What Makes a Tarot Deck a Tarot Deck?

What makes a tarot deck a tarot deck?

While you could say that all tarot cards are oracle cards, not all oracle decks are tarot decks. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse the two. Here’s how to know if your deck is a tarot deck.

  • 78 cards: Standard tarot decks have 78 cards divided into two parts: a major arcana, which is Latin for “greater secrets,” and a minor arcana, which is Latin for “lesser secrets.”
  • Major arcana cards: The major arcana should have 22 cards: the Fool, Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, Strength, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, and the World.
    While the names of some cards can vary from deck to deck, the titles should be close enough that you’re still able to tell which cards correspond to their counterparts in any other tarot deck.
  • Minor arcana cards: Likewise, the minor arcana cards in the deck you choose should be divided into four suits: wands, cups, swords, and pentacles, or their equivalents.
  • Court cards: Each of the four suits should have ten numbered cards, along with four court cards: a page, knight, queen, and king.