You might have seen on my posts that my husband, Joe, just built me an in-wall bookshelf that holds all of my tarot decks in one place. I’ve been reading since 1991, and I have quite a few decks (not as many as Arwen).
BUT, moving all of the decks to the shelf made me decide which ones stayed by my side. Just like my kids, I don’t have a favorite. BUT I do have what I call “Working decks”. These are decks that I use for client readings, and for my daily draws a lot. I’ve been using my first ever deck, The Scorpio Sea Tarot (with Maggie Stiefvater) this month, since it comes out next month, but it’s a new addition to my ‘just at hand’ decks.
Speaking of Maggie, I was reading with her Raven’s Prophecy deck before I even knew her. It’s not RWS style, but still resonates beautifully with the traditional card meanings. Especially the Magician. It’s a great way to add a layer to your knowledge of the cards. And it reads really well.
Modern Witch – Lisa Sterle
I really like the publishing company Liminal 11. I remember getting the Luna Sol tarot, and seeing this gorgeous Magician card in their PR stuff. I became obsessed, and the song “Afro Puffs” by Lady of Rage became stuck in my head forever. #tarotsowhite is still a thing, and I feel like decks like this are going to help squash that. This looks like the world I live in. The Emperor is a super butch lady who feels like me. This is the first deck that I ever saw MYSELF in. I love it.
Slow Holler – Collaborative deck (sadly, out of print)
To say that I love this deck and all of the cards and love that went into creating it is truly an understatement. One of the most striking parts of this queer deck is that one of the characters in it has leg hair, and is female presenting. I just stared at that card. I don’t shave my legs anymore, and it’s something tender and human that I’d literally never seen in a card before. It made me happy. It still makes me happy. And no, I don’t want to sell my deck. I share it with Saige, and that’s it.
The Lightseers Tarot – Chris-Anne Donnelly
This deck got used so much this spring that I had to put it down for a month. It came out just about the same time as the Modern Witch, and again, a super diverse and inclusive deck. I know that Waite said that the true language of tarot is symbolism, but there is NOTHING like seeing your face or your client’s face in your deck. Plus, it’s beautiful. And I know Chris-Anne, and her sweetness and fierceness runs all through this lovely thing.
Sasuraibito Tarot – Stasia Burrington
I found this deck a few years ago, and I probably should get a new copy, but the cards are worn and feel good in my hands. Lovingly nicknamed the “Sassy Burrito” deck by the tarot community, this is another diverse, inclusive deck (I’m sensing a trend). The images feel like they’re already part of a story. The King of Cups looks like my grandpa, telling me to hold on a second while he gets his coffee before telling me to dry my tears. Where other decks feel like community, this one feels like family.
This Might Hurt Tarot – Isabella Rotman
“A modern, queer, diverse deck in the RWS tradition”. SO good. It’s fun. It’s pretty. Again, it represents my family and heart family. In my own little family, we have Polish and Native me, my Mexican-German husband, and my half-Jewish, half Mom hybrid kids. Extend that out to family that is Queer and Trans and Black and Catholic (gasp). This deck fits into my life, instead of me trying to wedge myself into the narrative. The cardstock is epic.
Numinous Tarot – Cedar McCloud
If someone asks me what my favorite deck is, I have to say the Numinous Tarot. I know that this deck has saved lives, with its loving representation of a Trans kiddo in the Nine of Cups. I saw the face of a young Trans man as he saw himself in the cards in front of him. He looked at me with his eyes shining and said, “Hey, that’s me.” Yup. It is.
The theme that I see in my favorite working decks is that they’re queer and diverse. They have folks wearing hijab and using canes, they’ve got folks in wheelchairs and with body hair. They’re human. They’re me. They’re you.
We need more of these decks, and I can’t wait to see them.