Tarot for Men

tarptmen

 

In a world that has been dominated by men for so long, I guess that a female-dominant tarot world might be something worth smiling about. However, as we notice in the tarot, time and again, it is balance and a true mixture of opposites which harmonises life, not the extremes. This is needed in the world of tarot, as well as the world at large.

This article is, by no means, meant to exclude women. I love women! My closest friends are women. And some of my favourite tarotists are women too – just think: where would we be without the Christiana’s, the Theresa’s, the Benebell’s, the Donnaleigh’s, and the Chloe’s of the tarot world? These authors are the new generation of tarot commentators, who have taken to this ancient art like spiritual surgeons with a scalpel, helping to reveal new and modern ways of looking at the cards. And there are many more beside them; far too many inspirational female tarot readers, bloggers, and YouTube hostesses to mention in this one post.

I am not writing this article to cast a shadow over the contributions of my wonderful tarot sisters. Instead, I wish to celebrate my brothers and showcase a deck or two which might suit guys interested in pursuing an interest in tarot.

 

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Witchy Tarot

I have been on the receiving hand of tarot sexism on many occasions. As a public reader, there is many advantages to my gender, since some people do enjoy the experience of being read for by a man. But there have been many times where a woman has looked over the rim of her glasses and questioned my sensitivity, empathy, or ability to ‘tell her fortune’ before I’ve even pulled out a single card. One lady began our session by saying ‘You do realise that I’ve never done this with a man before, don’t you?’. I promptly advised her that she was in capable hands. With a wink, I reminded her that neither of us would need to undress and if she wanted a female friend present, that would be fine too. She smiled and the ice was broken.

I am pleased to say that every person who has had reservations before a reading was satisfied at the end. I’ve had some wonderful testimonials from people who were not used to being read for by a man and have since returned for more readings. A positive recommendation is a warming reward for a reader, whether you’re Arthur or Martha.

Most of my clients and students are female, but I do read for and teach a handful of men. I’ve read for the young, the old, the suited and booted, the tattoo’d, and had a surprising run of young guys who looked as if they’d mistaken my door for the gym. Without making generalisations, I do like to have a selection of tarot decks which will suit all kinds of clients. While not all of those I read for pay much attention to the images or may even enjoy to see the full-bodied and beautiful Queen of Pentacles in the Tarot of the Hidden Realm, I like to use card decks which I feel will resonate with each. Most of the time, the Original Rider Waite is a cap that fits all occasions. However, for those males developing a stronger interest in tarot or who want something with a little more testosterone than the Shadowscapes Tarot, there are options out there.

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Mystic Faerie Tarot

Over here in the UK, if you go looking for a tarot deck in a mainstream store, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to find. Browse the shelves (or should I say ‘shelf’) of your local Waterstone’s and you’ll find angels, fairies, and the odd ‘witchy’ set. Though my collection of tarot decks has a healthy dosage of all three, angels and fairies generally have a distinctly feminine edge to them and many of the decks connected to Wicca out there might succeed in some men feeling even more excluded. I recently developed a stronger interest in the Mucha Tarot (Lo Scarabeo), but as anyone who owns this deck will know, many of the archetypes are female – the traditionally male Magician and Hermit are two examples of where the gender has been switched. Does this bother me? No, not really. Does it leave me feeling a bit left out? If I’m honest, yes.

Finding a deck which a man can either identify with or use is not about switching all of the gender roles of the characters to his own. For me, it often concerns finding an underlying masculinity in palette, style, and recognisable symbols. As many of you know, I adore the Guardian Angel Tarot by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine. While it gives beautifully accurate readings, I might think twice about using it at a gig where I would be reading for a majority of men. I like to hold the cards up and discuss them with my clients. Though some might get a lot out of a deck like that, it’s always nice to have an alternative on hand for those who want less glitter and straighter lines in their reading.

So, here are a selection of decks I would recommend for today’s male readers, enthusiasts, and for use with male clients.

 

The Quantum Tarot

b0Though I only recently purchased this deck (published by Lo Scarabeo), I’m pretty sure I was around when the original (published by Kunati) was conceived. Back in those days, I befriended the decks two creators, Chris Butler and Kay Stopforth. We met a handful of times in Kensington at tarot meet ups, when I saw the first example of one of their self-published oracles. Chris had been very supportive when I took my first steps into working with the Marseille, sending me three decks he thought I might like.

I remember Chris explaining that he’d compiled a lot of research when designing his first deck (The Son Tarot) – part of this was through the masculine Marseille system, which Quantum Tarot does resemble in places: while the cards are all illustrated, some are influenced by the the pip style of the Marseille tradition.

0738726699bIn the well-written and researched accompanying book by Kay, it tells us that in the Quantum Tarot, “modern science meets the ancient spiritual system of tarot”. Comprising Einsteins theories, black holes, and supernovas, the cards are deep in colour and sensual in mood. While you don’t need any real prior understanding of Quantum Mechanics, the cards can effectively be read with or without scientific knowledge. There are detailed explanations within the book for each, but the images are evocative enough on their own and contain symbolism that any seasoned tarot reader will recognise.

Whether you are male or female, this is a deck worth looking into. The mythical archetypes in the court cards are interesting enough alone, but down to its strong style (which doesn’t lack sensitivity, I might add), I think it would suit many male readers, whether they are science geeks or not. It also contains probably one of my most favourite Hanged Man cards!

 

The Mythic Tarot

magician-1The Mythic Tarot is a classic deck, which has rightly earned its place in the tarot hall of fame. Based around Greek Mythology, the pack, conceived in the 1980s, uses mythological characters for its Major Arcana and specific stories for its Minors.

I bought the original version of this deck (since there are two versions) while on a break. I found it in a dusty old bookshop by the sea during my travels. I spent that week (without internet) in a caravan. With the rain beating down on the metal roof, it was me, the deck, the guidebook and a bottomless cup of tea. I look back at that week affectionately. It was one of those times when you really bond with a deck and I could never part with it now.

267ed6c2daa0375fa0a433375d2d92e7The initial paintings for the Mythic Tarot are by Tricia Newell (right). They are naive in places, but truly magical. While the pack had its followers back then, it actually took a redrawing of the illustrations by another artist for the original set to be truly appreciated. While the New Mythic Tarot (left) is a decent pack in its own right, it does have a crudeness to it that the original does not. It’s the less attractive sibling of the two, in my opinion.

virgoWhat really makes either printing of  Mythic Tarot a great deck is the backbone behind it – the system and two books by Juliet Sharman Burke. For a newbie, this deck follows the Rider Waite system closely, but beautifully entwines it with the Greek Myths. The symbolism is all relevant, with guidance at hand, making it both a wonderful workhorse deck and a doorway to learning.

In terms of design, this deck is straight talking and the images are powerful. They are beautifully constructed but are not overly-sentimental. I think that it’s jewel colouring and basic cream borders would make it a worthy deck for anyone who finds a lot of what is on the market overly feminine. Both sets contain the same imagery. The later one might actually be more masculine than the first. Though difficult to find, the earlier publication is not impossible to locate if you try hard enough and don’t mind parting with a little extra cash.

 

The Ravens Prophecy Tarot

ravens-prophecy-tarot-13186I’ve already reviewed this deck here on the blog. It is a relatively recent pack by Maggie Steifvater – the deck’s creator and artist.

While this deck contains flowers, birds, bubbles, and feathers, its palette is anything but delicate. Think of oil on water or deep indigo ink bleeding out onto a paper unashamedly. That is what ravens-prophecy-tarot-13187you’ve got. As beautiful as a ravens feather but as sharp as its beak, this is a deck which would suit the most masculine of men.

Aside from a few cards, this tarot doesn’t contain people. The court cards are symbolic, using inanimate objects (like scissors, a spade, and a match) to highlight the energy of its tarot families. Hands are often used (from the strong to the skeletal), often dripping in the remnants of coloured paint and tattoo.

While beautiful to behold, The Ravens Prophesy Tarot is a force of its own. It’s a clenched fist, bold but unassuming.

 

The Fountain Tarot

fountain-tarot-12603One of the most popular tarots over the last year has been The Fountain Tarot – a joint effort between Jonathan Siaz, Jason Gruhl, and Andi Todaro. This deck has made it onto many Instagram feeds and even the pages of Vogue. Why? Because it is beautifully constructed and executed. But more than that, it is deep and contains the secrets within us all.

This is not a deck to be sniffed at or dismissed as just an art set. Without doubt, the artwork is first-class. Jonathan’s paintings are evocative and can pull at the hardest of hearts. The set is beautifully put together and the words within the book are a gem, waiting to be discovered.

600_437448655What makes this deck a must for men is that it is contradiction in terms. You might wonder how something so ethereal, so gentle, and so poetic could be masculine. What I like about The Fountain Tarot is that it manages to combine these qualities with simplicity and an everyday accessibility. As well as having a palette as sharp as a cool breeze, it has a depth of emotion within its pages. While it is deeply mystical and thought provoking, the people within it are real and easily identifiable for the majority of people who will read with it or be read by it.

The Fountain Tarot is a modern classic. Often, it takes time for a deck to gain its place in tarot history but this one has assured its seat and it’s not going anywhere. With it’s geometric designs and uncluttered imagery, this deck is one I’d recommend for the reading table of any male reader, enthusiast, or student.

 

Here are a few other Suggestions …

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The Aquarian Tarot

The Morgan Greer Tarot (Bill Greer, Lloyd Morgan)

The Aquarian Tarot (David Palladini)

The Druidcraft Tarot (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington)

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot (Ciro Marchetti)

The Haindl Tarot (Hermann Haindl)

The Intuitive Tarot (Cilla Conway)

The Wild Unknown Tarot (Kim Krans)

 

As we hear many times, tarot is not within the cards, but within our self. You may ask ‘If that is true, then why would it matter what deck you use?’. You would make a good point, but some decks push buttons within one person that cannot touch another reader or client in the same way. One-size really does not fit-all in tarot. While there are decks for the sensitive, the Pagan, the alternative-thinker, and those embracing the feminine, I’m glad that decks are being created for those who wish to embrace the masculine side of their work too – whether they are a man or woman.

 

Which decks do you find to be masculine and which do your masculine clients or friends prefer? I’d love to know, so why not drop me a message below!

Print

Images from The Witchy Tarot (Antonella Platano), Mystic Faerie Tarot (Linda Ravenscroft), Quantum Tarot (Chris Butler), The Mythic Tarot (Trica Newell), The New Mythic Tarot (Giovanni Caselli), The Ravens Prophecy Tarot (Maggie Stiefvater), The Fountain Tarot (Jonathan Saiz) and The Aquarian Tarot (David Palladini).

 

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31 thoughts on “Tarot for Men

  1. Great post. Never thought about this before but from my own experience even as a woman I sometimes need a break from winged creatures and too much pink. 🙂 Then I return to my two favorites: The Original Rider Waite and the Wild Unknow Tarot!

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    • I totally get that, Ellen. As much as this article is about men and tarot, as I said at the end, anyone might feel a need for a deck like these. In many decks, there is so much femininity or females that it can alienate a man. The RWS and WU are good examples of decks which can balance them out.

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  2. Interesting choices. I keep looking at the Fountain Tarot, but have not committed to it yet. Your post’s topic is something I’ve been pondering myself for quite some time. Of course, I keep hoping you will publish some of the inspiring, sensual, and more male/gay themed decks oft featured in your IG account. I’m a big fan of your art and would love to have some of the decks you have created. Until then, my go to decks with a male sensitivity are the Toth Tarot and Alchemical Tarot (by Robert M. Place). They’re the decks I use most often, and which I’ve grown quite fond of. Great post!

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    • I think the Fountain Tarot would suit you, Walter. It is strong but contemplative, which I see in your own work with the cards.

      Thank you so much. I am waiting on the silhouette deck to come back from Printer Studio. If it turns out ok, it will definitely become available 🙂

      Alchemical is a great choice for a masculine deck! All of Place’s decks have that sharp masculine edge, but with sensitivity and compassion.

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  3. Thanks for the mention, Steve, though I blush at being included with the likes of Christiana, Donnaleigh and Theresa!

    In terms of masculine decks, I would also pull out the Fradella Adventure Tarot (which I believe has been recently reprinted by US Games), and the Gay Tarot (admittedly, perhaps more of a male niche, but I adore this deck). The latest marvel comics deck might also be good in this regard, though I don’t yet have it myself…

    For those who don’t mind non-illustrated pips, the Thoth and also the Vision Quest might work well, too 🙂

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    • Ah, I didn’t know that about the Fradella. I always liked the look of that one. And I did consider the Gay Tarot but think that might be one for another article. From your recent unboxings, there have been a few I don’t know but would also suit men, I’d say.

      And you’ve more than earned your place in that list for tarot ladies! 🙂

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  4. Love this! For me the Druidcraft, the Wild Unknown, The Fountain Tarot, these are go to decks for men, I have also found the Bohemian Gothic Tarot to appeal to men as well 😀

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    • Thanks Kelly! I don’t have the Bohemian Gothic but I can see how it would be a good choice for a man. With that in mind, I’d also say that the Tarot of Prague would fit in as well.

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  5. I think this is a very polarizing subject.

    Tarot decks for me a Newbie are unisex and I don’t attach any gender to them it does not even come into consideration. When selecting a deck, I am influenced by theme such as Relationships,love, General, “reincarnation/past lives” refer to this link if interested in the area etc:

    also, the Seasons (Spring Summer, Autumn and Winter) once a year festivals season readings New Year, Chinese New Year,Samhain/Halloween, Valentine,Cultural, Race(like my decks to represent different racial groups) religious background which are far more pertinent, but finally I suppose it comes down to the popularity review of various YouTube and blogs such as this more than I care to admit.

    I am very much in the developmental stage and I am busy collecting my tools of the trade. I’m having a break after 6 months of readings starting from scratch, knowing absolutely nothing about Tarot, because my passion took me into everything Rune, Ogham, Astrology, Geomancy, Palmistry,foot, bone, Coffee, Tea leaf reading, but while I was reading, I read for both males and females mainly professionals. Males had no interest in the cards I used, well this appeared to be the case, they just focused on the information (narrative) being conveyed, females on the other hand made comments about the Tarot deck, Oracle or Lenormand imagery-I have not got everything but I’m getting there, little by little.

    My favorite haunts for Unisex decks

    Tarot Duck Soup
    http://www.tarotbyducksoup.com/

    Tarot by Seven
    http://www.tarotbyseven.com/

    Unisex

    Smith-Waite tarot and Lenormand Astounding Pixe

    New Orleans Tarot with Cowrie shells, bones or Plum oracle leave reading
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/new-orleans-voodoo/

    Wooden Tarot and Earth Bound Oracle
    http://www.skullgarden.net/art/the-wooden-tarot/

    Haindl Tarot and Rune
    Rune cards or wooden Runes
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/haindl-runes-oracle/

    (Wooden Anglo Saxon, Northumbria runes)
    https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/79407883/tree-of-life-northumbrian-runes-boxed?ref=shop_home_active_2&ga_search_query=rune

    https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/98767315/4-inch-anglo-saxon-cedar-rune-staves?ref=shop_home_active_5&ga_search_query=Anglo%2BSaxon

    Wild wood Tarot, wooden Ogham or Celtic tree Oracle.
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/wildwood/

    Youtube

    Rumi Tarot and Oracle
    Rumi
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/rumi/
    Oracle

    Indian Tarot
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/sacred-india-tarot/

    Gypsy

    Romani Tarot
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/buckland-romani/

    Russian Gypsy
    http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/russian-gypsy-fortunetelling/

    Gypsy rune

    I think everyone gets the idea!!! (-:

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    • Thanks for your thoughtful response. When I wasn’t reading so much for others, it was less of a consideration as I picked what I fancied. But these days, there are some decks I wouldn’t use on clients. This is a bit different, but I think it’s nice to have a selection of tools for the job, as you say. Thanks for recommendations and best of luck with your continued learning.

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  6. Great post, Steve! Also consider the gorgeous Archeon Tarot for its strong, and I think equally balanced, male and female images. It really is a deck to behold!

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  7. Brilliant post! And thank you for the kind mention. I’m in good company! 🙂

    I am also in love with the Fountain Tarot. It’s the best modern deck and it sits right next to my Rider Waite. I would also recommend The Cosmic Tarot. It’s not totally male but my male clients always liked it.

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    • Thanks so much, Theresa!

      I very much agree about the Fountain Tarot. I think that the perfect male deck doesn’t exclude females. I think it just looks at life through a slightly different lens. The subtleties of some decks can be a little too feminine for the tastes of some guys (and girls).

      I always liked the Cosmic. It has a masculine edge to its style and wears pink well! Great colours in that deck.

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  8. I have a lot of decks but some would be too hard to read for beginners, I mostly bought them for the art.

    Here is my list of ones I would recommend:

    Zerner Farber Tarot (my first)
    Hudes Tarot
    Osho Zen Tarot
    Rohrig Tarot
    Sun and Moon Tarot
    Transformational Tarot
    Secret Tarot
    Spiral Tarot
    Dreaming Way Tarot

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    • Absolutely. I did consider putting the Spiral in with my recommendations. The Osho Zen, Rohrig and Sun and Moon are very manly. The Hudes has a somber feel to it and I can imagine it being a perfect fit for younger, thoughtful males.

      Great list. Thanks for adding those, Judy.

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    • I didn’t know that. The majority of the images are of females, aren’t they? I have not been so keep on the art style of the deck so it’s not one I have looked into greatly.

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  9. Hmm I actually think we don’t have to balance masculinity and femininity at all times. Sometimes we’re here on earth in a body meant to explore mainly one of those aspects… But I digress, that’s not the main part of your post. 🙂 I like your suggestions more more masculine decks. For a long time I hesitated to get the Fountain Tarot, because I found it too masculine. It’s now on it’s way home to me and I am very curious about how I will react to it. 🙂

    You know, something I’ve thought about, but not wanted to bring up in the tarot community (I don’t want to offend anyone…) is the fact there are so few heterosexual males in the community. Why is this? Do you have any theory? Overall spirituality and divination seems to be most common among women and homosexual men, and I find this a bit sad! Exploring those subjects can give so much in life, and it’s sad if heterosexual men find it “too girly” and avoid it, missing out on something so meaningful.

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    • I hope you’ll enjoy the Fountain Tarot.

      And yes, many of the men I speak with about tarot are gay. When I wrote this article, I was thinking primarily about heterosexual men and decks which would suit them. I don’t know why more are not interested in reading cards, though I do read for a good handful of straight guys.

      Interesting thoughts! Thank you for your thoughts!

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  10. Interesting post. I often think about how “female-centric” certain decks are, but I’m often drawn to those that aren’t! I’ve noticed that a vast majority of my clients are women, and I’m wondering if it’s the same for you? I’m just curious as to whether or not you have more male clients because you yourself are male, or if tarot readings really are a female-dominated demand. Thanks ❤

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    • Hi Jessi. I certainly get a lot more females than males for readings, though I have had a good few male clients over the years. I think that women are often more likely to check in on what is going on, where as a man usually leaves it until they have a problem and need some guidance. I find that a lot more of my younger male clients are more open to getting a general reading out of the blue.

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  11. I asked the cards “How do others see me, am I ugly?” I got “The Empress”. For a woman this would mean physical beauty, but there is no card that can indicate the same for a man, the tarot is mainly a feminine creation for women, and it can’t answer men’s questions. There is no card that can indicate physical beauty for a man, only and exclusively for a woman, I got a laugh out of that reading! according to the tarot I am “a pretty girl!” lol lol lol Tarot is stupid, and it is no way universal, it’s a “women only” form of divination.

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