Rider-Waite Tarot has set the standard for hundreds of other tarot decks, which follow the archetypal images created by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909 under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite. This edition includes Smith’s original hand drawn titles.
"A unique feature of the Rider-Waite deck, and one of the of the principal reasons for its enduring popularity, is that all of the cards, including the Minor Arcana, depict full scenes with figures and symbols. Prior to the Rider-Waite Tarot, the pip cards of almost all tarot decks were marked only with the arrangement of the suit signs -- swords, wands, cups, and coins, or pentacles. The pictorial images on all the cards allow interpretations without the need to repeatedly consult explanatory text. The innovative Minor Arcana, and Pamela Colman Smith's ability to capture the subtleties of emotion and experience have made the Rider-Waite Tarot a model for the designs of many tarot packs." -- (from The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume III)
Rider-Waite Tarot was named one of the Top Ten Tarot Decks of All Time by Aeclectic Tarot.
Pamela Colman Smith
Born February 16, 1878, in Middlesex, England to American parents, Smith's childhood years were spent between London, New York, and Kingston, Jamaica. During her teens, she traveled throughout England with the theatre company of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. Thereafter, she began formal art training at Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, graduating in 1897.
Smith returned to England, where she became a theatrical designer for miniature theatre, and an illustrator -- mainly of books, pamphlets and posters. Around 1903, she joined the Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1909, under the guidance of Arthur Edward Waite, she undertook a series of seventy-eight allegorical paintings described by Waite as a rectified tarot pack. The designs, published in the same year by William Rider and Son, exemplify the mysticism, ritual, imagination, fantasy, and deep emotions of the artist.
Arthur Edward Waite
Born in America in 1857, Waite was raised and educated as a Catholic in England. Beginning at the age of 21, Waite pursued research and writing on psychical and esoteric matters. Soon after joining the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he became the Grand Master, and redirected the focus of the order from magic to mysticism. The Golden Order, whose structural hierarchy was based on the Kabbalah, is considered the single greatest 20th century influence on the occult. Waite was a prolific author of occult texts, works on the Holy Grail, and the body of mystical knowledge, which comprises the basis of modern Tarot. He is best known as the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, first published in 1910.
SizeCards measure 2.75" x 4.75"
ArtistPamela Colman Smith
- Giant Rider-Waite® Tarot,
- Miniature Rider-Waite® Tarot,
- Original Rider-Waite® Tarot Set,
- Pocket Rider-Waite® Tarot,
- Radiant Rider-Waite® Tarot,
- Spanish Rider-Waite® Tarot, ...
- Rider-Waite® Tarot — Premier Edition,
- The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set,
- Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck,
- Radiant Rider-Waite® in a Tin,
- Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck in a Tin,
- Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite® Tarot Deck and Book Set,
- Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite® Book,
- Smith-Waite Tarot Deck Borderless,
- Pamela Colman Smith: The Untold Story,
- The 100% Plastic Rider Tarot Deck®,
- Pamela Colman Smith's RWS Tarot Deck®,
- Rider-Waite™ Playing Card Deck
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What Customers Are Saying About Rider-Waite® Tarot Deck
What exactly is it about this deck? Today there are literally hundreds of tarot decks to choose from, most of which are artistically superior to this seemingly rudimentary little deck. And yet, those many decks, which use subtle colors, modern printing techniques and even computer imaging, fail to compete with it. Why? The Rider deck truly has a soul, and its images shoot straight to the heart. People can often "intuitively" read this deck without any previous experience with the tarot. If the point of art is to make you feel your humanity, this deck's art is truly amazing. For all its coarse lines and flat colors, the deck somehow rises above itself, gracefully conveying all aspects of the human condition. The Rider deck is a perfect first and last deck. Pamela Colman Smith's unique symbolism ranges from the simple to the truly arcane ... It stirs the psyche and livens the soul. If you are in the market for a deck, my advice is to look not only with your eyes, but with your heart. The Rider deck is not as "glittery" as some of its more modern counterparts, but in the long run it is a wonderful and rewarding tarot without equal.
— Andryh, Amazon customer
This is the standard tarot deck that all others are measured against. Images tie directly to the traditional meaning of the cards. Considered one of the easiest decks to learn and to read from.
— Maggie, goodreads
In years past, I believed in divination. I had a large collection of Tarot decks--a couple dozen--and I enjoyed studying the meanings of the cards. I no longer believe that fortune telling actually works. However, the Tarot remains a valuable art form and tool. People are correct to describe it as "Seventy eight degrees of wisdom," as the cards symbolically cover the entirety of human experience. For that reason, they are excellent for meditation and contemplating life. Writers and artists can use them to exercise their creativity. Not all Tarot decks are created equal. The Rider-Waite, though, has all the symbolism exactly right. The art is simple yet beautiful. To me, this is the ideal deck.
— Jonathan Fesmire, goodreads