How is the Gothic Tarot as a first-ever decK?


I have a friend who's never touched a tarot deck before, and he's shown a lot of interest in learning. I offered to buy him his first deck ever. He picked Vargo's Gothic Tarot over such decks as the Gothic Tarot of Vampires, the Tarot of the Old Path, and Osho Zen, among many others...(the drawing power of Vargo's Gothic! lol!)

Anyway, I'm a little concerned about giving this deck to a tarot "virgin." The symbology and imagery of the Gothic Tarot are in a league of its own--it's definitely not traditional! I tried to recommend Hanson-Roberts and Robin Wood to him, but he wanted a "dark" deck...and how many "dark" decks out there are beginner-friendly? I definitely think Vargo's Gothic isn't, unless perhaps if my friend checks the index of this study group and reads as much as he can...

I would want him to start with RWS-based decks, then he can move on to decks such as this. But starting with the Gothic Tarot might make him less dependent on those books and more dependent on his intuition...What do you guys think?


hmm... that's a tough one. I have a bit of experience with the tarot, and this deck if giving me fits... either it's dead on and easy to read, or I have no clue what the cards mean based on the images. some are so obvious, others give me no clue at all....

I guess if the person is going to use it in conjunction with some good books it might be an ok first deck choice, but I really don't think it's good if they are just going on imagery... does that make sense? and of course it's just my opinion...


I say, if the deck talks to him, BUY IT~!

In my opinion, why should Rider Waite decks get all the preference? There are no rules in my book for learning how to read cards that says one must learn on a Rider Waite or clone before moving into deeper waters.

To me, reading cards is about listening. If he's hearing the cards already, that's half the battle won. Many buy their sterile RWS decks as their first deck, because they were told it was the "right" thing to do, only to find the deck doesn't move them.

It doesn't... sing.... })

A person can always go to Rider Waite, and Golden Dawn symbology later, if his interest in Tarot continues. But, for the beginning, why *not* buy him a deck that speaks to his heart?

Learning to listen to the voice inside is so much more important, to me, than listening to what authors told me to think. Book learning can come later if he wishes. Listening to the cards... looking at the pictures (and what detailed, expressive pictures these are) and finding the stories on his own... THAT is where the magic is.

My only caveat would be if your friend is still living with his parents, or any others who may have uninformed views on what Tarot is all about, they might find a deck like this disturbing. I wanted to be sure to say that too, since culturally I know you are facing a different set of social circumstances than I am under, while giving you this advice. :)

But I still say... go Gothic! ;)

September Pixie

Alissa said:
I say, if the deck talks to him, BUY IT~!

Good point. Perhaps let him look over the decks on a site such as tarot garden and show him various ones and see which ones he can read better with using his intuition :)


As a new "virgin" to owning my own tarot deck, this is my first deck and would have to say I have had no problems with it at all.
They did indeed speak to me just from checking out the image examples at monolithic graphics. I feel they are very easy to bond with and interpret. But yes, get your friend to check out some examples first and see how the 'feel' from them.

Goddess Blessings

September Pixie

I just wanted to pipe in and say congrats to you Annwyn and to your friend, Kittaine, for picking up their first decks!

Oh the fond memories I have of my first tarot :D


Vargo would be okay as a starter deck...but the Gothic Tarot of the Vampires as a starter? ROFLMAO...that's not a starter deck.

If your friend leans towards the dark - get the Vargo...

We always welcome - another one

like thieves

Alissa said:
I say, if the deck talks to him, BUY IT~! [...] But I still say... go Gothic! ;)

Amen. I love this deck with all my heart. Of course, I am a proud "I am not an 'I am not a goth' goth." ;) I've bought half a dozen decks in my search for the one I can actually read... to my mind, not being able to read tarot is sort of like not being able to drive a car. Anyway, when I found the Vargo deck, I was transfixed. The first two days I owned it I carried it around with me because I didn't want to be parted with it. I hope it works for your friend. :)


Wow ... I'd think I am this friend of yours if I did not know any better, because Vargo's Gothic tarot is my first tarot deck. I found the deck a week ago at the mall.

And yes, it sort of "talked" to me in a way that in the end I decided to buy it over the "normal" looking decks as well as giving up the non-tarot merchandise that I had intended to buy originally - I chose the Gothic tarot. Maybe its dark hues stood out. Maybe I'm a dark person so dark things are what I connect with best naturally - for whatever the reason - I chose this deck.

You know what? Back then, I didn't think I was going to buy the deck for serious tarot readings, but I was buying it simply on account of the breathtaking art. But now my thoughts changed. I've come to realise the cards are more than just aesthetically pleasing things. They have actual powers - I cannot wait to decipher, to bring them all out! That is what the cards seem to want. And so I oblige. I'm a beginner tarot reader now.

People seem to fear the cards might be too confusing for starters. It isn't. That's because Vargo's LWB is easy to understand. The qualities of each card are listed, plainly, in a way no beginner could possibly misunderstand. Very unlike some of the other online LWBs I found. In the other guide books, the descriptions about the Knight, the Hierophant, the Princess, etc, are confusing to me. Vargo's book is clearer, and therefore, ideal!

Tarot-readers here are collectors. I will try looking for another deck - perhaps start a small collection - it certainly sounds interesting. But unfortunately I felt non of the "voice" from another deck like the one I first felt with Vargo's deck. I suppose I shall have to keep looking,


The Gothic Tarot is a nice and beautiful tarot deck, too often dismissed as a theme deck. Great to see this deck has a new fan. :) It's true it's a powerful and evocative deck, very inspiring. You'll find plenty of informations about the deck here.

As for being a collector, it might happen overtime that it catches you, it's the common virus here. I spent ten years with the Enchanted Tarot until I saw The Gothic Tarot, which I had to have. I saw other pretty amazing decks as well, most of them I have now. You have not yet seen the hundreds of decks out there. Never say never. ;)