The Dark Side of Tarot: How Counterfeit Cards are Ruining the Industry

The Dark Side of Tarot: How Counterfeit Cards are Ruining the Industry

 "The Dark Side of Tarot: How Counterfeit Cards are Ruining the Industry"

Introduction: The world of tarot is a mystical and enchanting one, filled with ancient symbolism, deep insights, and spiritual journeys. Tarot cards have been used for centuries to provide guidance, introspection, and clarity in our lives. However, this magical realm is not immune to the shadows that plague various industries. In recent years, counterfeit tarot cards have emerged as a significant problem, threatening to undermine the authenticity, trust, and creativity that make the tarot community so vibrant. In this blog post, we'll explore how counterfeit cards are wreaking havoc on the tarot industry and the repercussions of this growing issue. We'll also discuss how you can identify a counterfeit deck to protect yourself from the counterfeit tarot menace.

  1. Damage to Authenticity and Trust: Tarot readings often rely on the belief that each card holds a unique and genuine connection to the mystical world. When counterfeit cards flood the market, it becomes increasingly difficult for consumers to trust the authenticity of their decks. The sacred bond between the reader and the cards is jeopardized, and the integrity of the entire practice is at stake.

  2. Loss of Revenue for Creators: Creating a tarot deck is a labor of love, requiring time, creativity, and dedication. Creators invest their hearts and souls into crafting unique decks that resonate with users on a spiritual level. Counterfeit cards not only cut into the profits of legitimate creators but also discourage innovation in the industry. This stifling of creativity harms the tarot community as a whole.

  3. Quality Concerns: Counterfeit tarot decks are often of lower quality than their authentic counterparts. They may use inferior materials, resulting in cards that wear out quickly or don't shuffle well. Users deserve a high-quality experience when interacting with tarot cards, and counterfeit decks fall short, potentially leading to disappointment.

  4. Misrepresentation of Symbolism: Authentic tarot decks are meticulously designed with specific symbolism and imagery, each carrying profound meaning and significance. Counterfeit decks may not accurately represent these symbols, leading to incorrect interpretations and misguidance. The essence of the tarot experience is lost when counterfeit cards misrepresent the symbolism.

  5. Legal and Ethical Issues: The production and sale of counterfeit tarot cards are both illegal and unethical. Counterfeiters may face legal consequences, and the industry's reputation can be tarnished as a result. Additionally, consumers who unknowingly purchase counterfeit cards may feel deceived and lose trust in the community.

  6. Saturation of the Market: Counterfeit cards flooding the market can saturate it with cheap imitations, making it challenging for consumers to find authentic and unique tarot decks. This over saturation may drive up the prices of genuine decks, making them less accessible to those genuinely interested in exploring tarot.

  7. Cultural Appropriation: Some counterfeit decks may appropriate or misrepresent the cultural and spiritual significance of tarot symbols and imagery. This appropriation can be offensive and disrespectful to the cultures and traditions from which tarot originates, further damaging the industry's reputation.

How to Identify a Counterfeit Deck: Now that we've explored the negative impact of counterfeit tarot cards, let's discuss how you can protect yourself from falling victim to these imitations:

  1. Buy from Reputable Sources: Purchase your tarot decks from reputable sources, such as well-established bookstores, specialized metaphysical shops, or the official websites of deck creators. Be cautious of third-party sellers on online marketplaces, especially if the price seems too good to be true.

  2. Check the Packaging: Examine the packaging for signs of authenticity. Authentic decks typically have high-quality packaging with clear branding and copyright information. Counterfeit decks may have blurry images, misspellings, or poorly printed boxes.

  3. Inspect Card Quality: Authentic tarot cards are printed on quality cardstock with crisp, vibrant images. Counterfeit cards may feel flimsy, have dull colors, or exhibit inconsistencies in printing quality.

  4. Research the Deck: Before making a purchase, research the specific deck you're interested in. Look for reviews, comparisons, and images online to familiarize yourself with the authentic version's appearance.

  5. Verify Copyright and ISBN: Check for a valid copyright notice and ISBN (International Standard Book Number) on the deck's packaging or accompanying materials. Legitimate tarot decks are typically registered with proper ISBNs and copyright information.

  6. Be Wary of Unusually Low Prices: If the price of a tarot deck is significantly lower than the market average, it could be a red flag for counterfeits. Authentic tarot decks often have a consistent price range.

Conclusion: Counterfeit tarot cards pose a significant threat to the authenticity, trust, and creativity that make the tarot industry so special. By being vigilant and following these guidelines to identify counterfeit decks, you can protect yourself from the counterfeit tarot menace and ensure that your tarot practice remains genuine and meaningful. As consumers, it's our responsibility to support authentic creators and businesses to preserve the integrity of the tarot community.

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I had bought four different Tarot/Oracle decks from a discount website and yes, I was very pleased with the cheap prices of these decks but didn’t realized they didn’t come with a guide book, they came in tuck boxes and the cards were flimsy. I didn’t realized they were counterfeit until I received them and realized the poor quality. I am in the process of buying each of these decks directly from the creators or publisher, even though one of the decks is quite pricey, but I feel it’s important to value and support each of the creators. Lesson learned, as it was not my intention to bypass the creator of these decks. And I know I will receive clearer and ‘cleared’ readings from the authentic decks.


It’s so frustrating that this is happening. I really feel for the deck creators. As a tarot reader I take great care to purchase decks that are legitimate. I have sadly seen far too many people who complain that decks are too expensive and therefore why shouldn’t they buy the knock-offs. It feels like there is no integrity, no willingness to save or patience, no respect for those who spend months, maybe even years, painstakingly crafting a beautiful deck that is part of their livelihood. When did the world become so entitled! I keep thinking that maybe the only way to put a stop to it is a massive class action lawsuit against certain companies that flout copyright laws. It’s not just tarot deck designers. It’s across the board with artists too.

Leah Whitehorse

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