#BookTalk: New book explores the magical life of the visionary artist behind the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck

The Rider-Waite tarot deck is widely considered to be the gold standard of decks within the tarot community. Created in 1909 in the early days of commercial printing, the deck was the first widely available, consumer-facing tarot set on the market.

Since the explosion of this divination tool’s popularity in the 1970s, the deck is now increasingly referred to as the Rider-Waite-Smith or the Waite-Smith tarot deck, in a grassroots effort to bring recognition and credit to its original visionary and female creator, Pamela Colman Smith. But the artist didn’t receive her fair due during her lifetime, and only recently has a more complete picture started to form about the vibrant, influential life story of Smith.

About the Book

 In THE QUEEN OF WANDS (Running Press; September 13, 2022), author and artist Cat Willett takes readers back to the early twentieth century, tracing the inspiration, strife, and prophetic mysticism of Smith in this fully illustrated graphic story. Willett brings Smith’s world to life, drawing parallels between her own artistic career and Smith’s, as well as in cataloguing Smith’s lifelong commitment not only to art, but to activism and the suffragist movement. Across 190 strikingly illustrated pages, Willett transports the reader to Smith’s time, and urges appreciation and recognition not only for Smith, but for all women whose contributions have been written out of history.

THE QUEEN OF WANDS is sure to become a must-read for expert and novice diviners, as well as art enthusiasts, as they discover the true origins of the world’s most popular tarot deck, and the trailblazing woman behind it.

Buy the Book Here.

About the Author

Cat Willett is a Brooklyn-based artist and author who holds an MFA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She received her BFA from the University at Buffalo with a minor in Art History and also studied at the Scuola Lorenzo de’Medici in Florence, Italy. She primarily works digitally, or with ink on paper, and her drawings depict plant life and strong female figures that are deeply rooted in history, with a bit of whimsy. Her illustration work has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and by Apple, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Madison Square Garden, Doc Martens, the Museum of Arts and Design, and more.

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