Choosing your cards...


I have a modest collection of tarot cards about 10 decks in all... I picked them up for various reasons, color, symbolism etc. Anyway, I was wondering what are the major things that you look for when buying your decks? What colors influance you the most? Was it a feeling you got, or a visual factor?
Love and Light,


visual. definitely. there has to be lots of colour and details/movement to each card so that it can talk alot. also, they have to speak to me when i first look at them or i don't buy them.



It used to be visual for me. But now I have a collection of 20 decks, and I want some more unusual ones now, so it's not just visual for me now, although that helps. I like themed decks, which provide a whole new outlook on the Tarot.



i also have about 20 decks. i don't know that it's the color that draws me. i like a certain style of art, and i don't like other styles. i love the art noeveau decks, and the robin wood, and the legend: arthurian tarot, but i don't like the shapeshifter, or brian williams renaissance deck, or the celtic dragon. i don't like enough of the dragons so it ruins the deck for me. the dragon tarot is pretty, but there's no art on the minors if i remember correctly, so i can't say i like that deck either. i was going to say i like realistic art on the cards, but i don't know if that's true either - i love the tarot of the cloisters, and that's like stained glass.

i tend away from what i'll call the "crayon" style, which to me looks a bit childish, though it's probibly just "stylized", and i also tend away from the ethic themed decks. though i do like the native amercian art styles, so i can imagine i'd eventually get a deck in that vein. i suppose it's harder for me to say what i do like, as opposed to what i don't.

there's no deck in which i like every card - the robin wood, tarot of the cloisters, and the arthurian decks come close though.

there's a few others in which i love many cards, but not enough cards to love the deck - tarot of the old path, hansen-roberts, and a few i can't think of now. oh, and i like the universal waite deck's art, but again, only about half the cards.

and i love the art in the thoth, but i can't use it. it's too powerful and overwhelms me.

luv and light,

New River

i agree with jade. she couldn't have said it better for me!

as a painter it is probably first about color for me, but just as important that the deck speaks to me as well. actually i prefer it if it Shouts!

love and light, New River


I have only ever had one deck speak to me and that was the Original Rider Waite. I only own 2 decks, my first 1JJ Swiss I purchased because it was recommended to me and has only just started to respond to me after nearly 20 years :) (Mind you it was stuck on a shelf for 15 of those years lol) I always seem to be drawn to Rider Waite artwork or clones of the Rider Waite - although I do think the Dragon Tarot is very pretty.
I went into a bookshop last week and handled at least 20 decks of tarot cards, I was after the Diamond tarot, and the only one I liked was the Universal Waite. Ohh well :)


what do i like in a deck?
whenever i think i have it down--my taste and preferences--some new deck comes along and blows any consistencies out of the water! now i don't even try to figure it out, 'cuz i use about four decks, and they don't seem to have much in common...
morgan-greer: i love the deep, rich vibrant colors and basic symbolism. this is my main reading deck.
universal-waite: again, the symbolism works for me, and the colors are soothing. i call this one is my "study" deck, because with the numerous RWS books, it's very flexible for comparison and analysis.
legend (arthurian): this deck is just simply beautiful to me. i use it for story-building, dreamwork, the occasional reading...and just to look at!
i'm also currently checking out the osho-zen--i already like the artwork and card titles. it would be nice to have a more contemporary deck to work with.
i guess i just look for a "connection"--when there's not a CONNECTION, it goes in the COLLECTION!
:D :D :D


I'm a straight white woman but seem to have a preference for the radical feminist and "ethnic" decks...........go figure!


i've given up trying to figure out what kinds of decks attract me. about the time i say i don't like decks using photos and computers, i find one that i like--the rock and roll tarot. when i say i prefer decks w/ pastel colors, i find a color shocker i love. i start collecting celtic decks b/c i feel connected to them and then i find a native american style deck--the vision quest i like better. \o/ search me! i'm clueless why i'm attracted to some decks and unattracted to others.


Different reasons for different decks.

As a general rule, I like a deck which follows the basic Waite-Smith imagery for the most part. There are of course exceptions to this, like the Cosmic Tribe which very loosely follows it, taking a lot of liberties, and the Secret Tarots by Lo Scarabeo, which throws in some really out-there variations.

Also, I usually avoid decks with pips instead of scenes on the Minor Arcana. A rare exception for me is Tarocchi Bizzaro, which is a fairly rare deck in which the majors are drawn by Italy's most famous political cartoonist.

Since I find Tarot to be very seductive in its practice, I am drawn to decks which highlight the erotic nature of Tarot. Again, the Cosmic Tribe comes to mind, as does the really-out-there Tarocchi dei Giardini de Priapo (Tarot of the Garden of Penises - gotta love those Italians!).

As for the Waite-Smith clones, I have certain cards that I use to judge whether a deck is right for me. Usually they're the cards that can have varied meanings for me, so I need them to be true to these cards.

Some of the specific things that have drawn me to certain decks are:

Napo Tarot This one breaks my rule about cards with keywords on them. But I love the Argentinian artwork.

Xultan Mayan Tarot This is a really different deck using a whole different set of symbolism. But I'm a major fan of Central and South American history and culture, so I couldn't resist the fabulous Mayan symbols.

Karma Music Tarot One of the few "modern" Tarots I find appealing. And I can't explain why!

Tarocchi Collezione This is another one with pips for the Minor Arcana, but the majors and the court cards are represented with puppets. The artwork is fascinating, and it's another very rare one and it's a numbered and signed deck, which added to the appeal.

And of course, the Royal Fez which has the central figures in each card in color, but the backgrounds in pen and ink. It's not the best artwork of my decks, but there is just something primitive about it. I also like that none of the cards are titled. Nothing detracts from the image in reading with this deck, which is why I use it almost exclusively for readings.