For the novice Tarot reader, selecting a Tarot deck can be incredibly overwhelming. There are literally hundreds and even thousands of different Tarot decks to choose from, all with their own symbolism, energy, stories, mythology and artwork. What’s more, there are also oracle cards and wisdom cards that are often included under the Tarot card banner. So, where do you begin? How do you sift through the vast array of choices to find your perfect Tarot deck?
1. Look for a Personal Connection
Go to a store and handle all of the Tarot decks that are on display. What energy do you pick up from the deck? Is there a personal connection between you and the Tarot cards? I know it sounds simple, but choose a deck that feels right for you and that keeps getting your attention. (If you don't have a local store you might also consider downloading an app on your phone. You can read more about my favorites HERE)
2. Study the Appearance of the Cards
Take a good look at the Tarot cards within the deck. What is your first reaction to them? Do the colours and patterns appeal? Are you drawn to the images and the artwork? Can you look at the picture and decipher a meaning for each card? Look at both the Major and Minor Arcana cards, as sometimes the Minor Arcana may be rather plain compared to the Major Arcana. Look at the backs of the cards, too.
3. Find Out What Information is Available
The majority of Tarot card meanings books are based on the Rider Waite deck, so if you want a Tarot deck with a ton of information available, the Rider Waite deck is the way to go. The Crowley Thoth deck is also featured in a number of good Tarot books. For other Tarot decks, you will often have to rely only on the Little White Book provided alongside the deck, or on your own knowledge of symbolism, numerology, astrology, mysticism, etc. to interpret the cards. Look to see if there is a full companion book available.
4. Consider Your Experience Level
If you are new to Tarot, you may prefer a Tarot deck that is widely referenced in Tarot books, such as the Rider Waite deck, and that has simple-to-understand symbols and pictures. If you are more advanced in Tarot, you may be drawn to more conceptual Tarot decks, or those with complex meanings and symbolism.
5. Find a Size That Fits
Different Tarot cards come in different sizes. This is particularly important for when you handle and shuffle the cards. If the cards are too big or too small, they may be too clumsy for you or your clients to handle. So, before selecting a deck, handle the cards and practice shuffling them if you can. If you can't try to look for videos on YouTube where they do unboxing videos. Most will comment on the size of a deck at some point in their video.
6. Determine Your Purpose for the Cards
Will this deck be your main Tarot reading deck, or is it a collectors’ item? As a deck for Tarot reading, it will be important that you are able to learn and connect to the meanings of the Tarot cards, so check what resources are available to you to interpret the cards. If you are reading with the Tarot deck just for yourself, select something that you personally tune into. If you are reading for others, you may want to select a deck that is appealing to the client and that is easy for them to understand. (Remember, though, different decks will appeal to different clients.) If it is a collectors’ item, then you don’t need to worry about the availability of interpretations – just pick something that is lovely to look at and that you feel drawn to.
7. Look for Quality
Most Tarot cards will be of a good thickness to ensure that you can continue using them for many years. However, there may be some cheaper reproductions that are not of such a good quality and the cardboard may tear easily or become damaged much more quickly. Best to avoid these cheaper types if you are planning on using the Tarot cards regularly. There are also decks out there that are notorious for using thin cards stock, so be sure to follow TIP #9 to help with that.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Buy Your Own
Some say that Tarot cards should only ever be a gift to you. However, I think it is perhaps more important to find a deck that is a perfect fit, so don’t be afraid to buy your own Tarot deck rather than waiting for someone to give one to you. If you do have a birthday coming up though, find your perfect Tarot deck and drop a few hints! I tend to buy my own, because most of the time what I like varies like the season. However, my kids have been around me long enough that they have gifted me with some really amazing decks that I didn't have! Some places, like this shop in Nashville have a really good selection of cards.
9. Read the Reviews
Reviews are a great place to start. On most review websites, including this one, you can view card samples, read about the packaging, card stock, and guide books. You can find our list of reviews HERE and you can also pop over to Aeclectic which is a site that provides detailed reviews on almost every Tarot deck that has ever been made!
This isn't the be-all, end-all list of tips, but they are some of the ones that I think are the most important. Are there any tips that you have that we missed? Share them in the comments below!
24 years of tarot experience, 20 years experience as a mom, and a lifetime of knowledge is just rattling around in here!