Since tarot cards are used to achieve a variety of things, this calls for a wide-range of deck styles that the public can choose from. It was common from the beginning of tarot card history to have a display of different decks with an array of fascinating designs. Some of these patterns were associated to the region that the cards were created in, which gave way to an explosion of varied interpretations.
One of the most well-known and important tarot card styles is called the Tarot of Marseille, which was the standard version used by the Court de Gebelin. This style became quite popular during the 20th century as Paul Marteau spread the word of the style to the masses. Some of the Marseille designs can also be traced back to the mid-1700s. This originates from a design made popular by Nicolas Conver’s print.
Other regional tarot card creations existed. For example, the tarot card set from the Swiss exchanged the characters of Juno and Jupiter with that of the Papess and the Pope. An expanded deck was created in Florence, which was referred to as the Minichiate. There were 96 cards in this deck, which added astrological symbols to the deck, as well as the four elements, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. The tarot cards that we know today were also added to this deck. You may encounter decks that do not include all of the elements of previous decks. These decks are created to highlight artwork and may only offer 22 cards of the Major Arcana.
In North America, the popular tarot card deck used is based upon the Rider-Waite deck, which is often referred to as the Rider deck or the Universal Waite deck. Published in 1910, the Rider Company produced the tarot cards under the direction of Arthur Waite, who was regarded as a notable Christian occultist. People gravitated to this version because of the ease of the cards, although the symbolism would take much longer to digest and fully comprehend. This is especially seen when viewing the Trumps cards.
The Rider-Waite deck has been criticized for the small amount of colors that are used in the design. Some have described the cards as being too flat. Despite the comments, the line drawings of the deck have been duplicated in other decks with the addition of more color. The first Rider-Waite cards could not avoid the original appearance of their cards; printing capabilities were not that advanced at that time.
Painted cards created by an artist named Frieda Harris were the basis of the tarot deck referred to as Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot. The differences between this deck and the Rider-Waite selection are clearly defined in appearance. Other flashy tarot decks to emerge throughout the years include: the Golden Dawn Tarot, the Tree of Life Tarot, as well as the Cosmic Tarot.
Many novelty tarot decks have found a place within society as well. Cat owners could purchase the Tarot of the Cat People, where cats are displayed in every illustration. Male characters are replaced with females in the Motherpeace Tarot card deck. If you love baseball, the Tarot of Baseball uses baseballs, bats and mitts to illustrate the cards. Another quirky detail is the fact that “coaches and MVPs” replace main cards, such as the Queen card. There is even a tarot card deck for businessmen called the Silicon Valley Tarot.