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Choosing your first tarot deck

Learning your way around a tarot deck can be a daunting prospect.

78 cards, split into five elements of Spirit (Major arcana), Air (Wands), Fire (Swords), Water (Cups) and Earth (Pentacles) - that's a lot to remember, so how best to begin?

Luckily, there are a few pathways to get started that will make reading easy.

Rider Waite Tarot - A.E. Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith

The Rider-Waite is the best selling tarot deck of all time.

Conceived in the early 20th century by Arthur Edward Waite, masterfully designed by Pamela Colman-Smith - this deck was the first of its kind, featuring illustrations rich with symbolism hinting at the meaning behind each card, for both Major and Minor arcana.

So influential was this deck that the majority of modern tarot decks have adapted or incorporated aspects of these compositions into their designs.

Variations on this deck include:

> Radiant Wise Spirit (deluxe edition with remastered color scheme) [view product]

> Modern Witch Tarot (modernised and intersectional feminist deck, featuring more diverse and inclusive characters throughout) [view product]

> Universal Tarot (true to Pamela Colman-Smith's compositions, with a more dynamic, italian art style; the Professional Edition is large format, perfect for teaching) [view product]

Recommended Companion Books:

> Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot - Johannes Fiebig

This book truly is THE ultimate guide to the Rider Waite tarot. Featuring full page size breakdown of each card into it's 10 most important symbols, this in depth guide also features different interpretations of the cards and a few different reading patterns to follow for different inquiries. [view product]

> Key to the Rider Waite Tarot - Arthur Edward Waite

2021 Illustrated hardback edition, introducing the tarot in the words of the famed occultist himself [view product]

Beginners guide to Tarot - Juliet Sharman-Burke & Giovanni Caselli

Faithful to the Rider Waite symbolism in a similar style to the universal tarot. This set is completed by a 192 page companion book featuring the author's learning system, going into the main symbolism of each card and a few sample readings. This is a wonderful all in one gift for the aspiring reader all housed in a quality slip case. [view product]

Looking for something a little softer?

Tarot can be taken and interpreted in many different ways - this is part of the art.

Some people may find the tarot scary, too open to interpretation; this is a common reservation, but luckily there are a few options offering more supportive readings.

Angel Tarot - Radleigh Valentine

Taking the traditional framework and softening out the edges to produce a wonderful and gentle deck - each of the 78 cards in this deck also have the message printed on the card face, meaning more intuitive readings and less referring to the book when starting out.

As you get more comfortable reading the cards you will begin to internalise the meanings without relying on symbolic prompts, making this a perfect platform to begin branching out into a more advanced deck. [view product]

Variations of this deck include:

> Guardian Angel Messages Tarot (R. Valentine) [view product]

> Archangel Power Tarot (R. Valentine) [view product]

> Angel Wisdom Tarot (R. Valentine) [view product]

Companion Book:

The Big Book of Angel Tarot (R. Valentine) [view product]

Other options

If none of these options spark your interest, there are many, many other decks out there, each with their own companion guidebook. These box sets are especially nice as an all in one, and many include specialised methods for learning the cards in the words of the authors.

Here's a few of our favourites:

Cosma/Prisma/Light Visions

Prisma Visions deck is a bright and ethereal tarot deck showcasing James’ beautiful artwork in all its glory with mirror gilt silver edges.

This deck has an extra mystery card added to the major arcana, but otherwise follows the traditional tarot framework. The illustrations for the major arcana are stunning, but the minor arcana is where this deck really shines - each suit can be put together to show the full journey of the hero through each element. The imagery still has distinct nods to classical symbolism of the Rider Waite, but with a twist.

Light Visions is the more minimalistic older sibling of Prisma.

Striking monochrome designs in purple and cream with bright gold gilt edges, very similar to the imagery of the Prisma Tarot but a little simpler in some places making the deck a little easier to read, and more appealing to those who can get distracted by high levels of intricate detail.

Cosma Visions' James R. Eads: “I created this oracle to tell one story of what may happen in the space between lives, re-imagined upon the structure of the traditional 78 card tarot. I spent years thinking about creating a companion deck to Prisma Visions - a continuation of the story we know so well. Now after nearly 2 years of researching, drawing, rendering, redrawing and writing, I think that I've made a worthy companion to Prisma Visions.”

Cosmic Slumber - Tillie Walden

'If the Universe were to sleep, where would her dreams lead?'

This deck was an instant hit with our clientele and has turned out to be one of our bestselling decks from Liminal 11, a fairly new publisher on the scene who also brought us Lisa Sterle's Modern Witch Tarot. Hand-painted and bursting with colour, The Cosmic Slumber Tarot evokes imagery from subconscious and subliminal states. It's a tarot deck energised by a soulful warmth from award-winning comics prodigy Tillie Walden.

Still searching?

We have many more decks listed on the website, and consistently over 50 varities each of tarot and oracle decks in store. We are very happy to offer you assistance and answer any questions online or in store.


Jun 14, 2022

Excellent article, thanks it was a pleasure to read.


Rhiannon Grant
Rhiannon Grant
Jun 13, 2022

Loving my Wild Unknown deck :)

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