Which Tarot deck to get?

In the meanwhile, there are hundreds of Tarot decks around, and the choice which one to go with isn't as easy as it once was. The good of the variety is that many decks provide many chances to compare, to see a card from various viewpoints and so learn to get the most out of it.
The negative side of course is that many people fuzz around with many decks and therefore don't go into the depths of one. Tarot reading should never be a matter of the chosen deck, and having one deck for one situation and another deck for another one actually means that something very substantial was missed..

Nevertheless, one should go with the deck where one feels most related to.
For me, the Thoth deck will always be number 1, although I actually stumbled across it by chance - I've picked it up on a rag fair and it was my first Tarot deck ever. That time, Tarot wasn't as popular as it is today, and the only book I could find featured the Rider-Waite-Deck - and so I actually started Tarot with Rider-Waite, using Thoth cards because I simply considered the cards that actually came with the book as ugly (see below...)

The Magician

6 of Swords

10 of Wands

Though, one has to admit that the Rider-Waite-Deck is the most common Tarot deck. It was first published in 1908 and its most remarkable renewal was told to be that it had plastic illustrations for the Minor Arcana as well, while the traditional Tarot decks only had illustrations for the Major Arcana, but showed the Minors as more or less abstract figures of their values. This wasn't all so true as claimed, since far older Tarot decks from Renaissance times also had rich illustrated Minors. The cards of the Rider-Waite were painted by Pamela Colman Smith , so this deck should actually be called the 'Waite-Smith-Deck', for Rider was just Waite's publisher.

Waite, by the way, was also member of the Golden Dawn order; and there was a direct rivalry between him and Aleister Crowley. who never liked the Rider-Waite-Deck and was boldly determined to do it better. In my humble opinion, he did...

The Rider-Waite-deck is often recommended as the deck of choice for beginners, mainly because it has the advantage that most general Tarot books refer to it, and because it is the most common Tarot deck.

Apart from that, there is not much logic in such a recommendation, when it highly depends on the person that starts, not to mention that the chosen deck should be a matter of taste and affection in the first place. To me, the Rider-Waite was a pretty bad starting deck, and the 'easy' images weren't helpful at all, rather reminded me of comic strips. The book was kinda useful, though, but the whole thing first began to make sense to me after I stumbled upon the Tree of Life.

So if you are a beginner and prefer to start with the Thoth deck - do it! To me, it made more sense than the Rider-Waite even before I had a book about it.

4 of Cups

5 of Pentacles

7 of Wands

Minors from the Sola Busca Tarot, an Italian deck from around 1500

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