Should I read different tarot decks then Rider Wait Smith (RWS)?

Should I read different tarot decks then Rider Wait Smith (RWS)?


So you like to start reading with different tarot decks then the Rider Wait Smith deck? The RWS deck is very popular which creates for beginning tarot readers the feeling that they should start with the RWS deck.

It is nice to know there are some pro’s and cons attached to the choice of your first different tarot deck then the RWS. Depending on where you are in your tarot journey you can learn a different tarot decks then the RWS deck. Below you can find the pro’s and cons of starting to read different tarot decks next to the Rider Wait Smith deck.

As an example I have made up 3 cases of tarot readers. Let us know in the comments below if you can find yourself in these cases. If you have another question about starting to read tarot with a certian deck, just let us know in the comments.

Tarot reader case 1: “I just started to learn to read tarot with the RWS deck but I like to read another deck next to it.”

For this group of tarot readers I recommend to stick with the RWS deck to not overwhelm yourself. Because 2 tarot decks is 2 x 78 card = 156 tarot cards that you need to learn….. IF you only read upright cards. If you read upright AND reversed cards this will be 2 x 156 = 312 tarot cards that you will need to learn……Pjew…..;-). Ofcourse you should decide for yourself if you can do that. Still, there are some pro’s and cons by learning tarot in this way:


  • If you learn 2 different tarot decks at the same time you can compare the images. You can compare the same tarot card (for example the 3 of cups) of both tarot decks at the same time to find out what the card meaning is. Two different decks can teach you simultaniously about a tarot card meaning. If you are the type of person that learns by doing research and to compare cards, this is maybe your way to do it.


  • It can be kind of confusing if you don’t like to do research, to compare images and destilate the meaning of a tarot card in this way.
  • If this is not your learning style it takes a much longer time to learn to read tarot which can be demotivating.

Tarot reader case 2: “I am a total tarot beginner. I can’t read tarot and I like to start to read tarot with a different tarot deck then RWS.”


  • If you are starting fresh without any expectation this can be an option. When you start as a tarot beginner with a deck that is different from the RWS, you might get a different point of view on tarot cards in general. This could make you readings more authentic (if you are sure of your decision, or else you will get the situation of the tarot reader in case 1).
  • You can choose a tarot deck which suits more to your passions and interest. For example if you like to learn more about druidy the Druid Craft tarot deck could be interesting for you. You could simultaniously learn more about the symbolism in the area of your passion.


  • It could take a longer time before you can read tarot because of a lack of information about this tarot deck. This is because the most books, ebooks and blogs about learning tarot do use the RWS deck.
  • There are decks that are too superficial to learn to read tarot with. Some tarot decks don’t have all the symbolism included to create some more in-depth in your readings. So if you like to learn tarot efficient: don’t take the funny tarot decks to start to read tarot with (like Harry Potter or the Simpsons tarot deck ;-)). One of the reasons the RWS deck is popular is because the artwork includes a lot of information for a tarot reader.

Tarot reader case 3: “I know my tarot card meanings with the RWS deck and I can do tarot readings with it. Now I like to learn to read another tarot deck.”


  • You know how to read tarot so you can use the numerology of the card to find out more about the meaning of the card.
  • When you can’ t find the meaning of a tarot card in your new deck, you can compare this card with the same card of the rider wait deck. In this way you can find out more about the meaning of the card in your new deck.
  • Tarot card meanings that normally come in a little book with a new tarot deck make much more sense to you because you already know how to interpret tarot card meanings.


  • Because you already know how to read the RWS you might refer too much to this deck when you start to read a completely different deck like for example the Osho zen tarot deck (which is a beautiful deck to read by the way). So a challenge is to try to leave a deck as it is. Be like the fool and to have no expectations to a new tarot deck.


Please tell us in the comments below if you read, or like to read with different tarot decks then the RWS tarot deck.




HealingTarotNet is a project by Charis Felice™ © all rights reserved


Photo credit: jaimemorto via / CC BY-SA

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