Pamela Colman Smith Exhibit

….by Sharonah Rapseik

Psychic readers and light-workers, if you live near-by or are perhaps visiting the greater New York City area, I highly recommend that you check out an exhibit at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. This exhibit features the “Life and Work” of Pamela Colman Smith.

Why is she important? Pamela Colman Smith, nicknamed by her friends “Pixie” was a woman born in 1879. She became an artist and designer and lived an amazing life on her own terms. But she is most famous for illustrating and designing the most popular tarot deck in use today. Even with new card decks being continuously introduced, It is still the best-selling deck on Amazon even though it was first published over 100 years ago in 1910.

This tarot deck has actually been known by three names. It was originally known simply as the “Rider Deck“ because Rider was the name of the publisher and printing company. Later it became known as the “Rider-Waite” deck, because one of the people behind it was a man by the name of Arthur Edward Waite. He was a founding member of the esoteric spiritual group known as the “Golden Dawn.” A. E. Waite like many men then and now didn’t create this project alone……..

He did it with the help of an amazing woman. Waite gave her his written notes and references and Pamela Colman Smith did the design and illustration for all of the 78 cards. Finally today more than 100 years later, Pamela Colman Smith is at last being acknowledged for her artistic and intellectual contribution and the deck is now called the “Rider-Waite-Smith” deck or the “Waite-Smith” deck.

This divination deck revolutionized tarot reading in the English speaking world because it was in English and because of all 78 cards had full pictorial illustrations. For clairvoyants and psychic readers like myself and others the images on each of these cards has evolved into a psychic language for communicating with our own intuition and for tapping into the messages
from what is often referred to as the “Divine Source”. That is why tarot and oracle cards are also called divination cards.

The structure of the “Rider-Waite-Smith” deck has become the template for most modern 78 tarot decks including angel tarot decks. I believe that even though they have less cards and a more free-form structure, all popular oracle decks including angel decks owe their existence to the “Rider-Waite-Smith” card deck too.

So as psychics whether we identify ourselves as tarot card readers or oracle card readers, we all need to give deep thanks to Pamela Colman Smith.

Why is this exhibit in Brooklyn at Pratt Institute? Although Pamela Colman Smith was born in London and grew up moving between England, The United States, and Jamaica, she attended the school from 1893 -1897. She was one of a handful of females to attend the institute when it first opened. Pratt Institute is important in history because it was one of the first art schools to admit women as well people of all classes and color.

The exhibit is in the Pratt Institute library building which features a beautiful Victorian-Renaissance interior designed by the famous Louis Comfort Tiffany. As you walk the stairs and halls you can also sense the spiritual presence of Pamela as well as the energies of other famous artists and designers who have attended the school. There is even an ever-growing number of Pratt graduates who have also designed their own tarot decks too, most notably David Palladini designer of another popular deck the “Aquarian” tarot.

Thank you “Pixie” for your place in history as unique woman and thank you again for being the godmother of all modern tarot and oracle cards.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during school library hours. Location is the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Campus Library – 200 Willoughby Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11205

Sharonah Rapseik —

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