Yes, my first deck was given to me and I could not read it anymore that I could read Sanskrit (I can't, by the way). It was a square, blocky deck that I had problems shuffling and it had minimal images and symbols on it that I couldn't interpret. This caused me to put off my tarot studies until college when I finally bought a tarot deck that I could read.
Your first tarot deck can be given to you or you can purchase it, barter for it, borrow it, etc. The way you obtain your deck will not establish whether or not tarot will come easy to you or whether it is something that you will be able to do for years to come; those things are up to you. (BTW, I do not recommend stealing a deck or obtaining one by illegal means. That carries with it its own problems.)
- Your first deck should have plenty of imagery - preferably of people doing things on the cards
- A deck that is aesthetically pleasing to you
- The Major Arcana or Trumps
- The Court Cards
- The Pips (the number cards)
I recommend cards with a lot of imagery and people doing things on the cards, especially the number cards because within that imagery the reader will pick up symbols and hints as to the card's meaning. This makes them easier to read no matter what level the reader is at.
The aesthetics of the deck is important for the simple reason that if you like the look and feel of the deck you're using, you will use it more frequently. Besides, who doesn't like to have pretty things?
If asked specifically or pushed for an answer as to which deck I recommend above others for those readers starting out, I say the simple Rider-Waite deck. This is a deck that many refer to as the oldest deck in circulation and the most common/easiest to get a hold of. Book stores, occult shops, new age stores, and head shops carry this deck. I can point out four locations to buy it in my area without hesitation so there is no worry as to ease of purchase for a newbie.
I will also say that I use this deck frequently. It is probably in the top three of my most used decks of my collection.
The decks recommend include:
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