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How is the Gothic Tarot as a first-ever decK?

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It's become my favorite deck. I love reading with it, and enjoy going through the study group posts with deck in hand, drinking in all the detail in the artwork. It's beautiful.
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But how about the fact they don't go reversed? Doesn't it make the whole process of understanding harder? Because I have thoth tarot (that just "sticked" to me, talked to me, or whatever you call it I just felt it's MY deck) but I don't use it because it's not reversible. So I think it'd be very hard for beginner to understand nonreversible deck.
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This was my first deck that spoke to me. I got it within a few months of my RWS but I hated my RWS from the get-go (someone got it for me to get me into Tarot... turned me off much more than needed for a good decade). I kept using this one instead.

I find the imagery is pretty similar in a lot of ways, actually. Some of the cards are near clones. Those that are not still keep similar meanings. For example the Gothic 5 of Pentacles has a Nosferatu-type character. If you think about it, this character would be just as shunned as the poor, weak, and helpless of the RWS 5 of Pentacles. Same meaning derived from differing imagery. As a result the book meanings will be similar for your friend even if the images are a bit different. I consider my Gothic Tarot an RWS clone.

Many readers don't use reversals even when their decks allow for it. And even many proponents of reversals tell beginners not to start with reversals until they've got a handle on upright card readings. 78 cards is a good jumping off point! Your friend can explore reversals as he's ready to - he need not do it right away. And perhaps he won't feel inspired to and that's okay too.

It's so important that the deck call to the reader and that the imagery be a good fit. Otherwise the whole proposition of reading is right out. Details such as it being a clone, or it being non-reversible, are just that - details. Your friend can explore the details at his leisure once he learns the basic joy. In order to learn the basic joy he needs a deck that resonates with him. And he seems to have found one, so go for it! Once he's hooked on Tarot then he can explore more traditional decks, or reversible ones, if he's so inclined.
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Arcane Absurdity  Arcane Absurdity is offline
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This deck is actually my first ever deck too. Since this thread is what made me feel alright about buying it as my first deck, I just wanted to quickly respond even though this thread started more than 10 years ago. Wow.

I wasn't even interested in tarot until I randomly came across this deck. After researching tons of decks for beginners, I didn't like or care about a single one I saw. So I read this thread and bought this one.

I think it actually follows the RWS meanings pretty well, though maybe not the imagery. The booklet that comes with the deck is pretty good. And you can also buy the book for the deck separately. I think it's a good beginner deck paired with a tarot book or even free online tarot resources. That's how I learned it, and it was pretty easy.

For me, connecting with the cards is very important. If I hadn't gotten this deck as my first ever deck, I would have completely lost all interest in tarot.

So to anyone who is worried about if it's going to be a problem to buy this for a first ever deck, don't be worried. It's fine. This deck follows the basic traditional structure and also leaves room for your intuition. It's perfect.
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I do not think this would be a problem at all. I have had the deck and companion book just last year, although I have admired it for close to a decade. If I got it then and it was my first tarot deck, the card interpretations in the book are solid and unified, and the system itself is not at all difficult to understand so that learning and eventually mastering it would not be a chore. Also, it does not stray too far from the RWS system, so if one decides to pursue the latter later on, he can do so without looking like a deer caught in the headlights.
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