How Do You Choose a Tarot Deck, and How Long Does it Take to Learn to Read?

The Tarot

So many decks to choose from, and so many archetypes to learn.  How does one even begin?  I get these questions often, and I also wondered the same thing before I took on the challenge of embracing the Tarot.  For me, it was all about how I felt.  I recall the first time my former boyfriend (who taught me to read the Tarot) bought me a deck that he thought I would love.  The art was medieval and oppressive.  I couldn’t even call the artwork beautiful.  The first time I looked at the cards, I felt unhappy about them.  The faces of the characters were too solemn, and each card had the same grave feel.  After a couple of weeks, I finally admitted to him that I wasn’t vibing with the deck, hoping not to hurt his feelings.  He totally understood, and traded me for a deck he thought I would like better.  The art was much more light and uplifting.  I loved the new deck, and he actually resonated more with the medieval deck.  He was impressed with me for being so assertive and intuitive in choosing my cards.

When we begin reading Tarot, we may get a lot of suggestions on which deck is best to use, but no one can tell us which deck is right for us.  It’s a personal choice.  I do suggest learning from a deck that has the traditional seventy-eight cards and archetypes, prior to moving onto a less traditional deck.  I suggest this is because I originally learned from non-traditional decks, and when I did start working with a traditional deck, I had a difficult time changing my relationship with the cards.  It was like rewiring my brain, but it didn’t take long.  Because it was intimidating for me to remember seventy-eight cards, I began with a sixty-card deck, but the seventy-eight card deck was much more intriguing and engaging.  It took me longer to learn, but it was also the challenge that kept my interest.  My relationship with the cards was fueled by curiosity and fascination.  I went all the way with it because I was having entirely too much fun, like exploring a new lover.

I suggest taking your time visiting bookstores and metaphysical shops that sell Tarot cards.  Feel out the different decks of cards.  Take them out of the box, and spend time with the artwork.  If you don’t have time to physically shop, order a few decks online that seem like they would resonate.  Most Tarot Readers own several decks of cards.  I have two decks that resonate with me the most.  One is the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith, and the other is the Wild Unknown, which seems to be gaining popularity.  It’s a very simple, and intuitive deck, but there are different names for the court cards, so I would suggest learning the Wild Unknown after learning a traditional deck.  The most important thing about reading the Tarot, is that you feel extremely comfortable with the cards, to the point that you get excited when you see them.  It truly is like meeting a new person and taking the time and energy to explore them.  We need to be drawn to the cards in order to create a relationship with them.  We need to be interested in them so that we have the patience to learn them.

Depending on how much time you spend with your Tarot cards will determine how long it takes to form a relationship with them.  After three years (give or take) of learning the Tarot, I am still unfolding more information about the cards.  I don’t think it is possible to ever know the cards so well that they stop revealing more information.  Each symbol has depths and layers of language that speaks to the subconscious.  Every archetype has several strong qualities and multiple personalities, and depending on how the cards are placed, there are various interpretations.  According to what the Querent asks, the cards can offer many revelations.

My favorite way to read the Tarot is to observe the spread as if the cards have no individual meaning.  When they are laid out before me, a dynamic story is displayed.  Reading them this way seems to resonate more with my Querents.  It is much more authentic to read the cards by how they are placed than to read them according to their traditional meanings.  And I play around with this depending on who is sitting before me, and depending on how much information they offer me before I do the reading.  Every reading is different according to whom I’m offering information.  It truly is an art of intuition.  The Art of Tarot is about feeling.  If you aren’t much of a feeling-based person, it will be difficult to read people’s cards.

If you are feeling pulled by the Tarot, I invite you to follow your curiosity.  You don’t have to learn Tarot strictly to become a Tarot Reader.  It is a beautiful experience to learn the cards for yourself, and to understand the depths of the human experience through the Art of Tarot.  It’s a magical journey into the unknown, but especially into yourself.  Tarot reading has developed my intuition, built my social confidence, and been an incredible tool for relating to people.  When I sit down to read someone’s Tarot, I’m opening up the channel for more than a shallow conversation.  It has given me wings to soar with my wisdom.  I plan to go the distance with the cards, because that’s where my soul is leading me, but not everyone has to go that far with a deck of Tarot cards.  It’s an entirely personal journey.  Have fun with it, and be lighthearted with yourself around it.  Give yourself plenty of space and time to learn the cards, and don’t compare yourself with other Tarot readers.  It is an art, and with any art, we all have different (and brilliant) expressions.

Namaste,

Jenn

 

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