My lens for The Map of the Tarot had become far too long and had been sidetracked into a lens mainly of Tarot Decks (I had no idea I would be adding so many) so this is the first lens which grew from that original.
These are my favourite Tarot decks (though this list is not quite complete) from the collection I have and there is no chance whatsoever that any of these ones will be sold in my auctions.
Many decks are now out of print and can only be obtained second hand so I have made a lens about cleansing your Tarot cards as well.
The Universal Dali Tarot
This has to be one of the most beautiful decks of Tarot cards I have seen.
Salvador Dali originally devised these cards for his wife, Gala, and somehow there is something very special about the deck in terms of the conveyance of meaning.
Stunningly illustrated throughout, the deck measures 5.5 by just over 3 inches, which I have to admit is a little on the large side for my hands and I would have to shuffle the deck at the short ends rather than the long, if you follow what I mean.
Not that I would actually use this deck in that way, it is a Tarot I would use for meditation in preference to using it for divination.
When held in the hand and viewed from the side, this deck looks like a block of gold. This is because the edges are, quite literally, coated in gold to help protect them from wear.
It is possible to find copies of this deck for sale, it can be an expensive purchase but I would argue it is well worth it regardless of what you pay.
Of the modern decks, this must be the best and years from now I am certain it will be widely sought after.
I just had to place this Tarot at the top of this lens.
The Spanish Tarot
The Spanish Tarot is a very comfortable deck to use and I particularly like the colouring of this Tarot.
The design is familiar and traditional, based on woodcuts dating from 1736 and the cards measure 11 centimetres by 6 centimetres (fractionally over 4.25 x 2.25 inches).
The Aquarian Tarot
The Aquarian Tarot is a beautiful deck, illustrated by David Palladini, they are Deco-esque in their appearance and I must admit, are a bit of a favourite of mine.
These cards measure just under 3 inches by 4.5 inches, a very comfortable size.
A new printing of these cards is referred to as “The New Palladini” deck.
The Morgan Greer Tarot
The Morgan Greer deck is another popular deck with striking artwork and fully illustrated Minor Arcana cards.
It is illustrated by William Greer under the instruction of Lloyd Morgan. The images are borderless (bled off, if you want to be technical) and based on long-standing tradition.
In the information provided with the deck, the originators acknowledge the influence of Paul Foster Case and A E Waite in their interpretation.
Measuring 2.75 by 4.75 inches, this deck is comfortable to handle.
The Adrian Tarot
A stunning modern Tarot.
Stylish and with a sexy feel, this Tarot is a delight to handle.
The Adrian Tarot was created by Swiss artist Adrian Bernhard Koehli as his final assessment project in communication design.
The cards are approx 2.7 x 5.3 inches.
The Grail Tarot
The Grail Tarot is a stunning deck based on traditional Templar symbolism.
Unusual about this deck is the fact that the Major Arcana, laid side by side, form one continuous frieze of beautiful artwork. The picture above shows up to number 14 in the Major Arcana, below is 14 upwards and a few Minor Arcana cards.
The images in this deck are ‘bled off’ the cards to enhance this effect and the Minor Arcana are fully illustrated, aiding interpretation of the cards.
A manageable size of 3 by 4.75 inches.
The Gilded Tarot
The Gilded Tarot is a delightful, tradition based and easily understood deck.
Classical images with a modern flavour convey the meanings in the exquisite artwork of Ciro Marchetti.
The cards measure 2.75 by 4 inches and are a joy to handle.
The Celtic Tarot
The Celtic Tarot provides us with a deck of fabulous and intricate artwork with which we can interpret the cards.
At 4.75 by 3.25 inches, this deck is still within a comfortable range for shuffling etc.
The Golden Botticelli Tarot
Another in the range of Tarot decks from Lo Scarabeo, this Tarot is particularly beautiful to look at.
The face of every card in this deck is lavishly adorned with gilded patterns, adding immensely to the already beautiful illustrations based on Botticelli’s exquisite art. All the minutely detailed patterning in the backgrounds, as well as detailing on clothing etc, is enhanced with this gilding.
There is no gilding on the reverse of the cards.
At 2.5 by 4.75 inches, this deck is very comfortable in the hand and the fully illustrated Minor Arcana aid interpretation of any spread.
The Enchanted Tarot – Zerner-Farber Deck
This beautiful deck is the Enchanted Tarot by award-winning artist Amy Zerner with accompanying book by Monte Farber.
The artwork is truly spectacular with a fantasy / fairytale theme and the Minor Arcana are fully illustrated, all adding depth to the interpretations.
At almost 5.5 by 3 inches, they are just a little large for comfort for my small hands but would probably suit most people.
A stunning deck which I would be happy to recommend.
The Bruegal Tarot
This is another Lo Scarabeo deck, size 2.5 by 4.75 inches.
The Bruegal Tarot is a delightful deck, the fabulous medieval pictures of everyday life are full of symbolism and very successful in conveying the images and meanings of the cards.
I find this a very good deck to use and feel that any operator could quickly build a rapport with this deck.
The Shapeshifter Tarot
The Shapeshifter Tarot is a fascinating deck, with 3 extra cards (total 81).
This is one Tarot which most definitely requires the acquisition of the paperback book (from Llewellyn) which complements the deck.
The illustrations are both clever and brilliantly executed to convey the deeper meanings of the cards and is perfect for meditative use. I would certainly recommend this deck, although I would say it is probably not for the absolute novice.
The cards measure 2.75 by 4.5 inches and are comfortable to handle.
The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot
This is the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot. Perhaps not to everyone’s taste but a stunning Tarot nevertheless and very expressive cards in a manageable 4.5 by 2.75 inches size.
The Necronomicon Tarot.
The Necronomicon Tarot is the third part of a trilogy which includes the fantasy novels Necronomicon and Alhazred by Donald Tyson and was derived from the description by H P Lovecraft of an ancient book “the unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred”.
The illustrations by fantasy artist Anne Stokes come together into a fabulous Tarot deck which can only be described as stunning.
You should be able to find this Tarot at quite a reasonable price and it is well worth the purchase for your collection of Tarot decks.
The cards measure 2.75 by 4.5 inches
The Rider Waite Tarot Deck
This is the Original Rider Waite deck with card designs by Pamela Coleman-Smith, American by birth, she neverthless returned to England after graduating from art scholl in Brooklyn in 1897, joining the Golden Dawn around 1903. In 1909 she undertook a series of paintings described as a ‘rectified tarot deck’ by Arthur Edward Waite, every card being fully illustrated.
This deck, more than any other, has broadened the use of Tarot and made it accessible and understandable by anyone. Although Pamela Coleman-Smith is not really remembered for any of her other artwork, the illustrations she produced for this deck of cards are her most enduring work and millions of copies have been sold Worldwide.
The Rider Waite Tarot remains one of the most popular and accessible decks a full century after they were created.
The Manga Tarot
Another stunning Lo Scarabeo deck in the usual Lo Scarabeo very comfortable 2.5 by 4.75 inches size, this deck has beautiful Manga style artwork and is wonderfully expressive.
Ths style of artwork may suit younger readers best but any long-time tarot reader will recognise the imagery used in this context.
A deck I could definitely recommend.
The Hermetic Tarot …
… based upon the esoteric workings of the Golden Dawn
Godfrey Dowson’s illustrations place emphasis on the Golden Dawn’s astrological attributes, incorporating kabbalistic, numerical and angelic elements into the design.
Published by US Games Systems, at c 2.75 by 4.75 these cards are comfortable to handle.
This may not be the best deck for a beginner but will certainly add depth to your readings and, being in black and white, a spread of these cards can look quite spectacular.
The Stairs of Gold Tarot – Tavaglione
The Stairs of Gold Tarot by Tavaglione is an excellent deck in which all the cards have their correspondences clearly marked on them.
This is probably a Tarot more in tune with serious study of the Tarot than with simple fortune telling and the booklet which accompanies this deck gives a much more in depth summary than would normally be expected.
“After the Beast, there is the Labyrinth, consisting of 78 Rooms and 3×7=21 Gates; in every Room there are Prizes and Traps, Traps playing on what remained inside us of the false ideas or the mental distortions that follow us from the preceding rooms, with which we must do away, and the Prizes playing on our intuitions and illuminations that let us know, on the grounds of what we have learnt till now, what awaits us in the next room and that will be clear only in the future.”
The Book of Thoth Tarot
The Crowley Book of Thoth Tarot is my all time favourite deck. This doesn’t mean I consider it to be the best deck, just that it is the best deck for me.
I find the expression of Freida Harris’s illustrations (done to Crowley’s instruction) most express to me the symbolism of the Tarot.
The making of this Tarot deck was initially anticipated to take 3 months but it became a 5 year project between 1938 and 1943. The end result is a Tarot of extraordinary detail constructed with great attention to the mnemonics which convey the meanings superbly.
Many decks come in more than one size and this shows the three sizes in which the Thoth Taort is available from US Games Systems.
The largest, at 3.75 by 5.5 inches, is far too large for me to handle for a reading but excellent for meditation, the mid size, 2.75 by 4.25 inches, is comfotable to handle even for my small hands and is good for readings, the smallest, a true ‘handbag’ size at just 2.25 by 3.5 inches, is just wonderful for laying out on the Map of the Tarot.
Needless to say, I have all three sizes of this deck.
The Fantastical Tarot
I’m not crazy about the name of this Tarot deck but the imagery is absolutely stunning and so it has joined my favourite decks.
This is another deck from US Games Systems, measuring 2.75 by 4.75 inches. Comfortable enough in the hand for regular use.
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