Updated: May 14, 2020
I have five 💁🏼
First, let's talk about tarot decks. I don't have a stance for or against having multiple decks in your tarot repertoire. The reason I have five decks (and that's not even close to how many other people have, I'm sure) is because they've simply accumulated over the years.
Decks are like clothes: you buy a staple first (like a simple black leather jacket—everyone has to have a decent looking leather jacket in their closet) and your style develops from there. So after you get the staple, next, you buy something you actually adore, like a brown knee-length 100% leather jacket. Then you buy something completely ridiculous, just because—like a leather jacket bedazzled with rhinestones and 90s patches. (Why? The happy hour drinks may have been to blame.) Finally, as your style develops, you start buying clothes that truly go with your statement pieces. So maybe you backtrack to that gorgeous brown leather jacket and buy an adorable chapeau to complete the look.
Anyway, what I'm saying—in a very long-winded way—is that the number of decks you have doesn't matter. For me, these decks symbolize my tarot journey. But out of the five of them, I really only use two regularly. And that simply says I know what my tarot style is, and I'm thankful for the other decks that have helped me get there.
The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck
Oh yes, the OG deck! Almost every reader I know has a Rider-Waite deck. This pack of cards originated in the early 1900s, conceptualized by Arthur Edward (A.E.) Waite.
This deck was my very first tarot experience growing up. I've since bought a new Rider-Waite deck (above), but the original one I found in my house was completely ratted—well-loved, definitely. I poured over the little guidebook, scouring it for answers. That led me to start devouring books on the subject, practicing on my sister and (then) boyfriend, reading and reading until... well, until we ended up here! I owe a lot to this beginner deck.
The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck
As many of you probably know, out of the five that I own, The Wild Unknown Deck is my deck of choice. Why, you ask? To continue with our shopping theme... you know that moment you spot something you simply must have?
Well, that's what happened when I saw this deck for the first time. For me, unlike many tarot readers I know, I'm really not into the fantastical worlds or creatures. A lot of decks you see have goblins, fairies, angels, and more on them—those entities just aren't something I connect with. On other cards, you see people—often unclothed. I never connected with those decks either.
I love The Wild Unknown deck by Kim Krans because there are no people, just animals. Those delicate energies, as well as the beautiful way they are depicted (love that the cards are mostly black and white with splashes of color) is what drew me to them. I honestly can't express how much this deck means to me! It's like my second half, my partner in crime—screw the men out there, these guys are my soul mates.
The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Tarot Deck
I can say that I love this deck, The Wild Unknown's partner deck Animal Spirit, with equal passion as the original. The original deck is set up just like other tarot decks. It has four suits (Pentacles, Wands, Cups, and Swords), with Minor Arcana (Son, Daughter, Mother, and Father) for each suit, and a group of 22 Major Arcana cards. You'll find that format across most traditional decks.
The Animal Spirit deck does something a little different. They aren't numbered and do not have any Major Arcana cards, to promote the aspect of equality among all animals. Additionally, instead of four suits, this deck has five: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit. In the Earth section, you'll find animals like the tarantula. Naturally, the Air section features sky creatures like the crow. True to form, the Water section displays sea animals like the whale. And the Spirit section showcases creatures of the ether: a sea serpent, a dragon, a unicorn, and more.
What I love most about Animal Spirit (besides the absolutely gorgeous artwork) is its creative take on the formulaic tarot deck. What I hope to do with this deck is incorporate one card into all my readings as an "energy card"—a sort of a depiction of what you should focus on in terms of energy path.
The Alice in Wonderland Tarot Deck
Okay, this I just couldn't resist. For those of you who don't know of my obsession with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland... I wrote my Masters thesis on Lewis Carroll and Oscar Wilde, and how they explored political commentary in the same way (through children's literature), but fifty years apart from each other—I thought the repetition of literary tactics over the scope of half a century was fascinating. Anyway, consider yourself informed of my forever infatuation.
So naturally, when I saw the Wonderland Tarot deck, I had to have it. Simply because, well, it was my two favorite things in one! While I don't use it as much as I would like, the depth to which the author goes into the mechanisms of the book in order to translate them to tarot is incredible.
The Tarocchino Mitelli Bologna Deck
Limited edition, straight from Bologna, Italy, the Tarocchino Mitelli Deck came to me for Christmas this year. So because of that, I haven't been able to spend much time with it yet. But with its Old World feel, you really can't go wrong. It's so incredible!