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Learning Tarot: Choosing and Caring for Your Deck

I am teaching at Wonderworks in Toronto

I am teaching at Wonderworks in Toronto

I have recently started to teach Tarot classes in Toronto (my hometown). It’s funny, kind of encouraging, and mystifying, when all of the different parts of your life somehow manage to come together. When I lived in Japan, I taught English, strictly as a means to live and travel in Asia, this was in no way my vocation. Now I realize that that experience prepared me so well… I learned how to create a lesson plan, stick to my timing (believe me, you don’t want to run out of material when you have a group of students who are just as nervous as you waiting for your next word), and to read the level of understanding and engagement in the room. Who knew? Maybe it wasn’t such a crazy thing to run off to Japan after all!

Back to Tarot, I started with some basic intro classes, and now I’m planning a seminar series in the Fall (stay tuned!). In the next few blog posts, I’d love to briefly share some of the topics we covered in the intro class, and I welcome your feedback and ideas.

Let’s start by gathering in our tools…

Choosing Your Deck – Top Three Tips

  • I recommend that my students start learning with the The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck (or the Universal Waite Tarot Deck). To me, this deck is the source, it contains the symbolism, the system…learn from the source and then you can read any RWS style deck (and there are many wonderful ones)

    I have a fondness for the RWS Tarot, can you tell?

    I have a fondness for the RWS Tarot, can you tell?

  • Learn with the RWS deck, but as you learn feel free to choose another deck that resonates with you. Explore, peruse Aeclectic Tarot, find a deck with imagery that really calls to you. You may find that you prefer a more Pagan style deck (e.g. The Druid Craft Tarot Deck), fine art (e.g. the Tarot of Delphi), Goddess based (e.g. The Dark Goddess Tarot), feminist (e.g. Motherpeace Tarot Deck)…or perhaps you’ll start your own collection!
  • There is an urban legend or superstition that you shouldn’t buy yourself your own first Tarot deck…I’m not sure where this comes from, perhaps from the idea of a mother passing her cards on to her daughter…I personally wouldn’t worry about this. Go ahead and buy a deck, buy two, or three! If you wait for someone to buy one for you, you may be waiting a long time!

Caring for Your Deck – Top Three Tips

  • The most important thing is to treat your deck with respect and reverence…how you choose to do this is up to you. This will help to create a bond with your deck – treat it well, and your deck will respond in kind.
  • Keep your deck in a lovely bag, wrap it in a favorite scarf, or place it in a wooden box. On a practical note, this will protect your cards from damage, and on a more esoteric level, this will again help you to bond with your deck. I also recommend using a beautiful spread cloth to lay out your cards, it helps to create a little bit of ritual when you use your cards. You are doing something outside of the ordinary when you read Tarot, I think it is only fitting to add some ritual or ceremony to your practice.

    A silk Tarot bag is a fitting vessel for your beloved cards

    A silk Tarot bag is a fitting vessel for your beloved cards

  • I like to clear or cleanse my Tarot decks. Again, this is a personal preference, but I find it beneficial to clear the cards after each reading (so the energy from a previous client doesn’t linger into the next session), or when I am using a new deck for the first time, or if I feel that I need to connect with a deck that I haven’t used in a long time. There are many ways to do this. Try burning sage and gently moving the cards through the smoke. Keep a quartz crystal in the Tarot bag with your cards. Hold your cards and visualize surrounding them with white light. I also like to use a singing bowl, the sound is a powerful cleansing force.

So, we’re off to a good start! We have our deck, and we know how to treat it right…

Next time, I’ll talk about another valuable tool when you’re learning Tarot, the Tarot Journal, so stay tuned!

What did you find useful when you were just starting to learn Tarot? Any tips you’d like to share? Please comment below!

2 Responses to Learning Tarot: Choosing and Caring for Your Deck

  1. Lynda fox July 15, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks Lori!

    I live pretty far away, so classes don’t work for me, but I would be interested in attending a Tarot seminar in the fall (then I could stay with my daughter).

    Also, I read somewhere (possibly Raymond Buckland) that the idea of not buying your own Tarot deck was likely promoted by gypsy fortune tellers in Britain who wanted to keep the mystery (and business) of Tarot under their control.

    • innergoddesstarot July 15, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks, Lynda! That’s really interesting, and makes sense!

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