Should You Spend A Lot On A Tarot Deck?

The short answer to this question is yes, but it depends on how much you think ‘a lot’ is. For me, anything above £40 is expensive, for other people, anything above £100 is expensive for a deck. There are some lucky people who have enough money to not worry about the price of things, but let’s forget those people for a moment.

If you go on Ebay you can find incredibly cheap decks for as little as £4, but are they any good? I’ve bought cheap tarot decks before and I’ve gotta say, they’re not really worth getting. Think about those cheap playing cards you get in a Christmas cracker and how flimsy they are, cheap tarot cards are like that. They’re usually smaller than regular tarot cards too.

Christmas cracker items.

You can find popular tarot decks like the ‘Rider Waite’ deck or the ‘Wild Unknown’ deck cheap on Ebay. The problem is they’re knock offs. You’ll get the same imagery on small, thin pieces of cards and the colours are often a bit off.

Why does it matter if the cards are cheaply made? In a way it doesn’t matter so much, after all tarot cards are used as a tool for divination, they surely don’t have to be expensive do they? Well thin cards are more difficult to shuffle which can be frustrating when doing a reading. They also don’t last as long and get scuff marks very quickly. The other issue is that they just don’t feel right, it feels more like a game and less like cartomancy.

It’s popular these days to print off you’re own cards. This is preferable to buying cheap cards because at least you can use better card, but if you’re not knowledgeable on how to do that then I wouldn’t bother.

There’s nothing like getting an official deck as it was intended to be, in its correct box and printed on decent card. It feels right and its so much more magical. You can really connect with the creator of the cards and experience what they wanted you to experience from their deck.

Some people collect tarot decks and they end up spending a fortune over their life time. I try not to be one of those people but I’ve got to admit it’s difficult not to be one of them. I love getting a new deck! It’s very exciting. What makes it so much more exciting is knowing that you’re getting quality.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t like to spend more than £40 on a deck. The most I’ve spent is £50 but that did include the cost of postage. My advice is to also put a limit on how much you’re prepared to spend. Buying tarot decks can be addictive and sometimes it seems a bit silly to buy a £200 deck when you consider that it’s just a set of cards with pretty pictures on them.

Whether you’re looking for your first deck or another deck for your collection, make sure to get it from a reputable shop or online seller. Forget doing an Ebay search. Look on Etsy if you want but the best way is to simply type ‘online tarot shop’ and go on the websites that come up. You’ll find that their cheapest decks will be around £30 and that’s because they only sell good quality decks.

If you’re not in a lockdown situation and you can do a bit of non essential shopping then go to a witch shop or New age shop. I wouldn’t advise you to buy tarot cards in a shop like ‘The Works’ for example. The advice is to always shop around and consider the prices. If it’s cheap then there’s usually a reason.

If you’d like to contribute to my tarot collection then a donation would be nice 😀


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.