Review of the Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid

I love Colette Baron-Reid’s work and have her Wisdom of the Oracle cards. I also have both Wisdom of the Hidden Realms and Wisdom of the House of Night. In my guest waiting room while clients wait their turn, there’s always a Colette Baron-Reid oracle deck out for them to tinker with. So I was eager to check out her transition from the oracle world into tarot via her newest work, The Good Tarot.

The artwork in this deck is mesmerizing, I love the emerald card back design, and the deck is a resplendent addition to the genre of New Age Aquarian consciousness tarot decks targeted for the mainstream Indigo Crystal child that has risen in popularity this last decade.

The soft-focus, ethereal point of view superimposed over the classic tarot architecture is an intriguing premise. I would consider this deck to be kid-friendly. Heck, tarot reading parents can totally use this deck to improvise bedtime stories. (That would be a really cool idea actually, especially with The Good Tarot, which is rich with magical creatures, the fairy tale ethos, and the promise of a happily ever after.)

The premise of the Good Tarot suggests a tinge of rivalry with the Doreen Virtue tarot premise, which is the attempt to cast a spiritually protective net over the tarot by eliminating any window of negative energies to come through and to eradicate “scary” cards that might otherwise be triggering to those of softer dispositions. Even if there is no intent to compete, Baron-Reid and Virtue certainly appeal to the same target market.

Let’s start by seeing how well you connect with these cards. From the above photo, choose one of those three cards– left, center, or right. We’ll circle back to this later and I’ll reveal which card you drew.

If you feel spiritually connected to angels, fairies, and mystical fantasy lands with fairy tale endings, you are going to love this deck. This deck transports you to another dimensional realm, one where magic looks a lot like the magic you see on TV. The lion imagery in the Empress, lion plus woman in embrace in Key 6: The Lovers, and lion plus woman again in Key 8: Strength tripped me up a bit, but if you commit to working with this deck, you get over that rather quickly.

Reading The Good Tarot will be less about occult symbolism and more about feeling out the general energies around a situation. For me personally, I couldn’t get precise readings with the deck, though it performed exemplary for tapping into overall energies. The artwork is dreamy, imaginative, and soft. The deck name is apropos, because when I gaze at the card images, I smile wistfully and feel… good. The entire deck unfolds like an adolescent girl’s day dream.

I appreciate the color scheme for each suit and the cohesive patterns maintained. The Good Tarot is going to read like its own independent and modern system. It’s not a Rider-Waite-Smith clone, it’s not a Marseille deck, and it’s definitely not a Thoth. If you scan across the top row above, 2 of Air to Six of Air, then even continuing on from 8 of Air to 10 of Air, I confess that as a reader I would have a difficult time parsing through the cards and distinguishing each separately for independent symbolism. The energy of 3 of Air feels similar to, say, 10 of Air, which I suppose makes sense. Three of Swords and Ten of Swords do share some similar vibes.

The suit of Fire is delightful. Unicorns, pretty maidens, and floating golden orbs. If you write young adult fantasy fiction for girls, this would be a great deck for triggering your creativity.

I’m going to skip the Suit of Water skip for now and revisit it later.

Here we see the suit of Earth and it conveys strong earth tones. Here we see iconic coin imagery. I love the musical instrument symbolism for the 8 of Earth (Eight of Pentacles).

Now let’s talk about the suit of Water.

Again, color scheme reflects the element. We are now entering a fantasy world under the seas. The blue-green-aquamarine hues here are beautiful and just so, so pretty. The deck could have been called The Pretty Tarot.

There is one card in the suit of Water, to me, that is not like the others. And that’s the 10 of Water. Let’s talk about the use of Buddha here.

Use of Buddha imagery for the Ten of Water here echoes the allegations of cultural appropriation that singer-songwriter Katy Perry was under fire for recently. Just to be clear: I don’t mind and I don’t think this is an issue. This isn’t a thing. People are blowing the cultural appropriation claims out of proportion. Here’s what happened to the singer. Perry had posted an image of Kali on her Instagram with the caption “current mood.” You can read more about the controversy it sparked at EliteDaily here, PaperMag here, TeenVogue here, Internet Hindu: Voice of Hindus here, and UK’s Evening Standard here.

Again personally, I did not view Perry’s conduct as cultural appropriation and I also do not view the use of Buddha imagery (in this case I think it’s Budai) for the Ten of Water by Baron-Reid as cultural appropriation either. In fact, I don’t have any issue with it. But I will say that it stuck out in that “what here does not belong” kind of way. Let’s take a look.

In terms of the subdivision between the Majors and Minors that tarotists classically understand, with Majors tending to relate to the collective unconscious, spiritual journey, blah blah blah and Minors tending to relate to the mundane everyday (and then you decidedly stick a Buddha in the Minors…), plus not being specifically an Eastern spirituality themed deck, plus the specific contextual use of the Buddha imagery here, which I will get more into, may conceivably be construed as insensitive or tone deaf. It’s not a big deal, don’t get me wrong. It’s a “whatevs” moment, but one I’m still going to point out.

Using Buddha imagery in a tarot deck is not “cultural appropriation” or “tone deaf” or to be discouraged, but rather, you have to consider how you’re using it and the context. Here, in the Good Tarot, I felt like Buddha was being somewhat fetishized alongside seahorses, fishies, and mermaids. If you scan the line of cards for the suit of Water, the narrative of a seahorse, then fish, merfolk, maidens, and mythical European-inspired ocean spirits, the Buddha appears out of place. As a deck creator and spiritualist, why is a Chinese Buddha (the depiction of Budai here is Chinese in style) there for the Ten of Water? Perhaps it’s my ignorance, but the more I scan the narrative of the Water suit, the more perplexed I get.

Again I’d like to emphasize: is this a big deal? No. Not at all. Is it weird? Uh, yah. A bit. Buddha was out of place among the European fairytale depictions of merfolk. As a tarotist, you’d have to ask the deck creator: what is the symbolic significance of depicting Buddha here?

All right. Now back to those 3 cards. Do you remember which you chose? Left, center, or right? Here they are:

I do love the accompanying guidebook. I’m showing snapshots of each relevant page from the guidebook corresponding with the above three cards.

If you chose the 2 of Earth, you can read the entry from the guidebook, provided above. It echoes most common interpretations of the Two of Pentacles.

The center card was the 6 of Water. Again, the interpretation from the guidebook echoes traditional card meanings for the Six of Cups.

Finally, if you chose the card on the right, you got Key 1: The Magician.

The Good Tarot is a wistful, whimsical tarot deck that depicts a utopian fantasy world of fairies, mermaids, angels, unicorns, white-bearded Merlin-esque wizards, and Buddha. There is a quixotic essence to the deck that is going to appeal to a large audience. The 21st-century-New-Age Qi is strong here.

I do get the distinct sense that The Good Tarot is trying to compete against the Doreen Virtue empire, though, which is great, by the way. The more the merrier. We don’t have enough safe tarot decks. There is nothing wrong with choosing skim milk, or buying the fat free cookies, or drinking diet soda. Personally, I’ve always been a full fat, real sugar kind of gal. I believe I have intentionally had margarine or “butter spread” once in my lifetime and then never again. It’s the real butter for me, thanks.

Screen shot from Aeclectic Tarot. Click on image to visit the site.

If we make the inevitable comparison between Baron-Reid’s The Good Tarot and Doreen Virtue’s Fairy Tarot, I prefer The Good Tarot, though the two are distinctly different. Baron-Reid’s deck will rely more on your own creativity and intuition, whereas the Fairy Tarot had divinatory captions.

The self-identified empaths with more sensitive dispositions are going to love The Good Tarot. It’s got strong Cancer-Pisces vibes. The Good Tarot doesn’t work for me as a reading deck mainly because I’m a closed-minded snob who, when it comes to the occult, probably spouts conservative values. However, I love that we have availed to us a deck like The Good Tarot, adding to the diversity of the tarot world. This deck will open doors. Baron-Reid’s work helps introduce tarot to a much wider audience and I dig that.

It’s a great deck for lay folk who would like to tinker around with a tarot deck once in a while. The companion guidebook is comprehensive and adequate for helping anyone no matter the level of tarot experience navigate a reading. So as a deck set, The Good Tarot would be an excellent gift for any yoga-loving, free-spirited, love-and-light friend in your social circle.

32 thoughts on “Review of the Good Tarot by Colette Baron-Reid

  1. Thank you for including pictures of every card in your deck reviews. It does help me decide whether to buy a particular deck or not. This is a lovely deck, but yes, if I bought it, I’d have “One of these things is not like the others” going through my head every time the 10 of Water came up.


    1. Lisa Walker

      I’ll help change that, it’s a fabulous deck..better than you know, 10 of water = 10 of cups, when your cup is full it runneth over, the water is in flow and returns to the source, 10 of cups is the enlightenment. Alignment with Spirit, to be fulfilled, The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. Budda in Sanskrit means “enlightened one” so perfectly positioned. The suggestion that was put forward was only an opinion.

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    1. Lisa Walker

      There was not really a single paragraph that you did not veil with passive aggressive condecending opinions. Even though, in your words The Budda was “no big deal” you dedicated 6 paragraphs porporting to… it didn’t fit, perplexing, cultural appropriation ?, Katy Perry and her tweets, marriage and trolls. Inclinations toward Tinkerings or time fillers, fluff, associations with milk and cookies. The Tag; Colette Baron Reid at the very top of one of your pages, and in the subsequent reveiw failing to write her full name or fist name and chooding to just mention Colette by just her surname “Baron-Reid” is overtly disrespectful. Tarot is one of many ancient divining system, that one can learn, learning expands, if you can’t see it does that mean it isn’t there? But to comprehend and expand, then fold back into, Is something you experience. “the Good Tarot” can be read traditionally for the traditionalists, who want to do just that, its all there. Those who are ready to go beyond the systems to awakening.. Here we go…yay


  3. Linda Thompson-Mills

    These are gorgeous cards, without a doubt. They still seem like Oracle cards, though… Thank you for your thoughtful review.


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  5. Marina

    Benebell, I just love your disclaimer…about this not being a reading deck for you because you are a close minded snob! LOVE IT!! I do own this deck and I do love it and much of what you said resonated with me. I know the Tarot meanings very well– read your huge-ass book (LOL)– and if I didn’t, I would definitely need to rely on the handbook. The images don’t truly capture the meanings of the cards for me though they are lovely. Interesting enough, I do NOT vibe much at all with Doreen and I’m kind of a snob too when it comes to fluffly stuff, but I do love this deck. Colette’s brand of softness I can dig and get into. In fact, I heard her interview in a replay of the Hay House World Summit and was surprised how much she’s been through. She’s been through some rough stuff and has experienced the dark side, I think. Thank you so much for another lovely review!


  6. “The Good Tarot would be an excellent gift for any yoga-loving, free-spirited, love-and-light friend in your social circle.” And maybe people with Ph.D’s, Master’s degrees, those with a deep appreciation for Tarot going back to Marseilles, and or many other kinds of folks aside from the Doreen Virtue crowd. I like how thorough your reviews are but this comes across as really condescending. I wish I could be a yoga loving, free spirited, love and light person so maybe I’ll like this deck cause I think it looks beautiful even though it is fluffy and lacks the traditional symbolism even lay people might expect.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Rosalyn Marie

    Thank you Benebell for your review. This deck seems to have been made to market to another audience to make money. I do iike Colette Baron Reid’s work, but not her Tarot cards. I don’t believe it should be made a game. Everything doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. Thank you still for being kind with this review. Every week she has to read from her book that accompanies the cards, and says this is a deck you have to read the book with. I will not be buying this deck, it is a bunch of fluff.


  8. Lisa Walker

    I am Sorry, but I thought your review was terrible, inaccurate and No doubt will stall people here from moving foward. Time is quickening, the languages and symbols are coming in stronger and clearer for those that are tuning in, moving forward faster, vibrating and attracting and walking more directly their truer paths, which in turn assists everyone one. For you to infer rivalry or competition, suggests to me, you Under-stand…or rather Stand Under instead of standing In come- prehension ( I meant the wordsmithing break down here..Come to prehension) You clearly are stuck in the Tarot land (nothing wrong with that ), but do the same again and again, with as many different decks and interpretations as you wish…Same results, you’re only circling and reading reflections..this is a hybrid deck- Oracle and Tarot, jumping over those barriers into the ac-know-ledge meamt …(helpful hint there…ps You will Re-member this review with fondness and a giggle in the future) Ask Know the ledger of Me ..(the break down of the word acknowledement) It is Written in your soul, you’re In- tuition, better than being out of tuition , why learn the same in circles, what you all-ready know, move into what you need to re-member, regarding is all-ways win win. Not competing , not rivals. Also for the people thet are not comprehending, when Colette reads from her book, it is to clarify and encompass, (compass + direct-I-on) what she has spoken but some are not in tune with that language yet…but it will be-come clearer, It Is a light, full of joy self. And i’d like to give that to my child. Every break down of my words here, is an invitation for you to hear Our language in a fuller light. Living is the Divine self having a human experience, Live-in to know Love. So after all of that, if I were you, I’d have another look at the Deck and read the Book again, Listen again, Ask again, with eyes that may have a clearer veiw. Once you know better you do better. If you tune in to Colette properly, money is not her currency, but currency comes. Availed itself…Sorry..we are veil lifting here = not a-veiling thats doing up what we are un doing. Let there be light…and there was..Fabulous we need more love and light. Free your spirit from contraint and doubt…oh hang on is that a free spirit type? Oh quick bring them on …we need them… Listen and look at the superficial nay-sayers. Oh please tell me what is a Lay person…never heard or seen one ever ..lifting veils is See-ing, Yes you most likely have been closed minded in regards to being a Super Natural being, (occult) but aren’t you ready to unfold further, can’t you feel the pull, the mystery in the mastery or are you happy sitting with what you know?


  9. Valara

    Some of these comments seem to indicate the need for some major therapy or maybe an exorcism? Jeez, it’s just a tarot card review – one person’s opinion about a tarot deck. That said, I have to chime in that I find another entirely Caucasian-themed tarot (noted Buddha card excepted) boring. There is so much beautiful diversity in this world that it would be lovely to see that reflected in the tarot. I also don’t see the point of an only positive deck. Sh*t happens in life, and it’s always an opportunity to grow and learn, so is it even really negative in the end? I never liked the devil imagery in the traditional tarot decks because it did seem very Judeo-Christian and fear-based, but on the other hand, if we only make soft, sweet imagery, how do we use the tarot to take a look at our internal and external challenges? Just my two cents’s worth – thanks for writing the review.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Reading the reviews of the review, on par with Lisa that the original review had what could be interpreted as tepid disdain for the author of the Good Tarot. Hotei (not buddha), some refer to him as the laughing buddha, other names, he is thought to be the Maitreya (future buddha). His selection seems appropriate to me. A man of generosity, content with his lot, no matter what the appearance might be to others, even having just the sack and clothes on his back. He was a genuinely good man (Monk Chan) and life flowed. He was supported by his faith in many ways, through his life’s journey.


  11. Piscean Lotus

    For someone who claims to be all-benevolent, you’re not that benevolent toward others with “different” perspectives from you. As you said yourself, you’re a closed-minded snob. Perhaps the Good Tarot vibrates at a frequency higher than your consciousness is able to grasp, which is why it didn’t resonate with you. It’s a deck that’s better tailored to lightworkers, which you seem to have a disdain for as well.


  12. I just bought the deck and I’m looking forward to getting it (Hay House had a great Black Friday sale!).

    Your review really helped me decide whether or not I wanted it–especially the images, but your insight as well.

    I don’t expect to love it, but I am attracted to the images. I had decided if I found a way to get it at a good price, I would do so. (I also bought two oracle decks–and I usually don’t like oracles. So this will be an interesting haul.)


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  14. I was thinking of buying this deck but then came across the image of Buddha. It felt somewhat of to me and it was interesting to read that you reacted to it as well. It seems weird having him right between seahorses and mermaids. He is connected to a specific religion.


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  16. Chelsea

    When you say “tapping into overall energies” what would be an example of how to do it with the cards and possibly some details about what it actually is.


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  18. Anete

    I am Pisces sign and my ascendant is cancer, but I cannot stand this deck.. So, even watery empaths can be snobs, ..for me this deck is very blurry, and those depictions, .. Like magician… No. No. No.


  19. Marie-Christine Ly

    The buddha as ten of water is because it symbolizes spiritual emotional contentment. Or has a spiritual/religious take on the level of emotional contentment one can reach in life. But then again, maybe you would mind that this deck put the spiritual attainment of the buddha state over emotional contentment brought by family and love ?

    I had the same thought about how it goes in doreen Virtue’s field so to speak, I’m all about spirituality and intuition, so what I felt was that colette’s spiritual guidance knew that doreen virtue was going to turn her back on new age and that it would disrupt the New age tarot community very badly, so colette’s spiritual guidance had her create an alternative for those who sold/threw/burnt their doreen Virtue’s decks.

    I’m not an academic, I’m French and i learned english on my own, so i apologize for my language and writing style.


  20. Marie-Christine Ly

    Although it’s a nice washed deck, i still had to change some of the cards that disturbed me a lot to say the least : the King of fire looks like his face carries some sort of ritual scarifications and it horrified me right away. So i painted a sun over it. The emperor card has a lion head on human silhouette which proportions are completely off so i painted an oversized manne to it so the overall lion human silhouette is balanced. And i retitled it “emperor Aslan” because it’s the only way i can think of a lion as an emperor.


  21. Jadson

    What really weighs me down for not buying this tarot is a lack of black people in their images, we have two or three people and the rest are all standard white, they used the Buddhist image, but we don’t have images of Asian people in the tarot. For a tarot that talks about wonderful things and positive energies, it bothers me a little that the lack of diversity reigns.


  22. I love this review, which I read AFTER just ordering this because I was feeling snowed in and wistful (living inside a rural, Ozark Mountain snowglabe).

    Where was I?

    Your review soothed my nerves. I wanted something sweet and gentle.

    I’m Scorpio so, ya know, can’t be violent all of the time (and you know in truth, we have gooey insides).


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