As a teacher of beginner Tarot readers, the question of ‘what’s the best Tarot deck for beginners’ is one I come against a lot. With so many different designs of deck, it can feel overwhelming to know which deck to choose as your beginner Tarot deck.

Something I tell all my students, whether it’s in my Tarot For Beginners course or in my Tarot workshops, is that it really comes down to which deck you feel drawn to. I can offer you suggestions of decks to browse, but only you can decide which deck speaks to you. A bit like in Harry Potter when the wand chooses the wizard, the deck chooses the reader.

First, less dispel THOSE Tarot deck myths

I want to make it clear that I don’t subscribe to the belief that you can only use a deck that has been gifted to you. It’s a very gatekeep-ery myth that excludes those that don’t have the option of being gifted a deck.

This belief is based primarily on superstition. That the cards themselves held some mystic power that could be passed from person to person. This is also why people generally avoided even touching a deck that belonged to someone else. We know better now.

These days, we understand that it’s the reader that has the power, the cards are just a vessel through which to channel their energy. Which vessel you choose will depend on which cards you feel are a natural extension of yourself.

Best Tarot deck for beginners

Now to the recommendations. It may not come as a surprise that I own a lot of Tarot decks and I have a few in mind that I think are perfect for any beginner Tarot reader.

1) Rider Waite-Smith Deck

This is the most popular deck readers use. It is the perfect beginner deck because a lot of courses and Tarot books use the imagery of this deck to teach. Myself included.

The Rider Waite-Smith Tarot deck was first published by the Rider Company way back in 1909, so it’s got an extensive and trusted history. It was one of the first Tarot decks to feature an individually designed image for each of the 78 Tarot cards. Before this deck, you would often find that only the Major Arcana cards were illustrated (The Fool to The World) and the pip cards (Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups) would simply have the symbol of the suit replicated to correspond with the card’s number.

I wanted to lead with this deck, because like I said, this deck is by far the most popular deck ever used. All modern decks, including all the decks that follow this in this blog, are based on the same meanings and often symbology we see on the Rider Waite-Smith deck. They are effectively decks that redesign the imagery of the cards, not always the meanings of the cards.

2) The Pagan Otherworlds Deck

The Pagan Otherworlds deck is by far my favourite to use for my personal readings. I am a big fan of renaissance style oil paintings and the imagery of this deck is based on that classic and gothic oil painting style.

The reason I think this is a great beginner Tarot deck is that the meanings of the cards are pretty much identical to the Rider Waite-Smith deck. This means that if you buy any Tarot books or online courses, you’ll be able to use this deck no problem. The only thing that is different, and it’s a fairly major difference, is that the pip cards are not individually illustrated to the same detail as the Rider deck. there are some key symbols illustrating the pip decks, but the focus is more on the suit symbols and numerology.

3) The Light Seer’s Deck

If you find that you don’t really vibe with a more gothic, religious or classic style of imagery, then the Light Seer’s Tarot deck is the one for you. This is a modern version of the Rider Waite-Smith deck, with imagery that more closely reflects the spiritual practices of the 21st century.

I highly recommend this deck to those Tarot readers that want to offer or practice a much more contemporary style of Tarot reading. Again the meanings of the cards are similar if not the same to that of the Rider Waite-Smith deck.

4) The Mystic Monday’s Deck

Another deck that is ideal for those contemporary readers. This one is slightly more abstract than the others suggested, so if you rely heavily on detailed imagery to help you remember the meanings of the cards, this may not be the one for you.

Something I did when I was a beginner Tarot reader was to use this in conjunction with the Rider Waite-Smith deck. This was so I could learn to use both decks at the same time and learn how to not rely too much on imagery to give me the full story.

Which beginner Tarot deck should you buy?

If you want to be able to easily use most Tarot guidebooks then grabbing yourself the Rider Waite-Smith deck to begin with is your best bet. There are a few different versions of this deck, but the most common are The Original Rider Waite deck or the Universal Waite Deck.

If you really want to choose a deck that you feel connected with, then take a look at the imagery of the above decks. See which one draws you in the most, which one do you get excited about using? This is the right beginner deck for you.

If you’ve chosen which deck you can’t wait to use, you may be wondering how to use it. I teach beginner Tarot in a simple and easy way, allowing you to work through lessons in your own time with a self-led format. To take a look at the full Tarot For Beginners course head to the landing page.