Choosing a tarot deck

by Linda Preston

I’m often asked by beginning tarot readers who  find themselves overwhelmed by the hundreds of tarot decks for sale these days for advice on which tarot deck to buy .  Many professionals myself included recommend that beginners should start with the most widely used tarot decks, which are generally thought of as the Rider- Waite Smith group of decks (named after the publisher, the author and the artist, respectively of a widely popular deck first printed in 1909)

You could choose the Rider-Waite, Universal Waite, Hanson-Roberts, Robin Wood, or any number of similar decks in this family. However, some people find that these decks don’t really work for them, and there are many other good choices. Whatever traditional decks you may have for historical or study purposes, it’s important to have at least one whose imagery stirs up strong responses in you so that it will help stimulate your unconscious mind during the reading process.

There are older decks, such as the fifteenth-century Visconti-Sforza and the eighteenth-century Tarot de Marseille, which have an entirely different feel  to them (but normally have minor cards that have only suit symbols – rather like a deck of pChoosing a tarot decklaying cards) The Thoth deck was developed by the notorious  early 20th century magician Aleister Crowley (once dubbed the most evil man in Britain by the press) and artist Frieda Harris, and has become one of the standards among tarot decks, although it’s not one of the easier ones to learn because of its strong esoteric and magical content. Finally, there is a huge range of modern decks, developed with every possible interest n mind, such as herbs, shamanism, Wicca, feminism, animals, faeries, gemstones, Arthurian legends, various cultures of the world and Greek mythology, just to name a very few.

I would suggest getting one of the traditional decks, for study if nothing else, and another deck that appeals strongly to your visual/artistic sense and personal interests. The comparison between them will be interesting, and you may learn a lot from both the differences and similarities between them.

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Posted on Wed 29th Jun 2011 22:25:09