Sunday, February 26, 2012

Deck Review of the "Regretsy" Tarot

"The Regretsy Tarot"
Wendy Sheridan and the "April's Army Artist Collective"

If I listed a set of topics that would never appear as a tarot deck, "The Regretsy Tarot" would definitely have been on it. Consequently, it requires some introduction before proceeding to the actual deck review.

Some of you, perhaps those of you who don't have access to the interwebs, may not be familiar with Regretsy (, an online community created by April Winchell that parodies the handmade crafts that are shown on Etsy. Its motto, "Where DIY meets WTF," describes it perfectly: It takes products on Etsy and makes fun of them. Please note: If you are easily offended, Regretsy is NOT the place for you to visit. It is littered with naughty words, phrases, and concepts, and is completely and totally politically incorrect. Some of its categories of products include "Dead Things", "Dirty Hippies", "Don't Ask Me", "Penises" and "Vaginas" (so glad for the parity here!), and "Whimsicle Fuckery, which is almost a second motto for the site. 

For full disclosure, I am a huge fan of this site. I think what I like most about Regretsy is that is does not hold back.  Despite its detractors--and there are many of them, some of which are former Regretsy fans who "flounce", or end their affiliation with Regretsy in a dramatic, ranting style--the site is extremely popular and has tremendous cultural influence. (As an aside, all of the "flounces" are posted for folks to read and, of course, comment on. This is one of my favorite aspects of the site!). As a born-and-raised Masshole, I had to buy a "Crab-Hammering Puritanical Dickbags" mug from Regretsy as well; my home state did not treat April Winchell so well on one trip, as I recall. 

Cut everything away and it's a thriving, snarky, opinionated, and downright sarcastic social network. People join the community to see what Etsy products are next in line to be mocked. There is something here for everyone to find absolutely wet-your-pants hilarious, and likely at some point in time you will be offended. But you get over it. Or you don't. (Did I mention how hilarious the flounces are?) 

Many Etsy artists who are featured on Regretsy have embraced it, probably because "there is no bad press" and it drives people toward their products. I suspect, however, that many other Etsy artists--and once you see some of the products featured on Regretsy you may question my use of that term--are extremely upset with the skewering they receive. I can totally understand that, too;  if someone took your creation and virtually bashed it with a verbal baseball bat and urinated on it, and then left it up for anyone on the web--which is these days pretty much anyone with an electronic device--to do the same, imagine how you would feel. Luckily, I got over it.

For what it's worth, it sounds like many of the crafters whose works are featured do the same; April Winchell says in her "Regretsy" book that only a very few times people have written to ask her to take their items down, and many have embraced her comments to gain new legions of fans and actually make money. And Regretsy also raises money for charity, helping people in need; has all the details. 

The deck is based on the "social movement" (social network seems to not convey the amount of influence that it has for me!) that is Regretsy. The cards depict the vocabulary and culture of Regretsy; therefore, it is essential, even if you are one of the "fat, jealous losers" that haunt this site to end bad crafts, to download the PDF guide. 

This is your last warning to click away if you have delicate sensibilities. Personally, I don't want you to turn away but if you must...

If you're still reading at this point, you'll be happy to know that the backs of the cards appear normal at first glance; certainly, from a distance, this could be any tarot deck. Black and white diamond and square patterns on the top and bottom of the card surround what seems to be a nice flower/kaleidoscope image in the center. Look closer and you'll see it represents one of Regretsy's most popular and prevalent themes: Human genitalia, which actually is an entire suit in this deck. A circle of penises surrounds a circle of vaginas--"vagoo" or "bajingo" are popular terms for the female sex organs on Regretsy. (And seriously...who knew how many genitalia-inspired handmade crafts were out there??) 

The images were done by the "April's Army Artist Collective", a group of creative folks from all over the world who designed the cards for practically nothing--they received whatever could be "scraped together", except for the promotional name and website listings at the bottom of each card. They did a fantastic job translating the feel of Regretsy into this tarot deck, and it's clear that a lot of thought went into it. 

The 79-card deck follows the standard pattern of many tarot decks and is divided up into major and minor arcana. According to the guide, the 22 majors represent recurring significant themes to Regretsy folks. The four suits are Genitalia, Tools, Whimsicles, and WTF, and each contains an Ace through Ten, as well as a Page, Knight, Queen, and King. Both the majors and minors give a title for each card, which is extremely helpful, as well as the promotional information for the artist who designed the card.  The cards retain plenty of the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery that is common to many of today's tarot decks, so tarotists should feel fairly comfortable with them once they learn to speak Regretsy.

The one card remaining? Towel Mike, a gorgeous man who is surrounded by many well-loved Regretsy symbols: A cupcake, octopi (whose tentacles are "waving in a lacivious manner"), and more genitalia, with the letters "CF4L" ("Club Fuckery 4 Life") and the Royal Flying Goatse, a reference to an anus opened-wide. (Google "goatse" at your own peril, folks. All I'm going to say is to repeat what is on Card XVIII, "Accidental Goatse": "Once you see it, you can't unsee it." And doing it at work is probably NOT a good idea. Use your home computer, and then clear the history. You'll thank me later.)

And speaking of the majors, they do indeed represent many major Regretsy themes. The octopus appears several times--as the dog's replacement in card I, "Cupcake" (traditionally, the Fool), a Regretsy term used to describe a person who "praises everyone and everything but cannot take criticism at all.", as well as the head of the "The Reseller" (traditionally, The Devil) in card XV.

Card XIV, "The Flounce" (Temperance), shows a group of animals sitting around a table in the forest, laughing heartily, while a cat turns its back on the group and sticks out its tongue. (Read my earlier paragraph for the description of the "flounce".) One of the well-known tarot meanings of Temperance is "good health"; I could see "laughter being the best medicine" as part of this card, provided you can also laugh at yourself.

Other majors include "Steampunk" (Wheel of Fortune)--"what is old becomes new again", complete with octopus; another "Goatse"(Strength), Card VIII, this time very intentional with the axiom, "Dreams are the gateway to the anus"; and a very appropriate (if anything in Regretsy could be called "appropriate"!) use of the female genitalia in "Vagoo", Card 3 (The Empress).

The minors are fascinating in and of themselves. The guide says that normally two tarot suits--Wands and Cups--are dedicated to the male and female genitalia respectively. The Regretsy Tarot takes away any possible symbolism and just calls one suit "Genitalia". I think you know what we can expect on these cards by now, so let's talk about the one card that does NOT have any sex organs on it, the 2 of Genitalia. It has a plain brown background--like what they used to wrap dirty magazines when they sent them in the mail to you--emblazoned with big black letters saying, "OFFENSIVE REGRETSY MATERIAL" and a huge red "REJECTED" stamp on it. The "M for Mature" rating logo is in two corners of the card, and if you look closely at the one on the bottom left, you'll see the words "Disclaimer: Not suitable for ANYONE". I'm sure lots of people feel this way about Regretsy.

The "Whimsicles" suit showcases a very famous misspelling that represents part of Regretsy's raison d'etre. So many people on Etsy could not spell "whimsical" correctly that Regretsy folks borrowed it and use it regularly. The guide states at when a search for "whimsicle" was done on Etsy, there were 722 occurrences. It also says that things that are "cute" or have become "Regretsy memes" have been included in this suit. Note: Honey badger fans will be happy to see it make the Whimsicles court on the "Queen of Whimsicles".

One of the more interesting additions to the Whimsicles suit is the Six of Whimsicles, entitled "Gumball Clown", which has a gumball clown on a black background above roaring flames, holding six sharp knives, under a crescent moon. The guide gives the following as upright and reversed meanings, and while "all of the cards can mean whatever the hell you want them to" (the guide's entry for card XVIII), this quote portrays the guide's style of presenting the card meanings very nicely:

"You are going on a journey far, far away from this hideous nightmare, as fast as your legs will take you. Don't stop to pack; you don't have time! You are surrounded by all sorts of danger. There is fire. There are sharp, pointy things that can cut you. There are horrible candy "treats" that will rot your teeth and give you diabetes. Get Out NOW!" Reversed: What you thought was only a bad dream, is, in fact, reality. Nothing sucks worse than your life at this moment, except possibly if you WERE the Gumball Clown."

The Suit of Tools mocks the tools of the crafters trade: glue guns, cameras, glitter, gears, sewing machines, and, of course, six-legged octopi. The Queen of the suit, "The Queen of Gluing Shit to Other Shit", brandishes a hot glue gun and her caramel-colored hair becomes the glue that fills nearly the entire space. In her other hand, she holds a cat who looks extremely upset covered with shells and other items that have been fixed with the popular crafting adhesive. The glue gun also makes an appearance as the Ace of Tools as well.

As you can imagine, the WTF suit is the most difficult one to put into words. If the Regretsy folks "weren't sure how to categorize this stuff" then it ended up here. I have to say, however, that I'm really fond of Cosmic Yak on the 9 of WTF. Such psychedelic colors! And the simple yet powerful message in a nearly illegible 60's font: "Greetings, people of earth. I am Cosmic Yak." Clearly this belongs in the WTF category. The (Alan) Rickman-Head Fish on the Ace runs a close second.

One concept that is introduced in this suit is the Alchemy Request, which appears on the Knight of WTF. As I understand it, these requests were commissions to Etsy artists by individuals who want custom pieces. The best way to understand this concept is through example. Here's one that originally appeared on January 29, 2010, and was up today on the Regretsy site: A 11X14 or poster-sized painting of Mr. T and Teddy Roosevelt, arm-wrestling, with Teddy winning. The Alchemy request used on this card is a horse rearing back on its hind legs, sitting on a rainbow in the sky with the sun and moon looking on in benediction. (Sadly, Etsy no longer does Alchemy requests. But if you want a true WTF moment, then look at Regretsy's WTF Alchemy Requests category on their site. I have to wonder if Regretsy didn't have an influence on ending the Alchemy Requests on Etsy. I'm thinking yeah.)

While this deck is an absolute collector's item--I believe that no tarot collection is complete without one (and you should probably buy TWO and keep one in its box to hold the value!)--it can be used for divination. The guide did not give suit correspondences to the traditional elements or suits in the guide. However, based on what I've seen here's how I would interpret them:

Whimiscles = Pentacles (the guide says it sounds like pentacles)
Tools = Swords (the 3 of Tools looks like the 3 of Swords with the bleeding heart)
Genitalia = Cups (most of them were "bajingos" so cups seems most appropriate)
WTF = Wands (the cutting edge, "creative" nature taking the fore here)

The guide also states that you should be discrete with this deck. I suggest that you use this with people who have a sense of humor. I'm sure many Regretsy fans would LOVE having a reading with this deck. However, like the genitalia so incredibly prevalent on these cards, I'd definitely be careful when you pull it out. You can buy the Regretsy Tarot Deck at

I was thrilled to get this deck and I hope you will buy at least one as well. It would make a great gift for any Regretsy fans and I plan to trot it out when I read for friends at home, or for Regretsy fans in my professional practice. Hopefully many fat, jealous losers will come by, read my work, and have tarot readings with me!

I'll end with one of my favorite Regretsy sayings: NAMASTE BITCHES!


  1. OMG. That site is a SCREAM! I laughed myself silly looking at the Cats page! Thank you, John!

  2. Thanks Arwen! I truly appreciate it! :)

  3. Thank you for taking the time to review our deck! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it! Namaste bitches, indeed

  4. Thank you so much!! I was thrilled to have the opportunity!