Sometimes things are such a happy coincidence that it reminds us how strange and wonderful the universe is.
Yesterday, after dropping off two packages at the post office, I decided to swing by Barnes and Noble, which is located very close to the post office. I perused their tarot deck selection, which was quite good, but other than the Cat Tarot, nothing quite drew my eye. I ultimately exercised a great deal of self-control in not getting the Cat Tarot because I realize I am not really into cutesy decks and would’ve used it for a week before shelving it and eventually giving it away.
I decided to look at what other bookstores were in nearby towns that I had not been to. I found one in a nearby downtown and spent some time happily looking through their vintage books but ultimately found nothing to take home with me. I looked on Google maps to see if there were any other bookstores in this town and found one just a few miles away. I made my way there and parked along a street about a quarter mile away.
As I was walking towards this second bookshop, I came across a shop bursting with vintage items, and I got excited. I’m still on the lookout for card catalogs and printer drawers, so I thought I would take a look inside. There were little treasures and knickknacks of all kinds spilling from every direction. I was in heaven.
I’ve been really into vintage and antique paper items, like old postcards, letters, and photographs, so I was keeping my eye out for these things when I happened upon three decks that looked suspiciously like tarot. I went over and saw that one was an oracle deck, and two were tarot. The first tarot deck was a used copy of the Hanson-Roberts listed for $10. The second deck appeared to be a battered copy of a deck I had never seen before: the Ancient Enlightened Tarot. It had no price tag.
At this time, the owner of the shop appeared from somewhere in the very back of the store and welcomed me. She informed me that the card machine was down, and she was taking cash only and that there wereATMs nearby. I asked if the deck was $10. She looked at it for a moment and said, “I’ll give it to you for $8 since it’s in such poor condition.” I opened the battered tuck box and found that the cards were actually in excellent condition, and in fact, were almost all in order, as if no one had ever used them and maybe had only looked through them once. Since the cards were in order, I quickly flipped through and saw that they were all there. I took out my wallet to see how much money I had and saw that I had exactly $9. Perfect amount. I thought, why not? I’ve never happened upon a tarot deck for less, it looked old and interesting, and I had exercised so much self-control at Barnes, and I had the exact amount in cash. The universe was telling me to get it.
I bought it, went home, and Googled it and discovered that the deck is a historic reproduction of the Sola Busca, the first known tarot deck to have illustrated pips, and to find that it is OOP! Also, apprently, an hour before I posted about my find on Instagram, Lo Scarabeo had just announced a new edition that they were releasing of Sola Busca (probably at the very time I was purchasing the deck!).
I had known nothing about historic reproductions, other than that such decks existed, so didn’t realize at the time of purchase what a find this was.
I was, and am, strangely drawn to it, although it is not my typical style of deck. It feels like a comforting deck in a way because there are no truly jarring images, and it just feels old, gentle, and wise.