Babe, Buy The Tarot Deck

Yes, my darling. You can buy your own first tarot deck.

If you’ve been feeling drawn to tarot, but are held back by the belief that a tarot deck must be gifted to you, know that it is perfectly okay to seek and purchase your own.

Apologies for the tepid Rachel-Hollis-esque language in the title, but the internet Gods like to be appeased by turning complicated subjects into watered down fragments that get to the point. 

When I think about the point, though, really, that’s it. That’s the blog.

Yes, you can buy your own first tarot deck.

If you take nothing else from this, or don’t have the mental capacity to read all the way through — buying your first tarot deck can be a powerful, cycle-breaking experience.

You should definitely go ahead and do it if you feel called to it.

Legend has it that you are supposed to be gifted your first tarot deck. 

This is where all the confusion comes from.

I receive this timid question more often than any other: “do I have to wait to be gifted my first tarot deck?”

This curiosity comes from all sorts of people with varied backgrounds and experiences and understandings or spiritual — so there’s something to this myth.

Let me start by saying that your beliefs are you own and I’m not here to convince you otherwise if this is the way you teach or practice.

From my experience, however, I have never—ever—been taught that I had to be gifted a tarot deck. Not by my mentor, not by tarot readers I admire, not from books about tarot: the experts on the matter don’t mention it at all. 

It only ever comes up by people who are interested in reading tarot, with this whisper to me “am I allowed to get a deck myself?” 

That means we gotta talk about it.

While the complete origins are unclear to me, the legend comes from somewhere, right?

Tarot as we know it began as an art piece, commissioned by the wealthy. When tarot expanded to become a tool of divination, it was still unlikely for tarot cards to be found in the average market. Finally, tarot as divination commonly took place either in hushed outskirts of communities or in private, secret, and exclusive clubs.

With all of these things in mind, the only truly likely way to receive a tarot deck would be from someone who had access to the resource. This would require either wealth or being in the proximity of practitioners. 

Years of this practice makes it appear like a tradition, but it’s really only because the access was so low – and when we think about the origins of many traditions, they tend to stem from the lens of wealthy, white gatekeepers.

On a more spiritual level, the practice of being gifted a deck could come down to the “readiness” of the individual, or the mentor initiating the student to the next chapter of their journey. The gift of the deck creates the energy of intention, love, and support, which sparks the feeling that if we’re ready, it will come to us.

It should be noted that throughout all this time, Romani practitioners were actively building the practice of using cards to divine the future as a profession and way of life, but would often use a regular playing card decks.

Waiting for a deck is irrelevant to the spiritual practice of connecting and intuiting energy with cards.

The nature of tarot has changed significantly in the last 100 years since the mass-marketing of the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck. Since then, tarot has become far, far more accessible. 

Not only is the RWS tarot deck readily available, there are hundreds of thousands of renditions of that deck by artists and practitioners around the world, spanning decades. Our access to tarot is unlike anything that could have been available a century ago.

For me, however, this illuminates a deeper issue that I notice as a symptom of living in the white supremacist capitalist patriarchy—

That we must wait for permission or approval before we begin to endeavor a journey that we feel called to as a source of play, pleasure, or profession. We are taught from early ages to distrust ourselves and dispel our intuitive callings all for the sake of being more demure, predictable citizens that contribute to the productivity machine. We are taught that worthwhile things in life are the things we are told to do, and that our wild ideas are silly or that we do not have the skillset required to handle such tasks. So we wait. “Not me.” “Not now.”

Fuck that noise.

Buying your own tarot deck is not only perfectly acceptable, but encouraged. It sets a tone for the next phase of your life, resetting the rusty mechanics of self trust. It is a powerful initiation on its own, activating the parts of you that have been tapping for your attention.

The call to tarot by itself IS the invitation. 

As for finding your first deck – it can be overwhelming because there are so many options. Take your time.

If you want to study first and take a little pressure off, you can begin with the RWS deck. It’s the most common tarot deck and is the one that inspired many if not most modern renditions of tarot. It helps to get a baseline. A major downside is that the art doesn’t speak to everyone (values/stories shown are very white, heteronormative, orthodox, etc).

To choose deck that you connect with more, trust your response to it. Beyond the nervousness is there excitement, curiosity, intrigue… are there sparks flying? Trust what you are being drawn to.

There are no wrong moves when getting a tarot deck, even if you end up not liking it. You can always gift one you don’t like to someone or use it for art, inspiration, or study.

You can look online or go to local shops. Whatever feels most natural and good. 

When it comes to buying your first tarot deck, the biggest is to buy with intention. 

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