15 Best Tarot Decks for Beginners

15 Best Tarot Decks for Beginners

I have chosen these decks as the information and meanings will be more transferable.
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The video on this post and the list been updated for 2021, you can find the original list further down the page.

  1. Modern Love Tarot
  2. Bad Bitches Tarot
  3. Sawyers Path Tarot
  4. Darkness of Light Tarot
  5. Crystal Unicorn Tarot
  6. Delos Tarot
  7. Light Seers Tarot
  8. Hanson Roberts Tarot
  9. Watersprite Tarot
  10. Robin Wood Tarot
  11. Dark Mansion Tarot
  12. This Might Hurt Tarot
  13. Modern Witches Tarot
  14. Simplicity Tarot
  15. The Everyday Enchantment Tarot

2017 list:

I gotta be honest. I resisted making this list for a while. It is a common question I am asked by students at the Tarot Readers Academy and by people who express interest in the Tarot. The reason I resisted in making this video is that it is rather subjective. We all like different things. With that in mind, I can share with you what I recommend. As with everything I share, take what resonates with you and leave the rest.

Why these decks? The majority of information in Tarot books and resources online are based on the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck and system. I have chosen these decks as the information and meanings will be more transferable. If you work with a few of these or other Rider Waite Smith based decks, you will learn the meanings faster and be able to see how each cards connect, visually and in their meaning.

There are other classic Tarot systems out there. The Thoth, Marseilles, Visconti sforza to name a few. I am not discounting how amazing these decks are. I learnt and teach the Rider Waite Tarot as my foundation. That is another reason I have chosen the decks below. I have many other Tarot decks in my collection and use them as well.

Don’t take what I say here as gospel. Any deck can be a beginner deck. If you started with a deck that is not on this list you are not wrong or learning incorrectly. Choose the deck that speaks to you.

I also don’t own all of the tarot decks in the world. These are just some in my collection I would recommend to a friend and to students.

I also want to say that you only need one Tarot deck. While many Tarot readers and students have more than one deck, it is not a requirement. You can be just as successful a Tarot reader with one or twenty decks.

The most important thing when it comes to choosing your first deck is to resonate with it and the images. Check out my guide to buying your first Tarot deck.

I have busted this myth before as well but I want to say it again. You do not need to be gifted your Tarot deck. Nothing mystical gets taken away from you if you buy your own deck. Nor do you get extra psychic mojo from a gifted deck. You can also work wonderfully with second hand decks. I would cleanse them before using them, but I have many second hand decks in my collection. Furthermore, if you see people listing decks on eBay that are supposed to be haunted or possessed, I wouldn’t give them my money. What a load of crap.

The list below is in no real order either. Any of the decks are golden to learn with. Alright now to the main event!

My Top 15 Tarot Decks for Beginners!

1. Radiant Rider Waite & Centennial Tarot

Any deck that has Rider Waite Smith in the title is a good place to start. There are many different styles of the Rider Waite Smith. I love the boldness of this deck and how bright it is. Another recommended deck if you want the classic look of the Rider Waite Smith but a softer colour palette is the Pamela Colman Smith Centennial Deck. It is great to have at least one copy of a Rider Waite Smith deck in your collection, as it is super beneficial to be able to put cards side by side and compare their differences and how other decks have interpreted the Tarot cards.

2. Spiral Tarot

I adore this deck. The art is stunning. It’s a smaller size which is good for people who have smaller hands. This was my workhorse Tarot deck for years. There are so many lovely layers to this deck and the symbols are fantastic. A beautiful rich deck. If you can get the version of this deck with the book you will not be disappointed. I have mentioned before how great the book is and it is a book I re-read.

3. Witches Tarot

Easy to read and really vibrant. It is a digital art deck which people either love or really don’t like. It is one of the better digital art decks that I have seen. It gives really clear readings. Perfect for you if you like the art style and are a witchy poo or drawn to Paganism. Comes with a solid companion book too!

4. Bonefire Tarot

My love for this deck will never fade. I found the indie version of this deck many, many years ago. I also have the major published version with the guidebook and keepsake box. The deck is so full of sass and personality. The people in the deck really jump out and speak to you. It’s a wonderful deck for spiritual readings and I love using it for career tarot readings as it pulls no punches.

5. Vivid Journey Tarot

This is a new Tarot deck to the market and I am so in love. I have been following the artist and creator of this deck, Jessica Alaire, through the journey of creating the deck. I love how colorful it is and the art style. I am so excited to get to know this deck more but I would definitely recommend it as something to start with if you like bold colors and less crowded Tarot art. In saying that, the symbols that are key to the Tarot for the Rider Waite System are still in the cards. I have a full unboxing video of this deck.  

6. Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot

Another solid entry to the list. This deck is borderless and a lovely addition to the Rider Waite Smith Tarot family. I feel like this deck is a more modern art style, but it keeps the feel of the traditional Rider Waite. The set comes with a great beginners book too, so it is really good value.

7. Everyday Witch Tarot

If you are into modern Witches and black cats rocking some very cool hats then this deck is totally for you. This is another new deck to the market but it is also a richly detailed deck. Elisabeth’s art is amazing. It comes with a lovely box and book by Deborah Blake.

8. Llewellyn Tarot

This gorgeous deck is based on Welsh myths and brings a few additional titles to the Major Arcana, but the traditional RWS titles are also there and they add another layer of meaning to the cards. Another deck that comes with a wonderful book and the Welsh myths that are represented in the cards are also shared in the book.

9. Crystal Visions Tarot

A fantasy artist’s dream, the Crystal Visions Tarot is highly rated amongst the Tarot community and for good reason. It is so beautiful to work with. It is rich with butterflies, crows, dragons, lilies and crystals and the color palette is so up my alley. There is an additional card that you can take out of the deck or keep in it if you like. The deck comes with a little white booklet.

10. Cosmic Tarot

I really feel that this deck needs more love. I freaking love that it is totally 80’s. I love the way everyone in this deck looks. It really adds to the character of the deck. The colors are fantastically used and it reads like a dream. I have the edition that came with the bigger guidebook and it is well worth a read.

11. Morgan Greer Tarot

Many of you know how much I love this deck. I worked with this deck daily for years. It is just sublime as far as I am concerned. It is a little 70’s and hippy like, but I adore that aspect of the deck. There are no borders and the titles are really minimal giving the art a lot of space to take centre stage. I have a couple of versions of this deck and I take the tinned version with me when I travel.

12. Anna K Tarot

The Anna K Tarot is a wonderful deck to learn with. It is really to the point and easy to learn and read with. The deck comes with a good guidebook and many people have vibed with how Anna sees and shares the Tarot.

13. Efflorescent Tarot

This is an indie deck that you can get either in black and white or in color. I have the color version only. They are lovely for learning as they are bigger in size, allowing you to really see the art. The deck doesn’t have a guidebook but you get a nice box.

14. Druidcraft Tarot

Will Worthington is one of my all time favorite Tarot and Oracle deck artists. This deck is one I would call a soul deck. I could pick it up at any time and read with it and connect with it. There is nothing I don’t love about this deck. The art makes learning the Tarot a treat and they are just incredible to even just look at. The guidebook is amazing and I even like the larger size. I trimmed this deck a little.

15. Thelema Tarot

Another digital art deck. There is something a little romance novel about the art in this deck, or at least I think so. It is a romantic little deck and I am not knocking it at all. It is easy to work with for sure. It isn’t overly detailed with the symbols, but it is still what I would consider a beginner’s deck.

That’s my list lovely ones! What Tarot deck did you start with? Got any to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Tarot Reading!

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Until Next week...

19 thoughts on “15 Best Tarot Decks for Beginners”

  1. Heather Marie Bauman

    Thanks Ethony for this great list of decks. I like the combination of well known and obscure decks.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Readings – Wooly Witchy: Tarot, Wool, and Witchcraft

  3. Hey I thank you for your time and insight that you offer. I Love that the list is an eclectic blend of old and new, I was a very lucky winner of one of two prereleased versions of the Vivid Journey Tarot by the artist on IG and I have found it crazy direct! The simple yet vibrant colors and symbolism have made it a go-to deck for tarot spells, meditations, vision boards. Etc.

  4. Laura Hildebrandt

    This video is the best I’ve found online for showing decks because it showed one I’ve never seen before now that still has every symbol in it as the rider smith deck.
    Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot.

    I think I’m going to get this one. It looks so updated , but still keeps the medeval characters.

    You say there are extra cards, in some of the decks you talk about. Can you clarifie what they are for each deck that has extras, and why we might use them or want them. If it’s not obvious.

    Thank you.

  5. Linda Thompson-Mills

    Wonderful video! I truly enjoyed the fact that so many of the chosen decks were so different from each other. Just a quick story: In 1979 I caught a glimpse of a new Tarot deck, the Morgan Greer deck. The colors and images were so exciting that, although I had never read the cards, I knew I needed that deck. After much running around to this bookstore and that, a small sci-fi bookstore in Santa Barbara agreed to take my order. It took four months, but I finally received the deck and book and started to study. Quickly I realized it was a HUGE commitment and I didn’t have time with work and kids, etc. In 1991 I moved to San Francisco and all of a sudden had no job, no friends, no kids at home, but plenty of TIME. I have never looked back! 300+ decks later, 30 symposiums, countless classes, online and in person… I live and breathe Tarot. Thanks for all you do Ethony!

    1. That is so awesome that you have a connection and story with the Morgan Greer! Thank you for sharing. I hope to see you at one of the events this year if you are going to either NWTS or the Readers Studio 🙂

  6. Oh my god – thank you thank you THANK YOU! Honestly, I’ve wanted a tarot deck for so long but there are just SO many out there to choose from and I am a complete beginner that it is just overwhelming and stressful to even try to being to pick one. Your video was perfect, exactly what I needed and I after watching it it was so completely obvious which decks I had an instant connection to and which I just did not care for at all, and would actually fast forward through. I am so grateful that I came across your page.. you have literally just alleviated so much stress and I don’t feel even the least bit overwhelmed about picking a deck any more. You fucking rock!! 😀

  7. Due to the ridiculously high prices resellers place on out of print books, anyone that is interested to own a copy of the Spiral Tarot companion book please search on Amazon & click on the book, scroll down the page till you see a little box on the right side that says “Tell the Publisher!” & click on the “I’d like to read this book on Kindle.” If many of us send our requests to the publisher we’ll probably get an ebook version sometime this year or next.

    It definitely has happened for me with the Celestial Tarot Companion book that I’ve been on the hunt for 2 years till February when I stumbled upon the 200 + page kindle version selling for $2.99!

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