Question Two & First Tarot Decks
Do you still have your first tarot deck? Do you even remember it? We’ll I hope so, because we’re continuing our 30 Day Tarot Challenge. Today’s topic is all about your first tarot deck. There’s quite a few strong opinions about where your first tarot deck should come from, who should give it to you, or even what system that deck should use. Okay, maybe there isn’t a particular system bias, but I couldn’t help adding to the lore. Whether you have taken the plunge and gotten your first tarot deck, are looking for a new one, or just plain find yourself addicted to acquiring tarot cards today’s topic is just for you. So, without further ado, I give you my first tarot deck.
Here’s today’s question:
What was your first deck and why/how did you get it?
Since I’ve talked a little bit about how I got my first tarot deck in my previous post, I figured I’d start there for a little recap. For those who haven’t read question one’s post, I received my first tarot deck as a gift. The deck was an addition to my collection of playing cards, after my mother went to New Orleans. Most of my family and friends gave me playing cards as gifts, and I just so happened to take a shining to tarot cards. I desperately wanted a deck, and at the time, I wasn’t disappointed with my mom’s gift. I’m still not disappointed with the gift itself actually. Anyway, I’m jumping ahead of myself. My first deck was, wait for it, this one. Tarot: The Complete Set by Dennis Fairchild. And, at one time, this was the only deck I knew of.
Looking at this deck from my vantage point now is much different than when I first got it. The deck seemed the perfect size for me back then, but now I feel like it’s quite small. For me, the art is minimalist while having a cartoon quality to them. How I ever used this deck in my ritual work, I’ll never know. These cards do still seem to have the residual power of someone beginning and refining their practice though, so that makes me smile. The cards have one nice feature that spoiled me as a beginner though, that of color tipped edges. The corners of each card are marked with a single color and vary suit to suit. This helped me initially learn correspondences or even which cards were Major Arcana initially. There are pluses and minuses to every deck, and this one has a healthy mixture. I’ve always hated the card backs for example.
In retrospect, this probably wasn’t the best deck to learn from. I barely understood the more traditional meanings of the cards, even with applied dedication. But, I did adamantly want to learn tarot. At the time, this gift was perfect as it allowed me to begin my journey with tarot. What’s interesting is I ultimately learned how to incorporate tarot cards into spell work or ritual work. Nowadays, I think I would have a difficult time learning that if the situation were reversed. I suppose decks do find us for a reason, whether or not we choose them or someone else selects them for us. There are certain themes that stand out to me at times with decks that seem to find me though. While this may be a more personal observation, that’s what these posts are for.
So, when I look at this deck now, I realize an interesting thing. The deck seems to be somewhat of a hybrid deck. By that, I mean it incorporates elements of both the Rider-Waite Smith and Marseilles tarot decks. The Minor Arcana are not pips, but because of the minimalist style, they almost could be. Now, I have a Marseilles deck, and I do have a few more hybrid decks, but at the time, I didn’t even know about pip cards. I literally thought all decks were designed like mine. Looking at things now though, I can’t help but wonder if a borderline hybrid deck didn’t impact the way I view tarot systems. The whole thing did significantly impact my desire to learn tarot, and ultimately, tarot systems for interpreting the symbolism involved.
There are a few funny memories I have with this deck. This was the deck my father discovered, along with my copy of Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, as I was packing my suitcase. Totally shoved out of the broom closet on that one. Never heard the end of it. This is also the deck that I used as a travel altar before knowing what one even was. I distinctly remember the moment someone accepted my love of tarot, because I’d brought this deck with me. That was my first experience with someone’s approval of my path. The impact of this deck was both instrumental in my practice as a witch and my journey with tarot. They were cohesive, impossible to separate, and I’m very grateful for that. Everything started with this deck, and I’m so glad it did.
So, what was your first deck?