Choosing your first deck is easy!

I know there are a lot of blog posts about this already. Most of them will tell you to find a deck that “resonates” with you or give you a list of a few good options. I, on the other hand, have a much simpler solution. Just get the standard Rider-Waite deck as your first deck.

The reason for that is that it is the classic deck and it still has the esoteric symbolism in it that is lacking in many more artsy decks. It is also the most used deck in the world and most books, articles, videos etc. will be using this deck when teaching tarot. So when using this deck there is always a lot of source material that you can refer back to. That is not the case with most other decks so it can be very difficult when you are left alone with a short booklet and images that no longer holds the esoteric wisdom in them. Chances are therefore that, if you choose another deck, you are more prone to get stuck and therefore give up more easily.

The Aleister Crowley Thoth deck is obviously an excellent deck, but I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. It certainly is rich in symbolism and it even corrected some mistakes in the Rider Waite deck, but for the most part, to most tarot readers, that isn’t going to matter all that much. If you are heavily into the kabbalah and pathworking and so on, you will need to know about this though. It is probably the deck with the second most material published though. Just be prepared for quite a challenge and a lot of motivation if you start out on this one.

The main strength of the Rider-Waite is that it also has the minor arcana painted with imagery that will give you clues to the “meanings” of the cards. The Thoth deck is a lot more abstract and therefore more difficult to start with.

Having that said, if you get a second and a third deck your choice is going to be a lot harder. Then you can go with whatever you prefer. I have gotten some decks just because I like the artwork. In those cases though, I still use my Rider-Waite knowledge when using those decks. I don’t “learn” a new deck. I use what I already know and and all I have done with the new deck is that I have substituted the physical images. Sometimes they can bring new ideas or perspectives to the table, but when you have that Rider Waite base knowledge you can always return to that and be certain that “everything” is there. If you go for the Thoth Deck I would consider relearning a few things though.

There are some exceptions of course when choosing a deck, for example, if you are taking a course which is recommending a particular deck. I did that myself, but that course wasn’t focusing on the tarot for tarot reading, it focused mainly on the major arcana for contemplating sessions. It was excellent for that purpose, but when I wanted to learn how to do proper tarot readings the minor arcana cards in that deck were too abstract, so I still ended up with having to switch my deck to Rider-Waite when I wanted to learn regular tarot reading.

-Thus spake the Night Spirit


In the beginning…

First of all welcome to my readers to my first ever blog post. It took me just one sentence and I had already lied. I have actually written blog posts before, but only for work and never for any private purposes. I don’t care much for long introductions so I just jump straight to it.

The most fundamental part to being a tarot reader is to have a proper philosophy as a base. If you don’t have that, you have no clue about what you are doing. So before I start on any other topics related to the tarot I have to explain a little bit about how I see the tarot.

Most people see the tarot as a tool for divination or a means to somehow see the future. It is correct that tarot can be used to guide you to the future, but a lot of those requesting readings from professionals take on a very passive attitude towards it. “What will happen to me next?” or “When will I find my true love?” and so on. As a tarot reader you will have to learn to accept that and live with it, but it is not how the tarot works though.

Human beings have a free will, which means that your future isn’t going to be predetermined. True, there are certain dispositions that will limit your course of available actions such as gender, socio-economic status, knowledge and so on, but you still have a wide range of options available to you of how to respond to any given situation. Generally speaking love won’t just come walking in through the door. It can happen, of course, but for most of us it is highly unlikely. And when it comes to the tarot, it isn’t there just to tell you whether or not it will happen to you.

If you have that kind of passive mindset and just hope for things “happening to you” then you are severly underestimating the tarot as a tool. Whether you come from an esoteric background, as myself, or you have a more modern approach (I will write more on what I think about that at a later point) it is common to see the tarot as a great tool for self-development. It can for example help you map out the options available to you and instead of hoping of something passively just happening to you, it can drive you to makeĀ  active decisions and take control of your own life. That is a healthy and empowering way to look at the tarot. So your starting point is in the present (and whatever implication the past has had upon the present) and then it can map out possible scenarios for the future. But it is only a snapshot in time, and it is your own decisions that will shape your own future.

Still though, it can be uncanny how accurate it can be used to describe a situation and later on it turns out that it just happens. Keep in mind though, that even if that is the case, it was probably only one of the possible outcomes, but perhaps you just followed the most probable route.

So my point at the very beginning is that you have the power (and He-Man too obviously) in your own life and no tarot reading is ever going to change that. And that will always be my number one rule and at the core of my tarot philosophy. There is a lot more to tarot philosophy than just that though and more topics will be coming up soon!

-Thus spake the Night Spirit