Our world is opening up, and so are your Spring adventures. Wether you’re one that leans to Tarot for the beauty of the imagery, or the insightful archetypes within, you can take your Tarot cards outside to inspire you where ever you go, what you do, and what you’ll be thinking and talking about. Here are seven great Tarot decks to spark great conversation and divine outdoor adventures for you and your kin.
This spring feels like an invitation to take a deep breath, plan a few outdoor adventures and embrace the changing of seasons as the world slowly opens up. There’s no better time to pack a bag with treats, a sketch pad, headphones, and even a favorite Tarot deck for a well-deserved outdoor session of self-care, play, magick, and reflection. This year, some of the Tarot curious found themselves having time to do things they’ve always wished to do but couldn’t, like finally learn Tarot. What a fantastic idea. And, while many amazing classes with amazing master teachers exist these days, there is no substitution for connecting with Tarot any time and place with a deck in your bag. Connecting Tarot symbolism to my surroundings organically as my day unfolds is inevitable. From one darkling to another, here are seven Tarot decks that deserve to be nestled in your pack or picnic basket this spring. You’ll enjoy them whether you’re a beginner, or a seasoned practitioner.
1 – Pocket Rider-Waite Tarot
The pocket-sized Rider-Waite Tarot, authored in 1909 in England by Arthur Rider-Waite may be the queen of portable decks. It’s portable and sized at 2 x 3.5 inches—perfect. Although, owning the full-sized deck is a must for the serious student, this miniature portable version allows you to converse with Tarot personalities like The Emperor anywhere. For dedicated, esoterically-minded students, this deck systematically unfolds western occult symbols in an approachable way and is a foundational standard for professional readers and mystics. Illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, also known as “Pixie”, it is regarded to be the most influential deck of all time. And, it continues to capture our imagination.
The pocket-sized Rider-Waite deck is available at The Ritual Shoppe, a wonderful ethical ritual store founded by owner Angela Monaco.
2 – Tarot de Marseille
Lovers of unique line art and historical illustrations gravitate toward The Tarot de Marseille, which surprisingly is a Tarot heritage speculated to come from the alpine mountain region of northern Italy rather than France as originally documented. Any serious student of divination, or enthusiast can fit a mini version of the Tarot de Marseille in their pack without a hassle. Created in 1751 by Claude Burdel, it is one among multiple of Marseille-style decks that Tarot lovers swoon over.
You can find the pocket-sized Tarot de Marseille at the Namaste Bookshop.
3 – Victorian Tarot
If your spring outing post lockdown looks like a Victorian picnic with a couple close friends in fancy dress, the Victorian Tarot is an appropriate companion. The soothing black and white etched illustrations bring an elegance to the archetypes that enhance any ambiance or gathering they attend. Tarocco Studio creates unique decks and even offers altar cloths. A perfect pairing.
Find the beautiful Victorian Tarot at Tarocco Studio.
4 – Fountain Tarot
In my pocket, you ask? One of the most impeccable contemporary interpretations of Tarot, in my opinion, is the Fountain Tarot designed by a power trio: painter Jonathan Saiz, writer Jason Gruhl, and graphic designer Andi Todaro. Inspirations from traditional Raider-Waite-Smith and Eastern philosophies combine perfectly to bring a sense of freshness to an ancient art. Within minutes it will seduce you into committing to serious study and using it as your primary tool for self reflection. An extra Fountain card design provides another layer of meaning to the story of The Fool. Light color washes and genius individual compositions play together beautifully in multi-card spreads. I encourage you to delve into an in-depth review of the deck by professional reader and writer Benebell Wen to explore this delicious deck. While you’re at it, you can delve into the divination system she herself created, Spirit Keeper’s Tarot: Vitruvian Edition.
The painterly Fountain Tarot is available for purchase from a variety of online retailers.
5 – Ethereal Visions Tarot
If your self-care spring outing calls for luxury and ornament, the dreamy illuminated Ethereal Visions Tarot Deck by creator Matt Hughes answers that call. An accomplished writer, artist, and designer, Hughes’ work has been shown in galleries throughout the world. Here, he masterfully merges the traditional Ride-Waite-Smith interpretations with inspiration from the Art Nouveau movement. Flowing lines and colors of this deck reflect the romantic vibe of budding flowers and flowing clothing fit for an Empress or spring fae.
The Ethereal Visions Illuminated deck is available along with an Ethereal Visions coloring book from Matt Hughes on his website.
6 – The Fantod Pack Tarot by Edward Gorey
Bring Edward Gorey along with you for a sprinkle of sinister. Although minimal visually, his illustrations hint at deeper, complex truths. Gorey’s whimsical twenty-card Fantod Pack, first appearing as rough sketches in 1969, dares you to take your Tarot fascination to the weird side. Why not? Pack the Fantod Pack. The off-beat visual representations make this deck a unique choice and amusing detour. In his own words, he admitted to author Peter Neumeyer in The New Yorker, “of course I believe in graphology, also palmistry, the I Ching, the tarot, astrology, and all those other delicious things.” In 1995, a laminated commercial version was published.
Get weird and visit The Gorey Store to purchase your Fantod Pack.
7 – Arcane Bullshit Oracle
Is there an irreverent oracle for the fringe dwellers out there? There is. It exists as the overtly humorous interpretation that comes to us from Arcane Bullshit. This self-professed, “highly esoteric fortune-telling tool,” will bring much needed levity. Not in the same arena as traditional Tarot, illustrator Evan Doherty’s deck plays in a smart and weird space all of its own. One of the more beautifully illustrated decks out there, you won’t know whether to frame it’s woodcut-style cards or carry them around to wield the Big Sexy Satan card at inappropriate times. The, “conduit to hidden realms of secret knowledge, profane wisdom,” the Arcane Bullshit oracle is a full-sized, 105 card deck that will leave you laughing, shaking your head, or both.
Visit The Arcane Bullshit shop to order or pre-order your deck.
Don’t fret. If you’re on a budget and feeling crafty, you can print your own Rider-Waite-Smith from ArmadilloAmore at their Etsy shop, or these artistic Printable Tarot Cards from Wille of A Little Spark of Joy on Etsy.
Add depth to your adventuring and learn something new or just turn your Tarot passion into an activity that is with you in your travels. The beauty of the imagery, and insightful archetypes within are great company. I hope you’ll take one of these decks outside and stumble on some spring revelry.