A Review of The Queen of Wands by Cat Willett

The Story of Pamela Colman Smith, the Artist Behind the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

If you’re familiar with Tarot, novice or expert, then you’ve most likely come across the images from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot Deck.

Created in 1909 and commercially published throughout the decades, it’s become one of the most popular and well known tarot decks distributed today.

A picture of Rider Waite Smith Tarot Cards
A picture of Rider Waite Smith Tarot Cards

The artwork on these cards are rich with symbolism, and they’ve become a template for contemporary artists to create their own decks.

The Queen of Wands by Cat Willett gives homage to the visionary artist who created the masterpieces of the Rider Waite Smith Tarot Deck, Pamela Colman Smith.

Pamela Colman Smith was never compensated fairly for her contribution to Tarot. This book is an honor to her life and her impact, and is the opening to revitalizing her spirit in the way it deserves. I recommend it to all people curious about divinity, tarot, and the power of women. It’s a must have for your library.

The Queen of Wands Book Cover
The Queen of Wands Book Cover

Author and artist Cat Willett has created a captivating, illustrated graphic biography of the legendary Pamela Colman Smith.

When I first picked up The Queen of Wands, it was late at night and I had the intention to briefly look through it and pick it up again in the morning.

Well… as soon as I began reading Pamela’s life story, I was immersed in the artwork and there was no putting this book down. 

I read the whole thing, cover to cover, in one sitting.

A picture of The Queen of Wands Book by Cat Willett
I received a copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own honest thoughts.

This book keeps the reader’s interest as it follows Pamela Colman Smith’s revolutionary journey from childhood, through adolescence, into adulthood paving a path that had never been walked before.

Cat Willett uses her way with art and storytelling to bring the history of this creative woman out from hiding and aligns it with the modern parallels of women today.

Queen of Wands Table of Contents
The Queen of Wands Table of Contents

The history of Tarot can become convoluted. The Queen of Wands brings a sense of ease and curiosity to the beginnings of Tarot and how it’s evolved through time. The way Cat Willett tells the history of Tarot is interesting, easy to follow, and can help all people who want to understand more about the topic to feel comfortable dipping their toes in.

There are countless books that hold information about Tarot, yet none of them come close to the relatable content that’s written and illustrated in The Queen of Wands.

Pamela Colman Smith was a visionary. She was a strong woman who knew what she wanted, and she used her own storytelling to enhance the lives of all who she met along her path. She used her way with creative power to intuitively deepen connections, and to ultimately create a work of art that will be referenced for generations to come.

As I read through this book, it felt like I was friends with Smith, attending one of her dinner parties. She feels like a kindred spirit. A woman who will go after what she wants without compromising her authenticity. She let her creative spirit be free, and never conformed to the rigid ways of the world. I think we all have this free spirit within us, and it’s empowering to have this knowledge of a woman who has paved the way for many artists to come.

Queen of Wands Book Introduction
A picture of The Queen of Wands

As someone who has studied Tarot for almost 2 decades, I have never once come across such an informed and well written biography of Pamela Colman Smith. I am thrilled that this book exists, and will be recommending it in all of my further courses, as I continue teaching others how to use Tarot.

There’s a clear parallel between the author and artist Cat Willett and visionary Pamela Colman Smith. They’re both creative women who have followed their own intuitive way through life, spreading their art and knowledge in a unique way that will positively impact generations to come.

Cat Willett has channeled this energy, and along with her studies and expertise, has given justice to the woman who has had such an amazing impact on Tarot.

One thing I know for certain, that this book reminded me so wonderfully of, is that no matter how hard life gets, the creative spirit can always turn an obstacle into an opportunity. 

The Queen of Wands, written and illustrated by Cat Willett, is now available. Learn more and get your copy today!

If you get this book, please tag @catxwillett and @themoontarot on Instagram, and share your thoughts. Can’t wait to see what you think!


As someone who has studied Tarot for almost 2 decades, I have never once come across such an informed and well written biography of Pamela Colman Smith. I am thrilled that this book exists, and will be recommending it in all of my further courses, as I continue teaching others how to use Tarot.

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7 thoughts on “A Review of The Queen of Wands by Cat Willett: The Story of Pamela Colman Smith, the Artist Behind the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck”

  1. As a creative woman who trusts her intuition, I’m excited to read this book! I had no idea the artist behind the deck was a woman, though it makes so much more sense now. Thank you for your review.

  2. Grace comes straight to my inbox everyday and it is how I start my day right. Thank you for sharing the book review. I want it!!

  3. wish it were at my library… going to look into interlibrary loan!
    I already get what you send every week, dear Grace 🙂 I use your ‘intentions’ with the Hay House ‘online deck’… I’m trying to ‘make my own’ deck with index cards.. YES!! I would love to use a real deck.. the feel of the cards … imagining the stories they will generate!! You have brought a new dimension into my life. Thank-you 🙂

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