My Favorite Tarot Decks – Part 2

Greetings Tarot Lovers,

I’m back with the second installment of my favorite tarot decks. If you haven’t checked it out yet, here is Part 1.

So without further ado…

The Deviant Moon Tarot

The Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza

The Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza

This deck is wonderfully weird and twisted. I love how the images are so bizarre that they always provoke some kind of emotional response. Its tarot reading gold, those emotional reactions. This is the only deck that I currently read with reversals. Something about the whole energy of the deck being a little topsy-turvy just feels like it should be read with reversals. These characters are so crazy, it makes sense some of them would end up upside down. Visually, it adds to the weirdness and chaos, which I think is fun and very in flavor for this deck. I actually have three copies of Deviant Moon: the original edition with the borders trimmed off (pictured above), the original edition with the borders intact and a borderless edition. You can order this deck directly from the artist HERE.

The Antiquarian Tarot

The Antiquarian Tarot by Maree Bento

The Antiquarian Tarot by Maree Bento

I came across this deck when I attended the Northwest Tarot Symposium this past March. Maree had a vending table there and I found myself going back to look at this deck over and over and over again. I’m a sucker for vintage photography, so The Antiquarian Tarot was right up may alley. It also didn’t hurt that the creator was such a friendly person and so interesting to talk to. It takes love-of-a-deck to a whole other level when you get to meet the artist and see how passionate they are about what they’ve created. You can buy this deck direct from Maree by going to her website HERE.

Tarot of the Magical Forest

Tarot of the Magical Forest

Tarot of the Magical Forest by Hsu Chi Chun & Leo Tang

If you couldn’t tell by now, cutsy animal decks are not my normal fare, but the creatures in this deck are just creepy enough to suck me in…besides, a little cuteness is necessary every once in awhile, right? Also, this deck features the sweetest Strength card I have ever seen. It is beyond adorable. I literally cannot look at it without going “awwwww.” This deck is also one of those decks that always gives me really clear messages. If I need it clear and concise, these guys deliver. The deck pictured above is trimmed, brand new this deck comes with a white border with the card names in four different languages, your standard Lo Scarabeo borders. If you want to get your hands on a copy of this deck, I’ve seen it in a lot of metaphysical shops, or you can order it online from Llewellyn.


The Morgan Greer Tarot

The Morgan-Greer Tarot

Allย  jokes about the 70’s porn-staches aside, this is a really beautiful deck. The colors are so vibrant and the close up images make you feel like you’re being drawn into the cards, and perhaps best of all…NO BORDERS! Yep, I didn’t have to mangle my hands with hours of trimming, which I really appreciated. This deck mimics Pamela Coleman Smith’s imagery from the Rider-Waite deck almost exactly, which makes it really great for beginners who still want to use all the Rider-Waite based learning resources, but don’t connect with the Rider-Waite deck itself. I have not been into a metaphysical shop yet that DOESN’T carry this deck, so if you want your own copy, chances are your local store will have it. If you want to but it online, the Morgan-Greer is available from U.S. Games Systems.

Almost done…now on to my actual Rider-Waite decks…

Universal Waite Tarot

Universal Waite Tarot - Art by Pamela Coleman Smith, recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts

Universal Waite Tarot – Art by Pamela Coleman Smith, recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts

The Universal Waite Tarot was my third deck and my first Rider Waite Smith deck. I have the full sized version and the pocket sized deck pictured above…which, you guessed it, has the borders trimmed off. Wow, I didn’t realize how many of my decks I had trimmed until I made this list. I really enjoy the recoloring that Mary Hanson-Roberts did. It allows for more details in the images and a more visually appealing look overall when compared to the standard, yellow box, blue cross-hatch backs Rider Waite Tarot. This is another deck that you will find in almost any metaphysical shop or U.S. Games Systems has both the standard and pocket sized editions on their website.

The Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Deck

The Waite-Smith Centennial Edition Tarot Deck

The Smith-Waite Centennial Edition Tarot Deck

This edition of the traditional Rider Waite Tarot was created for the 100th anniversary of the deck’s creation and was renamed to give credit to the artist who’s images have become so iconic and synonymous with tarot. This deck was reproduced from an original Pam A deck, the first edition of the first Rider Waite tarot. The reproduction quality is absolutely fantastic, the coloring is gorgeous and slightly muted, giving the deck a wonderful aged, vintage feel. If you love the classic Rider Waite images, this deck is a must have. This is my go to when I want to use a Rider Waite deck and this deck has gotten a lot of use. You can buy the Centennial Edition deck either as part of the Pamela Coleman Smith Commemorative Set (which I highly recommend, it comes with a bunch of awesome goodies) or by itself via the U.S. Games Systems site.

And now for my Honorable Mention…

Tarot of the Cat People

Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall

Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall

The only reason this is an honorable mention and not properly among my favorite decks is because I’ve only read with it once and I haven’t spent enough time with it yet to say its a favorite. I really love the art and it departs enough from the Rider Waite images to make it interesting and fresh. I think it will easily become a favorite once I take the time to get to know it better. You can pick up your own copy of this deck from U.S. Games Systems.

Well there you have it folks, all my favorite decks. I really enjoyed going through my collection (this was almost my entire collection, I don’t have that many decks compared to some other readers.) and getting reacquainted with some old favorites which I hadn’t picked up in awhile.

What are your favorite decks? I’d love to hear what cards you simply can’t live without (and to get ideas for my wishlist.), so please comment and let me know. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy shuffling!

My Favorite Tarot Decks – Part 1

Happy World Tarot Day! In observation of this day which honors all things tarot, I thought I would throw together a post full of my favorite tarot decks.

tarot altar edited

The idea for this post was inspired by Kate, the Daily Tarot Girl, who recently posted a Top 10 Tarot Deck article on her blog, and Carrie of Happy Fish Tarot who posted a tarot deck collection video on her You Tube channel not long ago. I enjoyed seeing their decks so much that I wanted to play too. So this is my top tarot decks/tarot deck collection/tarot show & tell contribution to the community. I hope you enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

The Tarot Illuminati

The Tarot Illuminati by Kim Huggens and Erik C. Dunne

The Tarot Illuminati by Kim Huggens and Erik C. Dunne

This is probably my most used deck. It almost never leaves my messenger bag, because I always want to have it on hand. I love the detailed, colorful images (even though the digital art is wonky on a couple cards) and I’m a sucker for gilded edges and no borders. Its also a very sturdy deck, some of the best card stock I’ve come across. It is also the only deck I own which has its own dedicated crystal companion. I don’t work with crystals a lot, but I put this little piece of citrine (pictured above) in the bag with the deck one day and it refused to leave. ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you have to get your hands on a copy of this deck, you can buy it here or check your local metaphysical shop, its pretty popular so a lot of stores stock it.

The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore & Aly Fell

The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore & Aly Fell

The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore & Aly Fell

There are a handful of decks out on the market called “The Steampunk Tarot”, but this will always be the definitive steampunk tarot in my mind, THE Steampunk Tarot if you will. Anyway, the amount of love and attention-to-detail that Barbara Moore and Aly Fell put into creating this deck is apparent in every image and every line in the guidebook. It was one of the first decks I ever owned (I think it was my second deck) and it was an incredible deck to learn on. The figures in the images are realistic without looking TOO realistic and there are quite a few female characters depicted in traditionally “masculine” cards, which I appreciate. I highly recommend this deck & book set to beginners and experienced readers alike. My only complaint is the card stock is not very sturdy. You can get this deck directly from the publisher here.

ย The Bohemian Gothic Tarot

The Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov - Baba Studios - Prague

The Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov

It is creepy, macabre and downright disturbing, but holy mother of Bram Stoker…I LOVE this deck! Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov of Baba Studios in Prague, have filled it with vampires, werewolves, demons, phantoms and a plethora of other more than slightly unnerving characters. The settings of each card are practically characters themselves, and even the cards that are devoid of figures (The Tower, Eight of Wands, Ace of Pentacles) seem to be alive with personality. The atmosphere of this deck is just incredible and quite palpable.

Mini edition Bohemian Gothic Tarot

Mini edition Bohemian Gothic Tarot

I actually snatched up a copy of the mini edition too, because I really enjoy mini decks and this way I can always have a copy on hand in my bag and a copy on my tarot altar. You can order either the standard or mini edition from Baba Studios either via their webpage or their Etsy shop.

The Collective Tarot

The Collective Tarot by The Tarot Collective

The Collective Tarot by The Tarot Collective

This politically radical, queer, body positive, inclusive, anti-oppression tarot deck takes the traditional tarot concept and reclaims it for all the identities that aren’t represented in traditional tarot imagery. Yes it still has 78 cards with 22 majors and 4 minor suits, but a lot of the majors have been renamed to eliminate triggering or oppressive associations, and the suits are now Keys (fire), Feathers (air), Bottles (water) and Bones (earth). The court cards have also been renamed Seeker, Apprentice, Artist and Mentor to remove the focus from gendered attributes (masculine and feminine) and instead to emphasize concepts of experience or mastery of skill.

The Sun - The Collective Tarot

The Sun – The Collective Tarot

This was my very first tarot deck, which proves that beginners don’t need to start with a traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck to be successful. It comes with an incredible guidebook which includes card meanings that really get down to the nitty gritty of navigating life as a minority, radical or non-normative person. The deck itself includes artwork contributed by over 20 artists and represents a variety of bodies, identities, activities and values that aren’t always accepted in the dominant culture.

Sadly, The Collective Tarot has been out-of-print for several years. The Tarot Collective is currently contemplating a Fourth Edition. This world really needs this type of radical, inclusive deck, so please add your support for a Fourth Edition HERE!

Whew! I’m only halfway through my list and this post has already gotten quite long. I think I’ll send what I’ve got so far out into the world and finish up with a Part 2 in a couple days or next week.

Until next time,

Keep shuffling my friends!

Deck-a-Week Challenge: Week 2 – Legacy of the Divine

Greetings Tarot Family,

For the second week of my deck challenge I used the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Circo Marchetti. For an explanation of the deck challenge click here.

legacy of the divine

Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Circo Marchetti

I actually worked with this deck for two weeks, so I guess technically its week 2 & 3. I ended up doing a bit of traveling week-before-last, and as a result I didn’t spend as much time with this deck as I would have liked, so an extra week seemed in order.

Since the Legacy of the Divine comes with a full sized guidebook, I spent a bit of time looking through the cards as I read through the guidebook. I like to see how the descriptions of the images gel with the visual impressions that I get from the cards. I find this method of study helpful, especially if the guidebook discusses the symbology that is unique to that particular deck.

In the Legacy of the Divine guidebook there is commentary about each card provided by several tarot readers as well as the artist, so you get a lot of different impressions to measure against your own intuitive understanding of the art. Sometimes it did get a bit overwhelming though and I definitely put down the book and just enjoyed the imagery on a couple occasions.

Legacy of the Divine Guidebook & Card Backs

I also used this deck in my personal daily draws and I tried it for one client reading, but generally I didn’t feel drawn to use it in my readings for others, so I didn’t after that.

My intuitive sense of this deck is that it just isn’t the right time for me to be working with it. It didn’t speak to me as much as I expected and I didn’t feel like I wanted to open up to it. In terms of the art, its not my favorite deck, there are some inconsistencies that I find very disruptive and one or two cards I just don’t like and that seemed to be enough to kind of shut down my willingness and ability to connect.

I’m trying to decide whether I want to re-gift or trade this deck since its not working for me, or perhaps I should set it aside and try again later.

Have you ever owned a deck that you just couldn’t connect with?

Were you able to connect with it later?

What did you do with it if you could not?

Next week I’ll be working with the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza. I’m looking forward to spending time with this deck immensely. I already know that I love it, I just haven’t used it much and want to see if I can gain a deeper connection with the cards.

Blessings All

Borderless Edition of the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza

I’m so excited! US Games Systems has just released a borderless edition of Patrick Valenza’s Deviant Moon Tarot. This is one of my favorite tarot decks, but the borders were so disruptive that I actually trimmed them off, leaving the cards quite small. Here is a poster and a couple links for more information on this gorgeous and twisted set of cards.


Using Different Decks

I love tarot decks, so naturally it follows that I would have several. The problem that I have come across with owning multiple decks, is trying to use them all. I’m not a collector in that I don’t like to buy decks just to own them, I want to use all the decks I have on a regular basis.

Deck BagsSomething I have noticed is that when I don’t use a deck regularly I seem to lose touch with it, or don’t feel confident in it. It does make sense that the more familiar with a deck you are the quicker and easier your intuition is able to pick up on the messages, but is it still possible to connect with a deck that has been sitting on your altar or shelf unused for several months?

It seems to me that having one deck that you are extensively familiar with would make readings easier and more seamless since your subconscious would synthesize familiar images into information faster.ย  But I anticipate working with one deck exclusively to be quite boring and runs the risk of producing stale, dull readings after awhile.ย  I know there are readers who do a wonderful job working with only one deck, I just get bored quickly.

One things that I’ve considered is designating certain types of questions to particular decks. I have the Fenestra Tarot which is a beautiful sepia toned deck that I find very romantic and so might be good for love and romance readings, or readings on creativity and fulfilling one’s passions. I have a Universal Rider Waite Smith deck which I would consider good for spiritual readings based on its occult history and extensive symbolism. I also own the Deviant Moon Tarot which may work well for shadow work because of its dark, dreamlike imagery.

Deck BacksI also thought about having a rotation and just using a different deck for each reading going in a particular order. That seemed a bit too arbitrary, but more importantly it felt wrong on an intuitive level, at least for me.

What I’m currently trying, and I’m still not certain if I like it or if its a good long term answer, is using one deck exclusively for a month or two, then switching to a different deck, then to a different deck etc. The advantage is that I have the opportunity to get to know each deck quite well. The disadvantage is I still end up ignoring certain decks for months on end. I’ve also noticed that I’ve had a harder time “trusting” a new deck or a deck that I have just rotated to. I imagine that setting up some exercises to “break in” a new deck or newly rotated deck would help with that.

I would be curious to hear how other readers go about using different decks, so please comment and let me know. Thanks