Here I am again, just in time for the holidays to tempt you to spend your hard won earnings on gorgeous tarot decks by independent artists (or to plaster the links all over your facebook until your loved ones get the hint for what you want for Yule this year). Indie tarot means there’s no big name publisher involved. The decks I share are either crowd funded or the artists came up with the funds themselves to get their deck printed –which is quite the undertaking! The downside to indie decks is that the first printing often sells out and the artist can’t afford to reprint their deck. For example, there were two amazing decks I really wanted to include in this list, but they’ve now sold out and are no longer available: The Nomad Tarot by Jennifer Drantrel and the Black Hand Lenormand by Shelley Barnes. If there is enough demand, however, this changes the artist’s stars. Maybe we can help.
For this year’s round up I’ve chosen all black and white decks with a few black and gold exceptions. I’m a sucker for simple, black and white artwork and have a feeling I’m not alone in this. It was unintentional, but the featured decks all happen to be created by women. Enjoy and be tempted!
Animalis Os Fortuna Tarot Deck
by Megan Weber
Animal Bone Fortune Deck is an animal oracle based on the traditional tarot system featuring illustrations of a great variety of creatures and their skulls and bones. If you’ve been looking for a less cutesy animal oriented deck to connect to animal spirits in your magic, this one has your number.
Notes: this is a large deck with big cards and will showcase the art awesomely, but be hard to shuffle.
Dark Exact Tarot Deck
by Coleman Stevenson
This is the tarot deck you’ve been looking for to put in your instagram photos and to read with your witchy friends who are too dark and cool for the all the big name colourful decks out there. It is full of symbolism, simplicity, and quality. Each card looks as if it were professionally designed by a graphic designer, and considering that their cool shop has a team of designers and consultants, this could be true. A very professional looking deck overall. The Dark Exact deck follows the traditional meanings of the Rider Waite deck despite the different imagery and so won’t require a complete relearning to work with as a new deck. In my opinion, The Dark Exact Tarot has the potential to be the new “it” deck and reach the same cult status of The Wild Unknown.
Notes: The other witchy products in their shop are seriously amazing.
Flowers from the Dead Divination Deck
by Misha Huntting
I love this deck. It screams witchy spirit work as a deck of all skulls on a black background of swirling smoke. This is an animal oracle, not a tarot deck, and has a small handful of skull-faced human exceptions. This deck would be a great way to communicate with the dead and with animal spirits in your practice and doesn’t require or come with a companion book. The cards are slightly larger than a pack of regular playing cards and are easy to work with.
Notes: Out of all the beautiful decks I researched for this post, this one followed me home.
Heart and Hands Tarot Deck
by Liz Blackbird
Crowdfunding Site: indiegogo.com
In this deck’s artwork, graphic design meets tattoo flash meets art deco (with hints of Aubrey Beardsley). These are big cards and the art is full of swirls and lots of detail –almost reminiscent of stained glass but without the colour. If you’re looking for a beautiful deck with endless hours of hand illustration put into it by the artist, this is the one.
Notes: This deck is the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign. Congrats Liz!
Small Spells Tarot Deck
by Rachel Howe
A full tarot deck of simple black ink illustrations on white backgrounds. The style is a combination of cartoon, tattoo flash, and low-fi graphic design. If you don’t like fancy decks and are looking for something simple and hand drawn, modern but still mystical, Small Spells is definitely for you.
Notes: This deck comes with the guide book, you don’t have to pay extra for it!
Spirit Speak Tarot Deck
by Mary Evans
This funky tarot deck has a very chaotic, discordian, graphic novel feel. The artist’s goal was to create a simple deck that anyone can understand and perform readings with. I like it for its lack of pretentiousness and the clever design of the branding and packaging.
Vibrant Spirit Tarot
by Beata Kruszynski
I don’t know what it is about this deck, but I love it. Simple, hand drawn, abstract, and very feminist. I see it helping a lot of women in both their mundane and magical lives. The first printing sold out, but the second printing is now available for pre-order.
Notes: The artist also has a 2017 Tarot Calendar available if you are impatient to wait for the deck to be printed.
Wanderer’s Tarot Deck
by Casey Zabala
A feminist exploration of the traditional tarot with altered suits of moons, stones, knives, and feathers. The Wanderer’s Tarot is a very striking deck with its simple hand drawn imagery against the stark black backgrounds. Because of it’s diversion from the traditional tarot system and imagery this deck will take longer to learn to work with, but if it speaks to you it will most definitely be worth it.
BLACK AND GOLD DECKS
Professor Pam’s Urban Divination Deck
by Pam Wishbow
Pam Wishbow is my current witchy artist crush. Everything she touches and creates is pretty much gold to me and her graphic design aesthetic is perfection. This humorous deck of square cards is perfect for the city-dweller who is honest about their disconnect from nature and contains cards like “The Sewer Raccoon” and “The Suspicious Puddle”.
Pam is also in the process of creating a different yet-to-be-named black and white oracle deck.
The Golden Thread Tarot
by Tina Gong
Just when you’re like “no, stop Sarah, my bank account can’t handle looking at any more amazing decks!” I’m like: “but just look at this last epic one with metallic gold illustrations that will blow your socks off.” The Golden Thread Tarot is what happens when a talented graphic designer who also happens to be a huge technology nerd designs a deck. The artwork is reminiscent of animé and it is “cute” without taking it too far. The gold on black makes it elegant and it creates a very unique balance with the art.
Notes: Who needs a guide book when you can download a custom app for your smart phone with beautiful custom graphics? A huge gold and black zodiac casting cloth is available in her etsy shop. Oh, and she also has an online tarot school. This woman is rocking at design and marketing.
Do you have a favourite indie tarot deck you found this year? Share it in the comments!