For this week’s post, I decided to talk about a recent conversation that I had with a friend who is dipping their toe back into the water with Tarot. In the past, they had a lovely deck with a fairy forest type theme but unfortunately, they didn’t feel able to properly gel with it. Don’t worry, I now have them in my possession and I can confirm they are a very happy deck of cards. Anyway, back on topic, my friend lamented that they were ‘rather picky’ when it came to the style they’d like for their own Tarot and the last deck that they’d picked up felt like it was suited to a very specific type of reading.
So they made a suggestion; that I could help them find another deck, one that would be better suited for them while they were learning the cards. They also advised that it could make a good post to help reassure others like them that there is still hope, so here we are.
Is being too picky really a thing?
Personally, I would say it’s more a case of not being picky enough, than being too picky. Even if you feel that the deck you have your heart set on is ‘too expensive’ or looks too complicated, you can still work your way up to it. After all, communicating with your cards should be like talking with a trusted friend; you wouldn’t just confide in anyone so why would you settle with your cards?
That being said, it is important to strike a balance. When you’re starting out there is no shame in getting your dream deck and a more traditional Rider Waite style one for learning. That’s how I started out. I had my Marseilles style deck for approximately six to seven years before I got my Vampire deck. I waited as long as I did because I had my heart set on finding a deck with that style. In the end, it found me, as a birthday gift.
How much should I spend?
This is really up to you, but it’s good to have an upper limit in mind. I live in the United Kingdom and I’d say that you’re looking at the £20-30 price range for your average deck here. Although, you can find a lot of good quality decks for a little less if you shop around. Just be wary of anything sold on Wish or eBay, and make sure that the deck is not counterfeit.
If you want something a little more ‘unique’ then you should expect to pay closer to £50. I’m sure I’ve said it before but the right deck is worth saving for. I, myself, have my eye on a gorgeous deck I found on Etsy which, with shipping, will cost me more than fifty but I believe it’s worth the cost. After all, somebody took the time to design the deck, and you are in essence paying for the artist’s time if you buy decks from small online stores.
Where did we look?
As we are long-distance friends, we were limited to looking online. I suggested the decks offered by the Tarot teaching site Labyrithos as an option if you’re willing to pay a little more. These decks have the added bonus of a mobile app to help your study. I actually have a couple of their oracles and have to say that I am impressed with the quality of the cards. Ultimately we decided that the decks on offer weren’t a good fit for them; the main issue was the art style, which was also the issue with the Fairywood deck.
With that in mind, we moved onto Etsy, and I showed her several decks in different art styles that I thought would be suited for somebody returning to, or just starting to learn. During this process, we actually found several decks that are now on my own wish list as I am a deck collector at heart. Our search on Etsy was more fruitful as it allowed us to establish a common idea of the sort of style we were looking for.
So did we find a deck?
After much deliberation, I came to the conclusion that I may know an artist whose art style would appeal to my friend. And the best part? This artist has actually had their work featured on three tarot decks (that I am aware of) and I even own copies of two of them.
The artist in question is a rather well-known fantasy artist, Luis Royo. You may have come across his work without knowing it was his. When I was in my late teens, it was very common to find his work as posters for sale in stores like HMV.
So, with this in mind, I found some images for the Labyrinth deck that featured his art and asked if this was the sort of thing she had in mind. The impression that I got, was a resounding yes.
Don’t be afraid to hold out for the ‘right deck’ but at the same time be open to more traditional one while you’re searching. During my research, I’ve come across many references to readers having two decks: one for reading for a client, and one for themselves. So if you want your ideal deck to make a statement you can still have that, just keep your starting deck for yourself. The bond will be much stronger and if you’re like me, maybe even a little bit special.
As always, thank you for joining me, and many thanks to my friend for allowing me to talk about this today. I hope to see you all next time.