Deck Review

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength. — Maya Angelou


So, I’ve spent this month – Black History Month – posting pictures of Black men and women that I’ve found in my tarot decks. It’s important to me to be an ally without sliding into appropriation-land, and I thought this was a good way to show some decks that have diversity.

I have a lot of decks, you guys. Over 120 decks, actually. I would say that about half are from my collection that started about 30 years ago, and the other half were sent to me for review by various publishing companies and artists over the years. My friend, Ellie, my husband and I spent a few hours going through every deck that I have and setting aside those with black folks, and those without. 

Who is surprised that there were only 12 decks out of 120 with black faces in them? I will acknowledge that being inclusive is a new trend in tarot decks. Some of my decks are pretty old, and remind me of walking through an entire art museum without seeing a face that looked different than mine. It didn’t occur to me how weird it was until I really thought about it. That was just the way it was, and now that we know better, we do better. Right?

We all know that there were black and brown faces along those white ones historically, they just weren’t included in the art and stories and tarot decks. Right?


The disappointing thing that I found was that some of the decks with NO diversity at all were released in the last few years. Seriously, guys? Even in the Crystal Unicorn tarot – that has goddamned unicorns in it, and TWO people – one of those two people has some melanin going on.

And so, I close out this post hopeful that publishers and artists will truly do better, now that we know better. (Just as I hope that folks stop producing pictures of White Surfer Jesus, because the gig is up there, guys, and we all know what’s going on. Stop that.)

I review decks all the time, guys, and as always, I will include a section on Diversity in them. I’m hoping by doing that, folks will become drawn to those decks that have a more realistic view of the world we live in. Maybe we can talk with our wallets, here.

The decks that I used that are inclusive and don’t portray African Americans as fetishes or stereotypes are these:

  • Girls Drawing Girls
  • The Gaian Tarot
  • The Justice League Tarot
  • The Sun and Moon Tarot
  • The Bonefire Tarot
  • The Bad Bitches Tarot
  • The Slow Holler tarot
  • Dust II Onyx
  • The Modern Spellcasters Tarot
  • The Mary El Tarot

For more information about decks with people of color, queer folks, or queer people of color, check out this blog by the amazing Asali.  That has a large listing of decks with diversity.

xo Lis

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