Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

[Sun] [Ace of Cups] The Rider-Waite Tarot deck is probably the most popular tarot deck in use today in the United States. It was first published in 1910 by Rider & Company, a London publisher. Arthur Edward Waite designed the deck in collaboration with Pamela Colman Smith, an American artist. Waite was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult society of the time. Waite considered symbolism of prime importance, so the cards of the Rider-Waite deck were created to communicate esoteric principles through symbols. Waite describes his interpretations in his book The Key to the Tarot, sometimes published with pictures as The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.

Waite made several changes from the tarot deck traditions of the time when he designed his deck. He switched the Strength and Justice cards so that Strength became card 8 and Justice card 11. He and Smith also created full pictorial scenes for the minor arcana numbered suit cards. Before this time, these cards usually showed only the suit symbols as in the Tarot of Marseilles.

The Rider-Waite tarot deck is the model for many modern tarot decks and also has several variants. It is available in 4 sizes (miniature, pocket, regular and giant) and four language styles (spanish, french, german, and five-language). The Rider-Waite illustrates the on-line version of Learning the Tarot.

Rider-Waite Version Number of Cards Size Copyright Order Code Price
Regular 78
22 major/56 minor
2 3/4" x 4 3/4" 1971 RW78-reg $18.00 (US)
Miniature " " 1 3/4" x 2 7/8" " " RW78-mini $12.00 (US)
Pocket " " 2 1/4" x 3 1/2" " " RW78-pocket $15.00 (US)
Giant " " 4" x 6 1/2" " " RW78-giant $24.00 (US)
Dutch, English, French
German, Italian
" " 2 3/4" x 4 3/4" " " RW78-five language $18.00 (US)
French " " 2 3/4" x 4 3/4" " " RW78-french $18.00 (US)
German " " 2 3/4" x 4 3/4" " " RW78-german $18.00 (US)
Braille " " 2 3/4" x 4 3/4" " " RW78-braille $40.00 (US)
Order - Amazon (regular)
Order Here

[back design]

Back Design: See right

Language of Card Titles:
English (but also see above)

Style of Suit Cards (2-10): Story Pictures

Also Included: instruction booklet, blank card and promotion card

Major Arcana:
Fool, Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers,
Chariot, Strength, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Hanged Man,
Death, Temperance, Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgement, World

Suit Names: Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles

Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, Page

Links to Other Sites:
Review of Waite decks - Wicce website


[Queen of Swords] [6 of Pentacles] [2 of Wands]

Reference - The Encyclopedia of Tarot: Volume 3 by Stuart Kaplan, pg 272-273


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