My search for the perfect African-themed tarot deck is never-ending. As a tarot reader, I maintain various tarot and oracle decks in my toolbox. However, by far, my favorite types of decks are those inspired by African culture and people groups worldwide.
When I first started reading the tarot, I began with the Waite-Rider deck everyone recommends to new readers. But within a week, I was over this deck. I appreciate its historical value and the contributions it has made to the tarot world over the years. But I needed something I vibe with if I was going to connect with tarot on a deep level. So, my search for African-themed tarot decks began early in my tarot reading days.
So much so that I endeavored to create my own set of oracle cards, a project that I am thoroughly proud of. But I still enjoy the craftmanship of other tarot and oracle card creators. As such, I maintain a variety of African and non-African-inspired decks in my public and private collections. And while this genre is growing, there is still a dearth of African-themed decks available in the general marketplace.
So, I decided to write this post to make you aware of some of the main ones I have worked with through the years. Some I have enjoyed greatly, but others not so much. Though I feel that they all deserve their time in the limelight since they all add to the black narrative in some way. Likewise, everyone has their own opinions and preferences. So you may enjoy some of the decks that I don’t necessarily vibe with me and vice versa.
African American Tarot
This is by far my favorite African-themed tarot deck of all time. The imagery is beautiful, and the scenery is breathtaking. Every time I look at one of these cards, it reminds me of my time in West Africa. I can literally get lost for days in the intricacies of these cards. Some people complain about this deck not aligning with the symbology of the Waite-Rider deck. But for me, this is the bonus. I don’t resonate with the imagery of the Waite-Rider deck. It focuses on British imperial life, which is not a lived experience for me. Also, the differences in the themes give me an opportunity to reshape the meanings and interpretations to suit my palate.
However, where this deck does lack for me is the guidebook. There isn’t much explanation of the gods, goddesses, and African American events presented on the cards. I would like to see more in this area for reference purposes. When I first got the deck, I found myself doing a lot of background research on some of the deities or events outlined on each card. It was tedious work, but doing so helped me connect with the deck on a deeper level.
The Hoodoo Tarot: 78-Card Deck and Book for Rootworkers
The guidebook for this deck alone is worth the buy. The author of this deck gave such in-depth insight and knowledge about the Hoodoo system in the guidebook that it can and should be a stand-alone book. This is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the Hoodoo system, whether you enjoy reading the tarot or not. The imagery in this deck is also beautiful, albeit a bit dark. And this is what causes me to use this deck less frequently than the African American tarot deck. Of course, the depictions are rooted and grounded in Hoodoo, which has somewhat of a dark past in and of itself. And the card imagery definitely carries that vibe.
But it is difficult for me to connect with that energy on a consistent basis. I prefer decks with a more upbeat, optimistic, vibrant tone. That’s why I tend to use this deck for full moon or retrograde readings when the energy is more likely to match the tone of the deck. Otherwise, I have read other reviews about the card stock being low quality and a few cards being cut incorrectly, missing, or otherwise corrupted. I have not had either of these issues with my deck – it was packaged very well.
The Kemetic Tarot
This deck is beautifully designed and replete with information about the Kemetic gods and goddesses represented in it. It is a must-have for anyone who enjoys Kemetic culture and the tarot. All the cards are framed with actual hieroglyphic text from The Book of Coming Forth by Day, and they are color-coded by suit for ease of identification. But where this deck falls short for me is in its depiction of many of the Egyptian characters. For the most part, the deck focuses on the modern-day false imagery of ancient Egypt. It doesn’t give due diligence to the copper-colored, bonze, dark-skinned, kinky-haired Egyptians of yesteryear.
For this reason, I couldn’t really connect to this deck like I sincerely wanted to. And I was really excited to get this deck when I first ordered it. But after sitting with these images for a while and having a knowledge of what ancient Egypt truly looked like, I couldn’t keep it. I am grateful that the creators paid homage to Kemet. But I think a lot of the imagery perpetuates the whited-out narrative that many accept as true ancient Egypt.
Check out my Tarot and Oracle Toolbox to see the cards that I enjoy working with the most.
Affiliate Disclaimer: This site contains references and links from various affiliate marketers. We may receive compensation when you click on the links and images to affiliate sites. For more details, see our full affiliate marketing disclosure.