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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 5 March 2015
I own a set of the original blue box 1971 Second Edition of these cards printed by A G Muller & Cie - Switzerland. Originally bought in about 1974 they are, understandably, getting a bit shabby with age. I would dearly like to replace the cards with something 'identical'. PLEASE BE AWARE that this set ("Original") is such a very poor reproduction. Apart from the colours being very drab (as mentioned elsewhere) they have obviously been re-traced with something resembling a felt tip. So much detail has been lost. My blue box set is crisp and very highly detailed - side by side there is no comparison. Please see the photo - old cards = crisp, vibrant, this 'Original' deck = mush.
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22 comments| 111 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I just bought a pack of these today and I love them already. Everyone must know about the Rider-Waite cards by now so I won't bore you with details of the pictures, you can see cards from this deck on Aecletic

The cards themselves are laminated and therefore really glossy, thick and feel delightful to the touch. It also makes them quite slippery to shuffle sometimes. The cards are a nice size and fit in the hand comfortably.

A lot of people have criticised this edition of the Rider Waite collection citing mute brownes and sepia's and lacklustre nature of the pictures - for a time even I thought they were plain ugly, however, on a closer inspection, I really started to appreciate the beauty behind the images. Ok, so there are an infinite number of more aesthetically appealing decks available, and the artwork on these cards sometimes leaves something to be desired, however, I think if you give these cards a chance and take a really good look at them, you will start to find the charm and classic beauty behind them as I did. Even though I've only had them for one afternoon, just looking at each one, I already feel immensely connected to this particular deck. This is now the 6th deck in my collection but I can see it will prob be one of my trusted favourites.

Overall, I think the browns and sepias work well, they are easy on the eye, I don't feel that they are dull or muted but then again, art is a highly personal thing. The cards are easy for beginners to connect to - you can look at a card and immediately start to intuit what the meanings are and most books on the Tarot work with, or are immediately applicable to the Rider Waites.

The book that comes with it is an interesting read but not an essential and the cards really do seem to speak for themselves. Definitely one of my ultimate decks.

IF you prefer vibrant colours but want to stick with Rider Waite images, try the Radiant Rider-Waite (soon to be joining my collection) or if you want a midway between teh Originals and the Radiant, try the Universals which are excellent for meditation as well.
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on 6 March 2014
Looking at the box people think (as I did) that they are getting the Original images by Pamela Coalman Smith from 1909 - they are not. The images on these cards are from an inferior artist who copied them for a 1930's edition. Whoever exactly copied these is unknown but they are only a poor approximation of the work by PCS with most of the fine details either missing or badly copied.

Having said that the card quality is good and robust with a plastic coating to stop the ink running. I love using these but only give them Three Stars because of the misleading sales pitch by the creator of this Tarot card set.
If you are looking for a more faithful set then the R.W Giant Size Edition is a much better approximation.
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on 19 May 2001
I have had a pack of these for some years but only just bought a book on how to use them. I then found out I could use them anyway just by looking at the pictures and guessing what they meant. They are not the most beautiful cards about although there are some variations on the original flat colours used such as the 'universal waite' cards which are brighter, but they are excellent for beginners to learn on because they form a story so that it is easy to remember the meanings of the cards. If you want a book to go with them I recommend the Idiots guide to Tarot and Fortune Telling.
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on 18 February 2010
This is a tarot deck for all. The definition of the western tarot canon, it stands out as being one of the first decks to have a different picture for every card, even the Minor Arcana's numbered cards. The pictures are rich in symbolism and allegory: some may be simple, but that basic imagery can be all the more disturbing.

Disturbing? I say disturbing because that is what I love most about this deck. It is not joyful. It is not lighthearted. It is always serious. The scenes are played out on barren landscapes; the small frame of view does not render an entire world to the imagination. One perceives nothingness, beyond the bare outlay of symbols and characters.

And so, that old chestnut, the colouring, is resolved. The muted sincerity is entirely appropriate to the subject matter. Furthermore, the reduced contrast inspires closer inspection of the cards, a more thoughtful consideration. This deck is quite simply the best for uncomplicated and yet deep tarot reading.

P.S. I should note here that I am not a mystic tarot user. To me, a rationalist and a skeptic (also an atheist), the tarot is a way of finding creative solutions to problems through the use of a random visual stimulus. It focuses your mind on a problem, and by attempting to perceive meaning in the cards, one finds a new way of looking at the problem.
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on 4 July 2012
Well, not much to add to the other reviews. This is simply the Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck. The 78-card deck is now almost certainly the most widely used in the world, and it remains as popular as ever. While the images are basic and simple (drawing is almost crude in some places), the details and backgrounds hold a wealth of symbolism (almost occult like, full of mystical meanings). I can almost agree with some people who are saying that those basic pictures and symbols make connection with one's subconscious mind.

Personally I like that - the more basic cards, the better. The colours are not very bright and lively but then again, those cards are not just about lovely colours and I would say that this deck is also a good starting point for somebody like me - almost a complete beginner (the other set I have is from "Easy Tarot" by Josephine Ellershaw - which is also quite good as a starting point).

But bear in mind that all of this is very personal and not very objective - as everybody has different preferences here, and searching for a perfect tarot deck could actually take long time in some cases. And as the Josephine Ellershaw was saying in her book, "your cards should provoke an instant inner response, regardless whether you understand it". And I think the Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck is doing exactly that (for me) - something is there in those cards, you don't exactly know what is it and you can really verbalise it, but the "feeling" is there for sure.

About cards: The size of the cards: 12cm by 7cm (4.7" by 2.5"). I agree with some other reviews that the cards look slightly smudged and are very dark coloured - but this is not a negative point for me and doesn't bother me that much (it maybe for you though). The plus side is that the cards are actually quite thick and should last a long time. In my opinion this is a good buy for anybody interested in Tarot.

Recommended books:
-"Power Tarot: More Than 100 Spreads That Give Specific Answers to Your Most Important Questions" by T. J MacGregor
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on 17 February 2012
I ordered a set of these cards to learn more about the tarot. The print was so heavy in this edition that it obscured some of the details, looked smudged and was overall very dark coloured. The plus side was that the cardstock was quite thick, the whole pack handled nicely and would stand up to a fair bit of use. I returned these and ordered the Universal to use as a learning tool instead.
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on 14 August 2006
These are my favourite tarots cards. I had a pack before which was very beautiful and intricately detailed, but something never felt quite right about them. I spent a lot of time looking into the hundreds of different packs available before making my choice, but decided to go for basics and I'm really happy I did. I feel really comfortable with these cards and though some might complain about the colours, I actually like the colours. I find alot of packs too bright and distracting and I find this pack to be nice and subtle, it makes for a much more intuitive reading I find. I also like the size of the cards because my last pack was jumbo size and hard to shuffle.

The book that comes with it is not very useful, but the box & packaging are really nice. I recommend getting a book such as "Learning the Tarot" if you need help with the meanings.
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It was over five years ago when I bought the Rider-Waite Tarot. Although it is not my deck of choice presently I believe they constituted a pretty good 'initiation'. They were first made available to the public in 1910. At the time they instigated a revolution of sorts. They were one of the first decks to employ a 'story telling' Minor Arcana; that is not just geometric arrangements of the pantacles, swords, cups and wands but involved and dramatic scenes with landscapes, people and occult symbolism. They are the deck of choice amongst many, especially beginners. I can vouch that they are 'user friendly'. They are also one of the few decks available in many nationwide high street stores. In my experience a great deal of starter books on the Tarot employ them as illustrations, as well as other early decks using them as the model. One can also obtain many different sizes and colourings of the original. We are all aware of the 'Tarot renaissance' of the last two decades - if you want to see the root of all this then buy the Rider-Waite.
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on 26 February 2016
Any Tarot reader should start with this deck as it is the typical beginner deck, simple with enough of the basic symbolism to get you started. I started with this deck and use it for my workshop, which is well received. Great deck, swiftly delivered, at a decent price.
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