When you are new to reading cards, choosing decks to work with can be overwhelming. We are going to discuss the three main types of decks to demystify the process for you.
The three main types of card decks are Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand. Each has it’s own character, purposes and energy. There is no right or wrong, or best kind of deck. It’s just what suits your purposes for reading the best, and what you feel most drawn to. We'll go over the three kinds of decks now.
Tarot is a story arch, the heroes journey in 78 cards. Each tarot deck has a variation on the same cards. In every tarot deck you will find a version of the Fool, the Wheel of Fortune, The Knight of Cups and so on. They may call it by different names, but it generally has the same or a similar meaning.
Pros: Tarot can be very flexible and intuitive. You can read the cards according to the established meanings, or you can read the art on the card in your own way according to what strikes you the most. They are very much like psychologist’s ink blots, in that the meaning isn’t set in stone, but about inner interpretation. There are also so many layers to each card that even a single card draw can have a huge layered and nuanced set of meanings.
Cons: There are 78 cards in each tarot deck, and that is a lot of memorizing and learning. When you are new to tarot, you often have to use the book or helpful sites while you learn the meaning of each card.
I personally like tarot when I’m doing readings for others because it can have a very broad meaning with lots of layers and nuance. You can draw one card for someone and it can have a world of meaning.
Click below to learn about the origins of tarot.
Oracle decks don’t follow any strict formula like tarot. They have varied themes with vastly different meanings. For example, you can have a goddess deck or an animals deck and the cards might be called “Bravery” or “Love” and have those specific meanings.
Pros: Oracle is they often, but not always, have the general meaning on the card, so there is less looking at the book until you’ve learned them. They also often have far less cards in a deck to learn, so it’s easier to master them. They often have more specific so the meanings can be more direct and clear and less up to interpretation.
Cons: They may sometimes not be as nuanced and layered as you would like, and sometimes have a more surface meaning.
I personally like using oracle when I want to have a big, clear answer quick. I also have different oracle decks for different moods, and I love that about them. I also make my own oracle decks because they are so open to any kind of style and reading and aesthetic.
Click below for a good article on oracle decks and how to pick the ones that are right for you.
Click below for a link to my Etsy shop where I sell oracle decks I create:
Lenormand, like Tarot, has a certain pattern of cards. There will always be a Dog, and a Woman, and a House card, etc. It is always 36 cards, sometimes having two more so you can pick an old woman or man, or a young woman or man card that represents the person getting the reading.
Pros: It gives a very straightforward reading, so straightforward, it can sometimes feel a bit too much for some people, but perfect for others who like no-nonsense. Another pro is you can do a Grand Tableau spread which is unique to Lenormand. That is when all the cards in the deck are laid out in a certain pattern and it can give very detailed information about many aspects of a person’s life. It is fun and beautiful to do a Grand Tableau.
Cons: It can be a bit too no-nonsense in a harsh way for some. I don’t think it’s that way for everyone, but it is something that is common. If you want a sweet, comforting, reading like a soft pillow, go for Oracle. If you want a reading that tells you up front in a very direct way the good and bad of a situation, this is your deck.
My best friend is a card reader, too, and she loves Lenormand because she is fiery and pulls no punches, and the deck really speaks to her. For me, I had to get The Blue Bird Lenormand deck before I could connect to it because it’s a bit softer because I am a watery cancer and I like a gentler kind of reading, as long as it’s still the truth. Click below for an article on Lenormand:
The most important thing when choosing a deck is that you like it. That sounds absurdly obvious, but I get people asking all the time how to choose a deck and over thinking it or thinking there is one that is the right place to start for everyone. I say go to a place where they sell them, in person or online and just look around. The deck that makes you feel the most excited and curious to see all the cards, and that you love the art and meaning to, that’s your deck. Maybe it’s a deeply serious deck, and maybe it’s a campy silly one. Maybe it is dark and brooding and maybe fun and giggly. It’s just what you enjoy the best.
I love finding different card art and card reading spreads. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to it. Click below to see my collection. Some I pinned because I wanted to manifest those things, some I pinned because I liked the art. Some I pinned for my own healing. Some I pinned for fun. I hope you find something of value you for you there, too.
So have fun choosing the decks that work best for you and enjoy!