#only10decks The 10 decks I’d take with me

…to that stranded remote island where I will only ever be able to use these 10 decks for the rest of my mortal life. Or so goes the prompt. I may have embellished a little. Katey Flowers on Tarot Tube started the hashtag. You can watch her video here.

By the way, at the start of her video she says she was inspired by the makeup community’s tag “only 10 eyeshadow palettes” and I have to confess I kind of guffawed at the thought of “only” 10 eyeshadow palettes.. Ten…palettes? I don’t even have one! Ah but then I’m sure most of the known world would guffaw at my struggles over choosing just 10 decks for this prompt.

My first struggle as I mulled over how to answer this prompt was whether to include my own decks or to say that for the purposes of this prompt, your own decks are ineligible. I decided the only way I could answer that question was to fine-tune the hypothetical itself.

So here’s the hypothetical. I am being forced to live out my end of days (along with James, of course, they’re letting me bring James along) on a remote island where I will have no access to anymore decks for the rest of my life, and so whatever I bring with me will be the last ten decks I ever and can ever use.

If that’s the hypothetical, then it’s a no brainer that I’m going to bring all three editions of my SKT. So that’s 3 decks already. I’m down to 7 slots left. Sigh. The struggles…

Also, can I bring the guidebooks along with the decks? In which case that’s certainly a factor I’m going to weigh heavily, because that means bonus! I have books I can read on this remote island as well!

In no particular order here are the seven decks I’d bring with me if I could only bring ten, since the first three slots are occupied by my own creations. =)

Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson

Link to deck review here.

Perhaps it’s due to just how long I’ve had this deck and worked with this deck. This is one of my most reliable reads. There’s so much in the imagery and the design concept to explore here, so I’m definitely bringing the Hermetic Tarot with me to that stranded island, to keep me occupied!

Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery by Robert Place

Link to deck review here.

I decided I would only bring one Robert Place deck, and so there was a point of struggle. I finally ruled it down to either the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery or the Alchemical Tarot. Aesthetic wise, I find the Alchemical Tarot to be easier on the eyes. The design is better, the illustrations are better, the layout, the cardstock, everything about it, I think, in terms of production and design is better, except substance wise I prefer the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery.

Tarot of the Holy Light by Christine Payne-Towler

Link to deck review hereGuidebook reviews here and here.

I recognize most of the old engravings and alchemical illustrations this deck is composed of, and I love the addition of color. And if the prompt also permits me to bring along the companion guidebooks to the decks of my choosing, then by going with the Tarot of the Holy Light, now I’ve got a bonus two books to read!

These illustrations would be incredible to meditate on and who knows maybe I’ll transcend to higher consciousness while stranded on that island.

Tabula Mundi Tarot by M. M. Meleen

Link to deck review here.

In the way I struggled over choosing just one Robert Place deck, I struggled over choosing just one Mel Meleen deck. I wanted to bring the Rosetta Tarot with me, too. I love the Majors in the Pharos Tarot. Ohhh the struggle!

I ended up choosing the Tabula Mundi because it was one of my workhorse decks for so long that I’m really familiar with the imagery, so it just feels like home. Except now that I’ve typed that out, that factor of consideration makes no sense if these are the last 10 decks I’ll ever see, because I can most certainly get acclimated with any deck amiright. Anyway, that’s my pick.

Also, bonus meaty guidebook to take along with me if I go with a Meleen deck.

Hello Kitty Tarot

I believe this is the only deck James has ever bought for me, mostly because he knows nothing about decks. It amuses me to no end that he heard of this deck’s existence way before I did, and secretly bought it for me before I even became aware of its existence. He reached out to the deck creator all on his own and somehow ended up getting it and surprising me with it.

I chose the Hello Kitty Tarot to bring with me because this deck will light me up and bring cheer on those days I’m feeling down about being on a remote island far removed from civil society. =)

Mystical Dream Tarot by Janet Piedilato

Link to deck review here.

There is something inexplicably beautiful about the Mystical Dream Tarot. Confession: I struggled between this deck and the Thoth Journey Tarot. Both activate that dream-consciousness liminal lucid-dreaming space in my head and both are emotionally provocative in similar ways. I ended up going for the Mystical Dream Tarot because of the card titles. The whole archetype vibe adds something here that I intuit will be of value on that stranded island when I’m all by myself.

Terra Volatile Tarot by Ana and Tiago

Link to deck review here.

I love the additional suit in this deck for quintessence, the extra cards, and the intense detailing that will keep my mind engaged on that deserted island. (I may also need to bring a magnifying glass along with me to that island. That’s allowed, right?)

This prompt was HAAAARD. Very hard. I am so bummed that I’ve had to leave unlisted at least 20 other decks dear to my heart. Ultimately, the factor for consideration I went with was what decks would I want to study and be enthralled by for the rest of my life– which decks would keep my mind and soul evolving.

Watch all the #only10decks videos on Tarot Tube. So. Which ten decks would you bring to that remote island, the last ten decks you’ll ever get to use?

10 thoughts on “#only10decks The 10 decks I’d take with me

  1. Sally

    After following you for several years, I found your deck choices to be…..predictable. I’m way overwhelmed by all the decks you mentioned (ahem, however I love and own all of yours!). I’m starting to go with contemporary decks because they frequently have no ‘Christian’ symbology–at least not overtly. And artist’s decks: like The Radiant Tarot. Always love supporting painters ;-).
    The struggle is real! I actually have decks tucked into my ‘go bags’ now since I lost my collection in 2017. Currently I’ve become lax and put many of my decks (in Sulis Creation pouches) on my book shelf so I can access them more easily. The Holistic Tarot would be my book of choice, along with Angeles Arrien’s book and Tina Gong’s book. If possible I would take books by Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer and Steven Bright as well.


  2. NoisyRiver

    I have been considering drastically reducing my decks. So, this idea has been floating in my head for real. I could list several that could go, but the list to stay is so hard. Then the next question is does that ten deck count include Oracle and Lenormand decks? My old faithful is the Gill Tarot, I have had it since at least the early 90’s. That would have to stay, right? Currently, and surprisingly, I mostly use the Herb-Crafter’s Tarot. That only leaves eight more. Gaian, Templar, Crow? Brady? Mary? Which SKT? (‘Cause it could only be one of them.) I fear it needs to be done, but maybe 10 is asking too much. Maybe 25? With Lenormand and Oracle? That feels a bit more reasonable. (Though, I have my eye on at least 5 new decks…)


  3. I love this idea, and can only come up with a few that I love right this minute, and yet if I had the eternity option (the spoiler is that I do have that option), I could bring along the decks that are complex and have guide books that I could work through, including yours, which arrived safely yesterday–thank you! My bigger concern is SOMEBODY TO DO READINGS FOR. If the desert island/gorgeous mountain retreat had internet or magic mind-to-mind to clients or querents (another spoiler there), then I could do great readings for folks at a distance, but otherwise it is all just wank and I get tired of wank–being an insightful smartypants who does great tarot readings would get dull if there is no open flow to those who want and appreciate the readings–just like not having access to my office during covid etc.

    Off the top of my head, there are some decks I feel give great readings and are different from each other, and some are ones I use in work. Number one would certainly be my own patchwork deck of maybe 350 cards, since that covers every base ever, and Gummy Bear Tarot, and of course a Waite-Smith, and Heart & Hands (I loved the original, was scared when it disappeared, and thrilled to find US Games now stocks it), and the Dreaming Way, and I secretly loved the first Slutist deck, and I would bring my first deck personally-owned ever, Hanson-Roberts. bought the year it came out, 1984ish, and which I thought would catapault me into the realm of skilled and mysterious. In reality it took me forever to become really good at reading, but I like and respect that original deck, still upstairs in my bedroom, wrapped in handmade-by-me black silk cloth and a rather complex bag, back when there was ONE deck per person and ONE book (Mary Greer) around pretty much to get, and stiff rules about what to do with them.

    Off my shelf now, I’d take Robert Place’s Buddha deck, the Hoodoo Tarot, try out the Starman to see if it’s any real good or just a gorgeous trip, and the very-beautiful Starlight Dragon, and of course Visconti-Sforza, the copy passed on to me at Tarot Studio by Carl I believe when we were there a few years back, and your Revelations that I just got. Uhoh, can’t count to ten, but it’s okay…thanks for bringing up the question!


  4. Andrew

    Great prompt! I have multiple RWS and Thoth decks stashed in my various bags, just in case? Or I just have a problem…:P

    At any rate, here would be my 10:

    1. RWS Centennial Edition
    2. Thoth Tarot (2009 German edition. It was reshot with a more accurate camera, and the the original aspect ratio with the originals was restored)
    3. Connolly Tarot (even though I don’t really use it anymore, it was what I learned with, so nostalgia is a thing).
    4. Morgan-Greer Tarot (my late teacher used this deck, so it’s close to my heart).
    5. Tarot of Ceremonial Magick (I mean, who doesn’t like Lon Milo DuQuette?)
    6. Tabula Mundi (for the same reasons as yours!)
    7. SKT (so I can finally go through it and the book and the workbook in peace!)
    8. Alchemical Tarot by Robert M Place
    9. Somnia Tarot
    10. Rust Belt Arcana


  5. Lol I have heard of the 10 palette challenge , never thought about which ones I would take though . And I definitely have more eye palettes than decks , but I think I would definitely bring my runes . I learned rune stones before tarot .


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