The Truth About Picking your First Tarot Deck

I’m going to say some shit here no one was honest enough to tell me when I started looking for my first tarot deck. Brace yourself, now.

No, you may not pick “whatever deck calls to you.”

Not this time. Next time maybe, but not this one. My recommendation:

Google “RIDER WAITE CLONE” and fucking pick one.

Rider Waite, Universal Rider Waite, Golden Rider Tarot
Rider Waite, Universal Rider Waite, Golden Rider Tarot

“But they’re all the same!”

Yep. That’s the point.


  1. Information on this specific deck is widely available.
  2. The cards have enough symbolism to remind you what each card means.
  3. The cards don’t have so much symbolism that you can’t tell what’s going on.
  4. Please just trust me.

“But I like Hello Kitty and Gummy Bears!”

Photo Collage Maker_YhR6PD

Not enough symbolism.

“But I saw this deck on Instagram…”

The Wild Unknown
The Wild Unknown

Not enough symbolism.

“But there was this deck on Kickstarter…”

The Wooden Tarot
The Wooden Tarot

Not enough symbolism.

“But my favorite author just came out with a deck…”

Raven's Prophecy Tarot
Raven’s Prophecy Tarot

Not enough symbolism, but the guidebook is fantastic.

“But I was at Barnes and Noble and I saw this deck…”

Deviant Moon Tarot
Deviant Moon Tarot

Deviant symbolism.

“But this deck is so beautiful!”

Tarot of the Secret Forest
Tarot of the Secret Forest

Too much symbolism.


Wildwood Tarot
Wildwood Tarot

Too much AND deviant symbolism.

If you want pretty cards, go for whatever your little heart desires. But if you want to read and really understand the tarot, please just pick an ugly goddamn deck. You’ll thank me later.


Queen of Swords Confessional

“I need to make sure I sit where I can see his face at his mother’s funeral, because I ended up behind him at his sister’s funeral and I couldn’t see his expression.”

Jesus Christ.

This was my thought as I placidly swept my kitchen this morning.

Housework gives me time to think, and when I have time to think, I inevitably go terrible, terrible places.

I’ve finally enclosed my absolute worst trait with words: I love seeing other people suffer that I feel “deserve” it. And I’m fucking ruthless.

You know whose face I want to see at his mother’s funeral? My father in law.

The man who refused to visit his sickly sister or answer her phone calls. The man who rolled his eyes and accused her of hypochondria with each new worrying diagnosis. The man who didn’t pack black clothing when she had a massive stroke and everyone gathered at the hospital to¬†“be there” while they pulled the plug. The man who stood in the room and watched them power down the machines¬†and walked out still wearing the expression of an irritated field foreman.

His mask never slipped. And nothing has changed.

His mother just turned 89 the other day. She’s diabetic with worsening Parkinson’s. A couple years ago, he told her she could no longer live in his house, and so she moved into a crumbling assisted living facility. Out of the way. He didn’t call her on her birthday. I crocheted her a blue scarf and visited her. My husband (her grandson) is her medical power of attorney, responsible for enforcing her Do Not Resuscitate order, because she knew she couldn’t ask her son.

A day will come when I’ll be dressing in black for her funeral.

And when we take a seat, I’ll need to make sure I sit where I can see his face, because I ended up behind him at his sister’s funeral and I couldn’t see his expression.