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Friday, August 21st, 2009 09:49 pm

When I had been reading tarot for less than a year, I went to a tarot gathering at a restaurant near my house. While I was there, someone asked my how many decks I had. I said, "Two." The woman I was talking to laughed a little and said, "That will change." She was right. What follows is my master list of decks, with links to images where available. This list will be updated as I add to my collection.

1. Legend: Arthurian Tarot
This was my first deck. It's still my favorite, and it's still the one I would choose if I had to choose one to take to a desert island.

2. The Crystal Tarots
My second deck was a gift from a friend. This is a gorgeous deck with images that look like stained glass windows. I've found it works well for questions requiring logic/practicality.

3. Universal Waite Tarot
I decided I needed a "traditional" deck, and this is my favorite of the Rider Waite Smith clones. It actually reads very well... like getting advice from a Buffy-verse Watcher, complete with tweed and a whole lot of (useful) arcane knowledge.

4. Tarot of Mermaids
I love mermaids. Always have. This is a fun, playful deck that happens to have a lot of bare breasts.

5. Fantastical Creatures Tarot
This is probably my second favorite deck. It's incredibly symbolically rich, and I've found that it words really well for dream interpretation and spiritual questions.

6. Aquarian Tarot
My first used deck, purchased at our local metaphysical shop. Reading with this deck is like getting advice from a hippie grandmother - wise and understanding, but ready to kick me in the behind there's something that needs fixing.

7. Rumi Tarot
This is a really unique deck. I've loved Rumi's poetry since high school, and I like decks that blend tarot and other traditions. Also, these are just lovely and intricate and detailed.

8. Tarot of the Elves
CGI decks are my guilty pleasure. I love this deck a lot. I will admit that I was one of the LotR fans who couldn't get enough of Legolas and Galadriel and Haldir and all the rest of the pretty people with pointy ears. So... I couldn't resist getting my hands on this deck, which has a mythology all its own.

9. Mini Universal Tarot (The link here goes to the full-size version.)
I decided that I wanted a deck that was light enough and small enough to carry around discreetly in my purse. This little deck was my favorite of the mini decks at our local Borders, and I actually like it quite a bit now that I've used it some. It's simple and direct and easy to read with.

10. 8-bit Tarot
I bought this deck at Comic-Con 09, and it's the only deck I own whose creator I've met. The idea of using something so new to illustrate something so old is fun. And it's SUCH a cute, nerdy deck.

11.Luis Royo Labyrinth Tarot
Another Comic-Con purchase. This is a comparatively "dark" deck, which is one of the reasons I bought it. I wanted something with a little more edge. These are also stunning cards to look at, and the two people I've read for with it picked it out of my collection specifically because of the artwork.

12. The Gilded Tarot
I looked at this deck for ages before purchasing it, and I love it. It's like... candy. (Not in the pejorative, unhealthy sense of the word, but in the bright, sweet and alluring sense.)

13. Quest Tarot
This deck came to me from a friend who didn't want it any more. It's not a deck I would have chosen for myself, but I wasn't going to say no to a free set of tarot cards. The images here aren't my favorite, but I can appreciate the work that went into all of the extra features this deck has.

14. Buckland Romani Tarot (2nd ed.)
This one is in the mail as of 8/21/09. I can't wait to get my hands on it. It looks lush and fun to work with. Edited 10/31/09: Now that I've got the deck, it's just as fun as it promised to be. The images are earthy and sensual, and there's a sense of timelessness and magic about the cards.

15. Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess
This is a Majors only deck that I got on 10/18/09 featuring beautiful paintings of women in all of the roles of the Major Arcana. I can't say enough good things about this set or the book it comes with.

16. The Mystic Dreamer Tarot
This is another digitally created deck, but I like the soft, dreamy-yet-kind-of-goth images. I wanted this deck for a long time before I got it, and I'm not disappointed. It's not a deck for everyone, but it gives me good, thoughtful readings in a visual "language" that resonates with me.

17. Wisdom of the Hidden Realms Oracle
This is my one and only oracle deck. It's perfect for me as a writer. It's loaded with really beautiful imagery of archetypal "characters." I use these for readings (mostly one-card), but I also use them for meditation quite a bit.

18. The Tarot of the Dead
I got this one because I live in Southern California, and I did't really have even one deck that reflected any of the cultures that are local to this place. This is a humorously morbid little deck. Only the majors and the court cards are illustrated with Day of the Dead style skeletons going about their business and acting out scenes from the traditional RWS deck. The Death card, in keeping with the "dead replacing the living" theme, is a woman who is vibrantly alive. Not a deck that I'll read with a lot, but I'll probably break it out around Halloween for those who aren't spooked by it.

19. Shadowscapes Tarot
This is another of those decks I could go on for hours about. I first became aware of this deck while it was still being created, and I watched the author's website as new cards were being added. I got to meet her and buy a print from her at Comic Con in 2009, and I ordered this set as soon as it was available. It is a LOVELY set. Not only is the art fantastic, all greys and blues and light colors and amazing, flowing characters and animals and spirits and natural objects, but the cards themselves show off the images really well with only a minimal, non-intrusive border. The book, too, is really great. It has full page black and white reproductions of each card, and it has really great descriptions written by the artist discussing the imagery she chose for each card.

20. Legacy of the Divine Tarot
This is another deck by the same artist that did the Gilded Tarot. The art is much more in the "fantasy" vein, but it is gorgeous and well put together. Like the Gilded, it has bright, jewel-like colors on a black background, but there is a sense of a coherent "story" that runs throughout the deck, and some of the ways that he plays with the traditional imagery here are really inspired.

21. Visconti Tarot
This is a restored reproduction of one of the oldest extant tarot decks. I love it as a collector and as a student of history. The version that I bought has beautiful gold leaf on the edges of the cards and on the faces, and reading with it is definitely like stepping back into the past.

22. Gaian Tarot
This was a Christmas gift from my partner, and it is a rich, beautiful deck with people and symbols from multiple cultures represented in it. It has replaced the Judeo-Christian symbolism that is at the core of the RWS deck with modern (but not jarringly so) images that present the cards in a way that would be familiar to many neo-pagan/goddess-worshipping/wiccan folks. The cards are beautiful, and the recurring motifs and images really tie the deck together.


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