When you start learning tarot, you’re so full of questions. And one of the most common questions I get asked is what is a good beginner tarot deck. And while there isn’t one particular deck I’d tell you to look at, I do have some ways to find decks.
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Ultimately, your tarot practice is personal to you. So think about what kind of tarot reader you want to be.
Do you want to read primarily for yourself, or do you want to read for others? There’s no right answer, but your answer to that question may shape what deck you purchase.
Some decks are easier to illustrate your points to others, and other decks may have images that resonate with you for reasons you can’t easily explain to a stranger.
So, with that in mind, let’s talk about what is a good beginner tarot deck.
What Is a Good Beginner Tarot Deck?
When it comes to finding a tarot deck for beginners, there are a few things to consider. To me, a good beginner tarot deck needs to be easy to read, and it needs to give the reader a gut feeling.
001: Easy to read.
Find a deck that is easy to read. I recommend finding a deck that has a distinct image on every one of the minor arcana cards.
Some decks just have the number and the suit, kind of like a deck of playing cards. The Marseille Tarot does this, for example. But decks like the Smith-Rider-Waite have distinct images on each of the minors.
To me, this makes it easier to learn the meanings because each card has a different image that tells the story of the card. So, when you’re reading, you can easily look at the image and pull out the meaning from the overall composition, the individual symbols, and the colors on the card too.
002: Gives you that gut feeling.
A tarot deck is just a tool to help you access your intuition. So a good tarot deck is one that will help you do just that.
Now, not every deck will resonate with you. Not every deck is going to mean something to you. But the ones that do are ones to try using.
And if you’ve never really listened to that quiet inner knowing, it can be hard to hear it. So don’t be discouraged if you grabbed a deck that was easy to read but your intuition doesn’t scream.
It never will.
So just keep using it until you get that feeling. Lean into it. That’s where the intuition is.
How To Find a Good Beginner Tarot Deck
Okay. So now that you know what you’re looking for, let’s talk about how to find a good beginner tarot deck without buying a ton of them up front.
001: Look up images online.
This is probably the easiest way to find a deck you may be interested in purchasing. So, I recommend doing a Google image search, and following the images you like to the deck they belong to.
You can also see the entire Smith-Rider-Waite on Wikipedia, or in my Tarot Card Meanings Journal. So, even if you aren’t ready to buy a deck, you can always reference those images.
But don’t underestimate the power of Instagram. Scroll through a few hashtags and check out the images that come up. Most readers will mention in the caption what deck they’re using. And a lot of the indie deck creators are on Instagram showing off their cool tarot cards.
002: Go to a metaphysical store.
If you live in an area with a metaphysical store, go right in. Most of them will allow you to open the deck box before you buy.
And an added bonus of going to a metaphysical store is that you can ask someone questions in person. Usually the person who runs it will have some good info to share about the decks they have, and they can probably order a deck that you may be struggling to find.
This is also a good way to find your community. It can be hard to find people interested in tarot, and going to places where tarot folk may hang out is a good way to meet them.
003: Ask your witchy friends.
I feel like everyone has that one friend that can give them a recommendation. So, ask away.
Take everything they say with a grain of salt, though, just because they’re going to share what has been true to their experiences. That won’t always be true to yours.
And after you chat, maybe the two of you can head to the metaphysical store together. It’s always easier to go into those places with a friend.
004: Read/listen to interviews with deck creators.
So, in addition to finding deck creators on Instagram, check out any media about them.
There are tons of tarot podcasts and YouTube channels that have interviewed tarot deck creators, or at least reviewed the decks. So that’s a great way to get some insight about a deck from someone who knows about the tarot.
I recommend checking out Tarot for the Wild Soul, because I do remember a few interviews with deck creators on that podcast. as well as a wealth of knowledge about the cards in general.
Beginner Tarot Deck Recommendations
Okay. So you’ve done some research, but you’re still not sure. Most tarot books for beginners will have deck recommendations. But you don’t have to buy all the books to find a deck.
Here are my recommendations for good beginner tarot decks:
This deck is kind of industry standard, for lack of a better phrase. It’s the deck that a lot of other decks are based on, and it’s the deck that most of the tarot books will reference when sharing the meaning of cards.
That doesn’t mean it’s the best or most meaningful.
In fact, I think it’s important to acknowledge that it’s very white and patriarchal. It was published in 1909, and the artist behind the images, Pamela Coleman Smith wasn’t even paid for her work.
So, is this the best deck out there? Nope.
Is it the one that will help you learn while you’re reading all the tarot books and finding new resources? Yep. Nearly every reference will cite this deck.
This is a very fun deck, and I love it so much.
If you’re the sort of person who saw Practical Magic in the 1990s, and though you wanted to be the aunts, this is your deck.
All the images are very fun witches in striped stockings and pointy boots. There are black cats and cauldrons and brooms.
But it’s also very modernized at the same time. So there’s some ethnic and gender diversity on the cards, which is really cool because it’s based on the Smith-Rider-Waite deck.
This deck is also based on the Smith-Rider-Waite deck and is full of images that feel like they’d be right at home on Instagram.
The art is super modern and inclusive, and there are images that you could see in a coffee shop. Or maybe a cool loft apartment. Or just out in the world while you were going about your day.
I think this deck is great, but if you’re a younger millennial or a zoomer, it’s probably a great deck for you.
Any Deck Based on Your Favorite Story
If you’re a fan of a particular story, and there’s a tarot deck based on that story, get it.
I have a tarot deck based on The Hobbit, and one based on The Lord of the Rings. Both are great, and I love how there are literal images from the stories to illustrate particular card meanings. It’s great for beginners because you already have the story in your head, and seeing those images can help you understand the overall meaning of the card.
There are decks based on many legends, and the King Arthur deck is pretty common. Also, the Tarot of the Divine uses myths and legends from all over the world to illustrate the card meanings, and it’s so, so pretty.
What Tarot Deck Do You Recommend for Beginners?
What is a good tarot deck for beginners to you? What deck do you find yourself recommending time and time again? What deck made it easier for you to learn tarot? Tell all your tarot reading essentials!