Learn about the origins of the Rider Wait Tarot, why it is so popular, the meaning of the Cards, and how to play this oracle for self-knowledge.
The Rider Wait Tarot or Rider Wait Smith Tarot is one of the most popular Tarot Card games in the world. Its popularity is only surpassed by the Tarot de Marseille, which served as the inspiration for its creation in the early 20th century. The Tarot is an extremely popular divinatory art. It is used for self-awareness, guidance, inspiration, emotional healing, and foresight.
Each of the archetypes of the Tarot represents universal human emotions or feelings, which last over time. Thus, and despite being a very ancient practice, the meaning of each of the Letters is still current. Perhaps, for this reason, the Tarot is gaining more and more followers around the world.
There are several Tarot decks, and each person must choose one with which they most identify. Some are more popular than others, but their basis, the mystical meaning of each Arcanum (Arcanum means “secret”), is transversal. The figures and illustrations may change, but the essence, the message, and the knowledge they convey are identical.
Origins of the Rider Wait Tarot
The Rider Wait Tarot was introduced by the British mystic Arthur Edward Wait, being published for the first time in his book “ The Pictorial Key to the Tarot ” in 1910. In this publication, the author reviewed the history and meaning of each of the Letters. That same year the deck of 78 Cards with illustrations by the artist was published. Pamela Colman Smith.
AE Wait was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a British occult society, an Order to which PC Smith also belonged. In his system, AE Wait substitutes the Christian image of the old decks of other authors, of the “Pope” card for the “Hierophant” and that of the “Popess” for the “Priestess.”
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (from the English Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn ) was an English secret society that emerged in 1888. Its objective was to fuse various esoteric aspects and practices, creating a logical and organized system. It marked the rebirth of occult practices, synthesized a series of principles, and created its own rituals.
The Figurative Representation of the Arcana of the Rider Wait Tarot
The Rider Wait Tarot deck includes illustrations of the Major Arcana, like most decks, but also detailed drawings of the Minor Arcana, which differentiates it from all other decks of Tarot Cards.
Traditionally, the older Tarots, such as the Visconti-Sforza Tarot and the Marseilles Tarot, have repeating patterns for the Minor Arcana, like the playing cards. However, the Rider Wait Tarot includes a complete scene. The figurative representation of the set of Cards in the deck simplified its interpretation, which made this deck very popular, particularly among beginners in this art of the occult.
The Rider Wait Tarot Deck
The Tarot deck is made up of 78 Cards divided into two groups, also designated as Arcana (which means “secret”). There are 22 Major Arcana (also designated as Trumps or Keys) and 56 Minor Arcana, grouped into four cards, just like the decks of playing cards.
The Major Arcana
The Major Arcana represent turning points and key decisions. They are archetypes of the most basic emotions and feelings of Man. They constitute the base of the game of Tarot and allow us to evaluate the essential themes of the personality of each person.
These Arcana also represent the cycle of life, the eternal beginning, and ending of the change. The beginning and the end, the conclusion. The cycle begins with Card 0, El Loco, and ends with Card XXI, El Mundo. Each Card has a number that shows when it is in a certain phase of life.
The Major Arcana form a cycle known as the journey of The Fool that passes through physical and spiritual life and is reborn with The World before starting a new journey from scratch, the starting point where everything returns. Thus, in a Tarot reading, the cards with lower numbers can be an indicator of the beginning of the cycle in the same way that the higher cards suggest that the end of anything is coming.
- 0 - The Fool - Trust
- I - The Magician - Energy
- II - The Priestess - Intuition
- III - The Empress - Creativity
- IV - The Emperor - Realization
- V - The Pope - Tradition
- VI - Lovers - Attraction
- VII - The Chariot - Determination
- VIII - The Force - Brave Heart (Card XI in the Tarot of Marseille)
- IX - The Hermit - Introspection
- X - The Wheel of Fortune - Cycles
- XI - Justice - Truth (Card VIII in the Tarot of Marseille)
- XII - The Hanged Man - Suspension
- XIII - Death - Transformation
- XIV - Temperance - Patience
- XV - The Devil - Imposture
- XVI - The Tower - Crisis
- XVII - The Star - Illumination
- XVIII - The Moon - Night Trip
- XIX - The Sun - Splendor
- XX - The Trial - Evaluation
- XXI - The World - Apogee
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana is divided into four cards: Cups, Pentacles (or Pentacles), Wands (or Wands), and Swords. In most cases, each of the cards is related to one of the four primordial elements of nature: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air.
- Element - Water
- Representation - Emotions, love, relationships, imagination, sensitivity
Pentacles (or Pentacles)
- Element - Earth
- Representation - Physical reality, material world, physical body, money, home, security, work
Wands (or Wands)
- Element - Fire
- Representation - Passion, communication, desire, creativity, inspiration, movement, activity, conversations
- Element - Air
- Representation - Mind, reasoning, decisions, fear, ego issues, opposition
The figures in the deck are the Jack (or the Page), the Knight (or the Knight), the Queen (or the Lady), and the King of each Card. These can both be interpreted as people or as situations.
The Jack (or Page) - This represents young characters or new situations such as a business idea or a candidacy for a new position or job interview. It also represents a playful, opportunistic spirit or the need to take advantage of an opportunity.
The Knight (or the Horse) - Symbolizes the idealistic and fighting side, the person who throws himself into the unknown to defend those who are next to him and his projects without fear of the greatness of the adversary or of difficulties. It is the spirit that prevails over matter.
The Queen (or Lady) - Represents the institutions, the undertakings carried out, and the strength of the female personality. They symbolize sensitivity, receptivity, protection, maternal instinct, and the inner world, be it male or female.
King - Represents the action. The Kings of Wands and Swords of the Fire Element cards are agile and quick to react. The King of Cups, being of the Water Element, is less energetic than the previous ones, representing emotions and sensitivity. The King of Pentacles has a slower and more thoughtful approach, typical behavior of the Earth Element.
Learn more about the meaning of the Tarot Figures in this article: The King, the Queen, the Knight, and the Jack - Figures from the Tarot deck
The Reading of the Numbers of the Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana numbers are a key indicator in interpreting a reading. As you learn more about the meaning of the Cards, you will be able to make new connections between your teachings and intuit new meanings between the Cards.
- Ace - Beginnings
- Two - Societies, decisions
- Three - Recognition, Activity
- Four - Stability
- Five - Instability
- Six - Harmony, improvement
- Seven - Potential, Ambition
- Eight - Entrance doors, changes
- Nine - Intensity
- Ten - Conclusion, end
The Influence of the Rider Wait Tarot Deck
Because of its simplicity, the deck of Tarot Rider Wait had an enormous influence on the practice of this divinatory art, giving rise to numerous decks and interpretations were based on his illustrations as the Tarot Universal Wait, the Tarot Aquarian, the Tarot Nigel-Jackson, the Gilded Tarot, the Golden-Rider Tarot, among others.