Tarot has been around for centuries, and has evolved through out time in to many different images, and systems, but at its core it all remains the same. It is the author and creator of the deck that melds their insights into the tarot at the time of creation, but it all spawns from the same place, with the same meanings and the same foundations.
The tarot deck matters less than the person wielding them. That means, with such a huge list of choices, you can pick anything that your heart desires. Anything that resonates with you, the tarot reader, is the deck what you want. Not what’s suggested. Although, there is good reason for starting with a specific deck, such as the ever popular Rider Waite Tarot.
Choosing a tarot deck among the sea of choices can be overwhelming. This article is written with that in mind, using the same approach we take with customers who come in to our shop to pick their new tarot deck. We make it easy, simple, and fun.
What are you going to do with your new tarot deck?
It seems silly that is the first question we ask, but it’s important. Seeking a tarot deck for a gift for a friend vs a tarot deck to continue your metaphysical studies vs a deck just for fun, are all completely different needs. Each need requiring their own approach. For example, you don’t give the Panda Tarot to a serious student of the occult. But you do get the Hermetic Tarot. Both decks, while well drawn, and both well loved, they represent and speak of completely different realms of mysticism, if any mysticism at all.
It makes sense then, to understand what purpose you have in mind for this new tarot deck. Will you be using it simply for fun? For study? For professional readings? Some tarot decks have nudity, and are not ok for all ages or all purposes. Knowing this first, narrows the list significantly.
How familiar are you with the tarot?
If you are beginner at tarot, the Hermetic Tarot will go over your head. If you adept, you’ll love it. Talk about a brand new world of tarot! Not all decks are created equally, because not all authors are students of the occult. Some just enjoy making tarot decks, and some are devotees of magick and pool their wisdom into their creations. Like Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Deck and the Golden Down Magickal Tarot.
Then we have the most popular, and one of the widely known tarot decks in publication today: the Rider Waite Tarot. A long standing tradition for beginners, but not necessarily the best to start for everyone. The Universal Waite, the Marseille, the Lenormand are all great choices for beginners. But so are fun decks like the Cat’s Eye tarot.
There are also beginner’s tarot kits with books that teach you how to read the cards. (Most tarot decks come with a small companion book that explains the author’s meanings of that particular tarot deck.) Sometimes they contain diagrams for tarot spreads and even bags for storage and pretty altar cloths for your readings.
What spiritual paths or images are you drawn to?
There is a tarot deck for almost every interest. From anime to outer space, steampunk to vampires, even Celtic to Santerian. If you know what path draws you closer to that feeling of being comfortable with your true self, then that’s the way you want your tarot to lean.
Look at what interests you have. Is it with animals? There’s an Animal Totem, the Fantastical Creatures deck, there’s so many cat tarot decks one can lose count. Dragon decks, Horses, pandas, bears, wolves. Do you prefer sci-fi? There are decks based on TV shows, the Cosmos, Cyberpunk, zombies, space ships, and more!
Do you lean towards more Celtic magic? Try to the Celtic Tarot or the Celtic Dragon deck. Do you prefer alchemy? Chaos Magic? Hermetics? Try the Thoth tarot, the Hermetic Tarot, the Brotherhood of Light Tarot.
Want something historical? How about the Visconti Sforzza tarot? The Marseille? The Ettiella Book of Thoth Tarot? So many more to choose from.
Focusing on the perfect deck.
When you have narrowed your list, you should have a small handful to choose from now. Take a look at what’s available, and see what calls out to you. Sometimes it’s the one you can’t stop thinking about, or the one you put down, but now regret not getting. Pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it inspire you? Or does it make you feel confused?
Most tarot decks have images online you can search, to get a larger picture of the overall deck. Use this to gain insight if the deck is truly going to speak to you or not. You should feel some connected with at least a few cards pictured. If nothing resonates, move on.
It may take some time to find the right one. And you might see that you’ll need many different tarot decks depending on what you’re doing, or what kind of reading you are doing. Don’t be discouraged because you didn’t find one right away. There are literally thousands of options, with more added all the time!
Finally, if you still need help deciding, we’re more than happy to help. Chat with one of us and we’ll help you figure out the perfect tarot deck for you. Your tarot deck should make you want to work with it all the time, but don’t let finding one among the thousands of options put you off.
What’s your favorite tarot deck? How did you know it was the one for you?