Tarocchi Is a Game

Divination by the use of card decks is not a game.

If you want to play a card game, buy a modern tarocchi deck, not a set of Rider-Waite cards or other occult-designed decks.

If you want a randomization device, you can use whatever normal decks of cards are laying around.

If you want a randomization of storytelling device, you can get all sorts of gaming event/story element cards.

And yes, I do think Charles Williams was an idiot for using Tarot as a story device; but he was a genius idiot and not you. So even if he got away with it (which is a good question to debate), it doesn’t mean you will. If an Olympic swimmer can swim the English Channel, that doesn’t mean you won’t drown if you try it while out of shape and unprepared.

Do not dabble in divination. It’s stupid and wrong, and it attracts bad company.


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5 responses to “Tarocchi Is a Game

  1. Either it is either utterly worthless– in which case, why do it? As you say, there are better, cheaper routes to other outcomes — or it works, in which case it’s inviting things that get a kick out of messing with people to mess with you.

    Strip naked and walk down a bar section of town if that’s your goal.

  2. Holly

    I think people turn to divination because they don’t know what to do and are frightened. Especially in dealing with big concerns, which a lot of people have right now, questions of ‘is it better to stay in this location and hope the political insanity eases or leave here with no resources?’ and so on. And I think many churches have totally and completely bought into the world’s narrative these last generations leaving both the churched and unchurched with little idea of how to find real answers or any peace. So divination promises answers to questions, when people should be kneeling in prayer instead.

  3. David Llewellyn Dodds

    What modern tarocchi deck(s) would you recommend, and how would you recommend going about getting them? For, there are a lot of creepy decks of ‘tarot’ cards out there (and were already, years ago, as some erstwhile browsing of publications of the International Playing-Card Society and encountering reviews of new releases quickly showed me).

    A striking feature of Williams’s device is to imagine an original pack – which is nonethless ‘useless’ except in combination with an imagined mysterious original table of moving figures, neither of which can ever be available to the reader, with the implication that any such cards as are available are useless for ‘fortune-telling’ – though he does not point out that they are really simply playing cards abusively hijacked for such purposes (which, indeed, can be true of any sort of card deck).

  4. You can buy normal tarocchi decks on Amazon. Although wow, that is amazingly difficult to get past the occult junk. Let’s try another search term with one of the less romantic names… tarock.

    Yup, there you go. Piatnik Tarock, Schafkopf Tarock, Tarock Coffeehouse Card Game, etc. Then there’s more occult, then Piatnik Hungarian European German Playing Cards (that one cracks me up, and it’s only 8 bucks; but it’s got this weird Swiss/William Tell/no kings theme as well as the crazy European suits).

    “Regional Italian Playing Cards” is another one. I expect you could use lots of names of European countries for this. Brybelly Modiano/Sarde Modiano and Dal Negro seem to be Italian brands. There should be cardmakers from Spain, France, etc. also.

    “Scopa – The Traditional Italian Card Game” comes with cards, along with instructions in English for Scopa, Scopa d’Assi, and Briscola.

    So yeah, using card game names found on card game sites will probably excavate more of these kinds of sets.

    There’s also quite a few Tarocchi card game apps for phones and computers (there’s one called Briscola that I have). The main problem is that instructions on the apps tend to be in foreign languages. Fortunately, the artwork tends to be pretty clear about whether it’s a game or not.

    • David Llewellyn Dodds

      Excellent, thanks! My initial attempts at Amazon and elsewhere online could not get past the occult junk, though I did not try ‘Tarock’ or looking up different card names. I am aware of various different national, regional, etc., card decks with their own distinctive characteristics, and have enjoyed browsing John McLeod’s website, but have no fine sense of them.

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