As many of you know I’ve been hard at work on my new and unique Tarot deck. Add in the fact that I’m now advertising my reading services and I’ve been breathing Tarot. Because of that, I thought it would be wonderful to present some of my Tarot favorites and go into a bit about why I like them. Even if you don’t read Tarot, the symbolism is fabulous and the art is gorgeous.
Yes, this will be a series. 🙂 Bring on the Tarot reviews!
To kick things off I thought I would start with my favorite deck for beginners. And it’s not the Rider-Waite!
The Mythic Tarot was first published in 1986 and has gone on to become a classic. There are now two versions, though. The Mythic Tarot is the original, and the New Mythic Tarot has redrawn the art while keeping the meanings and associations. The art of the original is kinda meh – I’m not a fan of this style, and even within the style the figures are very stiff-looking – but I loathe the art of the New Mythic Tarot. Loathe it. It’s a personal preference, and I’m sure there are a ton of people who prefer the new one, but there ya go.
Either way the art’s not the reason I recommend the Mythic to beginners. It’s the structure that sets this deck apart.
Every card of the Major Arcana is based on a story or figure from Greek mythology, and most of us are at least a little familiar with that without trying. That gives us a little familiarity right from the start.
Additionally, the image on the card isn’t meant to be symbolic solely on its own, it’s meant to evoke underlying mythic associations in the reader. How nifty is that? Not only does it lend scope to the reading, it makes the meanings of the cards MUCH easier to remember.
The Minors (1-10) are set up in a similar fashion, but each suit is a story. Every card reveals the next stage of the narrative in a linear fashion. The story of Eros and Psyche, from meeting through struggles to happily-ever-after, makes up the Cups. We learn about Daedalus the Artisan and get to see how success and failure manifest throughout his life in the Pentacles. Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece is depicted in the Wands. Orestes and the curse on his family are explored through the Swords, and I really appreciate how this deck doesn’t try to downplay the conflicts of this suit or the story.
Through this story-based technique the memorization required for 40 cards is handily reduced to four stories, prompted by the pictures on each card but not limited by them. I love that, and it helped me move from book-reliant reader to intuitive reader.
The Court cards are my least favorite part of this deck, but for me that’s pretty par for the course. (I don’t tend to like Court cards. *shrug*) Each figure is associated with their own story, and while they’re harder to remember than the Majors they still serve the purpose.
Using the Cards
If you’re an experienced reader the booklet that comes with the deck should be fine. You’ll need it, though, because while these are very close to standard Rider-Waite meanings they’re not exact. If you’re new to Tarot in general I’d recommend picking up The Mythic Tarot Workbook with the deck. It offers exercises for getting more in touch with the stories and symbology of the cards, giving a much firmer foundation to start with.