Is Golden Tarot a Rider-Waite Clone Deck?
first time you looked through Golden Tarot, you probably noticed
that most of the cards look very familiar.
it's based on the Rider-Waite (aka Rider-Waite-Smith or RWS)
deck painted in 1909 by Pamela Colman Smith, the most popular
tarot deck in the world. It's popular because it's so easy to
read, and because it's so popular it's spawned a multitude of
"clones". I guess you could call Golden one of them.
read a comment somewhere that "you can tell a newbie when they
swear by the Rider-Waite deck" - which to me sounds a bit snobbish.
Personally, I've kept going back to it for over 20 years and
from the feedback I've got, I think there's a lot of people
who think the same way. Perhaps they're often too scared to
admit it in public because of the anti-RWS bias among 'serious'
tarotists? Who cares, I say. I'm proud to say I think RWS is
a wonderful deck that has worked well for me for a long time.
aim in making Golden Tarot was always to make a deck that looked
genuinely Renaissance, but read like a modern deck - so it was
always intended to be based on the Rider-Waite deck.
used Smith's designs as a starting point and deviated only when
I couldn't source appropriate elements in the period from which
my source material was drawn (European art 1200-1500), or when
my personal interpretation of a card varied strongly from the
Rider-Waite original - which wasn't a common event.
did, however, add a lot of other symbols that aren't in the
Rider-Waite. Some of those symbols are based on archetypes and
legends relevant to the Renaissance heritage of the tarot. This
includes Christian traditions such as the Nativity (Wheel
of Fortune), St Ursula (the World),
God Creating the Animals (the Magician),
Pope Joan (the High Priestess), St
Francis of Assisi (the Hermit). There
are also older traditions included, such as The Green Man/ Attis
(the Hanged Man) and more general symbols
such a black dog to represent depression (Nine
and Ten of Swords). I don't think there's
a single card in the deck where I haven't added new symbols
based on my own personal interpretation of each card's meanings.
Tarot is NOT just meant to be a pretty RWS clone. I don't want
her to be a Show Pony - she's meant to be a working deck, despite
her gilded appearance. I hope that the extra symbolism I've
worked into the cards helps you to use your own intuition when
using the deck.
April 2004: I've received a few emails from professional
Tarot readers who are using Golden in their practice. They say
that querents really respond well to it as they can look at
the cards and even if they've had no experience in tarot, they
can see obvious symbols (eg rabbits for fertility in the Empress
etc). I love this style of reading, as it's what I do myself
on the rare occasions I read for others. I always tell my querents
I'm really just facilitating them doing their own reading :)