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The Meaning of the Rider Waite Tarot


The Rider Waite Tarot deck is one of the most common decks used for Tarot readers. Learn the Rider Waite Tarot meanings and how the cards can relate to you.


The Rider Waite tarot deck was first published by the Rider Company in 1910 and are also known as Rider-Waite-Smith, Waite-Colman Smith, Waite-Smith or simple the Rider Deck. The images on the tarot cards were drawn by Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of mystic and academic A.E Waite and are made up of 78 cards to include the major and minor arcana. The Rider Waite tarot deck is the most well-known and is thought to be the best tarot deck to use for beginners. Most tarot readers and psychics use the Rider Waite tarot card spreads as there are many different layouts that can be used with these cards, to get the most detailed readings.





A Rider Waite tarot reading involves using the major and the minor arcana to get in depth detail of your life. The major arcana consists of 22 tarot cards, also known as the trump cards. They are important because they represent momentous life events or they can directly relate or represent the querent. The major arcana gives are more indicative message than the minor arcana, and if many major arcana cards are present in a reading, it often means that the person is going through some major changes in their life.





The minor arcana contains four suits; Pentacles, Cups Swords and Wands – with 14 tarot cards in each suit (1 to 10, plus the court cards; Page, Knight, Queen and King). The numbered cards reflect daily situations, while the court cards signify characters or people in your life. The Pentacles convey abundance, money, finances, career and material objects (earth elements). The Cups are associated with emotions, feelings, relationships and performing or creativity (water element). The Swords relate to intellect, thoughts, power and decisions (air element). The wands represent spirituality, energy, encouragement, vision and insight (fire element).





While the Rider Waite tarot card spreads have fairly simple images, the detail in them is limitless and very symbolic. Several tarot cards in the major arcana have very specific meanings:

THE SUN – The sun card shows a young happy child sitting on a white horse. In the background are sunflowers and a large sun in the sky with a face. The Rider Waite tarot meaning for the sun card is success and happiness. It is often the ‘yes’ card when answering a specific question.

THE DEATH CARD – one of the most feared cards in the deck, the death card shows death himself riding on a white horse, holding a black and white flag, with people from all parts of the human race around him. The Rider Waite tarot meaning of the death card marks rebirth, new beginnings, endings to situations and fresh starts.

THE STRENGTH CARD – The strength card image depicts a beautiful woman on a summers day. She is touching the head of a lion and shows no fear to this wild, fearsome animal. She is trusting, peaceful and smiling. The strength card reassures us that we can be strong and that we will manage a situation in the best way possible.

THE LOVERS CARD – The Rider Waite tarot shows an image of a man and a woman, both naked and standing below an angel in the sky. The angel is blessing them and showing they are protected. The Rider Waite tarot meaning of the lovers card shows that love, romance, marriage and long-lasting love is there for the future.




The Rider Waite tarot card spreads are renown for giving the most detailed and insightful tarot readings. Experience a tarot reading with expert psychics and tarot readers at TheCircle and get insight into your future in love and romance. A general tarot reading will give guidance on the upcoming months if you do not have a specific question. If you need psychic insight or a tarot reading for a subject which is concerning you, you will feel empowered to move forward with your life after a reading. There are also many books which will help you to understand Rider Waite tarot readings, that will teach you about the cards and how to use your own intuition.



PUBLISHED: 3 May 2016


Learn more about other Tarot Decks


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