|Druidcraft Tarot - Image from Creative Commons|
My mom used to do Tarot when I was a kid, and I always loved and valued it. She was always a great reader, and I remember she would sometimes do readings for friends and family. It seemed natural to me. The part that always drew me in was how she became a storyteller.
When I was in middle school I used to use my mom's Medicine Cards (Jamie Sams/David Carson) quite a lot, and I felt a good connection to those. Of course when I became an adult I secreted them away to my new abode, but when my mom found out I had them she demanded them back. (I think I will purchase my own set at some point, however, because I always felt good about that deck.) My own first deck was not strictly Tarot, but more of an oracle deck, which I purchased in my mid-twenties, called Runic Tarot (Caroline Smith and John Astrop). I can't find it after our big move, and never really felt I connected to it (I purchased it in an attempt to replace the Medicine Cards as a divinatory/guidance tool, but it wasn't a good fit, and at that point in my life I wasn't interested in runic study - wish I could find it though, because I am now! ).
My mom used Mythic Tarot (Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene, Tricia Newell), which had beautiful imagery and was thorough with the story it told. When I decided to find my own set, I looked for Mythic Tarot but could only find some online, for a high price. I bought Golden Tarot (by Liz Dean) for myself, which has similar imagery in that it's more classical. As I can't find the Runic Tarot deck I bought nearly ten years ago, for a while it was my only deck. However over time I've acquired the DruidCraft Tarot, Druid Animal Oracle, Morgan Greer Tarot, Wildwood Tarot, and Radiant Rider-Waite...and I have a whole wish-list of more I'd like to get in the future :) I think having a selection is important: one) it's nice to give choices to your clients, two) depending on the day I'm drawn to different decks, three) I'm a dynamic person, and each deck attracts me for different reasons - I like having the variety.
Well, if I count oracle cards, I've been doing Tarot for 20 years, with about a 5-6 year gap in the middle where I didn't do any readings at all. In terms of Tarot specifically, I've been working with more closely this year. I felt it would be beneficial to learn the formal Tarot, which is deep and rich. However I still plan to incorporate the Medicine Cards at some point, and currently use Druid Animal Oracle with many of my readings, which was actually inspired by the Medicine Cards.
I really only ever did my own readings when I was young, so I suppose my first reading was for myself when I was 13 or 14 years old. I think I might have done a Medicine Card reading for my older sister at some point, too. In my twenties I did oracle readings for my husband and myself. Now I've done Tarot for myself, my husband, my extended family, and more recently, for strangers.
Well the first spread I learned was the Pathway spread which I used with the Medicine Cards. In terms of Tarot it was the Celtic Cross, which has many positional meanings in common with the Pathway spread.
I suppose my favorites are the High Priestess and the Hermit.
Pretty much anything that has a sword on it (with some exceptions)!!! The 7 of Swords, in particular, has been a hard card for me to get my head around. Also the 5 of Pentacles isn't fun to see in a spread. I find that the 6 of Cups can be complex as well, but honestly I really enjoy the challenging cards, as much as they stress me out :)
For my own, personal readings I feel like there is usually a pretty good mix, but I've been drawing a high percentage of trump cards, and I think that's because a lot of life changes have been going on (in good ways).
The High Priestess and the Empress (the balance of spirituality and motherhood/family life). Also the Hermit in that I've always valued privacy, introspection, and solitude.