In this article we answer, what is the best Tarot deck for beginners?
What is the Best Tarot Deck for Beginners?
The first question most Tarot students ask, is how do I know which Tarot deck to buy? At the present time, there are literally hundreds of different styles of Tarot decks online to buy. So knowing where to start can be confusing.
Tarot, Oracle or Angel Cards?
You should note that many decks available for readings are not actually Tarot cards. In practice, a Tarot deck has a defined set of 78 cards containing Major Arcana and Minor Arcana cards. If a deck does not contain these cards, it cannot be considered a ‘proper’ Tarot deck.
Many beginners often confuse a Tarot deck with oracle cards, angel cards, gypsy fortune telling cards and Lenormand. While these decks can be used for the purpose of cartomancy and divination, they are not Tarot decks.
Learn More: How to read tarot cards, in 6 easy steps.
So, what is the best deck for Tarot beginners? On balance, I recommend the Rider Waite Tarot deck. Over 100 million sets of the Rider Waite have sold since it was first published in 1909. Without a doubt, the reason for its enduring popularity is because it is easy for beginners to use.
When the artist Pamela Colman Smith designed the Waite deck, she broke with Tarot tradition by introducing people, landscapes, flowers and animals into the Minor Arcana cards. Previously, this treatment was generally reserved for the Major Arcana.
Instead, her clever innovation made it much easier for readers to remember the meaning of the minors. In comparison, historical Tarot decks simply depicted a group of swords, cups, coins and wands.
Pamela’s Rider Waite ended up creating a rich tapestry of occult symbolism that set the gold-standard for modern Tarot decks.
Different Types of Tarot Decks
Historical Tarot Decks
Historical Tarot decks are reproductions, reinterpretations or reconstructions of beautiful decks of the past. Studying these decks helps you to learn about the history of Tarot, and the origin of symbolism in Tarot.
Examples of historical decks include:
Recommended for beginners? No. These decks are better suited to an advanced reader.
Oracle decks are not Tarot cards. In fact, they contain very little structure and may have any number of cards, in any order, on any theme. In other words, they have no rules and there is no historical system or method to follow. Angel cards are a type of oracle card. Mostly oracle cards are popular because they contain attractive artwork and the message is printed on the front of the card.
Recommended for beginners? No
Tarot Oracle Cards
More recently, there has been a cross-over between Oracle and Tarot cards. In particular, Hay House have published several decks of Tarot Oracle cards. These cards loosely adhere to the structure of Tarot and the 78 card meanings are analogous. On balance, if you are superstitious about using Tarot cards, or freaked out by the card images in traditional Tarot, this may be an alternative.
That said, if you wish to become an experienced reader, I still recommend you stick with the Rider Waite.
Recommended for beginners? OK for occasional readers.
Beautiful Tarot Decks for Different Purposes
Now that you know which Tarot deck is best for a beginner, let me tell you about the other types of decks. Once you become hooked on Tarot, it is only a matter of time before you begin to explore further afield.
These types of cards are inspired by esoteric symbolism and philosophy. In fact, the Rider Waite deck is categorized as an esoteric deck. That is to say, it was created by members of the esoteric Golden Dawn society. The Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley is another fine example.
Metaphysical Tarot refers to any type of deck of a spiritual or religious nature. As such, this includes decks illustrated by witches, fairies, dragons, saints and goddesses. Additionally, decks may integrate metaphysical tools such as I Ching, astrology or crystals. Indeed these types of cards are useful for spiritual development and as a tool for meditation.
- Light Seer’s Tarot by Chris-Anne
- Weiyo 78 Tarot Cards Decks, Enchantress Tarot, Future Fate Forecasting Cards
- Santa Muerte Tarot Deck: Book of the Dead by Fabio Listrani
- Pagan Tarot by Lo Scarabeo
- Modern Witch Tarot by Lisa Sterle and Vita Ayala
- Tarot of the Spirit World
These types of decks use historical and modern artwork in their images. These decks provide beautiful imagery, which can act as a visual tool to open your third eye in an intuitive tarot reading.
Examples of Tarot art decks:
- Golden Art Nouveau Tarot by Giulia Massaglia
- Cthulhu Dark Arts Tarot: From the World of H.P. Lovecraft
- The Dungeons & Dragons Tarot Deck
- Anime Tarot: Explore the Archetypes, Symbolism, and Magic in Anime by Natasha Yglesias
Is it unlucky to buy your own Tarot cards? The real story
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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
Best Tarot Decks for Beginners