Favorite Tarot Decks

Most people, once they learn to use the Tarot, end up with lots of Tarot decks.  And like most people, I learned to read cards using a deck with more traditional symbolism and imagery–actually, I learned with two decks.  The Renaissance Tarot and one of my still favorites, the Robin Wood Tarot.  I’ve long since given away that first deck, as it just wasn’t working very well for me, but I still have the Robin Wood.

Now, though, I mostly read cards using a deck of a very different style:  The Osho Zen Tarot.   When I want to use a deck with classic symbols, I use the Robin Wood or the Morgan-Greer, and most recently I’ve started using the Transparent Tarot.   I have a few others that haven’t worked out or that I like using for study, but here’s a little more about each deck I read with:

  • Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game Of Zen Not your traditional Tarot images at all, but each card still speaks to the heart of its classic meaning, just in a more modern way.  And a Zen way, which surprisingly makes sense to me.  The colors are intense, and the images are stripped down of extraneous clutter, letting you quickly get to the essence of card’s meaning.  The suits are Cups, Fire, Clouds, and Rainbows.  This is my absolute favorite deck to read with.  It would be perfect if there weren’t card descriptions noted at the bottom of each card.
  • The Robin Wood Tarot A much-loved deck in the Tarot community, the Robin Wood uses somewhat classic symbolism and just gorgeous art.  The cards have some pagan themes, and genders get swapped once in awhile, but it’s a solid deck for both beginner and advanced readers.  The suits are Cups, Wands, Swords, and Pentacles.  The symbolism seems rooted in classic Rider-Waite, so I do think of it as a traditional deck even with the gender swaps and fire-wands/swords-air associations.  The best trait of this deck is how clearly the meanings of the cards shine through the art.  She’s recently published a book to go with the cards, but I can’t comment as I haven’t read it.
  • Morgan Greer Tarot Deck This is a deck from the 1970s and you can tell with just one look at the art.  This deck sticks with classic Tarot symbols, making it a great choice for beginners, if you can deal with the art style.  Suits are the classic Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles.  The drawings come completely to the edge of the cards, which is great, and there’s minimal fussy details in the images, also great.  My once caveat with this deck is the Devil card, because it’s damn scary looking.
  • The Transparent Tarot This Tarot deck is fairly new (2008) and the artist boils down each card into its core image, leaving the rest of the plastic card transparent.  Novel idea, at first, but this technique allows the cards to be stacked atop one another so the images blend together, creating a new picture.  The Transparent Tarot also uses the classic Tarot suits.  I’m still playing around with this deck, and the art is quite simplistic, but the ability to stack cards and add layers of meanings to tarot readings–it’s a brilliant concept.

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