If you’re looking at purchasing your first tarot deck, you’re probably wondering how to find that perfect set just for you. While there’s no way to predict what deck you may ultimately choose, having some criteria before making a purchase can help. Tarot decks are often a more pricey purchase for younger witches, so it’s important to try and get it right the first time. Here’s a list of ten things to help you find your ideal tarot deck. But remember, the list is just food for thought!
Ten Questions To Ask When Purchasing Tarot Cards
1. Do I Want A Traditional Tarot Deck Or Is A Non-Traditional Deck Okay?
First, it’s probably best if you want a traditional deck or non-traditional deck. This is made slightly complicated by how you choose to define traditional. For some, the traditional tarot is exclusively the Rider-Waite tarot. Others might include decks that are simply artistic variants of the Rider-Waite, or even different decks like the Thoth Tarot. Time seems to be a good way to determine these ‘classic’ decks. If you want one of these great, but keep in mind the symbolism may not transfer deck to deck.
2. Do I Want Something Fun Or Something More Serious?
Some witches approach tarot as a sacred way of connecting with deity. Other witches see tarot as a divination tool to be used freely. Some witches are a little bit of both. Before you select a tarot deck, you should know where you fall within this category. Do you want to see the divine in the form of Hello Kitty? If not, you’re probably best not going with the Hello Kitty Tarot. But, if you’re going to be a little more strict in your choices, try to understand what is okay and what’s not okay. You might be surprised by how handy this is in the long run.
3. Do I Want Illustrated Minor Arcana Or Pip Cards?
This is a question many people debate, and I actually think it’s a fun argument. If you’re new to tarot, you may or may not have noticed some cards illustrate the Minor Arcana, while others do not. The cards with simple numbered symbols on the Minor Arcana are called pip cards. When you choose a deck, you’ll need to decide if you want one over the other. A plus to illustrated cards is the symbolism associated with each card. The downside is some argue you can’t move deck to deck with this symbolism. Keep in mind which one you prefer.
4. Do I Want A Certain Art Style?
One of the wonderful things to come with the growing popularity of tarot is the variety of artistic style. Some of these styles may or may not connect with you. If bright colors speak to you, great! But if bright colors hinder you, this is something to be aware of before choosing a tarot deck. Personally, I like darker themes, but that’s just my preference. Also, if you’re choosing this deck to read for others, keep in mind the undertones! If all your art is dark and sad, this will come across in the mind of your friend or the person you’re reading for.
5. Do I Want A Certain Theme To My Cards?
There are plenty of decks now that have a specific theme in mind. These can be anything from certain mythological creatures, to crystal correspondences. Some tarot decks are even oriented toward certain Traditions of Wicca or witchcraft. When selecting a deck, it’s important to decide if you want a specific theme. Also, if you do, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with the deck if you changed Traditions. A tarot deck often becomes a personal choice, filled with personal symbolism. It might not be so easy to replace that if you change your mind later.
6. Do I Want My Cards To Be A Certain Size?
If there’s one trait you want your deck to have, it’s usable. You want your cards to fit your needs the best the can. So, don’t just buy a deck because it’s pretty. Spend time considering the size of the cards themselves. Are the cards difficult to sort out? Do you want to take your cards with you in a backpack or purse? Try to determine what size your tarot cards should be. It’s worth noting too, if you’re doing readings, if there’s a particular size you want to read with for others. Beautiful decks are great, but use is more important and absolutely vital.
7. What Resources Do I Need My Decks To Come With?
Alright, I admit, this will also depend on the deck, but consider the resources you need ahead of time. Some decks only come with a ‘little white book’ that contains a brief explanation of the card and a couple spreads. If you want more, you need to be aware of that ahead of time and check. Personally, I love receiving a deck that comes with a huge book to read as well. Others, I know, appreciate when decks come with a reading cloth. Just know which of the above your prefer, need, or especially want and factor that into the price you’re willing to pay.
8. Do I Want An Oracle Deck As Well? Should They Go Together?
For some reason, beginners seem to know of tarot cards or oracles cards, not both. Personally, I made this mistake. One day I was looking for a tarot deck, and ended up purchasing an oracle deck instead. A new world was opened to me from that mistake. However, it’s often best to know what you’re getting before you buy it. If you want both an oracle deck and a tarot deck, there are many that share themes, artists, or even come in a set. Try to decide if this is something that interests you, often, sets can save you money to invest elsewhere down the road.
9. How Will You Store Your Tarot Cards?
This is another category that varies wildly individual to individual. Personally, I’m in that group that stores decks in their original boxes. Why? Because I collected too many decks before purchasing a single storage box. Don’t be like me if you want to store your cards in a nice box, wrapped in a cloth, and with a stone on top. If you want to store your cards in a special manner, consider this before buying any cards. You may want to wait to purchase a box for example, to ensure your cards fit. Likewise, you might be able to get a better price on a set that meets your needs.
10. Do You Believe In Purchasing Used Tarot Cards?
Lastly, you should probably ask yourself if you have any views on purchasing used tarot cards. Some people feel very strongly that tarot cards should be new. Others feel that a cleansing before use is all it takes to make a deck ‘new’ again. If price is especially important to you, be sure to consider this aspect of a purchase. You can get some used decks at really good prices, but you need to keep in mind not everyone purchases used decks. This scenario might be more important if you’re purchasing a gift for someone else too. Just keep it in mind, and then ignore what others say… it’s your deck.