Rider-Waite Tarot Deck--Braille Edition
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Smith was born in England to American parents, and grew up in Jamaica. She toured with the theatre company of Ellen Terry and Henry Irving in the late 1890's, where she joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and met Waite. She also did a great deal of illustration work for William Butler Yeats and his brother Jack, but apart from this deck, her art found little commercial success.
Which is a shame, because its blend of Art Deco and Symbolism made her a fine fantasy illustrator, as well as the perfect artist for this project. She died in 1951, and the chief fame and distribution of the Waite deck unfortunately came after this. No one knows where she is buried. Her deck lives on, not only in the minds of Tarot believers, but in those who like lovely things.
This is, of course, one of the first mass produced Tarot decks to illustrate every card. Most of its successors take their lead from her images.
The flaws in the deck seem to be Waite's. If I could find fault in this project, it is in the fact that the images tend to force interpretations onto the cards that might be read differently. The ten of swords, for instance, could mean the achievement of an intellectual goal, as well as what is suggested by the drastic image seen here. There is still room for a traditional deck with the simple pictures of the suit cards as well as the trumps.
Waite's deck is good for both beginners and seasoned readers - it's easy enough to start with, but deep and complex enough for those who dig deep to find more and more meanings in it.
I'll give examples to explain what I mean :
 The Tarot de Marseilles is another excellent and popular deck, but has the drawback of having geometrical pips, which make it hard to read for beginners - unless the reader has a very good memory, she'll have a hard time handling about half the deck.
 Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck is as popular and good a deck as Waite's, and would certainly reward those who learn all the appropriate associations (e.g. astrology), but for someone who knows that material there's only a small extra penalty in remembering the associations for the Waite deck on account of the missing symbols.
 The Conolly deck is based on Waite's and is friendly to both the new reader and the readee, but is 'dumbed down' and doesnt have the symbolical depth of the Rider, so an experienced reader would most probably leave the Conolly deck in favour of the Rider-Waite or Thoth decks.
The Rider-Waite deck is very christian in it's symbology, with some Judaistic symbols (e.g. Cabbala) in it [as is the Thoth deck] so people who want a deck with a symbology coming from a different culture might want to opt for some other deck (e.g. the Haindl tarot, the Osho Zen tarot, etc).
Some of the deck's advantages are not directly related to it's images - it's popularity means there are many books about it to learn from, it's cheap and widely available (if you lost your copy and want to buy a new one or want to buy someone a deck as a present), etc.
The same is true of the Rider Deck. As noted in other reviews, there are quite literally hundreds of decks ranging from everything from baseball to vampires to dragons to unicorns. Many people collect Tarot cards, but most everyone starts here with the Rider Deck. Indeed, of the hundreds of books published on the Tarot, almost every book I've seen for the beginner to the advanced uses the Rider deck as an example. Most decks are based in the symbolism of the Rider deck as well and if they don't work as well, it's because they've glossed over the symbolism so pivotal in the Rider.
Why, then has the Rider not only survived but evolved to be an archetype of the tarot itself? I think because it speaks to us and it's the easiest to understand even at a quick glance. The symbolism is so strong that the beginner can easily remember what any given card represents (no mean feat when there are 72 cards to remember and read!) The symbolism is also so detailed and deep that the advanced caster is always able to find deeper meaning, make more and more connections between cards during a casting.
Drawn almost like an illuminated manuscript in solid colors with clear, black outlines before the age of airbrush or computer 3D rendering, there is something timeless about it that connects us to it's rich and deep history.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Love that this was available, affordable and a great set from the original design. The cards are a sort of laminated material, not paper-like at all. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
Exactly what I wanted, and the cards are beautiful. Box was a little damaged on arrival, but the contents were in perfect condition.Published 2 months ago by David Clare