Interviewing a Tarot Deck

When you purchase a new tarot deck, what is the first thing you do with it? For many people, they’ll unwrap it, look through the cards, then launch straight into doing readings with it. For others, the process is more involved, involving cleansing, time spent just being around the deck, and more. You may have heard some readers talk about interviewing their tarot decks and been confused. How do you interview a deck of cards? Why do you need to? Today, let’s clear the air on some of those questions, and give you some insight into the process of interviewing a tarot deck.

Before we begin, I want to point out that you can do similar things with all sorts of divination tools, though some are better suited to it than others. An oracle deck of famous inspirational quotes is going to have a hard time answering some of these questions, whereas a Lenormand deck might require a few cards per question to get an answer. Adapt these methods to best fit your divination tool and needs.

What is the goal?

The goal of interviewing a tarot deck is getting to know a bit about the tool before you start asking it anything important. Start with the mechanics of the cards. How well do they shuffle? Do the cards pop out on their own or does the deck seem better for drawing cards? Does it look like a deck that will do reversals well?

You also are looking for a few key details in how the deck reads. Different tarot decks will have different tones of “voice” depending on how they were written and how the art looks. For example, some of my decks are very serious, while others look as frivolous as their readings tend to be. A deck’s personality also tends to come out in an interview reading. You also might come away with an idea of what sorts of readings a deck is good for and which it is ill suited to do.

The goal of interviewing a tarot deck is getting to know a bit about the tool. How does it shuffle? What types of readings will it do? Is it willing to do readings for others?

When to Interview

This is a matter up to some debate. Some readers will buy a deck, take it home, cleanse it, and immediately do an interview with it. Some readers will wait a few weeks or months into owning the deck to do a reading. The idea for this is that you are giving the deck time to observe you and get used to your energies. You might also interview your deck regularly as a part of your routine cleansing process for your divination tools. There are different questions you might ask at different times, so I would recommend doing it on occasion, just to see how things are going.

How to Interview

The moment of truth is here and you are going to interview your tarot deck… but how? Fear not, I’ll break it down for you.

First of all, you are going to want to cleanse the tarot deck. If you’ve owned it for a while and you are re-interviewing the deck, you might want to “reset” the deck by putting the cards back into “factory order,” the same order it was in when you got it out of the box. Then give the deck a good shuffle or twelve. This is especially important if the deck is in factory order. You want to be sure the cards have been distributed well throughout the pile.

Once you are ready, start asking your questions of the deck. There are lots of formats you can use for this, but generally the list will look something like:

  • Tell me about yourself
  • What are your strengths?
  • What are your limits?
  • What do you think of me?
  • What would you like to teach me?
  • How do we work together?
  • What do you see the goal of our work to be?

Pick out which questions you think work best or make some of your own. This is your interview; decide what you want to ask. Now, you can make these questions into a spread, where you pull one card per question. Personally, though, I prefer to ask one question at a time. I’ll pull one or more cards on each one and read the results. This gives me room and time to ask follow up questions if I have them, and gives the whole thing a more conversational feel. Choose what works best for you.

Things to be Looking For

As I mentioned before when talking about reasons for interviewing your tarot decks, there’s certain bits of information you are looking for in the interview, beyond just the basic information in the cards. First of all, your deck might decide to give itself an identifier card or assign one to you. This is a card that it will regularly pop as a stand-in for itself or for you. While this might not be clear right away, you should definitely write down the cards that show up in your interview readings. If they consistently pop in future readings, it might be worth investigating if that is, indeed, an identifier card.

Secondly, a deck interview is a great time to check if there are any entities hiding inside the deck. Usually the deck will have a “spirit” of some sort of its own. However, sometimes an entity will claim a deck as their way of talking to you or decide to take over the deck entirely. If you think there is an entity in the deck, do your best to ID it, or have someone else assist you. Don’t want to work with that entity? There are various approaches you can take, from re-homing the deck to convincing the entity to leave it.

Your notes from your tarot deck interview will also be extremely helpful if you do regular interviews with the deck. The answers won’t be the same every time, but if your tarot deck suddenly takes on a different tone or changing its answers greatly, something might be wrong. Cleanse and check for tricksters!

Interviewing your tarot deck is a great way to get to know it before you start using the deck for regular reasons. Some decks are better suited to answer specific questions than others, and that’s ok. But knowing these things helps us be better tarot readers by picking the right tool for the job.

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