Showing posts with label Tarot Decks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tarot Decks. Show all posts

How to Choose Your Tarot Deck

Selecting Your Tarot Deck of Choice

There are plenty of highly regarded tarot decks to pick from. Don't encourage the viewpoints of other people to influence which deck you select. Each individual can react to the various tarot decks differently. I began with an edition of Rider Waite, printed in 1971. My mates are true to the Thoth-tarot of Aleister Crowley.

The Tarot of Marseille or one of the fifteenth-century decks can be preferred by some purists: the Cary-Yale Visconti tarot, or the more popular Visconti-Sforza, the Sola Busca Tarot (circa 1491), or the later ones from the nineteenth century: Ferdinado Gumppenberg's Tarot of Lombardy (circa 1810), Carlo Della Rocca's Soprafi (circa 1835), or Giovanni Vacchetta's Vacchetta Tarot (circa 1893), or It Though difficult to come by, Etteilla decks are often widely favoured by purists, such as Jean-Baptiste Alleitte's Grand Etteilla (circa 1788).

Consider the Universal Waite deck by Mary Hanson-Roberts that came out in 1990, the Albano-Waite by Frankie Albano in 1991, Golden Rider (AGM Müller, 1996), the Original Rider Waite, a facsimile of the original deck by Waite and Smith, printed in 1999, or the Radiant Rider-Waite by Virginijus Poshkus in 2003, among others, if you choose to stick with the Rider-Waite-Smith interpretive method. This book, like most introductory books, depends on the Rider-Waite-Smith, which is why it is the deck and method most commonly recommended to beginners.

The Morgan Greer tarot, the Witches tarot; African tarot; African-American tarot; China tarot; Ancient Egypt tarot; Buddha tarot; Sun and Moon tarot; Angel tarot; Avalon or the Arthurian tarot; Fairy Tale tarot; Robin Wood tarot; the list goes on. There are also many more tarot decks that you might remember. Many of these modern decks are based on Rider-Waite-classic Smith's pictures, which is why this is still a fantastic deck to start with. Your instincts, I believe, would draw you to the deck that is most fitting for you.

 It should be remembered that some of these decks do not have seventy-eight cards. For starters, the I Ching tarot fusion decks have only sixty-four cards (corresponding to the sixty-four hexagrams). Such non-seventy-eight decks are known as oracle cards, and the standard seventy-eight-card tarot should not be mistaken.

There are typically three prevalent tarot interpretive structures that will be clarified in corresponding chapters in this book: the Tarot of Marseille, the Rider-Waite-Smith, and the Thoth. The understanding of tarot symbolism still differs considerably, in addition to the several different deck structures, but the prevalent method is one signed by the Golden Dawn Hermetic Order.

For a long time, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was the leading school of tarot studies. A secret society that originated in England in the nineteenth century is said to be the Golden Dawn. The Teachings of the Golden Dawn, such as theurgy, alchemy, and astrology, are steeped in ritualistic sorcery and mystical or metaphysical arts. The Golden Dawn fused their practices with the tarot to create a methodology which has become the systematic majority approach to tarot studies for all intents and purposes. The Golden Dawn members designed and illustrated many of the tarot decks that we remember today.

In recent years, several other distinct tarot systems have arisen and developed a large minority following (as opposed to a deck variant or a hybrid of the three current standards), but they have not risen to the same degree of popularity as Marseille, Rider-Waite-Smith, and Thoth. When purchasing a new tarot deck, carefully investigate all the possibilities and make careful to find out in advance of purchase if the deck is a variant based on the Rider-Waite-Smith, the Marseille, the Thoth, or a combination of such schemes, or completely embraces an entirely new reading scheme.

My approach to tutelage is to start with the Rider-Waite-Smith, and there are three primary explanations for that. Next, the Rider-Waite-Smith is used for most of the traditional texts on tarot studies. You would have several reference texts at your hands by beginning with that system. Once you are proficient with the Rider-Waite-Smith, you would have the appropriate framework for any interpretive method to be taught. Second, I would argue that, for the beginner, the Rider-Waite-Smith is easier to read than both the Thoth and the Marseille.

The Marseille system has limited imagery and symbols found in the Minor Arcana, so it will be a struggle to read all the studies that the tarot reader would inevitably pick up on in the beginner Rider-Waite-Smith system without prior knowledge of Western numerology, elementary dignities, and to some degree astrology. And third, it is undoubtedly the simplest deck for the inexperienced tarot practitioner to learn, with the hundreds of close facsimile versions of the Rider-Waite-Smith open. Therefore, I propose a deck based on Rider-Waite-Smith as the starter tarot.

Must be clear that I am not recommending the use of Rider-Waite-Smith by readers. Instead, I'm recommending that beginners launch their Rider-Waite-Smith tarot studies. By the intermediate stage, most professionals would have graduated from the Rider-Waite-Smith to use a deck for their routine readings that they are more intuitively attached to. There is no better text on tarot chronology than Stuart R. Kaplan's The Tarot Encyclopedia, volumes one through four. Since the earliest known decks, the several volumes cover all the tarot decks and structures, and the books are a good place to begin studying which decks would resonate best with the practitioner.