Widespread among English-speaking countries, the Rider-Waite Tarot is a divination tool in its own right. The many occult symbols that can be found within make the Rider-Waite tarot deck both mystical and fascinating.
The story of the Rider-Waite Tarot
While the origins of the Tarot de Marseille lack a lot of details, the Rider-Waite Tarot has a more specific background. First published in 1909, the Rider-Waite Tarot was created by Arthur Edward Waite, an occultist born in America and raised in England.
Arthur Edward Waite was a member of the Golden Dawn, a secret society founded in London, where he studied Kabbalah and divinatory arts such as the tarot.
Pamela Colman Smith, also a member of the Golden Dawn, is the gifted artist that designed the illustrations of the Rider-Waite Tarot cards, which were published by the Rider Company.
This is the reason why the Rider-Waite Tarot is also called Rider-Waite-Smith, Waite-Smith, Waite-Colman Smith or simply the Rider deck.
Meaning of the Rider-Waite Tarot
The symbolical elements of the Rider-Waite Tarot have been enhanced with elements drawn from Kabbalah, numerology, astrology and many other mystical beliefs. This very heavy symbolism can be found through the Pamela Colman Smith’s deeply detailed illustrations.
By making symbolism the root of this tarot deck, Arthur Edward Waite made it absolutely unique. Each card in the Rider-Waite Tarot is precisely illustrated with a scene, with many characters and symbols.
Usually the Tarot de Marseille arcana are difficult to analyze. Tarot reading with the Rider-Waite deck is more accessible, thanks to the iconic meanings of the cards.
The Rider Waite Tarot is thus easier to understand, through a more expressive symbolism than that of the Tarot de Marseille. If you want to know more about it, you can fin the differences between the Tarot de Marseille and the Rider-Waite in the appropriate post here.