Tarot decks are as vast as the stars in the night sky. The deck you chose will depend on the purpose for which you will use it. Will the Tarot deck receive daily use as the deck you use to read for yourself or others? Are you looking to expand your Tarot collection? How you will use your Tarot deck should be the first factor you will consider when choosing a Tarot deck. I have Tarot decks I have never used to do readings for clients or for myself. Others I have only touched in passing. That does not mean that these Tarot decks are inferior in any way. It means I have found a different deck which I feel is more in tune with my energy.
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How should you choose a Tarot deck then? Must you wait for your first deck to be a gift to you, as is the old tradition? I find that if I am the one buying the Tarot deck, then I am drawn to those which I feel connected. It is hard for another to know what will strike your fancy. We cannot always predict what we will like either. There may be a Tarot deck based on your favorite TV show but when you look at the deck the imagery does nothing for you. Or the archetypes chosen to represent the cards do not make sense to you. Spend time in a New Age shop or bookstore. Ask the owner of the shop for guidance when picking a Tarot deck as they are knowledgeable about different design styles. Do your research.
I currently own these decks: the Gilded Tarot, the Tiny Universal Waite Tarot, and the Quick and Easy Tarot. My first Tarot deck was The Tarot of the Witches. If you were to go look up these decks, you would be hard pressed to find a common theme among them. Some of them are more functional for me than others. They are all beautiful works of art, nonetheless. Each of these decks means something different to me.
The Quick and Easy Tarot is aptly named. It indicates both upright and reversed positioning on the Tarot cards themselves. The Tiny Universal Waite Tarot is two by three and a half centimeters. It is cute, and I use it more as a quick reference point than as a full Tarot deck. The Gilded Tarot almost shimmers the coloring is so vivid. It is a Tarot deck for the artist in us all. The Tarot of the Witches I found to be too aloof and abstract a deck to even keep for reasons I will explain in the next paragraph.
The Tarot of the Witches is a deck unlike all the other Tarot decks I own. This deck only has pictorial images for the royal court cards and the Major Arcana. The Ace through Ten of has the accompanying number of Batons (Wands), Cups, Swords, or Coins (Pentacles). No story-like image is present on these cards. Each suit has a small picture which is the unifying theme for that suit. The 2 of Swords shows two daggers pointing toward a winged foot flying over a minuscule mountain. The rest of the card is red in color. It is not a deck for those beginning to discover the Tarot for the first time. It does not clearly paint a picture of what the 2 of Swords represents.
You may find that a deck that called to you six months, or a year, ago no longer speaks the way it first did to you. That is fine; do not panic if that happens. It is only natural that as we grow so will or interest in other Tarot decks. I would not prune the Tarot decks that no longer speak to you as actively as they once did. For you may regret doing so when you feel the pull toward using that one specific Tarot deck you no longer own. Only give a Tarot deck away if you are certain that you will not be using it now or ever in the future. Such is the case with my Tarot of the Witches.
Skill level is the next thing on the list to consider when choosing a Tarot deck. Not all decks are accessible as the Quick and Easy Tarot. Some Tarot decks have no recognizable associations because their designs meet the artist’s need. Tarot decks styled after the Rider-Waite imagery are the most common type of Tarot decks available. The Tarot card images which appear on this site are of the Rider-Waite design. Decks in this style are dynamic and help the reader to see what is happening. This type of Tarot deck is perfect for the less experienced reader because it tells an intriguing story from start to finish!
Any Tarot deck is a good deck. The great Tarot decks are those that stick with you and make you feel in tune with the Tarot. With enough bonding time, you will be looking at your Tarot deck as though it was an old friend. You will recognize the signposts and landmarks from the tales they tell. “There’s the Two of Pentacles! It’s time for balancing activities.” As you grow and develop as a Tarot reader, so will your the number of Tarot decks you own. Choose your first Tarot deck for it will be an invaluable tool in aiding your readings for years to come!