Tarot Familiars Deck

I haven’t written a blog post recently as I’d been having a rather hectic week. It was also my birthday yesterday and although I couldn’t go out to celebrate because of the lockdown restrictions still in place, I still had a full on day.

One of the gifts I received for my birthday was the ‘Tarot Familiars’ deck. I’d seen pictures of this deck before and I’d always thought it looked pretty and magical.

It’s surprising that I hadn’t bought this deck myself since I love owls and there are a lot of owls in this deck as well as cats and wolves.

The cards are illustrated by Lisa Parker who is known for drawing animals in fantasy settings. I have always loved her illustrations, they’re so magical. You may have seen her pictures before as they’re used for lots of different things, in fact I have a dreamcatcher with one of her illustrations of an owl on it.

The only issue with these cards is that they’re not great for beginners who plan on analysing the imagery. The reason for this is that although the major arcana and court cards have beautiful illustrations, the minor arcana is very simple.

Minor arcana

As you can see in the picture above. For each suit there is a symbol and for each numbered card, there is an illustration of that symbol times by whatever number the card is.

For an experienced tarot reader who loves the magical illustrations of Lisa Parker and enjoys escaping into a witchy fantasy world then these are brilliant, I personally love this deck! For beginners, this deck might not be so easy to get to grips with. If for example, you haven’t got the meaning of the ‘four of cups’ memorised then the imagery in this deck won’t give you any clues.

The little booklet that comes with the cards has the interpretations in many different languages. In my circle of tarot reading friends I have actually noticed that most of the people who own this deck are not English speakers, in fact I know a lot of German people who have the Tarot Familiars as their main deck.

The interpretations in the booklet are quite basic so again, I’d like to emphasise that these cards aren’t ideal for beginners.

Another aspect I love about the cards is that they’re a nice shape, they’re quite long and thin which makes them much easier to shuffle than a lot of other tarot and oracle decks. They’re incredibly glossy and slippery though so you do end up with cards flying out of your hands occasionally.

All in all, I would recommend this deck to any tarot reader who likes their cards to be mystical and magical.

I shall end this mini review now as I’m about to do a month by month reading for the rest of the year with these cards. If you enjoyed reading this post, then please consider making a donation so that I can afford new decks to review 😊


Haunted Deck

A few of my tarot reading friends had been pestering me to get a lenormand deck. They said they’re so easy to get to grips with and they’re really accurate. I considered getting one but none of the decks I had been looking at seemed to call out to me.

The other night I was browsing through Ebay and I found an interesting deck called ‘The Devil’s Acre – Penny Fortune Cards’ I read the description and it talked about the depravity and criminal activity that took place in an area in Old Victoria London known as the Devil’s Acre. The creator of these cards used the imagery of that period in time to create this charming lenormand deck. I really enjoy the history of London, particularly Victoria London with its Opium dens, Dickensian workhouses, narrow cobbled streets and the fear of coming across Jack the ripper. It was such an interesting place to be at the time, but also a very dark place.

I decided to purchase a deck and I was glad that I did as there was only 100 decks made. My deck arrived a few days later and said that it was number 94 out of 100.

On the back of the box, you can see the creator’s signature and deck number.

As soon as I opened the box, I analysed every single card like I always do when I get a new deck. I then put them back in the box and took them to my room. After lunch, I got the cards back out again, this time though, there was something different. The card entitled ‘Gallows’ was scuffed and bent. I didn’t understand it, I knew I couldn’t have done that, I’d not even shuffled them yet. I knew it didn’t come like that because I inspected them when I first opened the box.

The next day I showed the cards to my sister, she instinctively began looking at each individual card. I began pottering about when I heard her say ‘hey what happened to this card?’ I thought she was referring to the ‘Gallows card, but I looked over and it wasn’t the ‘Gallows’ card she was talking about, it was the ‘Old Bill’ card. This made even less sense, I’d not taken them out of the box since discovering the ‘Gallows card’ was bent and scuffed, and now somehow the ‘Old Bill’ card was in a similar condition.

My sister got some old Victorian pennies out of a draw and suggested we take some pictures of the cards with the pennies for my Instagram page. After taking a few pictures, I then noticed a large tear in the corner of the ‘Gallows’ card, this had appeared in the space of about 2 minutes. I pointed it out to my sister and she agreed that there definitely wasn’t a tear in that card 2 minutes ago. If you scroll back up to the pictures, you can see the tear in the lower left corner of the card.

After taking some photographs it suddenly dawned on me.. what if someone was trying to give me a message? I thought about it and then asked my sister if the deck might be haunted by someone who was arrested, hence ‘Old Bill’ and then hanged hence ‘Gallows’. My sister agreed that it might be the case and suggested we do Ouija board. Although that seemed like a good idea, I felt that the cards would tell us more than a Ouija board could.

I thought about the old method of choosing a significator card in a tarot reading. It involved laying out all of the cards face down and then flipping a coin onto the cards, which ever card it landed on would be the significator. It was a method used in the Victorian times, and so I thought I’d use this method to find out more about this ghost.

I believed the ghost to be male so I didn’t ask that, although it would have been easy to answer since there is a ‘Woman’ card and a ‘Man’ card. My first question was ‘What was your profession if you had one’ I tossed the coin and it landed on the ‘Pedlar’ card, I then asked what crime he had committed, the coin landed on the ‘Gaol’ card, which basically means ‘Jail’ I asked again about the crime he committed and got the ‘Man’ card. My sister then pointed out that maybe he was innocent and he doesn’t want to mention the crime he was accused of but rather get across his message that he was a simple man who went to prison and was then hanged for a crime he didn’t commit.

I decided not to pressure the ghost into answering questions about the crime he was accused of and instead asked for his name. The coin first landed on ‘Apothecary’ and so we believed his name began with ‘A’ the second card the coin landed on was ‘Lodgings’ and so we started calling him ‘Al’

Tonight I’m sat in my bedroom watching TV and a faint smell of vanish keeps wafting over. I’ve not smelt that in my room before. I can only assume it’s Al.

I’ll keep you posted on whether any new paranormal activity begins to happen, but for now I’ve got to say, it really seems like a man from the Victorian times who was put to death has attached himself to these cards. I know it sounds crazy and there might be an innocent explanation, but currently I can’t think of one.

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If you’d like to make a donation, I’d be happy to give you a mini tarot reading, please specify if you’d like me to use the haunted deck 😜

List of The Darkest Tarot Decks

If you enjoy the darker side of things then these tarot decks might be for you. I personally prefer decks which are mysterious looking. There are lots of cute tarot and oracle decks and I’ll probably make a post about them some time, but for now here is a list of my favourite scary dark tarot decks.

The Dark Mansion Tarot

This whimsically dark deck is wonderful to look at with lots of little details. The symbolism is based on the Rider Waite deck but it has a completely different feel to it. The artwork reminds me of the ‘Deviant Moon’ deck and also makes me think of Tim Burton movies.

Gothic Tarot

These beautiful cards by Anne Stokes are filled with darkness. They have a more contemporary feel about them even though they depict classic mythical Creatures such as vampires, bats, unicorns and dragons.

Prisma/Light Visions

Both the Prisma and Light Visions deck were created by LA artist James R Eads. These imaginative decks have captured the attention of many tarot readers and non tarot readers alike and is now considered a cult classic. They look incredibly dark and mysterious and feel as though they can impart magical wisdom with every reading. Both decks look very similar and have almost the same illustrations however the light visions is monochrome and the prisma visions is in colour.

Occult Tarot

It’s one thing to look dark and scary, but some decks are more than that. The Occult Tarot deck by author and Occultist, Travis McHenry is the first tarot deck to faithfully adhere to the Solomonic principles of demon conjuration, the Occult Tarot allows practitioners to discover the power of ancient Demons and learn to tame the beasts that wander between the physical and spiritual worlds.

The Demon-Possessed Tarot

Another deck by Travis McHenry is the Demon-Possessed Tarot. I’m not sure if this deck has been released yet however there is a kickstarter page for it. According to its description, this deck captures the essence of every demon of the Goetia and traps them in the cards.  The cards look like they’re authentic copies from a deck created in the 1600s by a conjurer and then hidden away in the wall of a castle for four hundred years. This deck feels ancient and mystical. Each card is said to be truly unique with a life all of its own.

Thoth Tarot

Famous occultist Aleister Crowley was once considered the most wicked man in the world. It is no wonder that many people including some tarot readers fear Crowley’s Thoth deck. Apart from it being considered a difficult deck to get into, and also terrifyingly evil, the artwork by Lady Frieda Harris is actually very pretty with its geometric shapes and bright block colours. What makes it dark and mysterious is that Aleister Crowley combined the motives of the tarot with the worlds of magic, alchemy, astrology and Kabbala, and with the myths of ancient cultures, especially Egyptian. When you play with these cards, you tap into another world.

Special Mention ⬇️

Gummy Bear Tarot

I had to include this unusual deck somewhere. Why is it dark? Well, seeing a poor little gummy bear hanging upside down is pretty dark to me, plus anything this happy must surely have a darker side.

Does It Matter Which Tarot Deck You Use For A Reading?

When I conduct an email reading, I always include a photograph of the spread. I do this for several reasons, firstly it proves that I did a reading. You probably won’t be surprised to know that there are a lot of scammers out there who will copy and paste a reading they found online and send it out for money. Secondly, it allows the client to better understand the reading and having a picture of the spread makes it seem a little more like a face to face reading. The final reason is that tarot cards look pretty.

When I started out, I used a Rider Waite deck for face to face readings. It was great because the imagery is vivid and I’d even get clients interpreting the cards with me or asking me questions about the imagery. A lot of people knew the deck too since it’s a popular one that a lot of decks are based on. My only issue was that the Rider Waite deck isn’t pretty enough for me, so I got the Tarot Mucha deck. This deck is based on the Rider Waite deck, but is so much more to look at. For me, its art nouveau style and vibrant colours makes it better than the regular Rider Waite deck.

Mucha Tarot

Around the time I got the Mucha Tarot deck, I began conducting readings by email. I enjoyed posting pictures of my new deck on Instagram and sending pictures of the cards to clients.

Recently as some may already know, I bought the Light Visions tarot deck. This deck is beautiful but a lot darker and mysterious when compared with my other decks. It’s monochrome and less colourful when compared with the Mucha Tarot. I’ve been using this deck to conduct my readings and today it got me thinking whether the deck used to do readings makes a difference.

Light Visions Tarot

I won’t talk about different interpretations and imagery but rather the aesthetics and the mood of a deck. When I take a picture of a spread using the Light Visions deck, I notice how bleak it can look and wonder if this has a small impact on the clients interpretation of the reading. Conversely when a client sees a picture of the Mucha Tarot, does it make them think of the reading in a more positive light? even if the reading is slightly negative.

It’s a similar issue with trusting the cards. When I see certain oracle decks that are cute and straight to the point, there’s a part of me that doesn’t take them seriously. In the back of my mind I have a kind of prejudice, that tarot cards should look mysterious and old. They shouldn’t have cute messages on them, but rather some number in roman numerals or something that gives off an air of wisdom.

Pastel Magic Tarot (An example of a beautifully cute deck)

For anyone who has received a tarot reading by email, or for anyone who does tarot readings for clients, I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the choice of deck makes any kind of difference.

Tarot Decks For Beginners

Recently I wrote about getting to know your tarot cards and how it doesn’t really matter if you know the history and the symbolism for each card since you can assign your own meanings. The main point in that article was about tarot decks and how it doesn’t matter if a tarot deck isn’t suitable for beginners. You don’t have to look up the meanings of every card and learn what each card means to be a decent tarot reader.

A lot of people, if not most people who get interested in reading the tarot want to learn everything there is to know and don’t want to just rely on intuition and their own interpretations. For this reason, I have decided to write about 3 decks which are ideal for beginners.

Rider Waite Deck

This deck had to be top of the list because it is one of the most popular decks. The reason why it’s great for beginners is because it has a lot of imagery and symbolism. This can help you form a connection with each card so that you remember them more easily. There are a lot of newer tarot decks which have almost nondescript cards, they’re kinda blank with maybe an abstract doodle in the middle, sometimes they can look very pretty and unique, but if you’re trying to remember what each card means, it can get confusing if every card is the same colour with a similar drawing in the middle. Every card in the Rider Waite deck is different and memorable and each card tells a story.

When you look up a card online, you’ll find that the interpretation is usually based on the Rider Waite deck. In fact when you type in ‘tarot cards’ on Google images, you’ll find that pictures of the Rider Waite deck is right up there. It is such a popular deck with a lot of history. It’s what a lot of tarot decks are based on! This deck is ideal for beginners because if you’re stuck on a card or don’ t know how to interpret something, you’ll easily find information online.

The Gilded Tarot

This deck follows the same imagery as the Rider Waite deck so is easy to follow and understand as well as research online. Even though it is similar, it has a different vibe and overall appearance that may appeal more to certain people. The cards are very vibrant and colourful and combine fantasy and steampunk in a way that actually looks quite modern and fresh.


I use this deck a lot and it’s because it’s beautiful and easy to follow. Every card is packed with imagery that is memorable and unique. This deck is also based on the Rider Waite deck but if you like art nouveau then this is the better choice. It has a more old world feel to them which can be quite appealing to people who find tarot cards to be magical and mystical.

In conclusion, any deck that follows the same imagery as the Rider Waite deck is ideal for beginners. I only mentioned three decks because I realised that I could make a huge long list of decks that are perfect for beginners but they’d all have the same thing in common. It all comes down to preference and aesthetics. If you do a quick search for tarot decks based on the Rider Waite deck, you’re sure to find a deck that is attractive to you.