may have missed out on some good ones, but I kind of doubt it.)

For DAS sufferers there is nothing quite like cracking open a fresh new deck, but there is also nothing quite like the remorse that follows when we realize: a) the deck didn’t really deliver anything new and exciting; b) we didn’t really need it in the first place; and c) we couldn’t really justify the expense. I got over my art-deck fascination a long time ago and those new tarot decks that are mostly “old wine in new bottles” don’t do much for me either. Except for their often inspiring artwork, new oracle decks have typically been underwhelming in their usefulness, not least because every one of them requires learning the creator’s personal divination system. Consequently, my list of even remotely valid “wants” has shrunken to minuscule proportions.

These days my needs are mostly utilitarian. I have a fairly small reading table in my study, so I’ve been favoring pocket-size decks like the Waite-Smith (I haven’t accepted Kaplan’s “Smith-Waite” inversion) Centennial Pocket Edition; it has been seeing a lot of use. The pocket-size AGMuller version of the Thoth is also on my radar screen. I like the minor trend that serves up “pocket” decks in tins, which travel well; although they aren’t all pocket-sized and I certainly wouldn’t buy any of them that I already have in the standard edition, I found a compilation of such desks:


Beyond those few essentials, there are one or two Tarot de Marseille decks that may eventually make their way here, and the few Lenormand decks I still seek are traditionally undersized by design. Other than that, there is a small population of standard-sized “niche” decks that continue to interest me for use in multi-deck readings. At this point, unless something truly amazing appears on the horizon or I’m gifted a deck like the remarkable Dali Tarot I received recently, I don’t anticipate ever acquiring more than a half-dozen new decks. It seems there is a cure for DAS!

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