I thought I would start a feature on my blog entitled, Do I have to? The name came to me as I was thinking about the myths, questions and stereotypes about Tarot that I have come across along the way (and continue to come across). Each time I have encountered some of these stories, ideas or comments I have either rolled my eyes and have said or at least internally thought, Do I have to? With this in mind here’s my first edition where I tackle an age old question:
Do I have to, be gifted my first Tarot deck?
I have come across this myth/idea/statement time and time again. I was gifted my first Tarot deck by a dear friend and have a good connection with this deck. I also really enjoyed receiving my first deck. It felt a special moment as I unboxed it and held it in my hands for the first time. I was filled with wonder, apprehension and happiness as I held the deck in my hands and tried to shuffle it for the first time. I remember this day like it was yesterday (we tend to remember significant events more vividly) and was really pleased to have my very own deck that I could explore, work and play with. Despite my joy with encountering my first deck I don’t know whether I would have really bought a deck if I had to look for and buy it on my own. Perhaps it would have happened later or maybe never at all. I may not have chosen my trusty Rider Waite (in case you were wondering which it was) but could have picked up a more contemporary and quirkier deck. Who knows?
What I do know though and believe from my experience is that it matters little how one comes across one’s first deck. What matters is how one connects with it and how one uses it. One needs to make a personal connection with each deck and different decks help access different parts of our intuition and inner experience. Pondering this myth for this piece I was reflecting on where and how this idea of one’s first deck needing to be a gift arose. My logic around this is as follows. In wisdom traditions, religions and other organisations where spiritual work is undertaken there are often teachers and mentors that introduce new members, initiate them and mentor them. Seen in this light buying a student, a friend or just someone you know interested in the Tarot, their first deck is a lovely way of welcoming them to explore the Tarot path on their own or within a community.
My final word on this brings me to two Tarot cards. In my view you can, like the Hermit choose you own first deck and work with it. You could also follow the path shown in the Hierophant where someone teaches you and introduces you to the Tarot (this includes being bought a first deck). Neither are better or worse. While one speaks of finding knowledge and being on the quest for it alone, inside herself, the other speaks to following a tradition and learning from a community. Regardless of how I got my first Tarot deck, I like (and think it’s important) to blend both these approaches, learning from myself and my internal resources as well as from the wisdom and well-trodden path of others.