Pamela Colman Smith

A Tarot Deck,

and a Whole Lot More

In December of 1909, William Rider & Son Publisher released a new Tarot deck. This deck was conceived by Arthur Edward Waite and executed by Pamela Colman Smith. This deck utlimately revolutionized the Tarot world. Instead of having the Minor numbered cards show just five cups or eight sticks, now there were evocative illustrations that allowed the reader to intuit the meaning of the card by the action in the scene. Today, it is the rare deck indeed that does not use this template. Today, that original deck is still in print, slightly modified, and known as the Rider Waite Tarot Deck©, published by US Games. You can visit my website on this deck for more information.

But Pamela Colman Smith did more than just this Tarot deck. She was a prolific illustrator and artist. Her circle of friends included many of what we now consider leading lights of the age. The fin de siècle, the end of the 1800s, was a seminal time in history. The world changed into what we now call 'modern.' There were radical changes in society, art, governments, economics, and industry. Pamela Colman Smith was involved in several of these events. Much as today, there were things that were being lost, new things on the horizon, a nostalgia for the past, and a bit of trepidation about the future.

Throughout this site, Pamela Colman Smith will be referred to as PCS.

Updated 8/19/09 - the Bibliography now works and there are new entries in the Commentaries. Still working on the links and the graphics for Annancy Tales and Green Sheaf.

Big Exciting News!!!

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the release of Rider Waite Smith deck there will be a celebration with much festivity at the Bay Area Tarot Symposium (BATS), October 3-4, 2009, with a special appearance by Melinda Parsons who will talk on PCS. I'll be bringing whatever stuff I can cram into suitcases, which will be a lot. Come one, come all for this once in a century chance to meet and greet and try out some Opal Hush, just like Pam used to make. Click here for more info.

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