What Do You Look For in a Tarot Deck?

Note: all Amazon.com links in this article are my affiliate links

I am often asked “how do I find the right Tarot deck?” and I always say just pick a deck that you are drawn to.

But today I want to go deeper with this…

As someone who has many, many Tarot and Oracle card decks – most of which I hardly use -I am obviously drawn to different decks a lot! Perhaps too much. But I have noticed that I go through phases in regards to the type of decks I enjoy and so I have come to this conclusion:

The kind of Tarot deck you are drawn to says a lot about you and the what’s happening in your life!

I went through a phase a few years ago, where I was very attracted to busy decks like the Paulina Tarot and Shadowscapes Tarot. As long as there was a whole crap-load of stuff going on in every card, I was into it!

ace of wands...
Paulina Tarot

At the time I was going through a very exploratory phase in my life – trying lots of new things, traveling, taking classes and switching jobs – so this made perfect sense. Now I tend to be captivated by simple Tarot decks, whose cards express their message without any rambling or chitter chatter, like the Mystic Meg Tarot.

Tarot cards with simple art make me feel like I have enough breathing room to relax and let my intuition come into play. When I was first getting into Tarot I felt that more symbols and “stuff” on a card meant more information. Now I feel that less is more.

I feel that my newfound lust for Tarot simplicity reflects my efforts to de-clutter my life, as well as my recent irritation with people who talk too much and never get to the point!

So for those of you who want to know how to pick the right Tarot deck, I would suggest that you notice what is going on in your life right now. Are you in a state of transition or are you comfortably settled? Ask yourself what am I wanting more of? Do you want excitement, adventure and thrills or comfort and relaxation?

Tarot Tip: Choose a Tarot deck that reflects your life and the things you want more of.

So, with this in mind, what do YOU look for in a Tarot deck? Have you noticed yourself being attracted to particular types of Tarot/Oracle cards? What do you think this says about you? Tell me all about it in the comments below!!!

47 thoughts on “What Do You Look For in a Tarot Deck?”

  1. Kate
    I love fairy oracle and tarot decks! I have recently been using the victorian fairy tarot and the images and so beautiful and the cards have no borders on them so it literally draws you in to the fairy world. You should check it out!

    1. Jeff, I have checked this deck out and it’s one of those drooly worthy ones that I feel I NEED yet tell myself “stop buying every tarot deck you want”! Glad to hear you’re enjoying it!

  2. Hello TG, I am in possession of a ‘Grand Etteilla-Egyptian-Gypsies Tarot’. It’s been in my
    possession approximately 45 years. Made in France by B P Grimed, 78 cards.
    I use a newer set of tarot-but, there is much more going on in my Egyptian set. I do ok with the younger tarot, yet I have never used Grand Etteilla. I feel inadequately distanced just by the deck itself. Can you enlighten me on this deck? Can you help me grasp the attitude and the way to draw this particular deck? Thanks, Ann

    1. Hi Ann,
      Wow! That is amazing that you have such an old, special Tarot deck in your possession. I don’t know this deck very well and feel embarassed to say I can’t really give you much info on Etteilla off the top of my head. A book that will give you some good info is Robert Place’s book Tarot: History, Symbolism and Divination amzn.to/1WTCIrg – I remember there being quite a bit of stuff in there about Etteilla and perhaps even this particular deck. Good luck and Happy Tarot Reading!

  3. I started out with the traditional rider waite style deck. I thought it was too plain and difficult to interpret because there were no emotions or beauty. I bough the crystal visions tarot and loved the mystical beauty of it. It is my favorite. I also bought the thoth tarot but I just can’t connect to it. I think its complicated and has a dark feel to it. I really want the osho zen deck and the chakra wisdom oracle. I am a reiki practitioner and I guess I feel drawn to more mystical or body energy type cards. I’m also looking at the hidden realm and conscious spirit decks. I keep seeing more and more that I like. I love your website and readings you do on youtube!

    1. Hi Lila,
      There are so many wonderful decks out there – I am always seeing decks I “need” to have, too!
      Glad you like the site – thanks for commenting here 🙂


  4. The two decks Im switching back and fouth with is shadowscapes and tarot of the hidden realm. I really love the artistic style of them both in thier own unique way. Shadowscapes has the watercolor design which is easier for me to understand the message as a complete reading since the colors are able to blend in. Then tarot of the hidden realm has earthy tones and detailed facial features in the fae and animals. I’m very happy with both! O I also picked up the tarot a magical journey book. Waiting for it to come in the mail soon. Yay!! 🙂

  5. Hi Kate, This is a great topic! I have the Rabbit Tarot which is a small deck and the images are so sweet that one can’t possibly feel afraid. The Strength card shows a rabbit with his arms around a fox who looks a little down-trodden. I love it…..April

    1. That sounds like a wonderful deck…I am going to go check it out right now and see if I can find any images online – I haven’t heard of that one!

  6. Have you ever checked out, or do you own the Tarot Of The Sweet Twilight, Kate? Can’t wait to pick up this deck next month. It’s got a lot of symbolism, but also a great deck for those who want to get in touch with their intuitive side and don’t want blatant meanings for every card. A refreshing deck to be sure. If you don’t have it, be sure to check it out on Aeclectic Tarot, and I would love it if you would review/do a reading on the deck if you are interested! Peace.

    1. Ricky – I just googled it – it looks fascinating. I put it in my Amazon cart and will probably buy it. When I first saw this deck a couple years ago I didn’t like it, but now I do – it reminds me of a Tim Burton movie or something.

      1. Haha! You are right, it really does 🙂 And cool, looking forward to you reviewing/reading with it if you buy! Thanks 🙂

  7. I have a wide selection of cards, I have fairy decks, goddess decks and some angel decks, but two of these decks energy doesn’t seem to fit very well with me. I have a couple of more celtic cards on my shopping list – the Celtic messanger and the Ogham Celtic Oracle. Love the art for both as I am a herbalist as well – got the harmonious tarot for that purpose.

    I, like a response above me thinks the RWS is a bit too energy heavy for me and I feel sick sometimes when when I see the cards. I have a range of tarot, recently bought the Crystal Visions tarot & Mystic Meg Tarot decks and I love them both. I always have felt drawn to the latter for some reason reading it in the paper. I also have the Shadowscapes tarot and think the Joie de Vivre and the Paulina tarots not to my personal taste.

    I tend also to go for people whose cards I like, Mainly Lucy Cavendish and Kris Waldherr’s stuff is lovely. I was wondering about the Windows oracle by Denise Linn, I am in two minds to get this deck as it is quite a nice deck and not too loud like some I have seen. I am also in a heavy minority in regards to the Angel tarot by DV as I do not like the art of that deck and it gives me an energy of “Stay away, DO not use me!”

    1. Hey, Janine–

      I just got the Celtic Messages deck–the round one, is that the one you mean? If so, I wanted to let you know that I LOVELOVELOVELOVE it!! I’d seen another deck by the same artist and wasn’t sure which to get. But now that I have the Celtic, I’m certain I made the right choice.

      Let me know if you end up getting it, and if so, how you like it.


    2. That is really interesting about how you find the RWS deck energy heavy. If anything, I find it a bit dull – the images seem to lack emotion or something. I agree that Lucy Cavendish’s cards are wonderful – I hadn’t heard of Kris Waldherr until I read your comment, so I checked out her art – its stunning! Very nature-based and earthy. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

      1. I own the Goddess Tarot and I have the Goddess Inspiration Oracle, Anubis Oracle AND Lovers Path Tarot by the same artist on my shopping list. Just purchase the Universal Wisdom Oracle yesterday and recently won Oracle of the Mermaids.

        I just love the art as it is not CGI or abstract I like nice lines and something I can look at without running for the hills.

        1. Oracle of the Mermaids! I am so jealous – I have been eyeing that deck for a while now. It looks like an amazing deck.

          1. It took a little while in coming and I got the Oracle of the Mermaids yesterday (GMT – I am in the UK) and if you adore the art of Wild Wisdom of the Faery deck, I get the same energy off this deck. So far the readings have been good with this deck also! Just a tad confused on why they have a “reversal” before the “divination” in the guidebook? What are we meant to do?

  8. Hi Kate! Interesting topic. I like cards with beautiful images and not too busy. I have 2 favorite decks. The Cosmic Tarot is my ultimate favorite and it was also my first so i learned with it as well. My second favorite is the Morgan Greer deck although it has this 70s look. I call my Cosmic Tarot the love deck and Morgan Greer the money deck because time and readings have shown their tendency.

    I also like Doreen Virtue Angel Tarot but i seldom so any readings i just sometimes go through the deck and look at the beautiful images… Too crowded to do a celtic cross or any other bigger readings. Max 3 cards is ok with this deck.

    1. I love all those decks – the Cosmic has kind of an 80’s feel to it, I think. I agree that the Angel tarot is a bit big to do full spreads – unless you have a huge table to spread them out on.

      1. Yep now that You mention…the Cosmic tarot is kind of 80s like
        but i grew up in the 80s so its ok 🙂

  9. Hey, Kate–

    I’ve been running through decks quickly over the last year or so, buying things that look interesting and then ditching them when I don’t take to them in person. I’m very influenced by a couple of tarot sites, yours and Tarot Dame’s. Most of my deck purchases over the last year I made after seeing you or Kiki feature cards in your posts.

    What I’m hanging onto seem to be cards that are more “old-fashioned.” Definitely no CG decks! I prefer fewer symbols than more–and I like to have animals and nature, trees, fields, other plants, on the decks I use.

    That said, I have a couple of really weird decks–The Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot, http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/phantasmagoric-theater/ for instance–that have none of the more naturalistic elements that I prefer but which I still love!

    One thing I do think I’ve noticed–and this was after giving away my Deviant Moon, although it gave very accurate readings–I need to feel a sense of love or kindness or vulnerability or spirituality in the decks I use. (The Mystic Meg doesn’t necessarily feel any of these ways to me, but it’s still just rockin’ cool!)

    I’m awaiting two decks by the Zerner-Farber team, the True Love Tarot and the Zerner-Farber. I’ve been eye-ing both of these for some time, and I’m interested to get them in my hands and see how they feel.

    I’ll get back to you on that . . .


    1. You know, I know that I didn’t really answer your wonderful question. It’s a neat idea, seeing how our decks reflect our current atttitudes and/or psycho-spiritual needs.

      I think I need beauty, peace, love, and understanding. And I do believe, whether quirky or simply pretty, my decks reflect that. I’m not a fan of super “challenging” or edgy decks.

      Does that make me a ‘fraidy cat? Sort of hearkens back to the discussion about too-positive oracles of a bit ago.

      Also, apropos, I was at Barnes + Noble the other evening, in the Cafe, and I had just finished doing a quick reading for one of the baristas, whom I’ve read for a few times, when a woman walked up to me gushing (not in a bad way) about her new-found love of tarot and wanting to know if she could ask me some questions.

      Of course! I said, I LOVE talking tarot. And her number one concern had to do with the fact that she finds some of the images in the RWS a bit harsh, but a more experienced tarot friend had chided her for deciding to use Doreen Virtue’s Angel Tarot. “You’re not really reading the cards if you’re only using ones with all-positive messages,” the woman’s tarot friend said.

      I said, Read what you want; do tarot how you want; and make your life richer and happier because you use the cards.

      Oh. Maybe I could just tell myself that, too.

      NOW I feel like I answered the wonderful question.

      Thank you.

      1. Jamie, you are not a Tarot fraidy cat! The Deviant Moon Tarot is pretty creepy. That conversation you had is interesting – I think alot of people think that about Tarot – thats its somehow cheating to use totally positive cards. Let me know how the Zerner-Farber decks are. I have one of theirs – the Enchanted Tarot.


        1. Thanks, Kate!

          The Z-F came today. At first, I hated it. Almost just tossed it. It’s TINY! Ugh. It’s actually EXACTLY the Enchanted, without the borders. And it’s the same size as if you cut the borders from the Enchanted–like two inches by three inches or something.

          But off and on I looked at it, and then I trimmed the bottom just a bit (so it would fit into a little silver bag I have) and then I did a little tiny reading with it. And when it told me SUN, TEN CUPS, and SIX SWORDS (maybe my favorite 6Swords ever), I said, fine. I’ll keep you around if you’re only going to tell me the good news.

          And actually, in its little silver bag, it will be a great purse deck.

          Tomorrow, I think, the True Love will arrive. Aahhh.

          Sweet dreams.

  10. Interesting topic Kate 🙂 After thinking about it, I’ve always been drawn to “Earthy” decks, The DruidCraft Tarot being may favorite. I think this is because I just appreciate simplicity, no fuss, and I consider myself very down to Earth typically. Lately though, I’ve noticed that I’ve been browsing decks that are more busy, the Shadowscapes deck just keeps calling my name, as well as the Joie de Vivre, and the Paulina. This is the exact opposite of how things are working for you, Kate! I think this change in preference for me is all about the spiritual changes and shifts that are going on right now, very different than my typical self. It’s very interesting! Thanks for bringing this topic to light!

    1. Hi Mel – that is interesting! I love the earthy decks too – Druidcraft is one of my faves. The Joie de Vivre looks slightly less busy than the Paulina, but still pretty busy. Thanks for sharing this, Mel! 🙂

      1. Another shout-out, here, for the DruidCraft. I’ve got mine trimmed so that I can actually manage it, and no matter how far to the back of the tarot herd it gets shoved, it always comes back to the fore and makes itself heard!

        1. I have been thinking of trimming mine, since it looks amazing with the borders cut off, but I just can’t bring myself to butcher it (I am not the best deck trimmer!)

          1. I am an AWESOME trimmer, Kate, and I will do yours, if you want. I can trim it to the “stone” border, which I did first with mine–but it was still too big. Or I can take it down to the image itself, and leave the card titles at the bottom.

            Even that way, they’re still pretty hefty–but I trimmed one copy all the way to image-only, no card titles, and I didn’t like it.


  11. Another eery moment Kate…before reading this post I was searching online for a deck of cards with a bit more of a fun/fashion kinda look and was really drawn to a deck. They don’t seem too busy from the few cards I was able to see. And I like that. I also like the idea of the pretty colors used and the black and white images as if seeing situation in colors or black and white. I see that’s what I want back in my life…a balance. I still need a vacation though… 🙂
    Very cool…thanks Kate

        1. OH MY GODDESS! Erica! I got the Dreaming Way sometime in the last six months, gave it a trim immediately, and have it as one of my favs, now.

          What I love, besides the cool look of it, is how active it is: It’s so easy to see the motion and interactions between the characters in the various cards.

          Please let me know how you like them.

          1. I received them today and trimmed them! (1st time I trim a deck) I love these! Yes the way they interact is awesome. I keep going thru them and love them even more. They feel great like they’re suppose to be in my hands! Haha! They seems fun and exciting, and yet ready to get down to business. The Death card is pretty!! I did a reading and it was awesome.

          2. That’s so cool, Erica! Thanks for letting me know. When I trimmed mine, I felt like I was letting the images “out of jail.”

            Congratulations on your new deck and on your first deck trim!


  12. Yesterday I have received my Hanson Roberts deck in the mail. Your post made me ask myself why I was attracted to this deck. I think it connects me more to my emotions than my other decks. Its depictions are so soft en lovable. Even the cards themselves are soft and smooth and so easy to handle. And the most amazing part was that the first three cards I drew for myself were: The Lover, Two of cups and The ace of cups. I think those cards speaks for themselves. And this morning I’ve read this post How cool is that

    1. Love the Hanson-roberts deck! It has such a nice, gentle feel to it – it feels safe to explore your emotions with that deck, I think. Thanks for sharing this, Ellen!

  13. Great issue to think over! In the last couple of month, I’m absolutely drawn to the Cosmic Tarot deck. And wondered why…A month ago, I entered a new phase of my life, but I think it’s not a final destination, though…The Cosmic Tarot has a special vibe…it’s simple, but it shines strength, light and longing to material security and wealth…maybe is that I’m looking for in my life…? Now I have a new apartment, and returned to my home country after 15 exciting years spent abroad…
    The persons on the court cards are powerful, each one in his/her own way. Maybe that’s what I want for myself as a human being…
    And this deck has a special vibe of the 1980th… some nostalgia, maybe? Though I was kid back then…;-)
    Now that you posted this, I think I have to go deeper within myself, thanks! Actually, I will ask my deck! 😉

    1. The Cosmic Tarot! Such a cool deck – I feel like the courts are not only strong but they have such bold personalities – moreso than any other deck I own. They actually feel like real people – I think most, if not all of them are based on celebrities. I recognized Susan Sarandon in one of the cards.

      1. 🙂
        Not only Susan Sarandon! The Queen of Cups is Greta Garbo. I think the Prince of Wands is supposed to be Tom Cruise. I think the King of Pentacles is Gregory Peck, the King of Cups is Clark Gable. The King of Wands is Sean Connery, in my opinion. The woman on the 9 of Pentacles is Rita Hayworth. But I don’t manage to recognize them all. 🙂

        1. Yes! I knew all the others were celebrities, but I couldn’t figure out who was who. I know the Sean Connery one – I couldn’t figure out who he was supposed to be at first. Thanks!

Comments are closed.