The tarot, first known as trionfi, is a deck of cards (most commonly numbering 78) was first used in a game called Triumphs. However, from the late 18th century, a tarot card was quickly adopted as a tool for divination, and popularized by occult societies. Now, at present, the tarot, along with its tarot card reading, is used by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways.
Basically, a tarot deck has typically 78 cards that are split into two main parts namely:
The Major Arcana (greater secrets). The trump cards, the Major Arcana consists of 22 cards without suits: The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World and The Fool.
The Minor Arcana (lesser secrets) consists of 56 cards, divided into four suits namely: The Suit of Wands, The Suit of Cups, The Suit of Swords and The Suit of Pentacles. Each suit in turn consists of 14 cards each consisting of 10 numbered cards and 4 court cards. The court cards in each of the four tarot suits are the King, Queen, Knight and Page/Jack.
The traditional Italian tarot suits consists of swords, batons/wands, coins and cups; while in modern tarot decks, however, the batons suit is often called wands, rods or staves, while the coins suit is often called pentacles or disks.
The early Tarot symbolism was deeply rooted in Medieval and Renaissance Europe. But over the centuries it has grown to incorporate everything from Astrology and Kabbalah to Runes (which predate the Tarot by 1000 years) and the I Ching (which predates the Tarot by 2500 years).
Nowadays, the Tarot is far and away the most popular tool for spiritual introspection in the West.
Top Tarot Deck of All Time
There are a wide variety of styles of tarot decks and designs that exist and a number of typical regional patterns have emerged.
These days, there are literally thousands of different tarot decks. A great majority of these decks exist primarily as artwork and available as novelty decks, which are breathtakingly beautiful or whimsically designed but in reality are of little use for doing actual tarot card reading.
Historically, the Tarot de Marseilles is one of the most important designs and was also popularized in the 20th century.
Here is a quick list of Top Ten Decks of All Time:
1.Deviant Moon Tarot. This deck has surreal, very unique, and sometimes disturbing and strangely attractive moonlit artwork. It is inspired and incorporates grotesque images of cemeteries and mental asylums. Based on the concept of human duality, it is designed to illuminate deeper parts of the subconscious. Readers can learn a lot from this deck, particularly if they are drawn to exploring the darker side of human nature. You can use this deck for readings where you feel that getting a more psychological twist would be helpful.
2.Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot. This deck showcases a striking, fascinating artwork created by the famous occultist and Golden Dawn member, Aleister Crowley. This edition of the deck has 80 cards, which included three versions of the Magus card. Though regarded as another classic Tarot deck, some previous knowledge of tarot would help when using this deck.
3.Rider-Waite Tarot. This deck is a classic Tarot deck that is perhaps the most well-known in the Western world. The deck was drawn by Pamela Colman-Smith and commissioned by Waite. Often called the first modern Tarot deck, the cards were the first to use detailed pictures on the minor arcana cards. This is a differently-coloured version to the Original Rider-Waite Tarot.
4.1JJ Swiss Tarot. This deck is an older style of tarot deck, a Marseilles variant. The cards showcases reprints of early woodcut designs, printed in black and colored with blocks of red, blue, green and yellow.
5.DruidCraft Tarot. This deck combines the nature spiritualities of Wicca and Druidry in a beautiful set of large-size cards. This is created by well-known Druids Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm and artist Will Worthington, who also created the Druid Animal Oracle.
6.Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Llewellyn). This deck is the newest deck from Ciro Marchetti, talented artist and creator of the Gilded Tarot and Tarot of Dreams. Roughly based on the Rider-Waite model, this deck showcases a “a story by the artist that connects Tarot’s origins to an ancient race that was destroyed, but who left us with the images and message of tarot as a legacy”. It’s available as a special edition from Ciro, and also as a mass-market edition from Llewellyn.
7.Gilded Tarot. This deck is a digitally drawn and visually spectacular Rider-Waite style tarot from the talented Ciro Marchetti. It showcases gorgeous images, allowing for clear and unambiguous readings. A 78 card deck, it is based heavily on the Rider Waite Smith deck and will work for beginner and more experienced reader alike.
8.Victorian Romantic Tarot. Based on original engravings from 19th century artists, the images are perfectly collaged to create fully-illustrated, Rider-Waite-based Tarot scenes.
9.Bohemian Gothic Tarot. This deck is the dark sister of the Victorian Romantic Tarot. It is a deck of the shadows; dark, beautiful, a little melancholy and mysterious.
10.Robin Wood Tarot. This deck is easy for beginners and tarot newcomers to use with its Rider-Waite foundation. It is rich in Pagan symbolism and showcases attractive, and brightly but not harshly coloured illustrations.