Choosing a Tarot Deck

Like any other tool, you must put consideration into finding the deck that is right for you. Or as often time the case, the deck will chose you. Each deck has its own personality and energy to it. You need to find the one that talks to you.

Let me settle one thing right now. There is no one standard deck. A lot of people like to say that the Rider-Waite deck is the "industry standard," but most Tarot readers I know abhor the deck, myself included. Yes, it is a decent beginner's deck because the pictures directly correspond to the definitions, which is why it is used in most Tarot 101 classes (and is the deck used as a sample on Bewitching Ways). But as you get more experienced in reading, you may find yourself wanting a more challenging deck that is more subjective with more open symbolism and art work. Most people serious about reading outgrow the Rider-Waite deck rather quickly. (Now, if this deck works for you, please don't let me dissuade you from using it. This is just my opinion.)

When looking for a deck, go to a store that has samples so that you can actually hold the cards. It is very important to get a feel for them before buying them. It's not recommended that you buy a deck blindly.

You'll want to take a good look at the cards. What is your visceral reaction to them? Some decks are more illustrated or colorful then others. Some have elaborate Major cards and rather plain minor cards. Some cards follow themes such as Lord of Rings, Vampire, Halloween, Shakespeare, etc. What type of decks are you drawn to? What types catch your eye? Which is the first deck you pick up and why? Can you look at the picture and decipher a meaning from each card?

How many cards are in the deck? Not everything labeled "Tarot" is actually a Tarot deck. Some only contain the Major or Minor Arcana and some are oracle decks which have totally different cards and meanings. True Tarot decks contain 78 cards. Always be sure to look at all the cards. Some decks have amazing Major Arcana cards and then have incredibly boring and/or repetitive Minor Arcana (1 cup for Ace of cup; 2 cups for 2 of cups, etc.) If you are a beginner, this repeating pattern for the pip cards might prove to be difficult because it doesn't give you a lot of symbology to go on in your readings.

A word about novelty decks: They can be fun but if you are looking at your cards for spiritual insight and guidance or just collecting for fun, but you might not want to use the Halloween deck or the nursery rhyme deck for true readings.

Next you want to feel the cards. How do they feel in your hand? Are you getting any energy from them? Do they feel natural? Try to shuffle them. I often decided not to get a deck after realizing their size or shape made them difficult to work with. If you are not comfortable with the cards, you won't be comfortable while doing a reading.

I am a firm believer that you will know which deck is for you. I often end up picking one completely different then the deck I intended it buy because another deck called out to me or just felt more right. And finding the right one takes time. It took me years before I found the right deck.

And, you may find yourself changing decks. As you grow more comfortable with the Tarot and you progress in life and with your spiritual path, you may feel the need to work with a different deck. This is natural.

Some people have many decks. I have decks I use strictly for personal use and others that I use for public readings and others that I use for meditative/spiritual work. I let my mood judge which deck I will use on a given day.

Most readers agree that it is important to have a separate deck with which to do readings for others. Each time someone else handles your cards, they leave energy with them. You want to keep the deck you use for your personal readings or spiritual exercises for your use only. If you really like the deck you use, then buy two of them and put them in different boxes or bags so you know which is for your use and which is for public readings.
And not every person can read from every deck. Tarot decks are truly personal things and they won't work the same for each person.

To get an idea of the limitless amount of decks there are, visit Wicce's web site. She gives great reviews and has sample pictures of countless decks. Aeclectic Tarot has samples from about 500 decks to view as well. These sites might help you figure out what your taste in Tarot decks is. There truly is a deck for everyone.

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