Exploring the Art of Tarot

One of the beautiful things about tarot is the incredible diversity of art styles and aesthetics across decks. Whether you’re drawn to the classic Rider-Waite imagery, modern minimalism, or fantastical fantasy landscapes, there’s a perfect tarot deck out there for everyone.

One of the beautiful things about tarot is the incredible diversity of art styles and aesthetics across decks. Whether you’re drawn to the classic Rider-Waite imagery, modern minimalism, or fantastical fantasy landscapes, there’s a perfect tarot deck out there for everyone. 

In this post, we’ll explore some of the most popular genres of tarot art and get to know the vast creative possibilities when it comes to depicting the 78 cards. Understanding the tarot deck options out there will help you find a style that really speaks to you. Let’s dive in!

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Traditional Rider-Waite Inspired 

For many tarot enthusiasts, the Rider-Waite deck is the gold standard. Created in 1909 by mystic A.E. Waite and illustrated by artist Pamela Colman Smith, it established the imagery and structure most modern decks are based on. The Rider-Waite brought tarot into the mainstream and made it universally accessible through its detailed symbolism and standardized card interpretations.

Decks that take inspiration from Rider-Waite typically stay close to the classic imagery and scenery, while simply updating the art style. You’ll recognize archetypal figures like The Fool journeying with his dog or the High Priestess presiding in her sacred temple. These traditional decks capture the mystical charm that makes Rider-Waite iconic.

Some of my favorite Rider-Waite inspired decks include:

- Radiant Rider-Waite: A vibrant, colorful reimagining of the classic by Virginijus Poshkus

- The Crystal Unicorn Tarot: Combines Rider-Waite figures with a magical, unicorn-filled fantasy world, illustrated by Elven Forest

- The Tarot of Pagan Cats: Rider-Waite scenes playfully recreated with, you guessed it, adorable kitties instead of humans! By Magdelina Messina and Lola Airaghi.

No matter your preferred art medium - from traditional pen and ink to digital painting - Rider-Waite inspired decks keep tarot’s most cherished visual language alive with a fresh coat of paint.

Attune Divination logo and colors (4)-3Nature Inspired 

For those who find communion with the natural world to be a spiritual experience, nature-inspired tarot decks celebrate those connections beautifully. 

Realistic plants, animals, crystals, and landscapes take center stage on the cards, depicting the human journey and archetypal teachings through metaphors from the natural world. The imagery taps into themes of cycles, seasons, growth and our place within the great web of life.

Some of my favorite nature-centered tarot decks include:

- The Woodland Wisdom Tarot: Gorgeous forest scenes on every card by Mark Ryan and John Matthews

- The Gaian Tarot: Vibrant illustrations drawing tarot archetypes from Mother Earth by Joanna Powell Colbert 

- Animalis Os Fortuna: Tarot figures represented as animals against scenic backdrops, by Susan Jameson

- Crystal Unicorn Tarot: Whimsical fantasy landscapes populated with unicorns, crystals and natural wonder, by Elven Forest

For those whose spirituality is rooted in our shared sacred home of Earth, nature oracle decks also satisfy the longing to connect with Mother Nature’s guidance.

If you find peace and meaning while surrounded by trees, crystals, animals, stars, and oceans, a nature-based tarot or oracle deck will feel like coming home.

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Modern Minimalism

On the opposite end of the spectrum from the busyness of Rider-Waite, minimalist tarot decks strip down the imagery to clean, simple lines and symbols. Negative space dominates, focusing on the tarot archetypes themselves without too much embellishment.

These pared down decks have an urban, contemporary vibe perfect for formal card readers or anyone who prefers simplicity. The sparseness also provides plenty of room for you to layer on your own meanings and interpretations.

Some noteworthy minimalist tarot decks include:

- White Numen: Gorgeous, graphic illustrations against a neutral backdrop, by Alba Ballesta

- Neo Tarot: Sleek rendering of the major and minor arcana by Jerico Mandybur 

- Minimalist Tarot: Elegant abstract shapes and lines by Saidden Studio

- Prisma Visions Tarot: Vibrant colors meet geometric shapes by James R. Eads

The minimalist tarot style proves you can strip down the classic iconography to its essence and still capture the potent wisdom and lessons of the cards through clever use of shape, color and composition.

Attune Divination logo and colors (6)-1Fantastical & Fantasy Art

On the flip side, if mythological creatures, psychedelic colors, and lush fantasy landscapes call to you, fantastical tarot decks offer that perfect dose of magic and wonder. 

Worlds populated by unicorns, dragons, mermaids, faeries, and mystical beings bring the tarot archetypes to life in surreal style. The vibe taps into spirituality through the metaphor and imagination of fantasy art.

Some of the most stunning fantastical tarot decks include:

- The Star Spinner Tarot: Vibrant cosmic scenery with mystical figures by Trung Le Nguyen

- The Tarot of the Divine: Deities, myths and legends from cultures worldwide, by Yoshi Yoshitani

- Visionary Vibes Tarot: Psychedelic mushroom inspired art by Summer Bloom

- Next World Tarot: Otherworldly urban fantasy scenes by Cristy Road 

Let your reading practice become an adventure with fantastical oracle and tarot decks! Like dreams, they speak the language of symbolism, myth and imagination.

Attune Divination logo and colors (7)Pop Culture Tarot

For lovers of movies, books, and TV shows, pop culture tarot decks allow you to explore the cards through the lens of your favorite fictional worlds.

Popular themes include Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney, Lord of the Rings, and more. The characters, objects, and locations you adore fill the archetypal roles in clever, unexpected ways.

Some pop culture tarot decks that caught my eye include:

- Tarot of the Divine: Mythology and Deity decks exploring cultures worldwide

- Star Spinner Tarot: Cosmic fantasy with mystical figures by Trung Le Nguyen

- The Tarot of Pagan Cats: Rider-Waite with adorable felines by Magdelina Messina

While the imagery draws from pop culture, the essential meanings and wisdom remain. But exploring tarot through familiar franchises you’re passionate about adds a fun twist!

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Abstract & Conceptual Art Tarot

On the very avant-garde end of the tarot art spectrum, abstract and conceptual decks employ paint splatters, layers, mixed media, photography, and experimental styles you’d expect to see in an art gallery.

Don’t expect to see familiar figures or iconography. Instead the imagery provokes emotion or concepts using shape, texture, color and composition. The wild creativity will jolt you out of preconceptions and open new portals of interpretation.

Some of the most boundary pushing, innovative tarot decks include:

- Tarot Mucha: Striking Art Nouveau designs by Sarah Lawrence

- Tarot del Fuego: Passionate abstract ink blots and textures by Ricardo Cavolo

- Visionary Vibes Tarot: Psychedelic mushroom inspired art by Summer Bloom  

If you have an experimental streak, these inspired conceptual tarot decks will delight the imagination and embrace the full spirit of creativity the cards can represent.

Finding Your Tarot Art Style

With so many genres and art styles to choose from, how do you find a tarot deck that really clicks? Here are a few tips:

- Notice what makes you feel joyful, peaceful, intrigued when looking at different decks

- Reflect on what environments, colors, or symbols inspire you

- Consider what art styles you’re naturally drawn to in other contexts 

- Read deck descriptions and reviews to get a feel for the imagery and meanings

- If possible, look at card samples before purchasing to experience the vibe 

Most importantly, trust your intuition! The right deck will seem to call out to you. 

The beautiful thing about tarot is each person develops such a personal bond with their cards. Let the deck’s imagery tell the story of your unique spiritual journey. 

If you need guidance finding the perfect tarot match, I’m always here to offer deck recommendations! Reach out anytime.

Which tarot art styles speak most to your soul? Share in the comments your favorite tarot aesthetics and why they resonate. Let’s keep the conversation flowing!

With love and light, Nancy Cies

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