Looking back over past posts, I realized I had promised to recommend books for the intermediate Tarot reader. I intend to fulfill that promise, but I thought I would first address a question that's come up a couple of times lately, regarding the beginning Tarot reader. The question I've been asked, and that beginners invariably ask, is "What's the best Tarot deck?"
The truth is there is no "best" Tarot deck in the absolute sense. Tarot is ultimately a tool to help you access your innate psychic potential. That being said, there may be a "best" deck for you; you may find that one tool works better than another. In my opinion, the determining factor—what makes one deck a better tool than another—is the illustration and the effect it has on you.
I base these observations on my personal experience reading Tarot (now almost 28 years); on conversations I've had with many other readers; and on comments I've seen Tarot readers make in print.
Tarot decks are illustrated with images of archetypal symbols, scenes, and situations. You can’t help but notice, when you’re shopping for a deck, how beautiful some of these are. It's important to remember, however, that the artwork is more than decorative. These images function in two important ways; first, to remind the reader of the card’s traditional meaning; and second, to stir her or him on a deep psychological level.
In theory, all archetypal imagery can stir us this way, but if you feel particularly drawn to one deck, it may indicate that the artwork it uses connects to those deeper layers of consciousness more effectively—at least, in you. Tarot readers like to say, "It resonates with you."
Many experienced readers and others, who study Tarot and attempt to define how it works, believe that this connection with deep layers of our own consciousness is the source of the insight that can come in the course of reading a Tarot spread. So, the strength of this connection is reason enough to choose one deck over another. The effect is highly personal— what works best for me is not necessarily what will work best for you. So, to restate the assertion made earlier, there is no best deck in the absolute sense.
One very famous commentator on Tarot imagery is the renowned founder of analytical psychology,
Carl Gustav Jung. He is, in fact, the originator of the theory/concept of archetypes. If you're not familiar with this concept, and want to learn about it, check out materials on Jungian Psychology in the Adult Non-Fiction area at Dewey number, 150.1954.
In my next post, I'll provide some titles in our collection, by and/or about C.G. Jung. And following that, I'll have suggested reading for the intermediate Tarot reader. Until then, keep your eye on The Edge.