Finding your first deck

Now we’ve got some of the common misconceptions out of the way, I would like to move onto something more positive. I’ll be giving you some advice and tips on looking for and purchasing your first deck. I wanted to take some time to talk about this as I have come across several counterfeit decks online.

Starting your Search

OK, you want to get your first deck, so what are your options? 

The approach I’d suggest would hinge on whether or not you have any idea what style of theme you want, and how important that is to you, alongside what shops are in traveling distance from where you live.

Both of my first decks were gifted to me, as I believe I’ve mentioned previously. Every deck I’ve bought since had something about it that spoke to me. I have an Egyptian deck, simply because I adore Egyptian myth. I’ve also purchased decks which were designed by the artist Luis Royo, as I have been a fan of his for a number of years. Most of my decks were ordered online, but there were a few that I was fortunate enough to be able to buy from a bookstore. 

Good places to get your cards

In my opinion, if you’re still not sure about what deck is right for you, and you have the option, I would highly recommend trying your nearest bookstore. You may be pleasantly surprised if you pop into your local Waterstones, to find that they usually carry a few decks in their Mind, Body, Spirit section.

When I was in my late teens it was also possible to find tarot cards in WHSmiths and Borders, although, for the former, my local store doesn’t seem to carry them anymore.

The main advantage of going to a store is that you can pick up the deck in its box and get a feel for its energy. If the deck is a good match for you, you’ll feel it. The same is true for the reverse. Generally, the sort of reaction you want should be a pleasant vibration; the stronger the sensation the better fit that deck is for you. The other advantage of buying the deck in person is that you can be confident that you are buying a genuine deck, and you can ensure that it comes with a guide. It’s unusual for a deck not to have a guide if you are buying it brand new, but some decks come in editions without the guide, so it never hurts to check.

If you can’t visit a bookstore, then you can try a bookstore’s online shop. This will often give you access to a greater selection. Another place you can look is Etsy, but the decks on here can be a little more pricey as they tend to be printed to order and they can take a while to arrive. Also, the ones on there are more likely to be decks that don’t have a guide book, so it’s important to check the listing or message the seller. However, some of the decks are very beautiful, and you have the satisfaction of supporting an artist with your purchase. Other smaller sites that I would suggest, would be, Facade and Labyrithos. The former is one of the oldest internet sites that offers online tarot readings and they have an Amazon affiliate store with a small selection of decks. They are a site I’ve used for many years, whereas Labyrithos offer resources to aid in learning to read the cards. They sell a handful of decks which are simplistic and elegant, but shipping can be a little pricey, especially if you get hit with a customs charge. Also, I do not know if they come with guides, but the oracles I ordered did come with very basic ones.

If your budget is rather limited then you have the option of using Amazon or even eBay. Although I would caution you to be careful; if it looks a little too cheap there is usually a reason for that.

Bad places to get your cards

Personally, I would say that there isn’t really a ‘bad’ place to buy your cards but there are places I’d advise are worse than others. Especially if you are looking for your first deck.

For novice or beginner readers I would strongly advise against using a deck that was pre-owned as this presents its own challenges. I’ve heard of people getting tarot decks from car boot sales and personally, I would never consider looking at this sort of event for cards.

Buying cards online opens up a lot of possibilities and I would advise using caution when doing so. Even if you’re using Amazon, then take care when looking into the listings, as I have personally come across counterfeit versions of decks on both eBay, Amazon and even but not surprisingly on Wish.

The one thing all these decks had in common was a lack of a barcode on any pictures of the packaging, instead, they showed a large QR code.

Despite what some listing for ‘counterfeit’ cards on eBay claim, tarot cards do, in fact, have ISBN numbers. I can attest to every deck I’ve owned, that had its original box, having a barcode and ISBN number.

The fake decks also will state the guide will be sent to you electronically, or that you have to scan the QR code.

If the site you’re using is one that is known for selling bootleg products, then there’s a high chance that those cards you think you’ve found a bargain on, are a fake version. Personally, I believe if the deck you have your heart on is a little out of your price range, it is worth saving for instead. 

Where I prefer to get my cards

When purchasing online I find myself sticking to Amazon and more recently venturing onto Etsy. Some of the decks to be found on Etsy are particularly interesting, and I find great fulfillment in finding decks that have their own little twists. However, that is a topic for another post. 
Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I would always choose a specialist shop. However, in the UK where I live, these are fairly hard to find. Given the choice, I will always choose buying cards in person over ordering online, but I tend to go with my gut. If I find myself near to a bookstore, I will inevitably find myself inside and looking for their spirituality section, checking for any cards they have in stock.

The sheer variety of tarot, as well as oracle decks, that are out there, never ceases to amaze me. The same approach that you take to finding your tarot, can also apply to oracle decks as well.  Discovering new decks is something of a joyous moment for me, and has led to me amassing a large collection at present.

Thank you again for joining me,

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