Most people are not aware that there is not a unique tarot card deck, but many different ones. In this article, we will let you know what are the differences between tarot decks.
If you are already familiar with the tarot topic, the best tarot card decks are:
- The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck – This one is known to be perfect for beginners. The illustrations might look a little bit old, but they have some special feel to them.
- Thoth Tarot Deck – Created by the famous Aleister Crowley, a kabbalistic inspired deck that comes with instructions and a full-colour spreadsheet.
- The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck – This is a beautifully designed, animal-inspired deck and one of our favourites. It looks and feels so different from the other decks, we instantly fell in love with it.
- The Housewives tarot: A Domestic Divination Kit – Retro styled tarot deck that will take you back to the ’50s. Martini glasses instead of cups, brooms and mops instead of wands. You’ve probably never seen something similar.
- Mystic Mondays Tarot – Unique designed tarot card deck loved by many. Illustrations are bright and vibrant that also has a guidebook. Each card has a protective foil over it and holographic edges. It is one of those cool tarot decks that everyone will love.
This list was based on deck ratings in different stores, personal opinion and popularity. Please note that the best tarot card decks are actually a matter of personal opinion. It is important that you feel a connection to your deck so that your intuition can tell you the meaning behind it.
With so many people thinking tarot is evil, came a problem of fake tarot cards. Some people have seen money earning opportunity and started making fake tarot cards. These cards often have scary illustrations that go hand in hand with the belief that tarot is a “pagan” thing to do. However, even If the quality of the card is cheap, readings will still be correct since they are based on intuition.
People often wrongly believe that tarot cards will tell the future. Movies and Hollywood production are to blame for this one. Tarot cards are used to guide you and they are actually a reflection of your thoughts.
Once you get some experience with the cards, you’ll find out the deeper truth to it as well.
A real tarot deck always contains 78 cards, so watch out for any deck that has more or fewer cards. There are two card groups inside each tarot card deck:
- Major Arcana – Consists of 22 cards known as trumps
- Minor Arcana – Consists of 56 cards. They are divided into 4 smaller groups of 14 cards each. These smaller groups also known as ‘suits’ are Pentacles, Wands, Cups and Swords
Major Arcana cards will tell you different life lessons and situations you will run into. Each card carries a specific message which will guide you through life. One of those 22 cards is “special” and that one is “The Fool”. It is generally a positive card that speaks about the opportunity, new beginnings and your potential.
On the other hand, Minor Arcana show you different situations that you experience daily. Minor doesn’t mean that these cards don’t show important things that will happen. They can help you to decide what steps you need to take in order to achieve your goals.
The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck
How to make a list of best tarot card decks and not include this deck?
It is the most popular and most used tarot card deck. Rider Waite tarot deck was designed in 1920 so the style will be different than most tarot decks you’ve seen lately. It comes in the box together with an instructional guidebook.
If this is your first time using tarot cards, you will find the guidebook very useful since it explains the meaning of each card and how to use them.
The famous author of The Encyclopedia of Tarot and many other tarot books, Stuart R. Kaplan, wrote the introduction for this guidebook. More than 100 million copies of this deck have been published in over 20 countries, so you can see how popular it really is.
All of the major arcana cards have a title written on them for easier distinction as you may see below. You will also have an easy time figuring out swords, wands, pentacles and cups because all of the images are clear and simple.
You can count every sword or other minor arcana elements, but even if you don’t want to bother, there is a roman number on top of the card.
Pamela Colman Smith designed this tarot deck based on guidelines from A. E. Waite who is a known mystic and academic. Some have noticed the similarity between this deck and Christianity inspired ones that came before.
In this tarot deck, the “Pope” card became “Hierophant” and others adopted it as well. Many of the tarot card decks were inspired by this one, and to this day it is probably THE most influential tarot card deck out there.
Thoth Tarot Deck
This deck was designed by Lady Frieda Harris, so you can see that even people with “ranks” were involved in tarot cards. Lady Frieda Harris made them based on instructions from Aleister Crowley who was portraited as “the wickedest man in the world” by the British press.
We would expect to see some wicked designs based on that as well, but it turns out the deck is very pleasantly designed as you may see below.
The Thoth tarot deck was 5 years-long project. It started in 1938 and finally completed in 1943. The design turned out to be unique, so we are glad they took their time.
The cards were inspired by mystical motives since Aleister Crowley was an occultist. He also wrote a guidebook called “The Book of Thoth” which helps you to interpret the images.
We highly suggest you read the guidebook since some of the images are not self-explanatory. All of the cards in this deck have a nice colour to them. Each Major Arcana card consists of a title and the numberings which are in roman numbers.
Although you will have to spend more time understanding this tarot card deck, it is still one of the best tarot decks out there.
The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck
This one is my favourite decks because of the design. I instantly fell in love with it and felt a connection when I’ve seen the design of the “Strength” card. Something about those lines brings these cards to life.
The Wild Unknown tarot deck was first introduced in 2008. Inspiration in this tarot deck comes from different animals and nature. You can feel every line on the image as if they were alive.
This deck also features a guidebook that has over 200 pages of informative interpretation and readings. You can easily distinguish cards because each has a writing on the bottom and some have roman numbers on the top.
The Housewives tarot: A Domestic Divination Kit
If you are an old-schooled person, you will love this tarot card deck. The Housewives Tarot was inspired by the ’50s and its tarot cards are pretty much self-explanatory.
This deck is unique in its own way because of the different element design. The wands are swapped for brooms, cups are martini glasses, swords became knives and pentacles are dinner plates.
Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum made this tarot deck in 2004. We absolutely love the design of these tarot cards that brings back memories of old commercials and posters. This tarot deck comes as a refreshment to the classic ‘occultist’ inspired decks and proves once again that tarot doesn’t have to be all dark and scary.
Mystic Mondays Tarot
The easiest way to describe this tarot deck is “Modern”.
All of the card images are vibrant and mellow. This deck was made by Grace Doung, a young but obviously talented artist and visual designer. Each card in this tarot deck has a holographic card edge and foil exterior that gives an extra feel to them.
Images on Mystic Mondays tarot deck are cool-looking and different from classic ‘occultist’ inspired decks. If you are more into modern art, this might be the right choice for you. This deck also comes with a hardcover guidebook, so you can easily find out how to interpret all of the cards.
There is a mobile application for this cool tarot deck, which is also a unique feature. If you forget your guidebook or your cards, you’ll have a pocket tarot with you instead.
Even though we managed to make a list of the best tarot decks, you should explore them on your own. Decks on our list are loved by many for a reason, they look amazing and feel unique. These are great tarot decks for beginners, but your personal choice might be different.
You should always listen to your gut feeling and find the connection. With so many to choose from, it’s impossible not to find one deck that you like.
You should also consider buying those decks from our list because they have guidebooks. Not all tarot decks have guidebooks, so they might not be a good choice if you are starting out. The authors behind those decks are respectable and they are suitable both for beginners and experienced users.