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Personalities of Decks

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on October 8, 2013 | Comments (5)

Many people think of their tarot decks as a collection of 78 wise friends who they can turn to for advice and guidance, and I agree. But many people also agree that decks as a whole have a distinct personality. In our lives, we have many people who we turn to for advice and guidance. For work issues or prioritizing, we may approach our manager. For concerns about clients or projects, we bounce ideas off colleagues. For advice about our love lives, we may turn to a close friend or sibling. We have friends who know will give a kick in the pants, if we need it, or ones who will just listen and sympathize. We know both the area of expertise and style of these people in our lives and turn to them, consciously or unconsciously, depending on the type of support or help we want. If we want to wallow a while, we will not call our “get it done” friend. If we need an action plan, we don’t make a date with our “let’s drink wine and whine” friend.

And so it is with our decks.

I should make the distinction: I am not discussing types of decks for different readings…love, general advice, career, etc. I am talking about decks you use for your personal work and matching the deck to your needs (not themes or subject areas) or the type of work you want to do.

For example, if I am in a pretty stable place and simply looking for affirmation about something that I feel pretty certain of or clear about, I usually use my current favored reading deck (being a serial monogamist, this deck changes), currently: The Steampunk Tarot. For me, this deck fits like a well-worn pair of comfortable jeans and it something that I can count on. The Anna K Tarot also works this way for me.

If I feel the need to look inward, particularly to examine my emotional state or aspects of myself with which I am less familiar or comfortable, I might turn to the Tarot of the Hidden Realm. The emotions in these cards are raw and powerful and make it harder for me to hide from uncomfortable feelings.

When I want to look at the broad picture of my life through a spiritual lens, I turn to the Gaian Tarot. This is also the deck I use when I feel the need to be gentle with myself or when I need help finding a positive perspective.

Sometimes we relate to decks in ways that are unique to us. I can see how many people could relate to the decks mentioned above in ways similar to mine. For some unaccountable reason, The Legacy of the Divine Tarot is more apt to be my “kick in the pants” deck, although I’m not sure anyone else would feel this way.

When I know I need a completely new perspective, when I’ve been spinning too long in my own mindset, I turn to decks that invite me to look at things differently, ones that bring a sense of humor, wit, and intelligent to the table. For these moments, I like The Fey Tarot or The Manga Tarot (which I are both designed by Riccardo Minetti from Lo Scarabeo…and may explain why we are friends).

When I want to pull myself out of my own problems or need to be distracted, I’ll play with a deck that is completely different from what I’m used to, something that will force me to let go of my preconceived ideas about what a tarot deck should be. I try to not approach critically but instead try to get inside of the deck’s world and reality and find the meaning and truth it has to offer, no matter how different from my own. The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, the Universal Fantasy Tarot, the Dream Enchantress Tarot, and Sweet Twilight have all played these roles for me.

So tell me, how do you relate to different decks?

Reader Comments

Written By Ty Bevington
on October 8th, 2013 @ 8:17 am

I have different decks for different moods or needs. When I need courage to step out and make something happen, I choose the Tarot of the Pirates or the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn- both are action-packed decks in bold colors that excite me into productive moods.

When I need to dream, R.J. Stewart’s Merlin tarot helps me connect with my Inner Self, but the Wildwood tarot is also beginning to fufil that need.

When I need a kick in the pants, I turn to Uncle Al and the Thoth tarot or the Bosch tarot and deal with the darker sides of my life and prepare to face what is truly at issue and move forward.

When I need love, I turn to Ludy Lescot-her sensuous inhabitants draw me in, invite to linger, loosen my collar, relax, and talk about what’s in my heart.

And when I need a friend, I turn to Robin Wood…comfort, mentor, encouragement, all can be found in my ‘desert island deck’ that has seen me thru so many crisis…

I could go on, but I’ll stop there & look forward to other’s input.

Written By Blackbird "BB"
on October 9th, 2013 @ 2:50 am

Hi Barb,
I definitely agree each deck has it’s own personality; in my experience, the Gendron has long been my own best friend; and the voice of Nan, the stern princess of swords on the box cover of that lovely deck.
The Robin Wood has a more feminine voice, I love this deck because it is the only deck I know that truly has Children, actual children represented, and is to my mind a often the best deck for reading women who have children in the home.
The Witchy is a playful deck and wonderful for readings for young people. I have given more than one to young friends.
The Thoth can be an off putting deck, but it is to my mind the best deck for harsh truths; it has a nonsense voice that other readers have noted in my presence as well.
Blessings, BB.

Written By Linda Saholt
on October 10th, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

My fall-back decks have long been the Hansen-Roberts (easy to carry around) or the Gilded deck (gorgeous!). But am now building a relationship with the Wildwood.
I also use the Pirates deck sometimes–(with this deck, read intuitively–the booklet that comes with the deck is near-useless). I have collected about 30 decks so far, and each has its own special personality. Some of them I collected for the art; some for specific uses.
The Osho deck has been most intriguing when I need to go to to the mystical side. Surprisingly, the Halloween deck has been quite useful, too. It isn’t just for “cute”–it is also a perfectly functional deck.
Have ordered the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, as well as the Witches Tarot and am looking forward to getting to know both of those decks, too. I have gotten some amazing readings with all my decks, but the Wildwood especially. I think each has its turn; each calls to me when I need to hear from it. Tarot is so exciting!

Written By Amista Bennett
on October 24th, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

I have found that my decks all have different personalities too. My first deck, the Wildwood is a really clear deck for me, while not knocking my teeth out with the message. I had a Transparent deck that I ended up giving away because it would figuratively knock someones teeth out or bloody their nose with the message. So much so that I almost always had a hard time even saying the words in the message that was given to me because it was given so abrasively. My Shadowscapes tarot is more of an inspirational deck for me. While my Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg is a very thorough deck and won’t seem to let a subject drop until it has shown me that situation from every possible angle. I think many times, the energy of the deck is strongly influenced by the artist and their experience creating the deck, as well as their intent while doing so.


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