I've always turned to different decks for different things, but at first, when I had only a couple of decks, it was really easy to figure out which deck to consult for different subjects. For many years I had two tarot decks, an animal oracle, an ogham deck and an angel deck. One of my tarot decks was an oversized, very modern deck, and not one I use often. So I mostly worked with the single tarot deck, using the other oracle decks when I wanted to tap into those specific energies (plant, animal or angel).
Now, I have a much larger collection (with tons more on my wishlist!), and it is a bit trickier to decide which deck I want to use for which purpose. I have several decks that I consider 'general' usage decks, so if I am just doing a basic reading or touching base with myself, I still have a pretty big variety of decks to choose from.
I ran into the idea of a deck interview spread a while back and I thought it was brilliant! I definitely feel that my decks have different personalities, but I never really took that idea to the next level. I love taking the time to really connect with a deck, to ask it what it wants to tell me or what it doesn't want to talk about.
I've started going through my decks, working with this deck interview process, and it's definitely an eye opener. I have used slightly different questions, but here are some that I think are really good places to start:
What is your primary focus?
What do you NOT want to be consulted about?
What gifts do you bring?
What do you expect in return?
What are your strengths?
What are your limitations?
How do I best connect with you?
How can you help me serve?
What else do you want to tell me?
It is really interesting to work with these questions and to see what the decks tell you. I had some things reinforced, that I already was aware of (like that my Wild Unknown deck isn't the best for working with people stuff), and other things were brought to my attention that I didn't even notice (my Cosmic Tarot uses wands for fire and swords for air, which is opposite from how I typically associate the elements).
You can easily add follow up questions. When I noticed the elemental swap in my Cosmic Deck, I drew a card to ask if it wanted to be read that way (with fire/wands and air/swords), and got a yes. Later I went and found the little book that came with the deck, and that was how it was suggesting the suits be assigned. Looking back, I've always seen those cards that way (because of the imagery on the cards reinforces that elemental association), but every other deck I tend to read opposite.
I also love that I can ask what a deck might want from me. I think of working with a deck much like building a relationship, but if you think about it, most of the time we ask questions or seek advice, but what do we give back?
I find the question about how to connect with the deck a really good one too. Sometimes I may like a deck, but struggle with interpreting cards. Figuring out ways to go deeper with a specific deck can be very helpful in learning how to read with it.
And asking about how the deck can help you serve might not be something everyone needs to ask, but if your path involves community work or if you read for other people, this can be a good piece of advice as well.
I also found some really nifty little spreads for more regular check-ins with your decks. One was a three card spread:
What are your current energy levels?
What are your concerns or complaints?
Any other comments for me?
I thought this was a simple little way to touch base with a deck and see if perhaps there is something that needs to change in your relationship with it. I did this spread with my Cosmic Tarot, and got an overwhelming unhappy energy back. I definitely feel that I have sort of turned towards the newer decks I have gotten and not worked as much with the Cosmic..something I plan to change!
I also found a nice three card spread that combines a daily draw with a deck checkin:
How are you doing?
What adventures will we take part in today?
What advice/warning can you provide today?
I like that the reading opens up with asking how the deck is. Especially if you do a reading every morning, it just seems like a polite thing to ask about the deck!
There are a lot of ways to connect with your deck, to bring your understanding of a deck to annother level and to become more comfortable working with different decks. Deck interviews and check-ins help you see where you might want to work and give you insight into how you might need to adjust what you are doing.