TAROT DECK REVIEW: Arcane Bullshit

I laid my eyes on the Arcane Bullshit tarot deck the first time I believe a year and a half ago. I was reading an article by Sarah Anne Lawless about indie tarot decks, because I was looking for a new addition to my collection. Note to the reader: my collection was composed of a Celtic Tarot deck based on the original RWS deck, and another one always celtic-themed where the 22 major arcana were represented by various God/esses (a mish-mash of Irish and Gaulish deities) and the minor were ogham in different order for each season.
I was looking for something with a more classic tarot imagery to start learning again, but I never found the Marseille or the Raider-Waite-Smith deck particularly appealing. It was a hard challenge.

Until I saw the Arcane Bullshit. Every single image spoke deeply to my soul (which probably says a lot about me). After months of going back and telling myself that “yeah, I wanted something more classic”, I received them as a birthday gift from my boyfriend. And I love every single card.

Chaos Mom is in my top 5 cards in the deck

The deck is composed of 50 cards and doesn’t follow the standard major/minor so I think we could say it’s not properly tarot, but more of an oracle deck. Despite the name, I found some of the cards mantain some symbols we often see around (i.e. the eye, skulls, etc.) and cards like Knees, Random Clipart, Robododo or the Card of Cards still make a lot of sense to me. Working with them is wonderful, funny and really engaging. When you pull out a card that doesn’t seem to make any sense (litterally!) you really have to let your sixth sense run. What could the Pit Bull in a Triny Truck mean? What’s the Hooker with an Octopus trying to tell you?

some of my favourite cards of the deck + my tarot journal

It’s like a new world to be discovered, because there is no set interpretation for the cards, although in the Tarot Bullshit app there are some idea on what they could mean. You can also do a reading with the app, which is completely free, and see where it brings you.
Despite their looks, I assure you this deck is absolutely serious – it only does its work in its own way, but it calls you out in such an honest way. I’d say thee cards feel very direct.

I adore working with this deck. I’ve never been good with card divination, but now I feel more interested into it and ready to study it properly (I’m going to get a RWS deck eventually for this purpose) and it has really boosted my confidence to work with cards that I can really understand.

I understand that this is not your standard deck, but I reccomend getting a copy if you like an approach to card reading that is absolutely non dogmatic and leaves you a little bit of freedom in the interpretation, or just to tell a very bizarre story.
I also believe that they would work great with Cards Against Humanity. Just imagine the greatness of such reading!

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The never-ending process of Knowledge

What I knew, I’ve un-learned in the past two years. What I know now is that I know nothing at all.

I’m not a studend of psychology or medicine, so I couldn’t begin to tell you the physical or mental mechanisms behind the acquisition of notions in human beings. However, what I observed in my life lead me to the idea that to know is the result of a process. A very long and deep one, actually.

The premises of knowledge are learning and understanding, but in itself they too have different stages and require work. One’s body and mind interplay with one another and with the world that surrounds us and it is what comes from this interaction that leaves us with the first step on which we can build our ideas: experience. Such experience can be more or less physical (i.e. hurting yourself compared to reading a book), but it is the first brick with which we can build our reflections.

You touched the fire and now know that it can hurt, but you also learned that it is sacred.

Some people rely more on their brains, when processing information, other make much more use of their feelings (MBTI typing relies on this concept). I’m among the latter: to me things sometimes aren’t right just because they feel wrong, or make me feel badly for some reason and I can’t bear it.
However your brain makes sense of things,  you’ll end up understanding something. You’ll end up with a new concept, a new idea, a sudden realization or a new belief. Or you won’t understand at all – and that’s part of the process.

There many things you can use to build the house of your knowledge: books, for example, are good material. The experiences of other people. New perspective gained through dialogue and discussion. Sometimes nature itself gives me an impression on which to build my own thoughts.
Let yourself be inspired by the world, but don’t be fooled: to know is not to have ideas engraved in your head, repeated at heart everytime you need to be reassured that they are true. You change, the world changes and in the end what you know will change too.
So build the house of your knowledge and use you experiences as foundation, but be ready to demolish its walls when you’ll need to.

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So, why polytheism?

Today, chatting with a friend, religion came out and soon after the notion that I’m a polytheist. It was a long time no one asked me directly and I, for one, always think that is so visible and clear that I behave like everyone knows. I’ve never hidden it, anyway.

After some chatters, way more agreeable than what I usually expects in such occasions, he went with the thing. Everyone always says one thing, that is either stupid, unpleasant or something equally problematic. Fortunately, this time I was spared from the most idiotic things (“Do you *really* worship Zeus?!”, “What does that even mean?”, “Oh, don’t tease me, it’s not possible to be polytheist nowadays!”), but it still made me wonder.The incriminated words were these: If I hadn’t learn better, I would’ve asked you what do you gain from believing in a religion when they’re all bullshit.

Is religion a sort of trade? I insert prayer coins in a divine machine that gives me what I want? If that was so, I would probably be the greatest atheist in the world. What I want in a relationship with my Gods is not that they solve my problems in my place. They could not do that and I suspect many of them wouldn’t even want to. Some Gods and Goddesses are more prone to help you (although the idea that every Deity should be concerned with humanity’s problems clashes a bit with my personal perspective), but that that doesn’t mean they’ll wave a magic wand and make everything right.

I’m the only one who can do things, for me, in my life. And among other things, what I do is believing. I don’t believe in blind faith, I’m not able to have that. Nor, I think, polytheism asks us to believe in the Gods just because they exist. Being neo-pagan, being polytheist, is about experiencing the Gods in Their many forms: feeling the warm Sun upon my skin makes me think of the Goddess. The moon sailing through the black, night sea reminds me of the God. Looking at the Land with my polytheistic/animistic glasses makes me think about all the things lingering in the world that we cannot see. The subtle connections. The energy manifesting themselves in a miryad of ways, different every time, every time teaching me something new.

So, what do I gain? Meaning. Not because I need someone to tell what I should do or what my life should be. I don’t need the Goddess to tell me what I have to make of my life. I have no God trying to selling me a role to fulfill. That’s not the meaning I refer to. What I mean is that all my experiences can be framed in my set of beliefs. When I encounter something new, I have a set of tools to analyse what it is. To classify it. To put it into place so that another piece of the puzzle is completed. It is not a cage, because the scheme continously evolves with me. It’s difficult to explain exactly what the idea behind it.

But I know that that is not only a Hill. It’s a fairy mound, where the creature of the Sidhe dance during years-long festivals. Sometimes a human will stumble among them and live some crazy adventures. I know that that springs are expressions of the Goddess, and it’s not merely water.
Nothing is “merely” something. Everything has a reason, a purpose, a meaning.

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