'The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot' has the potential to be an excellent book on interpreting the Rider Waite deck, primarily due to the excellent printing quality and illustrative layout of the book, however the interpretations of the cards and the majority of symbols are non-traditional and misleading.
I will give an example, take for instance 'The Star' card. The book states that the eight pointed star is a diamond, then gives a made up meaning about diamonds neglecting to mention the esoteric significance of an eight pointed star. While in terms of the 'Hanged Man' card it does not mention the traditional meaning concerning self sacrifice for a higher purpose, instead it says it could indicate:
"'someone who likes to hang around" and "he depends on what he believes, which is a tragedy when it turns out belief is superstition."
I get the impression the authors have never actually used tarot cards for divination and it would seem they rushed writing the book over a weekend without researching the traditional symbols of the Rider Waite or the interpretations properly. While the writing is very poorly translated from the original German into English - some sentences do not make any sense and many of the paragraphs could have been succinctly stated in single sentences.
This makes the book overall very disappointing since it is well printed on very good paper and there are colour illustrations and diagrams throughout - it is just a shame about the poor information given. I suggest if you are a beginner learning the Rider Waite tarot and want a proper 'ultimate guide' to the Rider Waite, I suggest you purchase 'Learning the Tarot,' by Joan Bunning or 'Elements of the Tarot' by A T Mann and also 'The Pictoral Key to the Tarot' by Arthur Edward Waite (who originally made the Rider Waite Tarot).
I really wanted to love this book but was really dissapointed! When I saw the page layouts which break each Tarot card down into all the symbols with closeup pictures I was so excited. The Rider Waite Smith deck contains many layers of symbols, even the sky tells a story. I understand that symbols have many meanings but I really didnt get what the authors were on about most of the time. They would read to much into the colour of something or some tiny detail but then ignore the really obvious message of the card. I do think some of this could have been lost in translation as even some sentences made no sense. Even so they seem to have a very obscure interpretation of the cards and symbols. They seemed to go out of their way to find negative meanings to very positive cards like The Sun or 10 of Cups. Sometimes they seemed to misidentify obvious symbols such as the winged cherubs as 'elves' or the dragons head on a court card as 'a stone'... I could go on. It did help me spot some interesting details I had not seen before but thats about all im afraid. If your going to purchase this book please use other sources for the meanings of the cards and symbols to compare.
If you plan on buying just ONE tarot book, then this must be your choice without a single doubt. It's good both for beginners and professionals and as a teacher on Tarot I cannot thank enough the simplicity and awesome content in this book.
This guide is great, each page dedicated to a card with some interesting and useful interpretations. I know to some people (like me) this really matters but the pages are beautiful and glossy and the entire book feels very high quality to me. Even if you have just a casual interest this is still a nice book to have with decent coverage of the cards in your spread.
There seem to be so many different interpretations of Tarot. I thought I would enjoy this, There is a lot of detail to assimilate to get you thinking. but I didn't seem to be on quite the same wavelength.