The Rider Waite Smith Tarot

November 10th, 2011 § 0 comments

Below is a short video describing the history of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot.

It’s kind of interesting, and certainly makes clear how important illustrating the Tarot pips was to the development of Tarot reading.

With practice, everyone can learn to read the symbols found in earlier decks like the Visconti-Sforza and the Tarot of Marseille.

But Arthur Waite’s decision to use descriptive pictures throughout the minor arcana made it easy for even first time users to do a reading. And to begin to understand the philosophy buried within the cards.

The RWS deck, accompanied by Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot, opened Tarot up to everyone, not just those who were members of secret magical societies.

I think Waite was interested in much more than just ‘peering into the future’ as this piece seems to suggest, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Through their deck, Arthur Waite and artist Pamela Colman Smith made an enormous contribution to Tarot. They really changed everything.

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