I’ve taught any number of Tarot for Beginners classes. No matter the class, it becomes clear early on that the new gypsies on the block have a number of preconceived notions about which types of tarot cards are the ‘best tarot cards’.
No matter their opinion on what the best tarot deck is, most believe (at first) that once they grasp the best deck, then and only then, can they become the kings and queens of cartomancy.
Now, tarot beginners aren’t the only occultists who have strong views on what the best tarot decks are. So, I’ve put together the most often asked questions and most stated notions (in my experience) regarding the ‘best tarot decks’.
1. Are the best tarot cards purchased or gifted?
Oh my goddess! This a subject of
great hot debate in tarot classes, online tarot forums and FaceBook tarot reading groups.
Some feel the only appropriate way to begin their magickal journey as a top tarot reader is to have a brand spanking new deck whose energy has been unsullied by any mere muggle.
Then there are those who are absolutely convinced the only tarot cards that could even remotely “work” must be a right-of-passage gift from a sage tarot master who is passing along a sacred torch that burns with the mystic knowledge of the ages.
And what about buying second hand cards? Oh the horror! LOL You should see the looks of pure terror from some readers when others tell them of the terrific deal they got on Etsy, EBAY, a yard or garage sale, FaceBook group, etc. Second hand cards? Gasp! It’s an outrage! It must not be done! LOL Whatev. I say buy the best tarot decks for you. BUT, seriously, if you buy a second hand tarot cards deck I urge you cleanse the cards before reading with them.
Since none of the above hypotheses have been proven scientifically or metaphysically, here’s my take on the whole gift vs. purchase debate;
For those who need the untouched cards – I respectfully remind you that approximately 95% of new tarot decks come direct from the factory – usually China. Certainly, someone there, on the cargo ship, the clerk at Barnes and Noble or Amazon Fulfillment, etc. has touched them – at least once.
That said, I caution that if after getting a new tarot card deck you should experience a sudden craving for Orange Chicken, help should immediately be sought. This is a clear indication your deck has surely been cursed by the dark forces behind Panda Express.
All joking aside, if only a ‘pure’ deck will do then you’ll definitely want to energetically cleanse and clear your new tarot cards deck.
- For those who need a gifted tarot deck – You could be waiting many years before finding a tarot master who will engage you as a sorcerer’s apprentice and have you waxing on and waxing off until such time as you’re ready.
That said, there is a wonderful power in tradition and ceremony. Whether by a tarot master who’s used the deck for many years or by a loving friend or family member who buys you a brand new, unopened deck – having a tarot deck gifted to you means that you begin your tarot journey from a place of love and support. And that’s beautiful!
Additionally, there is also something to be said for working with a deck which has been ‘energetically calibrated’ for fine tarot readings. This, of course, assumes that the tarot reader who gifted the deck to you is/was a highly ethical, attuned, and accomplished practitioner.
Also, it should be noted that some tarot readers ask clients to shuffle the cards while others do not. So, let’s say that the tarot master who gifts a deck to you is/was a reader who put the cards in their client’s hands.
There are readers who never, ever cleanse or clear their tarot cards – they believe Spirit, the gods, the goddess, Source, angels, spirit guides, etc. know exactly how everything will unfold and have prepared the deck in advance. To shuffle or cleanse the cards after a reading would, in their opinion, mess with the divine flow and order of future tarot readings and their outcomes. This means you’d get a deck that was infused with many different energies.
Then there are readers who energetically cleanse and clear their tarot cards between every reading – whether they allow clients to touch them or not. And, there are many readers who never, ever, E.V.E.R. allow client’s to touch their tarot deck(s). This means you’d get a deck which ‘technically’ has only the gifter’s energy and Spirit’s energy in it. I say ‘technically’ because everything is energy and vibration and every absorbs energy from everything and everybody else but there’s no need to go down that esoteric and existential rabbit hole. 😉
2. The best tarot decks are the traditional 78 card kind – like Rider Waite.
Then there are always tarot elitists who insist that real tarot readings can only be given with a 78 card tarot deck. And that it must have a major and minor arcana. They vehemently argue that the use of any other type of deck (especially oracle cards) desecrate the hallowed traditions of the Orphic occupation itself.
For the elitists – Remember what happened to the Malfoys in Harry Potter? Think about that. 😉
Yes. Traditional tarot card decks can produce awe inspiring tarot readings. But I’ve seen many a tarot reader give epic readings using a ‘tarot-lite’ deck – oracle cards. Oh the much maligned oracle cards and readers. They get a bad rap by tarot elitists. And, yes. I know this is an article about tarot cards and decks and I threw oracle cards into the mix – tomato, tomahto.
But, here are some things to consider regarding ‘non-traditional tarot cards’…
A. In my opinion, tarot readers who simply learn the tarot card meanings and tarot layouts – then give clients information based solely on their stored knowledge of the card meanings…well…I believe it could be a much richer experience for both the querent (client). Here’s why…
How to interpret tarot cards is limitless. Even in a 3 card tarot spread, there’s so much symbolism on each card! If a reader uses only the traditional tarot meanings it’s just about impossible to tie it all together in a relevant and meaningful way for the client – if for no other reason than it’s simply too much data to process in the moment.
Generally speaking, a reader will ‘go with their gut’ on what meaning of the card is most beneficial to the client at the moment. This is called ‘intuitive tarot’.
Again, only my opinion, but…the most accurate tarot readings I’ve given and observed have been those wherein the reader allowed their intuition and/or psychic abilities to work in tandem with the tarot cards.
B. I truly believe that Spirit knows best. If we trust in the divine mind then we must trust that, even using oracle cards, the right card will be presented for the right client in the perfect moment. Also, we must trust that the right message will be sent through our vessel – our ‘self’.
OK. But there MUST be a BEST tarot deck!
3. The secret to choosing the best tarot decks
For the first time ever,
celebrity tarot reader and teacher Bernadette King reveals her proprietary method of … LOL I can’t even type that with a straight face. LOL
OK, you ready?
The big secret to choosing the best tarot decks is that no one deck is the best deck.
Certainly there can be cards we feel more comfortable and confident reading with but before you get all mashugana trying to choose between the thousands of tarot decks out there on the market, here are some ideas to consider:
- Over a lifetime, preferences change. Today you may be inspired by more the more whimsical, fantasy or animal tarot while tomorrow it may be tarot based on sacred geometry that speaks to your soul. The first tarot deck you choose may not be the last so relax. There is no bad or wrong choice.
- There are tarot readers who have a number of “best tarot decks” and they choose which deck to use in a tarot reading based on which one they feel will best fit the needs of the client.
- Some tarot readers blend different tarot decks together to form one deck.
OK. I get it. So how do I choose the best tarot decks for me?
Some good tarot advice is, spend time researching color symbolism, animal symbolism, numerology, etc. so you may better understand why certain cards and decks call to you more than others. The symbols and their meanings that you know, the more detailed and accurate tarot reader you’ll be.
For instance, let’s say that you’re conducting a reading and with every card you flip the color red just jumps out at you. Do you know the meanings of the color red? Do you know that red is the color of the Base or Root Chakra? If you don’t, you could miss the opportunity to get the client the information they are seeking – which means you lose the chance to gain a loyal and long term client.
Let’s say that you do know Base or Root Chakra is red and that part of its symbolism is concerning family blood ties and fertility. Then, let’s say that your intuition tells you that ‘fertility’ is the reason the client has come for a tarot reading. Here are some possible scenarios regarding the subject of fertility:
You ask your client which of the above scenarios resonates with him/her. Their eyes pop wide open and you get the ol’ “OMG! How did you know that?” LOL
At the end of the day, you likely want to be a tarot reader so you can help people. You’re gonna do great! Just take your time. Buy several different tarot decks and experiment with them before you move ahead with just one. You might be surprised what the Universe and your higher-self have in store for you! I bet money that any decks you choose will be the best tarot decks for you!