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The 10 Best Tarot Cards For Beginners

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by Rachel Bar-Gadda
Bustle/Amazon

The ritual of tarot can help you become more in touch with yourself on a deeper level, but finding the right deck is key. “What tarot does is give you information about what is to come and it is best used for understanding yourself, your emotional structure, why you make the choices you do, and how to make better ones so that all of your outcomes improve,” says Alane Hathaway, professional tarot card reader and founder of At The Rising Moon, who spoke to Bustle about what to look for when shopping for the best tarot cards for beginners. (Hint: it’s all about what resonates for you).

What To Consider Before Buying

How Do I Get Started With Tarot Cards?

Tarot cards have four suits (called the minor arcana) that represent the elements in our reality which indicate the energetic impulses we have within, Hathaway explains.

  • Pentacles (known in some decks as Coins or Discs) represent earthly matters such as health or finance.
  • Swords symbolize the mental energy of communication, the examination of our feelings through analysis of them.
  • Cups represent the emotional world, the thing that gives us the ability to love and thrive but can also confuse us.
  • Wands stand for the energy of fire and the actions we take within this reality to make our future.

In addition to these suits, tarot cards feature graphics on the card, called the major arcana, that represent bigger life events and concepts.

Once the cards are shuffled, they are laid out in a pattern called the spread, and different spreads carry specific meanings. The reading of the spread has been described as a tool with which to get in touch with your own self-knowledge, or as Hathaway explains it, to access a higher level of consciousness that is outside of a linear time structure in order to understand your journey.

More Tips On Tarot Cards For Beginners

Set yourself up for tarot success by following a few beginner ground rules. “Do daily draws at the beginning of your day,” Hathaway suggests. “At first it is best to limit yourself to a three-card spread. This is the first spread all students learn. The first card represents past energies, the second the present energy, and the third the upcoming energy. If you don’t like the upcoming card, you would work on your approach to the energy of the present and understanding of the past in order to influence the upcoming energies in a direction that better serves your personal goals.”

Hathaway recommends keeping a daily record of your draws to help deepen your understanding of the cards. “I personally journal and it’s helpful to do so that you can go back and revisit your thoughts on various cards to expand your personal understanding of them,” she says. “However, if you don’t like to write, you can photograph your morning draw and use voice memos on your phone to record your thoughts.”

What Tarot Cards Should A Beginner Use?

Hathaway suggests trusting your instincts when buying your first set of tarot cards. “Look through a selection of them and pay attention to the decks you are drawn to, as the artwork on the cards often will reflect your best and most accurate approach to your inner world,” Hathaway says.

When choosing a deck for beginners, one that comes with a companion guidebook can enhance your understanding of tarot. Hathaway specifically recommends Tarot Made Easy: Your Tarot Your Way, by Barbara Moore, which comes with a highly instructive companion guidebook, as well as The Energy Oracle Deck by Sandra Anne Taylor. Hathaway says, “In tarot when you’ve mastered the cards, the meaning becomes more fluid and is informed by the surrounding cards, which is why there are so many different spreads.”

With all this in mind, keep scrolling to choose the best tarot card deck for your beginner’s practice.

The Expert

Alane Hathaway has been providing tarot guidance for more than 20 years. She is the founder of At The Rising Moon, and her services include personal tarot card readings and energy reads. Hathaway also has a popular YouTube channel called Cronecast AtTheRisingMoon where she provides readings and lessons on zodiac signs, manifestations, and more.

1

An Expert-Approved Deck For Beginners With A Companion Book

As mentioned above, Hathaway recommends this tarot deck as a great place to start as she says it boasts “the best guidebook for beginners.” The deck is adorned with illustrations by Eugene Smith and the companion guidebook, Your Tarot Your Way, written by Barbara Moore, supports your growing knowledge of each card and its meaning. The kit has earned a high 4.7-star rating on Amazon and promises to offer a lot of tarot insight from the get-go and make tarot approachable to everyone no matter their level of experience.

Helpful Review: “Perfect for beginners! I’ve never read tarot before so I find the accompanying book to be very informative with great instruction, while also allowing flexibility to explore tarot for myself and not just through strict ‘by the book’ readings. The cards are great quality, sleek, and beautifully illustrated. My only complaint is that I wish I had bought this sooner!”

2

This Cult-Favorite Deck That’s Also An Expert Recommendation

Hathaway also recommends this deck of energy oracle cards by Sandra Anne Taylor as a stepping stone to understanding the more intricate tarot. The graphics on these cards can best be described as romantic and fantastical and reviewers noted they stand out for their depictions of archangels and chakra elements that are rarely found in other decks. One reviewer raved about how each card has a right side up and a reverse meaning, saying it provides a lot of insight into the meaning of the card. The cards are easy to use for beginners and they even come with a helpful guidebook. This deck is a cult favorite with over 6,800 reviews and a near-perfect 4.8-star rating.

Helpful Review: “I think this product is great for beginners in intuitive readings. This deck is well made with thick, stiff cards and beautiful artwork. The manual is easy to follow and understand. It can't get any better than this for someone who is just starting out!”

3

A Seriously Popular Deck With Historical Heft

This timeless tarot deck has been around since 1909 and set a precedent for how many future decks were designed. It’s illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith under the guidance of British scholar and mystic Arthur Edward Waite and features classic designs of archetypal images. As proof of its popularity throughout time, this deck has garnered over 19,000 reviews as well as a high 4.8-star rating. It’s available in a few different designs including a borderless design, a holographic version, and one that includes a guidebook and is particularly ideal for beginners. Take your pick and get started on a tarot journey steeped in history.

Helpful Review: “As a beginner, I bought this deck because of its ‘easy to read for beginners’ recommendations on just about every tarot reader's youtube channel. My deck came quickly and the cards are printed perfectly [...] Great price for beginners getting a feel for decks, would recommend!”

4

A Tarot Card Kit With Step-By-Step Instructions

If you feel more confident with someone holding your hand through the tarot-learning process, opt for this tarot deck that’s designed specifically with beginners in mind. The kit comes included with a “Gilded Tarot” deck illustrated by artist Ciro Marchetti, a handbook written by Josephine Ellershaw, and even an instructional placemat to help you create a spread and read your cards. The book takes you step-by-step through the process, teaching you the meanings of the cards and offering sample readings and troubleshooting advice.

Helpful Review: “I highly recommend this set for beginner tarot readers! The book is well written and the steps in learning the process are laid out wonderfully. The Gilded Tarot Deck that comes with the set is gorgeous! Ciro Marchetti is a fantastic artist and he depicts the arcane meanings perfectly with a modern touch & gold. You also receive a fold out big enough to display the Celtic cross spread and where and what the positions mean. All of these features for such a low price and an easy guide to follow. I don't think you can get a better deal to start out!”

5

An Inclusive Deck With Diverse Representation For Modern Witches

For those seeking an inclusive tarot experience that incorporates illustrations of people of various backgrounds and orientations and brings out their inner witch, this tarot deck is a perfect choice. The illustrations are by artist Lisa Sterle and feature diverse portrayals of women or gender fluidity on each card. Sterle updates the archetypal characters and brings them into the modern world with relatable storytelling — and people love it. This deck has over 17,600 reviews and an impressive 4.9-star rating. As a bonus, the cards come with a helpful handbook, which is great for beginners making their first foray into tarot.

Helpful Review: “Best deck I own! I bought this as a beginner to help me better read tarot. The original RWS is so full of symbolism and while timeless and classic, it’s also outdated, patriarchal, and overtly religious. I needed something with the original symbolism, but in a contemporary fashion to help me understand tarot for my modern, everyday life. It’s like this deck was made for me! And I adore how inclusive and diverse this deck is.”

6

A Deck That Features Ancient Mythology And Folklore

This enchanting tarot deck incorporates mythology and fables from around the world through its gorgeous illustrations by artist Yoshi Yoshitani. You’ll find card designs inspired by the ancient traditions of a diverse array of cultures, from China and Peru to Norway and Greece. A companion guidebook offers a more detailed explanation of the cards, the fables they represent, and how they exemplify specific tarot themes. This deck with its multicultural bent has over 6,500 reviews and a high 4.9-star rating, and is an obvious choice for those wanting to learn tarot through the lens of the world’s traditions.

Helpful Review: “Multi-cultural and inclusive of all gender identities and expressions, this deck is a dream. Relaxing and effortless to work with — charming for the experienced practitioner and incredibly beginner-friendly. The deck comes with a small, full-color guide booklet that is perfectly sufficient in summarising the cards, their stories, and their applied meanings.”

7

This Simple Beginner’s Tarot Deck & Book That Takes A Positive Spin

This lovely tarot deck aims to gently encourage beginners on their journey using lots of positivity and inspiration. It comes with colorful, inclusive illustrations by Amy Blackwell as well as a practical and supportive guidebook written by Kerry Ward that is perfect for those new to tarot. The book elaborates on card meanings, including reversed meanings, as well as information on different spreads. If, as a tarot newbie, you are skeptical of graphics that give off occult vibes, this deck of smiling, happy faces and loving, positive images will leave you in good spirits for the rest of the day.

Helpful Review: “Beautiful deck! This is one of my new decks and I just have to say out of the decks I currently own this one is my favorite! It's easy for a beginner like me to understand and I love the artwork, it's perfect for intuitive readings as well for someone who is still learning.”

8

A Tarot Deck Created By A Star Of The Craft That Teaches An Intuitive Approach

If tarot is all about becoming intimately acquainted with your intuition, then you could do worse than choosing this tarot deck that focuses on just that. It’s written by Rachel True — an occultist and actor best known for her role in the ‘90s cult classic The Craft — and includes a set of cards as well as a guidebook. In that book, she teaches an intuitive approach to the cards, whose meanings will differ with each individual as well as the power of the reader’s energy on potential results. The cards are illustrated with inclusive images of diverse people and have over 3,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating.

Helpful Review: “I am in LOOOOVEEE with this deck!! It is my new fav! The artwork is breathtakingly beautiful! The book that it comes with is extremely useful and so easy to understand. Perfect for beginners and professional tarot readers. I highly recommend!!! I would give it 10 stars if I could!!”

9

This LGBTQ+ Friendly Deck That’s All About Inclusivity

For those looking for a deck that represents diversity in sexual identity, gender, and culture, this tarot deck will speak to you. Created by artist Trungles, the classic tarot cards are reinterpreted and updated, taking you on a multi-cultural journey that weaves together LGBTQ+ themes, fairy tales, and myths. A guidebook is also included to assist you along your beginner’s tarot journey. With over 2,200 reviews and a 4.9-star rating, this pick is a great choice for a modernized take on traditional tarot.

Helpful Review: “I am in love with these tarot cards. This is my first tarot deck and it’s great for a beginner. The booklet is super helpful and the colors on the cards are vivid. As a woman-loving-woman, the lover's card variations are great! These tarot cards make me so happy.”

10

A Modern Deck With High-Vibes Color

This tarot deck brings maximalist color to the table with its vivid shades, holographic card edges, and foil exterior. Created by artist Grace Duong, the deck also includes a colorful guidebook that describes the symbolism and meanings behind each of the cards. The illustrations are updated versions of the classic tarot images, abstracted with bold lines and shapes, and infused with equally bold color. This deck has over 9,000 reviews with a 4.8-star rating and is perfect for those seeking to start out in tarot using a modern, visual language that speaks to them.

Helpful Review: “Beautiful cards! I love how modern and sleek they are. I love how they feel and the holographic edges make my heart smile! I love doing readings with this deck! Great for beginners!”

11

Also Nice: This Best-Selling & Beloved Book About Tarot

If you’re looking for more in-depth knowledge on the art of tarot, turn to this book with over 2,500 reviews, which many have dubbed essential reading for beginning tarot readers. It’s written by Rachel Pollack and has been a bible of sorts in the tarot community for 40 years. It includes information on the history of tarot, explanations of common tarot spreads, and it also seeks to provide contemporary psychological meanings of the tarot archetypes. It speaks well to beginners but is also just as useful for those who return to it time and again to learn something new.

Helpful Review: “As someone completely new to the world of Tarot, I’m so happy this was the first book I purchased. It reads very smoothly and conversation-like, while also touching on every subject, on every card. It seems to be great for beginners and adepts alike. Highly recommended. It was such an interesting read I had a hard time putting it down. She not only tells you the story on each card, but the story as a whole and how it applies to both the inner and outer worlds.”

12

Another Great Pick: A Tarot Book That Helps You Manifest

Get in touch with your intuition and manifest your dreams using this helpful book, written by Brigit Esselmont, who is the founder of Biddy Tarot. It’s written in an approachable fashion geared towards beginners who desire a more modern and goal-focused system. Esselmont provides you with exercises that teach you how to harness your intuition and actionable tools to help manifest your desires, all within the context of tarot.

Helpful Review: “This book is what I recommend to anyone picking up tarot or wanting to refresh their approach. It certainly made me understand as a beginner how the real power of tarot was to understand oneself. This understanding, therefore, allows you to chart your course in life much more readily and sure-footedly. There are several really great exercises in this book that tackle soul purpose, limiting beliefs, preparing for love, etc that really produce clarity and several aha moments.”

Expert:

Alane Hathaway, professional tarot card reader and founder of At The Rising Moon.