Tarot cards are a tool used by psychics to help focus their gifts and communicate with the querent’s subconscious. The public perception – mainly thanks to movies – is that they are somehow sentient and are possessed of mystical powers. The disappointing truth is that they are inanimate objects that rely on you to make them of any value. However, as your skills develop, you’ll find that your intuitive abilities become attuned to the pictures on the cards and you’ll instinctively know the message that’s being relayed. But every reader has to start somewhere and the first thing you’ll need to do is find your first Tarot deck.
Ask yourself this…
While this might not sound like a tough task, take a wander into any occultist shop and you’ll find that there are loads of different versions of the Tarot cards. The main difference is the artwork – and even this can have a pronounced effect on the way your readings pan out. Before you put your hand anywhere near your credit card, there’s a simple question you should have answered, and one that will have a huge influence on the deck you buy.
What are you using the Tarot deck for?
Although it’s a fairly straightforward question, it can rack up a good few answers. You might be reading only for yourself, it might be for friends or family, you might be reading for kids or you might be taking the first steps into a new career and reading professionally. As much as you need to make sure that the deck you choose has some resonance with your subconscious, you also need to ensure that it’s equally accessible to your querents. While arcane-looking cards might fit your idea of what a Tarot reader should have, it might be that the artwork that appeals to you is more off-putting to those you are reading for.
Yes, you need to get familiar with your tools, but try and choose something that’s relatively neutral. If you’re going to be reading for business executives, look for something that fits their mindset. If you’re going to be reading for children, then choose something that’s not going to keep them sleeping with the light on for the next couple of weeks. While you’re choosing your deck, bear in mind the type of people you are likely to be reading for and use that as your springboard.
Dreams or nightmares?
There are various decks with various names, but the most popular is the Rider-Waite deck. This is one of the earliest published Tarot decks still in use and, as far as the artwork goes, is fairly accessible to everyone. The pictures on Tarot cards are packed with symbolism and every detail seems to have a hidden meaning – which gives them something of a dream-like quality. However, you need to make sure that you don’t choose a deck that could be considered to be slightly more nightmarish by your clients. The chances are that the people you end up reading for will have little or no experience of the Tarot and you want to make it as friendly as possible. The Rider-Waite deck isn’t aligned to any particular faith system or attitude; the cards just offer a simple, if slightly old-fashioned-looking, rendition of the story of The Fool’s Journey.
The Rider-Waite deck
The other benefit of the Rider-Waite deck is the sheer amount of reference material that’s available to you. Most decks come with a little paper fold-out that outlines how to use them. Bin that. The Tarot isn’t something that you can learn from a little set of instructions. Buying a Rider-Waite deck gives you the opportunity to buy a companion book that will help you learn the nuances of the cards, a bit at a time. Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of Rider-Waite resources available on the ‘Net. There’s no point in having the card meanings of your first deck obscured by overly intricate artwork or discovering that their actually part of another belief system. The Rider-Waite is the most popular deck for a reason and while it might not be the deck you end up using the most often, it’s certainly one of the best to get you off the ground.
Have a 'Jedi' Moment
However, it’s not all about the visuals. The word ‘intuition’ is one that keeps popping up with regard to the Tarot. As a reader, you’ll be learning to develop your intuitive abilities; you may as well start now. Although you’ll need to bear in mind the artwork and who your reading for, you can also afford yourself a 'Jedi Knight' moment and stretch out with your feelings to see which decks appeal to you the most. The Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung believed that the cards of the Tarot housed images that appealed to the subconscious.
If you’re torn between two decks, there’s no harm in relying on your ‘gut instinct’ to help you decide which is the one for you. Although your intuitive abilities may be in their infancy, you can tap into them by asking them for your help in this decision. If you keep coming back to a particular deck, then you can take that as a message from your higher self that these are the cards you’re looking for.
An unintentional barrier
The chances are that your first deck won’t be your last. As your skill sets and interpretive abilities grow, you may well want to dip into other decks. You might find that there are others that simply appeal more or you may decide to buy a number of decks, so that you have appropriate ones for different clients. However, your first deck is probably the most important you’ll buy because it teaches you the foundations of your craft and how to tap into your intuitive abilities. Although the temptation might be to go for something a bit different or mysterious looking, part of your job is to empathise with your clients. So you need to be sure that the deck you choose isn’t going to create a barrier between you and the person who is seeking your help.