Question: Do the cards have their own consciousness, and what makes them so?
To condense some awareness of existing spiritual practices, it is possible for a person to be both supported by and/or drained by consciousness of many types.
Monotheists are consciously supported by the consciousness of the prophet and God they worship.
Practitioners of some religions are supported by the consciousness of saints they worship.
Practitioners from mythological cultures draw on the collective unconscious energy of the qualities of their gods and goddesses when they worship via chanting – an activity producing a mental state receptive to energies beyond the immediate everyday state of mind.
Practitioners from earth-oriented cultures draw on the support of consciousness of nature elements such as a direction, a species of plant or animal, and (but not limited to) ancestors through ceremonial practices involving sound and movement.
Knowing this, I neither fixate on nor reject the consciousness of the cards. So many masters have worked with them, that there is possibly a momentum of consciousness behind each one, comprised of whatever the masters worked with in their own practices, and even the consciousness of those masters themselves. I have never found any of that to be a negative phenomenon.
What is important for me to do, is to develop and maintain spiritual boundaries, set intentions when working with the cards, and have a healthy enough sense of self that I have no reason to be worried about being overwhelmed by “other” of any kind. I am also free to invite the support of whatever consciousness I wish, whether or not it is referenced by the cards.