Dr. Arthur Edward Waite (1857–1942) was a genuine scholar of occultism whose published works include The Holy Kabbalah and The Key to the Tarot first issued in England in 1910. Waite utilized symbolism as the key to the Tarot pack. In The Key to the Tarot he writes: “The true Tarot is symbolism; it speaks no other language and offers no other signs.”
What are the Tarot cards about which Waite so skillfully writes? What is the message of each card and when and where did these fascinating cardboard symbols first originate? The outstanding feature of the Rider Deck is that all of the cards, including the forty pip cards (numeral cards Ace to 10 in each of four suits) are presented in emblematic designs, which are readily suitable for divination. This is in contrast to the rigid forms of swords, batons, cups, and coins previously used in Tarot decks.
One of the fascinating aspects about Tarot cards is their personal affect upon the individual who uses them. Waite successfully presents a new dimension to their meaning in The Key to the Tarot. Any Tarot reader, be they a serious scholar or a person dabbling in the occult, will benefit from Waite's insight and keen perception.
Tarot decks contain 78 cards divided into two major groups:22 Major Arcana Cards56 Lesser Arcana Cards