Here’s a third question in the series about my work, tools, and processes. See my response to it below the pictures.
I’d like to explore deck selection when reading for others. Is it the reader’s or the querent’s privilege to select? And how powerful is the deck itself in a reading?
MM, St. Petersburg, FL, U.S.A.“
Thank you for your question, MM!
In my own tarot consulting practice, I prefer to invite the querent to choose the deck that we’ll use for hir session. There are three principle reasons for doing so.
First, I want the client to be comfortable with the images and symbols that we’ll be using to explore hir topic, so s/he gets to select a pack that appeals to hir according to hir aesthetic or philosophical tastes.
Second, I want to let hir know that we’ll be in a dialogue rather than me just “reading at” hir. Asking the person to pick a deck gets that rolling as s/he looks at the pictures and I say each deck’s name and mention who created it.
Third, the consultations I offer emphasise choice-centredness, taking responsibility for creating one’s life through one’s choices. Laying out a few sets of cards and asking someone to choose sets a precedent that the reading will be about making conscious decisions.
If the session is in person, I lay three or four decks on the table for the readee to look at — something traditional, something “far out”, and something in between those extremes. If the consultation takes place by phone or Skype, I ask the client if s/he has a tarot deck there. If so, we use hir deck and I match up the cards with the same deck on my end. If s/he doesn’t have a tarot pack on hir end, I simply choose whatever is close by here and we use that.
With regard to your question about how powerful the deck itself is in a reading, I’d say that it matters. I work very interactively and conversationally. Sometimes I talk about a card and sometimes I invite the querent to talk about the image, guiding hir in an exploratory process. If the client doesn’t like the deck or feels uncomfortable with the images, s/he will be less likely to engage. If s/he likes the pictures or feels some kinship with the worldview behind them, s/he is more likely to dig in. The more s/he digs in, the more likely it is s/he will have an experience that leads to richer insights.
Other tarot practitioners may have different views on this. Some only work with one deck, so that’s what’s employed in every reading. Other readers pick the deck themselves according to their mood or what they feel will fit the readee’s topic of exploration.
I hope that helps, MM!
Images: Four versions of Trump 2, the High Priestess — from the Ukiyoe Tarot, the Medicine Woman Tarot, the Karma Tarot, and the Camoin-Jodorowsky Tarot de Marseille.