Differences between the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille

rider-waite and tarot of marseille

While there are obvious similitudes between the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille, there are still more subtle differences

The illustrations from the Rider-Waite

The Rider-Waite Tarot is more recent than the Tarot of Marseille, and it has a more modern graphic design. From a more uncluttered style, the cards from the Rider-Waite have nonetheless kept a great symbolic depth. In that regard, the minor arcana of the Rider-Waite Tarot are all numbered and illustrated.

Sample cards from the Rider-Waite Tarot

Rider waite


Differing tarot interpretations

In the manner of the Tarot of Marseille, the Rider-Waite is made of 22 major arcana and 56 minor arcana, for a total of 78 tarot cards. However, the meaning of some of the arcana can be quite different from those in the Tarot of Marseille.

Rider-Waite Tarot and Tarot of Marseille, two worlds

Known all over the world, the Tarot of Marseille is more popular in Latin Europe, while the Rider-Waite Tarot appears as the tarot deck of choice for divinatory purposes among the English-speaking world.

Arcana specific to the Rider-Waite Tarot

Some of the major arcana have a different name between the Tarot of Marseille and the Rider-Waite Tarot.

The Mountebank in the Tarot of Marseille becomes The Magician in the Rider-Waite.

MOUNTEBANK MAGICIAN
Mountebank Magician

   
Likewise, The High Priestess in the Rider matches The Papess.

PAPESS HIGHT PRIESTESS
Papess High Priestess

   
And The Pope from the Tarot of Marseille appears as the Hierophant in the Rider-Waite Tarot.

JUSTICE - 8th Arcanum in the Tarot of Marseille HIEROPHANT - 11th Arcanum in the Rider-Waite Tarot
Pope Hierophante

   
In the same vein, the numbering of some major arcana can differ, like the 8th and 11th arcana (Justice and Strength) whose numbers are switched between the Rider-Waite Tarot and the Tarot of Marseille.  

JUSTICE - 8th Arcanum in the Tarot of Marseille HIEROPHANT - 11th Arcanum in the Rider-Waite Tarot
Justice8th Justice11th

STRENGTH - 11th Arcanum in the Tarot of Marseille STRENGTH - 8th Arcanum in the Rider-Waite Tarot
Strength11th Strength8th

 


 

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rider-waite and tarot of marseille