If you ask any reader for their essential decks, you are going to find yourself quickly experiencing what we call the diversity of divination!
Every reader will tell you that if you’re asking them, you really must have a Thoth deck – or a Waite-Smith deck – or a Fairytale Deck suitable for younger people – or a Marseille deck … and before long, you’ll wonder why you asked!
So we gathered our Tarot Association Facebookers together and asked them – all 35,000 of them – to tell us their essential decks and then we collated the results together. The results are as divserse as you might expect, even though we clipped the list at the most commonly mentioned top fifty. We could easily have made it the top one hundred, or maybe two hundred and fifty.
We’ve grouped decks together into historical decks, Lenormand, Oracle decks, etc., and realise that each of the categories could also have a Top Fifty. This list is intended to represent a fair collection of diverse decks, giving you a good idea of what other readers may have on their tables.
Cutting Edge Decks
First, a brand new concept in design; the ANIMATED TAROT. It works by tilting the physical cards to animate several overlaid ‘holographic-like’ layers.
This deck – part of a D&D 5e ‘spell-deck’ campaign succesfully raised over $1million on Kickstarter and is now available here for pre-order.
1. Waite-Smith Tarot by A. E. Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith (US Games) – produced in different editions, such as Commemorative, Radiant and Original. Also small and large sizes.
2. The Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley & Frieda Harris (US Games & Others) – produced in different editions and sizes.
3. The Mythic Tarot by by Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Greene and Giovanni Caselli (St. Martin’s Press, 2011) – originally produced by a different artist, the older version is now scarce.
4. Deviant Moon by Patrick Valenza (US Games, 2008. Also borderless edition, 2014)
5. The Wildwood Tarot by Mark Ryan, John Matthews, Will Worthington (Sterling Ethos,2011) – a popular revisiting of the Greenwood Tarot, which is now extremely rare.
6. The Druidcraft Tarot by Stephanie Carr-Gomm and Will Worthington (St. Martin’s Press, 2005) – a popular pagan-themed deck.
7. The Morgan Greer Tarot by Bill F. Greer (U.S Games, Inc., 2012)
8. The Golden Tarot Deck by Kat Black (U. S Games Inc., 2004) – an incredible collage work of art.
9. The Gaian Tarot by Joanna Powell Colbert (Llewellyn, 2011)
10. The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti (Llewellyn 2012)
11. The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell (Llewellyn, 2012)
12. Tarot Illuminati by Erik C. Dunne and Kim Huggens (Lo Scarebeo, 2013)
13. The Enchanted Tarot Deck by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber (Connections, 2009)
14. The Mary-El Tarot by Marie White (Schiffer, 2012)
15. The Jungian Tarot Deck by Robert Wang (Marcus Aurelius press, 2001)
16. The Lo Scarabeo Tarot by Mark McElroy (Llewellyn, 2007)
17. The Hanson-Roberts Tarot by Mary Hanson-Roberts (US Games, 2012)
18. Tyldwick Tarot by Neil Lovell (self-published, 2013)
19. Osho-Zen Tarot by Osho with illustrations by Deva Padma (Newleaf, 1994)
20. Housewives Tarot by Paul Kepple & Jude Buffum (Quirk Books, 2004)
21. The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson
New On The Scene
22. Tarot of the Zirkus Magi by Doug Thornsjo (Duck Soup Productions, 2014)
23. Chrysalis Tarot by Toney Brooks & Holly Sierra (US Games, 2014)
24. City Mystic Tarot: NYC by Virginia Jester & Chris Hopkins (Self-Published, 2014)
25. The Psycards by Nick Hobson & Maggie Kneen (US Games, 2002)
26. The Philosopher’s Stone by De Es (Currently out of print)
27. Oracle of Visions by Ciro Marchetti (US Games, 2014)
28. The Oracle of Initiation by Mellissae Lucia (Self-published, tarot-sized edition, 2014)
29. Grand Etteilla – produced in different versions, for example, The Book of Thoth: Etteilla Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2003).
30. Visconti Sforza Tarot – produced in different versions, for example, the Visconti Tarots (Lo Scarabeo. 2000).
31. Sola Busca Tarot – produced in different versions, for example, the Sola Busca by Wolfgang Mayer (1998), offered by Giordano Berti.
32. The Minchiate Tarot – produced in different versions. A deck of 97 cards running parallel to the development of Tarot.
33. The CBD Tarot de Marseille by Yoav Ben-Dov (2012). A version of the Conver (1760) deck with clean lines and colours.
34. The Original Lenormand (Forge Press, 2012) – based on the original Game of Hope located in the British Museum by Marcus Katz & Tali Goodwin.
35. The Blue Owl (Blaue Eule) (US Games, 2011) and in different versions.
36. The Gilded Reverie Lenormand by Ciro Marchetti (U.S. Games Systems, 2013)
37. The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding (Schiffer Books, 2008)
38. The Tarot of the Nine Paths by Dr. Art Rosengarten (Self-Published, n.d.)
39. Tarot in the Land of the Mystereum by Jordan Hoggard (Schiffer, 2011)
40. The Voyager Tarot by James Wanless & Ken Knutson (Fair Winds Press, 2008)
41. The Word of One Tarot by John Starr Cooke (1992)
42. Tarot of the Silicon Dawn by Egypt Urnash (Lo Scarabeo, 2011) – there is no other deck like this.
43. The Alice Tarot by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov (Magic Realist Press, 2013) – head down the rabbit whole.
44. Darkana Tarot by Dan Donche (Self-published, 2013) – Tarot with a Grunge Vibe.
45. Sun and Moon Tarot by Vanessa Decort (US Games, 2012) – Simple and Profound.
46. Tarot de St. Croix by Lisa de St. Croix (Devorah, 2014).
47. The Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini (US Games, 1988) – or the later New Palladini Tarot (US Games, 1996)
48. The Burning Serpent Oracle by Rachel Pollack & Robert M. Place (Self-published, 2014) – a modern interpretation of antique oracular systems.
49. Tarot by Dennis Fairchild (Running Press, 2002) – a mini-deck with simple but universally accessible symbolism. Good for travel.
50. Revelations Tarot by Zach Wong (Llewellyn, 2012) for its take on reversals, or Tarot of the New Vision by Pietro Alligo, Raul Cestaro & Gianluca Cestaro (Lo Scarabeo, 2003) for its reversal of perspective on the Waite-Smith design.