Let me introduce you to my tarot decks in order of appearance in my life…
I think I was around 16 years old when I first acquired a Marseilles deck. I have no idea how I got this deck. I do not remember it being a gift or a purchase, but I know I had it. I used to lay out the major arcana cards and just look at them, the pips were a mystery. I don’t think I ever attempted to read with this Marseilles deck, but it started my interest, and I still have it today in my t-shirt drawer.
My next deck, I bought for myself and this was the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini, I must have been around 18 at the time. I fell in love with the art work and I do remember giving readings for myself and friends with this deck but doing it firmly with the book next to me. Although I loved the art, the deck never really sang to me, and sadly I lost The Emperor card (well it was kind of stolen) and so my tarot reading stopped for a few years, this is a whole separate tale, that I will tell in another post.
A few years later, when I was probably at one of the lowest points I have ever been in my life I discovered the book Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack. This book recommended I get a Rider Waite deck to start with. so, I did, and so followed a couple of years of more readings for myself and family, mostly with the book on my knee again. I love the Rider Waite deck. I love the way each card shows you a scene from a story and there are lots of images within the cards to help you uncover the layers of meanings. The Rachel Pollack book is still my favorite tarot book today.
I used the Rider Waite for years, mainly just for readings for myself and then as I became more interested in Wicca and Paganism I purchased the Wild Wood Tarot by Mark Ryanand John Matthews. This is a beautiful deck that takes you on a journey both through the ‘Wild Wood’ of our original primeval forest and through the year according to the Pagan/Wiccan/Old Celtic Wheel of the Year. I still use this deck, but I have moved away from it for general reading and do a reading at each major sabbat with this deck instead.
Around the same time, I purchased this deck I also bought the Druid Plant Oracle deck by Philip Carr-Gomm. This deck was purchased purely to combine my interest in both herbs, wild flowers and trees and tarot. Knowing the properties of some of the herbs, flowers and trees already greatly helps when reading with the deck, and I tend to use this deck when I want to do a healing reading, or a reading that I know the question is one of emotions. Tarot decks are like books to me, in that tend to find me at the right place at the right time for that deck, and I might use them every day for months and then put them away again.
I then had a bit of gap here of a few years, I certainly had enough decks to be getting along with, but then my interest in tarot picked back up. I had not long had my second baby, and as can sometimes happen after having a child I felt I had lost my identity a little. So, I turned to my trusty cards for guidance. I purchased another Rachel Pollack book, Tarot Wisdom; Spiritual Teachings and Higher Meanings and took a for the first time into some of the more esoteric tarot meanings. I still have not plucked up the courage to try a Golden Dawn/Thoth deck.
My next deck was The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans, and it was Pinterest that got me hooked for this. Again, and again, I would see the imagery and it sang to me. This is a very different type of deck, no people, limited colour and it feels very intuitive. I have done some excellent readings with this deck, and some of the cards have resonated with me in a way different to the RWS decks. However, I got this deck and know I had to go back to the beginning and really get my ducks back in a line before I went off again into another deck. I want to be a more intuitive reader, but I know (and this is right for me but will not be for others) I need to feel a good grounding with my knowledge before I feel confident to trust my intuition enough to venture properly into this deck, and I have to say it slightly overwhelmed me. With the Wild Wood and Druid Plant Oracle, I had a foundation in the archetypes of the wild wood, the wheel of the year and knowledge of some of the plants, with The Wild Unknown this felt like a beginning.
Then, on a complete whim I purchased the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot, and I love this deck. It is a Rider Waite clone deck with a playful, seaside, mermaid theme and it has made me fall in love with tarot again without overwhelming me. It is diverse, friendly and accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of the RWS deck and I have done some great readings with it, and strangely I feel more able to trust my intuition, as it feels friendlier. This deck will not be everyone’s cup of tea by a long shot, but for a ‘card a day’ reading I love it.
My last deck purchased very recently is the Llewellyn Classic Tarot. I bought this to go along with the book Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova who also has a wonderful tarot blog Little Fox Tarot. This book and deck are part of my mission to reconnect with the tarot basics and to take my readings to a more insightful level. The Classic Tarot follows the RWS tradition but is more natural, and the images speak to me more freely. It doesn’t overwhelm me, it is approachable in both the symbology and developing my own intuition, I am enjoying working it very much.
I do however have major deck lust for the Asherah Tarot.…but I believe this is a Thoth based deck, and the Ophidia Rosa deck, which just looks so beautiful and speaks to the gardener in me, but I am sticking to the decks above (for now) and keeping off Pinterest!
What are your favourite decks?