Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Much Can We Get Out of One Deck?

I have quite a number of decks, but I have found that my readings always work best when I return to current favorite, Old Path, which I have been using consistently for several years now.
Before that, I had other favorite decks, although Rider Waite is still my baseline for teaching and reading. I have had a practical reason for my choices. Since I read at a lot of festivals and events, my cards get handled a lot and I found that I was needing to buy replacement decks frequently.
So if you have a real collectors item, a deck that would cost a hundred dollars or more to replace, you are reluctant to use them in that kind of situation.

It is my experience, as others have mentioned, that if you work with one all the time it really speaks to you. When you have an ongoing dialogue with this deck, it really becomes a personal tool and it really works. You no longer struggle to figure things out, meanings, insights and responses just flow.

I think there are two main reasons why we always are drawn to new designs.

One is that we are always interested in the originality, expression and creativeness of artists, and we enjoy looking at new art that brings various mythologies and concepts to life. This is very much related to our taste in art. If we find the art of a certain deck really repulsive, we will not be able to work with it. We really need to have a deck that we enjoy looking at in order to want to take it out and work with it every day. Having several decks is also like having your own art gallery that you enjoy visiting. It is the same principle as buying prints by various artists and photographers and hanging them in your home.

Two, I think that we often find that decks that we like a lot always have something about them that bothers us, like for example, we do not like the way certain images in the major arcana are portrayed. So when a new deck comes out that offers an image that we like better, we try switching. Oddly, although we may like some of this new imagery better we feel like we are not able to read as well with this deck. That is something that can probably be remedied over time simply through dedicating more time to work with it.

My experience is that I will always have a few more decks than I need just because I love the art, although I have one that I use most of the time. One of the other useful aspects of even having more than one deck is that by comparing the art, our understanding of our decks becomes illuminated. When we lay several decks side by side and note the differences in the ways various artists have created their visions, it can help deepen our appreciation of the symbology and meanings that are part of every deck.

The utilitarian part of me notes that I really only need one deck, but that is sort of like only needing one drum. I enjoy playing one drum most of the time, but it is also very refreshing to try different drums on different days, just to hear and feel the different sounds. Some days we just may feel moved to read with different decks. And sometimes in teaching new people to read, it helps bring the lesson home to take the same card from different decks and look at the way different artists have expressed the same idea.

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