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Universal Waite Tarot Deck

Universal Waite

The serene Universal Waite Tarot deck is a soothing, eye-appealing complement to the traditional Rider-Waite deck, with beautiful drawings of Pamela Colman Smith recolored by Mary Hanson-Roberts.

Universal Waite Tarot deck preview:

From the U.S. Games Universal Waite Tarot booklet:

From the U.S. Games Universal Waite Tarot booklet:

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?

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.
Today, there is currently a phenomenal interest in Tarot fortune-telling cards. The serious investigator seeks to employ the cards as a means of placing the past into more meaningful perspective, understanding the present, and revealing the alternatives that exist in the future. Those less acquainted with Tarot cards are content to use them as a game and to indulge in readings at parties or in small private groups. From the collector’s standpoint, Tarot cards are both colorful and interesting.

Tarot decks are currently sought by teenagers, students, homemakers, businessmen, professional people, collectors—indeed, persons from all walks of life. Newspapers, magazines, radio, and television frequently comment on the Tarot vogue. Teenagers enjoy Tarot parties. Adults attend Tarot luncheons, charitable benefits, and Tarot picnics at which card readings are performed. Hollywood has even indulged in the growing trend with “popular” Tarot readers being present at parties to service the well-known guests.

One of the fascinating aspects about Tarot cards is their personal effect upon the individual who uses them. Waite successfully presents a new dimension to their meaning in The Key to the Tarot. Any Tarot reader, be they a serious scholar or a person dabbling in the occult, will benefit from Waite’s insight and keen perception.