My 5 Favorite Tarot Decks (that I actually USE!)

As someone who has a Tarot deck collecting problem, I have tons and tons of decks. And because I have so many, I can’t possibly use them all equally.

So I have my go-to, trusted decks that I work with on a regular basis, then I have the ones that I bust out every now and then, while all the rest basically sit on my bookshelf collecting dust.

I revealed my top 10 Tarot decks two years ago and as I read back over it I see that nothings changed – those are still my top 10 decks. Although I did acquire two more (the Heart and Hands Tarot by Liz Blackbird and the Everyday Witch Tarot by Deborah Blake) that I would like to add to that list.

So this got me thinking….what makes a Tarot deck a go-to deck?  What makes me want to use a deck repeatedly, over a long period of time, as opposed to a deck that gets used only occasionally or not at all?

The decks that are just collecting dust on my bookshelf are all wonderful decks with fantastic art and in some ways are much nicer looking than my go-to decks. So it’s not a simple matter of aesthetics.

I’ve rounded up the 5 Tarot decks that I use most often and tried to find some common threads. First I’ll share my top 5 most used decks and then I’ll explore what they all have in common…

Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot

dame darcy mermaid tarot

This deck has been a solid favorite of mine since I got it three or four years ago.

I like how it follows the Rider Waite imagery enough to make it familiar, but is still quirky enough to be interesting. And of course I LOVE the mermaid theme!

There was some controversy over this deck using “recycled” art from the Tarot of the Mermaids, a deck I also own.

While it cannot be denied that there are quite a few extremely similar cards in this deck, I just can’t muster the energy to get my knickers in a twist over it. This is probably because I love the Dame Darcy deck so much that I’m like a mother of a serial killer – I’m blind to any possible flaws.

Hezicos Tarot (by Mary Griffin)

hezicos tarot

I didn’t expect to love this deck as much as I have. I was initially drawn to it’s cheery color scheme and the weird little creatures that populate the deck, but I figured this would end up being just another cool deck in my collection.

However, the interesting details in the art drew me in and helped me get a new understanding of each card.

This deck’s characters are easy to converse with (if talking to figures in Tarot cards is your thing) and each card seems to pull you in and force you to contemplate things in a new way. In fact, every time I read with this deck I feel like I’m being taken on a journey of sorts. Thus, it’s one I come back to again and again.

Apart from the court cards, which can be tricky as f*ck to read, this is a reliably easy deck to use.

Crystal Visions Tarot

crystal visions tarot

I was first drawn to the Crystal Visions Tarot by Jennifer Galasso because I loved the pretty and colorful artwork, which is no different than asking someone out simply because they’re hot.

But despite this decks pretty, ethereal vibe, it has a surprising amount of depth. Kind of like finding out that hot surfer guy with the ripped abs and delicious tan is also good at conversation! Yum!

This deck follows the Rider Waite format, which gives it a classic feel and makes it easy to read with, but unlike the Rider Waite deck, it makes me feel insanely happy and optimistic whenever I work with it!

I ended up trimming off the annoying white borders because they totally pissed me off. This deck is 100% improved without the borders in my opinion.

Heart & Hands Tarot

heart and hands tarot

This is a black and white Tarot deck created by Liz Blackbird, featuring totally rockin’ pen and ink drawings.

Again, this was one of those decks that surprised me in just how much I liked it – kind of like going out with an artsy hipster guy only because you’re bored and have nothing better to do on a Friday night, but then discovering that not only is he fascinating and unexpectedly sensual, but he just might be The One.

I wondered at first if I was going to love or hate the absence of color. Well, I ended up loving it. Sometimes a plethora of hues can clutter the mind as if to say “hey look at me!” while these black and white cards leave me space to explore while avoiding distraction.

Universal Waite Tarot

universal waite tarot

This deck is a winner! It’s a re-colored version of the classic Rider Waite deck and it’s a deck I come back to again and again.

Like a well worn pair of underwear, what it lacks in excitement and sexiness, it makes up for in comfort.

This isn’t my favorite deck by any means, but it’s one I use time and again. I like using it for readings because:

  1. People are familiar with it
  2. It’s just a very easy, simple deck to read with and…
  3. It has a timeless appeal – I never really get bored of this deck

 

What all these decks have in common:

Okay, so I tried to find some common threads, but I was pitifully unsuccessful.

I was going to say that none of these decks are themed decks, but the Dame Darcy deck is a mermaid deck and the Heart & Hands has a black and white theme, so there goes that theory.

I was also going to say that none of these decks are busy, but the Heart & Hands Tarot is kind of reminiscent of Zentangles, so there goes that theory!

The only real common thread I could find was that these decks all stick to the Rider Waite theme. But big deal. That says nothing.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that it’s not the decks….. it’s me.

My 5 fave decks appeal to me for different reasons and the fact that I use them more than some of my other, equally wonderful decks, probably just comes down to my personality. Which is why you’re go-to decks are probably different from mine.

And in that sense, I think the decks you use the most probably say something about you – your personality, your likes, dislikes, subconscious desires, etc…

So now I’m dying to know: what are your most-used, go-to Tarot decks? Tell me in the comments below 🙂

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15 Responses to My 5 Favorite Tarot Decks (that I actually USE!)

  1. Pat says:

    Hi Kate.
    I use the Wildwood Tarot all the time. And Animal guide oracle cards.
    They’re both Shamanic in orientation and help me to tell the story from that point of view.

  2. Josie DuBois says:

    Hi, Kate.
    In reading for myself, my go-to deck right now is the Celtic Dragon Tarot. It is loosely based on RWS, but I like that the borders on the cards are muted watercolors and of course, I love dragons. I use the Witches Tarot to read for others. I am just in love with the illustrations in this deck.
    Now that I viewed your blog post, it looks like perhaps I might purchase the Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot. The illustrations look very playful.

  3. john Cappeluti says:

    Hi everyone! I love the Halloween deck and the Radiant RWS. I also have and cherish the Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and it’s signed!

  4. Alex says:

    Wow, that Hearts and Hands deck looks incredible!
    My go-to deck is the Raven’s Prophecy, as that’s the first one I ever got and learned to read tarot with; the radioactive orange borders are a baffling aesthetic choice to say the least but the actual illustrations are fantastic. It’s probably the only deck where the guidebook has actually made me laugh out loud as well, so that’s always a plus! I’ve been really feeling the Tarot of a Moon Garden lately as well. Initially I was just drawn to it because of the cute art, watercolours and plants all over the place, but it’s turned out to be a really nice and uplifting deck to work with. It feels like that friend who will tell you what you need to hear, but they do it in a way that doesn’t naff you off! XD

  5. Andrew says:

    Hi Kate
    I use a Raymond Buckland Gypsy deck I bought about 17yrs ago. I gave it away and it ended up coming back so I figure it’s the one I’m supposed to be using. Looked for a replacement as it is a bit worn, but they aren’t made anymore.
    Like others, I feel an emotional attachment.

  6. Kathy Farney-Keck says:

    I read ,almost exclusively, with a rider waited deck. Infact, I’ve worn out several. Even with the exact same deck, one of them will draw me over the other. I’ve come to believe a lot of the choice is because I’ve handled one more than the other.

  7. Rok says:

    Hi, Kate! My top 5 most used decks are: Morgan Greer Tarot (my personal deck), Rider Waite Deck (the deck i most use for professional readings), Druidcraft Tarot, Tarot Of Dreams – with which i write weekly forecasts (Because i find these astrological and caballah symbols in the corners very interesting. The last but not least is the Crystal Visions Tarot. 🙂

    Greetings from Slovenia (Europe).

  8. Misty says:

    Tarot of the Hidden Realm!

  9. Rose says:

    I also really like Hezicos. I agree with you about the courts; they can be quite mystifying. And yet, I’ve had some of my very greatest insights with that deck.

    I have a nearly-twenty year old classic RWS (love that blue plaid back) that I keep going back to, even though I don’t really like the RWS. I like that it’s old and dog-earred, though. It looks *loved*, even if I don’t particularly like it.

    I also keep going back to Doreen Virtue’s Angel Tarot because it’s such an odd mismatch of garish psychedelic colours, and her trademark soothing honey balm. It’s like a train wreck that I can’t look away from.

    I also keep going back to the Visconti-Sforza, as it’s the deck that got me enamoured with Tarot in the first place, and the Tarot Noir for being more medieval but keeping in the same theme.

  10. tita says:

    Hello ,

    For me it’s Mermaid Tarot and the Everyday Witch.
    I am dreaming about the Pagan Otherworlds.

    Love your article and your blog.

  11. MicheleB says:

    Hi Kate – this is tough! If I want to be nurtured Angel Tarot. Otherwise – Radiant Rider Waite, the Witches Tarot, Everyday Witch, Hanson Roberts, LLewellyn Classic.

    If I feel emotional I lean towards water themed decks – Dame Darcy, 78 water Tarot….
    🙂

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