If you’ve ever wanted to learn tarot, this is where you are start, since you can’t learn to read with out a deck. A hundred years ago, you were generally given your deck, as they were used as teaching tools in magical lodges and societies, so they had to make sure you got the right one. There was also only about four decks. Now there are over 1000 commercially available decks and unless you are taking a course that requires a specific deck (in which case you are probably buying it yourself anyhow) there is no need to worry about getting the “right” deck or that it needs to be a “gift”.
Feeling overwhelmed? I don’t blame you, but we’ll work on that.
Now you absolutely CAN buy whatever deck you want and–as long as you feel it “speaks” to you–start with that one. But that can be a very difficult thing, depending on what deck is chosen.
The reality is that most of those lovely books out there about how to read tarot cards are written for the Rider-Waite deck.
If this deck works for you, you’re set. Personally I HATE this deck. I find that the colours and lines very distracting and that they through me right out of the reading. If you are like me, don’t despair. There are plenty of other options out there that have the same card meanings and similar (or identical) imagery.
You can stick to the Rider-Waite clones such as the Radiant Waite pictured, which has
better lines and colours but is the identical deck. Or you can go for something that is based on the Rider-Waite but is it’s own interpretation, like the Fenestra Tarot.
Now, all that said, you can also pick a deck from the other direction. By that, I mean choose a tarot book that makes sense to you and go with the deck the book is based on. There are a LOT of books out there, so maybe talk to other readers about what they recommend. My recommendation is 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollock. It’s written for the Rider-Waite but the subject matter is how to identify and read the symbols found in the cards, which can be applied to most decks out there.
-You can and should pick your own deck, it doesn’t have to be a gift
-You aren’t limited to one type of deck
-You can get a deck first and then a book or the other way around