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Which study decks do you like best?


I'm just curious - for those more inclined to set up a tableau and meditate than divine (realizing utilities are a bit different accordingly), what decks do you find really speaking to you on esoteric value and connection/suggestion across cards and concepts?

As of right now I have five decks - Universal Waite, Thoth, CC Zain Egyptian (Zzzz...), Oswald Wirth, and Masonic. While Universal Waite was what I started with being the most standard-issue I'm starting to like the Oswald Wirth a lot albeit I have to make some position shifts since my study is more in line with GD than Levi/Papus tradition.
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I think it is always good to broaden your horizons... although I have yet to do so seriously myself, as I have not ventured out of the GD since I began to study a few years ago. The Thoth is the deck I use predominantly, for everything, as I think it really does have it all and in terms of GD study, I feel no lack. The only time I do is when I want to see the original GD ideas, and then I turn to the Hermetic, but I don't actually do anything with it.

So, ultimately, it's the Thoth for me. It also depends very much on the practical usage you are able to glean from the Tree each deck uses. The GD Tree, while controversial in some circles does make sense to me, both in practical and spiritual terms.

Which Wirth do you have, the Majors-only or the edition with the metallic background?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
Which Wirth do you have, the Majors-only or the edition with the metallic background?
I have the metallic background cards w/ pips for minors. I like the contrast of the metallic on lithography plus a lot of symbolic things - the moon under the Empresses foot and lightning bolt from the sun in the Tower align with the study I'm doing (I'm really starting BOTA - AFAIK it was a life-raft for knowledge Case didn't want to be lost but ultimately GD tarot with his and Ann Davie's added research) and also it has to be the first time I've ever seen only three objects on the Magician's table with the wand in his hand having the colors of the pillars and then spreading out in array from left hand to right hand descending the four planes ending with his right hand on Assiah. Very neat stuff and I'm seeing more of that every time I review the cards.
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I'm a little surprised at myself but maybe not too surprised - I was just on Amazon and impulse-grabbed ST Cicero's Babylonian deck. It's looked interesting to me for a while and I know she's had an interest in Sumerian/Babylonian mythology so I'm sure she did a great job of adapting it. I doubt it would be anything I'd use regularly but it would be a neat novelty deck.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
I have the metallic background cards w/ pips for minors. I like the contrast of the metallic on lithography plus a lot of symbolic things
I have very nostalgic feelings about that deck, as it was my first, and it so bewildered me that it almost turned me off Tarot for good. I was learning from a book that used the Morgan-Greer, and I couldn't adapt. Still, although I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it, if I do see it again I would get it, for old times sake. Not as my first choice, my next deck will be a Marseilles come what may, but you know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
I'm a little surprised at myself but maybe not too surprised - I was just on Amazon and impulse-grabbed ST Cicero's Babylonian deck. It's looked interesting to me for a while and I know she's had an interest in Sumerian/Babylonian mythology so I'm sure she did a great job of adapting it. I doubt it would be anything I'd use regularly but it would be a neat novelty deck.
A Babylonian deck would be interesting, provided it made an attempt to recreate the structure of its cosmology (rather than having the same RWS picture with a twist, as so many do).

I'm puzzled why this thread is in the Kabbalah section... is that what you're getting at in your question?
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Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
I'm puzzled why this thread is in the Kabbalah section... is that what you're getting at in your question?
I'm new to this stuff so I guess I get confused sometimes or still don't know the ropes of how to categorize these things. I'm really using my decks in line with Qabalah, alchemy, and pathworking - strictly speaking - and for right or wrong I had the sense that the standard 'fortune telling' use of the cards is seen as a different category than studying the cards and correlations in the Qabalah context (I phrased it 'fortune telling' rather than divining as I've had my hand slapped by someone telling me that both fortune telling and content-diving fall under divining - gets confusing with the elasticity of terms).

In my original question I'm really wondering which card decks people prefer based on the degrees to which they trust the author and the content of the symbolism for Qabalistic use, at least those going the WMT route, and I suppose which decks they might find to both have content and aesthetics worked out for Qabalistic and pathworking study a bit better than the rest.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
In my original question I'm really wondering which card decks people prefer based on the degrees to which they trust the author and the content of the symbolism for Qabalistic use, at least those going the WMT route, and I suppose which decks they might find to both have content and aesthetics worked out for Qabalistic and pathworking study a bit better than the rest.
Oh, alright, now I get it. Basically most Kabbalistic decks today use the GD structure, so much so that even decks that purport not to have anything to do with Kabbalah still do. When it comes to trusting a deck's author... it really depends. Both Waite and Crowley, if we take them as an example, certainly knew their stuff, and I wouldn't want to be asked which knew more. However, they use the same structure and symbolism to say very different things. Waite was engaged in Christian mysticism, and had a penchant for Grail legends, two things that are very obvious in his deck, if you look closely enough.

I, however, am not a Christian mystic, so many of the things Waite alludes to in his deck don't sit well with me, and so any meditation on the is likely to come a jarring end quite quickly.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
Oh, alright, now I get it. Basically most Kabbalistic decks today use the GD structure, so much so that even decks that purport not to have anything to do with Kabbalah still do. When it comes to trusting a deck's author... it really depends. Both Waite and Crowley, if we take them as an example, certainly knew their stuff, and I wouldn't want to be asked which knew more. However, they use the same structure and symbolism to say very different things. Waite was engaged in Christian mysticism, and had a penchant for Grail legends, two things that are very obvious in his deck, if you look closely enough.

I, however, am not a Christian mystic, so many of the things Waite alludes to in his deck don't sit well with me, and so any meditation on the is likely to come a jarring end quite quickly.
Lol right, and like I mentioned earlier - the guy whose lesson plan I'll be on is Paul Foster Case whose another genius right up there with Waite and Crowley.
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I'd probably want to specify as well - I know you're supposed to use 'Fool on Aleph' setup for GD Qabalah work, just that I know Rider-Waite leaves them unlettered and leaves it up to the user and similarly I'd figure there are a lot of great decks, including the OW and Masonic, that have wonderful symbolism aside from the lettering scheme so I don't get the impression they're useless - they just have caveats.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
I'd probably want to specify as well - I know you're supposed to use 'Fool on Aleph' setup for GD Qabalah work, just that I know Rider-Waite leaves them unlettered and leaves it up to the user and similarly I'd figure there are a lot of great decks, including the OW and Masonic, that have wonderful symbolism aside from the lettering scheme so I don't get the impression they're useless - they just have caveats.
Not exactly. The Hebrew letters as well as the astrological attributions were purposefully left out because Waite was under oaths of secrecy not to reveal them; they constitute the core of the GD's teachings. They can still be guessed, though, in some cases. What makes the RWS unique is that it seeks to deliver esoteric content exoterically, and it achieves this, with varying degrees of success. Opinions may vary, but mine is that a deck is inseparable from its structure, especially if that structure is the Tree of Life.

This does not mean that this is the only symbolism available in a deck. The Thoth borrows influences from many cultures and mystery traditions, and of course Thelema. The RWS has Grail and Masonic symbolism, Christianity, Alexander the Great and many other references through which one can gain a foothold. Now, I didn't say those decks were useless, not at all. In fact, they do use the Tree, just a different one. Does this mean that the Thoth Emperor, attributed to Tzaddi is the same as the Masonic Moon? Yes and no, the fun part is answering why or why not.

Of course, there isn't one set way to interpret a card, and it is important to try to take an entire card for interpretation. For example, the High Priestess is not "merely" Gimel; she is Gimel attributed to Luna, connecting Keter and Tiphareth, with a bow symbolizing Diana (Artemis?) and fruit about her and the initiatory aspect of union with the mysteries as well as being the Ark, etc. etc. etc. While both the Thoth and RWS have much to make them unique, they're still using the same language, as is the Wirth. The more fluent one is with that language, well, the more you know.
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