The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck
by A E Waite
artwork by Pamela Colman Smith
published by Rider books, Random House
78 cards, small booklet included
There are several versions of the quintessential Rider Waite Tarot deck, created in 1909 by Arthur Edward Waite using the images created by Pamela Colman Smith, and this is one of them.
The Rider Waite 78 card deck, with its familiar archetypal images, is the one most widely associated with Tarot reading. Many Tarot books and online resources use these card names and images, and it is therefore a very good deck to begin with, and many people stick to this deck, or other versions of it, throughout their Tarot reading careers. Other decks have re-worked the images but have stuck with the orginal suits and Major Arcana characters, so a familiarity with the Rider Waite deck is very useful when using other decks too.
This one is also amongst the most reasonably priced decks around!
It is a pretty fabulous deck and that's probably why it has remained so popular and has been re-printed so often. There is a lot of symbolism present in each card, and the choice of how far to go in familiarising yourself with every aspect of every card is up to each reader. There are some who read using intuition alone, and the detail in each card facilitates this. The deck also lends itself to deeper study, for which there's a wealth of material out there if you are so inclined.