/  Recommended Decks From The Top 5 Tarot Card Publishers – Part 1

Recommended Decks From The Top 5 Tarot Card Publishers – Part 1

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Tarot decks, with their captivating imagery and symbolic language, have captivated hearts and ignited imaginations for centuries. Whether used for divination, self-reflection, or artistic appreciation, a tarot deck serves as a powerful tool for navigating the complexities of life. But with a vast array of options available, choosing the right deck can feel overwhelming.

This guide delves into the offerings of five leading tarot card publishers, exploring their unique styles and highlighting some of their most popular decks.

Top 5 Tarot Card Publishers

1. US Games Systems Inc.

US Games Systems Inc. (US Games) is a giant in the world of tarot. Founded in 1967, they’ve established themselves as a one-stop shop for all things tarot, offering an extensive collection encompassing traditional decks, contemporary interpretations, and niche themes.

Advantages:

  • Product Quality: They are known for high-quality games, puzzles, or educational materials.
  • Innovation: They’re a leader in creating unique and engaging games.
  • Customer Service: They have a reputation for excellent customer support.
  • Brand Recognition: They have a strong brand name associated with trust and reliability.

Disadvantages:

  • Price Point: Their products might be more expensive than competitors.
  • Limited Selection: Maybe they only focus on a specific type of game, which could limit options for customers.

Recommended Tarot Decks:

Rider-Waite-Smith Deck

Rider-Waite-Smith Deck

Perhaps the most iconic of all tarot decks is the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot, published by US Games. Created by Arthur Edward Waite, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, and originally published in 1909, this deck features symbolic imagery that is rich in esoteric tradition. Its widespread popularity is due to the detailed illustrations on all 78 cards, which facilitate intuitive reading, especially for beginners.

US Games holds the licensing rights to the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) tarot. They also offer variations like the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot with its brighter palette and the Hanson-Roberts Tarot with its detailed symbolism.

Thoth Tarot Deck

Thoth Tarot Deck

Another significant contribution by US Games is the Thoth Tarot Deck, conceptualized by Aleister Crowley and painted by Lady Frieda Harris. The deck is steeped in the symbolism of various esoteric systems, including astrology, alchemy, and numerology, making it a favorite among those interested in the occult.

The Morgan-Greer Tarot

The Morgan-Greer Tarot

The Morgan-Greer Tarot, created by Bill Greer under the direction of Lloyd Morgan, offers a fresh take on the RWS imagery, with a more modern, bold, and colorful artistic style. It removes the borders of the images, allowing the vibrant artwork to speak directly to the reader.

Through these decks and more, US Games has established itself as a pillar of the tarot publishing world, offering decks that are not only visually appealing but also deep wells of wisdom for reflection and growth.

2. Lo Scarabeo – Tarot Card Publishers

Lo Scarabeo, an Italian powerhouse founded in 1986, boasts a reputation for exquisite artistry and a commitment to diverse artistic styles.

Advantages:

  • Variety: Lo Scarabeo boasts an immense collection of tarot decks, catering to various interests and skill levels. You’ll find traditional decks based on Rider-Waite-Smith, unique artistic interpretations, and themed decks focusing on mythology, historical periods, or even pop culture.  
  • Affordability: Lo Scarabeo decks generally fall within a reasonable price range, making tarot more accessible.
  • Quality: While some variability might exist, Lo Scarabeo decks are known for decent cardstock quality and printing.
  • Availability: Lo Scarabeo decks are widely available online and in occult stores, making them easy to find.

Disadvantages:

  • Inconsistent Quality: While generally decent, quality can vary between decks.  Some users report flimsier cardstock or printing inconsistencies. Reading reviews before purchase is recommended.
  • Mass Production: Due to the vast number of decks, some might feel less unique or handcrafted compared to independent publishers.

Recommended Tarot Decks:

The Golden Tarot of Klimt

The Golden Tarot of Klimt

Lo Scarabeo’s Golden Tarot of Klimt is inspired by the luxurious and decorative art of Gustav Klimt, merging the traditional tarot symbolism with the unique stylistic elements of the artist. This deck is characterized by its use of gold leaf and its evocation of early 20th-century Vienna.

Tarot of Pagan Cats

Tarot of Pagan Cats

Another intriguing offering is the Tarot of Pagan Cats, which combines tarot archetypes with the mysterious and independent nature of cats. This deck is particularly appealing to those who seek a connection with animal guides in their spiritual practice.

The Tarot of the New Vision

The Tarot of the New Vision

Lo Scarabeo also offers The Tarot of the New Vision, which presents the RWS Tarot scenes from a different perspective, literally flipping the viewpoint to show what lies behind the traditional images. This twist on the classic provides fresh insights and a new layer of understanding for tarot enthusiasts.

Lo Scarabeo’s commitment to artistic quality and thematic diversity has made it a treasured publisher among tarot readers, offering a bridge between the traditional and the innovative.

3. Llewellyn Publications

Llewellyn Publications, established in 1901, is a leading publisher of books and resources for metaphysical and New Age practices. Their tarot selection reflects this focus, offering decks geared towards self-discovery and spiritual exploration.

Advantages:

  • Established Reputation: Llewellyn has been around since the 1900s, making them a trusted source for esoteric materials. They have a strong reputation for quality and accuracy.
  • Wide Range of Topics: They cover a vast array of subjects within the Pagan and New Age spheres, from Wicca and tarot to herbalism, astrology, and divination.
  • Focus on Accessibility: Many of their books are written for beginners, making them a good starting point for those new to these practices.
  • Author Support: Llewellyn is known for fostering relationships with authors and offering them a platform to share their knowledge.

Disadvantages:

  • Focus on Mainstream Paganism: Their content often leans towards more established forms of Paganism, with less representation of niche traditions or critical perspectives.
  • Potential Bias: As a publisher with a specific niche, their books might present information from a particular viewpoint without offering a wider range of perspectives.  

Recommended Tarot Decks:

The Llewellyn Tarot

The Llewellyn Tarot

The Llewellyn Tarot, created by Anna-Marie Ferguson, pays homage to the Welsh mythology and the Arthurian legend, infusing the traditional tarot framework with Celtic lore and ancient symbolism.

The Shadowscapes Tarot

The Shadowscapes Tarot

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s Shadowscapes Tarot is a visually stunning deck that weaves together myth, fantasy, and the natural world, presenting a dreamlike journey through the tarot. Its intricate artwork invites contemplation and a deep dive into the subconscious.

The Everyday Witch Tarot

The Everyday Witch Tarot

For a touch of modern whimsy, there is The Everyday Witch Tarot by Deborah Blake with art by Elisabeth Alba. This deck combines traditional tarot symbolism with playful images of witches and magical practices, making it both accessible and entertaining.

Llewellyn’s contribution to the tarot world is marked by a balance of respect for tradition and openness to new interpretations, offering decks that appeal to a broad spectrum of readers.

In the next article, we will continue to introduce the remaining two tarot card publishers.

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