Beginner or Fool: Which Are You?

Whimsical-Fool I was born on April 1, and The Fool card has always been my favorite. I am always interested to step out into new ventures, embrace new ideas, and test the unknown. ~Stuart Kaplan

Every Tarot reader started out a beginner. Many may tell you they began as Fools and are still fools. When you first picked up that deck (or if you are contemplating picking up a deck), you are embarking on a fool's journey. Recently on Facebook, we discussed what decks we each began with and what decks we would recommend to others.

Of course the Rider-Waite Tarot came up more than once, but so many other decks as well.  Of course, it is always a good idea to pick a deck that appeals to you on a visual level. I know of at least a few readers who will have the Rider-Waite as their learning deck while using a second deck for the images.

There is something so timeless about the Rider-Waite Tarot to me. Who can see the iconic Fool and not know immediately what it represents? That's just one reason the Rider-Waite is the most popular Tarot deck in the world. One reader in Dallas, Ferol Humphreys, commented that she likes to keep a spare Rider-Waite in her purse so that she can give it away. Others talked of using it to teach with as well. But there is more than one Rider-Waite Tarot.

Tell_Me_2 Here are some of our decks that a beginner might enjoy. There is the classic Rider-Waite(R), the Golden Rider Tarot, the Universal Waite(R) Tarot and more. The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative set also features the Rider-Waite Tarot.

Or you might be someone who prefers decks that simply tell you what the meaning is. For you, we have the Tell-Me Tarot or the Vanessa Tarot. Each deck offers meanings on the cards. Some like to be able to compare cards so they might prefer the The Complete Tarot Kit which offers both the Rider-Waite(r) Tarot and the Thoth Tarot. With the provided journal to write your observations in, you have everything you need with this kit.

One final deck a beginner might enjoy is the Whimsical Tarot. This little deck has been a favorite for years. Due to its continued popularity, U.S. Games Systems, Inc. has reissued it. This is a great deck for the younger set as well as the young-at-heart.

What elements are most important for beginners, do you think? Is it the accessible imagery or the straightforward meanings? Or do you think it is something else all together?



So what was your first deck? Do you still have it? Do you still read with it? Would you recommend it to others as a beginners deck? We want to hear your thoughts. Are you still a fool? Feel free to discuss in the comments.

5 thoughts on “Beginner or Fool: Which Are You?

  1. Arwen

    Personally I think I’m both. I don’t think there will come a day when I can say that I’ve learned all there is to know about Tarot. For me, the fact that there is so much to learn is one of the things that keeps me interested in this system.

  2. Joseph Molina

    I remember the collectors shoe tarot, tabacco tarot, other decks that should be just collectors like the pomo tarot. I love the Masonic Tarot, the Hermetic Tarot, and the Voyager Tarot. But all those are not good beginner decks. The Tarot of the Old Path, Mary Hanson Roberts, the Aquarian Tarot are always good alternatives to the Rider. But I have worked with pep’s that want to use decks like the Marsillies Tarot, the Golden Dawn Tarot, or the BOTA deck. I like the Rider because there is so much good information out on it. Also, I truly believe the simplicity of the images plays a major factor in the stimulation of the intuition and getting the flow state going. When it comes to the other decks, the literature is far and few between, but if take the time to master the Rider it will be with you no matter what deck you read. I tend to see those cards, the Rider, in my third eye every time I do a reading, no matter what deck I use. I am truly in love with them.:-) J

  3. Helen

    I’m still learning and have been for the last 30 years. Tarot is an on going journey when you open yourself up to its possibilities. Like the Fool says “look beyond the obvious.”
    The very first deck I had way back in the 70’s was the Swiss 1JJ. But the deck I teach with, and would always recommend for a beginner, is the Rider Waite – after all it does appear to be the mother of most of the modern day clones.

  4. USGS Staff

    Arwen, what deck do you use?
    Joseph, I agree with you about the simplicity but think that the Rider-Waite has a lot of depth once you start looking at all the symbols. Maybe that is why it is such a good deck? You can always learn a bit more.
    Helen, the Swiss 1JJ is a good deck for beginners. I missed that one for sure.

  5. Nancy

    My first deck was the Aquarian Tarot (can’t believe its been close to 30 years now – yikes). It was not a choice between decks since it was the only one available at the store where I was at the time. It was an excellent starter deck, I feel in love with it immediately & I still keep it in a special place of honor among the all the other decks I own. I seldom read with it now, the images (while lovely) seem somewhat ‘static’ or lacking in motion and so create a less ‘dynamic’ reading.
    Over the years I have come to rely on the Universal Waite deck & I turn to it most all of the time. I am always discovering something new in the images. Like Joseph I tend to see the Rider images in my 3rd eye even when using a different deck.

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