Review by Valerie Sylvester The first deck most beginning tarot readers encounter when starting out on their tarot journey is the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, (which I’ll refer to as “RWS” after this initial mention). It’s often the “default deck”, the one that people learn the basic meanings of the cards from. It also serves to illustrate many tarot books and websites, and most experienced tarot readers have some familiarity with it, even if they don’t use the deck regularly. Many new Tarot decks are published each year; quite of few of these decks are based in some way upon the RWS deck.
A phenomenon you will come across during Tarot card study and Tarot readings are sub-elements and contradictory elements. Mainly associated with the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot deck and decks inspired by it, at its most simplistic explanation, sub-elements are those underlying elements that are secondary to the main one normally associated with a Tarot card. They can either compliment the main element and theme of the Tarot card, or they can in fact appear contradictory.