How do I get started with tarot?

Cat Tarot Wrap, Purple Tarot Pouch, Purple Tarot Cloth, Four of Cups: This Might Hurt, Ace of Cups: Sasuraibito

Your First Deck

There’s this really pervasive myth that your first tarot deck should be gifted to you. I don’t know where this comes from, but to me that seems a lot like gatekeeping. I wouldn’t have gotten started in tarot if I had waited around for someone to gift me a deck. I don’t know anyone in my personal life who is interested in tarot, so this myth seems like a way to keep it inaccessible to most people.

When picking a deck for the first time, I recommend picking something that really appeals to you personally. This is another reason why waiting for a deck to be given to you doesn’t really work. If you don’t like the artwork of the deck, you won’t use it. 

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If you have the opportunity to look through the images on each card, whether in a physical store, or by looking it up online, you will have a much better idea of whether a deck is right for you. Don’t only focus on whether you like the art, but also if you are able to get a good sense of the symbolism or meaning of the card. You want a deck that gives you instant messages, not one that leaves your head a bit cloudy.

When you’re just starting out, it can be good to have access to a Rider Waite Smith deck. You can just check the images online if you like, but many tarot books are centred around the symbolism of the RWS. Being able to quickly check what a particular card looks like can really help you learn at first.

You can have one deck or many, just beware of becoming addicted to buying new decks all the time! Indie decks can be pricey, so if you can only afford a cheaper mass-produced or second-hand deck for now, don’t worry. All that I would ask is that you don’t buy a deck from somewhere like Wish or AliExpress. They are all poor quality faked versions of existing tarot decks, which takes revenue away from the artists, creators, and publishers of the real deck. 

Books

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There’s so much information online that buying tarot books isn’t exactly necessary. But if you’d like to deepen your knowledge or learn a little history and context behind the cards, I do recommend picking up a book such as Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom which is pictured above. Here are a few popular tarot books you might like to take a look at:

Seventy-eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen

The Easiest Way To Learn Tarot Ever by Dusty White

Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea

Kitchen Table Tarot by Melissa Cynova

Tarot For Troubled Times by Shaheen Miro and Theresa Reed

All Of Our Stories by Beth Maiden

For more ways to learn tarot, check out the Resources page of this blog.

Journal

If you take no other advice from this blog, please at least do this: keep a tarot journal! Write out your spreads and what meanings you took from them. Monthly readings are a great way to reflect on how your life is going, and you can also do readings for events such as birthdays, moon phases, or any other special occasion or event. Keep notes, little messages to yourself, stories, anything you like. You can use any notebook, but if you need something more guided, Liminal 11 are coming out with this tarot journal soon. 

Storage

You can of course just keep your cards in the original box. But some boxes are a little flimsy, and if you want to take your cards out and about, consider a tarot wrap or pouch. There’s an old myth that you have to keep your tarot deck wrapped in black silk. As luxurious as that sounds, you want something that is easy to access so that you can quickly and easily use your tarot deck whenever you feel like it. In the caption of the image at the top of this post, I’ve linked some storage options that I really like. Etsy is a great resource, especially for supporting small and home businesses.

Reading Cloths

Having your own little ritual for practicing tarot helps to make it a mindful and relaxing experience. You should do whatever you are most comfortable with, but it can be nice to set out a cloth, get a cup of tea ready and take some deep breaths before drawing cards. Reading cloths draw you into the spread that you’re looking at and help to prevent you from losing your cards. Again, Etsy is a great resource, but if you have any furoshiki they’re the perfect shape and size to use as a tarot cloth, and also to store and carry around your deck. 

Other Tools

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I really like this card stand I found on Etsy. I recommend beginning a new tarot practice by drawing a daily card. If you’re able to display that card somewhere you can see all day, it will help you to keep the meaning in mind, and to apply it to the rest of your day. You could keep it in your journal or your wallet if that works for you. Just don’t lose it!

 

If you are an experienced tarot reader, what do you wish you had known when you started? What has been most useful for your practice? I’d love to hear some tips and tricks. 

 

Tarot Deck Review: Considerate Cat

Mac enjoying the Considerate Cat Tarot

This review is not sponsored.

Considerate Cat Tarot is a crowd funded tarot deck featuring the stories of rescue cats. The deck contains over 150 illustrations of cats, most of them real life cats with stories to tell. Each deck contains 78 cards that stay true to classic Tarot imagery but with a light-hearted, feline twist.

This deck supports the rescue efforts in Vancouver B.C. Of every deck sold 5% of proceeds go directly to the entirely no kill and volunteer run V.O.K.R.A. This deck is full of life, love, challenges, hard work and most of all: a love and respect for cats. Cats are magical, mysterious creatures with strong intuitions. This makes them the perfect subject for Tarot.

– Quote from the Considerate Cat website.

As a cat owner, I was instantly attracted to this whimsical deck featuring real rescue cats and dainty images of nature and the home. This is a standard 78 card deck, using the usual naming convention of wands, cups, swords, and pentacles. However the Court cards have been renamed as follows:

  • Page => Daughter
  • Knight => Son
  • Queen => Mother
  • King => Father

Rather than include a Little White Book, which would usually fit into the box with the cards, the creator of this deck, Madeleine Belanger has chosen to include a slightly larger Pocket Guidebook. This booklet is in full colour and features photos of the cats that inspired this deck. There is an option to order a hardback copy of this book, however I have the standard paperback edition. Here’s everything I got in my order:

From left: cardboard box with a ribbon containing the deck, paperback guidebook, enamel pin and tarot bag

There was a slight hitch receiving my order, the package going missing somewhere between Canada and Scotland, but Madeleine was extremely helpful and posted me a replacement, which arrived a few weeks later. 

This is a peaceful and positive tarot deck, and I think it would be great for gratitude and compassion practices. In the introduction, Madeleine describes tarot (for her) as similar to journaling or meditative yoga, a quiet time for reflection. Here’s a flip-through of the Major Arcana:

Major Arcana of the Considerate Cat Tarot

The Minor Arcana is also fully illustrated. That, and the descriptions of the cards in the booklet suggests that this deck is probably more inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith than other types of tarot such as the Marseilles. However the illustrations are not very similar to any other deck that I have seen, so it is really quite unique. 

A selection of Minor Arcana cards from Considerate Cat

As mentioned earlier, the booklet is in full colour, and the addition of rescue cat photos was one of the factors that made me decide to buy this deck. It’s so impactful to use an art project like this to bring attention to rescue cats, often forgotten and ignored in shelters. But here they take centre stage as Empresses, Lovers, and Magicians. 

In terms of the quality of the cards, overall I think they feel nice to touch. Slightly glossy, but not shiny, they’re fairly thin which makes them easier to shuffle. The image quality is nice– not pixellated– but on close inspection appears to be made up of tiny dots. The cards have borders and the edges are not gilded. The paperback guidebook is a little difficult to keep open at first, and some of the images and text is obscured by the binding, but it seems to get easier with use.

Video shows how bendable the cards are

If you would like to order this deck, you can order it at the official website based in Canada, or UK buyers may prefer to order it from Little Red Tarot. Either way, I recommend Considerate Cat for anyone who enjoys human-free or nature based decks, or if you love animals and support rescuing pets rather than buying them. 

Considerate Cat

Little Red Tarot

I’ll finish with a little reading I did for my cat Mac using this deck. I went for a simple Stop Start Continue spread:

From left: Stop- Daughter of Wands, Start- Mother of Wands, Continue- Three of Pentacles

The guidebook describes those three cards as follows:

Daughter of Wands: Enthusiasm, confidence. You’ve recently discovered a new passion or have been inspired recently to work hard on a current project. You’re excited and inspired to be creative and work hard. 

Mother of Wands: Attraction, fertility, confidence. Mother of Wands is a good and loyal friend and is always there for you when you most need her. This card can tell you that you’ll need the support of someone with these qualities and that you should be open to it. 

Three of Pentacles: Expression, hard work, creativity. You are ready to take on a new creative challenge in your life. You have new skills at the ready and you’re eager to put them to the test and get to work!

The way I would interpret this spread is that Mac has been like The Fool- ready for adventure and wide-eyed. Maybe because he has been zooming around and knocking things over, he should listen to his owner (me) saying ‘calm down!’, but he should continue to be creative and fun loving.


I hope you have enjoyed this review; please comment or contact me with any feedback or requests, and feel free to follow this blog from the sidebar.