Tarot-deck sales are the highest they've been in 50 years, with fresh decks drawing new fans.
Vicki Noble, who with Karen Vogel created the Motherpeace Tarot Deck in the late 1970s, hasn’t really kept up with the latest happenings in divinatory playing cards.
But when Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of Christian Dior, said she wanted to incorporate the Motherpeace into a fashion line, Noble and Vogel agreed. Both felt that it could breathe new life into their 40-year-old deck.
Almost six months after Dior’s Resort 2018 fashion show, sales of the Motherpeace Tarot Deck ($26 at thewildunknown.com) have skyrocketed, up 263 percent from last year.
“I feel like this is a wave, and we should catch it,” Noble says.
Tarot-deck sales in general are up 30 percent this year, after rising 30 percent in 2016 — the highest in 50 years, according to Lynn Araujo, the editorial and communications director for U.S. Games Systems. The company sells hundreds of thousands of decks a year, including Motherpeace and the classic Rider-Waite Tarot Deck ($22 at usgamesinc.com).
Another best-seller, The Wild Unknown Tarot Box Set ($40 at thewildunknown.com), includes cards and a guidebook, and features images of plants and animals instead of people.
Deck creator Kim Krans attributes her success both to Instagram, on which she has posted images of her cards, and tarot’s incursion, like crystals and yoga mats, into modern boutiques rather than just dusty occult stores.
“There used to be this idea of tarot being connected to that chick in a shop behind a neon sign who’s going to take you for a ride and tell your future,” says Sasha Graham, a tarot reader and author. “That’s different now. Witchcraft and feminist spirituality, especially in our political climate, are having a moment. Tarot is part of that.”
Tarot projects have been on the rise on Kickstarter for the past five years at least, according to David Gallagher, senior director of communications at the crowd-funding company.
Cristy Road, a Cuban-American illustrator, funded the
($50 at cristyroad.bigcartel.com) with a Kickstarter in December 2015. Inspired by her friends and acquaintances, the deck features images of gay couples, people in wheelchairs, women in hijabs and seniors, set against a dystopian landscape.
“We want to find ourselves in our decks, and we want them to tell our story,” Road wrote of her project.