How To Choose a Tarot Deck

Buy them all. Seriously, the first deck is really just a gateway the next one, and the next one. I have been good about not over doing it but the temptation is definitely there!

Are you getting ready to buy your first deck? There are a few things to consider in your shopping. Mostly, though, the choice of deck is very personal and intuitive.

Tarot Artwork

The artwork is a big factor for me. Do the colors, the scenes, and the characters resonate with you? Is the level of detail in the paintings deep enough to give you enough elements to work with in readings?

The language of the subconscious is symbolic. Written language is not the primary means of communication. A tarot card filled with detail can give your subconscious lots to work with in the reading process.

Tarot Themes

While detailed pictures can be helpful so is the character or theme of the deck. A particularly dark or sinister deck may appeal to some but turn you off completely. The cards need to be able to inspire you to find fresh perspectives you can weave into a helpful narrative.

I really enjoy the Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo. The images are quite traditionally tarot. There is also something about the way they are drawn which I find pleasing.

Another I really like is the Haindl Tarot deck. The images are not traditional at all, relating to spiritual practices all over the world. My work with this deck has been very successful.

I started with the Haindl Tarot because of the imagery and the helpful captions printed on the individual cards. While I was still trying to figure out what the “right way” to read tarot cards was the captions were (and at times still are) helpful reminders.

Steps to Choosing a Tarot Deck

  1. Traditional vs Non-traditional Do you have strong feelings about using a deck which looks like a tarot deck? Or are you open to tarot card illustrations which might be nothing like traditional decks.
  2. Find a store or friend with a selection of decks you can handle. You really do need to see a sample of the cards in the decks. If you can’t find any to see in person look for samples online. This makes discovering how the cards physically feel difficult. I didn’t realize how important the texture, weight, and stiffness of the cards were to me until I bought a deck I hadn’t handled physically. There was something about the card stock which was just not satisfying!
  3. If you can look very closely at the cards with a quiet mind. Do you feel excited? Maybe your hands have a little buzz of energy in them?
  4. Notice what thoughts or images pop up for you. Is there an intuition you get from the cards? Maybe there is no feeling and the cards leaves you flat?
  5. Do you work with spirits/entities? What are they communicating? In fact ask them if the deck you are holding is good for you. Draw a card and notice not only the card but what you experience!
  6. Buy the deck you when you feel the connection.

Magick and Energy Work with Tarot Cards

Another consideration is whether or not you will be using the tarot deck for more than divination. The symbols and themes of a deck can deployed for doing ritual or spell work. Make sure to keep this in mind when looking at decks.

The more I can relate to the images the better when it comes to energy/magick applications. Though this still isn’t enough. The cards should also help facilitate your intention. They are helping weave a story of intention which you are energizing, maybe, with the help of spiritual entities to release into the universe.

If the cards are not congruent with your intention you may have troubles. At the very least your work fizzles. This is a good reason to have a nice library of diverse decks. Take your time to find the right deck for what you want to accomplish.

Selecting a tarot deck is a very personal experience. So personal people often won’t let anyone touch the cards of deck they own. Sure at one level we are holding cardboard with ink in our hands. Nothing is ever so simple. The depths and possibilities of that card board and ink can feel like a doorway into another universe.

Enjoy your journey finding your tarot deck. Feel the excitement. Tell your story.

Tarot cards in the above image from Universal Tarot, Lo Scarabeo.