Arthur Edward Waite was the designer and co-creator of the now famous Rider Waite Tarot deck. An American-born British poet and scholarly mystic, his strong interest in all esoteric matters – divination, magic, Kabbalism, alchemy and Freemasony – led to him penning a number of books. The Rider-Waite deck, as it came to be known, was published in 1909 by Rider Company in England. The next year, Waite published a small guide to reading the cards for Rider, and in 1911 he published his full book on the subject, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.
Although Waite was not the first, Visconti deck Beautifully painted by Italian artist Bonifacio Bembo in the 15th century, the Visconti deck is one of the earliest surviving tarot card sets. One of the earliest surviving tarot decks was painted in the mid-15th century by Italian artist Bonifacio Bembo.
The tarot deck reflects the artist’s interest in Neoplatonism through its symbolism. Neoplatonism was a Renaissance revival of Plato’s cosmological theories with a touch of Christian spirituality. Re-introduced to Western Europe at the Council of Florence in the mid-15th century, after which Cosimo de Medicicomissioned Marsilio Ficino to translate Plato’s works from Greek and Arabic into Latin.
As mystics progress, cards are now being created by the reader to reflect their own journey