It’s in the Cards: Tarot Decks for Darkling Diviners
Whether you’re an experienced cartomancer, looking for something to aid with a little self-reflection, or simply bewitched by the artwork and symbolism of the cards, tarot and oracle decks hold a special place in the hearts of many darklings.
They make wonderful gifts – some maintain that the most effective decks are ones that have been gifted to you, but we think that definitely includes gifts to yourself! If you’re tired of seeing the classic Rider-Waite deck everywhere, and looking for some cards that are quirky, representative and beautiful, we’ve rounded up some of the best.
If you like your cards with a bit of character, these decks keep the human form front and central in their designs.
The Illest Tarot
Kristi Prokopiak’s pop culture inspired deck features notable figures for the major arcana and court cards, allowing you to draw inspiration from these artists and focus your interpretations of media and modern culture. Prokopiak donates a percentage of each deck sale to worthwhile causes in the US:
“a percentage of every deck will be donated to a cause i care about. to date, i have been able to send funds to my local non profit mental health center, black lives matter, rainn, grind for life, children’s hospital los angeles, north bay california fire relief, and moms demand action for gun sense in america, pr x pr bebuild and relief fund… but also some incredible thinkers, healers and artists who are doing amazing work.”
Dust II Onyx: A Melanated Tarot Deck
Courtney Alexander’s glorious deck is available to back on Kickstarter, with a variety of different pledge packages that also include prints and postcards. At the time of writing, the deck has been fully funded, but you can still make a pledge while it is in production.
Alexander talks about the importance of representation in tarot and the inspiration behind Dust II Onyx:
“Finding a deck that really connected with my personal energy became a daunting task. There were very few that allowed me to see myself in them. I set out to create my own deck, and after months of not having a vision for what it’d look like a dream came to me. Then it came to me again. In the dream was an intensely gorgeous black portrait which has become the inspiration behind this deck.”
The Slutist Tarot
Designed and illustrated by Morgan Claire Sirene, and featuring graphic design by Sonia Ortiz, The Slutist Tarot is a celebration of femme eroticism featuring bold, beautiful artwork. The deck is feminist, sex and sex-worker positive, and queer, trans, and femme-friendly, encouraging its users to channel their power through sexual liberation, in whatever form that might take. Their shop is currently closed, but you can backorder the deck now.
“The Slutist Tarot aims to put a woman’s voice behind eroticism, and to create images of people on the feminine spectrum in a way that we believe honors their sexualities.”
The Sasuraibito Tarot
Recently featured in our Lust List, artist Stasia Burrington’s Sasuraibito Tarot is a wonderfully charming deck, with figures that could easily have come straight from a graphic novel – we want to know their stories, and be their friends. By filling in those gaps ourselves, we can interpret these cards in a deeply personal way.
“The Japanese word: ‘sasuraibito’ most closely translates to ‘wanderer.’ It’s an old-fashioned literary term that is falling out of use, meant to describe a person ever-seeking, searching for a place of healing and refuge. This deck is designed to aid the curious wanderer, and accompany you on your adventures to come.”
The Moonchild Tarot
From Danielle Noel, creator of the popular Starchild Tarot, comes the Moonchild Tarot, a deck that works as the partner and opposite to its older sibling. Noel’s distinctively graphic designs combine photography, collage, and more traditional styles of artwork to allow the user to delve into their subconscious. The deck is currently available as a preorder, and will be shipping in July/August.
“The Moonchild Tarot is Subconscious and grounding, acting as a new conduit of soulful introspection, shifting into realms of shadow work, the Divine Feminine, and the transmutational power of the Moon and triple Goddess.”
Dark Days Tarot
The Dark Days Tarot was created by artist Wren McMurdo in response to the 2016 presidential election, drawing upon the healing nature of darkness and inspired by the phases of the moon. The figures in this deck are joyous and strong, reminding us of our own power when we might otherwise feel powerless. McMurdo also writes a Dark Days column every new moon. It’s currently available for preorder.
“Sacred feminine energies and witchy warriors need protection. The Dark Days Tarot Deck is my offering in this regard. It is a garden of possibility in a box, lit by lunar magic. The cards can be read any way the reader desires, and will find lunar influences inherent in their experience.”
Decks that feature animals, plants and natural imagery are also abundant, for those darklings who want to commune with nature a little bit more.
The Anima Mundi Tarot Deck
This stunning deck, with acrylic artwork by artist Megan Wyreweden, celebrates the diversity of life on our planet, and the sheer variety of animals and plants that are present in our world. Wyreweden donates 5% of all tarot sales to Conservation International, a nonprofit that focuses on science, policy and partnership to promote wildlife conservation.
“‘Anima Mundi’ is a Latin term which loosely translates to ‘the world’s soul.’ Originally coined by Plato, it is the belief that all living things on this planet are connected as a single spiritual entity.”
Pythia Botanica Oracle Deck
The Pythia Botanical Oracle Deck moves away from the Major and Minor Arcana and instead offers delicately illustrated and tea-stained cards, each with a distinct symbolism drawn from plant and herb mythology. This oracle deck is highly intuitive, as we’ve mentioned before, and led by a deep and profound connection with the natural world.
“I embarked on this journey of creating the Pythia Botanica with an uncloaked spirit, open mind and hungry heart, lost in plant magick and guided by Mother Nature through the illustration of each card. From my earliest memories, I have felt a kinship with nature. Being amongst plants is where I am most at peace, most evergreen, most purely myself.”
The Crow Tarot
A deck designed for true corvid enthusiasts, Mj Jones’ Crow Tarot reimagines the traditional Rider-Waite designs with feathered friends. The project has been fully funded, and will appear in stores next year. To get a copy during its first print run between September and October, pledge via the Crow Tarot’s Indiegogo page. The Crow Tarot website features entries on all the cards, and an interactive tarot reading page.
“A DECK FOR FLEDGLINGS AND OLD CROWS. When this deck was created it was done so first out of selfish reasons – I wanted a deck that was well…crow-centric.”
Clean lines, sleek cards and simple boxes – cut through the mystical clutter with these minimalist decks.
Small Mysteries Tarot
The Small Mysteries deck is beautiful in its simplicity – fine line illustrations depict fruit, flowers, insects and reptiles on poker-sized cards. The deck comes with a small guide book to assist your interpretations, and is also available in a mini size (just 1.75×2.5 inches!) for the diviner on the go.
“The Small Mysteries Deck…explores the relationship between the Arcana and Astrology, linking the cards to astral bodies in order to give a more rounded understanding of the position of the cards.”
Wanderer’s Tarot: Midnight Edition
The Wanderer’s Tarot, designed by Casey Zabala, is a stark, monochromatic deck, illustrated in a “folk-art style” that seeks to tap into feminine insight. This deck contains wanderers, philosophers, and prophets, adapting tarot symbolism into a deck that is ideal for modern witches.
“For the magical practitioner, these cards speak to our magical tools and talismans. The suites of Moons, Stones, Knives and Feathers will lead you to a deeper understanding of your personal power; emotionally, materially, mentally, and passionately.”
TrueBlack Tarot, conceived by designer and illustrator Arthur Wang, promises timeless elegance with its desaturated, sleek cards. The designs are uncluttered, rising out of the black background, and complemented by the gloss-on-matte star charts on the reverse of the cards. TrueBlack is currently available for pre-order.
“Core to the concept of TrueBlack is the interconnectedness of all, embodied in the stars and skies shared by humanity through all lands and epochs. Each box, booklet, and card back is adorned with maps of the heavens.”
For more information or a place to begin learning about tarot, visit Little Red Tarot. This site has a wealth of information for the novice, or the more experienced cartomancer, including courses and email lists.
Labyrinthios Academy has a variety of mobile apps available for all levels of experience, to help you learn card meanings and deepen your understanding of tarot.