The Universal Rider Waite Smith Tarot

The Universal Rider Waite Smith Tarot. Left to right: The Empress, Strength, Temperance, The Star, Page of Pentacles, 10 of Cups.

What could I say about this influential deck? There has been a lot written about it and I do not want to repeat the plethora of information out there, other than to highly recommend it as a beginner’s deck. And it was my first deck, so I shall do a slight detour and digress merrily.

The High Priestess - Universal Rider Waite Smith

Like a first kiss, one does not forget their first tarot deck. I cannot explain why I bought this deck, actually I cannot even explain why I bought a tarot deck to begin with. I was in the middle of a “shamanic healing crisis” as Vicki Noble puts it, getting into yoga and voraciously reading Marilyn Ferguson, Paulo Coelho and Henry Miller, and one day, out of the blue, I bought a tarot deck. And in that little embryonic moment, I was bitten. I do remember my first spreads, sitting in my bedroom floor, with waaaay too many cards laid out, and of course I didn’t know exactly what it all meant, but somewhere deep inside, I knew it is a part of me.

The “shamanic healing crisis” continued (and still does), and in the three years since, I spent a good chunk of time in a bush hut playing with the cards (nighttime by candlelight while hearing a morepork calling was surreal), did a postgraduate degree, changed my career path, completed a yoga training course, and Fern Mercier’s Tarot Diploma – what a journey!

So I will always have a soft spot for this deck, even though it is not a favourite deck for reading, and artistically there are hundreds out there that I like better. I continue to use it however, and it never fails.


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