If you ask any tarot reader what their five favorite decks are, whether they’re professional readers or just hobbyists, you’re going to get five different answers. Everyone has their own deck that they prefer working with for new readers, a deck they prefer to use a certain kind of year, or even decks for different kinds of situations. But if you ask a tarot reader what they think the five most crucial decks are, odds are good that the answers you get are going to be a little more universal. Below you’ll find five of the most commonly used tarot decks considered to be universally essentials that any good reader should own.
The Waite-Smith tarot deck is the cornerstone of tarot and a must own for anyone who’s serious about becoming a reader. It’s also one of the best decks to learn off of. The images on the cards are clear and don’t require a lot of experience to be able to interpret, and almost every other deck you’ll ever pick up will base its designs off of this one. Knowing this deck will not only make sure you’re providing your querants with clear readings, but it’ll help make reading other decks a lot easier.
The Hanson-Roberts Tarot
While not as well-known as the Waite-Smith deck, the Hanson-Roberts tarot is another great one if you’re doing spreads for someone who’s new to tarot. The images may seem a little less odd and the artwork is soothing to a pool of people, making the new experience less off-putting to someone who’s just starting to dip their toe into the world of divination.
The Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot
The Thoth deck isn’t as simple or easy to read or as simple to interpret as the other two we’ve mentioned here, but that’s part of what makes it great for more intermediate to expert readers. It’s often described as a deep and powerful deck, and it’s one of the most challenging decks to master. Going to a tarot reader who has one of these in their arsenal and actually uses it is likely to be someone you can trust as an expert.
The Golden Tarot
The Golden Tarot was well known as a digital deck before it became one available in print. Known for its Renaissance and medieval style art, it’s also based on the Waite-Smith tarot and should be an easy read for those familiar with it. Repeatedly voted one of the top ten tarot decks for its artwork and intuitive use, it’s a must-have for any reader who wants to be seen as a professional.
Robin Wood Tarot
This is another one that’s great for anyone who’s just getting into professional tarot reading, or alternately is a great deck to use on someone who may be going to their first reading. Unsurprisingly also based on the Waite-Smith deck, this deck houses far more Pagan symbolism than the others we’ve listed, allowing you to add some New Age charm to your readings.