Nowadays, it seems like tarot readers are everywhere you scroll. But divination is hardly a modern practice. Practitioners have used tarot to guide them through life’s challenges for centuries, so it’s no wonder why you’d want to incorporate it into your spiritual practice. The best tarot card decks for beginners are a great jumping-off point.
“Tarot is great for obtaining a new perspective when you feel stuck in any area of life. It's like a gateway into the psychic world, and anyone can practice it,” astrologer and tarot reader Ryan Marquardt tells Bustle.
Each tarot deck contains 78 cards and is divided into two subgroups: the major and minor arcana. The major arcana set represents important life lessons like karmic relationships, while the minor arcana symbolizes the smaller scale themes you face daily. To start reading tarot for yourself, you should have an open-ended question, like “What should I know in order to make the best decision for my career?” Meditate on this question as you shuffle the cards in whatever way feels right to you.
When the cards feel shuffled enough, you can pull a single card and see how that tarot card’s meaning applies to your situation. For example, if you’re asking the universe whether you should call it quits with your partner, pulling the High Priestess card — which reflects the duality of relationships — might be an indication to have patience and listen to what your intuition. You can also pull a three-card spread, where each card represents the energy around your situation, the action you should take, and the outcome. Once you pulled each card for your spread, pay attention to what the to the big picture — what is the general vibe of the card, and how does it relate to your question and circumstance? Take what resonates and leave what doesn’t.
Every tarot card possesses its own unique energy, which is used to channel guidance on love, career, money, and more. But you don’t need to be a seasoned mystic to start using tarot cards either. All you need is concentration and the right deck. Ready to decode messages from the universe? Keep reading for the best tarot decks for beginners to get you started on your divination journey.
1. Rider-Waite Tarot
The Rider-Waite Tarot deck, also called the Rider-Waite-Smith, was created in 1909 and is one of the first-ever mass-produced tarot decks. “Rider Waite is the most widely known tarot deck and provides standard card descriptions that can be found across many other versions of the tarot,” Astrologer and quantum oracle Imani Quinn tells Bustle. “It was also created by a biracial Black woman, which is relatively unknown and unusual for the time.” Because of its long-time use amongst tarot practitioners, this classic deck is an essential for all beginners.
2. Morgan-Greer Tarot
The Morgan-Greer tarot deck is a contemporary take on the traditional Rider-Waite set. Its simplified design makes it especially approachable for beginners. “It's a great way to learn about the traditional meanings of the cards,” explains Marquardt. “The imagery has a retro feeling which is vibrant and comforting all at once.” If the classic Rider-Waite deck feels too esoteric, then the Morgan-Greer tarot deck is a great alternative.
3. True Heart Intuitive Tarot
Occultist Rachel True (who happened to play Rochelle in The Craft), followed her love for the intuitive practice to create the True Heart Intuitive Tarot. Its bright and modernized, so it’s totally accessible for newbies. “It feels like a full spectrum of representation and it's for anyone to use,” explains Marquardt. “The depictions on these cards stay true to the Rider-Waite imagery, but they've been revamped and modernized so you can pull new interpretations out of every card.” Stylish and inclusive, True Heart Intuitive Tarot is a great entryway into the practice.
4. Neo Tarot
If aesthetics are important to you, you might appreciate Jerico Mandybur’s Neo Tarot Deck’s fresh, inclusive design. Created by tarot reader Jerico Mandybur, the Neo Tarot Deck breaks all kinds of barriers. “This deck is known for its non-binary images that provide inclusion for those that live outside of our traditional gendered archetypes,” says Quinn. It also offers self-care exercises along with each card. “Self-care tips give real-life application for practitioners to understand how these cards can play a role in their day-to-day life situations,” Quinn adds.
If the nuances of tarot seem intimidating, know that it takes time to truly master the power of tarot. With diligent practice and the right tarot deck, you can be on your way to being an intuitive reader, too.