The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck and the Public Domain

The Rider-Waite tarot deck, also known as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck to honor illustrator Pamela Colman Smith, is cited by many as the most popular tarot deck in the English-speaking world. Most of the popular tarot decks around today reference, or pay homage to, its designs and structure. The deck has been a perennial money maker for U.S. Games, who publish the Rider-Waite deck and several variations of it (Universal Waite, Radiant Rider-Waite, etc). Now, starting in 2013, all works by scholar and mystic Arthur Edward Waite are supposed to be entering the public domain, but it’s very likely the Rider-Waite tarot he co-created will remain on hazy copyright grounds for another decade. For the UK, the European Union, Russia, and most of the world, copyright lasts the life of the creator plus 70 years.

The Wiccan “Blood Oath” and other Pagan News of Note

Top Story: Newspapers in Washington have been giving a lot of coverage to the death of Sherry Harlan, stabbed to death and then dismembered by her jealous ex-boyfriend Eric James Christensen. While serious crimes often get coverage in local papers, this one is getting special attention for its savagery, and the reason Christensen has given for murdering Harlan. “Christensen told detectives that he’d found similar messages on Harlan’s phone weeks earlier and that she’d promised to cease contact with the man. To seal the deal, Christensen said he and Harlan had gone through a “blood oath” ceremony. “He said that in ‘ancient times’ people that broke similar vows were sometimes killed,” a sheriff’s detective wrote of the conversation. Christensen said that on Jan.