Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is a real alphabet for beginners in the world of magic. It is easy to read and therefore very popular. The meaning of each card is read in the actions of the characters, their facial expressions. Having learned to work with this tool, then you can master others that are more difficult to understand. This version is like a primer in the native language among multi-volume foreign novels. It provides the basis for future correct interpretations. You can compare the predictions on this deck with the stories of the Brothers Grimm. The querent embarks on a journey towards his own destiny. There is a gingerbread house with an old witch, and a golden goose, and Little Red Riding Hood. The main thing is not to get lost in this fabulous world.

History of creation of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

Arthur Waite lived at the beginning of the last century and positioned himself as a magician, a soothsayer. He was also a member of a secret society called the Golden Dawn. In 1910, Arthur, together with the artist Pamela Smith, created his own deck – the Rider-Waite Tarot. Its double name is dictated by the collaboration of the British mystic with the publishing house. By the way, William Ryder was an entrepreneur and had nothing to do with the world of magic. Next, Waite reissued the deck again, but it was the first version that became the most popular, which is why the double name was preserved.

The author took the motives for his cards in the Marseille Tarot. But here the visualization has many differences from the original. To create the Waite-Rider Tarot, Pamela Smith invited her friends and acquaintances to the Smallhit estate. The artist performed the drawings in a naive children’s style. Arthur took most of the symbols from the books of Eliphas Levi, an occultist of the 19th century. And although the author of the Rider-Waite deck claimed a new reading, a rich semantic load, in practice, many tarologists say the opposite. No matter what anyone thinks, the Sun will still remain a fiery star, even if it is called a candle flame.

Key Features of the Rider-Waite Tarot

Pamela Smith was an extraordinary theater artist. The work left an imprint on her work. When creating the deck, Pamela used hypertrophied imagery, bright colors and many small details. On some Minor Rider-Waite Arcana, it is generally impossible to distinguish certain places. Smith-Colman herself had a striking appearance – many talked about the presence of African blood. The artist managed to express her inner color through magical drawings. This work made a name for Pamela. Although, in addition to this, the artist designed books, wrote stories and was also known to be involved in the occult world.

The most important feature of the Rider-Waite Tarot is the fact that Arthur rearranged the two Major Arcana – Justice and Strength. He explained this by astrological correspondence. According to his logic, Strength symbolizes the Leo, and Justice – Libra. Thus, the signs of the zodiac go in chronological order. Some soothsayers took such liberties, but most strictly denied innovations. Now, practitioners work with both the Waite variant and the original one presented in the Marseille Tarot.

The author also changed the important message of the Lovers card. Previously, two girls and one boy participated in the scene. The guy hesitated between the heroines, so the Arcana first of all showed love intrigues, the torment of choice. And in the Rider-Waite Tarot, the second lady disappears. Instead, an angel appears, blessing the lovers. Now the scene in the Garden of Eden directly indicates sincere feelings, mutual attraction without the intervention of third parties. However, many soothsayers still read the card as a kind of choice, a crossroads. This meaning is firmly entrenched, despite the actions of the author. In general, Arthur Wait brought a lot of ideas from the Bible, Christianity. Here there is both Heaven, heavenly places, and the Devil with his retinue.

The Rider-Waite deck also places a lot of emphasis on the Minor Arcana. The author decided to reveal the meaning of this group more fully. In the old versions, minor cards simply showed the symbols of the elements in a certain numerical value. Pamela also rewarded Rider-Waite’s Minor Arcana with great potential. So, court cards began to show certain people, to focus on gender, appearance and age. The Rider-Waite deck continues the tradition of the English Tarot school. This system originates in the Order of the Golden Dawn. It refers to Kabbalah and astrology. The order itself pursued the goal of spiritual development, the search for truth through magical practices, alchemy.

Style and symbolism of the deck

The style is very reminiscent of medieval engravings. However, the difference lies in the abundance of small details, symbols. The researchers of this deck noticed something important – not all scenes represent the same time. The clothes of the heroes can refer to the 10th century or to the 16th. So, the observer seems to fall into a time machine: either he is sitting at a feast at the Russian Tsar, or he is sailing to a mysterious island with King Arthur in search of the Holy Grail. Such a deviation from the rules hints at a free interpretation. The interpretation of the Rider-Waite Tarot involves reading the symbols depicted, and not searching for the truth in chronological order.

Some characters are very well-developed and have beautiful clothes. Others are shown exaggeratedly. All this also has its own meaning, just as some people like to dress up, attract attention, while others hide from prying eyes. Almost everywhere in the Rider-Waite Tarot there are heroes – either people, or animals or astronomical objects. But there are exceptions – the Three of Swords and all Aces, where only hands resembling a mirage are visible. Also, the first cards of any group do not have a numerical designation. This feature is dictated by the desire to show unity, the indivisible "root" of energy.

Interpretation of the Rider-Waite Tarot cards

Fortune-telling on the Waite-Rider Tarot can be done in any way. The classic option is shuffling the cards, and then removing the "cap" – the deck is divided in half, and the upper part goes down. Next, the fortuneteller removes the Arcana in turn. Waite’s universal tarot spreads usually have three positions. They can be read as past, present and future. Otherwise, play out the whole story in three acts. The choice of how to get a prediction depends only on the imagination and experience of the tarologist. One card is enough for some, twelve is enough for another.

It is important to pay attention to the Rider-Waite Tarot suits that have fallen out. So, if the Earth group predominates in the spread, then most likely we are talking about working moments. Feelings are shown by Cups, actions by Wands, and negativity by Swords. It is also worth noting such a moment when the Arcana of the Rider-Waite deck lie on the hidden sphere, as if not suitable in meaning. Their appearance hints to the questioner at deceit or a misperception of the situation. Some people may pass off ordinary mercantile interest as sincere love. But in terms of work, such characters try to turn on the charm, "take" not with professional skills, but with appearance or charisma.

What questions is the deck suitable for?

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is suitable for divination for any questions. She is universal. The universe of this deck reflects the most important manifestations of the human world. There are correspondences both with work and with relationships, feelings. And although the cards depict scenes from the Middle Ages, you can still draw parallels with today. On the Arcana there are people, animals, objects. These symbols can also be transferred to real life. The tarot reader must intuitively feel the Rider-Waite Tarot cards in order to correctly read the information.

Despite its "practical" and mundane plots, the deck is also revealed from the standpoint of spirituality. This area is best reflected in the Major Arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot. This group shows both positive growth and negative magical influences. It all depends on the combination. For example, the Moon may imply black magic next to the Devil. But the card itself also indicates good vocal abilities. This is evidenced by the sound symbol present on the Arcana.

Who are the Rider-Waite Tarot cards for?

The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is suitable for absolutely everyone. Beginners begin their acquaintance with the world of magic and predictions from it. The cards in this deck are very easy to count. During the time that the brainchild of Arthur Waite exists, a huge amount of practical information has accumulated. Tarologists share their vision, pass on experience from generation to generation. We can say that the Waite-Rider Tarot has become a real classic of the genre. It’s like a 1931 Dracula movie against a contemporary horror backdrop.

At the same time, Tarot Waite is also suitable for people who are fond of astrology. They can connect depicted scenes with cosmic phenomena, draw parallels. In this regard, the Rider-Waite deck is a mirror in which everyone sees his own. However, it has clear boundaries that allow you not to drown in the open ocean of the world of mysticism. That is why these cards are suitable for novice fortune-tellers. It is difficult to make a mistake with such a tool, since behind it is a powerful egregor, which is already in the second century.

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