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rwcarter  rwcarter is offline
student of tarot
Join Date: 12 Aug 2007
Location: California, USA
Posts: 15,843
My process for choosing a deck for the IDS (VERY LONG post)

(I'm writing this post as I do the actions below, so it's a multi-hour task.) Reader's Digest version of the post - I'll be using the Ancient Egyptian Tarot for the IDS.

Back in post 137, I described how I went through and pulled out all the decks I would consider using for the IDS. They numbered 34 in no particular order: (I don't see an easy way to do multiple columns of text, so I'll have to improvise)

Maat..................................Steele Wizard.......................World Spirit
Mystic Faerie.......................Tarot of the Elves.................Wheel of Change
Sol Invictus: The God Tarot....Servants of the Light............Magickal Tarot
Shapeshifter........................The Grail Tarot.....................Waking the Wild Spirit
Necronomicon.......................Intuitive Tarot.....................Lo Scarabeo
Bohemian Gothic (reg)............Bohemian Gothic (Silver)........Tarot de Marsella (Arg vers)
Revelations..........................Ancient Egyptian..................Pearls of Wisdom
T of Ceremonial Magick...........Dante Tarot........................Golden Dawn Tarot
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot.....Pictorial Key........................Tarot of Love
MerryDay............................T of the T in de Herstelde Orde
Liber T................................Sheridan Douglas..................T of the Spirit
Templar Tarot

I tended to initially select decks that either come with companion materials or that have easily accessible companion materials with them.

I intended to do a head-to-head competition with the decks to let them tell me which one most wants to be used. But 34 is way too many decks to start with. Plus I need a number that's divisible by 8 so all my match-ups are between 2 decks. So I need to get down to either 16 or 32 decks to start with.

So then I looked through each of the decks with a critical eye towards immediately removing either 2 or 18 of the decks. Well, that wasn't of much help. Only two decks immediately went into the Not Right Now pile - Tarot of the Spirit and Merryday Tarot. 9 decks went into the Maybe pile - Wheel of Change, Mystic Faerie, Servants of the Light, Magickal, Pearls of Wisdom, Golden Dawn, Golden Dawn Magical, Dante and Sheridan Douglas.

So that means I'll start with 32 decks. I have a calculator with a three digit random number generator on it. For each match-up, I'll keep generating random numbers until I get one whose first two digits are between 01 and 78. Then I'll pull that card from each of the decks and compare them. (Some of the decks have more than 78 cards, so that means that those extra cards won't be used in the head-to-head. Oh well.) Also, not all of the decks are ordered in the same manner, so in some cases I'll be looking at the same card between decks and in some I'll be looking at two different cards.

So, how to choose the match-ups? I'll pull the random number function in again. I'll assign each of the decks a number from 1-32, basically in the order in which they're currently laying on my desk. Since the random numbers go from 0.000 to 0.999, I'll actually assign each deck 3 numbers. For example, the deck numbered 1 will also get numbers 33 and 65. That way I'll be able to utilize numbers 0.01x - 0.96x from the random number function.

Results from first round of match-ups (winners in bold):
Tarot of Love vs Waking the Wild Spirit
Pearls of Wisdom vs Wheel of Change
Tarot of the Elves vs Ancient Egyptian
Lo Scarabeo vs de T in der Herstelde Orde
Liber T vs Necronomicon
Sheridan Douglas vs Shapeshifter
Templar vs Pictorial Key
Intuitive vs Steele Wizard
Golden Dawn vs Grail
Golden Dawn Magical vs Bohemian Gothic (Sil)
Magickal vs Dante
Servants of the Light vs World Spirit (VERY close contest)
Sol Invictus vs Mystic Faerie
Maat vs Bohemian Gothic (Reg)
T of Ceremonial Magick vs T de Marsella
T of the Sephiroth vs Revelations

The most surprising 1st round winners were Tarot of Love, Lo Scarabeo and Necronomicon.

For the second round, I've reassigned numbers to the winners and given each one 6 numbers for the random generator. Winners are chosen in the same way as the first round. Results from the 2nd round (winners again in bold):
Grail vs Lo Scarabeo
Shapeshifter vs Dante
Templar vs Pearls of Wisdom
T of the Sephiroth vs T of Ceremonial Magick
Bohemian Gothic (Sil) vs Necronomicon
Steele Wizard vs Bohemian Gothic (Reg)
Tarot of Love vs World Spirit
Ancient Egyptian vs Sol Invictus

Biggest shock here was that the Steele Wizard won over the reg Bohemian Gothic, but it was another one of those creepy kids in the BG deck....

Just like with any contest, things are going to get tougher now. No more random number generator. Pairing the round 2 winners in the order in which they won, I'm now going to randomly deal each deck into 6 piles (cause most of them are still in their original order), shuffle each deck 7x, cut into three piles and then pick the top card off the middle pile to answer the question "Why should I pick you to move on to the next round? My decision will be based on what the accompanying materials have to say about the card I picked.

Results from round 3:
Grail (4 Swords) vs Dante (Direction)
Templar (Fool) vs T of the Sephiroth (Ace Disks)
Bohemian Gothic (Sil) (9 Wands) vs Steele Wizard (Materialism)
World Spirit (Sage Pentacles) vs Ancient Egyptian (Star)

So, that's an interesting final four. I expected at least one of the Bohemian Gothics to make it this far. (I actually wouldn't have been surprised if it had come down to a final battle between the two versions.) All four decks have different focuses and temperaments and they all bring something different to the table.

The cards are still shuffled from round 3, so I will shuffle each deck 7 times, cut into two piles and pull the top card from each pile to answer the question, "What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses as a deck I would use for the IDS?" I'm going to employ the random number generator again to determine the match-ups. Looking at the first number after the decimal point, I'll assign 1 and 5 to the Grail, 2 and 6 to the T of the Sephiroth, 3 and 7 to the Bohemian Gothic and 4 and 8 to the Ancient Egyptian.

Results from Round 4:
Bohemian Gothic (Sil) (Judgement, Death) vs Grail (10 Vessels, Grail Seeker)
T of the Sephiroth (4 Swords, Sun) vs Ancient Egyptian (9 Wands, 6 Swords)

For the final challenge, I'm going to ask both decks a Yes/No question using reversals. I'll shuffle each deck 3 times, then cut into 3 piles, reverse the center pile, place that on top of the right pile which I'll then place on top of the left pile. Repeat 2 times. Shuffle the deck one last time, cut into 3 piles and turn over the top card of each pile. Upright cards are Yes, Reversed cards are No, center card counts as 2. (I don't normally do Yes/No questions and I don't normally read reversals.) The answer to each question will need to be Yes. If both decks give the same answer, then I'll ask another question until one deck gives a Yes and the other deck doesn't.

Will I be able to use you for the entire three months of the IDS?
BGS - Hermit, 4 Pentacles, Knight Wands : resounding YES
AET - 5 Wands, Princess Cups, 4 Cups : resounding YES

Will I enjoy using you for the entire three months of the IDS?
BGS - Empress, Justice (R), 7 Wands: Maybe
AET - Princess Cups, 6 Cups, Queen Cups: Resounding YES

I can honestly say that I'm shocked at the outcome, but I'll be using the Ancient Egyptian Tarot for the IDS.

You say I'm anal-retentive like it's a bad thing....

Kat, you wanted a followup on my decision-making process. Next time I bet you'll remember that old adage of "Be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it." But it was incredibly useful to me cause I got to go through decks with a critical eye (as opposed to when I look them over when I first get them). A number of the decks have definitely sparked an interest in them that I'll have to wait until at least June 22nd to revisit (and by that time I may have completely forgotten about that interest).

And although I haven't started the IDS yet, two new decks arrived in the mail today. I put them on the dining room table without even opening the boxes, cause I didn't want to get distracted from this selection process I underwent today.

I'm off to do a reading in another thread with my IDS deck....

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