How to Differentiate Between Tarot Decks: A Clear Guide

I’ve been reading cards for a while now, and one of the most common questions I get is how to differentiate between tarot decks. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one for you. In this article, I’ll share some tips on how to understand the differences between tarot decks and choose the one that’s right for you.

When it comes to understanding tarot decks, it’s important to know that there are two main types: traditional tarot decks and oracle decks. Traditional tarot decks are the most common type of tarot deck and consist of 78 cards divided into the and . Oracle decks, on the other hand, can vary in size and and may not follow the traditional tarot structure. Understanding the differences between these two types of decks is the first step in choosing the right deck for you.

Once you understand the differences between traditional tarot decks and oracle decks, the next step is to explore the different options available. There are many popular tarot decks on the market, each with its own unique style and symbolism. Some decks, like the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, are considered classics and are widely used by tarot readers. Other decks, like the Wild Unknown Tarot, have gained popularity in recent years for their modern, minimalist designs. By exploring different decks and their styles, you can find one that resonates with you and your personal style.

Key Takeaways

  • There are two main types of tarot decks: traditional tarot decks and oracle decks.
  • Popular tarot decks vary in style and symbolism, so it’s important to explore different options to find one that resonates with you.
  • Understanding the differences between tarot decks and exploring different options can help you choose the right deck for you.

Understanding Tarot Decks

Historical Background

Tarot decks have a rich history that dates back to the 15th century in Europe. Originally used for playing card games, tarot decks eventually evolved into a tool for divination and spiritual guidance. The first tarot decks were hand-painted and only available to the wealthy, but with the advent of printing technology, tarot decks became more widely available.

Major and Minor Arcana

Tarot decks consist of two main sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana features 22 cards that represent major life events and archetypes, such as The Fool, The Magician, and The World. The Minor Arcana features 56 cards that are divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, , and Pentacles. Each suit represents a different aspect of life, such as creativity, emotions, intellect, and material .

Tarot Deck Themes

Tarot decks come in a variety of themes, from traditional Rider-Waite-Smith decks to more modern and unique interpretations. Some decks may focus on a particular culture or mythology, such as the Egyptian Tarot or the Norse Tarot. Others may have a specific theme, such as the Fairy Tarot or the Animal Tarot. It’s important to choose a tarot deck that resonates with you and your personal beliefs and interests.

In conclusion, understanding the historical background, major and minor arcana, and various themes of tarot decks can help you differentiate between different decks and choose one that is right for you.

Popular Tarot Decks

Tarot reading has become increasingly popular, and there are countless tarot decks available in the market. It can be overwhelming to choose the right deck, especially for beginners. In this section, I will briefly discuss some of the most popular tarot decks.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, also known as the Rider Tarot or the Waite-Smith Tarot, is one of the most widely used tarot decks. It was first published in 1909 by Arthur Edward Waite and illustrated by . This deck is known for its vivid imagery and symbolism, making it an excellent choice for beginners. The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot consists of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.

Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Tarot, also known as the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot, was designed by Aleister Crowley and illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. This deck is heavily influenced by Crowley’s occult beliefs and includes a lot of Egyptian symbolism. The Thoth Tarot consists of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.

Tarot de Marseille

The Tarot de Marseille is one of the oldest tarot decks, dating back to the 17th century. This deck is known for its simple and straightforward , with minimalistic illustrations and no borders. The Tarot de Marseille consists of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.

The Wild Unknown Tarot

The Wild Unknown Tarot is a modern tarot deck designed by Kim Krans. This deck features beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations of animals and natural elements. The Wild Unknown Tarot consists of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.

New Mythic Tarot

The New Mythic Tarot is a modern tarot deck designed by Juliet Sharman-Burke and Liz Greene. This deck is heavily influenced by Greek mythology and features beautiful illustrations of gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures. The New Mythic Tarot consists of 78 cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.

In conclusion, choosing the right tarot deck depends on personal preference and comfort level. The decks mentioned above are some of the most popular and widely used tarot decks, but there are many more to choose from. It’s essential to choose a deck that resonates with you and feels comfortable to use.

Oracle Decks

Understanding Oracle Decks

Oracle decks are a type of divination tool that work similarly to tarot decks, but they have a different structure and purpose. Oracle decks are more open-ended and flexible than tarot decks, allowing for a wider range of interpretations and readings. Oracle decks typically have a theme or focus, such as angels, animals, or nature, and the cards often feature beautiful artwork and inspiring messages.

Oracle decks can be used for a variety of purposes, including gaining insight into a situation, receiving guidance or inspiration, or connecting with spiritual energies. Oracle decks can also be used for personal growth and self-discovery, as they can help you explore your inner world and gain a deeper understanding of yourself.

Comparing Tarot and Oracle Decks

While tarot and oracle decks are both used for divination, there are some notable differences between the two. Tarot decks have a fixed structure and meaning, with 78 cards divided into the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana. Each card has a specific meaning and symbolism, and tarot readings are often more structured and formal than oracle readings.

Oracle decks, on the other hand, are more free-form and intuitive. They can have any number of cards, and the meanings and interpretations are often more open-ended and subjective. Oracle readings can be more personal and tailored to the individual, as the reader can choose which cards to use and how to interpret them based on their intuition and connection to the cards.

When choosing between a tarot deck and an oracle deck, it’s important to consider your personal preferences and needs. If you prefer a more structured and traditional approach to divination, a tarot deck may be a better choice. If you prefer a more intuitive and flexible approach, an oracle deck may be more suitable. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of deck resonates with you and your unique style of divination.

Choosing Your Deck

When it comes to choosing a tarot deck, there are many factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting your deck.

Consider Your Intention

Before choosing a tarot deck, it’s important to consider your intention. What do you hope to gain from using the tarot? Do you want to gain insight into your own life, or are you looking to help others? Different decks may be better suited to different intentions, so it’s important to think about what you hope to achieve before making a decision.

Size and Handling

The size and handling of a tarot deck can also be important factors to consider. Do you have small hands or prefer a compact deck that can easily fit in your pocket? Or do you prefer a larger deck with more detailed imagery? It’s important to choose a deck that feels comfortable in your hands and is easy to shuffle and handle.

Artwork and Imagery

The artwork and imagery of a tarot deck can also be an important consideration. Do you prefer decks with traditional, medieval-inspired imagery, or are you drawn to more modern decks with abstract or surrealist art? It’s important to choose a deck that resonates with you visually and emotionally.

When choosing a tarot deck, it’s important to take the time to consider your intention, the size and handling of the deck, and the artwork and imagery. By choosing a deck that feels comfortable and resonates with you, you’ll be better able to connect with the tarot and gain insight into your life and the lives of others.

Reading Tarot Decks

Tarot decks are powerful tools for divination and self-discovery. Each deck has its own unique energy and symbolism, making it important to choose a deck that resonates with you. Once you have chosen a deck, it is important to learn how to read it effectively. In this section, I will provide some tips for reading tarot decks.

Understanding Tarot Spreads

Tarot spreads are the patterns in which the cards are laid out during a reading. Different spreads can be used to answer different types of questions or provide insight into different areas of life. For example, a three-card spread can be used to gain insight into the past, present, and future, while a Celtic Cross spread can provide a more in-depth look at a situation.

When choosing a spread, it is important to consider the question you are asking and the type of information you are seeking. Once you have chosen a spread, take your time shuffling the cards and focusing on your question. When you are ready, lay the cards out in the chosen pattern and begin your interpretation.

Connecting with the Deck

Before you can effectively read a tarot deck, it is important to connect with it on a deep level. This can be done through meditation, journaling, or simply spending time with the deck. As you become more familiar with the cards, you will begin to develop a deeper understanding of their symbolism and energy.

When reading a tarot deck, it is important to approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Each card has multiple interpretations, and it is up to the reader to determine which interpretation is most relevant to the question at hand.

Interpreting the Cards

Interpreting the cards is the most important part of a tarot reading. Each card has its own unique meaning and symbolism, and it is up to the reader to interpret these meanings in the context of the question being asked.

When interpreting the cards, it is important to consider the position of the card in the spread, as well as its relationship to the other cards in the spread. For example, a card representing the past may shed light on the current situation, while a card representing the future may provide insight into what is to come.

In conclusion, reading tarot decks can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and divination. By understanding tarot spreads, connecting with the deck, and interpreting the cards, you can gain valuable insight into your past, present, and future.

Tarot and Spirituality

As a tarot reader, I believe that tarot is more than just a tool for divination. Tarot can be a powerful spiritual tool that can help us connect with our higher selves and the universe. In this section, I will explore the spiritual aspect of tarot and how it can be used to enhance our spiritual practice.

Tarot as a Spiritual Tool

Tarot has been used as a spiritual tool for centuries. The cards are often seen as a way to communicate with the divine and gain insight into our lives. When we use tarot cards, we are tapping into our intuition and connecting with our inner wisdom. The cards can help us gain clarity and understanding about our lives and the world around us.

Tarot and Astrology

Tarot and astrology are two ancient practices that have a lot in common. Both are based on the idea that there is a connection between the universe and our lives. Tarot cards are often associated with the zodiac signs, and each card has its own astrological correspondence. By understanding the astrological associations of the cards, we can gain a deeper understanding of their meanings and how they relate to our lives.

Tarot and the Higher Self

Tarot can also be used to connect with our higher selves. When we use tarot cards, we are accessing our mind and tapping into our intuition. The cards can help us gain insight into our true selves and our purpose in life. By using tarot as a tool for self-discovery, we can deepen our spiritual practice and connect with our higher selves.

In conclusion, tarot can be a powerful tool for spiritual growth and self-discovery. By using tarot cards, we can connect with our intuition, gain insight into our lives, and deepen our understanding of the universe. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced tarot reader, I encourage you to explore the spiritual aspect of tarot and see how it can enhance your spiritual practice.

Inclusive and Diverse Decks

As a tarot reader, I believe that it is important to have a diverse and inclusive collection of decks. The tarot should be accessible to everyone, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or religion.

One way to ensure that your tarot collection is inclusive and diverse is to seek out decks that are specifically designed with these values in mind. For example, there are many decks that are created by queer artists and authors, such as the Slow Holler Tarot and the Next World Tarot. These decks often feature diverse representations of gender, sexuality, and race, and can be a powerful tool for exploring and celebrating these identities.

Another way to ensure diversity in your tarot collection is to seek out decks that feature a variety of cultural and spiritual traditions. For example, the Ancestral Path Tarot draws on African, Native American, and other indigenous spiritual traditions, while the Wild Unknown Tarot incorporates elements of Celtic and Norse mythology. By exploring a range of cultural and spiritual perspectives, we can deepen our understanding of the tarot and its many meanings.

It is also important to be mindful of the language and imagery used in tarot decks. Some decks may use outdated or offensive language or feature stereotypical representations of certain groups. By seeking out decks that are designed with inclusivity and diversity in mind, we can ensure that our tarot practice is respectful and empowering for all.

In summary, building an inclusive and diverse tarot collection can be a powerful way to deepen our understanding of the tarot and its many meanings. By seeking out decks that are designed with these values in mind, we can ensure that our tarot practice is accessible and empowering for everyone.

Conclusion

In conclusion, different tarot decks have their unique characteristics and symbolism that make them stand out from each other. It is important to choose a tarot deck that resonates with you and your personal beliefs and values.

When choosing a tarot deck, consider the artwork, the symbolism, and the intended use of the deck. Some decks are designed specifically for beginners, while others are more suited for experienced readers.

It is also important to keep in mind that the meanings of the cards can vary slightly between decks, so it is essential to familiarize yourself with the specific meanings of the deck you are using.

Ultimately, the best way to differentiate between tarot decks is to spend time with each deck and see which one speaks to you the most. Trust your intuition and choose the deck that feels right for you. With time and practice, you will develop a deeper understanding of the cards and their meanings, and you will be able to use any deck with and clarity.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of Tarot card decks?

There are many different types of Tarot card decks available, each with its own unique style and symbolism. Some of the most popular types include the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the Thoth deck, the Marseille deck, and the Tarot of the Cat People.

How do I choose a Tarot deck?

Choosing a Tarot deck can be a personal and intuitive process. It is important to find a deck that speaks to you and resonates with your personal beliefs and values. Some factors to consider when choosing a deck include the artwork, the symbolism, and the overall energy of the deck.

What are the three types of Tarot decks?

The three types of Tarot decks are the Major Arcana, the Minor Arcana, and the Court Cards. The Major Arcana consists of 22 cards that represent major life events and archetypes. The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards that represent everyday events and experiences. The Court Cards represent people and personalities.

What is the Thoth Tarot Deck?

The Thoth Tarot Deck is a popular and influential deck created by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris. It is known for its complex symbolism and esoteric themes, and is often used by practitioners of ceremonial magic and occultism.

What is the difference between a Tarot deck and an Oracle deck?

While both Tarot and Oracle decks use cards for divination and self-discovery, there are some key differences between the two. Tarot decks typically have a structured system of symbolism and meaning, while Oracle decks may have a more open-ended or intuitive approach. Additionally, Tarot decks usually have a set number of cards, while Oracle decks can vary in size and content.

Are Oracle cards safe for beginners?

Yes, Oracle cards can be a safe and accessible tool for beginners who are interested in exploring divination and self-discovery. It is important to choose a deck that resonates with you and to approach the cards with an open and curious mind. As with any form of divination, it is also important to practice self-care and set clear intentions before using the cards.