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Some people collect tarot and oracle decks for the artwork, some use them as an excuse to gather with friends on an chilly fall evening (Helllllo, harvest party!), and others might use them as a daily ritual or as a prompt for journaling or meditation.
Each card will mean something slightly different to each person, but one thing’s for sure: They can be a great tool for self-reflection and coping with anxiety and stress in times of uncertainty. Some professionals, such as therapists, life coaches, and social workers, incorporate them into their practices for that reason. But let us be clear: Do not expect these cards to predict the future.
Whatever the reason you’re looking for a deck, there are literally hundreds of choices out there. We’ve carefully selected a few we think are worth your time — all recent releases with diverse artwork and stellar reviews.
Best new oracle and tarot decks
- The Wandering Star Tarot by Cat Pierce
- The Luna Sol Tarot by Darren Shill and Mike Medaglia
- The Weaver Tarot by Threads of Fate
- Modern Witch Tarot by Lisa Sterle
- Shine from the Inside Oracle Cards by Brittney Carmichael
- The Earthcraft Oracle Deck by Juliet Diaz and Lorriane Anderson
- Everyday Witch Oracle Deck by Deborah Blake and Elisabeth Alba
- Threads of Fate Oracle: Rose Edition
Though tarot cards have seen an uptick in interest recently, they’re actually an old soul. The OG Rider-Waite deck was first published in 1909, and its roots go back to hand-painted cards in the 15th century or earlier.
These were originally used as playing cards. Mysticism around the cards evolved in the late 1700s, and the way they were used started to change as different iterations of the deck emerged over the next two centuries. It wasn’t until the 1970s that tarot cards were heavily marketed as a “fortune-telling” tool.
A typical deck consists of 78 cards. There are 22 major arcana (aka “trumps,” like The Fool, The Magician, and Strength), which represent the bigger picture in your life. There are 56 minor arcana divided into four suits (much like a typical deck of playing cards) traditionally called the Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles, which run from Ace to 10. These represent the smaller everyday decisions of your life.
As Michelle Tea writes in her book Modern Tarot, the cards are “an ancient story system, a pack of cards that tell a multitude of tales depending on the ways in which they’re placed alongside one another.” Many people find that the cards they draw might relate to what’s going on in their own life and — with the help of a guidebook or an experienced reader alongside them — gain wisdom for how to move forward.
Of course, you might glean just as much inspiration or insight from drawing a single card as from a three-card spread. There’s no wrong way to read the cards.
Oracle decks are inspirational cards that don’t follow the format of tarot decks and require no study or practice to use. They usually have fewer cards but can contain any number the creator/designer chooses. There are no major or minor arcana.
They vary widely in presentation and theme but have also become popular in recent years as a tool for introspection and self-care.
For instance, you might pick the “Make a Move” card from the Everyday Witch Oracle, which features people dancing in a river. The accompanying description in the guidebook encourages readers not only to move their bodies but to actively create positive change and forward momentum in their life.
Oracle cards can be used separately from tarot cards or right alongside them, and their meanings depend entirely on the person using them. Some decks might come with thorough guidebooks, while others may forgo a guidebook, leaving more space for individual interpretation.
There are a lot of decks out there — here’s how we curated this list specifically for you:
- These decks are all relatively new releases.
- They showcase a wide variety of artwork that’s not only visually appealing but also diverse and inclusive in the people depicted in the illustrations.
- All have great online reviews and have been personally reviewed by yours truly, Greatist’s Books Editor and a longtime card reader.
This is a satisfyingly thick deck with two extra, totally unique cards: “The Mother Star” and “The Creator.”
We love that each of the 80 cards has keyword meanings worked into the artwork so you can easily get to know the deck if you’re a beginner, yet they’re totally unobtrusive if you’re a seasoned tarot reader. The bright, whimsical artwork is full of hopeful messages where “all beings share space with peace, respect, and equality.” And the guidebook offers deeper meanings and inspirational quotes.
Words and illustrations are by the multi-talented Cat Pierce, whose music you might have heard in such shows as “Pretty Little Liars,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Riverdale.”
We love the box just as much as the cards when it comes to the Luna Sol deck. The sturdy box has a magnetic closure that opens to reveal yet another beautifully illustrated box that slides out and contains the 78 cards (inspired by, and mostly staying true to, the OG Rider-Waite deck) and a little hardcover guidebook.
This deck has a gentle color palette in muted tones of yellow, lilac, teal, and green. The illustrations and accompanying text celebrate empathy, diversity, and hope while keeping in mind the seasons of the sun and moon. Reviewers describe it as “gentle,” “sincere,” and “great for beginners.”
These are some high quality cards — from the incredibly beautiful and sturdy box to the cardstock and guidebook, it’s clear that a lot of thought and care went into them.
Threads of Fate has a few different versions to choose from. We checked out the Journeyer edition, which focuses on supporting you in manifesting abundance of all kinds in your life.
It features mesmerizing shades of lavender, blue, and pink, plus gold foil illustrations and edges. This gender-neutral deck also has a slightly iridescent layer on the face of each card, so they’re extra-fun to turn this way and that to catch the light.
Millennials and Gen Z peeps will appreciate this magical and modern spin on traditional tarot symbolism. The art on these cards is inspired by “fashion and modern witches from every walk of life.” It contains 79 cards and a cute little hardcover guidebook.
We especially love the bonus card, an extra 10 of Swords card that says “Everything is fine” at the bottom instead of “10 of Swords.” It features a young woman lying on her side, scrolling through her phone as 10 swords pierce her side — kinda representing how a lot of 2020 and 2021 have felt for many of us.
This one has a nice sturdy box similar to The Luna Sol Tarot (both are produced by Liminal 11) and thick, glossy cards that feel nice and secure in your hands.
Loaded with playful watercolor illustrations in some of our fave blue, pink, yellow, and purple tones, these cards are the perf way to start your day. The cards are designed to help you make friends with your “inner mean girl,” guiding you to overcome negative thoughts and believe in yourself.
Feminine figures in all shapes, sizes, and colors are shown throughout, along with short and to-the-point guidance or affirmations and an equally colorful guidebook that expands on them.
A few of our favorites: “Turn criticism into kindness,” “Allow unlimited abundance,” and “Your soul whispers love, your ego whispers fear.”
This deck has brightly colored illustrations that give us watercolors-meet-stained-glass vibes.
The deck and guidebook are supposed to help you reconnect with Mother Earth and your highest self. The cards are filled with people of all skin tones, hair textures, shapes, and sizes — a reminder that earth is home to *all* of us.
Each card also has a word or phrase on it, such as “balance,” “forest bathing,” “sight of owl,” or “warrior woman.” The guidebook contains a message and a ritual or practice for each card — like an affirmation, meditation, or yoga pose — to help you connect with its meaning.
This 40-card deck and guidebook is made for cat lovers. Allllmost every card has at least one cat in the illustration, alongside people of all different ages, genders, and skin tones.
But cute cats aside, we love the colorful and whimsical art and positive, uplifting words — this is a feel-good deck to help you through the good days and the bad. This deck is divided into 4 groups, with 10 cards each for earth (grounding and practical action), air (thought and communication), fire (creativity and passion), and water (change and movement).
The rose gold foil designs on these sleek, elegant satin matte black cards are a sight to drink in and a pleasure to hold. Each of the 55 cards has a design that corresponds with a single word or phrase encouraging you to deepen your relationship with yourself, using the elements and animals as guides.
One of our faves is the “trust” card with two moths, a crystal, and trillium leaves, but TBH all of these cards are so beautiful they’re worthy of framing.
There are 32 elemental cards in 4 suites: earth, air, fire, and water. There are also 23 Ether cards (a so-called fifth element or spirit). All decks by Threads of Fate are gender-neutral.
Naomi Farr is the books editor and a copy editor at Greatist. She enjoys writing about all things books, beauty, wellness, and mental health. She’s also a YA fantasy writer and bookstagrammer. You can find her (and her cat) on Instagram: @avioletlife.