I am often asked by people getting ready to purchase a tarot or oracle deck for the first time, what do I need to know? There is no doubt in my mind the aesthetics of your tarot deck are extremely important, especially your first one. Art triggers something inside of us, it helps us connect to the unformed and abstract. It awakens recognition and dances with meaning. The design of the cards contributes to the feel of the reading experience. Your attraction to the cards increases this bond between yourself and your tool.
The art and aesthetics of a card do not make it more “powerful” than another simply due to intricacy. Instead it is personal preference. The more a card design triggers a positive reaction the more “connected” one will feel with their deck. People often times go as far as describing their decks as having a personality or a soul. This strong preferential connection can be a great benefit to someone just starting out. It tends to anchor meanings into your mind more easily than memorization alone. While art on a card is by no means necessary, it is helpful. That you like the cards is even more important.
Over the years I have heard a lot of different myths, superstitions and advice when it comes to obtaining a tarot deck. For example I have heard it said that you should never buy your own deck, that it should be a gift. I have heard that you need to bless and consecrate each deck. I have heard both that you should, and should not buy a deck on a Wednesday. I have heard that you should buy a deck when it calls to you, rather than come back later to purchase. I have heard that you should only buy the deck to the left of one that catches your eye. I have heard you should buy your deck on a new moon.
I have heard a lot of bullshit.
You have read my little rant on the importance of aesthetics and preference. Other than that the most important aspect of choosing a deck is its size. Tarot decks can come in a myriad of shapes and sizes. You want to choose one that fits comfortably in your hand that you can shuffle with ease. I have short fingers for example, I have a hard time with the large version of the Thoth deck. They are simply too big! I also prefer rounded corners, I find them to be more comfortable as well as less likely to bend during a reading. I prefer thick card stock with a nice matte coating. Pick and purchase what you like, sincerely.
Choose what feels special to you.
Other than that all you need to know is traditional tarot decks contain 78 cards. Oracle decks and fortune telling decks have a differentiated number of cards depending on the system and the individual deck itself. The tarot series on this site will be focusing on the traditional 78 card system and its kabbalistic tie ins.
Have fun and be ye mystic 🙂