Thinking about learning Tarot? Yay! That's awesome! You bought a book and your reading everything you can get your hands on and/or your taking a class! Hooray! This is going to be so much fun! Ok, so you go on Amazon and your gonna buy a deck. You think "I mean, how many decks could there be? I guess I should get one based on the RWS deck (well they pretty much all are but you don't know that much about Tarot so it's ok to say that)". You type in "tarot cards" and...
What (panic ensues)?!?!?!
So you start asking around.
Everyone is gonna tell you to get the classic RWS deck.
It doesn't get more classic than this. Some people insist if you really want to learn about Tarot, this is the deck you NEED to have. When learning about the symbolism, history, the actual meanings of the cards, this is the deck that will help you when your learning. Now, I'm no Tarot Historian, but I know this deck is the best known tarot deck, ever. There are plenty of decks that are same pictures but slightly different artist or the coloring is different (try the radiant or universal, there are so many). Every tarot deck is in someway modeled after this deck and if you really can't pick a deck, I would go with this one.
But do you have to! NO WAY!!!!!!!! It wasn't my first deck, and if you aren't particularly attracted it, it doesn't have to be yours.
I'm going to give you my Top Ten recommendations for Tarot decks for beginners (that aren't RWS)!
1. Gilded Tarot
Hooray! My favorite! The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti was my first love. When I started learning Tarot, this was the deck I used to learn. The colors are vibrant and the art is beautiful. It stays very true to the classic symbolism and is a lot of fun to work with. If you love a bright deck that attracts the eye, try it out.
2. Steampunk Tarot
Victorian awesomeness. That's really all I can say about this deck. Just kidding. But the Steampunk Tarot by Aly Fell and Barbara Moore is truly an awesome decks to work with. The symbolism is all there, and the darker color tones in the graphics are beautiful. Even if you aren't into steampunk, it's still a beautiful and easy deck to learn with.
The Hanson-Roberts is a playful deck that is great for beginners. It comes in playing card size, which is nice for those who aren't used to the size of a standard Tarot deck and is very true to the RWS deck. The faces on some of the cards are a bit odd for my taste, but they give you the feeling of the classical fairy-tale look.
4. Legacy of the Divine Tarot
Another Ciro Marchetti deck (yes I love his work... a lot) which gives a fantasy sci-fi vibe. If you are a fan of Game of Thrones, I'm pretty sure you would love the imagery on this deck. Also, the different graphics give you a new understanding of each card without being super confusing or complex.
5. Morgan-Greer Tarot
This deck which was produced in the 1970s by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan is great for beginners. This deck is very heavy in the coloring but the imagery is very simple and is easy for beginner to relate to when learning Tarot.
6. Llewellyn's Classic Tarot
The Llewellyn Classic Tarot by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith is a beautifully simple take on the RWS deck by Llewellyn which is easy for a beginner to learn from. It is almost following to the letter the classic RWS and is a great alternative to the humdrum artistry of the original.
7. Deviant Moon Tarot
This deck by Patrick Valenza is very dark and uses surrealism to display Tarot, but I wouldn't look past it for it's learning abilities. Many people, novice up to a master, really connect with this deck on a deep level as it reaches the darkest places of our subconscious. But even with all that, the basic meanings of each card is not loss and it is still easy to work with. If you are a beginner but you enjoy the like heaviness and can appreciate the artwork, I would recommend this deck.
8. Fenestra Tarot
This decorative and romantic deck by Thai artist Chatriya Hemharnvibul has a beautiful and ethereal feel to it. Everything is flowing and you get the feel that each card could be a stained glass window. This deck has large borders, but they add to each card. If you are a beginner and love the softer and more lovey-dovey imagery (and their is nothing wrong with that), this is the deck for you.
9. Golden Tarot
This Medieval and Renaissance themed deck is by Kat Black is made in a collage style with glided edges. Because of the time period, their is some Catholic/Christian themes in the deck. Each Ace is an Angel and the Hierophant looks to be depicting the ever mysterious "Pope Joan". This deck is perfect for anyone, but especially for beginners who loves collage art, the Middle Ages or early European Renaissance art.
10. Sacred Isle Tarot
This is another very romantic deck, but more colorful than the Fenestra Tarot. This deck by David Higgins is a beautiful deck with a fantasy feel. Sunflowers, sunshine, flowing rivers, elves, castles and more are in this deck. This deck is also good for the beginner who enjoys fairy-tales and romantic fantasy.
Note: If you wondering where to buy these decks, try Amazon, US Game Systems, Tarot Garden, or Llewellyn Worldwide.
What are your favorite? Did I leave any out that you think are awesome for beginners?! Let me know!
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