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The Original Rider Waite Tarot Pack Cards – May 23, 2012
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In 1909, Arthur Edward Waite encouraged Pamela Colman Smith to produce a tarot deck with appeal to the world of art that would have significance behind the symbols, and thus make the deck more important than tarot packs previously used for centuries. The result was the unique Rider-Waite Tarot deck which has endured as the world's most popular 78-card tarot deck. The innovative cards, including the 56 Minor Arcana, depict full scenes with figures and symbols. This featured, combined with Pamela Smith's ability to capture the subtleties of emotion and experience, has made the Rider-Waite Tarot the basis for the designs of many 20th Century packs. The Original Rider Waite Tarot Pack is a facsimile edition originally printed from palates that were destroyed during the bombing of London during World War II. The deck and book set comes complete and in full-color with original Tudor Rose back design, Celtic Cross divinatory chart, and The Key to the Tarot by Arthur Waite. --Midwest Book Review
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I will be uploading pictures of these cards (via Photo bucket since Amazon doesn't allow uploads on this item) compared side by side with my Waite/Smith deck so you can see what I am talking about.
U.S. Games offers several "Rider-Waite" decks. The "Rider" deck is not quite as brightly colored, has a thinner card stock, and a "tarotee" back design (diagonally crossed black lines). The "Original Rider Waite Tarot Pack" listed here is a beautiful version of the original with bright colors and a blue "Tudor Rose" design on the back. The "Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set" includes the Centennial edition (along with a lovely book and extra material about the artist) which appears to be a copy of a well-scanned original deck, on excellent card stock, with a new back design that includes the rose and Pamela Colman Smith's initials as they appear on the cards. The "Smith-Waite Centennial Edition" is the deck only from the Commemorative set (sans book and extras). As an aside, U.S. Games also offers the Albano-Waite deck. Initially published in 1968, this groovy edition is a trippy, garishly colored version of Smith's original images. And this list is certainly not exhaustive; there are other "Rider" (publisher) or "Waite" (author/supervisor) or "Smith" (artist) decks out there from every publisher imaginable. In addition to the images themselves, many (if not most) modern decks use this deck as a basis for their own designs.
O.K., so this wasn't much of a "review" of this product specifically, but if someone intends to read tarot, he or she should own a version of the Waite deck. It is one of the cornerstones of esoteric tarot in general and a foundation for the proliferation in tarot publishing today. And if that isn't enough to sell one, it is also a pleasant example of early twentieth-century English popular illustration. Enjoy.
I really hated the colors of this deck!! They are so dim and dark, and they didnt feel real.
when i lay out a spread with this deck, all cards look like they are all of the same dim color! that pale faint dark yellow mood is all over the spread.. not comfortable at all.
This is my preferred version of the deck, too. The soft, subtle colouring appeals to me much more than some of the almost-flourescent newer versions. The colours in particular remind me that this was, graphically at least, a product of it's time - the Art Nouveau period.
It's taken a long time for Pamela Colman Smith to get the recognition she deserves. She might not have been the most skilled draftsperson there ever was, and this deck was made in a very brief period of time - but in my opinion, her power was in her subtlety. Slight nuances of expression, muted tones and patterns in the fabrics and fills. In this version of the RWS deck, I can almost feel the lightness of her touch as she painted these images.
I agree with others that if you're a beginner, Waite's original booklet isn't a great deal of use - get yourself a good, thorough book like Rachel Pollack's '78 Degrees of Wisdom' in addition.
I own a couple of RWS versions and I think that in this case it's true that "the Original is still the best". I'm so glad this 'Original' reproduction set is available again.