When I began my spiritual studies, I felt a very strong desire for a tarot deck. Not surprising, as I love patterns, archetypes, anything that helps delve into the subconscious to help us along the journey of understanding.
But I was so intimidated – there are SO MANY tarot decks, not to mention psycards, angel cards…the list goes on.
To differentiate quickly:
Tarot decks have 78 cards and are the most comprehensive decks with a lot of nuance to the cards (seems like a lot to learn, but with patterns, it becomes easier). The good thing: because tarot decks all have the same cards, while there might be different expressions of each card’s energy, there’s a standard structure to learn, so learning one deck, you can easily pick up a lot of other decks.
Oracle decks are more free-form. They don’t have a standard number of cards, but are usually fewer than tarot decks. Many of them have words on them, each card representing a different energy or concept – the meanings are more obvious. You lay them out like tarot cards and look at how the concepts on each card relate. Much more “free-flowing” than classic tarot.
Psycards are a bit unique – they are 40 cards based on the works of Carl Jung, so the cards are a mix of archetypes – some overlap the tarot. Cards may include The Sun (a classic card) and The Libido (specific to psycards).
Once you know which sort of deck you resonate with most, you get to choose from a multitude of designs. I was overwhelmed at the options. Luckily, some more seasoned mystics gave me two straight pointers on deck selection.
1. Every deck has an energy – get hands on and see what “speaks” to you – you’ll find decks that feel right in your hands and your gut.
2. You aren’t tied to one deck forever – most people have several decks. Maybe one for themselves, one for readings for others. So don’t worry – go with what feels right! Get another later if you feel you will benefit from it!
Easy enough, right? Once I got into a store, I knew which decks I felt great with. There are literally decks with every theme imaginable – the true novelty (cat decks? Lord of the Rings deck?) are fun, but don’t really call to me.
My first deck (and the one I work with now) is the Hudes deck. It’s a bit melancholy, true – but I like the combination medieval/Renaissance artwork with bits of maps, constellations, astrology and alchemy tossed in where it fits with the card meaning. Right now I am considering grabbing the Druid Craft deck and the Fenestra deck. The energies are different, but the cards are all basically the same in terms of underlying meaning, so I can swap them out as needed.
If you’d like a short quiz to get some overall direction, I like this one by Michele Knight.
What decks do you love, and why?