Updated: Mar 24, 2021
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You've always had that urge to read Tarot and now you are finally feeling brave enough to take that bold step and buy your fist Tarot deck. You decide to do a quick internet search and realize there are 1000's of cool looking decks. Now you are royally confused. You're familiar with the Devil card because you've seen it over and over again in movies how come that fancy deck is using a butterfly as the Devil card? Once you dive into the rabbit hole of Tarot decks you will find that every artist adds their own artistic interpretation the Tarot but the underlying commonality among most decks is they are based off the imagery and card meanings depicted in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. Here’s an inexpensive excellent first deck Rider-Waite Tarot Deck . If you prefer a borderless deck with a pretty blue image on the back of the cards this Rider-Waite-Smith deck is an excellent option too.
Without getting into the history of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck aka RWS, it is widely known as being the standard go-to deck in Tarot. Most of the decks you see on the market are based off of this deck. The RWS deck is a 78 card Tarot deck with 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. Each card (or Key as they are technically called) is loaded with rich symbolism. These cards include everything from numerology, astrology & more. The colors, facial expressions and symbols all give the cards their meanings. These are considered the "traditional" interpretations of the cards. There are 100's if not 1000's of free resources and books written about this deck. if you're new to Tarot this seems like a no brainer to grab the RWS in my opinion. Everyone should start with the RWS deck so why is this even up for debate right? Well, not so fast...
The RWS deck has a reputation for being off putting. Some people absolutely hate the images in this deck. The deck is far from being modern for some people it is nearly impossible to make real life connections when they look at the images in this deck. The biggest turn off happens after you look through the 78 cards and realize the entire deck is full of white people. Not just white people but perfectly able people. It represents only a specific demographic. This is enough for folx to throw the deck in a draw and find a more modern interpretation of the deck where they can actually see themselves represented in the cards.
Finally, this brings us to our conclusion of which deck to chose as your first deck. The RWS deck in my opinion is going to be your best deck to learn the Tarot for three reasons. First of all, it is the easiest to find. You can find it used or online fairly for a low cost. The second reason the amount of free resources available online for this specific deck in my opinion is reason enough alone. As I mentioned earlier, most modern decks are based of of these 78 cards. Once you fly through learning this deck you can invest in a modern interpretation of this deck that is more inclusive of all folx. What are you waiting for? Go get a deck!