Wanting a Tarot Deck

Hey Auntie Snark,

I have been looking into getting a tarot deck but have heard that my first deck should be given me. What are the rules for this sort of thing?

Wanting a Tarot Deck to Call My Own


Wanting a Tarot Deck to Call My Own,

Let’s take a look at Tarot “rules” shall we?

  1. Never buy a first deck, it must be given as a gift
  2. Tarot cards must be wrapped in silk when not in use
  3. No one should touch your card but you
  4. Women should not use the cards while pregnant or on her period
  5. Tarot cards allow evil and invite negativity into your house
  6. Tarot readings should not take place after 10 P.M.
  7. True tarot readers are psychic or work with spirits
  8. The cards have one concrete meaning according to their book
  9. One must include the reversal meaning in the reading
  10. Sleeping with your deck under your pillow will help you connect
  11. Cards should be knocked with a knuckle or tapped three times before a reading
  12. Cards should be cleansed once per month

Read the rules? Okay, it is time to throw the nasty little things away or better yet burn them. When it comes to tarot there are no hard rules, except probably cleansing them. Nothing throws shade harder than an uncleansed salty tarot deck, trust me. Oh, and don’t use tarot cards while intoxicated in any manner. Just don’t do it. I know it is tempting to break out your cards and have a reading while you are having fun with friends but it isn’t something that should be done.

When it comes to the cards, you don’t need to have your first tarot deck given to you. That is a dated idea that comes from the time when everyone had a mentor and the first deck a person had was normally from their mentor. I did not have my first deck given to me, I bought it. I even still have a “version”, I lost the original in a tiny house, because I will never not have that deck. I love it so much. I recommend that YOU find a deck that fits you. Worry less about that  “traditional way” to do things and do what fits you.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of cards decks for you to choose from and explore, I swear the husband has about half of them. There are primarily two types of tarot that you can pick from; traditional and oracle. The traditional decks  can be broken into two categories; the Rider-Waite, drawn by Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of the mystic A.E. Waite and first published in 1909, and the Thoth deck, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris according to instructions by Crowley and published in 1969. These decks are distinguished by their number of cards 78; 4 suits make up the Minor Arcana, with 14 cards each and 21 individual cards that make up the Major Arcana. About half the decks that are out there are a Rider-Waite style deck that has had the art style changed and perhaps one or two of the suits.

The Thoth tarot cards are very similar to the Rider-Waite deck. Crowley changed around the astrological and Hebrew letters of some cards along with renaming several cards. As my husband so aptly put it the other night “Thoth tends to have more of a psychological mind-fuck in it because that is just how Crowley is.” There are enough changes to it that if you were to move from a traditional Rider-Waite deck, it may take you a couple readings to adjust to the new cards.

Your other option out there is oracle decks. These things are normally not recommended for beginner but hell, an oracle deck was my first deck and I did just fine. The reason that these are not recommended for beginners is because normally each card has a separate meaning from the others. While traditional decks are grouped into suits which are easier to remember. As I said before, oracle decks can be used for beginners, don’t shy away from them just because people say “it shouldn’t be done”.

Also, although it is tempting to buy a deck that is oh so pretty with stunning art or a pretty box, don’t be lulled into a false sense of SHINY! I have fallen for that trap one or two times and once opening them discovered that they are most definitely cards for me.  For example, Rider-Waite decks do absolutely nothing for me. Never used them, don’t particularly care for them and I have tried when I have been suckered in by some pretty art. You hand me an oracle deck any day and I am a happy little witch. When you find a deck you think  you want to work with, take a minute or two to hold it and really sense the presence of the cards. You can also google image search the deck you are looking at to see even see if the images call to you.

So you have searched and you have found your deck. Now what? I have great news for you! Every deck comes with a little book of joy that outlines the meaning of the cards. Study that book that came with your deck and study and study and study some more. Oh, and cleanse your cards. You can cleanse them by using the moon or any other ritual that you feel is appropriate for you. If you do a cleansing that includes the moon and the sun, you do not want to leave your cards out in the sun for several days, as it tends to fade the ink. After doing all that, you just have to find your first victim and yes, you can read for yourself. My last bit of advice, when you are just beginning, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax and just enjoy.

 Until next time witches! May the brew in your cauldron never burn and your broom never crack.

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