Trying to choose a Tarot Deck that is right for you can be a bit like walking into a sweet shop; there are so many products, you end up going ‘product blind.’ In days gone by, the Tarot scene was dominated by the Rider-Waite deck; one of the earliest and certainly the most popular deck in Tarot history. However, walk into an occult shop – or even a bookshop – and you’ll find dozens of variations on the theme. So how do you know which one is best for you?
Find A Deck That Speaks To You
There are a number of guidelines for more seasoned Tarot users, the most prevalent of which seems to be to ‘choose the deck that speaks to you.’ For initiates, this isn’t necessarily helpful; if you do hear a deck speaking to you, you’re going to be more inclined to seek the services of a psychiatrist than buy the thing! But on a more serious note, it’s worth remembering that what ‘speaks to you’ isn’t necessarily what’s best for you. It may also be the case that every or no deck speaks to you. For newbies, the whole ‘use your intuition’ thing can be more of a hindrance than a help. Until you’ve explored your intuitive capabilities, it’s often better to cling onto some hard-nosed, practical advice.
Finding the right Tarot Deck for you can be relatively simple, as long as you’re prepared to do a little homework and answer a few questions; nothing taxing, but it will require a level of honesty.
Filter Your Search
The first thing to do is ask yourself why you want a Tarot Deck; what do you intend to use it for? Is it for meditative purposes or do you intend to read with it? If you do intend to use it for divination, then who will you be reading for? Yourself? Others? If it’s for others, will they be children? By narrowing down and defining the purpose behind wanting a Tarot Deck, you’ll also be setting parameters and reducing the number of decks that might be appropriate; you’re already filtering your search.
If you’re buying a deck to teach yourself how to read, then you’d be best advised to get something with bright, approachable art. While most people set out with an idea of revealing the secrets of the universe to a querent, using an arcane and mystical-looking deck – that’s something to aspire to. Just as when you learnt to read, there were big letters with bright, associative pictures, learning to interpret the Tarot is a learning curve and you always need to start with the basics. Far better to go for a deck that’s easy on the eye and through which you can learn the nuances of the imagery than to feel intimidated and baffled by intricate designs.
It’s also worth looking at decks that are based on the Rider-Waite structure, to begin with. There is any number of deck structures, from the Morgan-Greer to the Oswald Worth but, from a practical and learning point of view, there have been more books written about the Rider-Waite deck than any other. It’s one of the oldest and the one that really captured the public’s imagination in the 1920s, so there’s a wealth of learning resources available to support it. Once you’re familiar with the way this system works, you can then start to investigate others; it’s a bit like learning blues guitar and then deciding you want to brush up on your folk skills. It’s all based on the same principles, but the execution is different.
Reading For Yourself
If you’re reading for yourself, you’ve got a bit more licence where the art’s concerned; you can choose something that really appeals. If you’re a beginner, then it’s worth going for something simple and with plenty of reference material to back it up, but if you’ve got some experience under you belt, then you can start to explore the other types of art available. However, it’s worth hanging on to that basic learner deck you picked up; having new cards will allow you to understand the imagery in new ways, but it’s always worth having your originals to compare against.
Reading For Others
If you want a deck so that you can start reading for other people, then you’ve got to think a bit more carefully. You don’t want something with art on it that’s going to intimidate or frighten people; if you’re dealing cards that are riddled with gothic skulls then your querents’ moods are likely to be affected and you may not get a true reading. However, you don’t necessarily want cards that are completely neutral, either.
When you’re using your cards, the imagery is designed to appeal to your querent’s subconscious; you need to choose something that has universal appeal. It’s also worth bearing in mind that those who seek out the services of Tarot readers tend to like arcane-looking art; as well as being a tool through which you can intuit someone’s deeper feelings, a Tarot Deck can also help to set the mood and ambience of a reading. Alternatively, if you’re confident about your skills, you might want to buy three or four decks; that way you can give your client the choice as to which one they feel most comfortable with.
You might also want to consider other types of client. As Tarot once more gathers credibility, it’s being used by a wider spectrum of people; children, business-types, artists and even on adult-themed evenings. Search around and you’ll find that there are decks available for practically every sensibility.
Once you’ve found your way around the Tarot, you’ll probably want to change your deck or simply start adding to your collection; you’ll be ready to spread your psychic wings. By this time, you’ll be more in touch with your intuitive abilities and it’s then that you can start looking for a deck that really ‘speaks’ to you. However, don’t take it literally – any shop-owner that sees you with one ear pressed to his stock is likely to have you thrown out!