• Julie Embleton

How to Interview a Tarot Deck

If you work with multiple tarot or oracle decks, you may have noticed each deck has its own personality. Some can be kind and gentle, others a little more upfront, and some, downright sassy. Depending on your question, mood, or the client (if you read for others), you may even find yourself choosing one deck over another to match the vibe. A great way of knowing how you and a new deck will work together is to interview the deck. This is a fun exercise that establishes an immediate connection, and once you’ve been working with a deck for a while, it’s interesting to read back on your first chat together and see how your relationship with the deck has developed.


Tarot cards on a wooden table. Tarot de Carlotydes
Deck interview with the Tarot de Carlotydes

What’s your usual routine with a new deck? Once it’s out of its box do you do an immediate flip through, or take your time studying each card? Do you read through the accompanying guide book? Maybe you simply shuffle and dive straight into reading. We all have different practices, and no one is better than the other. I like to go through the deck, noting the imagery and if anything in particular jumps out at me. Before using the deck I cleanse and dedicate it. (You can read that post here!) After the dedication ritual, usually while the deck is sitting on my altar for a day or two soaking up the witchery, I read the guide book. Once I feel the deck is ready, I grab my journal and hold an interview.

A deck interview provides insight into how you’ll work together; where the deck’s strength and weaknesses lie, its personality, the best way to work with the deck, and what your relationship will be like. It can even indicate what subject matter the deck is best suited for; e.g. career, relationships, or spiritual development. If you have a deck you don’t vibe with, it’s worth trying a deck interview if you haven’t in the past. It may be the deck has a specific function when it comes to readings, and if that purpose hasn’t been utilised, you’re not clicking.


A tarot spread for interviewing a tarot or oracle deck
Tarot or Oracle Deck Interview Spread

There are many questions you can ask a new tarot or oracle deck. I usually go with six, but you can work with more or less. Decide in advance what questions you’d like to ask and the layout of your spread. I typically lay the cards in two rows of three. Here’s the spread I normally use. My two favourite questions are how will the deck challenge and inspire, and the answers almost always surprise me!


What’s your personality?

Where do your strengths lie?

What are your limits?

When should I call on you for guidance?

How will you challenge me?

How will you inspire me?


To begin, set yourself up in whatever way feels right; candles, incense, music etc. Have your journal to hand, and once you’re ready, shuffle the deck while contemplating the questions you’ll be asking. When it feels right, cut the deck and lay out the cards.


Tarot cards on a wooden table
My initial thoughts are that this deck holds a lot of creative and feminine energy

Here’s my interview with the Tarot de Carlotydes which I recently purchased from FullMoonLightShadow on Etsy. My first impression of this deck is that it holds a strong feminine, creative energy. As I did the initial flip-through, it feel light and airy, yet full of wisdom, so I’m intrigued to see how this interview goes!


Knave of Cups Tarot Card.
Knave of Cups

What’s your personality? Knave of Cups

With its themes of creativity and intuition, the Knave (Page) of Cups suggests a creative and inspiring deck which is bang on what I sensed. This is a deck that wants to offer creative solutions, and will ask me to think outside the box, too. The guide book details the Knave as ‘Reflective and resolute, studious, loyal, willing to offer services and efforts towards a specific goal’ which I can already agree with when it comes to this deck’s personality. The pink brings a loving, feminine vibe too.


7 of Pentacles Tarot Card
7 of Pentacles

Where do your strengths lie? 7 of Pentacles


Again, a theme here of resoluteness, a determination to succeed, which to me, translates as giving solid answers, along with practical solutions. Looking at the figure plucking pentacles off the tree, I get the feeling this deck will provide lots of clues within the cards and that I’ll have to pay attention if I want to find them! It will also demand effort from my clients; they’ll have to work to find resolution too.

5 of Swords Tarot Card on a wooden table
5 of Swords

What are your limits? 5 of Swords


Adversity! This deck is not one for tough subjects. I definitely get the sense it will read for beautifully for themes of connection, intuition, and creativity, but if I know going into a reading that the subject matter is dark, this won’t be the deck I’ll choose.




Queen of Cups tarot card
Queen of Cups

When should I call on you for guidance? Queen of Cups


My initial sense of strong feminine vibes is confirmed with two Queens popping up. For heart-centred readings, when connection to intuition and creativity is required, this is the deck I’ll reach for. As I read mainly for creatives, I think I’ll be working a lot with this deck going forward!


Ace of Cups tarot card
Ace of Cups

How will you challenge me? Ace of Cups


This is a very unique deck, and not like any I’ve worked with before. I don’t do many relationship readings, but I’m wondering if this deck will change that. The Ace suggests new beginnings, of finding a different way to connect or find solutions. Overall, I really feel as if it’s telling me that we’ll have a working relationship unlike any of my other decks, and I’ll need to shift into a new mindset when we work together.


Queen of Pentacles tarot card
Queen of Pentacles

How will you inspire me? Queen of Pentacles


With the pairing of Pentacles and Cups, I get a message of balance here. I lean towards practical, actionable advice when reading, so I feel like this deck will ask me to explore more heart-centred solutions. With the nurturing energy of the Queen, I also think this deck wants to help me with my own business pursuits, and I’m already hearing a whisper of assigning this deck for personal readings for the time being. Normally, I dive straight into reading for clients with new decks, but this one feels like it wants to work with just me for now which is intriguing.

Overall, very much a feminine energy, lush with creative vibes. I can already feel it tugging at my intuition and asking that I look deeper into the imagery and messages, so as the 7 of Pentacles indicates, this is a deck demanding I pay attention. I also checked the Shadow Card (the one sitting at the very bottom of the deck) and it’s the Knight of Pentacles, which again indicates I use this deck for my personal business focused readings.


I’ll journal further on these cards and go deeper with the messages, but I hope this brief example shows how interviewing a deck forges a connection and gives the deck a chance to reveal its personality. Some other questions you can ask a new deck are:


What’s your favourite topic?

How are you unique?

How do you see me as the reader?

How should I see you as the deck?

How will you guide me?

What will you teach me?

What’s our potential?

What else do I need to know about you?

Once you’ve connected with your new deck you can dive straight into readings for yourself or others. You can also take a little time to contemplate the interview. When I’ve finished journaling this interview, I’ll place the six cards on my altar and take the next day or two to think about their messages. From there, I’ll dig out business spreads and see what this deck has to say about my business endeavours!


If you hold a deck interview, let me know how it goes! You can reach me at julie@creativesoultarot.com or leave a comment below. Likewise, if there’s a topic you’d like to see featured on the blog, or would love to feature as a guest blogger, reach out to me. Our creative community is wide and deep, so don’t be shy! The more we share our wisdom and experiences, the more we spread the love.


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