The Unforeseen Dangers of Renaming Suits in Tarot

IMG_4223When you start collecting Tarot decks, you quickly realize that some deck creators like to get all jazzy with their nomenclature. Some will rename the Majors or the Court Cards. Some rename the Aces. And lots of them will rename the Suits.

And this can be totally cool…even if it means that you have to put in a bit of time and effort so as to relax your death-grip on the terminology that you’d learned first.

But then sometimes there’s an added degree of difficulty… Like here. My sister loaned me her copy of the Wooden Tarot. And it’s all stark and eerie, which I like. But the Suits are all renamed from traditional designations. For instance, the Earth Element Suit is called Bones. But I also really like this other deck called the Shaman Tarot, and that deck also has a Suit called Bones…only there, Bones = Fire, not Earth. So this morning, I’m wrapping an Ace Bandage around my brain, and trying to explore the Wooden Tarot a bit more. Has this ever happened to you??!

2 thoughts on “The Unforeseen Dangers of Renaming Suits in Tarot

  1. Wonderful reflection!

    And yes, I’ve had some issues with suit name alterations. But I’ve more often tackled the challenge as rewarding.

    For example, the Victorian Fairy Tarot has seasons for the suits, so that helps expand my understanding of the elements and tarot.

    The Chrysallis Tarot, however, caused some confusion among folks when it first came out. I don’t know people in Kentucky — yet — who use it, but in Colorado, where one of the creators is originally from, there is a large group of tarot enthusiasts. Many of us were familiar with the deck. Some struggled with remembering that scrolls were swords and spirals were wands, for example.

    I think it’s GOOD to challenge the mind. Because I don’t have a second deck with overlapping terminology, I have no problem.

    I’m always open to deck donations, however. 😛

    1. Thanks for sharing you thoughts on this, Tabitha! You hit the nail on the head: my main difficulties with this issue stem largely from the fact that I have a couple of decks that use the same alternate Suit names as each other, but they tag them onto different Suits! I can cope…but it just sometimes snags at my brain momentarily, like a sweater on a hangnail (and I’m not sure where that semi-gross analogy came from, but I’m running with it…). And I don’t know the Chrysalis Tarot, but it would probably take me a minute to sort out Suits like Scrolls and Spirals!

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