Recently I was chatting with a friend about the number of tarot decks I have and… eh, I feel it’s a lot, but there’s still room for more! 😆
While for various reasons I tend to work with one or two more often, I deeply appreciate what each brings to my tarot practice as a whole, and believe each artist has given us an invitation to a more layered understanding of the individual card’s magic. I’m also one of those woo woo people who believe different decks have different “vibes,” and will turn to specific decks when I am looking for a certain energy in a response.
For a peek into my practice, let me introduce you to the decks…
From top left:
- Pamela Colman Smith Centennial Edition Tarot
- Our Tarot
- Uusi Pagan Otherworlds Tarot
- Mesquite Tarot
- Ethereal Visions
- Rider Waite Black & Gold Edition
- 8th House Tarot
- Le Livre de Thoth Tarot d’Etteilla
- Aquarian Tarot
Pictured is each deck’s interpretation of The Star card, and what a range these bring to readings!
The Pamela Colman Smith Centennial Deck (above left) is what I generally consider my “work” deck. This is the deck I learned with many years ago, the imagery is iconic and is readily accesible to beginning practitioners, and it is for this reason that I use this deck for readings with clients, etc. While using the same PCS line illustrations, I really appreciate how the Black and Gold Edition (above right) plays with negative space, drawing the eye to different elements.
Both the Pagan Otherworlds (left) and Ethereal Visions (right) offer interpretations of PCS’s iconic (white, ableist, heteronormative, colonialist) imagery, but with their own unique stylistic choices. I appreciate Pagan Otherworlds’s “soulful spirit of nature, early Celtic mysticism, and Renaissance paintings’ luminous beauty.” With my predominantly Celtic and Gallic heritage, I like using this deck for my daily draws and when I want to work with ancestral magic, while I tend to turn to Ethereal Visions for my new and full moon meditation rituals. Something about the lush Art Nouveau imagery has a very lunar energy to me, and I have had some excellent readings recently with this deck!
For completely different energetic reasons, I love working with the Etteila Tarot (left) and 8th House Tarot (right). A reproduction of the Gran Jeu de l’Oracle des Dames printed in Paris in 1870, the Etteilla connects me with the incredible history of tarot. Designed by former Tending the Hedge subject Sara Calvarese, the 8th House Tarot is great for those who want to layer their understanding of tarot with astrology, and has a very “of the moment” feel.
And finally, clockwise from top left we have the Mesquite Tarot, Aquarian Tarot, and Our Tarot, three decks that I enjoy for vastly different reasons! First printed in 1970, the Aquarian Tarot blends Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles in rich colors, but relies very heavily again on traditional white, heteronormative figures.
Alternatively, Mesquite Tarot strips away race and gender in both its beautifully minimalist imagery, and its reimagining of the court cards: Pages are replaced with Novices, Knights with Students, Queens with Knowers, and Kings with Leaders. (Doesn’t that lend a lovely understanding to each?) I love working with this deck. It’s often the one I turn to when I am doing deep soul work, and I love the very gentle vibe they provide.
Finally, Our Tarot is my most recent acquisition, gifted to me this solstice. Our Tarot is a “blend of history, feminism, and the mystical arts… with cards that feature an intricate collage portrait of dozens of powerful women who have helped shape history.” The pairing of historic figures with each card adds another layer of meaning to my readings… and I have discovered there are so many more incredible women I want to learn about!
If you have a tarot practice, do you have multiple decks for readings? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments, or tag your favorite indie deck creator!