I haven’t written a blog post recently as I’d been having a rather hectic week. It was also my birthday yesterday and although I couldn’t go out to celebrate because of the lockdown restrictions still in place, I still had a full on day.
One of the gifts I received for my birthday was the ‘Tarot Familiars’ deck. I’d seen pictures of this deck before and I’d always thought it looked pretty and magical.
It’s surprising that I hadn’t bought this deck myself since I love owls and there are a lot of owls in this deck as well as cats and wolves.
The cards are illustrated by Lisa Parker who is known for drawing animals in fantasy settings. I have always loved her illustrations, they’re so magical. You may have seen her pictures before as they’re used for lots of different things, in fact I have a dreamcatcher with one of her illustrations of an owl on it.
The only issue with these cards is that they’re not great for beginners who plan on analysing the imagery. The reason for this is that although the major arcana and court cards have beautiful illustrations, the minor arcana is very simple.
As you can see in the picture above. For each suit there is a symbol and for each numbered card, there is an illustration of that symbol times by whatever number the card is.
For an experienced tarot reader who loves the magical illustrations of Lisa Parker and enjoys escaping into a witchy fantasy world then these are brilliant, I personally love this deck! For beginners, this deck might not be so easy to get to grips with. If for example, you haven’t got the meaning of the ‘four of cups’ memorised then the imagery in this deck won’t give you any clues.
The little booklet that comes with the cards has the interpretations in many different languages. In my circle of tarot reading friends I have actually noticed that most of the people who own this deck are not English speakers, in fact I know a lot of German people who have the Tarot Familiars as their main deck.
The interpretations in the booklet are quite basic so again, I’d like to emphasise that these cards aren’t ideal for beginners.
Another aspect I love about the cards is that they’re a nice shape, they’re quite long and thin which makes them much easier to shuffle than a lot of other tarot and oracle decks. They’re incredibly glossy and slippery though so you do end up with cards flying out of your hands occasionally.
All in all, I would recommend this deck to any tarot reader who likes their cards to be mystical and magical.
I shall end this mini review now as I’m about to do a month by month reading for the rest of the year with these cards. If you enjoyed reading this post, then please consider making a donation so that I can afford new decks to review 😊
When I conduct an email reading, I always include a photograph of the spread. I do this for several reasons, firstly it proves that I did a reading. You probably won’t be surprised to know that there are a lot of scammers out there who will copy and paste a reading they found online and send it out for money. Secondly, it allows the client to better understand the reading and having a picture of the spread makes it seem a little more like a face to face reading. The final reason is that tarot cards look pretty.
When I started out, I used a Rider Waite deck for face to face readings. It was great because the imagery is vivid and I’d even get clients interpreting the cards with me or asking me questions about the imagery. A lot of people knew the deck too since it’s a popular one that a lot of decks are based on. My only issue was that the Rider Waite deck isn’t pretty enough for me, so I got the Tarot Mucha deck. This deck is based on the Rider Waite deck, but is so much more to look at. For me, its art nouveau style and vibrant colours makes it better than the regular Rider Waite deck.
Around the time I got the Mucha Tarot deck, I began conducting readings by email. I enjoyed posting pictures of my new deck on Instagram and sending pictures of the cards to clients.
Recently as some may already know, I bought the Light Visions tarot deck. This deck is beautiful but a lot darker and mysterious when compared with my other decks. It’s monochrome and less colourful when compared with the Mucha Tarot. I’ve been using this deck to conduct my readings and today it got me thinking whether the deck used to do readings makes a difference.
I won’t talk about different interpretations and imagery but rather the aesthetics and the mood of a deck. When I take a picture of a spread using the Light Visions deck, I notice how bleak it can look and wonder if this has a small impact on the clients interpretation of the reading. Conversely when a client sees a picture of the Mucha Tarot, does it make them think of the reading in a more positive light? even if the reading is slightly negative.
It’s a similar issue with trusting the cards. When I see certain oracle decks that are cute and straight to the point, there’s a part of me that doesn’t take them seriously. In the back of my mind I have a kind of prejudice, that tarot cards should look mysterious and old. They shouldn’t have cute messages on them, but rather some number in roman numerals or something that gives off an air of wisdom.
For anyone who has received a tarot reading by email, or for anyone who does tarot readings for clients, I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the choice of deck makes any kind of difference.
Recently I wrote about getting to know your tarot cards and how it doesn’t really matter if you know the history and the symbolism for each card since you can assign your own meanings. The main point in that article was about tarot decks and how it doesn’t matter if a tarot deck isn’t suitable for beginners. You don’t have to look up the meanings of every card and learn what each card means to be a decent tarot reader.
A lot of people, if not most people who get interested in reading the tarot want to learn everything there is to know and don’t want to just rely on intuition and their own interpretations. For this reason, I have decided to write about 3 decks which are ideal for beginners.
Rider Waite Deck
This deck had to be top of the list because it is one of the most popular decks. The reason why it’s great for beginners is because it has a lot of imagery and symbolism. This can help you form a connection with each card so that you remember them more easily. There are a lot of newer tarot decks which have almost nondescript cards, they’re kinda blank with maybe an abstract doodle in the middle, sometimes they can look very pretty and unique, but if you’re trying to remember what each card means, it can get confusing if every card is the same colour with a similar drawing in the middle. Every card in the Rider Waite deck is different and memorable and each card tells a story.
When you look up a card online, you’ll find that the interpretation is usually based on the Rider Waite deck. In fact when you type in ‘tarot cards’ on Google images, you’ll find that pictures of the Rider Waite deck is right up there. It is such a popular deck with a lot of history. It’s what a lot of tarot decks are based on! This deck is ideal for beginners because if you’re stuck on a card or don’ t know how to interpret something, you’ll easily find information online.
The Gilded Tarot
This deck follows the same imagery as the Rider Waite deck so is easy to follow and understand as well as research online. Even though it is similar, it has a different vibe and overall appearance that may appeal more to certain people. The cards are very vibrant and colourful and combine fantasy and steampunk in a way that actually looks quite modern and fresh.
I use this deck a lot and it’s because it’s beautiful and easy to follow. Every card is packed with imagery that is memorable and unique. This deck is also based on the Rider Waite deck but if you like art nouveau then this is the better choice. It has a more old world feel to them which can be quite appealing to people who find tarot cards to be magical and mystical.
In conclusion, any deck that follows the same imagery as the Rider Waite deck is ideal for beginners. I only mentioned three decks because I realised that I could make a huge long list of decks that are perfect for beginners but they’d all have the same thing in common. It all comes down to preference and aesthetics. If you do a quick search for tarot decks based on the Rider Waite deck, you’re sure to find a deck that is attractive to you.
I have already talked about easy ways to learn how to read tarot cards in a previous post. I discussed imagery and how it is key in understanding the meanings of the cards on a personal level. It was only today however that it first dawned on me that you technically don’t have to learn the meanings of the cards at all! in fact you could technically read tarot cards without ever having looked up a card.
I learned to read tarot cards by learning all of the meanings of the Rider Waite deck and then looking at the imagery and adding to the meaning in my own little way. I’d make notes about what each card meant to me personally, but it was still based on the meanings which I had learned about from reading articles and books on the subject. It is only now that I realise it might not have been necessary to research it so much. I don’t regret doing it, and I will continue to read more and more about the tarot, I love it! however it might not really be important to learn the meanings from someone else, even if they’re a lot more experienced than you are.
The reason for coming to this conclusion was that my new tarot deck arrived today. All of my previous decks had followed the same imagery and symbolism of the Rider Waite deck, and this new one does to a certain extent but there are some huge differences too. I’m talking about the Light Visions tarot deck. It is a stunning deck with lots of little details, they’re beautiful!
I am still in the learning process of understanding and getting to know each card in this new and exciting deck. It was while I was studying them that I came across the ‘six of swords’ and thought, hang on a minute! this card is giving off a different vibe from the ‘six of swords’ in my other decks. In the Rider Waite deck, the’six of swords’ shows a man rowing a boat with a woman and child on board, there’s six swords in the boat and it looks like it’s being weighed down slightly by the weight of the swords. The boat is travelling from rough waters to calmer waters which indicates the end of troubled times. The weight of the swords could mean that negativity from the troubled past will travel with them to the calmer waters and that even though the bad times are over, they may still suffer mentally from what has happened. In the Light Visions tarot, the ‘six of swords’ depicts some butterflies flying from one side of a bridge to the other. The bridge is made out of swords and the trees bend in the direction of the other side of the bridge. I realised that I’d have to assign a new meaning to this card. In a way it has a more positive meaning. It is similar to the traditional meaning but I think it implies that the butterflies are going to smoothly cross the bridge of swords (the obstacle) and emerge on the other side in tact and without anything negative attached to them.
For many other tarot readers and enthusiasts, it might not be an unusual thing to assign new meanings to cards that don’t fit in with the traditional view. There are so many tarot decks that look nothing like the Rider Waite deck. There are endless meanings to each and every card and a lot of tarot readers know this.
As I mentioned in my other post about learning the tarot, looking at the imagery on each card and figuring out what it means to you and how you feel about it is the best way to go. I often see in the description of some tarot decks that it is not recommended for a novice tarot reader. Whenever you see this, it basically means the deck is nothing like the Rider Waite deck. One of the main reasons the Rider Waite deck is classed as a deck for beginners is because most online guides are based on that deck.
I have come to the conclusion that someone who has never even seen a tarot card could buy any deck they fancied and still become a good tarot reader using this simple method; writing your own tarot guide book! When you first get your tarot deck, look at every card and write down what you see and feel about each card. Once you have an emotion attached to a card, it becomes more memorable. If you think back to your earliest memories when you were a child, all of them will have an emotion attached to it, that’s why you remember it. No one says ‘On the 21st May I have a memory of walking from my bedroom to the living room’ and that’s because most people have walked from their bedroom to the living room plenty of times, it has no emotion behind it, it is a trivial thing. Humans remember things better when it means something to them. By attaching your own thoughts and feelings to the cards, you’ll start remembering what they mean to you very quickly.
What you’ve got to remember is that your higher self or universal energy doesn’t care what some guy believes the meaning of a card is, unless he’s the guy reading the tarot at that point in time. When you’re conducting a reading, your higher self knows what you think of each card, so when you ask a question, it knows which card will best represent the answer you’re looking for. You could even give a negative card like ‘The Tower’ a positive meaning and you’re higher self would understand that and use it in the way you intend.
A few weeks ago, I was doing a reading for someone and she asked me if her mother was behind a lot of the recent events in her life, she told me that if it is her mum, the ‘high priestess’ would come out because in her mind the ‘high priestess’ represents her mother. I asked her to pick the card as I knew that her higher self needed to be in charge of this reading and sure enough, the first card to come out was the ‘High Priestess’ This goes to show you that you can attach anything you want to a tarot card. They can represent people in your life, memories you have, emotions you have experienced and even films you’ve watched. I know a few tarot readers who associate certain cards with certain scenes in films they’ve seen as it helps them to form a bond with the card.
I urge every tarot reader who buys a new deck or newbie who gets their first deck to write their own little guide book. I’m aware that most tarot readers write down notes about certain cards and attach their own individual meanings, but my message here is that if you choose to only write your own guide book instead of looking up the meanings of each card, you won’t go far wrong.