How many Tarot decks should I have?


main.4.gifHow many decks should a tarot reader have? Why buy multiple decks? One deck should be all that you need, right? My answer, BUY BUY BABY BUY!!  I am a tarot collector, I love to own as many tarot decks as I can get my hands on. I love to see the expansive universe of tarot decks and all the variety of images.

Every artist has their own vision of what the tarot should be. Each deck depicts the cards in a different light. Granted, most decks follow the Rider Waite system and are seemingly just as a “clone”. I see it in another way. Though it may look like a Rider Waite, each deck has its own flavor to it. Slight changes of perspective in a card change how a reader may look at any given card.

So why more than one deck? There are a few good reasons it is a good practice to have one than one deck.


1) You lose your deck! Yes, what happens if you lost your deck? Always a good idea to have a backup deck! I can also keep decks at different places like a deck at work. A deck in the car or in your bag. This way  you are never far from a deck.

2) You use different decks for different things.  Some readers have a deck they use only for their own personal readings while for clients they have a separate deck. This is very practical, from my experience clients do not know how to shuffle tarot cards and often end up damaging the cards. It is safe to have a deck they can use and beat up.

3) Study deck. New readers coming into the practice need a starting point. A starter deck or study deck. I tell newbies to buy two decks. The Rider Waite as the study deck to use in conjunction with books. Most books in the market use the Rider Waite deck as the deck which material is written about. Starting with the Rider Waite and learning this deck allows you to transition to other decks.

4) Different decks are better at certain tasks than others. Decks have themes and these decks may serve better at some tasks. For example, The Mythic Tarot which is based on Greek Mythology is a great deck for psychology and deep mythical readings. Using the Myths of Greece allows you to explore the clients’ issues or your own issues through the Greek myths. Some decks are good for shadow work, the Deviant Moon Tarot is excellent for this.

5) Double Duty. There is a great technique where you use two decks for one reading. Often it is good to use two very different decks to get different perspectives. Using one spread you lay out both decks. So each position of the spread would have two cards, one card from each deck. I did a reading for a client using this method. I used a Rider Waite and Osho Zen deck together. It was scary how the two decks synced together to tell a similar story and how they complimented each other.

While I have a hefty collection of decks I always seem to find myself using the Rider Waite. It was my first deck and I click with the deck very well. However, I do rotate decks and use different decks at different times based on my mood and type of reading I am doing. Overall it is a good and safe idea to have more than one deck.





The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelo’s first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.

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  • Sarah Dawn

    Excellent post Angelo! I’m not a full on collector, but I have about a dozen decks and I can’t imagine only having one set of cards to work with. You had me laughing at “BUY BUY BABY BUY!” I certainly take that tack sometimes, especially if I feel like treating myself. Nothing quite as satisfying as opening and rifling through a new deck. :)

  • Janine

    I agree. I am slightly odd as my learner deck is the Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr. It has a neat little thing in the minor arcana. I have a Morgan Greer compared to the RWS deck itself – Spiritual Tarot book has the book info in it for this deck :) I have at least one deck for each tarot system. But I can’t read the pip cards 😐

  • Rachel Anne

    I know you wrote this awhile back—but I’m grieving the loss of a large part of my Tarot deck collection. I went without a few meals and didn’t pay my PG&E bill for two months so I could collect one of the decks.

    I recently traveled from CA to OR with them packed as I am in the process of moving and somehow someone who helped me move, or I, misplaced them. They’re just nowhere. I’m worried they’re somewhere at a rest stop along I5. Well I guess they probably wouldn’t be there anymore. I’ll show a photo of the list. Do you know of a lost and found for Tarot decks?