So, you’ve been bitten by the bug. You’ve found Tarot decks fascinating and you want to learn more about them. Maybe you’ve had a reading, maybe not. Either way, you know that you want to learn more about Tarot and perhaps start learning how to read the cards. At this point, though, you probably have the question that most of us did at the beginning: Where do I start!?
When starting the journey into Tarot few people go in realizing how deep the rabbit hole goes and just how large the world of Tarot is and how intimidating it can be to get started. For many, the intimidation sets in when they go to purchase their first deck. If you’re anything like me you are fascinated and when you go to purchase a deck all of a sudden you see hundreds of them and each one looks dramatically different. Suddenly what seemed like an easy task feels gargantuan! This step is honestly the most important step in beginning your Tarot journey.
Choosing a first deck is what the majority of this post will be about. I will actually be continuing this as an entire series of starting Tarot.
When it comes to picking your first deck there are a few things to keep in mind. First off: what style of art do you like? Is there something you are particularly drawn to? Second: trust your intuition. Tarot is all about intuition and digging deep and trusting what that inner voice is telling you.
So, when I talk about art: the art matters. Many people new to Tarot think that it’s the number, the suit, or the name that matters. This is only partially true. The art is incredibly important. The art will inform your readings. It will inform the meanings you see in the card. It will also affect your ability to connect with the cards. I have purchased decks before because I thought they were pretty or because their subject matter was something I liked (The Hobbit Tarot comes to mind) and yet, I couldn’t connect with them to read them. The reason for this is that I wasn’t drawn to the art.
When I say to listen to your intuition, this is what I mean. When it came time to buy my first Tarot deck I was torn between three possible options, which are shown below:
I had Tarot decks before I went to purchase my first, but they were gifts or free ones I printed. I wanted something that I could claim as my own, something that uniquely fit me. When looking at these three decks I found that I absolutely loved the art of all three. I stood in my local bookstore staring at the three side-by-side for at least half an hour. I was so torn on which one I should get. I finally decided on the Gilded Tarot because it was my favorite artwork. I got halfway up to the counter to check-out and turned around. I kept getting this nagging feeling I was making the wrong choice. Eventually I chose the Revelations Tarot, sure this time that I was choosing the right one. Again, I got halfway up to the counter and turned around. Finally I stared at the three side-by-side again. I stopped thinking about the art, I stopped thinking about what I wanted, instead, I took a moment and grounded myself and decided to focus on which one called to me. Which one was my intuition guiding me towards. When I thought on this I noticed that I kept going back and back and back again to the Witches Tarot. It wasn’t my favorite of the three, in fact, it was probably my least favorite in terms of art style. Yet, for some reason I kept going back to it.
So, I trusted my intuition and took the leap and purchased the Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan. What an amazing choice that was, too! At this point I had already been learning Tarot for quite some time. I’d been studying the symbolism and numerology of the cards for years, yet I always wondered why I just couldn’t connect to my cards in the ways some did. When I opened this deck I knew I was on the verge of something new. I immediately connected with these cards. The images practically screamed at me! Readings suddenly made sense. I didn’t feel like I was trying to interpret a foreign language, rather these cards were speaking my language.
This is why deck choice matters so much. When going to purchase your first deck, don’t set your mind on what you are going to get or what you want. Go with what calls to you. Follow your intuition. It may not be the one that would have been your first choice. It may not even make sense to you why you are being drawn to this particular deck. Trust your intuition, though. It will not guide you wrong. Choosing the correct deck for you will make learning the Tarot a much less daunting and much easier proposition. Choosing the wrong starting deck for you could lead to frustration. So much, in fact, that you end up giving up altogether.
Stay tuned for my future Starting Your Tarot Journey series!