I am often asked by others how to choose their first tarot deck. Also, I often see beginner tarot readers purchasing the most “hip” or “instagrammable” deck, all the while being incapable of reading or interpreting it because the symbolism is lacking or unclear. You can find a happy medium while on your hunt for the perfect deck, and I’m here to guide you!
Make sure it resonates with you
First and foremost, the deck needs to resonate with you. When you see the imagery, it should invoke hope and inspiration. If a deck doesn’t resonate with you, you will hate using it. Don’t settle for a deck just because it comes paired with a free book, or simply because it’s the cheapest one on a store shelf. Patience will bring you the perfect deck.
Make sure the card symbolism is clear
Rider Waite is the traditional card style of the ancient tarot. Many new cards adapt their style and design to this original style and it makes reading the cards so much easier! Try and find a deck that takes their unique art style and molds it around the RW standards if you’re a beginner to reading. Most books and online tarot aids revolve around this original symbolism and you’re more likely to begin to understand the cards by heart. And don’t ignore the little booklets that come along with the cards, no matter how small!
So many popular decks these days are impossible to read without training and you’ll find yourself constantly referencing the accompanying text with no idea what the card means. And because the symbolism is so vague, you’ll never grow to comprehend all the hidden meanings that each card contains. A cup drawn on a card is meaningless, but a cup being held by a heavenly hand, overflowing with the waters of love is easy to understand!
Don’t buy used, but gifted decks are a treasure
Never buy a used tarot deck, even if it’s your first deck and you just want to become familiar with the cards. While tarot cards should be cleaned after each use, there is a bad juju that sticks in a used set of cards. Not to mention, they’re bonded to another reader and you’ll never have a good relationship with them.
On the other hand, a gifted deck carries with it an immense weight of magic and love. In fact, the deck I’ve bonded with the most is not even my most beautiful deck but it was gifted to me by my best friend, my brother, and my sister in law. They found it in Venice and thought of me! What a magical gift! It’s the deck I use for majority of my client readings. We have meshed together on a level I do not share with other decks.
Take time to get to know your cards
Sleep with them by your bed. Spend time looking through each card. Write notes about them. Ask them about themselves, ask them to tell you what they think about you. You don’t need to rush into readings because you feel you have to. Form a relationship with your cards and get comfortable with them. Your bond will grow.
Quality Control – Size, Cardstock, and the rest
Check out how the cards feel in your hands. Are they too big to hold comfortable? Are they too small and difficult to shuffle? Is the cardstock a good enough quality to last you a few years of usage? The downside to this point of advice is that you usually can’t test the quality of the cards until after they’re purchased but they make all the difference. I have some cards that are so thin that they stick together when I shuffle!
I hope this list has given you a bit of guidance as you journey through learning tarot. Remember that first and foremost, you need to love this deck and that attachment will improve your reading ten-fold!