I’m a Hello Kitty junkie, so this mini review of the Hello Kitty major arcana tarot deck is going to be biased by my undying love of all things HK. Last year I was on an intense divination deck buying kick: tarot, oracle cards, indie, well known, I needed them all! Happily I’ve chilled out a tiny bit since, but I have some pretty neat decks in my little collection, including two Sanrio major arcana decks: Hello Kitty and Little Twin Stars.
I think the Hello Kitty tarot might make a perfect starter deck for a witchling who you don’t want to overwhelm with a full deck. It’s cute, kid-friendly, and even the ‘scary’ cards have been made somehow adorable.
There are multiple Sanrio and Hello Kitty Tarot Decks, but this one – to the best of my knowledge – is the only official deck. It was made in 2009 and it comes in a slipcase that includes a full color book on one side and the cards on the other. The cards are a slightly different size than standard tarot cards, just a touch shorter, but the same width. The deck also comes with two blank cards, which I thought was a neat touch. A gallery of the cards can be found at the bottom of the post.
The Fool (left) gives a good idea of the tone of the deck. The character still walks along the cliff, but the dog at its heels is a butterfly. The feeling of obliviousness is still there, since Hello Kitty is being lifted across the gap by balloons, but there’s no feeling of danger. More like a blissful unawareness at the start of the Fool’s journey.
The Magician (right) is also a version of the classic card. It shows that the Magician has all the tools in front of him or her already, specifically the minor suits of the tarot itself. Hello Kitty is holding the wand that has a cute star at the top, but the sword, cup, and pentacle on the table are just be-pinkened versions of the classic designs.
The Devil (left) and The Tower (right) are two of the most dreaded cards in the major arcana; however, Sanrio managed to make them cute and non-threatening while still retaining their original meaning. The Devil card is meant to evoke a feeling of temptation and the original card is very (hetero)sexual in that representation. Instead, here we have a slightly goth (yay!) Hello Kitty with a representation of her own temptations: jewels and junk food, specifically flan, hard candy, a donut, a diamond, and an amethyst. The spotlight is on Hello Kitty and these temptations are in her mind. Should I go off my diet and spend all my money? I ask myself this question once a week minimum, so this is an excellent interpretation of the temptation that The Devil card represents. Plus it won’t terrify any witchlings that use this deck.
The Tower (right) never ceases to scare people, since the original card has lightning striking a crumbling tower, light it on fire and causing people to jump out to their deaths in the process. Terrifying! Really, though, The Tower represents the old being torn down to make way for the new, and the destructiveness that’s necessary for a real rebirth to take place. This version of The Tower has a similar meaning, which impresses me, because making The Tower card cute is not easy. Hello Kitty is shown started by the toppling of a house of cards, a fitting metaphor for the hard work of the past being undone. Once the cards topple, however, they can be used again to construct something new. These two cards are the most impressive to me in the entire deck.
Above you can see an assortment of card, including a few (The High Priestess, The Empress, and The Emperor) that I didn’t find individual scans of, plus the card back is shown in the upper left corner. The card back isn’t my favorite part of this majors deck, I would have preferred pink, purple, and white to tie the backs in with the elaborate borders. Looking at the gallery below, pink and purple are the dominant colors, so it would have been nice for the backs to reflect that.
This deck came out in 2009 so it is not getting any cheaper, you can find it on eBay for $50 including shipping, and that’s the price I would expect to pay. However, as it approaches the ten year mark, I’m assuming it will become more scarce. Despite the cost, I believe this deck is close to perfect for witchlings to learn with. It’s also great for adults who want a fun deck or who are sick of getting scared by The Tower card. House of cards falling? That’s fine, stuff happens. Everyone dying in a collapsing building? Freaking terrifying.
All images of the Hello Kitty tarot cards shown were found uncredited online. If you know who they belong to please leave a comment so I can credit the source. Additionally, if you know where to find scans of the cards I’m missing (2 High Priestess, 3 The Empress, 4 The Emperor, 7 The Hanged Man, 14 Temperance) please let me know in the comments.