This edition, distinguished by its subtle, muted color tones, is an indispensable addition to any tarot collection. The bright, primary colors seen in the familiar 1909 version of Rider-Waite® Tarot deck published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. have been returned to their original palette exemplified in the Arts and Crafts style of the early 20th century. For example, the pale blue backgrounds seen in The Star and the Wheel of Fortune cards are presented here as minty green. Tarot aficionados will be pleased to see that the card backs have been restored to their original design of Tudor roses and lilies in pale blue.
The Original Rider-Waite® Tarot Pack includes a Celtic Cross card-spread guide and an updated version of The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, written by Arthur Edward Waite. This new edition includes a thoughtful foreword by Liz Greene, who not only places tarot in a historical context, but also situates it in a broader context. She describes tarot as "a series of pictorial portrayals of the archetypal human life-journey."
See also: Rider-Waite® Tarot -- Premier Edition, Pocket Rider-Waite® Tarot, Miniature Rider-Waite® Tarot, Giant Rider-Waite® Tarot, Spanish Rider-Waite® Tarot, French Rider-Waite® Tarot, 6-unit Rider-Waite® Gravity Feed Display, Tarot Total Rider-Waite® Deck/Book Set, The Golden Rider Tarot, Albano-Waite® Tarot Deck, and Radiant Rider-Waite® Tarot.
The cards were drawn in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith under the direction of Arthur Edward Waite. Smith's vibrant drawings transformed the standard tarot deck.
"A unique feature of the Rider-Waite deck, and one of the of the principal reasons for its enduring popularity, is that all of the cards, including the Minor Arcana, depict full scenes with figures and symbols. Prior to the Rider-Waite Tarot, the pip cards of almost all tarot decks were marked only with the arrangement of the suit signs -- swords, wands, cups, and coins, or pentacles. The pictorial images on all the cards allow interpretations without the need to repeatedly consult explanatory text. The innovative Minor Arcana, and Pamela Colman Smith's ability to capture the subtleties of emotion and experience have made the Rider-Waite Tarot a model for the designs of many tarot packs." -- (from The Encyclopedia of Tarot, Volume III)
Rider-Waite Tarot was named one of the Top Ten Tarot Decks of All Time by Aeclectic Tarot.
Pamela Colman Smith
Born February 16, 1878, in Middlesex, England to American parents, Smith's childhood years were spent between London, New York, and Kingston, Jamaica. During her teens, she traveled throughout England with the theatre company of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving. Thereafter, she began formal art training at Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, graduating in 1897.
Smith returned to England, where she became a theatrical designer for miniature theatre, and an illustrator -- mainly of books, pamphlets and posters. Around 1903, she joined the Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1909, under the guidance of Arthur Edward Waite, she undertook a series of seventy-eight allegorical paintings described by Waite as a rectified tarot pack. The designs, published in the same year by William Rider and Son, exemplify the mysticism, ritual, imagination, fantasy, and deep emotions of the artist.
Arthur Edward Waite
Born in America in 1857, Waite was raised and educated as a Catholic in England. Beginning at the age of 21, Waite pursued research and writing on psychical and esoteric matters. Soon after joining the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, he became the Grand Master, and redirected the focus of the order from magic to mysticism. The Golden Order, whose structural hierarchy was based on the Kabbalah, is considered the single greatest 20th century influence on the occult. Waite was a prolific author of occult texts, works on the Holy Grail, and the body of mystical knowledge, which comprises the basis of modern Tarot. He is best known as the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, first published in 1910.