How do I Choose a Deck?

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Etienne & Sage’s Decks

I recently taught a Tarot class at my workplace, and the biggest question was “how do I pick my deck?” It’s different for everyone, but here are some guiding principles I came up with on the spot:

  • Don’t be afraid to just pick up a deck and go, some times impulses can be for a great reason.
  • What kind of images do you want to see on your deck? I knew when I started I didn’t want to deal with people on my cards, in large part because I didn’t want to deal with gender on my cards. There is a deck for everyone out there, from the twee cat decks, to the abstract and geometric.
  • Do the research online, check out images and reviews of decks that you like. If you are looking at images or videos of people handling the deck and you can’t connect with the images? That deck isn’t for you.
  • If the cards you pick deviate from the traditional suites of wands/pentacles/swords/cups, make sure you’re comfortable with the deviations and you understand how that will affect your reading. A lot of deck advice suggests that new tarot users go straight for a traditional Rider-Waite style deck, but if that feels wrong to you, disregard it! Just understand how your deck is different. Make sure you get the guidebook with any decks that are different from your average deck.

Whatever you decide, remember you can always pass on the wrong deck to someone who might find it useful. Or repurpose the deck for art, spells, or teaching. I recently purchased an art nouveau deck and realized I hated it. It wasn’t remotely anything I would feel comfortable with in anything more than very simple readings. So I made it my teaching deck, a deck that I’d be comfortable letting people sort and touch when I’m teaching a program or showing people something about the cards that I think they need to see/touch to understand.

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