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Beginner Tarot Decks

If you find yourself drawn to Tarot cards...

If you want to learn to read Tarot cards but don't know where to start...

If you are overwhelmed with the immense choice of Tarot decks available...

Then I've written this blog for you! I've had Tarot cards in my life since my beautiful stepmother gifted me my first set when I was 10 years old. My Colombian grandmother was also a renowned card reader in her neighborhood. 25 years later and I've learned a lot about Tarot, sometimes the hard way! So I hope sharing my experience is helpful as you begin your Tarot journey. As always, anything I say here is just meant as a guide. Above all, trust your own discernment and experience. Self-trust is one of the most important traits to develop if you want to learn to read cards for others.

Can you buy Tarot cards for yourself? 

Absolutely! We all get asked this question at the shop so often. The idea that a Tarot deck needs to be a gift is a myth, pure and simple. All of the best readers I have known bought their own Tarot deck. There's truly nothing to worry about. 

How do I choose my first Tarot deck? 

I have found that learning Tarot involves a combination of intuition and intellect. The same applies to choosing your first Tarot deck.

Certain decks have a longer tradition behind them and learning the symbolism associated with them will help you more easily interpret the symbols in other decks. Choosing a deck based on these older traditions, that have loads of resources available to help you learn, is the intellect part of choosing your first Tarot deck. 

Connecting to a deck intuitively is the easiest part. Which deck do you just love the most? What artwork draws you in, excites you, makes you feel something you can't quite put into words, makes you want to just dive in and understand the images you are seeing? That is the deck for you.

Combining these two tactics will help you choose the best beginner's tarot cards for you. Remember this is a deck you are starting with and learning with. It's unlikely it will be the only deck you will work with, and remembering that will help relieve the pressure and analysis paralysis around choosing your first Tarot deck. Trust me, if you end up loving Tarot you will get more decks. This is just the beginning of your journey.

Which Tarot cards are best for beginners?

The traditional decks I was referring to earlier are:



best beginner tarot

The Rider Waite Smith Tarot is the most famous, well known, and popular deck in the West. Learning to read Tarot with decks in this tradition is what I usually recommend. The imagery is familiar enough to most people to be able to tune into their intuition and interpret what they see on the cards without too much help at first. This speeds up the process of learning the card meanings. It's easier to memorise the meanings when they are also visually represented on the cards so clearly. But it's also a deck you can grow with. As you become more familiar with the cards you will find deeper layers of symbolism and meaning in each card. After years, I am still finding new details and meanings that surprise me. As I started studying astrology, the cards began to take on even more meaning. 

There are so many decks based on the Rider Waite Smith Tarot that you can find something that suits you perfectly. And there are limitless books, courses, and other learning resources available with this system of Tarot so you will never run out of study materials!

Shop Rider Waite Smith decks here




The Marseille tarot is the one of the oldest decks and the closest to Tarot in its original form. It has the longest tradition behind it of the recommended cards in this post. There are also many books and resources available to help you learn to read the Marseille Tarot, making it suitable for beginners. The Marseille Tarot is commonly used in Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, and Latin America, and my grandmother would have read from a version of these cards. It also has more Christian iconography in the images, which the Rider Waite Smith deck moved away from. This type of deck can be a little harder for beginners because the suit cards don't have people or scenes on them (this is known as a pip deck). This means you will need to rely more on memory as you learn the meanings of those cards. But if you are like me and like learning new systems and studying the old fashioned way, Marseille tarot cards may be a good fit for you. Like the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, there are many decks based on its structure so you can easily find one that speaks to you.

Shop Marseille Tarot decks here



Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Tarot was created by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris and was first published in 1969. It's another very popular tarot deck, especially for those who also have a magic practice in their life. It's a beautiful, powerful deck and many people swear by it. It has a slightly different system of interpretation to the Rider Waite Smith but there are still many similarities. My first Tarot deck was based on the Thoth Tarot and I used it exclusively for many years. However, for me personally, when I switched to a Rider Waite Smith based deck I found it an easier system to work with for initially learning to read Tarot cards. I returned to the Thoth deck after gaining more experience and definitely find working with it easier and more intuitive now. But because everyone is different, it may be the right system for you to begin with. Check out the imagery and you'll know if it feels right.

Shop Thoth Tarot decks here  



You may find the perfect deck for you that doesn't neatly fit into any of these categories and that's ok. Ultimately, the deck needs to appeal to you because that will make you want to spend time with it and work with it, which is the most important thing. At the Empress & Wolf we believe that your intuition needs to be a big part of the process in choosing your first Tarot deck so that is what we will always encourage the most.

If you need more help choosing a deck you are very welcome to come in store and ask for help. One of my favourite parts of working here is helping people choose their first deck so you would also be making my day! Everyone on the team is an experienced Tarot reader so you will always be in good hands.


Let me know if this has been helpful! You can find Tarot reading tips for beginners here

Much love,






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