Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

Tarot TruantsThere’s nothing like that feeling–both urgent and sinking at the same time–when you flip through a tarot deck trying to locate a particular card and it’s not there. You go through again; you probably just missed it. Not there. Third time’s the charm! Yes–I have overlooked cards multiple times and found them the third time (or more!) through the deck. But sometimes, no, it’s gone. Where could it be? Where do you find a lost tarot card?

Here are the top ten places my Denver Tarot Meetup leadership team and I have found missing tarot cards.

1. It’s not actually lost, it’s still in the deck.

The Badass from the Darkana Tarot by Dan Donche, Self-published 2013.
XXII The Badass from the Darkana Tarot by Dan Donche, Self-published 2013.

Don’t start worrying just because you didn’t see the card the first time through the deck. Chances are you simply overlooked it. Sometimes cards put on dark glasses or a hat with a veil and are hard to pick out of the crowd. Keep calm and flip through the deck again.

2. It got left behind in the box.

Cards left in the box or bag are especially easy to miss if you, like me and some of my colleagues, keep the LWB and those two extra cards printed with every deck in the box. I use the LWB to create a barrier separating the two extra cards so it’s easier to grab just the deck. But sometimes this expediency doesn’t work and my fingers fail to grab the full deck.

My colleague Renna says that her most ridiculous case of a lost card happened in a similar manner, “I keep the two odd cards that come with each deck (usually background and copyright info) and store them face-inward to the other cards. In re-bagging or re-boxing my deck, a Tarot card has sometimes slid between those two. Since they don’t get active use, I may not think to look in between them.”

3. Did you use it for a bookmark?

One colleague lost a card and reported that she found it later as a bookmark! She said she has never used cards before as bookmarks, but somehow it happened. I can see that! I have absent-mindedly picked up a card from a deck within arm’s reach and started to use it for a bookmark, but caught myself. Sneaky cards! Renna concurs, “Taking my own notes on a card, I’ve left it tucked in the pages of my journal.”

4. Scanner bed.

Were you scanning cards for a blog post, deck review, or other reason? It seems like usually I’m scanning cards from decks I don’t use much, because I have on more than one occasion gone to scan something and discovered tarot truants when I lifted up the printer top.

5. Got mixed up with someone else’s cards at a tarot meetup or tarot class (I hope not!)

I always recommend to my students that if they do a project where their cards are likely to get mixed up with someone else’s, to count them afterwards.

6. Jumped ship!

Is your card on the floor, maybe slid under the furniture or rug? Jumping cards is a common theme–when you have jumpers, look around carefully to make sure you got them all!

7. You used it for spellwork and it’s still on your altar or in a sachet or other magical charm.

Renna says, “I’ve had a card or several laid out on my altar for spell work (re: Janina Renee’s “Tarot Spells”) but then automatically began a reading with the same deck later, forgetting that the deck was short.”

Linda has had the same experience and wrote a little tarot flash fiction: “She took her tarot deck and chose a few cards to use for doing a special spell. Next time she went to read her cards she noticed some were missing. After looking everywhere for the missing cards she finally decided to get a new deck to replace the one with the missing cards.  The new cards were a disappointment, just not the same feel. Then Goodness! She found her missing cards in her spell book.” She concludes, “I was gifted the newer deck and am missing the six of cups to this day – hopefully it will return.”

8. Purse.

Wands 10 from Legacy of the Divine by Ciro Marchetti published by Llewellyn Publications 2009.
Wands 10 from Legacy of the Divine by Ciro Marchetti published by Llewellyn Publications 2009.

This is one of my saddest tales–I once lost an ENTIRE DECK–in a bag–in my purse. For months. I was at a coffee shop, did a reading, got home, didn’t have my cards. Looked everywhere, including in my purse. I went back to the coffee shop and searched the area where I was sitting. I asked the barrista and owner. I will admit I harbored ill feelings that they (tarot readers themselves) had secretly stolen my cards. It was months later that I discovered the deck had worked its way down to the bottom of my (not-that-large) purse and proceeded to mask itself with some bottom-of-the-purse receipts like an AWOL soldier camouflaged in the jungle. I can’t explain how I missed a deck in my purse for months, but I have to admit it happened.

9. Car.

Colleague Sherry S. has had similar experiences. “I’ve lost individual cards in my purse” she says, and more oddly, she says that she found cards once in her car manual that were playing hooky from the deck she keeps in her glove compartment!

10. Walkabout or stolen by fairies.

"The Lovers" from Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey published by Llewellyn Publications 2013
“The Lovers” from Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey published by Llewellyn Publications 2013

(Yes, like Gollum cheating at the Riddles in the Dark game, I’m getting two answers in at one go.)

Yes, a card will go on walkabout and will come back. Wish it a bon voyage! Eventually it will come back to you.

I had a colleague email me saying that after class she had lost her Queen of Cups. I said I hadn’t found anything when I was cleaning up afterwards and offered to contact the rest of the class members. I also suggested she take another look through the deck. She assured me that she had searched several times. This went on for a while, and then one day, there sat the Queen of Cups, pretty as you please, right there in the deck where she belonged. She refuses to talk about the circumstances, but looks as smug as a cat!

Sherry S had a similar experience, “I’ve lost the 7 of Swords from two different Hidden Realm decks. Each time I found the card several weeks later in odd places around the house. My favorite place was on the kitchen table just lying there face up. I finally gave both decks away and the new owners haven’t reported missing cards, odd right?”

Renna sums it up for all of us: “Elusive little things, these cards…”

What’s the oddest place you’ve found a lost card? Share your story in the comments!

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Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.

© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.

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Top Ten Places to Find a Lost Tarot Card