Comparing Different Styles of Tarot Decks

Опубликовано 25.08.2023


Tarot decks come in various styles, each with its own unique symbolism, artistic interpretation, and cultural influences. These different types of tarot decks cater to diverse tastes and preferences, allowing individuals to choose a deck that resonates with them. In this article, we will explore the wide range of styles found among tarot decks, discuss the number of different tarot decks available, and address the question of whether different tarot decks have different meanings.

Understanding Different Styles of Tarot Decks

Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Deck:

The Rider-Waite-Smith deck, published in 1910, is one of the most widely recognized and influential tarot decks. Its iconic illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith have become the foundation for many modern tarot decks. This deck features vibrant and detailed images, incorporating rich symbolism and archetypal figures.

Thoth Deck:

Created by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris, the Thoth deck is known for its esoteric symbolism and connection to Crowley’s philosophies. It delves into occult teachings and incorporates Egyptian and Qabalistic influences, making it a popular choice among those interested in ceremonial magic and mysticism.

Marseille Deck:

The Marseille deck has a long history and is considered one of the earliest styles of tarot decks. It features simple yet elegant illustrations with minimalistic details. This deck places a stronger emphasis on the suits and the numerical values of the cards, making it popular among purists and those seeking a more traditional approach to tarot.

Modern and Contemporary Decks:

In recent years, numerous modern and contemporary tarot decks have emerged, each with its own artistic style and interpretation. These decks often reflect a more diverse range of cultural influences, artistic movements, and personal visions. Some modern decks deviate from traditional imagery, while others expand upon it, offering fresh perspectives and new symbolism.

The Number of Different Tarot Decks

It is challenging to provide an exact number of different tarot decks available due to the continuous creation and publication of new decks by artists and tarot enthusiasts worldwide. The tarot community is vibrant and constantly evolving, resulting in an ever-expanding selection of tarot decks to choose from. With countless independent creators and variations, the number of different tarot decks is virtually limitless.

Do Different Tarot Decks Have Different Meanings?

While the core meanings of the tarot cards remain relatively consistent across different decks, the interpretation and emphasis placed on certain symbols and imagery may vary. Each tarot deck possesses its own artistic style, symbolism, and cultural references, which can influence the reader’s interpretation and the overall feel of a reading.

Experienced tarot readers often develop a deep connection with a particular deck and become attuned to its nuances and subtleties. This familiarity allows them to extract specific meanings and insights from the cards that may not be as apparent in other decks. However, it is essential to note that the basic foundations and concepts of tarot remain consistent regardless of the deck used.


In conclusion, the world of tarot is rich with a wide variety of deck styles, each offering a unique perspective and artistic interpretation. From the classic symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to the esoteric mysteries of the Thoth deck, and the simplicity of the Marseille deck to the creativity of modern and contemporary decks, there is a tarot deck to suit every individual’s taste and connection. While different tarot decks may have variations in symbolism and artistic expression, the fundamental principles and meanings of the cards remain relatively consistent. Ultimately, the choice of tarot deck is a personal one, guided by intuition, aesthetics, and the resonance one feels with a particular style or theme.