Relationship between artwork and the reader

My first advice for aspiring tarot readers: Pick up a deck whose artwork PULLS you. This will probably speed up your learning process a lot.


Because in order to learn to read the cards, you need to be interacting with them. Look at them, connect with their messages, handle them, keep them in your sight and close by. Many people tell you to carry them around with you and even keep them under your pillow. At this time I do not carry my physical decks with me, BUT I do have several on my smartphone as apps (look for apps by The Fool's Dog LLC - they cost a couple of euros and are absolutely great to use!).

When you come to tarot there seems to be a TON of meanings you need to memorize. And yes, that's certainly true. There are ways to work on your intuition, to approach it step by step, card by card, but the one thing you just won't escape (and actually SHOULDN'T want to escape, taking up the cards was your choice, right?) is that in order to all that sink into your backbone, you need to be handling your cards a LOT. Looking at the pictures over and over again. And this is where the type of artwork comes to play.

I started my tarot journey with the basic Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck. It is a good starting deck, has a lot of material written about it, and it serves as the basic role model for many many other decks, such as the Robin Wood tarot that I use for most of my readings now. When I work on deepening my ties with the practice of tarot, I find myself coming back to my old RWS deck and I keep it on the side as a "reference" material, but I rarely read with it anymore. Why? Because from the moment that I first saw the Robin Wood tarot and it's artwork, it has been the one deck that really plucks the strings of my soul. It is not the only deck I read with, it's not the only deck that speaks to me on that level, but it is the first deck I really CHOSE and by whom I felt chosen by.

I just pure and simple love her artwork. It speaks to me, I connect with it, and this connection just booted my readings to another level. Instead of just laying the cards and reading their written meanings, I feel a connection to the energies and patterns present in the readings. Because I love the imagery, I notice more of its details. I love to read of the process behind her choices, the colors picked for themes, and all this translates into better readings. It is constant learning, but the beauty and enchantment of her art makes the learning a pleasure.

Yes, learning tarot can take time, but it can and should be a joyful adventure - just like working with the Robin Wood Tarot continues to be to myself.

Dedicated to the memory of Robin Wood, who passed away 2021

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