Why Definitions Matter Within Tarot
Today’s post isn’t going to be anything awe inspiring. There’s something that’s been on my mind recently, and it needs to be shared with others. The topic? Fluffy bunny cards, those cute tarot decks and inaccurately themed cards that we just can’t seem to put down. Do these decks do more harm than good? What do their users see in them? How can these ever create better tarot readers? Where are the consequences felt within the tarot community? All these questions have been in my mind for days now, and I feel like finally sharing my point of view with you. Am I a fluffy bunny tarot reader? Do I even care? I promise, while this post isn’t a must read, it’s certainly going to be a fun experience for anyone looking to pass some time.
When discussing fluffy bunny tarot decks, it’s important to define the term. Fluffy Bunny tends to be a very negative term, especially within the Wicca community. This is an attempt to label individuals who, whether for good or for bad, come across to others as very child-like in their approach to tarot or their religious path. The child-like wonder of these individuals is often seen as a barrier to true growth, or a realistic philosophy or practice. Within tarot, the term Fluffy Bunny has come to imply a tarot reader who uses pretty or easy-going art that glosses over difficult subjects. Most notably, tarot decks that link the Death and The Devil cards to the more positive surface concepts of transformation or ego. It is worth noting, Christian themed decks get a bad reputation for this in particular, along with Hay House published decks (sorry).
So, am I guilty of being a fluffy bunny tarot reader? Somewhat. I have tarot decks that fall into the glossed over category. A few months ago, I purchased quite a few Doreen Virtue decks afraid they’d no longer be available. Do I use them often? Not really. However, I do use my Happy Tarot, which is undeniably a child-like deck. But, does that make me a fluffy tarot reader? I don’t really think so. To me, what makes a fluffy reader fluffy, is actually a lack of foundation. Let me be clear, I’m mainly holding myself and only myself to this standard. If you’re a tarot reader just doing your thing, keep doing it. This is not meant to pass a blanket judgement on anyone, but I am expressing my own personal standard for myself as a tarot reader here.
What makes a tarot reader truly great is actually a solid foundation. To me, with my approach to tarot in particular, I view an established foundation in the occult extremely important. Tarot wouldn’t be tarot if the cards didn’t convey some sort of philosophy, right? Well, for me, this philosophy is a western occult philosophy blend that links to many aspects embodied by Ceremonial Magick. Having this particular viewpoint, I’ve come to view fluffy tarot decks a little differently than most Ceremonial Magicians that are also tarot readers. In some ways, I finally understand how these two worlds connect and interact. The thing is, there are many complications when any two things meld together. These two communities are not the exception, but rather, the norm.
For those who come from an occult background, speaking in generalizations of course, fluffy tarot readers can be a bit frustrating. When you spend time memorizing complex systems of magic or symbolic interpretation, it can be frustrating seeing someone else discard the knowledge you’ve built up. Instead, these people use your tools in an improper or almost disrespectful way. On the other side of the aisle, those with an occult background can seem too rigid. Their opinions are often perceived as being dictatorial, condescending, or judgemental. By many, there is also a sense of censorship going on, as tarot is seen as a personal journey. To limit how a reader can express their relationship with tarot actually limits their freedom of expression and therefore, growth.
Straddling the fence isn’t an easy task on this one. Like I said, for me personally, I see an occult foundation as an essential piece of my tarot reading. However, I also like the flexibility that comes with the child-like approach to tarot. Intuitive reading is an agreed upon component to both Occult Tarot and a more New Age Tarot approach. When we all focus on intuitive reading, things become a whole lot easier. Card meanings can suddenly occupy a wide-range of philosophical ideas. Interestingly, some early occult societies utilized tarot as a teaching tool, one that was supposed to give intuitive insights to the initiated. In some ways, those reading intuitively now just don’t have the secret society, but rather, a pool of others to learn with and from.
Common ground is possible, but it requires thinking outside the box. Some people learn best within strict structures, while others learn through loose systems. We, as a community, must learn to embrace both. What remains the most difficult point of contention is actually how ideas are communicated. Admittedly, and probably without much surprise, I prefer less fluff to my tarot decks. Give me the Thoth Tarot any day of the week over Doreen Virtue’s Angel Tarot Cards. However, with that said, is much symbolism lost jumping from the Rider-Waite Smith to, say, The Happy Tarot? Not really. A reader could still learn all the interconnected pieces of the Rider-Waite Smith system with any variation of the Rider-Waite Smith deck. Some decks will always be easier or more conducive to learning than others, but it is still possible.
This is what makes fluffy tarot readers so wonderful. At times, fluffy tarot readers can give us new insights into old established systems. New life must be breathed into the old, or all will collapse. Fluffy, child-like tarot decks remind us of why we fell in love with tarot. Sure, Death isn’t always about transformation. But, does that mean new life isn’t a part of Death’s symbolism? Absolutely not. There are so many dynamics to each of the tarot cards, and all of us build on a foundation of tarot symbolism. This means we grow in our understanding of each connected piece of a tarot card. Some readers do this with the symbolism of the Kabbalah, others do it with crystals and angels. But both camps learn the concepts, and that’s what counts.
We all need to remember that not ever child-like person is completely innocent. No one is truly innocent of the growing pains of life. For some, it may not be their time to learn yet. For others, they may be desperately clinging onto their understanding of goodness. Wisdom comes through painful experience, and unfortunately, there’s no getting around that. So, if a person is using a fluffy themed deck, that’s okay. Perhaps we all need some magical fluff in our lives. Aligning our outward with our inward is a deep occult philosophy. I know for me personally, when I’m a bit down, fluffy decks help realign my inward self. Experience tells me I’m not alone in this approach either. For what it’s worth, some stars need to keep shining, as our community desperately needs the growth that comes from clarity and happiness.