How to Choose a Tarot Deck: Part 2

This is a continuation of what I started in How to Choose a Tarot Deck: Part 1, so if you haven’t already read that post it might be a good idea to check it out now as it provides a short introduction to the general task of choosing a deck.

This post is going to explore a few more of the decks I use, with an emphasis on the ones I go to for creative support. First up is my Salvador Dali Tarot.

Unlike other decks that bear a famous artist’s name in their title (see the Bosch Tarot below), this deck was genuinely designed by the artist Salvador Dali himself. The images in the cards are generally centered around a classical painting with additional drawings, doodles, and scrawls by Dali. I honestly don’t know why this deck isn’t more well-known; I find it incredibly alive and I love to use it for inquiries and projects of a creative nature. Perhaps more than any other deck I use, I find the meanings incredibly fluid and complex, and I never arrive at the same message twice for a single card. It’s highly versatile and a pleasure to work with. Use this deck if you want to explore your creative path (not just for artists; we all have creative paths) and/or strengthen your intuition and self-knowledge.

Another good deck to use for pursuit of self-knowledge is the Motherpeace Tarot. It’s an all-round unique deck with its circular cards and, bonus, is full to the brim with depictions of women (unlike the traditional RWS and other adherents of its Page/Knight/King approach to the cards).

It’s very ‘circle-of-life’ but not in a hokey way (okay, perhaps a little hokey with its tribal-nostalgic depictions of people dancing naked around bonfires and that). Rather, it feels wholesome and nurturing, grounded and earthy. It’s a great deck to use for inquiries of a domestic nature: home and family life, friendships and socializing, and so on. It’s also great for creative work, especially character development.

But an even better deck to use for storytelling purposes is the stunning Rackham Tarot.

Arthur Rackham was an artist from the late 1800s/early 1900s who created breathtaking illustrations for various fairy tales, myths, and other such stories. This tarot deck uses his artwork and the result is both playful and eerie. Because the images were story illustrations to begin with, this deck is ideal for creative work. I wouldn’t necessarily use it for serious psychological inquiry, but it can also be effective for short 1-3 card readings.

I love the Rackham Tarot because it uses his actual illustrations for each card, and I love the Dali Tarot because it was created by the artist himself. I don’t generally go in for the sort of tarot decks that are ‘inspired by’ a certain artist (I think it just feels less genuine, like something is missing). But with that said, once I knew about the existence of the Bosch Tarot I absolutely had to have it.

The images on these cards draw from the intense and painfully imaginative art of Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch painter from the Middle Ages. Some of the figures are transported directly from his art (his depiction of Saint Anthony, for example, which appears as The Hermit as well as on the back of each card), while others are simply inspired by it. Definitely one of my more ‘novelty’ decks, but infinitely enjoyable. However, I probably wouldn’t ever use this deck in a reading for someone else, unless they requested it specifically, because of how strange and particular it is. Rather, I like to use it for personal single-card draws, or for creative work when I need a boost of imaginative strength.

Hopefully this has provided some insight into how I work with my different decks, and perhaps given you some ideas of your own. In general, I think connecting with a deck is like connecting with a poem: you don’t have to (and probably won’t) like the same things as everyone else. You don’t even have to like the classics that everyone else seems nuts for. Find a deck that feels like it was made for you; guaranteed, there is at least one out there for everyone.

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