How to Choose a Tarot Deck

Beginning tarot readers may easily be overwhelmed by the plethora of options when it comes to choosing a tarot deck. The leading site for tarot lists over 1,200 decks, and picking one at random or because you like the artwork can lead to great frustration. Following are some tips that will make navigating the numerous choices much easier for the beginner.

Tarot and other similar fortune-telling cards can be divided into three categories: Marseilles type decks, Rider-Waite type decks, and decks which do not follow these prototypes. Marseilles decks are based on the oldest tarot decks and have symbolic pictures on the major arcana, a special part of the tarot deck made up of 22 cards which are intended to foretell strong trends or archetypes in the subject’s life. In Marseilles decks, the remainder of the deck, known as the minor arcana, which roughly corresponds to regular playing cards and is intended to foretell mundane influences, are marked simply with a number and a suit. Marseilles decks are ideal for readers who wish to hew strongly to tradition, or who intend to do readings by referring to reference books for the card meanings and wish to do so quickly. In addition, some readers believe that Marseilles decks are more useful for predicting events due to the ancient energy that has built up around them.

Rider-Waite based decks are by far the most common types of decks on the market nowadays. In the 19th century, an artist named Pamela Coleman-Smith was commissioned to design a new tarot deck which added symbolic designs on the minor arcana. Her deck, which is named for its publishers, caught on quickly because it was much more visual. Today, you can find many variants of the Rider-Waite deck, as well as decks which use original artwork that is nevertheless based on Coleman-Smith’s symbolism. These decks are considered to be excellent for psychological insight, which is an important part of modern tarot readings. For more information, check out Origin of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

Other tarot decks dispense with tradition and re-envision the deck completely. One of the most famous of these is Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, which renames and reorders several cards in the major arcana which are otherwise consistent in both Marseilles and Rider-Waite decks. Other decks dispense with the major and minor arcana in favor of other categories. While these decks can be interesting and useful in their own right, they are not recommended for beginners because they will make transitioning to another deck without learning the fundamentals very difficult.

For most beginners, starting with a Rider-Waite deck is the best choice because the pictures are evocative of the meaning, making it both more intuitive and quicker to read these cards. In addition, most reference materials on card meanings use pictures from a Rider-Waite deck as examples. Once you have familiarized yourself with the meaning of the cards, you can then branch out into choosing decks which are based on the Rider-Waite deck but which have artwork or themes which appeal more to your personal sensibilities. Advanced readers may well move on to a Marseilles deck or one of the more unique decks, but it will be easier to do so after becoming fluent in the most widely used symbolism.

If you cannot easily distinguish the type of a particular deck you are interested in, first determine whether or not it is divided into major arcana and minor arcana. If so, look at the minor arcana cards, which have four suits like a pack of playing cards. Suits in tarot are most commonly listed as pentacles or coins, wands or staves, swords, and cups. If the suit cards merely show whatever the symbol for the suit is, you are most likely looking at a Marseilles-based deck. If they show intricate pictures depicting a theme, it is probably a Rider-Waite style deck.

Psychic and Tarot Reader Alia Moon

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If none of this is applicable, you are looking at a deck that eschews tarot tradition.

Over time, you are likely to find several decks that you feel comfortable with, and some readers end up collecting decks for the sheer joy of it, but starting off with a deck that makes the mysteries of the tarot more accessible is critical to a successful future as a tarot reader, whether you are doing it for fun or professionally.

If you are in the market for tarot cards, check out Buy Tarot Cards where you can buy NEW and USED tarot decks. For a tarot reading sure to impress you, give Psychic Alia Moon. Alia is a talented tarot reader with over 25 years experience. You can contact her at 1-800-888-5523, toll free Canada and U.S.!

We hope this article has been of help to you finding the perfect tarot deck for you.