A specific form of Oracle Cards, with some traditional structure and meaning but also great variety of styles and details. Decks are generally structured as 78 cards; a Major Arcana (suit) of 22 cards plus four Minor Suits, each consisting of cards numbered one to ten, plus four ‘court cards’. Exactly how far from this basic structure, traditional names or typical imagery a designer may stray and still be considered a Tarot deck is a matter of personal taste or belief. There is no legal definition.
For me, the bulk of the magic in the cards is how their imagery invokes, stokes, or provokes our subconscious. There is no ‘one perfect deck’ so much as a deck (or decks) that resonate with our inner Self. Below I present five of my Tarot decks (with 9 non-Tarot Oracle Cards below that) to see if any of these cards speak to you for your reading.
As noted above, there’s enough consistency in structure that I can show the same card (0 The Fool) to give a mostly-fair comparison of art styles. Descriptions below are generally taken from the deck’s sales page or website.
Left to Right: The Morgan-Greer Tarot; Sweeney Tarot; Deviant Moon Tarot; Lightseerers Tarot; Tarot of Sister Who.
The Morgan-Greer Tarot (1979)
Based on the structure of the Rider-Waite Tarot, this uniquely expressive deck features magical imagery presented in deep, saturated colors. The borderless 78-card deck allows the details of tarot scenery and symbolism to be viewed from a close, intimate perspective. Morgan-Greer Tarot draws the reader into its evocative artwork. When laid out in a spread, the full scenes on borderless cards create a beautiful picture.
The Sweeney Tarot (2013, 2023 )
The Sweeney Tarot is a personal take on an old classic, based loosely on the Rider-Waite-Smith style of tarot. I focused less on the imagery of the classic deck and more on what the meaning of it was for me. Tarot is always going to be a look into another person’s worldview, and this is mine.
My ultimate goal was to make something that was easy to read. The minor arcana are color-coded for quick identification (red coins, yellow wands, green cups, blue swords.) This aligns with the way that I read: picking out general themes and then working down into specifics.
The Deviant Moon Tarot (2013)
Talented artist Patrick Valenza presents uniquely alternative interpretations of traditional tarot with symbolism inspired by childhood dreams. Stylized moon-faced characters created from manipulated photographs of 18th century tombstones are set against evocative backgrounds. Incorporated into the artwork are surreal scenes of distant smoke stacks, insane asylums and abandoned buildings.
The Light Seer’s Tarot (2019)
By reimagining the traditional tarot archetypes and symbols in a contemporary, boho, and intuitive style, The Light Seer’s Tarot expresses the light and shadow sides of our natures and explores the lessons that can be learned from both.
The expressive characters who live within the landscapes of the cards tell stories, ask questions, and provide guidance. This deck is an ideal companion as you seek to uncover the places in your life-and in yourself-that are most in need of illumination.
The Tarot of Sister Who (2018)
For Personal Reflection, Increased Self-awareness, and Contemplative Meditation.
This deck has been designed for personal spiritual growth rather than divination or prognostication. That being said, there are more than enough parallels for the deck to be used that way in the right hands. It is used in 3 spreads here that have a specifically spiritual focus.
Other Oracle Decks
I don’t presently use ‘Le Normand‘ (36 cards) or ‘Kipper‘ (36 cards) decks for client readings. Visit US Games Systems for a quick overview of the differences between each of those systems and Tarot.
Beyond those systems, a wide variety of publishers offer an incredible array of decks. Some are based on historical, mythic, or literary paradigms such as First Nations (indigenous peoples of the Americas) traditions, various gods & goddesses around the globe, or beloved fictional universes. Others are focused on themes; everything from Angels to Animals (domesticated or not) to Wicca to the Zodiac.
Everything from the number of cards to the style of art (or typography if not illustrated) to meanings and suggested uses is up to the individual deck creator (and/or publisher). They can add emphasis or detail to a Tarot reading or be used for a specific question or concern suited to a specific deck.
Left to Right: Sacred Path Cards, Medicine Cards, Sacred Creators Oracle, 3G Oracle.
These are the non-Tarot Oracle decks most commonly used in the GuncleTarot catalogue.
Sacred Path Cards (1990)
This extraordinary tool for self-discovery draws on the strength and beauty of Native American spiritual tradition. Developed by Native American medicine teacher Jamie Sams, this unique system distills the essential wisdom of the sacred teachings of many tribal traditions and shows users the way to transform their lives.
The 44 beautifully illustrated cards, each endowed with a particular meaning and message, may be drawn individually for a daily lesson or laid out in a series of spreads that open up different paths to inner knowledge. The cards are a powerful tool for enhanced self-awareness and positive change.
Medicine Cards (1988)
Discover the powerful divination system based on ancient Native America teachings and traditions. Each card portrays an animal with a dream catcher.
When you call upon the power of an animal, you are asking to be drawn into complete harmony with the strength of that animal’s essence. Gaining understanding from these brothers and sisters is a healing process. Jamie Sams is a co-author of this deck.
Jamie Sams is a Native American medicine teacher and a member of the Wolf Clan teaching lodge of the Seneca Nation. She is of Iroquois and Choctaw descent, and has been trained in Seneca, Mayan, Aztec, and Choctaw medicine.
Sacred Creators Oracle (2020)
A guide for dream-chasers and magic-makers seeking serendipity, magic, intuition, and expansive potential in everyday life-or in business!
The messages you receive will guide you to take inspired action in your purpose-filled life as you map your soul’s journey or plan your next creative project. The extra journal prompts for each card are a fun, simple way to rethink the challenges you encounter and inspire magic so your creator spirit will thrive.
3G- Goddesses, Gods & Guardians (2021)
A beautiful, diverse card deck to help users access divine messages. The 44 vibrant and soulful cards depict a diverse collection of powerful global deities and spiritual guides to divinely support, empower and inspire your path.
Let the goddesses, gods and guardians walk alongside as you create a life of self-healing, spiritual connection and enlightened purpose.
Left to Right: Marcel’s Oracle, Masculine Archetypes, Abandoned Oracle above the Garden of Lucid Daydreams, Art of Awareness.
Marcel’s Oracle (2021)
This 40 card deck was created by a professional comic artist and cartomancy enthusiast. It is meant for divinatory and self-help purposes. The deck was designed using a limited palette, to create greater visual coherence.
The deck can be used by anyone interested in art, cartomancy, self-help, or esoterism. Beginners and accomplished Tarot and Oracle readers alike can appreciate the beautifully illustrated cards and interpretive tools provided by the booklet. The deck also features queer themes and imagery.
Masculine Archetype Deck (2021)
This deck can help anyone connect with the Masculine Archetypes – regardless of biology, gender identity, or sexual orientation. How you come to this, can be as rich and complex as Masculinity itself.
The deck utilizes Archetypes, which are recurring patterns of human behavior that can be used as lenses to see different facets of who you are. The deck has immense depth with added Sub-Archetypes, Shadow Aspects, and a 12-card set of the Hero’s Journey. It also includes a comprehensive guidebook to aid you in exploring your Masculinity.
The Abandoned Oracle (2020)
The Abandoned Oracle began as a small collection of inked nightmares pulled from the pages of Patrick Valenza’s dream diaries, however, the deck was abandoned in 2015 in favor of more urgent projects. Regardless of the neglect, the deck never stopped SCREAMING to be born…
Garden of Lucid Daydreams (2021)
The idea for this particular Oracle came as a challenge to produce one single card immediately after waking up from my daily afternoon nap. I had to scribble and produce the first idea that popped into my mind and fully complete the card within one hour. If not, the Universe would turn to cheese!
Art of Awareness (2016)
This deck has been designed to incorporate the visionary artwork of Jeff Malderez and the spirit-inspired writings of Jody Morrison. The deck does not focus on ‘human nature’ issues and problems as much as it does on spiritual ‘life path’ issues as applied to daily living. This is an oracle deck for those consciously working with their spiritual development.