This is my yearly “indie tarot decks are awesome” feature. I would even argue that some independently published tarot and oracle decks are of a higher quality and creativity than many mainstream decks right now. Seriously, crowdfunding is one of the best things to happen to artists. Some of these decks were kickstarter campaigns and others just quietly got released when no one was looking. I hope you find one or more to fall in love with and take home (and try not to drool on).
See last year’s post: It’s All Indie Cards.
The Alchemical Tarot
Creator: Robert M. Place
This tarot deck by Robert M. Place is serious business. If you think indie means unprofessional, this deck will prove you wrong– so very, very wrong. Shiny, thick, glossy cards of high quality and exceptional design. This is the fourth edition of Robert’s wonderful ode to alchemy. The artists’ decks constantly sell out and with good reason. It’s not one to hem and haw over, it’s one to grab before it’s gone. If alchemy doesn’t appeal to you, it will be happy news to hear he has another deck currently available: The Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery which is based on Renaissance art and Neoplatonic mysticism. Cool thing: The Alchemical Tarot has two “Lovers” cards, one of the lovers sweetly embracing and one of the lovers getting down and dirty.
The Earthbound Oracle
Creator: Andy Swartz
I am a big fan of Andy Swartz’s work. Pretty much everything he does makes me really happy. His work is always full of skulls, bones, stones, and plants– what’s not to love! The best way I can describe his artwork is shamanic-punk psychedelia with a pale colour palette. He is also the creator of The Wooden Tarot and sells his amazing paintings and illustrations on Etsy. The Earthbound Oracle is not a tarot deck, but an oracle deck of 50 cards the size of a pack of playing cards. It is easy to read intuitively and always seems to be dead on, even if read in a casual manner.
The Fountain Tarot
Creators: Jonathan Siaz, Jason Gruhl & Andi Todaro
This deck is the work of three people, an artist (Jonathan Siaz), a writer (Jason Gruhl), and a graphic designer (Andi Todaro). Each card is an intricate oil painting just oozing with modern art and sacred geometry. You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate this deck, it is beautiful, luxurious with its silver edging, and intricately painted. The minor arcana was given just as much love as the majors with attention to detail. It is a collector’s deck, but also a functional reading deck. Reviews of the included companion book have been very positive. Click here to see more images.
The Linestrider Tarot
Creator: Siolo Thompson
Siolo Thompson is an incredibly talented artist and her deck of gorgeous watercolours, reminscent of the current water colour tattoo trend, is one of the most unique takes on the traditional Rider-Waite imagery I have seen to date. It started off as a crowd funded kickstarter project and was successful enough to garner the attention of Llewellyn who will be publishing a second edition in the summer of 2016. Click here to see more images.
The Nomad Tarot
Creator: Jennifer Dranttel
I can’t help but love the simplicity of this Pacific Northwest themed deck illustrated by Jennifer Dranttel. The black and white is very striking (okay, it’s actually a navy blue so dark it looks black), and it’s hard to find other decks to compare it to. It is very photogenic and I love taking pictures with the cards (you may have noticed). The major arcana is something special with each card being its own completely unique and fresh take on the traditional tarot imagery– translation: this deck is in no way traditional! The minor arcana is very simple and composed of illustrations of crystals (pentacles & earth), feathers (swords & air), sea shells (cups & water), and butterflies (staves & fire). The basic minor arcana may make this a hard deck to read with for beginners, but if you are comfortable reading with playing cards this deck will be no problem for you.
The Prisma Visions Tarot
Creator: James R. Eads
This deck by James R. Eads will blow your mind. No really. Each minor arcana suit is a continuous image. You lay out each card in a row and they make one beautiful image telling a story. Only the major arcana cards stand alone as separate images with their own stories to tell. The artwork is a combination of impressionism and surrealism with a wood-cut look to them. This is most definitely a collector’s deck, it may be a little hard for some to read with, but it is gorgeous and worth the try. The padded blue box it comes in is gorgeous, the blue backs with their all-seeing eye are gorgeous, the silver edges of each card are gorgeous… you get my drift. If you’ve been looking for a luxe deck for yourself or for a gift, this is it. Cool thing: there’s a bonus card just called “Strawberries”. Click here for more images.
The Wild Unknown 2nd Edition
Creator: Kim Krans
If you haven’t heard of the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans yet, it’s about time! It has a huge cult following and the very successful first edition recently sold out. It is the deck of the hipster occultist and all over social media and the blogosphere. The deck is currently available is the newly printed second edition. This indie deck is pretty much single-handedly mainstreaming tarot. It’s so popular the artist started a tumblr to showcase fans’ tattoos and photos called Wildlings.