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Can't "connect" with my Tarot cards....

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 27 Dec 2001, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Michelle  27 Dec 2001 
Hello... I purchased Tarot cards in January of 2001... and I can't seem to "get it". Perhaps I am using the wrong deck ?

I started with Rider Waite, then I purchased Universal Waite, and neither deck seems to speak to me. Any help will be truly appreciated.

Thank you, Michelle 

blue  27 Dec 2001 
The waite deck is a very good one to start with. Perhaps another would be more to your liking but remember, not every one reads the same way. Some people are very intuitive, other have to memorize the meanings. I still have to go to the book at times.

I doubt if there is anything wrong with you, you just need to find a method that work for you. Practice make perfect. 

Thirteen  27 Dec 2001 
This is your first deck, correct?

RW is not a warm deck. Waite was a very serious and scholarly guy and the feel of many of the cards can be off putting, not welcoming or friendly. HOWEVER it is THE deck for learning the Tarot, no doubt about it, as most other decks use it as a template. Think of it as a reading primer. You may never "connect" to it on an emotional or spiritual level, but it'll give you the basic skills you need.

My first recommendation (if you'll allow me to shamelessly plug my section here) is go through the Tarot basics section here on these boards--if you haven't already. Set it to see posts 180 days back and you can read up from the Fool on. What you'll see there that you might not find in other books is how the cards connect. How the #3 cards connect to the Empress, for example.

That will help you get a feel for how the Tarot works. THEN, when it comes together, you can check out other decks here, on this forum (aeclectic has a whole section where you can look at samples from dozens of decks), and find one that's right for you. One that really speaks to you, one you can really connect to. Don't be discouraged, sometimes you just need to wait for things to fall into place. 

EveAnna  27 Dec 2001 
Hi Michelle,

If you like the symbolism and the 'feel' of the Rider Waite perhaps you might be better with one of the Rider Waite clones. My primary deck is the Original Rider Waite but I also have The Diamond tarot, a clone, which gives a different feel to a reading. Or go to the decks section here and look through the cards, sooner or later something will catch your eye, you'll feel your stomach flip, and there will be your next deck looking back at you :) This is how it works for me, my other decks are all quite different - The Thoth, 1JJ Swiss, Astro Tarot, Parragon - but with each I knew I had to have them. 

DeLani  27 Dec 2001 
I understand the feeling...My first deck was given to me. It was the Aquarian Tarot. While I was thrilled to have a "real" deck, I just couldn't connect with it. The people's faces were so white, like the were dead! So I traded it for another deck I liked better.
As for the Rider-Waite (or Waite-Smith, as I call it) being THE deck to learn with, I respectfully disagree. I do think that you should go with a "clone," one that uses the same symbolism and has scenes depicted on the minor arcana, so that you can learn from a wide variety of books. But the Tarot is meant to open the intuitive part of our mind, the part that likes pretty pictures. Go with what appeals to you visually, and learn from there. And, by the way, buy "Tarot for Yourself" and work through it. It is incredible!
Good luck,

Michelle  27 Dec 2001 
Wow !!! Thank you all so much for your help. You have given me ALOT to think about . I think I expected to just be able to read the cards without learning the meanings.... and it has become obvious that I am not quite that intuitive (darn it) ! I am going to read the posts here and also read the many books I have purchased... Hopefully this will help.
I am so happy that I found this site, what a GREAT way to share and learn.

Talk to you soon :)

Love & Light,

Michelle  30 Dec 2001 
Hello Friends,
I have to say that Thirteen's posts for beginners are FABULOUS !! (Thank you Thirteen). I also bought another deck... Connolly... I know everyone has strong opinions about this particular deck, however I was drawn to it. After purchasing the deck, I realized that this was the one I had my first reading with (many years ago). Hmmmm, coincidence perhaps?
I looked for the book Tarot for Yourself and the bookstore was out of it, I am looking at other stores today. Wish me luck !
I wanted to get opinions (please) on Eden Gray's Tarot books. They were recommended by a friend, has anyone read/used these books?

Well, I just wanted to share with you ... my recent Tarot adventures. Smile.
Thank you all for your thoughts and advice, and for welcoming me into the "family."

Talk to you soon.
Love and Light,

deso  30 Dec 2001 
I'm so excited for you Michelle!!!! Have great fun with "your" deck!!! 

Thirteen  30 Dec 2001 
Michelle (31 Dec, 2001 03:06):
Hello Friends,
I have to say that Thirteen's posts for beginners are FABULOUS !! (Thank you Thirteen). I also bought another deck... Connolly... I know everyone has strong opinions about this particular deck, however I was drawn to it.

You're welcome! As for the Connolly deck--it's a lovely deck and I actually think Connolly hits it very right with some of her images (6 of swords for example--very nice way to express that card with the woman crossing the bridge). Don't worry about controversy; you can join in that later when you become a curmugeonly old reader like some of us--then you too can snipe about all these darn newfangled decks and how readers just don't appreciate the classics anymore :)

You might want to check out Connolly's own tarot books by the way. She put out three, one for beginners, journeyman and master tarot readers. From what I understand, they're quite good and comprehensive. 

Ceti  30 Dec 2001 
Michelle (31 Dec, 2001 03:06):
I wanted to get opinions (please) on Eden Gray's Tarot books. They were recommended by a friend, has anyone read/used these books?
Love and Light,

Books are a lot like decks in that one person's treasure is another person's trash. Eden Gray is certainly worthwhile, but you may find that Connolly's books speak more to you, as Thirteen suggested. If you're like me, you're going to have to gobble up a lot of things, but it can be good to stick with the ones that resonate with your heart, at least initially. One of the wonderful things about Tarot is that it's a life-long endeavor. My first deck was the Rider, or Waite-Smith, as it's also known, and Eden Gray was helpful with this deck. However, that first deck was just a springboard for many other decks that I've grown to treasure. Connolly's "Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice", is excellent! Plus, she has some great spreads. Happy exploring!


tarotbear  30 Dec 2001 
****plugging his favorite deck****

I teach with the Rider, but my deck of choice is the Robin Wood Tarot...even if it is a 'Rider Clone'. 

Lee  31 Dec 2001 
Just to provide a different viewpoint, I wouldn't recommend someone starting out with Connolly's books. I think they're obscure and not particularly helpful. I think you would be better off with a general book like "Tarot For Your Self" by Mary Greer, which could be used with any deck including the Connolly.

-- Lee 

di  31 Dec 2001 
The Rider Waite deck may just not be for you. has a section where you can look at complete decks. Maybe you should check that out and pick a deck to buy that way. Sometimes it could just be a mental block though. That's what I had with the Celtic Dragon. Once I separated the author of the accompaning book from the deck of cards, there was no problem.
You may also want to check out this book I got last week called "Tarot for a New Generation" by Jenina Renee and it's an awesome reference tool! 

Scorpion  02 Jan 2002 
Hi Michelle!

I know the feeling only too well! I have spent a lot of time and money looking for something that would "talk" to me. And then, thankfully, I found this site!

I think it depends on what you respond to. For me, it's colour (the deeper and more vibrant the better) rather than symbolism. So I "came home" when I bought the Osho Zen deck but use the Spiral if I want more layers of meaning (I also like mythology and its Major Arcana is full of it).

Everybody has their favourites and for a huge variety of reasons - sometimes it's hard to explain why exactly: it's just more emotional than rational. But you'll know when you "meet" that deck - it's out there somewhere!

As for books - has anybody tried "Tarot According to You"? I keep looking at it on the shelves but haven't quite got round to picking it up...... 

MeeWah  03 Jan 2002 
An understanding of the basic card meanings is helpful & can serve to trigger the intuitive responses. It is well worth the investment in time for some study of those meanings.
Also, sometimes it take a bit of time to get acquainted with a deck before a relationship begins. Working with a daily card can help establish a connection, especially with an unfamiliar deck or to know a familiar deck more in depth.
The Ryder-Waite & the Universal Waite are basically the same deck. Their main difference is in their color tones.
Of course, it is possible a deck may not resonate for you. If you are a beginner, it may take a little more time so do not give up! Not to discourage you, but some readers spend years looking for that "perfect deck"! It may be a matter of gaining more knowledge of Tarot in general, after which you may find yourself looking differently at decks. Those you thought you could not use may result in the opposite reaction. 

Jewel  03 Jan 2002 
Hi Michelle,

Since everyone is putting in their 2 cents I think I will also jump in. I think it is great that you now have both the Raider-Waite AND a deck that speaks to you. Personally I have had to study hard to get as comfortable with Tarot as I am today and I still consider myself a student (for 6-7 years now).

What Thirteen was trying to say (I believe please correct me if I am wrong Thirteen), is that the RW is "the" deck to learn in terms of that most books have used that deck to illustrate them, and generally speak of that deck specifically. Thus learning that deck helps get your feet wet or wet your appetite so to speak.

Like Tarotbear, I must also make a plug from my favorite deck, which coincidentally is also the Robin Wood ~chuckles~. What I love to do when studying is pull out my Robin Wood (your Connolly equivalent) AND the RW deck. I read what the author has to say, study the card from each deck and have learned to make correlations to my Robin Wood deck or to discard symbology that does not speak to me. It has helped me learn much more about my deck of choice, and I am also pleased to say that it has helped me slowly start building a greater appreciation for the RW deck overall.

A book I have not seen anyone mention to you, that I just finished reading and HIGHLY recommend is "78 Degrees of Wisdom" by Rachel Pollock. That and "Tarot for Yourself", "Tarot Constellations" and "Tarot Mirrors" all by Mary Greer (they are work books). Inclusively we have 2 work groups going on related to those books here on Aeclectic (the 78 DW study group to start later this month).

Good luck with your Tarot journey and remember that the most important thing about your deck is that you love it ... what anyone else thinks is secondary ;)

Love & Light, 

amyel  03 Jan 2002 
If I may suggest...
When I go searching for a new deck ( I don't know why I bother - I always use the one I started with), I hold them, and I examine a few cards that have meaning for me or that have come up time & time again in my own readings. It used to be Death, the Devil and the Star. If those images scared me, or confused me, then I didn't buy the deck.

My degree is in art history, and I find that I respond to the artwork of cards. For this reason, I once bought the Celtic tarot...but using this deck was almost impossible for me, as it was heavy on symbolism and numerology (or so it seemed to me). So I gave it to a friend of mine, who is much more numerologically inclined, and she loves it!

There are so many decks out there, I think you just need to spend some time exploring and examining some decks. I truly believe the right deck will find you. 

Michelle  04 Jan 2002 
deso (31 Dec, 2001 03:46):
I'm so excited for you Michelle!!!! Have great fun with "your" deck!!!

Hi deso,
Thank you !!!! I am excited too !!
I will let you know how things go with my new deck.

Love and Light,

Michelle  04 Jan 2002 
[quote]di (01 Jan, 2002 12:13):
"The Rider Waite deck may just not be for you. has a section where you can look at complete decks. "

Wow !! That's great to know... I had no idea that you could look at complete decks online (Even in most stores you can only see one card) I will definitely check it out.

I am going to the bookstore tomorrow and I'll look for the book you recommended. I am going to have buy a bookshelf just for Tarot books ...But what a wonderful collection to have.

Thanks !!

Love and Light,

Michelle  04 Jan 2002 
Hello friends,
I am overwhelmed at all of the advice and opinions everyone has shared with me ... This is truly a wonderful site !!

Well, I have had the Connolly deck for a week now... and I have a love/hate thing going on with it (for sure).
I love the colors and pictures , BUT... I am having a hard time getting the meanings from the cards. I now clearly see why Waite is THE DECK to learn with !! I think the pictures on the Waite cards "show you" what they mean. Connolly is MUCH more subtle. (At least in my opinion)

I believe I now have to take the time to actually learn the meanings of each card , as opposed to expecting to get them out of the box and read them.

I have been looking for Eileen Connolly's books but can't find them anywhere. I know has them , but I wanted to look at them before purchasing. Does anyone know if they are still available in bookstores?

Thanks again.

Love and Light,

cj  05 Jan 2002 

More from the peanut gallery..I found the book "The complete illustrated guide to Tarot" a wonderful's not based on 1 deck and is interesting reading..and I made a cheet sheet.. with key words for each major, and a list of what the suits represent, and what each number represents..I still keep the sheets with some of my decks. has sheets you can print out too...

Looks like you have started your's fun and remember, after learning the book meanings..start to go with what you see in the pix on the cards..

I'm still learning..guess will always be still learning..


EveAnna  06 Jan 2002 
Hi Michelle,

I had 'Tarot, The Complete handbook for the Apprentice' by Eileen Connolly from the library - it was the early version that used the Rider Waite cards - its a very indepth book, uses alot of prayers before reading the cards, and set rituals.
To be honest it wasn't my kind of book but I'm not sure if the version of the book out now is the same - so do try to get to look through it before you buy it - I sort of collect tarot books but I'm glad I didn't buy this one. Hope this helps :-) 

Jewel  07 Jan 2002 
Hi again Michelle,

I have both the first Connolly work book and all 3 of Mary Greers workbooks (Tarot for Yourself, Tarot Constellations, and Tarot Mirrors). I would highly recommend you get a chance to look at both the first Connonly work book and Tarot for Yourself before you make a decision on which to buy. I have personally found Mary Greer's books to be more helpful in my development. The ritual stuff in the Connolly books I have found to be cumbersome. Good luck, and may you enjoy which ever books and decks you choose.

Love & Light, 

The Can't "connect" with my Tarot cards.... thread was originally posted on 27 Dec 2001 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.

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