The Best Tarot Decks for Beginners

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Trying to learn how to read the cards, you probably already have your first tarot deck. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve been struggling to memorize and learn the zillions of different meanings for each card.

There’s literally hundreds of gorgeous tarot decks out there, and odds are you picked one because it was beautiful and interesting, not because it’s easy to use.

That’s exactly what I did, and I struggled for over a year trying to learn the cards.

It wasn’t until I got my hands on a tarot deck I loved that things started to improve. And now I’m using this website to share every tip, hack, and resource I can find to make learning the tarot easier.

Here’s my number one piece of advice: using the right beginner’s tarot deck will make the process easier and more fun.

Qualities of a Great Beginner Tarot Deck

  • It’s a full 78-card deck, not just the 22 cards of the Major Arcana.
  • It has clear, simple images & symbolism, not obscure or crowded icons everywhere.
  • It’s based on the RWS tradition, because it is the most popular & easiest to understand.

A Totally Biased List of Great Tarot Decks for Beginners

Instead of listing all of the possible tarot decks that are great for beginners, I’ll give you my totally biased opinion.

Start with one of the classic RWS decks, even if you think it’s ugly.

The Classic Rider-Waite Tarot Deck (affiliate link) from U.S. Games is pretty much exactly as Pamela Colman-Smith illustrated it. The Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck (affiliate link), also from U.S. Games, takes the same images and uses more vibrant colors and shading to make them a bit more three-dimensional. Except for the coloring style of the images, the decks are identical.

The Llewellyn’s Classic Tarot Deck (affiliate link) is different, but the illustrations follow the RWS symbolism so closely that it can be used instead of the U.S. Games Rider-Waite deck. This deck is the closest I’ve found to the original 1909 tarot deck in meanings & symbolism, so if you just hate Colman-Smith’s illustrations, this is a good choice instead. I really like this deck & recommend it all the time.