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Rider Waite

Rider Waite

The classic Rider-Waite Tarot is the best known Tarot deck. The vibrant cards, featuring full scenes with figures and symbols, were drawn in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith under direction of Arthur Edward Waite.

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From the U.S. Games Rider Waite booklet:

Dr. Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) was a genuine scholar of occultism whose published works include The Holy Kabbalah and The Key to the Tarot first issued in England in 1910. Waite utilized symbolism as the key to the Tarot pack. In The Key to the Tarot he writes: “The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs.” What are the Tarot cards about which Waite so skillfully writes? What is the message of each card and when and where did these fascinating cardboard symbols first originate?

The precise origin of Tarot cards in antiquity remains obscure. Court de Gebelin writing in Le Monde Primitif in 1781 advances the theory that Tarot cards derived from an ancient Egyptian book, The Book of Thoth. Thoth was the Egyptian Mercury, said to be one of the early Kings and the inventor of the hieroglyphic system. Gebelin asserts that it is from the Egyptians and Gypsies that Tarot cards were dispersed throughout Europe.

The emergence of Tarot cards in Europe predates by over five centuries the work of Waite. A German monk, Johannes, describes a game called Ludas Cartarum played in the year 1377. Covelluzzo, a fifteenth-century chronicler, relates the introduction into Viterbo of the game of cards in the year 1379.

In the year 1369 playing cards are not mentioned in a decree issued by Charles VI of France against various forms of gambling; however, 28 years later, the Prevot of Paris, in an ordinance dated January 22, 1397, forbids working people from playing tennis, ball, cards, or ninepins excepting only on holidays. It is generally accepted that playing cards emerged in Europe in the latter half of the fourteenth century, probably first in Italy as a complete 78-card deck — or some inventive genius subsequently combined the common 56 cards known as the Minor Arcana with the 22 esoteric and emblematic Tarot cards known as the Major Arcana to form the 78-card pack.

During the fifteenth century Tarot cards were generally drawn or hand painted for the princely houses of Northern Italy and France. Subsequently, the card packs became more numerous because they were reproduced by techniques using woodcuts, stencils and copper engraving. By the sixteenth century a modified Tarot pack called the Tarot of Marseilles gained popularity.

There exists today, in the archives of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, 17 Major Arcana cards generally believed, probably erroneously, to have been hand painted about the year 1392 by Jacquemin Gringonneur for Charles VI of France. These cards are likely of later Venetian origin, possibly mid-fifteenth-century Tarocchi of Venice cards.

View Any Card in Rider Waite Deck:

MAJOR ARCANA
The Fool The Magician The High Priestess The Empress The Emperor The Hierophant The Lovers The Chariot Strength The Hermit Wheel of Fortune Justice The Hanged Man Death Temperance The Devil The Tower The Star The Moon The Sun Judgement The World
WANDS
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Four of Wands
Five of Wands
Six of Wands
Seven of Wands
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands
Ten of Wands
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands
CUPS
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups
Three of Cups
Four of Cups
Five of Cups
Six of Cups
Seven of Cups
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups
SWORDS
Ace of Swords
Two of Swords
Three of Swords
Four of Swords
Five of Swords
Six of Swords
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords
COINS
Ace of Coins
Two of Coins
Three of Coins
Four of Coins
Five of Coins
Six of Coins
Seven of Coins
Eight of Coins
Nine of Coins
Ten of Coins
Page of Coins
Knight of Coins
Queen of Coins
King of Coins

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Quick and Easy
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