The Rider Tarot (Rider-Waite Tarot)
How does one critique the American standard? I really don't know how. This deck obviously follows the Rider-Waite style ... in fact, it invented it. All cards, including the pips, are illustrated. This is the first deck to do so. Strength, which was always 11 until this point, has been changed/corrected to 8; and Justice, which had always been 8 until this point, has been changed/corrected to 11. Waite believed that Strength corresponds with Leo (the lion), thus #8, and Justice correspondes with Libra (the scales), thus #11. It annoys me that this deck is called the Rider Tarot or the Rider-Waite Tarot, and not the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, as Smith deserves just as much credit, in my opinion. Symbolism is abundant and on multiple levels/layers throughout this deck. I do find the illustrations rather cartoonish, though.
The cards measure about 2.75 by 4.75 inches, which is slighlty large for my taste. They handle rather well, nonetheless. The card stock is very durable, but easily managed as well. Many a Rider Deck has held up over countless shuffles.
I recommend this deck to anyone and everyone. In fact, I think everyone should own this deck (as well as a Tarot de Marseilles deck). Of course, I own over 100 decks, so ... Beginners would do very well to start off with this deck. The majority of American tarot books use this deck as their pattern. Collectors must have this deck due to its historical significance, in my opinion.
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