How do you get to know a new deck?

Tarot Orat

I have a brand-new deck, I've read the introductory parts of the book, but I can't shake the feeling that I just want to start drawing and reading. This is very strange for me, I usually go through methodically and try to understand the world of the deck before I begin working with it! (And the world of this deck is completely foreign to my usual life; it's not the same style or cultural background I am usually drawn to.) That's part of why I want to jump in with both feet, to experience the exciting newness, but also why I'm holding back - will I appreciate the deck and understand it well enough if I don't finish reading the book, or at least look at each card before I shuffle it?

How do you start out with a new deck? Do you look at each card individually in order, read the LWB or companion book cover to cover, and only then start working with the cards? Or do you get it out of the box, shuffle it, and lay out a spread right away, studying the card images and reading the book as each card happens to come up? Or do you not refer to the book at all, and just see what the cards seem to be telling you? Or do you go back and forth between different methods, depending on the deck?

I guess I'll see what feels right with my new deck, I'm not asking for advice on what to do right now....but I'm curious how others get through that getting-to-know-you stage!


For me I like to shuffle them a lot then sleep with them under my pillow for around a week, during that week I'll draw some cards daily normally no more than 3 and if I feeling I'm not understanding what the cards are saying then I'll look at the book for them, personally myself I think going through each card separately is more for when your starting out learning to read the tarot.


Usually, I open up the deck and go through the cards, both to make sure that they are all there and in good shape and to get a general feel for the deck. It's like shaking hands when you first meet someone.

I start using them for daily draws and see how they correspond to the events of my day or how I am feeling. Most of the time, I will also do a reading for the deck that I found in the forum here to get a feel for how I can best use the deck. Once I feel confident that a deck gives accurate readings, then I may use it to read for others.

Lately, I have also been getting a Tarot app if one is available for a new deck. That way I can do daily draws and learn more about the cards when I am waiting in line or on the bus to or from work. I can work with the deck without lugging it around or worrying about losing it.


I just use it. Nothing more elaborate than that. I do of course look through a new deck when i first get it to make sure it is not actually missing any cards. Then I just use it.

I get to know decks the same way I get to know people. By talking with them. I talk (ask the question) they listen. Then they talk and I listen. Same as getting to know people. If I want to know someone I am not going to pull out a book and read on them. I would rahter ask them what i want ot know. Especially as decks, like people, react and speak to each of us differenly depnding on who we are and what we bring out in them. That is my view on it.

I actuakly don't tend to even look at LWBs and even the biggers books rarely.



I like to lay out the entire deck on a table to get a feel for its visual style, color schemes, etc. Sometimes I'll spend a long time studying the cards, getting to understand the symbol vocabulary and looking for themes and recurring images, symbols, and patterns. Other times, as soon as I've verified that the cards are all there, I scoop them up, shuffle, and do a reading. Seeing how randomly selected cards interact is the most important part of the getting-acquainted process, and goes on for as long as I own the deck. I'll glance at the LWB to see if it has anything to offer. If there's an interesting spread in there I might try that, but for the most part I don't look at the LWB or companion book until I've played with the deck a bit and have some questions.


I lay out the entire deck on the floor of the living room and examine the cards. I lay them out in majors, then minors in one row per suit with courts on the end of the row. I always put them: Wands, Cups, Swords, Coins. I look at each card to see if I recognise/understand it. For those cards that puzzle me, I have a look at the companion book. Then I choose 3 favourite and 3 least favourite cards based just on the imagery. Then I narrow it down to most favourite and least favourite.

Then I rearrange the minors and put all the aces together side by side, then all the 2s, 3s, 4s and so on. I put all the queens together, all the kings together, etc.

Then I put them back in the first layout again of full deck in order, look at it a while, then I swirl the cards together and start to riffle them (if they're small enough to get my hands around).

As far as I'm concerned, they are now ready to read.


Hmm. I recently bought a new deck and I was impatient. So I just went through each card and immediately proceed with readings for friends while I look up in its lwb. And later, I place it next to my pillow. My own rule for every new deck is to go through every card;I will start studying the card from the top right to top left then down to right while studying the design in the center.


I do one of those deck interview spreads because I'm one of those people.

Mostly though I look through the deck a couple of times and use it for my daily draws until I'm comfortable with it, and then maybe I'll consider doing some readings with it for other people.

I try to read through the companion book and not put down the deck until I'm done with the book but honestly some are written very dryly and it's tough not to give up on reading through the whole thing. The Steampunk Tarot's book was awesome though.

You should do what feels right to you. If you want to immediately start doing readings then do it.


I just use it. I think that you only get to see how a deck works when you actually read with it so that's what I do.


New Decks....

I have tried most of the above and always go through the cards and usually have them on my bed or under the pillow for the first few days... but I agree with Sullis... the only way I ever get to know a deck, love it or not love it... is by reading with it. I have been drawn to decks I would never have otherwise considered by borrowing a friends deck for reading or maybe having a reading with someone else.

Something seems to happen with me.. an energy exchange or something when the deck and I actually start to work together. Either that or its just dead, silent pieces of coloured card.