Tarot Cards for Beginners & Beyond
This deck is awesome! This is meant to be the closest thing to the original deck, commemorating the artwork of Pamela Colman Smith. It's a bit expensive because it comes with a copy of "Pictorial Key to the Tarot" by Edward Waite (which you can get public domain, but this is bound) and other samples of Smith's artwork.
The coloring on this deck is aged and beautiful, but the coup de gras is the card stock. It's a thick, matte-finish stock like no other deck you've probably ever felt. This is a truly beautiful deck. I'm hoping that some time in the future they release it as just the deck for those people who can't afford the whole package.
The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck is one of the most popular decks for beginners. Originally published by William Rider, and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith & Dr. Arthur Edward Waite, the colors have varied through the years to the, now recognizable, colors you see in this deck, published by U.S. Games.
That said, there are many Rider clones, with different coloring, but the same or similar rich symbolism. For those just beginning to tap their toe into the water of the wonderful world of tarot, I recommend getting this deck, or one of the many wonderful Rider-Waite-Smith clones. Once you learn the symbolism in one of these decks, you will have a solid basis to move onto one of the other many creative decks available.
One of my favorite Rider clones, the Radiant deck, is just that. Radiant. The colors are vivid beyond description, printed on nice card stock, in the standard size, 2 3/4" by 4 3/4", making them one of the easier decks to shuffle, with so many decks getting larger and larger. Great for a beginner, or a wonderful addition to any tarot collection, with the added value of it being a deck that you will probably actually use. ;-)
I absolutely love this deck. The colors are very muted, & the illustrations are much more detailed than in the RWS deck. The backs have a nice blue background with gold stars (if they haven't changed it since I bought mine some years ago) & the look and feel of them is soft and soothing.
These are the polar opposite of the Radiant Tarot, yet both have their own unique feel & both are wonderful to have for whatever mood you happen to be in. This is a wonderful deck for beginners. (See pocket edition here.)
This is the same deck as above, but not sold with a book. Check the price. Usually I don't consider buying book sets, but last I looked, the book set was less expensive than the deck by itself. Hardly makes sense. ;-) So why not just go for the set. (See pocket edition here.)
The Albano-Waite deck is an interesting deck. While it is a Rider Clone with the colors are vastly different from any other clone on the market. They are not just vivid, but expressive in the way that they are not always exactly what you would expect them to be. (A lot of red skies.)
It's a hit or miss whether people will like the colors or not, it's a very personal choice. Personally, I used this deck for many years, I have both the standard size and the miniature size (not sure that's available anymore,) and find it to be a wonderful addition to my collection.