A Note on Tarot Decks

Course Materials:

This course does NOT require you to have a deck or any other materials to participate. All card imagery and assignments will be provided in the course materials. In the course lectures, I will focus mainly on the imagery of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, as this is the deck most commonly used. However, I will occasionally be using imagery from other decks including the Motherpeace Tarot, the Aquarian Tarot, and the Badass Bitches Tarot. I encourage you to explore alternative decks options and also to check out offerings from artists and shops in your local area. The tarot is a living, breathing language, and its vocabulary is constantly being expanded and elaborated upon by new generations of tarot readers. Do not feel that you have to limit yourself to any particular style!

If you have a deck of your own already, it is recommended that you keep it with you throughout the course and use it in your studies and exercises as much as possible. Every tarot deck comes with its own unique personality and you may find that the same card has a very different effect on you from one deck to another. Even if you’re using the same Rider-Waite-Smith deck as me, the one that belongs to you will have its own distinct history, energy, and feel, and you want to start tuning in to how your deck operates. In my experience, the more you treat your deck as a conscious, creative collaborator, the more it will act like one. Allow your deck to introduce itself and reveal its unique point of view throughout this course.

Tarot vs. Oracle Decks: What's the difference?

One thing to note is the difference between a tarot deck and an oracle deck. While similar, these are two distinct categories and it's important to know the difference before you make a purchase. Tarot is a specific system which shares its roots with French-suited playing cards and features certain distinct structures such as the Major Arcana, Minor Suits, and court cards. Oracle cards, on the other hand, are a more general term for any deck which does not subscribe to the tarot system, but uses its own symbolism to impart guidance. Often these cards feature written messages which require less interpretation or "puzzling out" than the tarot, and they are typically limited to draws of only one or two cards at a time. We will not be working with oracle cards in this course, however, the two systems can work together extremely well and, if you have a deck of oracle cards, I encourage you to experiment with integrating it in with your tarot practice.

Retailers and Resources:

If you are in the process of looking for a deck but aren’t sure where to start to find the perfect one for you, here are a few resources that I would recommend:

This is the most comprehensive online retailer that I know of (US shipping only): https://tarotarts.com/collections/all-decks

For international (non-US) shipping, this is another extensive retailer: http://www.namastebookshop.com/tarot-cards/

My personal favorite independent retailer, UK-based: https://littleredtarot.com/

Local favorite, US-based: https://ritualcravt.com/product-category/divination/

This IG account does comprehensive reviews of both tarot and oracle decks: https://www.instagram.com/indiedeckreview/

Here you'll find a vast archive of decks new and old, a great place to research different options: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/

Feel free to also share your favorite decks or retailers in the comments below!

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