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Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Hi guys!

Welcome back to another Blog on TAROT FOR BEGINNERS.

Today we are going to talk about the very basics of Tarot – Choosing your first deck.

I know this is THE MOST exciting moment of beginner Tarot readers but honestly, this is the moment when many make a mistake.

Woman with Tarot cards and name of the blog post how to choose your first tarot deck

TAROT FOR BEGINNERS: STARTING WITH BASICS. CHOOSING YOUR FIRST TAROT DECK. What to pay attention to and how not to waste money buying too many decks.


Now, I’m not going to make you read until the very end of my blog post to tell you my most important and, honestly, the most straightforward tip.

My best advice for you is…to go with a traditional Rider Waite deck.

But wait! Don’t close this window just yet because in this blog I am going to explain to you WHY going with this deck is crucial. However, should you choose to buy another deck, it can totally be fine as long as you pay attention to certain elements of the deck.

I am here to help you choose the best deck for you and avoid spending hundreds of dollars on different decks that will just not resonate with you or will be very confusing for a beginner.

And trust me guys, I’VE TOTALLY BEEN THAT PERSON that would get excited and spend over $100 on a deck and even buy separate books for it only to realize that I have NO IDEA what the author is trying to say with those images. After some time when I’m done admiring them, I would just put it on the shelf to collect dust and will go back to my basic decks.

First of all…


Tarot Cards

The most important difference between Tarot and an Oracle deck is that Tarot is extremely structured, and it is an old mystical tool that was shaped throughout centuries into what it is today.

There are ALWAYS 78 Tarot Cards and they are divided into Major and Minor Arcana.

Major Arcana answers for the most IMPORTANT and BIG events and changes in your life that are often a product of an external influence.

Minor Arcana are more of a day-to-day events and choices made by the querent.

Oracle Cards

Oracles Cards are much less structured. Anyone really can make their own oracle cards with their own illustrations, interpretations and messages. And that is the beauty of it. You will find the ones that are based on Astrology, Angels & Archangels, Animals and so many other things.

They often come with guidebooks that contain short and simple interpretations of each card and normally range between 16 and 80 cards in a deck.

The most popular Oracle deck is Lenormand Oracle and it is used by both beginner readers as well as experiences ones due to the straightforward nature of card meanings and very clear messages that are really not up to your own interpretation.


I will use the following decks to explain all the things you need to pay attention to when buying a Tarot deck: classic Rider Waite, Tarot: Journey into Egypt, Shadowscapes Tarot and Thoth Tarot.

Just to put it out there, let me tell you that I LOVE ALL of these decks and at this stage of my TAROT JOURNEY, I am comfortable to work with any deck you give me, BUT it took some time for me to get there.

Example #1: Importance of Elements. Tarot: Journey into Egypt

So, you started reading cards. You probably now know that there are 4 Suites in Tarot and each corresponds to an Element: Water, Air, Fire and Earth. These are extremely important and you need to know the characteristics of those Elements, as well as how they show next to each other in a spread.

Now, you are obsessed with Ancient Egypt (like I am) and you went on the internet and saw this gorgeous deck.

You got excited, you bought it only to realize… 2 of the elements are switched in this deck.

What? Yes.

The author decided to switch Air and Fire. In her deck Air corresponds to Wands and Fire to Swords.

Honestly guys, it took me some time to wrap my head around that and get used to it. And I’ve been reading cards for A LONG TIME.

Every time you do a spread you will have to make sure you remember this and adjust your interpretation accordingly.

The author also changed Pages to Princesses and Knight to Princes. This may not be huge but its yet another thing you need to remember as a BEGINNER.

Because of all these changes, she released a book you HAVE TO BUY if you really want to use this deck.

The book also talks about the historical illustrations and meanings behind those. And, honestly, it is crucial to know these because imagine this. You are in the middle of the reading and your client is asking you “Oh, what does this beautiful illustration mean?” And you say: ‘I have no idea.”

Noooo! Never say this. You MUST know your cards, their meanings AND the STORIES if you ever want to call yourself a PROFESSIONAL TAROT READER.

Just to summarize, the deck is absolutely gorgeous and I totally advise you to get your hands on it if you are into all-things-Egypt but be prepared to go an extra mile to use it in your practice.

Example #2: Slight Changes in Card Meanings. Thoth Tarot

This deck by Aleister Crowley is a very popular one but just like the deck above, it includes a booked called “The Book of Thoth” written in 1944 by Crowley that you need to read in order to work with this deck.

First of all, you may find the illustrations to be unclear and odd. Be prepared to take some time studying them and know that Crowley does not explain everything illustrated, leaving some parts up to your interpretation, as he believed that Tarot knowledge, and magic in general, are not to be shared with the public.

Therefore, some elements, such as Alchemy, Crowley considered to be a must know if you want to do anything related to witchcraft or Tarot.

As you can see, some illustrations are unusual and it will take time to get used to this deck.

In any case, if you want to work with this deck, by all means, it is a very powerful one.

I suggest that you eventually take a course on Crowley’s Tarot or read some literature because it is important for your development as a professional Tarot reader.

Example #2: Beautiful but not very clear illustrations. Shadowscapes Tarot

Now, this deck is absolutely beautiful and magical. The illustrations are so detailed and eye-catching.

The only drawback to this deck is that I find I need to take time to look closely and understand what is actually pictured.

This is also a response from my Instagram followers that had a hard time understanding what’s on the images when I used this deck for my Daily Tarot.

So, I personally would NOT recommend this deck for a beginner due to an image-meaning connection you will need to establish first. I will talk more about it below.

But if you want to add this deck to your collection, it is really a stunning one.


Reason #1: Image-Meaning Connection

When you just start reading cards, you will be relying on that image memory a lot, TRUST ME.

When you will think “4 of Pentacles”, you will imagine this grumpy man sitting on his possessions, holding on to what he has and this will trigger in your mind: “Okay, this card talks about inability to expand due to a fear of loss and a strong desire to hold on to what you have”.

Now, look at 4 Of Pentacles in Thoth Tarot and compare it to traditional deck

Are you able to have this connection established right away? You see what I mean now?

Reason #2: Most courses teach you Rider Waite Tarot

It’s true. Most courses, especially for beginners will teach you using Rider Waite deck because it is the clearest, we have the most amount of information about it, since a lot of the cards are taken from other historical decks. The symbols used are connected to each other, to the elements and to the overall meaning of the card.

I think I have now convinced you to stick to the traditional deck but you still want to have something beautiful and not the plain ol’ Rider Waite?

Look below at some options that offer just a slightly enhanced version of Rider Waite, while still preserving the important elements and traditional images:

Pin it to save for later!

How to choose your first tarot cards Deck beginners guide

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