Knapp-Hall Tarot

Knapp-Hall Tarot

Messing around with a travel kit the other night, most folks have a hurricane box, or a tornado kits, some kind of “Go-bag,” ready, right? Earthquake kit, for a Left Coast relative. Cousin in Houston has an arms collection for a hurricane kit.

See, I carry a tarot deck, not because I read the cards often, as that creates a tax burden. No, in Texas, a tarot card reading is plainly taxable, simple as that. But I do carry a set of cards when I work, and by extension, whenever I travel. I tend to keep at least one deck handy. I use it for meditation, reflection, discernment, and contemplation.

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When I set up, the first thing, on the tablecloth I tend to park a set of cards — out of the bag — as a signal that I’m open and ready. A symbolic measure, as much for myself as anything.

After so many years with this, I am making a new attempt, Saturn in Sagittarius, to pare away at my gear. Just the essentials. It seems, much to my unwitting self, that I need to carry a few books to sell, as well. So, into the big bag, table clothes, books, flyers, business cards, rosary, extension cords, and, a big Thoth Deck, which serves for the bigger shows, and for Austin’s rock shop, just a smaller venue where it’s me and computer? A briefcase or shoulder bag with just pocket-size deck, a version of the Thoth Deck, again.

Messing around with the travel kits, making sure I had deck in each place? Weirdest thing, I glanced at a smaller, substantially different deck I’ve carried for years, used for readings for 20 years now, a Knapp-Hall Tarot. I lived in old East Austin when I acquired that deck, and it was forever wrapped in a thin version of a brightly shaded cotton bag, probably of South American origin, by the coloration. The bag is threadbare in places, pulling apart at one seam.

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Looking up that deck, just to get an idea about it? Turns out to be a highly collectible edition, a rare 1985 printing, and since I do have the box and enclosed documentation? Kind of cool. Too valuable to use an every day carry, which I did for years. I carried that deck up and until the last week, when I made that serendipitous discovery about the value.

What adds to the value, besides the stated rarity of the card deck itself? It has been gently used, for more than 20 years, working as an astrologer and occasional card reader, while I bounced back and forth across the plains of West Texas. Yes, I went other places, too, but majority of my years are spent in Texas.

Two, maybe three springs back, I had cause to run to Austin to meet a client for lunch. Dear friend, long-term associate, collected my day rate — it was a great experience. Just used an iPad, and after stripping my gear again, when I got to Austin, I realized I didn’t have a card deck.

That singular experience got me back to making sure I always carried that deck, whether I actually used the cards — or not. So that is a particularly high-mileage deck, still good, though. In the years, it has lived in one suitcase or show bag, with working gear, for more than two decades.

Knapp-Hall Tarot

Looking at some of the online commentary, and seeing that it might be in production again, I got thinking, and I realized I had a book about that very deck, more properly a booklet, with a Half-Price Books sticker, reads “$1.98/1-20-93.” Dates the book’s acquisition, for starters.

Goes to prove several points, in no particular order, that I’ve forgotten more about this business than I remember, I’ve been at this — diligently — for some time, and little treasures show up — take care of the gear.

The kicker, though, for me, when I realized the value of that deck and its images? That’s no longer an every day carry item, not for this business.

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