While there are obvious similitudes between the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille, there are still more subtle differences.
The illustrations from the Rider-Waite
The Rider-Waite Tarot is more recent than the Tarot of Marseille, and it has a more modern graphic design. From a more uncluttered style, the cards from the Rider-Waite have nonetheless kept a great symbolic depth. In that regard, the minor arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot are all numbered and illustrated.
Sample cards from the Rider-Waite Tarot
Differing tarot interpretations
In the manner of the Tarot of Marseille, the Rider-Waite is made of 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana, for a total of 78 tarot cards. However, the meaning of some of the arcana can be quite different from those in the Tarot of Marseille.
Rider-Waite Tarot and Tarot of Marseille, two worlds
Known all over the world, the Tarot of Marseille is more popular in Latin Europe, while the Rider-Waite Tarot appears as the tarot deck of choice for divinatory purposes among the English-speaking world.
Arcana specific to the Rider-Waite Tarot
Some of the major arcana have a different name between the Tarot of Marseille and the Rider-Waite Tarot.
The Mountebank in the Tarot of Marseille becomes The Magician in the Rider-Waite.
Likewise, The High Priestess in the Rider matches The Papess.
PAPESS HIGHT PRIESTESS
And The Pope from the Tarot of Marseille appears as the Hierophant in the Rider-Waite Tarot.
In the same vein, the numbering of some major arcana can differ, like the 8th and 11th arcana (Justice and Strength) whose numbers are switched between the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille.
8th Arcanum in the Tarot of Marseille 11th Arcanum in the Rider-Waite Tarot
11th Arcanum in the Tarot of Marseille 8th Arcanum in the Rider-Waite Tarot