The Best Animal Tarot Decks

There are now thousands upon thousands of tarot decks available.  An eBay search for “tarot cards” yields over 14,000 results and an Amazon search for “tarot deck” produces over 4,000 results.  The number of tarot decks available began to explode in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

One of the most popular modern reinterpretations of the traditional tarot deck involves using animals as the theme for the cards.  The deck can use a specific animal: cats, dogs, dragons, and unicorns just to identify a few.  Others mix animals together in a complete animal deck or add animals as part of the content of certain decks.

This article will present some of the best animal decks to choose from if you want to use an animal deck for personal or professional readings.

Animal Specific Decks

Animal specific decks focus on a single animal for the entire deck.  Three of the most popular animals include the cat, the unicorn, and the dragon.

For Cat Lovers

By far the most numerous single animal decks are ones with cats.  Among the many cat tarot decks the Baroque Bohemian Cat Tarot stands out as one of the best:

Baroque bohemian cats - 2 of Swords

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Baroque bohemian cats - The Hierophant

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Baroque bohemian cats - Knight

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

While the deck draws inspiration from the Baroque period, it is an excellent deck for readings. Derived from the Portuguese barroco, or “oddly shaped pearl,” the term “baroque” has been widely used since the nineteenth century to describe the period in Western European art and music from about 1600 to 1750.

Another excellent cat deck is the Cat Tarot, which uses images from literature, TV, and movies:

Cat tarot 0

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Cat tarot 8

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

This deck is far more modern, but does a nice job representing the meanings of the cards through visually accessible artwork.  The deck can work well in a public setting without the “heavy-handedness” of the previous cat deck.  Either one is well worth owning and using.

For Unicorn Lovers

Unicorn tarot decks are not as numerous as the cat decks.  And, in truth, the few Unicorn tarot decks are not ones I would highly recommend.  However, the Oracle of the Unicorn is a beautiful deck and well worth owning and using.  Below are some images from the deck:

Gentleness card

Source: Amazon

Discernment card

Source: Amazon

This deck makes a perfect beside table, “pull a card in the morning or at night” deck to own and use. If you love unicorns, then this is the deck for you!

Dragons

Unfortunately, none of the dragon tarot or oracle decks really stand out in terms of creativity relating to divination.  The well-known Dragon Tarot is a pleasing deck, and worth adding to your collection if you are building a collection that includes some of the better-known popular decks from before the turn of the century.  However, the best artwork belongs to Tarot Draconis.  While the Dragon Oracle deck provides written content for each card; it works best as a deck for daily, single-card meditation than for readings in a spread.

Tarot Draconis 0

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Tarot Draconis 1

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Mixed Animal Decks

Many animal decks include a wide variety of animals.  Below are some choices to consider.

Spiritsong Tarot

A recent addition to the animal tarot deck list, Spiritsong was published in 2017 and is a beautiful and ornate tarot deck.  While the cards are not visually accessible, they do include keywords at the bottom of each one to help the reader and querent know the message of the card and connect that message with the animal represented on the card.

Spiritsong tarot - Strength

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Spiritsong tarot - Page of Crystals

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

The Wild Unknown

Also, a new addition to the list, and published in 2018, the Wild Unknown breaks with more traditional and realistic animal images. The artwork for this deck is rather “stark” or minimalist, but very arresting.  Not all cards depict animals, but most do.  The images are visually accessible for most of the cards.  If you find this deck attractive and choose to use it, the energy is intense; so, it is not a deck for the “faint of heart”.

Wild Unknown tarot - The Hermit

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Wild Unknown tarot - Father of Pentacles

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Tarot of the Magical Forest

This deck is rather beautiful in a strangely playful and bizarre way.  The art is polished and highly stylized, giving the cards some real “kick”.  Very much in the style of traditional decks when it comes to the actual positioning of the figures (see the Magician card and the Strength cards below).  This deck is an effective deck to use in public or personal readings.  Frogs appear in the Wands, rabbits in the Cups, cats in the Swords, and foxes in the Pentacles.

The Tarot of Magical Forest - The Magician

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

The Tarot of Magical Forest - Strength

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Decks with Important Animal Additions

Some decks, especially Celtic or Native American decks, include animals along with other art and designs. 

The Wildwood Tarot

The Wildwood Tarot is one of the best Celtic style decks and it uses animals to represent the court cards.  This deck is visually accessible, with keywords, and a good deck for a beginner or professional reader who wants to have a personal deck or who wants to read for others for pay.

The Wildwood tarot cards

Vision Quest Tarot

The Vision Quest Tarot is one of the best Native American tarot decks, which also contains numerous animal images suitable for such an earth-based belief system.  The artwork for this deck is “clean” and brightly colored, providing beautiful renditions of Native American themes through the story of the tarot.

Vision Quest tarot - Medicine Man

Source: Aeclectic Tarot

Vision Quest tarot - Transformation

Source: Aeclectic Tarot


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Philip Young, PhD

I am a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. I earned my PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1996 and had a career in academics until 2007, when I retired to become a stay-at-home father. In 2013 I “hung out my shingle” starting my business Black Unykorn Enterprises, LLC. I provide spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing). With a home office, Zoom, WeChat, and WhatsApp, I work with local clients in person and distance clients from around the world. You can read about my practice and contact me through my website: https://www.blackunykorn.com.

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