A lot of people have been talking about pip decks lately. They have been wondering if they should use them, trying to figure out id the CAN use them, and a whole bunch of other things. So lets talk about them and figure this out together.
What is a "Pip Deck"?
A pip deck is a tarot deck where only the Major Arcana cards and Court Cards are illustrated. The rest of the cards might look something like this:
Since when were Pip Decks "a thing"?
Well darling, Pip Decks were the original thing. The first versions of a tarot deck was created in Italy by the Visconti family in the 1440's. These decks were pip decks and weren't even being used for divination. They were actually being used for a card game (don't ask me how to play it) and were not used for divination until the French occultist Etteilla got his hands on them in the 1750's. A.E Waite and Pamela Coleman Smith were the ones who got those cards are began drawing all sorts of fun pictures on them, hence the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.
How am I supposed to read with these?
Because of the lack of scenery and people in each picture, it's important that you are pretty solid on the basics. By the time you start using a pip deck, someone should be able to say to you "What does the Six of Swords symbolize?" and should should be able to give an answer without having to look at the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card. Using these cards can help you use your intuitive side even more if that is what you are looking to work on.
I'm still not convinced. What are some advantages of using a pip deck?
If you are looking to work on your intuition, using a pip deck can definitely help you out. Not having those pictures on the minor arcana guides your mind to say what you are really getting without bias. Also, if you simply don't like the pictures on most decks because you feel they are not representative of you and your life, using a pip deck may be great for you. Lastly, if you use the tarot for mediation and don't want all that background noise of the picture cards, this might be a viable option.
My recommendation? Once you have gotten your tarot meanings down pat, try out a pip deck! Even if you don't love it, I think it's good and important as a tarot reader to try different things to advance our practice. Have fun!
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