Reading tarot is a centuries-old practice with roots in various traditions around the world, but it’s recently had a renaissance, thanks to Instagram accounts like @tatiannatarot, @biddytarot, and @the_wild_unknown (alongside an onslaught of new decks created with modern readers in mind). Not to mention it makes for the perfect lockdown hobby, since readings over Zoom can be a great way to connect with like-minded and distant friends, and reading for yourself can turn isolation into introspection.
To find out what to get the tarot lover in your life — whether a newbie or a master — we asked nine professional tarot readers and deck creators about their must-haves. Read on for their picks, which include beautiful decks, candles, and the best online courses to deepen any tarot fan’s practice.
Cassandra Snow, a professional reader and the author of Queering the Tarot, told the Strategist that she’s in love with the Taschen tarot art book and can’t wait to get herself a copy. “I’m doing some deep research into the traditional myths and art history of the tarot right now,” Cassandra told us, adding that the book is going to be “the perfect decadent addition to my collection.” It’s a gorgeous full-colour volume that offers insight into over 500 different tarot-card designs, and would be an ideal gift for beginners and experts.
“I would love the Goddess Provisions box every month!” says Grace Duong, creator of the Mystic Mondays tarot deck. “I love trying out new things, and this could be a great way to discover spiritual wellness brands that could support my own day-to-day life.” The Goddess Provisions subscription includes monthly gifts like crystals, candles, tea, and other spiritually enriching products that many tarot readers incorporate into their practice. Boxes range from £45, including shipping from the U.S.
A custom tarot stash box
Lightwands Tarot owner Lexi Hikari told us she’s always on the lookout for something beautiful to store her tarot cards in. “There are so many unique wooden tarot boxes out there,” she says. “And as amazing as it is that tarot is mainstream enough now to be mass-published and come in all kinds of predesigned box sets and wrappings, I do think there is something a little sacred about holding on to a one-of-a-kind, or specially made, box just for your deck.”
Oubria Tronshaw, co-creator of the Melanated Classic Tarot, told the Strategist she’ll be ordering herself this year’s We’Moon Planner & Calendar. It’s a perfect gift for anyone interested in the intersection of tarot and astrology. “It has all the moon phases, planetary shifts, and astrological energies,” says Oubria, adding that the planner is also full of “poetry, essays, witchiness, and wonderfulness to plan your most magical life — I love it.”
Kate Chandler, tarot teacher and owner of Birmingham’s the Zen Shop, says it’s a great idea for tarot readers to experiment with oracle cards. She explained that oracle decks can offer a different viewpoint on readings, and help to develop intuition. “Toni Carmine Salerno is one of the most well-known oracle artists, and her cards are some of the most popular in my shop,” Kate told the Strategist. Kate’s personal favourite is Carmine Salerno’s Spirit Oracle. “It’s just beautiful,” she says.
If you want to treat a friend who’s newly into tarot, this book by Rachel Pollack is recommended by several of our experts. Lexi says this book has something for everyone — from beginner to advanced. “I wish I had discovered this book so much earlier on in my tarot journey,” Lexi says, adding that “the mix of modern and fresh with traditional takes on tarot creates a really beautiful learning tool.”
Stasia Burrington, the artist behind the Sasuraibito Tarot, recently treated herself to this lovely deck off her wish list, and it’s perfect for readers who are looking for a more inclusive design. Stasia especially loves that the deck offers “a variety of lovers cards to use depending on your preference.” The Star Spinner Tarot’s four different versions of the lovers feature hetero, same-sex, mixed-race, and ambiguously gendered couples, as well an illustration that deck artist, Trungles, intended to reflect aromantic, asexual, or platonic relationships.
Several of our experts like to use crystals — particularly black tourmaline and quartz — in their practice, or to decorate their reading spaces. Catherine Rose, a professional reader and founder of the Connected Hearts Club, loves the crystal wands and adornments by Etsy creator Nyxie Moon. “They are seriously cool, I’m obsessed,” Catherine told the Strategist.
Nyxie Moon also offers custom pieces based on the recipient’s astrological natal chart, and ships globally from the U.S.
Grace Duong told us that she can never have enough small chime candles; they’re a vital part of her tarot routine: “I like to light chime candles when I’m tarot reading, and set an intention during that two-hour container while the candle is burning.” Grace prefers candles that burn out on their own in a couple of hours — it helps keep her focussed. “I used to use larger ones,” she told the Strategist, but having to snuff them out herself “disrupts the energy of what I set out to do.”
For those who prefer a big candle, or a more elaborate aesthetic, the Zen Shop’s Kate Chandler loves this stunning layered Chakra Candle, and so do her customers — it regularly sells out in the shop. “It makes a great addition to any reader’s space, even if they don’t work with the chakras and just love it for its spectrum of colour,” Kate says. Plus, the candle is made with essential oils, and it’s ethically sourced.
Deck artists Oubria and Stasia are both big proponents of keeping a tarot journal, and quite a few of our experts noted how much they adore the Modern Witch tarot deck (tarot-deck artist Chinggay Labrador loves that it’s “beautifully illustrated, diverse, and relatable”). With musings on the tarot and pages for daily card spreads, the Modern Witch journal is a good gift for anyone seeking to deepen their tarot practice.
“I LOVE seeing other readers,” Cassandra Snow told the Strategist. She recommended several of her favourites, including Siri Plouff of Northern Lights Witch, who Cassandra says does “amazing work with runes.” Siri also reads tarot and offers consults on rituals and spell work.
Chinggay Labrador, creator of the Practical Magic Tarot Deck, is aching to take “any and all of the classes by Lindsay Mack.” Chinggay’s been on courses with Lindsay before, and learned a lot from her approach. “Lindsay’s thoughtful lessons have helped shape the way I view the archetypes of the tarot and how I hold space for myself and for others,” Chinggay told the Strategist. “And Lindsay’s voice is so soothing!” she adds. “It’s like she lulls you into discovering your own magic.”
If you’re aiming to splurge, tarot reader and medium Mystic Rainn has just the thing on her wish list. “I would love a whole set of crystal quartz singing bowls,” she says. “These are great tools for sound baths and are amazing for resetting and restoring your energetic balance.”
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