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Rider Waite Deck

The classic Rider-Waite Tarot is the best known Tarot deck. The vibrant cards, featuring full scenes with figures and symbols, were drawn in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith under direction of Arthur Edward Waite. Learn More

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Rider Waite Tarot Deck

Major Arcana

The Fool Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Fool
The Magician Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Magician
The High Priestess Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The High Priestess
The Empress Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Empress
The Emperor Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Emperor
The Hierophant Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Hierophant
The Lovers Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Lovers
The Chariot Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Chariot
Strength Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Strength
The Hermit Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Hermit
Wheel of Fortune Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Wheel of Fortune
Justice Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Justice
The Hanged Man Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Hanged Man
Death Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Death
Temperance Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Temperance
The Devil Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Devil
The Tower Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Tower
The Star Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Star
The Moon Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Moon
The Sun Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The Sun
Judgement Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Judgement
The World Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
The World

The Wands

Ace of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Two of Wands
Three of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Three of Wands
Four of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Four of Wands
Five of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Five of Wands
Six of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Six of Wands
Seven of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Seven of Wands
Eight of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Nine of Wands
Ten of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ten of Wands
Page of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Queen of Wands
King of Wands Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
King of Wands

The Cups

Ace of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Two of Cups
Three of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Three of Cups
Four of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Four of Cups
Five of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Five of Cups
Six of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Six of Cups
Seven of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Seven of Cups
Eight of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Queen of Cups
King of Cups Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
King of Cups

The Swords

Ace of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ace of Swords
Two of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Two of Swords
Three of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Three of Swords
Four of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Four of Swords
Five of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Five of Swords
Six of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Six of Swords
Seven of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ten of Swords
Page of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Queen of Swords
King of Swords Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
King of Swords

The Coins

Ace of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ace of Coins
Two of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Two of Coins
Three of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Three of Coins
Four of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Four of Coins
Five of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Five of Coins
Six of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Six of Coins
Seven of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Seven of Coins
Eight of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Eight of Coins
Nine of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Nine of Coins
Ten of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Ten of Coins
Page of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Page of Coins
Knight of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Knight of Coins
Queen of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
Queen of Coins
King of Coins Tarot card in Rider Waite deck
King of Coins

About the Rider Waite Deck

Dr. Arthur Edward Waite (1857-1942) was a genuine scholar of occultism whose published works include The Holy Kabbalah and The Key to the Tarot first issued in England in 1910. Waite utilized symbolism as the key to the Tarot pack. In The Key to the Tarot he writes: “The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs.” What are the Tarot cards about which Waite so skillfully writes? What is the message of each card and when and where did these fascinating cardboard symbols first originate?

The precise origin of Tarot cards in antiquity remains obscure. Court de Gebelin writing in Le Monde Primitif in 1781 advances the theory that Tarot cards derived from an ancient Egyptian book, The Book of Thoth. Thoth was the Egyptian Mercury, said to be one of the early Kings and the inventor of the hieroglyphic system. Gebelin asserts that it is from the Egyptians and Gypsies that Tarot cards were dispersed throughout Europe.

The emergence of Tarot cards in Europe predates by over five centuries the work of Waite. A German monk, Johannes, describes a game called Ludas Cartarum played in the year 1377. Covelluzzo, a fifteenth-century chronicler, relates the introduction into Viterbo of the game of cards in the year 1379.

In the year 1369 playing cards are not mentioned in a decree issued by Charles VI of France against various forms of gambling; however, 28 years later, the Prevot of Paris, in an ordinance dated January 22, 1397, forbids working people from playing tennis, ball, cards, or ninepins excepting only on holidays. It is generally accepted that playing cards emerged in Europe in the latter half of the fourteenth century, probably first in Italy as a complete 78-card deck — or some inventive genius subsequently combined the common 56 cards known as the Minor Arcana with the 22 esoteric and emblematic Tarot cards known as the Major Arcana to form the 78-card pack.

During the fifteenth century Tarot cards were generally drawn or hand painted for the princely houses of Northern Italy and France. Subsequently, the card packs became more numerous because they were reproduced by techniques using woodcuts, stencils and copper engraving. By the sixteenth century a modified Tarot pack called the Tarot of Marseilles gained popularity.

There exists today, in the archives of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, 17 Major Arcana cards generally believed, probably erroneously, to have been hand painted about the year 1392 by Jacquemin Gringonneur for Charles VI of France. These cards are likely of later Venetian origin, possibly mid-fifteenth-century Tarocchi of Venice cards.