Dusting Off the Old Decks

It seems that Tarot readers, even non professionals like me, usually have a large collection of decks. It becomes a thing. I think it’s because whenever you ask a tarot deck something along the lines of “Should I buy this deck or that one?” They always say “Yes! Buy both!” and “Did you see that one over there? Get that one, too!”.

At least mine always say that.

While I’ve fallen in love with plenty decks just for the artwork, readers also often grow their collections because sometimes one deck really doesn’t fit all situations. While many decks are go-to, generalized, and great at answering all types of questions, others have a more specialized slant and personality.

Simply put, different decks are sometimes better for different questions. One may be clear on long term personal development insight, but muddled on day to day workplace dynamics. Another one is great for big picture stuff, but misses the details. One deck has no interest in you, but loves your friends. There’s the one that’s a softie, and the one that tells it like it is and leaves you in tears.

I encountered this idea of different decks for different things fairly recently. For the longest time, I read with one deck, the Osho Zen tarot deck, and got progressively disappointed with it. The way that I was reading with it was cumbersome, too tied to the book explanations, and just not insightful. But instead of getting a deck that worked better for me, I just put it away and eventually stopped cartomancy all together. I didn’t realize that the deck I was using had strengths and weaknesses when addressing various types of situations. It didn’t occur to me to just pick up something else. Sometimes the heavy fixed sign emphasis in my chart shows.

As I’ve started reading more frequently, I’ve come to examine my modest collection of decks and oracle cards. There’s a few that I haven’t read in years. Maybe I put them aside not realizing their strengths at certain types of questions. As I reexamine my collection, I’ll ask them what kinds of questions they are the best at answering.

What types of questions are you best at answering?

The Celtic Tarot by Courtney Davis & Helena Patterson

img_20200305_091529609I had forgotten that this deck has Marseille like pips.

img_20200305_091045729Three cards jumped out almost as soon as I started shuffling. The Hanged Man / Strength / Empress

This deck says that they are best at answering questions where the querent is in some sort of trouble and needs support and advice on how to get back on top again. The situation starts with a lack of control and ends with a fierce Queen. All major arcana showed up for this short and sweet read. This one would be a good Trouble Deck.

The Green Witch Tarot by Ann Moura & Kiri Ostergaard Leonard

I love the rounded edges on this desk. It’s really smooth to shuffle. Six cards and then another three popped out, so there’s the 9 card carre.


There’s a lot of couples in the cards that showed up, one even has a child. At first glance, this deck would be good at relationship and family questions. There’s also the theme of Plenty and Loss in the King of Pentacles, the Harvest card, the 6 of Pentacles, and the 6 of Athames. “What to fight for?’ is present in the Ace of Athames and Battle Wagon cards. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to really fight for something and put it on the line, and this deck claims to answer those questions well. There are also animals, landscapes, and some kindly folk which widens out the scope to include the more than human world, so questions that have those relationships as a focus would be good for this deck, too.

Edward Gorey’s Fantod Pack

A Fantod is defined as “a state or attack of uneasiness or unreasonableness” by the Oxford dictionary. But really, what kind of questions are you best at answering? These are hard to shuffle. I used half jumpers and half pulled for a 9 card draw.


They seem to like to answer playful questions about what one needs to function (the Limb) or what one needs to contain (the Bottle). They will show you the scary stuff that’s in the dark Tunnel when you feel lost at Sea. They will also let you know when to dance, when to stay still, and when to fly. This isn’t a deck to put someone at ease, but if they’re in a fantod, it might do the trick to help them reflect on the situation.

It felt really good to touch these decks again. I will go to them, these old friends, the next time that I have questions that suit their strengths and see how it goes. 

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