For the novice Tarot reader, selecting a Tarot deck can be incredibly overwhelming. There are literally hundreds and even thousands of different Tarot decks to choose from, all with their own symbolism, energy, stories, mythology and artwork. What’s more, there are also oracle cards and wisdom cards that are often included under the Tarot card banner.
So, where do you begin? How do you sift through the vast array of choices to find your perfect Tarot deck?
Here are 9 ways to select a Tarot deck that’s perfect for you:
1. Look for a Personal Connection
Go to a store and handle all of the Tarot decks that are on display. What energy do you pick up from the deck? Is there a personal connection between you and the Tarot cards? I know it sounds simple, but choose a deck that feels right for you and that keeps getting your attention.
2. Study the Appearance of the Cards
Take a good look at the Tarot cards within the deck. What is your first reaction to them? Do the colours and patterns appeal? Are you drawn to the images and the artwork? Can you look at the picture and decipher a meaning for each card? Look at both the Major and Minor Arcana cards, as sometimes the Minor Arcana may be rather plain compared to the Major Arcana. Look at the backs of the cards, too.
3. Find Out What Information is Available
The majority of Tarot card meanings books are based on the Rider Waite deck, so if you want a Tarot deck with a tonne of information available, the Rider Waite deck is the way to go. The Crowley Thoth deck is also featured in a number of good Tarot books. For other Tarot decks, you will often have to rely only on the Little White Book provided alongside the deck, or on your own knowledge of symbolism, numerology, astrology, mysticism, etc. to interpret the cards.
4. Consider Your Experience Level
If you are new to Tarot, you may prefer a Tarot deck that is widely referenced in Tarot books, such as the Rider Waite deck, and that has simple-to-understand symbols and pictures. If you are more advanced in Tarot, you may be drawn to more conceptual Tarot decks, or those with complex meanings and symbolism.
5. Find a Size That Fits
Different Tarot cards come in different sizes. This is particularly important for when you handle and shuffle the cards. If the cards are too big or too small, they may be too clumsy for you or your clients to handle. So, before selecting a deck, handle the cards and practice shuffling them.
6. Determine Your Purpose for the Cards
Will this deck be your main Tarot reading deck, or is it a collectors’ item? As a deck for Tarot reading, it will be important that you are able to learn and connect to the meanings of the Tarot cards, so check what resources are available to you to interpret the cards. If you are reading with the Tarot deck just for yourself, select something that you personally tune into. If you are reading for others, you may want to select a deck that is appealing to the client and that is easy for them to understand. (Remember, though, different decks will appeal to different clients.) If it is a collectors’ item, then you don’t need to worry about the availability of interpretations – just pick something that is lovely to look at and that you feel drawn to.
7. Look for Quality
Most Tarot cards will be of a good thickness to ensure that you can continue using them for many years. However, there may be some cheaper reproductions that are not of such a good quality and the cardboard may tear easily or become damaged much more quickly. Best to avoid these cheaper types if you are planning on using the Tarot cards regularly.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Buy Your Own
Some say that Tarot cards should only ever be a gift to you. However, I think it is perhaps more important to find a deck that is a perfect fit, so don’t be afraid to buy your own Tarot deck rather than waiting for someone to give one to you. If you do have a birthday coming up though, find your perfect Tarot deck and drop a few hints!
9. Read the Reviews
We are blessed with websites such as Aeclectic that provide detailed reviews on almost every Tarot deck that has ever been made! Also try Tarot Passages. On these websites, you can usually view sample card images, read objective reviews and find out the specifications of the Tarot decks.
Where to From Here?
To help you get started, I have compiled my recommended list of 10 of the best Tarot decks.
And when you are ready to purchase your Tarot deck, I recommend:
Remember, it’s OK to change Tarot decks later on. In fact, many Tarot readers use many different Tarot decks, depending on who they are reading for or what they feel like on the day. For me personally, I have always stuck with the Rider-Waite deck, but each to their own I say!!
PSST... Do you want to create a personal and intuitive connection with each and every Tarot card and ultimately become a better Tarot reader? In January, 2015, I'll be opening the doors to my signature program, TF1: Master the Tarot Card Meanings, and you're invited!