When I first started reading Tarot, (actually more ‘playing with’ than ‘reading’) I didn’t really know what I was doing or what I should be doing, or even if what I was doing was working.
I remember selecting my first Tarot deck based on what I was drawn to because of what I thought the deck should feel like and what I thought the deck should look like. So the first Tarot deck I chose was in a bright red box with the words “Tarot Deck” emblazoned across the top in yellow, and with the Sun card displayed beneath the words. I realize now that this was my ego-I making the choice, not my intuition and this was not the best way to select a first Tarot deck!!
This AG Muller Gypsy Witch Tarot deck that I ended up with is very much in the style of the Marseille Deck – very colorful, very devoid of symbols, very French – and to this day, I still cannot get the cards to speak to me!! This relationship is definitely going to need some effort if I ever hope to make it work, in fact, these cards refused to share a message with me today!!
Looking back I realize that, whatever Tarot ‘reading’ I was doing back in the early days with the Gypsy Witch Tarot was very superficial – shuffle the cards, lay out the spread (the Celtic Cross spread, of course!!) and read the keywords for each, individual card: Card 1, Me in the reading: two of pentacles = gaiety, recreation, obstacles, agitation (sounds good!!); Card 9, Hopes and Fears: Knight of Swords = skill, bravery (hmmmm, I wonder what I need to be brave about?!?). I got bits of information out of these readings, but not really very much compared to what I now know can be gained from a good reading.
My next Tarot deck was the Aquarian Tarot Deck – an “Authentic interpretation of the medieval Tarot” (according to their insert card). For me the Aquarian Tarot Deck was a more open, easy deck to communicate with. The Aquarian Tarot Deck follows the symbols of the ancient Tarot decks fairly closely, but in a cleaner, more simplified, less confusing manner. This is a deck that I can still easily connect with even though I haven’t used it in a while.
The Four of Swords card from the Aquarian Tarot Deck wanted to share it’s message today – this is a card of rest and rejuvenation. The Swords are all about thinking and ideas, the 4’s are about pausing for a bit, reflecting on or enjoying what has already happened while preparing for what is to come. For me this 4 of Swords card is saying that there has been a recent period involving lots of thinking, lots of ideas, lots of choices, now is the time to pause, to take a break, to rest and take stock of what has been happening, to allow the mind to recuperate and inspiration to be renewed. Not bad for accuracy considering I haven’t touched these cards in years – in fact, that is exactly what I did do today!!
So, how should someone who is just beginning to explore Tarot, select a deck?
There are basically two ways for someone who is just beginning to explore Tarot, to select a Tarot deck:
- use your intuition and select a deck that calls or sings to you, one that you are very strongly attracted to. The upside to this selection method is, if you do select a Tarot deck by using your intuition (and not your ego as I did), you will have developed a strong connection with the deck before you even use it – which means you should be able to do great, meaningful readings from the start. The downside is that if you do end up selecting a deck using your ego and not your intuition (like I did), you will likely have difficulty making an energetic connection with the deck, and your readings will not be as deep or meaningful as they could be.
- select a deck that provides you with enough of the ancient or traditional symbols to really begin to ‘right-brain’ connect with the cards and learn from them. Your right-brain, the side that focuses on intuition, creativity, imagination, speaks in the language of symbols. These cards connect with and draw meaning from your intuition, creativity, etc. (this will be explored further in future posts). Even if you do not consciously focus on trying to understand the symbols, instinctively or intuitively you will unconsciously connect with these deep meanings and slowly begin to understand what the cards and their symbols mean to you. It is quite surprising how easy it is to connect to the deep meanings of these symbols and have the cards really ‘speak’ to your soul!
The deck that I would recommend for anyone who is seriously wanting to become tuned in to the Tarot is the Ryder-Waite Tarot decks, or at the very least the Aquarian Tarot deck.
Ryder-Waite Tarot decks may not be everyone’s first choice in terms of aesthetics, but these decks are some of the best decks for beginners, for two really important reasons:
- these decks are loaded with imagery and symbolism that are centuries old. There is a power or amped up energy in symbols that has been used for centuries; and
- there are so many books written by some amazing Tarot scholars that focus solely on the Ryder-Waite Tarot deck that it is easy to quickly gain some deep insight and wisdom into these cards – and I am finding that the deeper you delve into the symbolism and meanings in these cards, the more powerful the cards become as self-empowerment tools.
As for the Aquarian Tarot Deck, well it contains many of the symbols and imagery found in Ryder-Waite Tarot decks but in a scaled down version. The Aquarian Tarot Deck makes a great alternative for anyone interested in a simplified, less cluttered. but still really meaningful Tarot deck – unfortunately there are not a lot of interpretation books based on the Aquarian Tarot deck so you will need to do a fair amount of ‘interpreting’ or ‘translating’ to gain full insight into the symbolism on these cards – but at least you are heading in the right direction with these cards.
‘Till next time