So many decks, so little time! How to choose? Discover your tarot type, and start casting spreads that speak straight to your spirit, says Haley ED Houseman.
With the explosion of new and evolved tarot decks, it’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of gorgeous artwork and Insta-worthy spreads. But because the tarot works with your intuition, it’s important to work with designs that truly inspire, fascinate, and draw you in. Whether you’re a novice reader or a devoted collector, there’s a perfect deck (or decks!) for everyone.
Discover your tarot type below and start casting spreads that speak straight to your spirit…
THE CLASSIC QUEEN Tried and true, you’re drawn to sophisticated silhouettes, the timeless scent of Chanel No. 5, and upholding treasured traditions.
THE NOW AGE MAVEN On the cutting-edge of cosmic cool, you’re equally comfortable rocking up-to-the-minute fashions and getting deeply mystical, and your Now Age lifestyle demands a buzz-worthy deck.
Your Dream Decks: The “new wave” of tarot design focuses on pastels, geometrics, the fiercely feminine, and light work. Try the lush Fountain Tarot’s gentle geometrics and additional arcana, the goddess iconography and Art Nouveau revival style of the Serpentfire Deck, or The Starchild Tarot’s ethereal, Akashic imagery, and dreamy pastel palette.
THE MINIMALISTA You’re a stripped-down boss lady on-the-go who loves blazers and heels, and takes her cosmic inspiration with a shot of espresso.
THE COSMIC CREATIVE An artistic intuitive with iconoclastic impulses, you turn to the tarot to fuel your passion projects and might already be hard at work creating a deck of your own.
Your Dream Decks: Try Stretch Tarot’s mélange of vintage collage and mixed media, awaken the muses with the fantastical oil paintings of the Mary-El Tarot, and power up with Dust II Onyx’s latest, infused with modern black experiences, ancestor work, and African traditional art.
THE WITCHY WOMAN You’re a gothic guru who dives deep into the occult, revels in ritual, and isn’t afraid of blending her darkness with the light.
Your Dream Decks: Try the Iona Tarot’s complex intaglio printing style and high ceremony, the rich Haitian occult history of Alice Smeets’ Ghetto Tarot, and the elemental powers and ancient alchemy of The Order of the Golden Dawn- inspired Hermetic Tarot.
When Courtney Alexander couldn’t find a deck that spoke to her on a soul level, she decided to create her own… All images: the Dust II Onyx tarot
I had been reading and learning about the tarot for around two years, when I pin-pointed an issue I hadn’t been able to put my finger on. I had a hard time finding a deck that really spoke to me. I’d discovered so many decks, my favorites being the Wild Unknown and Fountain Tarot. And although the art was beautiful, there was still a disconnect for me at soul level.
Because, being a fat/black/queer woman there wasn’t a deck I saw myself in. I agonized for months over how to express the depth and diversity I wanted to see, and the idea to create my own deck—Dust II Onyx—began rolling around in my head.
Then life happened. I lost my job and found myself spiraling into anxiety and depression. This directly following an intense nocturnal vision. I had gone to bed as normal, but woke in the middle of the night thinking someone was in my apartment. Once I realized there was no one there, I attempted to go back to sleep.
At this point I slipped into a lucid dream. I heard noises again and when I got up to investigate, a shadow figure appeared in front of me—who I read as being my six-year-old nephew. When I went to turn on a light, I felt an intense sensation hit my belly, and I woke up with a yell.
The following morning, I went to work completely shaken and lacking sleep, as well as still feeling the strange sensation in my stomach. I tried to go about my day as normal, although something felt different. That evening I received a phone call telling me not to come back in.
Although losing my job was stressful, I saw it as an opportunity to visit family. So I made a trip to my hometown and saw my nephew while I was there. We shared a moment, where we were dancing and singing together. Then he laid his head on my belly, and he turned his face towards mine with his eyes closed. His face had the most blissful look I had ever seen.
In the moment, I actually wondered if I could be physically pregnant—because of the dream and this experience with my nephew. But looking back I truly believe that my dream had been the moment of conception of the Dust II Onyx tarot.
By now, I had been mulling over art for my deck for a few months, and still hadn’t got a clear vision of how I wanted it to look. Then another dream came to me, twice! And in this dream I saw an intensely gorgeous black portrait, which has gone on to become the chief inspiration behind my deck.
I began the work using my current knowledge of tarot and plenty of my own intuition. The imagery that comes forth is as new to me as it is for the readers who will use this deck, and it is coming from a place that feels far beyond my conscious mind.
Dust II Onyx was created from my desire to make artwork that resonated with my soul, and has become a work I want to share with others. I consider it an honor to create this deck and I look forward it being a tool for beautiful and transformative experiences for each and every reader.
To fund the production of this deep and powerful multi-media collage collector’s tarot, Courtney is running a Kickstarter campaign through October 17 2016.
Tarot is having a moment. And with more artists than ever bringing forth new versions of the classic Tarot, it’s never been easier to unleash your inner reader and find a deck that sings to you! Whether you’re a witchy mama looking for something a little more macabre, or a Kundalini goddess in search of some high vibes, there is a deck out there with your name on it.
To aid your search, we’ve rounded up five hot off the press tarot obsessions, kicking things off with an interview with the goddess behind The Starchild Tarot, Danielle Noel, about her special edition Akashic Records deck. By Gabriela Herstik.
The Numinous: First off, we love that you’re including the Akashic Records as a card in the major arcana of your new deck. What will the card represent? Starchild Tarot: Thank you! I have always thought of the Akashic records as a source of mystery and divine information. At first, it was a somewhat abstract concept to grasp. When I was younger and just beginning to understand its significance, I imagined ancient manuscripts containing hidden and sacred knowledge, and thought, “how can I access this?” Now I understand the ‘Akashic Records’ as an energetic source which contains various frameworks of spiritual truths, with information pertaining to yourself, your life paths, incarnations, and the Universe at large. When you work with the cards, you have access to this information too, and are essentially connecting with the endless possibilities available to you.
The Akashic Records card of this special edition comes after the traditional 21st card (The World/The Universe), as a bridge beyond this holistic key, which I think connects well with how we are evolving at this time on our planet. I truly believe that a shift is currently taking place – energies are being enhanced and polarized, insights and sacred knowledge are rising to the surface like never before, and we are being forced to really think about our own enlightenment, mortality, and collective consciousness. This card taps into the acknowledgement of yourself as more than a physical being. It encourages you to take note of your own karmic imprints, and to consider the sacred knowledge that is being offered to us all at this time.
TN: Your imagery is super feminine and dreamy. Do you think that sort of energy in a deck makes it easier for the reader to access the Akashic Records? ST: Certain sacred spaces and forms of sacred geometry are very activating, which is why I incorporate particular sites, colours, and symbols throughout this deck. This one also has a lot of pastel hues (pink and corals in particular) which connect with the heart chakra. My intention with each image is to inspire your imagination and intuition, through the layering of various visual triggers and healing modalities.
TN: Do you have a favorite card in this new deck? Why? (We won’t tell the others!) ST: I have to say I really love the “Akashic Records” card. The image seems like one of the strongest visual portals that come up, and I’m curious to see how people will respond to it. Each symbol, colour, and portion of that card plays significant role in its interpretation. I have a deep fascination and love for Thoth and the emerald tablets, as well as the history of Atlantis, so those keys are also embedded in the image.
TN: What else is different about the new deck? ST: There are a lot of new cards, which came from the desire to keep making new “gateways,” and the style for this deck is also slightly different than its predecessor. I added a lot of hand painted layers and watercolour textures, and it is much less “collage” based and more illustrative. Some of the cards from the original Starchild Tarot have remained in the Akashic edition, however, they have each been modified with painted overlays and new details.
Throughout the Major Arcana I have also added “Spiritual Keys” to help each reader along their journey into the Akashic records. These categories (Chakras, Gemstones, Guides, Symbols, Astrological/Planetary) can be used to expand your knowledge when working with a specific card, or to apply meditative and/or magical practices throughout the use of the Starchild Tarot. I have also added two new spreads in the guidebook (The Akashic Spread & Metatron Spread).
TN: Is creating collages on the cards a meditative experience for you? How does it aid your own journey with the Tarot? ST: Meditation and energy work has been a huge part of my life over these past few years, and creating the cards has gone hand in hand with these explorations. I always start with the backgrounds which are ALL familiar to me in some way or another. Many of them come from photographs from my own travels, or of sacred sites from around the globe.
Our planet has so many activation points, with many of the great monuments working as chakras within the energy grid of Gaia. To acknowledge and respect these points honors the interconnectedness of us all, as they illustrate our history and spiritual evolution. The Tarot is a simple yet complex visual representation of ancient stories and concepts, and I think about this when I am creating the images. Somehow, they act as smaller pieces to a much larger cosmic puzzle.
TN: How do you choose the incredible real-life women featured in your decks? ST: I’ve been lucky to have crossed paths with some amazing women and light workers, and when I began creating the decks, I thought that by integrating these guides, the energy of the cards would be enhanced through the powerful intention and co-creation that was put into the imagery. They are mediums, tarot readers, energy healers and others, who all share a common love for the Tarot and Magick overall.
TN: Which deck did you learn on, and what other decks are in your practice today? ST: The first deck I ever purchased was a second-hand copy of ‘The Aquarian Tarot’ – I found it at a local flea market, and strangely, it had two Ace of Swords! After that, I learned on the ‘Tarot of a Moongarden’ and the ‘Thoth’ Tarot, but there are so many decks that I now love and appreciate. I also love that more and more people are tapping into the Tarot as a tool for self-healing and learning, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s become so popular.
I think this comes from the “waking up” process that’s happening – there is a need for more spiritual outlets, as people are recognizing the importance of introspection, and the existence of more than what we see “on the surface”. Currently, the decks I use the most are my own, The Aquarian Tarot, The Klimt Tarot, Spiritspeak Tarot, The Goddess Tarot, and the Thoth Tarot.
TN: What’s the one thing that you want people reading your cards to know? ST: There are many hidden layers and symbols in this deck. These were added as activation tools, so I am curious to see how they will be received. I have put a lot of love into this project, and hope that each person who reads the cards will be able to build their own relationship with the images and interpretations. That is my intention: I hope you feel supported and cared for when using these cards.
I would also like to point out that this new deck is not a replacement of the first, rather a special edition that opens up new insights. I am going to be re-releasing the “first edition” in the new year, so both decks will be available for sale, along with my future Moonchild Tarot, which is the shadow companion to The Starchild decks. I’m also working with a writer, and together we are creating a very special Oracle deck that I can’t wait to share in the not so distant future!
The Wild Unknown Second Edition The Wild Unknown has quickly become a cult classic and with good reason. The wilderness inspired deck speaks to our innermost existence with its beautiful imagery, so it comes as no surprise that the Universe seems to be vibin’ at a higher frequency (read major excitement) at the release of the Second Edition deck. Although most cards remain the same as in the first edition, the cards illustrator Kim Krans has chosen to revisit are absolutely stunning – and help infuse readings with a colorful new energy.
The Four of Swords is bathed in a radiant blue green aura, Temperance is complimented with a sweet rainbow background and The Lovers scream “relationship goals” now more than ever, with cotton candy colors woven behind the two geese. The icing on the cake? A new, more in depth, fold out guide to each card. Although the old saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” reads true most of the time, we’re happy The Wild Unknown chose to ignore it on this occasion.
The Fountain Tarot Deeply cosmic, The Fountain Tarot speaks to our unyielding need to find a deeper connection to the Universe we inhabit, and the souls who walk alongside us. The journey to this fountain of bliss starts as soon as you open the silver holographic fantasy of a box the cards reside in. From here, a greeting stating “you are the breath and voice of Universes” on the inside cover, sets the tone.
Designed and written by Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz and Andi Todaro, the surreal imagery of each card allows an exploration of the sacred point where inner purpose meets outer expression. Perhaps most notably in The Fountain card itself, number “infinity,” which invites us to “surrender to that which you are, whole and perfect.” An invitation to remember that at our core, our true self is so much greater than we recognize.
Serpentfire Tarot Sixth Edition The colorful, dreamlike landscape of the Serpentfire deck by Devany Wolfe is unparalleled – and so totally Numinous. This deck is a beautiful tribute to the Goddess in us all, with an exploration of Kundalini energy woven throughout. These cards are for the dreamers, the seekers, the weavers, and those who feel an affinity to the Universe around them, even (especially) when it seems almost too big for their grasp.
Collages appear in some capacity in almost every card, from The Lovers personified as two wolves howling at a cosmic pyramid exploding with jewel-toned bliss, to The World being held over a Goddesses head with the Moon phases interlaced on top. This is no mundane magick. From the exquisite sacred geometry collage on the back of each card, to the brightly colorful, vibrantly infused and completely otherworldly art created by Wolf, this deck is truly spectacular.
Spirit Speak Tarot Deck If you’re into the more macabre, DIY, gothic look, the Spirit Speak tarot by Mary Bean Evans is right up your ally. With an alluring, sketchy quality, the illustrations for this deck resonate at their own slightly darker frequency – inviting you with a wink and a dripping dagger to step into that which is unknown. But feminist imagery, a clear love for the occult, and a really beautiful take on the Universe and the Cosmos also appears throughout.
So whether you pulling a bone hanging precariously atop a dagger to form a scale for “Justice” or a long-haired queen cradling a rune and her wand as “The Empress,” the Spirit Speak will quite literally…speak to your spirit. Let’s just say if the friendly monsters under your bed were into divination, they would have this deck on lock.