We can all agree that tarot is rad, but how do you select the right deck for yourself? In this post I am going to share with you a few easy steps on how to get well acquainted with a tarot deck.
Step 1: Where to Buy A Deck?
There are so many places both online and in store to buy tarot decks. Researching your area for occult shops is a start and good ole’ google cannot do you wrong also. If you have friends who read tarot or maybe there is a tarot reader you admirer, you can always reach out to them for guidance. Also, Etsy has some great decks as well. They even sell vintage decks that are no longer in print. Just make sure before buying a used deck that you cleanse it really well before using, for the former readers energy may still be trapped in the cards. At the end of this post I listed a few of my favorite paces to not only buy tarot decks, but other withy things as well. During your search for your tarot deck, make sure to notice competitive pricing. Some stores sell the same decks so make sure to compare prices on a few platforms before purchasing. I’m all for shopping smart and cost-efficient, for why not?
Step 2: Choosing The Right Deck
Before you can read tarot you need to buy a deck, obvi thats a given, but what type of deck? I believe like crystals or basically any other divinatory tools you use in your practice, that they choose you. Kind of like in Harry Potter and how the wands choose the students. This is how a tarot deck works. Our intuition is strongly connected to the tools we choose to work with, for they quickly become a part of our soul in this life.
I suggest before deciding on a deck to browse online at different tarot decks. There are hundreds of different decks out there, but not all of them speak to us. One of my first decks I bought, I actually found the images on Pinterest. It was the Gustav Klimt deck that was laminated in gold that struck me. Plus, Gustav Klimt is one of my favorite deceased artist. Though I love this gorgeous deck, I personally would not start out using this deck until you understand the meaning of the cards first. Many decks out there are more caricature decks like this one, which are absolutely fine, but if you a beginner to tarot it may be hard to read or understand the cards until you are more familiar.
However, there are no rules in divination so totally buy whatever desk speaks to you. A good way to start is to buy two decks if you are drawn to a more untraditional deck at first, but still want to understand the imagery. One of these decks being, the Rider Waite-Smith, for it is the traditional OG of all tarot decks and is the easiest to learn from if you are just beginning. The other deck can be of your choosing so you can practice with both at the same time, navigating your way around both.
Once I became familiar with my Rider Waite-Smith deck I was able to venture out to other decks and read friends and family with both successfully, before I started to read professionally years later. Sometimes we get so caught up in a deck just for the imagery that it eventually does not become used for its purpose. Do not have your special tarot decks sit in the dust, build a relationships with it by incorporating it in your practice.
Step 3: Social Media
Social media is now the best way to find new tarot decks in my opinion. Over the past two years, Instagram has been my main inspiration for finding decks and getting excited about new ones from my favorite witches. My main deck I religiously read from and is my favorite tarot deck that I own, is the Spolia Tarot. Spoila Tarot is a collage inspired deck created by illustrator Jen May and tarot reader Jessa Crispin. I found this deck through a post on Catland’s Instagram. Catland is an occult witch shop in Brooklyn that I have been going to for years and now am starting to teach classes there. Once I saw a few images of the Spolia Tarot online, the deck instantly resonated with me and the next day I went to the store and bought the deck like any impulsive Aries would. Did I mention that magic is immediate? I love this deck, because they include the zodiac signs and the four elements. Astrology and tarot are sisters, so it feels natural to incorporate them together as I read tarot to not only myself, but my clients.
Instagram has also connected me with several other decks. Earlier this year I bought both versions of the Kristine Fredheim’s Soul Card tarot decks. Again these decks are for more advanced readers, but the designs are simplistic brilliance of line-work illustrated by Cocorrina & Co. The designs on the deck are illuminated and printed in gold foil. They are so captivating and on impact or maybe just pure Aries impulse again, I bought both the black version and the millennial pink deck. I have not used these decks as much as I thought I would, for I am still so attached to my Spolia Tarot, but I have a lifetime to work with them and sometimes I just love to stare at their beauty.
Social media is a business platform that has really helped anyone in a divinatory feudal connection with eachother in a show and tell kind of way. This form of networking is not going away anytime soon. So if there are any witches you follow on social media look out for the tools they are using and from where. This will help you better select a deck, for we are all connected through our interests and maybe you will find something new along the way to inspire your journey.
Step 4: Hand Feel, Size, & Quality
Jumping off the social media bandwagon, Youtube videos are really helpful as well when determining a deck. Many tarot readers use this platform to showcase new decks and review them. Very helpful if you want to see the images of the deck before you purchase, for tarot deck are not cheap so really make sure it is you want so you can make good use of it.
There are many decks that I saw photographed online and they looked cool, but in person the handful did not connect with me or the printing colors looked completely different then when it was photographed.
Size of the cards is also a huge determining factor for me as well. I like my tarot cards to be a certain dimension so they feel more natural in my hand. I made a mistake of purchasing one deck in the beginning of my journey that was laminated and way too big for my hands. Right away I as disappointed and I have honestly only used this deck twice. I will not name the deck, but it is currently sitting in a drawer. However, a friend of mind has this deck and loves it, so for each their own. Most occult stores have tarot decks out of their package, so you can touch and see the deck before your purchase. I love this approach. Also, some of my favorite tarot readers make videos of themselves using their decks online, so you can really see how the deck moves and appears when a reading is given.
Quality is also extremely important and it all depends on how you use your deck. I know when reading clients I need a deck that is not super glossy and has some sturdiness to it. Decks that are too slippery have cards jumping out all the time and can make the art of shuffling look sloppy and unprofessional in my opinion. I stay clear of decks like this, but it is just my personal practice. It does not have to be yours. Again, what feels right for you will speak to you. If you find yourself buying a deck you were not able to try our first hand and you do not connect with it, before you return it ask your friends if they like it for maybe it will resonate with them and you can do an exchange.
Step 5: Connecting With Your Deck
Not that you have your deck, spend some time with it and envision using it in your personal practice. This is the beauty of tarot, is it completely unique to everyone. When I first receive a new deck, I cleanse it with sage or Palo Santo before opening up the packaging. Once that is done and I open it up I wash my hands with Florida Water before I start shuffling through the deck. This is my personal ritual to make sure my new deck is completely devoid of any former attachments. Again, you can create your own rituals or maybe you do not want one and just prefer to tear open the box in pure excitement. There is no wrong answer.
I hope this post gives you a little insight on selecting a tarot deck. In a future post I will talk about how to start using your deck. Until then enjoy the process of finding a deck, this is one of the most enjoyable parts of beginning tarot.