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How to Choose a Tarot Card Deck

Updated on November 17, 2009

There are loads of silly myths and folklore surrounding tarot cards, particular which deck you should use, how you should store them and how you should acquire them in the first place. Let's dispel the rubbish right now: There are no rules and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of shite! I started reading tarot cards when I was 12 and over the years one truth stands out more than any other and that is this: Tarot Cards are simply a tool for use in connecting with your own psychism and every individual's method will vary. The cards are not magickal in and of themselves and they are only as effective as the ability of the person interpreting them. The following is meant as a loose guide for those of you wanting to choose your first deck, as well as being a means of (hopefully) debunking some of the sillier myths around tarot itself.

How to Read Tarot!

Gorgeous Tarot Cards!

1. Choose a deck you LOVE

This is the most important aspect of tarot card selection. Do not pick a deck that doesn't move you; you'll lose interest in reading them over time and the only way you're going to get attuned to your deck is by practicing often -- and who wants to practice doing something they don't love? I'm very visual and I tend to pick brilliantly colored decks with loads of artsy graphics that go beyond the typical meaning each card is commonly said to have; this is because the true interpretation of the deck comes from the reader and not the presupposed meaning of the card itself. The more you have to look at, the more opportunity to trigger your subconscious interpretations, and that is really where it's at.

2. Choose a deck that's easy to use / hold.

Some decks just don't feel right in your hands. Personally, I've got very tiny hands and some decks are just too awkward. At the same time, the teeny decks don't feel like they've got enough substance and I tend to go with something in the middle. Width is important too, particularly when shuffling -- you need to have control of your cards at all times; if you don't, you'll be wondering what the universe was trying to tell you when you accidentally dropped half the deck whilst shuffling!

3. Choose a deck that easy to grasp on an interpretive level.

Over time you'll come to interpret your deck in your own way and many cards will take on meanings that vary from the typical "rule book". But if you're just starting out you do need a basic understanding of the general methodology and meanings and cards with traditional arcana are likely going to be easier to remember and research. If you wind up with a deck that's got bizarre arcana you've got no clue about, that's going to make using other decks confusing in the future as you'll need to relearn the basics. Best to start off with the traditional, unless you intend to stick purely to the abstract.

4. Wait for the right cards.

You don't need to visit a specialty shop to get your cards. Nor do you need to have them gifted to you! You can buy them from your local bookshop if you like, it doesn't matter. The important thing is that you feel drawn to them -- and you will, when the right deck appears. If you don't spot a deck you like the first time you go shopping, have a look online or visit another shop. Don't buy a deck unless you really feel drawn to them, it will affect your readings and the rate by which your ability accelerates because we always develop more quickly when we feel comfortable with the tools at hand.


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