I thought it would be useful if those doing the readings were to introduces ourselves and what kind of deck/reading we use. On one hand to open discussion about specific deck and on the other, perhaps, to allow those looking for readings to pick someone whose style is compatible with what they are looking for.
Personally I have two main reading deck. The first (and my favorite) is the Brian Froud Faeries' Oracle (see image). I find it is a very versatile, very acute deck. However it does have it's quirks... it works better with "How" and "Why" questions, then with pure outcome or anything set in time. I have also issues reading it about third parties (X wants to know something about person Y).
My other deck is a Rider Waite structured deck. Better for traditional "fortune telling". It is a very upbeat deck, that I tend to read more on the positive side.
I have one main deck I use for readings, the Mythic tarot. I use others but only personally since I find I am not as familiar with them as I am with this one. This one really... clicks for me, so I like it quite a bit.
I have one deck, some Fairy tarot, that I don't like very much. It never fit with me and I never was able to identify with it. It was given to me by someone I did not get on well with either so I just... leave it wrapped up to its own devices. I also have a Druid oracle which I absolutely love but am in no way familiar with yet. The Mythic deck has 11 years on that one....
I've three "proper" Tarot decks, and one "Not so proper" deck.
o) Rider-Waite, the one most folk know of, at least, is the one I prefer to use at present, at least until I make my own. I'm a little iffy towards it (it doesn't feel consistent enough for me), but it does the job.
o) Thoth Deck, I'm not too familiar with, and not too fussy for, but I want to get better with (not least of which because it's the mister's preferred one).
o) The Archetype Deck, by Caroline Myss, I bought a year or two back, because I really dig Jung and psychoanalytic grooviness and because I was making my own deck also based on archetypes. It's not a great deck (cards too stiff to shuffle effectively, the meanings printed on the card are a bit limited), but it is pretty helpful, and doesn't rely on the typical ordering of Tarot, which I dig.
o) The Windrow-Ravenswood deck is my dark horse; it's a novelty playing card set, done in a kind of steampunky/victoriana kind of way. The classical suits are replaced by Bones, Sea, Circles and Cogs, and I'm developing my own divination system based on it (to some success, apparently!) I really can't recommend it enough - it's fantastically pretty.
I have a Thoth deck lying around somewhere but I could never connect with it.. It swims in front of my eyes and makes me dizzy/nauseous.
Other then the physical issues with the cards, how useful is the archetype deck? Accurate enough for your preference (once you feed your own knowledge of the collective unconscious and related Jungian goodness) or more of a "good try but not quite there" ?
I'm honestly not too fond of the artstyle, to be frank, and I feel as though for a deck that's meant to represent the New Aeon, it is itself a little behind the times. But that's just me - I have heard some thought-provoking arguments for it, so I think it comes down to personal preference, as is often the case.
It's hard to judge the Archetype deck... I've had success with it, and if results alone are what matters, then it's a good deck (for me at least, c.f. personal preferences above and all that). The meanings given to each card are written on the card itself, and it's usually only a sentence long. If you recall that I drew "The Addict" as a card in your reading, Hermit, the Archetype deck gives this:
Light Attribute: Helps you recognise and confront addictive behaviour. Shadow Attributes: Compromises integrity and honesty. Allows an addictive pattern to have authority over your inner spirit.
Now, these are both pretty limited descriptors, but the first especially threw me off, because an addict may well /not/ recognise himself for being an addict. So what /are/ the good qualities of addictive behavior? Quite often there's a sense of exhiliration in what you're doing; it may feel great, regardless of its downsides. Thus, I instead interpreted the light side of an addict as being all the "good-feeling" parts of addiction, rather than (what I perceived to be) the bad-feeling parts.
Thus, I can't really give a full and accurate assessment of what it's like - although the "not quite there" idea certainly comes pretty close. The names are evocative and familiar to the extent that you'll usually know what's meant when you draw the cards (A dilettante's shadow side being that they're a jack of all trades, master of none, a companion's shadow side being that you're defined by another, and so on), but you do have to extrapolate a lot, since the cards themselves don't really provide you with much in and of themselves.
I'm interested in tarot and want to start so I figured I'd piggyback on this thread to ask a few questions.
1. Are there any good books/authors on how to begin? I've seen Crowley's name a lot but for one I don't know if he's written anything for beginners and secondly I've heard that he's not a good authority, period.
2. Does it matter what kind of deck you use? I know that Rider-Waite is the most commonly used and would be a good place to start but I've got my eye on another deck because frankly the art on the Rider-Wait (and consequently most other tarot decks) repulses me.
3. Finally, is true that in order to get better readings you should treat your cards well? I've heard that it's better to give the cards their own special place, like a box.
1) Ooft. I used to kind of hand-wave Crowley away: he was very, very important in bringing magick to he forefront of public awareness, but he can be a difficult writer to understand at times. Recently, though, I've been getting into finally actually studying the Thoth Tarot and the Book of Thoth, and damn, he's a smart man. He's a very good authority, I'd say - just as good an authority as you're likely to find in the occult world, anyway - but it might be difficult to "get" him unless you're also reading a companion volume like Lon Milo DuQette's book on understanding the Book of Thoth. Aeclectic.net has a decent study on the cards of various decks (and also lists a huge number of alternative decks, if you want to puruse them and find one that suits you). I learned from a mediocre book that came with the deck I got when I was a kid, so I can't really say (although take with a pinch of salt the meanings and associations the little books you get with tarot cards give you).
2) Consensus seems to be that you should get a deck that really calls to you. My opinion is that getting a deck that appeals to you aesthetically/kinesthetically/emotionally, etc means that you'll be more inclined to spend time reading with it rather than sitting around going "Man, the art on this is shit." I personally started with a Rider-Waite knockoff deck (it was the first and only one I'd seen, and my sister got me it when I was 10 or so), and I can honestly say that learning the RW was advantageous when it came to understanding other magical systems (such as Kabbalah and the tree of life).
3) There're arguments for and against it, but whether or not it's true is literally anyone's guess. There're some really thick New Age folks who often run around telling folk that you have to like, keep them wrapped up in silk, in a special drawer, and never let ANYONE touch them - but it's a bullshit warning based off of a misunderstanding of human psychology. We often associate particular mindsets, attitudes and modes of thinking with certain objects/areas (e.g., think how differently you act, think, and behave when wearing formal-wear, or a uniform), so keeping your deck seperate from your "mundane" life should, theoretically, mean that you always adopt a "magickal" mindset when you handle them. However, some folk think that you should seek to make every moment of your life magickal, and thus might suggest keeping your deck handy all the time. Do what you feel suits you best - if you're the type of person who digs having a "special place" for your cards, then go for it.
1. I'll refer you to Goet's (very articulate) answer on Crowley. I can't stand his deck (Thoth Deck) but it's probably a question of personal dispositions.
2.The art can vary a lot within Rider-Waite structured decks. On the other hand, if it's the symbolism that throws you off, you can look in the Oracles that are available. They are less of a learning tool into the rest of the Occult (due to the disconnect from the Kabbalah symbolism and such), but might be easier for you to connect with.
As mentioned aeclectic.net is a good place to browse the art of various deck and see what you like. If available in your region, find a brick and mortar store that will let you see samples for the decks (often in binders) or open boxes to get a feel of the cards... I have a deck I never read with because the cards are absurdly flimsy *cough*Vertigo Tarot*cough*.
3. For years my Oracle deck was alway on or with me. It went through College with me. It went to funerals with me. It went to all my job interviews. There's a quasi dent in one of my purses shaped like the pouch I carry it in. Same thing with my fist tarot deck, until it was stolen (forgot my backpack in a bus... the expensive math book and the cd player, all in there when I got it back... tarot deck gone).
I treat my cards with respect, but not like "good china you should only touch with gloves and bring out if the queen comes over for dinner". I like having them around, "attuned" to my energy. On the other hand, each deck has it's own pouch, in a different style and material. It keeps the dust of them, it's convenient and I pick a style that suits them. Once again, it comes down to personal preferences.
No. 17698 - Saberhagen - December 22nd, 2010 - 3:05 AM
I make it sound probably worst then it is... The art is absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous (Dave Mckean art, yum). it's just the stock it's printed on..
It feels very light and bending when you manipulate the cards.. My main tarot deck is by Llewellyn and the vertigo cards feel a bit lighter then the Llewellyn cards, to give you a point of comparison. .. The face are covered in some varnish which makes then shiny, a bit slippery against one an other but finger prints stick to them really easy (like to a mirror). My deck also has some imperfections along the edges, where the sheets weren't cut properly, leaving a line of paper bumps on all 4 faces (the bumps line up perfectly is the deck is properly stacked). The problem is that they cause some slight snagging when shuffling the cards..
However, bear in mind I have the deck from the first printing (or at least, the store I got it from had is in their back-store since 1999) so the new edition/print might solve these production issues.