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Smith Waite Centennial

Smith Waite Centennial

This faithful reproduction of the original Rider-Waite Tarot deck -- illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith in 1909 -- features the traditional Rider-Waite artwork in the original colors chosen by Smith.

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From the U.S. Games Smith Waite Centennial 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?

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. 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 perhaps 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.

Today, Tarot fortune-telling readings generally take into account not only the individual divinatory meaning of a card but also the proximity between two or more cards and whether the card is upright or reversed (which weakens, delays and even reverses the meaning). The brief descriptive title on each of the 22 Major Arcana cards serves as a catalyst toward a broader and deeper meaning, which the diviner seeks to express.

The 56 Lesser Arcana cards contain four suits including the usual court cards; King, Queen, Jack (Valet, Page) plus a fourth card, the Cavalier (Knight, Knave), which is placed between the Queen and the Jack. The suits are generally Swords (Spades), Batons or Wands (Clubs), Cups (Hearts), and Coins or Pentacles (Diamonds). Suit origins are believed to represent the four estates of life during medieval times: nobility or persons who held their rank by military service were symbolized by swords; peasants or working-class people by clubs; clergymen and statesmen by cups; and tradesmen and the industrial class by coins.

Today’s ordinary decks of playing cards seemingly descend from the medieval Tarot decks. As card playing increased in popularity, the Major Arcana cards were dropped (except for The Fool which was retained as the Joker) and the Cavalier and Page were combined into today’s Jack, thus giving us the standard deck of 52 cards plus Joker.

One of the fascinating aspects about Tarot cards is their personal affect 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.

View Any Card in Smith Waite Centennial Deck:

MAJOR ARCANA
The Fool The Magician The High Priestess The Empress The Emperor The Hierophant The Lovers The Chariot Strength The Hermit Wheel of Fortune Justice The Hanged Man Death Temperance The Devil The Tower The Star The Moon The Sun Judgment The World
WANDS
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Four of Wands
Five of Wands
Six of Wands
Seven of Wands
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands
Ten of Wands
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands
CUPS
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups
Three of Cups
Four of Cups
Five of Cups
Six of Cups
Seven of Cups
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups
SWORDS
Ace of Swords
Two of Swords
Three of Swords
Four of Swords
Five of Swords
Six of Swords
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords
COINS
Ace of Coins
Two of Coins
Three of Coins
Four of Coins
Five of Coins
Six of Coins
Seven of Coins
Eight of Coins
Nine of Coins
Ten of Coins
Page of Coins
Knight of Coins
Queen of Coins
King of Coins

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Ibis
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Jolanda
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Karma
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Lovers Path
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Magic Manga
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Marseilles
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Medicine Woman
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Old Path
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Oswald Wirth
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Paulina
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Phantasmagoric
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Quick and Easy
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Renaissance
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Rider Waite
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Royal Thai
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Russian
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Sacred Art
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Sacred Rose
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Salvador Dali
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