Tarot Decks
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 10 of my 30+ Tarot decks (with 6 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. Note that the E.T.A. and Pride Tarots are both collaborations; there is variation in artists and styles.

Each of the 5 images below link to a much larger version for a closer look. Deck descriptions are quoted from the official website or published sales literature when possible.

Some Tarot Decks
01: The Black Queer Tarot (2021)
   Challenging outdated, non-inclusive decks of the past, the BLACK QUEER TAROT takes the traditional 78-card Tarot arcana and remakes them with a diverse cast of muses.
   Pairing the mission of creating work that centers Black queer people with Harlem-based artist Kendrick Daye’s signature analog collage technique results in a fresh, inclusive take on the Tarot that imagines worlds where liberation and freedom are alive and well-connected bedfellows. Worlds where Black queer people are not just living–we’re thriving.

02: 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.

03: The Everyday Enchantment Tarot (2018)
   Profound wisdom is made accessible with this contemporary 78-card deck and expansive guidebook, which demystifies the traditional Tarot without losing its essential magic or structure. This down-to-earth yet captivating Tarot reveals the extraordinary in the ordinary, reminding you that there’s nothing humdrum about everyday life!
   Here wild spirits and animals, car mechanics and busy parents are all equally vital, and each has something meaningful to share. These engaging individuals support and encourage you on your journey, making every day more enchanted.

04: The E.T.A. Tarot (2017)
   A labour of creativity and artistic passion, from a collective of 80 collaborating emerging artists based in Toronto, Canada! We are ETA TAROT and we are so honoured to share our beautiful project with you!
   The concept for ETA Tarot began as a group art exhibit, which quickly evolved to include the production of a printed, published, tarot deck! With the ETA Tarot, you can experience beautiful original artworks from a great diversity of artists, with varying styles & backgrounds, through 80 different cards.

05: 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.

06: 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.
07: The Pride Tarot (2020)
   Pride Tarot is a collaborative 78-card tarot deck inspired by Pridefest and the achievements of the LGBTQ+ movement. Pride Tarot features 45 diverse artists from around the globe who share their poignant and powerful stories.

Pride Tarot follows the structure of Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, with some cards portraying real life heroes, role models and personal experiences.
08: The Queer Tarot (2022)
   Queer Tarot is a bright, bold interpretation of the tarot that offers inspiration, affirmation, and LGBTQ+ representation. Created by queer and trans artists Ashley Molesso and Chess Needham of Ash + Chess, this reimagining of the classic figures in the Major and Minor Arcana showcases a wide range of gender expressions and sexual orientations, and incorporates queer history and iconography throughout.

09: The Sacred Rose Tarot (1982)
   This colorful deck, inspired by Medieval stained glass artistry, draws upon the wisdom of the ancient Kabbalah and the Tree of Life. In print for over 30 years, the Sacred Rose Tarot explores Byzantine icons and the divine mysteries of nature, particularly the symbolism of the rose of the western world.

10: This Might Hurt Tarot (2019)
   Keeping time-honored symbolism and imagery, but losing the medieval context, the This Might Hurt Tarot Deck is designed to be both easy to read and highly relatable. Clothing and scenery are modernized, diversity is embraced, and queerness is lovingly acknowledged.


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.
A: The E.T.A. Oracle (2019)
   Since ETA Oracle is also a collaborative deck, we chose a theme for the artwork creations, to create more cohesion between the cards. With our chosen theme of ‘The Crown’ we hope to encourage a more semiological approach to navigate your subconscious by way of readings, as well as inspiring new perspectives with the guidance of our diverse interpretations of crown imagery & symbolism.
   What will these cards stir up from your subconscious, as you navigate through the compositions of their illustrations? The 56 artworks of this deck, have all been infused with unique perspective & creative energy, from one of our 32 diverse Toronto artists.

B: 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.

C: 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.

D: 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.

E: 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.

F: 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.