Deck Evaluation

by Djenra

How does one open and then make an evaluation of a new Deck? What comes after taking a look at the box, checking the style of the artwork, the quality of the cardstock, the sequence of numbers used, seeing if the backside of the card is truly reversible, etc? How does one move beyond the superficial features of their new deck?

For me, the opening and the later evaluation is based on an energetic exchange that starts the moment my hands actually make contact with the cards during the first read through and subsequent shuffle. It is actually the shuffle where I first begin to feel the energies bounce back from the deck to me. As I shuffle I may blow my breath into the cards or I may channel Reiki from my hands into the new deck to activate it.

Each deck created has a particular way to tell the Story of Life, but how it does so is communicated via the first layout which reveals the purpose its Creator intended it into being with and explains the conjunction or relationship between those energies and mine in terms of working with the deck. The first reading is recorded with the Deck name. The summary card of the layout is the answer to the query, it is also a signature, and a formula. as it is the way in which I will interact and interface with the deck in "my" world.

Out of the decks I do connect with, some speak through the image on the cards, while others do so through number, symbols or by abstraction, i.e. the lack of imagery which allows the intuition to flow unimpeded.

I have in the course of my earlier work with Tarot sage-smoked decks, sat others with programmed crystals, wrapped decks in silk cloth and put them under my pillowcase. In some cases the decks have been left waiting in their boxes until their handmade Tarot bags were completed, an honor bestowed on the most energy compatible decks that will work with me for my own spiritual development, in magic and ritual or in reading for clients.

Some decks purchased and opened are found to lack a basic resonance to my energies. Since they cannot serve in the meditative or reading processes, they are set aside and earmarked as gifts. This gifting is one of the traditional methods for a Tarot Master (i.e. teacher or mentor) to pass a deck to be used for divination over to one of his/her students.

It was customary in the way I was trained which involved a one to one relationship and a lengthy term of apprenticeship with a Tarot Master (i.e. teacher) or Mentor, for them to construct a ritual that revealed what card would function as an "opener" for the student to Tarot itself. The very beginning of one's Tarot studies let the Teacher know first of all, if there was an energetic opening or a doorway that he or she could use into the deeper levels of the Psyche of the student, and if so would entry and work in this manner prove to be positive for the student's development. The opener card also functioned as a permanent Tarot Guardian and Guide from that day forward. From this Old World or "guild" method of choosing and training a student or apprentice comes the way I open a new deck. The summary card that answers the query serves to express the energies of that deck, but beyond that it is a doorway. What that card is lets me know if I can indeed work with or walk into that particular deck without opposition as every deck is actually a world unto it's self, with its own Sphinx that must be passed in each attempt to penetrate its Mysteries.

Some decks opened and evaluated remain in their original boxes and are never entered into use. The beauty and allure that caused the need to see and handle the deck remains strong enough for them to become part of my Art Tarot Collection, a line of silent Sphinx sitting up on a shelf waiting for the feather duster. They have little chance for a work permit save in the cyclical changes in personal energies that may come over Time.

© Djenra

Djenra is a Spiritualist with over 35 years experience with Tarot. She is a former member of the World Tarot Readers. Djenra is an initiate in several African based religious systems. She is working on her first Tarot Workbook and on a second book on Tarot history. She is a writer, the published author of a book about the Lukumi religion, and a poetess.

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