Both beginners and experienced tarot card readers ask the questions: How do I choose the right deck for me? This post is purely my personal opinion but I also think it is good advice!
How do I choose a deck? The number one rule for choosing a tarot deck is to choose something that resonates with you! You are the person who will be using the deck. You are the person with cultivates a personal relationship with the symbolism contained within the deck. If the deck does not “speak” to you then you will never really use it or if you do use it you will not feel satisfied with the result. Using your own personal intuition and taste in choosing a deck is the most important thing.
How do I become a good reader? There are qualities to a deck that make for better intuitive reading. I prefer decks that are highly symbolic. While all decks have a corresponding booklet I honestly believe that a good deck with rich symbolism allows any reader to use it intuitively without having to constantly check the book. Intuitive tarot reading takes practice but it also takes a deck that speaks to the reader without needing to use an outside reference. If you are interested in being an intuitive reader then choosing a highly symbolic deck is incredibly helpful.
Do I need a Rider-Waite-Smith Deck? I say only if it speaks to you. The majority of decks are Rider-Waite-Smith derivatives and many books on tarot use the Rider-Waite deck as the example card. If you really get into tarot you are bound to learn a lot about the Rider-Waite deck even if you do not have one. Rider-Waite is great for learning history and the commonly accepted interpretations but as readers we tend to create more personalized meanings of the cards over time depending on how they speak to us. I do think a Rider-Waite-Smith derivative deck is helpful but not necessary.
Can I buy my own deck or must someone gift a deck to me? I heard this rumor before I even got my first deck long ago when I was a teenager. I admit it filled me with a little trepidation but I went ahead and purchased a deck for myself and I must say I am glad I did! Buy the deck that speaks to you. You do not need to be gifted with a tarot deck for it to work for you. Over the years I have bought many decks and have been gifted several as well. I am delighted to say that the first deck I ever purchased is still my favorite deck and the one I use by far the most often.
Do I have to bless my deck? Personally I think the act of shuffling your cards clears their energy and blesses them. For this reason I prefer decks that are small enough to shuffle. Some decks are too big or unwieldy to shuffle and these can be blessed or cleared with intention. I also like to do a small ritual when I get a new tarot deck in order to help attune it to me but this isn’t really needed, it is just a personal preference. I like to say a silent prayer when beginning a reading in order to attune myself to the situation and ask for guidance from my guides and to me this is a regular way to bless your deck. Do what works for you. That is the most important thing.
I am including some photos of different decks of mine. My favorite by far is the Robin Wood Tarot. I just love this deck. The symbolism is clear and there are layers upon layers of depth in these cards. I also appreciate that the symbolism is purposefully pagan as opposed to Christian or from other traditions. The pictures are vibrant which I appreciate; lot of tarot decks are darker than my personal preference.
The Robin Wood Tarot:
The Voyager Tarot is my second favorite deck. It is not a Rider-Waite-Smith derivative deck but is still highly symbolic. It is designed to draw from the collective unconscious and trigger intuition.
The Voyager Tarot:
The Harmonious Tarot is a beautiful deck that was gifted to me many years ago. I love the artwork. I have done many readings with this deck but I find it is much harder for me to work with that the first two decks I mentioned. The soft, pastel colors are soothing and I am forced to really think about what everything means instead of allowing myself to read intuitively. There is rich symbolism in this deck but it does not jump out of the card at me, I need to reach for it. Clearly I prefer the vibrant colors to the lighter colors of this deck.
The Harmonious Tarot:
The Fantastical Tarot is a bit darker and while still rich has not been a go to tarot deck for me. It is gorgeous, the pictures are beautiful, but I prefer not to use it is readings.
The Fantastical Tarot:
The final deck is a small press beginner’s tarot I picked up on a trip. I like that it has keywords and is a basic Rider-Waite-Smith derivative deck. Honestly I cannot recall the name of this deck but the publisher is Tarotannia.
Small press beginner’s tarot from Tarotannia:
I hope you enjoyed this post and appreciate the variety of tarot decks out there! Finding the right deck for you is simply a matter of deciding what you like! I would love to hear and see what some of your favorite decks are!
Astrologer, Reiki Master, tarot reader, and so much more!