By Zanna StarrTarot cards have been used for centuries in many different ways – for gaming, divination, fortune telling, consultation, guidance, and decision making. These days, Tarot cards often have “themes.” Below is a list of what I consider to be the Top Ten Silliest Tarot Decks. I do not say this as an insult. The decks on this list have managed to combine the format and structure of traditional Tarot decks with humorous, unusual or, yes, “silly” images to create something fun and fabulous. Enjoy!
#1 The Housewives Tarot by Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum (Quirk Books)
Packaged in a mock recipe box, this deck gives much more than a “nod” to the 1950s – it transports you right back to the days of June Cleaver, Donna Reed, Margaret Anderson, and Harriet Nelson. It may be true that “Father Knows Best,” but this deck knows how to tickle your funny bone.
#2 Silicon Valley Tarot by Thomas Scoville (Steve Jackson games)
The card numbers in this deck are given in “base 10” and in binary. The Major Arcana cards are given names like Hacker, Guru, Futurist, and Consultant. The suits of the Minor Arcana are Cubicles, Disks, Hosts, and Networks.
#3 Food Fortunes Cards by Josh Lafayette (Chronicle Books)
Major Arcana cards include The Beginning (an egg), The Slice (pizza), The Folded One (Taco), and The Burg (hamburger). The suits are Mains, Sides, Sweets, and Drinks. Each food on the Minor Arcana cards has a title. The Two of Mains is “Gyro – The Mispronounced.” The publisher’s blurb urges us to: “Simply lay the cards out three at a time and voila—a meal appears, a vision from the spirit realm.” Buy from Amazon
#4 The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov (Magic Realist Press)
Original artwork based on 19th-century drawings by French artist J. J. Grandville (known as the “Father of Surrealism”) gives this deck its whimsical, quirky, witty quality. The Tower card features a wolf abducting a lady sheep and a dog coming to the rescue with a spear. On the Two of Cups, two cats dance on a rooftop serenaded by a bird in a red cloak, playing the flute. Buy on Amazon
#5 Phantasmagoric Theater Tarot by Graham Cameron (U.S. Games Systems)
Crazy, surreal and ever so brightly colored, this deck takes “quirky” to a whole new level with suits that represent places: the Fire Wand Circus, the Water Cup Desert, the Air Sword Labyrinth, and the Earth Coin Village. And we all have that friend whose favorite word is “phantasmagoric,” don’t we? Um. Don’t we? Okay, maybe it’s just me. Buy on Amazon
#6 Monster Tarot by Negretto II (Museo Dei Tarocchi – Hermatena)
These cards feature photographs of sculptures on exhibit in the Tarot Museum. The menacing, spooky, and just plain silly expressions on the faces of these monsters will either endear them to you or send you screaming into the dark woods (because that’s where people go when they are trying to escape monsters, right?)
#7 The Tarot of the Animal Lords by artist Angelo Giannini (Lo Scarabeo)
Each card in this whimsical deck shows a figure with the body of a human and head of some creature from the animal world. The suit symbols are creatures too: salamanders (wands), crabs (chalices), butterflies (swords) and beetles (pentacles). The Queen of Swords (a praying mantis-woman) is a green nightmare, and The High Priestess, an elephant-woman, wears a blue gown in size XXXXXXXXL (one assumes).
#8 The Wonderland Tarot by Chris Abbey and Morgana Abbey (U.S. Games Systems, Inc.)
In this frabjous deck, artist Morgana Abbey pays homage to the style of Sir John Tenniel, illustrator of the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Minor Arcana suits are Flamingos, Peppermills, Hats, and Oysters. Can you guess who’s on The Devil card? (Hint: “’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gyre and gimble in the wabe….”). Buy on Amazon
#9 Vanessa Tarot by Lynyrd Narciso (U.S. Games Systems Inc.)
Inspired by pop culture heroines (think Jackie O and Sophia Loren), this light-hearted deck manages to be feminine, fun, funky, and fabulous all rolled into one. Modern lifestyles and modern scenes are featured on all of the cards. The art is cartoon style, and the cards were originally inspired by dolls, so they have a bit of an anime look. Buy on Amazon
#10 The Baroque Bohemian Cats’ Tarot by Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov (Magic Realist Press)
There aren’t many things sillier than cats dressed up in elegantly embroidered fine ribbon and lace coats and gowns or satin pants with lace trim. Perhaps the silliest thing about this celebration of “unashamed felinity” (thank you, T.S. Eliot) is that this deck actually reads quite well as Tarot. It’s a tall order, but the cats (and Mahony and Ukolov) are up to the task. Buy on Amazon
Zanna Starr is an astrologer and tarot reader with 20 years of experience. She writes a blog called Tarot Notes, teaches astrology and tarot at The Magical Circle School, and writes horoscopes at Tell My Tarot https://tellmytarot.com