You know the one. You wait for it to come around. Thinking, once I’ve found my IT deck, I’ll finally be able to read cards.
The IT Deck is sort of a myth, I’ve discovered. I didn’t actually take to the cards until I spent a great deal of time focusing on ONE Tarot deck for a while — that was the Morgan Greer. The Aquarian is a very close second, and I recently was able to procure my optimum version of that one — the Morgan Press edition with the orange Ouroboros backs (I see a new horrible tattoo in my future…).
Tarot people look out for each other. That’s one of the biggest advantages to networking in this field. My beautifully aged Morgan Greer was a gift from someone who knew of my tastes. My dream Aquarian came from a dealer who had caught wind that I was stalking around for this particular edition, found one and gave me a deal. People begin to learn your tastes; even your BAD ones. Actually, I’ve been sort of infamous for my bad taste in most things most of my life anyway (music, men, tattoos, tarots…). So it’s no surprise I get sent a great deal of adorable kawaii stuff.
I’ve posted on this subject before. Somewhere in the late 90s or early 00s (I couldn’t track down an exact date, though I found a review by Wicce on archive.org that was dated May ’00), an artist named Joe Rosales drew and printed up a 78 card Sanrio-themed Tarot. I can’t imagine what the reception for the cards was like (I was busy graduating high school and only vaguely aware of the internet in 1999). Eventually, from what I gather, Sanrio shut down sales of the cards. The bootleg was bootlegged and you can still see clones floating around etsy.com and ebay from time to time.
I was gifted one of these clones, a colored, highly laminated version from etsy.com probably four years ago. It was so awful (organza bag. Pointy corners) that I deemed it unusable. Highly indestructible though, I gave it to my then one-year-old daughter, who eventually gummed it into oblivion.
Shortly thereafter, another Tarot-friend in Japan sent me a copy of the official Sanrio-produced Hello Kitty Tarot. Though overjoyed I was, I do admit to a bit of disappointment about the size, stock and imagery selected for the cards. To say nothing of the fact that it was Majors-only. And try as I might, to this day I still can’t get anything good out of a Majors-only reading. These decks were obviously not designed by Tarot readers for Tarot readings though. They were created by marketers and hired illustrators to move HK merch. If you’re a collector of Hello Kitty Krap though, you may be interested in adding this to your collection (I also have the Little Twin Stars Majors set that Sanrio did — it is equally disappointing and equally precious).
Which brings us to last week, when an art student in *personal information redacted* of all cute-forsaken places, emails me. Turns out she found a bootleg copy of Joe’s deck, redrew and recolored the cards and had some copies made at her university print shop and would I be interested in one? It’s in a shimmery purple bag, she mentioned.
Hello, you had me at shimmery purple bag.
Compared to the official Sanrio cards — well, there really is no comparison.
Because aside from the Majors, this deck has 56 minor cards, beautifully rendered and totally usable.
Bootleg of a bootleg aside, the deck is lovely and I finally have in my hands a working, 78 card Hello Kitty deck. The artist behind this version of the cards says she used her Thoth tarot as inspiration for coloring — which is apparent in a few cards (the High Priestess especially) and may be the best thing to come from the Thoth EVER (I’m expecting hate mail now from you Thothy-types now!). The cards seem bigger than the other bootleg HK deck I had and the paper is a lovely, UV coated stock that shuffles like a dream.
IT Deck? Hard to say. While it’s the perfect size for my purse, I’m having a hard time imagining myself sitting across from a sobbing querent, spilling the contents of her tormented soul and begging for divine guidance, and then busting out some Hello Kitty on her.
How happy am I to have it though?