Dear Spiritual Explorer: I’d like to explore the Tarot soon but I’m lost since there are tons of books and other tools about it. Do you have any suggestions? I plan to learn with the Rider-Waite deck. Manohara Das Jaya, Laval, QUEBEC
Rider Waite Tarot Deck
Dear Manohara Das Jaya: The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck is an excellent source of inspiration and knowledge for a beginner on the path to Tarot awareness, according to Uma Simon, Resident Intuitive at Kashi Ashram. “I started with the Rider-Waite deck and continue to use it throughout the 40 years I have been working with the Tarot.” she said.
When asking Ms. Simon why she chose the Rider-Waite deck over others, she replied, “Arthur Edward Waite, a scholar of occultism, designed this popular deck of Tarot cards to reflect his research into divination. I always had an affinity with the “Order of the Golden Dawn” an esoteric society formed at the beginning of the 19th Century in England. It has been one of the largest single influences on 20th century Western occultism. Concepts of magic and ritual at the center of contemporary traditions such as Wicca were inspired by the Golden Dawn.
She continued, “Being an English major, the fact that the great poet William Butler Yeats was a member as well as Aleister Crowley, were two large selling points. Aleister Crowley was a magician of questionable motives and originated what is now simply known as the Crowley deck, a very powerful deck with extraordinarily beautiful images.”
“Sometimes I would vary my readings with either deck. Finally, I chose the Rider-Tarot deck as my favorite because of its simplicity and humility. The Crowley deck was formidable in terms of power inherent in the cards, but I felt that its essence lacked the “simplicity” that I sought in my readings. I did not want his images to override the meanings of the deck. I wanted people to hear the “truth” conveyed without adornment. For that to happen, it was necessary that if they were to look at the cards themselves during the reading, they would not be confused by the symbology within the Crowley deck. Effusive imagery and symbology were part of the deck. The Rider-Waite deck in contrast renders the meanings quite differently and plainly. That met my conditions for a reading.
“ I am often asked if I do “reversals,” meaning when the card appears upside down whether I read it as opposite to its straight up meaning. So if a card were to be generally favorable, then the reverse would mean an unfavorable meaning. I like to keep things simple, so I don’t do “reverses.” One of the reasons is that I feel that the Rider-Waite deck has enough challenging meanings when looking straightaway at the cards. It’s also less confusing.”
Thanking Ms. Simon for her expertise, I also asked her if she taught the tarot. She happily gave me her flier, which announced an intimate consecutive two-day in-depth workshop for one or two people. Ms. Simon promises to reveal all the secrets of the tarot that she has gained in working with the Rider-Waite deck for over 40 years.
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