Today’s card is the Three of Wands from the Wild Unknown Tarot deck (1st edition)
One of the reasons that I really like the Wild Unknown deck is all the watercolor rainbows you can see in the cards.
This card reads like a portal to another world. The world of the mundane is represented in all those horizontal black lines, almost like static on an old TV. With the three wands lashed together a window into this amazing new place appears.
The window is a triangle, which engineering wise is the strongest shape. This is why you always see lots of triangle shapes in bridge architecture.
I see this card talking about having the vision to construct your own future and to be able to see beyond what other people can see. Some people might have only seen a tangle of sticks and string. But when they’re all put together they become a focal point showing the way to a limitless possible future.
When you see the this Three of Wands it’s a challenge to take control of your surroundings and to feel empowered to explore and try something new. Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own and chart new territories.
Before I launch into a post about choosing a tarot deck I have to make a small confession. I’m not super choosy about buying tarot decks. I have a small collection of them and I love to get new ones if one catches my eye. That said, despite owning a bundle of them, I always circle back to a small handful that I love working with.
But that’s absolutely okay. I don’t see anything wrong with collecting tarot decks; they’re beautiful art pieces, powerful tools, and great meditation aids. Like any kind of collection, as long as your bills are paid and it’s not causing you harm, you should feel free to indulge yourself. I used to feel guilty when I bought a deck that I didn’t use, but I realized that was a waste of energy. Your favorite deck may change over time and one that you used to use all the time might take a backseat as your life changes, your reading style changes, or your reading audience changes. I used to rely heavily on a Robin Wood Tarot deck, but as I’ve grown and changed I find that it’s too white and heteronormative to resonate with me anymore. I’m not saying it’s not a good deck, just that my needs in a tarot deck are different now.
So, how do you choose the tarot deck that’s right for you? In my experience it’s a bit of a trial and error process until you find a deck that really resonates with you. I want to tackle one stubbornly popular myth first.
Myth: You have to be given your first tarot deck.
This little story really annoys me. Firstly, it takes your agency away from you. You’re just
supposed to wait patiently for someone to magically guess that you need a tarot deck and then give it to you? So many people would never get a deck! This isn’t even considering people who might be living in situations where tarot is misunderstood and feared. Also, I think that choosing and buying your very own tarot deck gives you a leg up in working with your chosen deck. For me, tarot is about empowerment, and what could be more empowering than taking your own initiative and choosing your spiritual tools yourself? Of course, this isn’t a slight against people who did have someone else give them a deck. If someone gave you your first deck and you loved it and it’s perfect, that’s fantastic. I guess what I’m saying here is that there is no wrong way to get a deck. Except maybe stealing one. The energy of theft is probably not the best energy you want to introduce into your tarot.
Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to get a deck, awesome! But where do you even start? There are hundreds and hundreds of possibilities out there. You can find themed tarot decks on almost any subject you can imagine: Cats, Dragons, Aliens, or even Baseball. That almost makes it harder because there are so many options!
So here’s my advice: you need to find a deck that you’re charmed by. If you can, start by looking into Rider Waite Smith styled decks. A lot of the intro to tarot websites and books are focused around that style of tarot. That makes it easier to learn the meanings of the cards and you’ll have plenty of bloggers who use a deck similar to yours and lots of decks to learn from. I also echo the suggestion of lots of others who suggested that you get a deck of “dudes doing shit”. To be clear here, I don’t mean that you need a deck of men, but a deck with humanoid figures interacting with each other and the environment often makes it easier if you’re just getting started.
For me it’s really important that the deck be in an art style that I can connect with. The more you look at decks, the more you’ll get to realize things you like and things you don’t like. Personally, I’ve found that I don’t care for photo manipulated decks; I like drawings better on my cards. I also like decks that have some traditional RWS symbolism but aren’t re-drawings of the exact same images.
You should also consider what you’re going to be using your deck for. Do you want something to read spreads? Then you might want something that is clear and easy to
understand, something like the Happy Tarot, the Robin Wood, or something like it. Do you want something to help you connect with spirit? Something like the Universal Goddess Tarot might be perfect. I use my Universal Goddess deck both in divination and in goddess meditations.
Another thought I wanted to mention was that you can also consider oracle decks if they suit your wants. I know this post is about how to choose a tarot deck, but most of it can also apply to oracle decks. Obviously, with an oracle deck, the RWS advice about finding one with people doesn’t apply, but aside from that, look for something that you feel a pull towards and that you really like. Oracle decks are not the same as Tarot decks, but don’t let anyone tell you that they’re inferior. They’re just a different way of card reading. In case you’re not familiar with the difference between oracle and tarot decks, it’s that tarot decks contain 22 cards in the Major Arcana and 14 Minor Arcana (also known as pip cards) in four suits that make up the 78 cards in a deck. Oracle cards come in every flavor of the rainbow, and come in any number of cards, sometimes with a booklet for reading them and sometimes without so that you must rely on your intuition to decipher a spread of them. I enjoy both types of decks and I own an assortment of both. I do a lot more work with my tarot cards, but sometimes the simplicity of an oracle deck is too appealing to pass up.
I also want to point out that sometimes the really great decks will surprise you. I bought the Happy Tarot (see the Hermit card there?) because if was adorably sugar sweet and filled with cupcakes. I didn’t really expect it to be a deck I did serious work with, but I’ve been so wrong about that. The deck is great and I have found it to be wonderful to work with. Don’t discount a ‘cute’ or themed deck as a novelty item right away. Some of them are, but some will work just as well as a super traditional Rider Waite Smith.
The last piece of advice I have is that it’s okay to buy a deck and realize that it’s not the right deck for you. If you hold out for The One True Deck you could get paralyzed and end up never trying any at all. And here’s my second confession: part of the reason that I have so many decks is that it took me a long time to understand that I didn’t have to find the Perfect Deck. You might use one deck for a while and then ‘outgrow’ it and start working with another. And that’s okay.
So there you go? Shop around, find something you love, and know that it’s okay to change
your mind or pick more than one. I’ve found that Aeclectic Tarot is a great place to find information about different decks. They have reviews and purchase links for most decks. Also check out the Tarot blogs, I post reviews here on The Wooly Witch from time to time and so do lots of other Tarot bloggers.
It’s also totally fine to throw all my suggestions out the window and do things your own different way. That’s a big theme for me as I walk my spiritual path. Learn all you can, take what makes sense, discard what doesn’t resonate with you.
Happy reading! If you’re new I’d love to hear what your first deck was/is/will be. If you’ve been reading for a while, I’d love to hear how you picked your first deck. As you can tell, I love decks!
Today’s card of the day is the Six of Cups from the Wild Unknown Tarot.
A rainbow proliferation of roots spreads deep underground beneath the silhouette of a tree. The six cups line the edge of the card, balancing the image and anchoring it.
The six of cups is traditionally a card that talks about innocence and childhood. It’s a card about nostalgia, and you can sort of read the card that way here, but to me it’s got a slightly different meaning.
If you think about it, the roots represent the tree’s ‘childhood’. The beginnings of those roots were there before the tree even broke through the earth with its first tender shoot.
At first my interpretation was mostly “the roots are the past and the tree is the future”. The roots have color and so they’re the lived experiences that we draw from as we move through our lives, the body of the tree is dark because the future is an unknown thing, not yet colored by our experiences. And I still think that’s a valid way to read this. However, as I was writing this, another reading lept into my mind. The roots aren’t just the past, because the roots, just like the tree, aren’t finished growing. They continue growing unseen beneath the earth the entire time the tree grows toward the sky.
I think the beautiful rainbow of roots represents the parts of the tree (part of our lives) that are unseen to other people. When this card shows up, it’s a reminder that there is more to a situation than meets the eye. Maybe there’s more to yourself than you realize. Your ‘colorful’ past means that you have so much more life experience to draw on.
The colors underground also read as a symbol of light. We see white light with our naked eyes, but when you bend that same light through a prism you can see the full spectrum of visible light played out as a rainbow. Here you can see the rainbow underneath the soil, but it’s not visible above ground. It’s still there, it’s just not visible to the naked eye anymore.
This is a hopeful and encouraging note for this card. It means that even if you can’t see the value/strength/beauty in yourself, it’s still in there. You just have to look for it, do that hard work of digging down into the earth of yourself to find those col0rs.
The Cups suit is all about our feelings, so this card encourages you to look back at your experiences and try to remember the things we’ve experienced and how it’s helped us to become the people we are. Some things in our lives are good, some are bad, but they all contribute to the person we have become and can help us move towards the person we want to be. Feel the vast network of roots beneath you and know that you have growing to do and that the light is inside you.
I love a rainbow. I’m that crazy lady with the neon rainbow knit hat, the rainbow socks, the fingernails with the rainbow jamberry decals. I once had a giant rainbow umbrella (it broke, sadly). My entire knitting group sends me links to rainbow projects and rainbow yarn whenever they see it. I love the association. I like all the things they represent; I like that they’re the spectrum of light; I love their symbology around queer folks; I like that they make me think of magic. And I like this card, the Ten of Pentacles. It’s such a positive card. It, like all tens in tarot, represents the culmination of the journey of its suit. Pentacles are the suit of Earth and they represent the physical material aspects of life. They can be read as involving money, physical health, issues of housing, food, and other physical or material things.
I particularly like the way this ten reads. Nine pentacles orbiting around the heart of the card. The center pentacle has another tiny pentacle right in its center. It has that beautiful spectrum of color radiating from purples on the outer edges of the card down into a warm deep red at the center. It feels like a kind of magical hearth, and gives the impression of this slowly focusing energy as you move down your path and start arriving at the heart of the matter.
The Ten of Pentacles is a very stable and secure card. It speaks to security and comfort. The struggle all through the pentacles, starting out with few material concerns, through the Five of Pentacles which stands for bad health and being cast out, is brought full circle by the ten. You have all these pentacles, all this success and wealth. Maybe your health has been faltering and you’ve been feeling out of sorts–this would be a good card to see, better things are here. It also speaks to permanence. This isn’t some easy come, easy go kind of energy. The ten reflects a lot of hard work that you’ve put in building up to this security.
The more I look at this card the more it feels to me like a heartbeat. Starting from the outside and moving in. Breathe In – Care for yourself, Breathe Out – Share that stability with others who aren’t as far along in the path of the suit. You need to be secure in your foundations before you can support others. And maybe this exists in a cycle: circle down to your hearth and rest there when you feel unsteady, then circle back outwards to others when you’ve built up your energies. I really like that the card border is white on this card, because white light is all the other colors of light put together. When you see those rainbows of light when you bend light through a prism, that’s all the colors separated out, combined the light is white. And that white light, which is often thought of as healing light or as divine light, surrounds everything, never constricting, only supporting. May you be held in that white light, feeling the safety and support that is the Ten of Pentacles.
Today’s card comes from the Wild Unknown Tarot deck (first edition). When it was first coming out I knew that I wanted it right away but I couldn’t find anywhere local. We were visiting Salem, MA to see this adorable little shop our friends recommended, Haus Witch, and boom, there it was. Katie and I each bought one and we were scarcely out of the shop before we were shuffling through the cards.
The Wild Unknown has such a beautiful aesthetic and that’s definitely evident here. One detail that you’ll often find the the Wild Unknown cards is watercolor rainbow look, it shows up here in the thin border around the card. So, even if the Moon card is dark and shows only a sliver of the moon, you can see that it’s bounded by the entire spectrum of light. This card is all about turning ideas about knowing, daylight ideas, on their heads. In a sunset trees can look like black silhouettes against a brightly colored sky, but in this card the trees are starkly white against a black sky lit by just a fraction of the moon.
In some ‘traditional’ readings the Moon card can indicate fear and disillusionment and other negative things about operating in the dark, but as a witch and a queer person I find there’s a lot of meaning to be mined and understood in that dark. The moon is a card that I am very fond of. The moon is a huge symbol to witches, representing the goddess who is often associated with the moon, and huge volumes of moon magic as well.
In the dark we can’t see as we’re used to seeing in the day, we must rely on other senses, touch, hearing, and other methods for finding our way around. That’s the message of the Moon. Use those senses that aren’t made for the daylight. Trust your inner wisdom and your intuition. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you’ve felt like you’ve ‘just known’ something that you couldn’t rationally have known, that’s the energy of the Moon card. Intuition, Magic, and Shadow Work are her hallmarks. Rational knowledge isn’t what’s at play in this card. It’s an intuition. At the risk of going a little too Obi-Wan, trust your feelings.
The moon also represents that feeling of being lost in the darkness, where it’s all too easy to let fear of the unfamiliar take over. This interpretation of the moon is very much about stillness, it’s the feeling of being lost in the forest on the side of a hill. There’s a clear view of the moon and the comfort of knowing that if you can sit a while in that stillness and still your mind with all its racing thoughts, you’ll find that inner knowing and you’ll be able to find your way out again.