Its Occult Significance, Use in Fortune-Telling, and Method of Play, Etc.
by S. L. MacGregor Mathers
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When the Rider Tarot Deck® was created, it was the only one of its kind. Still, at this point, opening a RWS deck in its distinctive yellow box, I don't expect to see many surprises. Someone once told me, "If you think you NEED a tarot deck, then you NEED a Rider Waite deck." I'm not sure I'd go quite that far but certainly no collection would be complete without this one. If you have the uncanny feeling, when looking at this deck, that you've seen its shapes and symbols before -- you're not imagining it.
Pamela Colman Smith was the skilled artist and seer who was commissioned by fellow member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Arthur Edward Waite, to illustrate the entire 78 card Tarot deck to his exact specifications, so that any variation introduced would not be her fault.
I think this deck would be more useful to me if I spoke French, because then the markings on the cards would make a great deal more sense to me. Even as it is, I find the deck charming. They're not kidding about the Petit part though. The deck is small in size, the cards are thin, and there are only 32 of them. More than half the box is taken up with the miniature paperback that comes inside the little box.
Alphonse Louis Constant (a.k.a. Éliphas Lévi Zahed) was a famous French occultist and kabbalist who revolutionized the field of cartomancy. Had it not been for Lévi, the theories of Court de Gebelin might never have become popular.
Etteilla (1738-1791)Jean Baptiste Alliette (a.k.a. Etteilla) was an influential French occultist who helped establish the occult nature of the Tarot. Had it not been for Etteilla, the theories of Court de Gebelin might never have become popular. It was Alliette who made divination with the Tarot popular.
Papus (1865-1916) Papus was a French doctor, hypnotist, and occultist, who founded the modern Martinist Order and helped to popularize occultism. He was born in Spain in 1865, but his family moved to Paris when he was four years old, and he received his education there. He wrote about the Tarot from a Kabbalistic perspective, and was an expert on the works of Éliphas Lévi.