During this time of year, we are often searching for that special one of a kind gift for someone who has 'all the things'. I have always believed a special tarot deck is the supreme gift for anyone who is looking to develop their intuitive or psychic talents. A tarot deck can also be a special gift to give yourself; an intention set for moving into the new year with a more open and clear 6th chakra or 3rd eye.
When I was fourteen, I had my first introduction to tarot. My best friend's mother would give us readings on occasion and teach us things like what 'intuition' meant. At that time in my life I was eager for any information on the occult, and I was immediately drawn to using tarot as a tool for connecting with a wisdom beyond my own conscious judgement.
As you did in the mid 90's, I visited my local bookshop in search of a tarot deck for myself. I had heard the old fable that you are not supposed to gift yourself a deck, but I had a feeling that was nonsense. I also knew I wasn't going to wait around for a tarot deck to appear!
Out of the few options that were available, I chose a contemporary Celtic style deck. The images were vibrant, and I connected with some of the symbolism. Over the years, this deck did me well. Eventually, I outgrew this first deckand I've purchased many new decks of a wide variety since then.
I don't wish to bad talk anyone's personal creation, but I have purchased several decks that I later regretted. Sometimes the picture on a cover of a deck does not give you the whole story. Also, I don't know that I truly love a deck until I've worked with it for a good amount of time. I've purchased decks that I will use for three to six months, then all of a sudden I don't pick it up again.
I'm often asked by beginning tarot readers for recommendations on tarot decks. I thought it might be helpful if I wrote about some of my all time favorite decks. Of course, my favorite tarot decks may not be your favorite decks. You should always be aware of what you are being drawn to, and give yourself some time to figure out what you like.
Any of the following four decks I believe to be amazing choices for a first time reader or a seasoned expert of tarot...
1. Rider Waite Smith Tarot
This deck was first published in 1910, and it is the classic that all modern day decks are based from. The cards were drawn by illustrator Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of academic and mystic A. E. Waite, and published by the Rider Company. Hands down, this is the deck that I recommend to any beginner of tarot. The artwork is beautiful but simple. The chosen symbols are thoughtful and meaningful to the interpretation of each card. Also, the traditional symbolism will easily translate to most any other tarot deck you are using. The deck is widely available, but be aware that it does come in different versions. An image of the Empress card, one of my favorite in the deck, is shown below:
2. The Starchild Tarot
I have been using this deck since its birth in 2013, and it is the highest vibrating deck I've ever worked with. This may seem cheesy, but I find the other-worldly imagery so uplifting and transformative. Sacred geometry anyone? If you are the type of person that finds some of the traditional tarot card artwork 'scary', you will love this deck. For example, the Death card is labeled 'Transformation' and the Hanged Man card is labeled 'Perspective'. Thus, the meaning is the same, but there is a shift toward the enlightened viewpoint.
You'll also find that this deck has an additional card, called the Akashic Records. This card does not exist in the first edition, so it is still a bit mysterious to me. But I do love the concept of this additional card. There have been several editions of this deck over the years, with slight evolvements each time. All in all, I am still partial to my original deck for sentimental reasons, but I'm planning to work more with the newest version in 2019.
We are happy to announce we are now carrying this beautiful deck atChariot. If you are interested in purchasing this deck for yourself, or as a gift for a loved one, you can purchase in store or online: The Starchild Tarot
The Starchild Tarot and companion guidebook are pictured below:
3. The Aquarian Tarot
This deck was first released in 1970. I love the 'flower child' aesthetic that reflects the time, as well as the Art Nouveau influences. David Palladini, the artist, was an art school student attending Pratt Institute when he started creating this deck. The artwork and simple symbolism stand the test of time, and it is a true tarot classic.
Whenever I use this deck with clients, they are somewhat surprised to find out it comes from 1970. There is a certain timelessness to the design. If you are partial to the color palette of this era, you will certainly love this deck. For any artist or creative type, this is a great addition to their collection.
The Aquarian Tarot's Moon card is pictured below:
4. Pagan Otherworlds Tarot
Though I have not been using this tarot deck near as long as the rest, I have a feeling I will be using it for many years to come. This deck is a true masterpiece, with each card masterfully hand painted with multiple layers of detail. The artwork is executed in a traditional Renaissance style, using such classic techniques as 'Chiaroscuro'. Yes, I remember something from art history class!
First released in 2016, the deck somehow emanates an authentic 'old world' feel. There are small touches of a contemporary design, however, that make the overall deck feel fresh and very 'now'. What makes this deck utterly unique is all the extra cards included: 5 'holographic' moon phase cards and one extra major arcana card. With my knowledge of astrology and the moon phases, the use of these extra cards has come very natural to me.
This deck is ideal for any tarot reader who honors the old traditions, but who also wants to dip into something brand new. Chariot is now carrying this deck, along with the beautifully written companion guidebook. You can purchase the tarot deck in store or online: Pagan Otherworlds Tarot
The Pagan Otherworlds Major Arcana and Lunar Phase cards are shown below:
Assuredly, there are many more beautiful tarot decks out there that I have yet to work with. I look forward to continuing my own search for powerful tarot decks here and in the future. It is my hope that everyone who is a lover of the occult knowledge and tarot has more than one deck that connects powerfully with them. It is also my hope to powerfully assist others on their personal journeys to connecting with their intuition and the Tarot.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to me for assistance this December and in the new year of 2019. Many blessings to you.