Aqua Shamanic Tarot Artist

The Waite Tarot artistThis is the amazing Pamela Colman Smith, illustrator of the Waite Tarot deck, THE most popular and (arguably) iconic of all.Β  She was given very little briefing for each illo and was just asked to create a Tarot deck “that would appeal to the world of art.”

Twin Soul LoveHer chart is a blur of Fixed Squares but clearly she used this for good – not ill!

Aquarius Sun with the North Node, Moon in Leo and Mars-Neptune in Taurus. Note: Brilliant example of Haute Mars-Neptune.

You can see from her Wiki just how super-well connected she was (friends such as Bram Stoker, Yeats etc) and she did art other than the Tarot.

Mythic Tarot Secret ArtSadly, she was apparently not cut into the any of the income flow from the Waite Tarot deck or else she would not have lived in such impoverished circumstances at the end of her life. Heaps more info re her and the set she was in here.


art deco eleganr woman pagan dancing in forest

SO which Tarot card from the Waite deck is your fave? Mine is The Magician…


Pentacle Infinity Swords Staff InfinityAnd i am on a cleanse at the moment but next time i have a glass of Blue Devil Hoochie Juice, i intend to raise a toast to Pamela, clearly an awesome woman hooked into some sort of Source power. You think?



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127 thoughts on “Aqua Shamanic Tarot Artist

  1. Fascinating , many of the figures in Rider Waite bare her resemblance . Beautiful to see the artist. Thanks Mystic!

  2. Huh, thats funny, shes very much got my family’s eyes. I hope thats where the similarity ends in terms of impoverished later years coz looking into fixed stars (fire ‘n brimstone)Robson gives me the pips of late .I dont Really care either way but I’ve got this Regulus Jupiter Leo rising blend that he says should kick arse then fizzle out somewhat..dang. Still , I’ll toast Pamela too

    • πŸ™‚ cool… I had those crossed keys on my school blazer many moons ago..said blazer also had a nasty burn on the back inflicted by the headmaster’s nephew who figured a steel ruler mixed with a bunsen burner was an amusing concept…I think hes an accountant these days.

      • Oh and the Eleusinian mysteries..I dont know the cards so well but I love that ones connections. Have a Demeter symbol on my sucremarket bag these days.

  3. Love the Star and the ‘good’ cups–seeing them makes me happy—the colors so nice and bright.

  4. have never warmed to the rider waite the colour palette has always put me off – maybe it was necessary because of printing technology being more primitive when they were first published? but have much respect for the time & effort put in by her

    the high priestess is the only one for me with the black and white boaz and joachim pillars isis moon and horns on her head and pomegranites in the background I like the symbolism

      • try the albano version of the waite – very bright, psychedelic even, but much nicer hues mix i think! i think the secret is less garish yellow, more royal purple.

        • You’ve hit the nail on the head Isabella it is the yellow – reminds me of fly paper. I even avoid having readings from people who use this deck because of the colours so my life isn’t interpreted through that colour spectrum πŸ˜€ Thanks for the suggestion I’ll check out the deck and see if my opinion evolves. Uranus conjunct libra sun with gem ascendant = always being open to changing my stance πŸ˜†

          I used to sell tarot cards and refused to have the waite on hand hehe people had to make a special order and pay a deposit before I’d get it in. Would question them and show them all kinds of other decks and was successful at delivering decks that were more resonant to the individual – only sold one waite deck ever cos the woman had her heart set on it and had already bought a book which was based on it. The crystal deck was big, as was osho and there was another one that had no meanings and was just pictures and then you’d have to meditate on the image. That one was very popular – for some reason I got a lot of hare krisnas coming in and they liked that idea of not being told but being able to divine the meaning through meditation.

          I much prefer the decks that use the symbolism and legends of my ancestry and also have a special egyptian deck that I use for my special occasion birthday and new year, new job etc readings, it’s based on the path the soul travels through the darkest night and is weighed against a feather. I’m a libran, I like the idea of things being weighed against feathers and have had unusual experiences associated with Isis. I stick to the decks that resonate with me symbolically and ancestrally. I really enjoyed the Ogham tree oracle, it’s based on the ancient celtic language of the trees. There’s a preview of the book here if anyone’s interested

          • V e r y i n t e s t i n g, Whatevs, coz do not like the Rider Pack
            at all.
            Thought the Golden Dawn crowd a bit iffy as well.
            Much running amok.

            • I like this deck! But it’s a veritable forest… This is going to sound dumb but it is there a tarot deck that draws from the I Ching? This deck is beautiful though, I didn’t love The impressionist deck of Hiadl Fi showed below, too messy for me. The Thoth deck seems good tho.. Haven’t found the deck of my dreams yet, any other suggestions?

                • Greco-Roman is gr8, I am afraid I am not a lover of this art though! But thanks for going to the effort sweetie, it is very kind. Thinking I may be into the very ancient. & don’t know why but actually rebel against my germano-celtic roots.

                  Probably I prefer anything sanskrit or ancient asian. I feel sure I was devotee of Buddha in a past life! Artistically I like quite an art nouveau kinda style in a card, not too flimsy or modern. Asiatic is good?

                  • Hi Andie- there is a deck based on the I-Ching here:
                    I have it, and like it although I usually just toss the coins. The images are beautiful.
                    whatevs, my comment above is in limbo land awaiting moderation. I also have gone oracle with the Fairy Ring deck (pagan/celtic based on the seasons) and are the art cards you mentioned Soulcards ? Open interpretation, I love that- no directions, just images. Cheers~

                    • Thank you Gneiss Moon! They look amazing! But I can imagine myself doing as you do and just tossing the coins, lol. & I checked out the Fairy Ring cards and it is quite amazing. It steps into ‘too real’ for me, like how when they make kid’s movies overly real people freak. The Soul cards are sweet, I really love Denise Linn, everything she has written is beautiful. Interesting again!

                    • Glad you like Andie- but one thing about the deck, is lovely but I am not getting the changing lines which is a super insightful part of the I Ching when the coins are tossed.
                      A deck that is serene, peaceful and fantastical without the freaky is Shadowscapes Tarot. It’s fae and mystical without being scary or dark. Check it out if you haven’t seen it, it’s gorgeous…
                      I’ve loved all the tarot chat ~ πŸ™‚

            • Yup like you I’m more drawn to the eastern schools of thought – the western hermeticism never really held my attention the way some other things have.

          • This very much interests me, thanks whatevs. In the past several years, I have turned to oracle decks as well. A departure that triggers new ideas and responses in my readings. I like The Fairy Ring deck as it is based on the 4 seasons, filled with Pagan & Celtic imagery and legends.
            I also wonder if the art deck you spoke of was Soulcards ? I have those – not only are the images fabulous, but I love that it is a wild and free interpretation, no little white books.
            Glad to hear (previous posts) things are going so well for you too, that is great !

    • Yeah, the RWS deck was originally published as black and white line drawings, and went through a few different colorizations, some of them had problems, and some minor details were changed. There are some extremely detailed analyses of these decks, like for example:

      Note the early decks all have nicknames like “Rose & Lilies” or “Pamela A,” Pamela B,” etc. I particularly detest the current published edition from US Games (listed on that page as the “New printing” from 1971) as they changed the font to ugly, mechanical typesetting instead of Smith’s hand drawn lettering.

      • OMG charles – poor pamela to have her work treated that way and so frequently! Thanks for the link, I’m a bit gobsmacked seeing all that. Some of those illuminated ones seem to lift her work to a different level that vibes more comfortably with my eye. If it were in the original black and white I would probably be more inclined to use it though. Do you have the Tarot Encyclopaedia? It’s fascinating to see all the different incarnations of the different decks and their histories and origins.

        • I actually use the Universal Waite (amongst others) as the colouring is much clearer and brighter than the other Waite deck currently in wide circulation.

          My favourite cards are The High Priestess, The Star and the 9 Pentacles; which means I’d like to come to a position of prosperity through a combination of Luck and the High Mysteries πŸ˜€

        • I still like the plain old RWS deck the best. After living with it so long, everything else seems to have the wrong vibe. The recolored ones like the illuminated cards you mentioned, and even decks like the Universal Waite just don’t work for me. It provides too much detail or too much color, too much of the image is already visible, so that stops me from letting my mind create the image.

          I first saw the Tarot Encyclopedia maybe 30 years ago, I hadn’t seen it since then, and then suddenly last month, my library got a new copy of Vol 1, so I checked it out again. And I was reminded of why I never bought one for myself, I really don’t care about the hundreds of examples of Tarocchi and playing cards that dominate most of the book. Maybe he does better in the next 3 volumes but I’ve never seen them.

          I was astonished at what Kaplan wrote about the RWS, it was the strangest thing I’ve ever heard about this deck. I copied it down and emailed it to a tarot friend, so I have it somewhere on the computer.. yeah here it is, I’ll just copy and paste it in:

          “Interestingly, both the Rider-Waite card pack, and ..[some RWS clone he likes].. present a continuous story through the sequence of the cards in each suit. The three highest court cards in the suit of swords comprise a family of father, mother, and eldest son. The king of swords is the father, the queen is the mother, and the son is the knight. A young lad in servitude to the knight appears as the page. In the ten of swords the son is killed and the nine of swords shows a grieving sister sitting up in bed, after a dream has revealed to her the terrible fate of her brother. The sister seeks to revenge her brother’s death, and in the eight of swords she is captured and shown bound and blindfolded. In the seven of swords the page appears with swords symbolizing that help is on its way, and in the six of swords the sister and her young son are rescued by the page. who is also her lover. The page is now a warrior, and in the five of swords he is shown with the swords of his craft. In time, the page is also stricken by the sword and killed, four of swords, which causes much sadness as evidenced by the broken heart pierced by three swords in the three of swords. The two of swords shows the widow in mourning with swords of defiance and her eyes blindfolded to the way of peace, for she seeks revenge. The ace of swords emerges from a cloud, emphasizing that those who live by the sword are apt to die by it.
          The suit of staves or clubs depicts the story of a family divided between the traditional ways and modern methods. Its moral is that harmony and progress are best attained when the old and new work together. The suit of cups reveals the paths to happiness and the search of two brothers for companionship. The suit of coins relates the story of a wealthy family and the temptations and alternatives afforded them by the luxuries of wealth.”

          Now that is completely unlike any description of RWS that I ever heard. And I particularly like some details, like the Pages aren’t part of the Royal bloodline, but are servants to the Knight. But how the hell did he come up with this particular interpretation?

          • So glad you shared this, Charles, I’m intrigued. The power of a good story creeps into the mind and emotion.

          • Interesting. I think if I used the deck and then read that I’d have trouble reading the cards again without that story disrupting the flow. I love the encyclopaedia I have one of the later ones not the first one but I’m sure they’re all cut from the same cloth. I love being able to see the ways different people from different cultures and subcultures have given their own twist to the cards. It’s like one language, many different accents.

            • I’m not quite sure what to make of that “story line,” and I kind of wished he had spelled it all out for the other 3 suits. I don’t think there’s a clear story line in the other suits. I think he made it all up. But hey, I guess his interpretation is as good as any.

              But that stuff about the Page being a servant to the Knight makes a lot of sense. The King, Queen and Knight are the Royal family, displaying the traits of their suit innately. But the page is the outsider, a servant who does not inherently possess the qualities of the suit, so all of it is a bit bewildering to him.

              • I always thought the pages were in training to be knights? And that was the “servant” role? They carry the armour and polish it etc.? imagine. who would be a knight.

                • I interpret the page in multiple ways, although of course it all depends on surrounding cards and position in the spread . First is “the messenger” … the person is receing an important message that they either need validating or are refusing to hear. The page can also show up as “the student” … often times when somebody is embarking on a new adventure and struggling with humility and wanting to assert themselves, when really they need to be absorbing new information before they act or make a decision. Thirdly the page can signify children in the person’s life that either have an important message or are trying to be heard by the parent. Of course it all has to be taken in context with the other cards.

                  • but generally it signifies communication in the broader sense of the term.

                    and apologies for all the spelling above – my connection decided to have a small spack attack πŸ˜€

                    • totally re communication – but their position as a page = still having a lot to learn and learning that from the knight and the knight in turn serves his queen and king. So I guess that’s where the whole realm of them denoting teens or students comes in. I think that whole realm of king, queen, page, etc and how you read them can really change a reading. Sometimes I don’t even see them as people but a “tone” if that makes sense.

                    • by the way i didn’t notice the spelling prowlers – just the sharing of ideas and the message you were conveying – I’ve enjoyed your perspective on the cards in the past πŸ˜€

                      re me sometimes not reading the pages as people and instead as a “tone” comes from doing so many readings for people where they got really hooked up on “who” is that person and how will they know them and all that really tangible fortune telling stuff that clouds the overriding meaning of a reading a lot of them time. I see the cards as symbols of potential outcomes or conditions surrounding people. I totally relate to what david said about a “price to pay” having done readings for people who use the cards in that way – as a reader it’s draining and you feel like you’ve paid a price by reading for some people. In those cases I go with page/knight etc. as a “tone” of feeling not page as person.

                  • I often use the Page of Wands as the prototype. He’s looking at the wand, and I can imagine him thinking, “I wonder what the hell the Knight is going to do with that wand THIS time?” He doesn’t quite get it yet, every expression of that suit is a surprise to him. He can fetch the Knight’s wand (or whatever) but he doesn’t yet know how to use it.

          • Your erudition never ceases to amaze, Charles! Thank you for sharing.

            I had the Aquarian deck as my first, then picked up the RWS deck to ‘go back to basics’. I never quite got the hang of it. Perhaps it was too literal, as you say.

            Hey whatevs – easy with those caps there! (however, as a supercharged Virgo, I’m glad to see them back :-))

              • Somewhere a few threads back a ‘whatevs’ was taking a stand against caps/uppercase. Perhaps not you? I had a doppleganger here for a while – seems to have departed/changed handle.

                • oh funny we are having two totally different conversations please ignore my last comment. It amuses me that everyone’s so caught up on the caps, punctuation etc. I know it seems childish but I like to play with the words (and the system). Stream of conciousness or whatever. Sorry! I had no idea people actually read my words enough to be annoyed when they couldn’t glean a meaning form them LOL I can’t guarantee it won’t happen again but yes we have resumed normal transmission x

                  • Not annoyed! Not at all – just having fun. I notice these things I suppose – it’s a blessing and a curse.

                    As you were – your lovely expressive self, caps or no caps!

              • oh! I thought you were talking about capital letters! If I’m on your wavelength now then yes point taken and I totally appreciate your candor but I felt mildly passive aggressive delivery of patronising backhanded insult disguised as interest and advice re not trying to control things that can’t be controlled followed by veiled controlling suggestions re use of grammar etc warranted it. Have moved on tho – do you think it warrants more attention? Gem ascendant = I’m over it – don’t like to get stuck in dead-end streets. And I mean that in the nicest possible way – it’s an if it’s not working let it go kind of scenario. And she let go.

  5. I really love the high priestess. I also like the chariot. I guess i’ve always been drawn to the Knight’s too- though maybe more the energy of the Knight but it is really difficult to draw a horse and to capture the essence of the energy it portrays in such a small frame- she did an amazing job there. The Sun card is just warm and uplifting that baby on the white horse is so joyful πŸ™‚ I love the white dogs on the 10 of pentacles. The star is lovely. I always like to see the ace of cups and 9 of pentacles (with baby phoenix) in a reading.

    I’d say the high priestess, then the sun, then 9 of pentacles.

    It says on the card there was no memorial service or funeral for her. It also says, “she died disappointed that her paintings and writings failed to achieve success, yet she never stopped believing in herself”. I feel sad to read that card. With that mars-neptune she would have had vision, hard work and endurance.

  6. I love The Empress, always pregnant with ideas and wealth~with 7 children what else would I love? πŸ™‚
    least loved and most feared card? Ten of swords, all the way or The Tower, I drew that the other day and I am like wow, it is not about me but about our world and dignitaries being exposed..and how some things touch your heart and you don’t see reason in men’s grody ways.
    Rider Waite Smith it should be, no?
    One would think to be honored to include Pam’s name in the credits. All the images came from her, all the magic and supreme knowledge..
    so stunning she was!

  7. I think Smith had extensive instructions on each card from AE Waite. She had 8 years in the Golden Dawn before she was commissioned to create the deck. There are extremely specific details in many cards that go unnoticed unless they are pointed out. And there are specific misdirections that conceal GD secrets.

    One of my favorite RWS cards is The Chariot. It contains a ton of microscopic detail that probably was only visible in the original artwork. Look at the chariot rider’s belt, you can see 5 segments, it has symbols I can’t see clearly, but I can make out Cancer and a moon. Now look at the vertically striped armor below the belt. Those markings are said to be Golden Dawn geomancy figures. Now look at the drapes of the chariot, it is covered with 6-pointed stars. But his headgear has an 8 point star, and the crown has 4 points showing (presumably there are 4 points in back too). These details are very specific. For example, in the BOTA version that is also drawn from Golden Dawn sources (but “corrects” some of Smith’s concealing of GD esoteric secrets), the Chariot drapes have the same 6-point stars, but the crown has 5 five-pointed stars.

    There are some cards that have less detail, and probably Smith had more freedom. But there are some cards (another good example, The Fool) that have such specific details that she must have had extensive instructions.

    • My mum did the corresponsdence lessons/ membership with the GD years ago. I just looked on line and it seems you can still do it ……

      • really? Amazing the longevity of it – your mum must be really interesting to talk to. The GD was big in NZ their only temple in the world from the times of crowley is in Napier/Hastings. It’s a circular temple with their astral projection symbols around the walls. It’s under someone’s house – they discovered it when renovating.

        There’s also this building

        and there’s an open air one from the 1920s maybe on brighton beach in sydney – in one of those little bays. They thought a great prophet or whatever their version of a messiah is was going to be born in oz or nz. I wonder how their teachings translate to this day and age. Do you ever talk to your mum about it?

        • Sorry for the late answer – I’ve been “out of the loop” as they say.
          My mother (when she was alive) was hush hush about the GD (part of the deal, apparently). Even after she died and I inherited all her stuff, I still feel odd about looking at the GD stuff, and keep it well stashed away.

  8. My favorite Tarot cards I like the Emperor and Empress , the two of cups and Ace of cups . I agree there’s details that appear and get your attention . Just the coloring alone will covey a message ! I salute Pamela !!! Sad to know she did not enjoy the fruits of her work ! Om!

  9. Wheel of fortune.. but that may just be the general Yay of this card. I am leaning towards the hermit. Agreed, amazing symbolism.

    Love ‘Susan and the Mermaid’ 1912 children’s book, think it may give Barbie Mermaidia, a run for its money. noice.

  10. The Empress has always been my favorite. I also like The High Priestess with the crescent moon at her feet.

    Strength is so lovely though….my virgo venus and leo moon could just step right in.

  11. I agree that Pixie was a pretty good illustrator and deserved more attention than she got. Her deck is by far my favorite. However, Charles is correct in his comment above that Waite had far more to do with the designs than you’ve indicatedβ€”especially for the Major Arcana. It’s important to understand that she was a trained illustrator and at that time was normally commissioned to produce works for hire. She probably should have been paid more than she was in the first place, but a flat fee was usual. Plus, the deck, while having decent sales, was not a best seller until the 1960s. Before that, it had long been out of print because of anti-fortune-telling laws in England.

  12. The Fool and the Sun for me. They are the ones I like to get in a reading. But the drama of all the swords cards produce the most visceral response.

  13. Learned tarot with this deck, but prefer the Robin Wood illustrations, it is my daily deck and has been for years.
    Pamelas illustrations of Sun, Empress, Lovers, and the Knight of Swords are among my faves, classics. Interesting her Sun (rules cards) with N Node in Aquarius very cool. Mars Neptune there’s the divination, interesting- will look up her chart~

      • YESSSSS. In love! She does BRILLIANT dance performance. Meh – s me with her voice; mesmerises me with her dances/dancers.

        I remember studying tarot with a lover, who first dreamed the two of pentacles, the man holding and whirling the infinity symbol, swinging the pentacles in an endless figure eight.

        Being in the card and letting the image come to life became his dream-meditation on the Rider Waite images. This choreography and media put you in there too!

  14. When I studied Tarot years ago, I told our teacher I was an astrologer and was interested in astrological connections with Tarot. The teacher was also an astrologer, and so she taught us the astrological correspondences with each of the cards. This made it way easier for me to learn Tarot!

    Mystic’s pick of The Magician, for example: The Magician is associated with Mercury. He’s a communicator, drawing knowledge down from the Heavens with his raised right hand and translating it to those below (left hand pointing to the Earth). Great pick, Mystic, because that’s exactly what you do!

  15. As the Queen of the Jungle, of course I love the Strength card — it’s astrological correspondence is Leo.

    • I’ve always felt that the interpretation of “poverty, hard times, ill health” is a tad limiting for this one. There is warmth and light in the Church, but the figures trudge past… I feel its more about self-imposed poverty, of not seeing that what you need is right there beside you, if you would only ope your eyes, and then accept the help at hand….

      I dislike the 9 Swords – the old interpretation of “Miscarriage” haunts me…. feel free to offer a positive twist – I can never find one πŸ™‚

      • I always interpret that one as mental agitation driven by anxiety and fear. It can show up as insomnia, racing thoughts and other types of anxiety symptoms. Often the person is over analysing and over worrying about a situation, finding it difficult to let go. Depends on what’s around it and its position of course. If it’s in a position related to self, fears/fantasies etc usually it’s a shoe-in that the person is stuck in mental obsession, conjuring up nightmare worst case scenarios and scaring themselves shitless. They need to be encouraged to find a way to let go – advice for how to do that usually shows up in the guidance card.

  16. I’ve never connected with the Rider-Waite deck, but when I taught Tarot, a couple of my students worked with the deck and really tuned into it. I’ve always worked with Crowley’s Thoth deck and would love to see some astro comments about Lady Frieda Harris who did the illustrations. I’d also have to go for The Magician, it’s my favourite card in the deck.

  17. The magician is my favourite card because I wish sometimes I was one ! My favourite pack would be Crowley’s. I find the Rider Waite imagery quite euro centric. More like a carnival scene from the 1500’s where people are dressed as kings and queens etc.
    Hmmmm, tarot. Its never been my friend. Not sure why? I lived in the Cross late 70’s and had started to explore different modalities.There was a small esoteric shop near the corner of Ward Ave and Greenknowe. Anyone know it ? The guy who owned the store had long grey hair, grey beard, Merlin like. I asked him to help me choose the best divination tool for study. He showed me the rider waite tarot and the Wilhelm I Ching, Book of Changes. I picked the I Ching and studied it for 20 years. Whenever I had a Tarot reading from someone else or tried to do one myself I always felt I had to pay a ‘price’ for the information ? monetary or other ?

    • Well I’ll be…I used to live in that big Art Deco brick monstrosity, opposite the fountain in Ward Ave in the 90’s.
      Groovy place to live in ones 20’s!
      Was that the funky little book shop down past The Sebel Hotel (where I worked as a waitress) ?

      • Hey Z , yes, down from the Sebel, the hotel where all the stars would stay. I lived in the cross for nearly 10 years, between late 70s and 80s down on Ithaca rd, and up on Challis ave. In my day it was so easy to get an amazing apt on the bay, lots of young people, loved living there. Now it’s sooo expensive, full of bankers and models etc. it’s still the place I go for a night out. I bought some special books from that guy.

        • They were wild days hey!
          When I think about how much my old apartment with a view over Rushcutters would fetch today… cha-ching!
          *sigh* Oh well.
          I decided to move on after seeing one too many OD’s in ‘my’ streets, and the place seemed to loose it’s bohemian ‘soul’.
          But it’s WELL flash now, and full of pretty posers.

    • Prefer I Ching also David and my beloved Animal Medicine
      Do have some Egyptian Stones & book about placements & meanings.
      Egyptian Runes?

  18. Pamela looks so cool and before her times… even now, she looks ahead of the times,i’m thinking…

    My fave is her Ace of Cups, i love the diving dove with the cross in it’s beak, like a will to trust in life, and the white and gold colours and the fountains of life overflowing from the cup, the ‘magical hand’ out of the elegant swirly air, that always catches you maybe if you take a leap of faith or have courage…and how the falling leaves may fall, but always float.

    • They are yods, points of divine energy manifesting from Heaven to Earth. It is Hebrew, and shows God’s omnipresence.

      • Oh thanks Mille πŸ™‚

        I will look into those…
        I realised what i called “leaves” is dew drops too.

        • Running joke at work about “Dew Drop Inn”…a gay bar where a cowboy took me dancing one night…long

  19. Queen of Wands is my fav card at the moment, and from time-to-time. She’s on the throne, with her wand, and has that lovely black cat by her feet.

  20. i can’t say i’ve ever been drawn to these cards… interesting story though.

    i will certainly toast PCS at the next opportunity.

  21. Like a few people here I haven’t ever really connected to this deck, though I’ve always liked the Strength/Fortitude card. I have Jupiter and Lilith in Leo, but at different times in my life I’ve been given lions as gifts. When I was in high school a friend of mine who was younger than me gave me a little pewter lion figurine as a graduation present, and told me that it represented beauty and strength.

    I reckon all my Scorpio planets are drawn to the themes of grace under pressure too. Keeping your cool when in the presence of danger and mastering your fears.

    • I relate to the grace under pressure. I detach, shut up and go about my business, and increase my diplomacy and political correctness. Hard-core self-composure.

  22. Always been a bit of a Waite groupie, therefore I appreciate a good Rider…
    A bit ‘old school’ I know, but simple, elegant, and classic.
    My personal favourites: TEMPERANCE and DEATH (of course…)

    • Temperance, High Priestess often come up for me. Death fascinates me. it’s really hard to choose though.

  23. Me too it’s what I started with & works for me. The Empress & The Sun in the major arcana & 3 of cups. I pulled this card yesterday for the daily card. I went out with 2 female friends we had a great time on Cointreau & champers just like the ladies on the card. Aqua horoscopes for this weekend was bang on the money too.

  24. I’ve been working with a number of different decks and oracles, including my current fave “Wisdom of the Hidden Realms” – my only problem is that I mentally try to work out which of the Rider-Waite cards the card I pull is and then relate my reading to that (No, I am not an intuitive reader :D)

    I have decided (2 days ago actually) to go back to my Universal Waite and study it in more depth. I have The Psychic Tarot and also Joan Bunnings book coming to me (I have been using Joan Bunnings excellent free site for YEARS and felt it was time to actually give her some money :))

    Learn Tarot:

    Just the Card Interpretations:

    I also use Janet Boyer a lot when I go deck hunting, as she always includes a few sample images :

    I have an Earth Magic Oracle on the way…. Really looking forward to it…

    My all time favourite card ever is the Queen Wands from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot – a BEAUTIFUL tarot, but one which I have never connected with. I take it out and look at it πŸ™‚

  25. Thanks for this post Mystic M. I have been using this deck for years and it resonates with me.

    Amazes me how sniffy people can get about tarot packs. Pamela Colman Smith designed the very first pack that has images for the minor arcana. No mean feat !!

    She is quoted as saying that she and A.E. Waite spent many hours in discussion about the symbolism used, and that they pulled in almost every reference they could, as a result ; rosicrucian, masonic , astrological , Egyptian etc etc.

    Just a crying shame that she lived in penury and died in obscurity.

  26. As a teen we had the I-Ching in the house, so that was what I used. Then I accumulated runes which my Virgo bro really adored.

    Finally I got a Rider Deck and was quite put off, found it all very medieval after
    the dexterity and subtlety of the I-Ching! Did eventually learn with them, then I received a french deck which were more like playing cards, but that was more like a memory test.

    Now I have Asc Master cards, Animal Dreaming Oracle cards, but the thing I use most frequently?? A bunch of little cards with words on them – I pick three a day after meditating – today was “Courage”, “Joy” and “Spirituality” or something. I just find them meaningless/ful and uplifting enough to give me a small thrill as I wander through the door to start my day!

    Love the Empress, the Magician and the Knight of Pentacles – he has such a gorgeous black horse.

    • P.s. she reminds me a little of bjork! Another cool, alternative, creative lady. The style of Pamela’s work is charming, it is so like children’s book illustrations of the era, I do love that. The gaudiness of colour is a bit much! I’d love a tastefully updated deck colour wise like Charles talks about above.

      • LOL, I’ve got those little cards too, Andy, although after a move I am not sure where they are. They are indeed “meaningless/ful and uplifting enough” to be invaluable, particularly when one is stressed/busy/overwhelmed and needs a single focus (or three…)
        Will have to dig them out….need something like that to help me focus on the positive right now.

        • Yeah, all I need is to see the Devil or five of ANYthing or something reversed and I get a little tense and it’s with me all day. I am much safer with those innocuous little chirpy cards! πŸ™‚ hope u don’t need them too badly Fi! May all be well in Fi County, xx.

          • Thanks sweety x Crazy end of semester workload over next few weeks (and weeks past) and a forthcoming colposcopy to deal with, and having had to have minor surgery before due to precancerous cells, am hoping findings will not be too serious. So tired right now, with virtually no time to take care of myself thanks to immoveable deadlines re student results, but probably good that I am having to work too hard to worry too much. I Ching/Tarot has not been very encouraging lately…warning of great danger/forthcoming trials etc etc, so will be skipping THAT for a while!

      • I thought the same very Pixie like face like Bjork. My nickname was Pixie growing up too. It’s the small almond shaped eyes that look mischievous.

  27. Virgos like Runes, Bankers love the I Ching, Goths and Scorpios love the Thoth Tarot, the Waite is a great starter deck or if you are feeling vulnerable in a strange foreign city, only one in every 1000 palm reading is accurate but it’s too fatalistic, hippies use mother peace and leos like cartomanchy imo

    • “hippies use mother peace” YES! And hard line feminists – am I right in thinking it’s the round one with no men in it? Or you can choose the version of the cards like lovers so they have no men in them? I had a woman layby that for ages because she was obsessed with having no men on the cards. That always seemed a bit “unbalanced” to me but I thought whatever works for her and suspected some kind of sexual assault had occurred. She would get pissed off if there was a man working in the shop and come back later. LOL motherpeace.

      • There are men in them, 4 Sons, and the Magician, Devil & Hierophant.
        I like them because they incorp numerology, mythology, art & Shamans.
        Took them to Tahiti and they came ALIVE
        Yes, it was a strident feminist who turned me onto them in ’88, didn’t know
        they were ‘feminist cards ie no men supposedly.

        ‘Motherpeace for hippies’…lol anyways don’t use any divination anymore
        as i know what will turn up.

  28. I’ve never connected with Waite; favourites are William Blake (for interpretations re creativity, not pix so much) and – most of all – for mystery and sheer beauty, Haindl.
    Haunting, multi-layered paintings in impressionist type colours that I see something new in, every time I look.
    The pictures use such rich and complex symbolism – ranging from American Indian, to Kabbala, to Holy Grail, to IChing to Astrology to Norse Runes – swords card have i-ching hexagrams woven into the paintings, for example, and there are planets and signs, on most major arcana.
    Wish I knew how to upload some pics of my favourites (Wheel, High Priestess, Hanged Man, Empress, Justice) here, but if you love Tarot and you haven’t looked at this deck in any depth, check it out at

    • I’ve worked with this deck, Fi, it’s quite extraordinary, isn’t it? And I felt the hair on my arms go up when I looked at his image of The Tower – like a forecast of 9/11, isn’t it?

      • God yes, the rent/explosion in the middle with the fire just starting in the Tower card…

        and you know, one thing that has always struck me since: I watched a documentary on the people who decided to jump to their deaths from very very high floors, when it became clear that there was no way down, or out. (The actions of many of such people with religious families were apparently denied/disowned by such families, who could not bear the thought that they would choose to jump, even though they were obviously going to die anyway…made me angry in that this is exactly what I would have done myself in order to exert the choice to breathe a few peaceful breaths of clear air away from the intense heat and smoke and panic, in order to compose myself for death…).

        Anyway, there is this iconic photo of one man, who worked in the restaurant on the top of the first tower, I think, who had jumped and was photographed falling head down, with one leg crossed, looking extremely relaxed in surrender, exactly as it is in classic interpretations of the Hanged Man Card. For some reason, I have always found comfort in that card, which has come up so consistently during the worst times of my life.

        Haindl was apparently conscripted into the German army and then captured and held as POW by the Russions durring WW2 – think his life experiences added up to one huge spirituality…with Native American, Eqyptian, Hindi and Nordic symbolism for each of the different suits, along with the astrology and i ching and runes and hebrew symbols, it seems to carry such a beautiful message about the plurality of wisdom. Appeals to my haute Sagg side – no doubt to your Haute Libra/Aquarius too!

        • Yes, it does, it really appeals to the Neptunian parts of me also, so mystical and inward-drawing, if you know what I mean. Glorious images and artwork, I am always so grateful that there are such wonderful people out there creating beauty for the world.

    • I have the William Blake cards and love them. i also have the Rider-Wait because, it is so iconic.

  29. Any appearance of The Sun, The Empress , The Star, The Magician – ALWAYS generate a smile in a spread πŸ™‚ But yeah…High Priestess says ‘don’t believe the hype – create your own’.. I still use my 20 year old Rider Waite deck – and it sings loud and clear. but if in doubt or needing further meditation.. i LOVE Liz Greene’s interpretative book of The Mythic Tarot as a special guest opinion.

    p.s. So glad i subscribed – am a huge fan of Mystic Medusa..but i now refuse to buy the weekend australian πŸ™‚ Great work! Thanks.

    • oh i love Monty and his gardening shows! He’s a Cancer. Not a single earth sign in his chart, maybe gardening grounds him. His writing/tv presenting certainly fits his Aqua moon.

      • I think hes great too, a sensible gardener and a good teacher. He was also a successful jeweller before the TV stuff which is fitting for the card.

  30. I’ve always used the Rider Waite tarot – learnt reading with them, tried a few other decks just to experiment but always ended up going back to this pack. I like the medieval “carnie” vibe of the drawings and my favourite card would probably be The World followed by the 2 of Cups, 6 of Wands and Ace of Pentacles.

  31. I can really see the Mars in Taurus in that pic.I can usually always spot a Mars in Taurus.It’s that earthy,grounded relaxed vibe—

  32. The other cards I love …The Secret Dakini Oracle, Douglas and Slinger.
    Combination of tantric, hermetic and eastern symbols. You can do a Celtic cross but the other spread is a 10 card layout where each card is on a chakra point. They really work for me. I also have the Secret Bikini Oracle but that’s another story. πŸ™‚ you wouldn’t like them at all.

  33. High Priestess
    Ace of Cups

    Also hard not to like the 2 of cups because of it’s simple display of the profound.

    Also like the sun and strength.

    Also laughing at myself now because in typical fashion.. have been asked to pick A fave and cannot ever choose one thing unless I’m given an ‘either or’ situation. Even then I may deliberate.

    I’ve had my RW deck for over 20 years. It’s not always reasonated and I find I get annoyed here with it/me but I haven’t found a deck I really really love or found the motivation to go seeking more aptly.

    I did have Crowley’s deck for a number of years. Never read it well tho I did admire a number of the pics. Anyway, had some weirding from old energy/connections and decided this one had to go and had to be burnt. Forgive me anyone who is reading this and going wft. At the time I was hanging out with some readers & psychics and we were doing some sort of group thing in winter in Yarraville with an open fire (as you do) and I decided this was to be the night. Well baby you shoulda seen several of those cards become mini flame throwers whilst others just melted into ash. We were all a little wide eyed at the way it played out and I guess it just said to me that there was some energy contained therein that wasn’t in alignment with me. It was freaky and a little disconcerting.

    I put my RW away for a long time and to this day don’t read them consistently and I wonder if it’s residual stuff although I’m reluctant to part with another old deck from that time.. but I’m possibly more attached to that then the actual cards. The backs are different, the packaging etc. I like retro.. what can I say =)

    • Oh and lately.. the one guy that keeps making a show is the King of Pentacles.

  34. Started with RWS b/c I loved the high priestess but gravitated to the bold colours of the Morgan Greer. One hundred decks later…I dunno but HP and hermit are my favourite characters.

  35. She and I share the same birthday on the sixteenth of February. I am also an artist that produces visonary material in any field of of the artistic movement. I have noticed through my own personal research that not too many people share this bithday. Does anyone have any imformation, positive or negative, as to why this date is so significant? I know that question makes me sound quite self centered, but if you knew me you would understand. Thank’s for any info. Take care.

      (lol you share the same birthday as the Late Great Kim Jung Il πŸ˜€ )

      But anyways, if you’d like to look up its significance I’d suggest your looking up those daily astro profiles (though i’ve tried a few for people i know before, they’re mainly crap) or that specific day’s numerology. Would love to check out your work soon, your webpage isn’t working? x

      • Thank you for the info. I know it sounds wierd, but i know that there is a great importance to my birthday. Maybe the year matters too. Its funny because i often feel like the world “86d” me when i was born. That would be the year i was born. I couldnt really explain everything, but let me tell you i have had one hell of an interesting life filled with strange happenings on very specific dates and times that have all had a great impact on my being and the world. My website is down at the moment but you can try it soon. Its or you can check out just type in june rain in the search bar there. I have alot of other art that has not been put out there yet because I’m not to computer savy. So I’m basically at the mercy of others for exposure. That’s why my site is down. Anyway, thanks again.

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