Personalities of Decks

by Barbara Moore

Many people think of their tarot decks as a collection of 78 wise friends who they can turn to for advice and guidance, and I agree. But many people also agree that decks as a whole have a distinct personality. In our lives, we have many people who we turn to for advice and guidance. For work issues or prioritizing, we may approach our manager. For concerns about clients or projects, we bounce ideas off colleagues. For advice about our love lives, we may turn to a close friend or sibling. We have friends who know will give a kick in the pants, if we need it, or ones who will just listen and sympathize. We know both the area of expertise and style of these people in our lives and turn to them, consciously or unconsciously, depending on the type of support or help we want. If we want to wallow a while, we will not call our “get it done” friend. If we need an action plan, we don’t make a date with our “let’s drink wine and whine” friend.

And so it is with our decks.

I should make the distinction: I am not discussing types of decks for different readings…love, general advice, career, etc. I am talking about decks you use for your personal work and matching the deck to your needs (not themes or subject areas) or the type of work you want to do.

For example, if I am in a pretty stable place and simply looking for affirmation about something that I feel pretty certain of or clear about, I usually use my current favored reading deck (being a serial monogamist, this deck changes), currently: The Steampunk Tarot. For me, this deck fits like a well-worn pair of comfortable jeans and it something that I can count on. The Anna K Tarot also works this way for me.

If I feel the need to look inward, particularly to examine my emotional state or aspects of myself with which I am less familiar or comfortable, I might turn to the Tarot of the Hidden Realm. The emotions in these cards are raw and powerful and make it harder for me to hide from uncomfortable feelings.

When I want to look at the broad picture of my life through a spiritual lens, I turn to the Gaian Tarot. This is also the deck I use when I feel the need to be gentle with myself or when I need help finding a positive perspective.

Sometimes we relate to decks in ways that are unique to us. I can see how many people could relate to the decks mentioned above in ways similar to mine. For some unaccountable reason, The Legacy of the Divine Tarot is more apt to be my “kick in the pants” deck, although I’m not sure anyone else would feel this way.

When I know I need a completely new perspective, when I’ve been spinning too long in my own mindset, I turn to decks that invite me to look at things differently, ones that bring a sense of humor, wit, and intelligent to the table. For these moments, I like The Fey Tarot or The Manga Tarot (which I are both designed by Riccardo Minetti from Lo Scarabeo…and may explain why we are friends).

When I want to pull myself out of my own problems or need to be distracted, I’ll play with a deck that is completely different from what I’m used to, something that will force me to let go of my preconceived ideas about what a tarot deck should be. I try to not approach critically but instead try to get inside of the deck’s world and reality and find the meaning and truth it has to offer, no matter how different from my own. The Tarot of the Silicon Dawn, the Universal Fantasy Tarot, the Dream Enchantress Tarot, and Sweet Twilight have all played these roles for me.

So tell me, how do you relate to different decks?

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