One of the most common questions I get as a tarot reader is, “What kind of deck is that?”
I have two tarot decks that I use for professional readings, one that I use for my blog, and one that I keep for personal use.
I do have a small collection of other tarot decks as well, but I’m not really a big collector of anything, tarot or otherwise.
Here are my mainstays:
The Sharman-Caselli Tarot
If you’ve had a reading with me, you’ve seen these cards.
This is the deck I learned on. It was released in 2008, the same year I journeyed into tarot.
The imagery is based off the classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck. I often recommend new readers start with a RWS deck, or something similar, to get familiar with the basics of tarot. The Sharman-Caselli deck is a really good option. The art is crisp, clear, and highly detailed.
When I started learning tarot, I had some major ah-a moments with this deck – like eerily accurate, soul-breaking awakenings. When I started using it to read for others, I found the same.
There’s always been something about this deck that seems to just connect with most people, most of the time. Which is why I still use it after all these years, to the point where my cards are dog-eared and softened.
One thing to keep in mind with this deck is that because it is so traditional, its imagery can be quite conventional, and it doesn’t offer much in terms of diversity, so it’s important to work beyond that if you’re using the Sharman-Caselli.
The Morgan-Greer Tarot
This deck has become my mainstay for personal readings, and a backup for professional readings when I feel like my Sharman-Caselli deck needs a break.
This deck was published in 1979 and definitely carries a ‘70s vibe to it. The artwork is beautiful and rich. While it largely stays true to the RWS (making it great for beginners, too), there are some deviations that can lead to new interpretations.
The Nine of Swords, for example, tells a bit of a story than we see in the RWS.
The Devil and Death cards are badass as anything.
I’ve had some pretty magical moments with the Morgan-Greer and find that it connects easily in personal and professional readings.
The Starchild Tarot
If you read my weekly forecasts, you’ll have seen the Starchild Tarot. This is the deck I pull from every week in my newsletter.
Even though there are a lot beautiful new tarot decks out there, I’m really picky about which ones I buy. I find that while the artwork can be stunning on more modern decks, the cards themselves aren’t always the easiest to connect with.
But the Starchild Tarot is one that I instantly felt drawn to. It was created by Canadian Danielle Noel and published in 2013. I’ve been working with it since 2014 and am lucky to have gotten in on a first edition print of this deck.
The dreamy, ethereal images lend themselves perfectly for meditative, intuitive readings. It has a lot of soft colours and a gentle, compassionate energy.
This deck does veer off from tarot’s traditional symbolism, so be patient with it. This is a deck you really need to allow to speak to you. Let it show you its own way.
The Barbara Walker Tarot
This is one my favourite decks, and one of my most cherished.
If you don’t know Barbara Walker, but you’re into tarot, feminism, and goddess mythology, I highly recommend you get to know her work. This woman is a genius. On top of being a prolific author, Walker also created this super witchy tarot deck, which was published in 1986.
I nabbed a vintage edition several years ago when this deck was out of print, but it has since been re-issued.
I use this one sparingly, often reserving it for special, personal readings during the equinoxes and solstices, or if I’m doing a personal ritual for myself around a certain Moon phase.
This deck is so connected to different gods and goddesses, which is why I don’t use it lightly. Whenever I work with it, it has a weighty, serious feeling to it. The imagery can also be quite dark, so if I were to use it to read for someone else, I would want to make sure this deck’s style would resonate with the person I was sitting with first.
I did find it helpful to read Walker’s book The Secrets of the Tarot when I started working with her deck.
If you’re new to tarot and aren’t sure you’re working with the right cards, remember that it takes time to connect with the cards. Even though I love all of the decks listed here, it took time for me to develop relationships with each one.
Tarot is a practice in patience. Keep at it, and keep exploring.
Until next time,