The Tarot and Arthur Edward Waite – October 2nd 1857 to May 19th 1942

Written by Amber

Arthur Edward Waite was born on October 2nd 1857 in Brooklyn, United States, his father Captain Charles F. Waite, died at sea when he was very young, so his English mother brought him back to England to live.

Arthur_Edward_Waite_London_Jan_13_1921Waite attended school in North London until he was 13, he then went to St. Charles’ College. It wasn’t until the death of his sister Frederika in 1874 that Arthur became interested in physical research. At the age of 21 Arthur began to study Esotericism at the British Museum, it was here he met Macgregor Mathers

It was through this connection to Macgregor Mathers that Waite and his Wife Ada were initiated into the Neophyte grade of the Golden Dawn. The temple used by the order was located in Mathers house and named Isis-Urania temple.

In 1892 Arthur Edward Waite was promoted to the advanced to the Grade of Philosophus, it was about this time that Waite decided to leave the order preferring to follow the path of the mystic rather than that of the order which was occultist.

In 1899 Waite was persuaded to re-enter the order, but this time into the inner order of the Golden Dawn, the Red Rose and Gold Cross.

In 1897 the then head of the order Dr. Wynn Westcott resigned and the leadership of the order was taken over by Florence Farr a famous actress of the time. Farr and Mathers never got along and so the order began to deteriorate.

In 1901 Arthur Edwaed Waite joined the Freemasons; Waite also joined the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. It is believed Waite continued to work closely with the Golden Dawn members even though the original order had broken down. Members loyal to Mathers formed the “Order of the Alpha et Omega,” and Waite became head of the original Isis-Urania temple.

Waite altered the order to suit his own interests in mysticism and went on to re-name the order to “Order of the Independent and Rectified Rite”. In 1915 Waite decided to re-name and re-structure the order preferring to call it “The Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.” This order according to Waite would have no interest in the occult or research, this order too eventually faded into history as did many of the off-shoot groups of the original Golden Dawn.

Probably best remembered for the Tarot and Arthur Edward Waite published in 1901; he was also the Author of many books such as: A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry  – Their Rites, Literature, and History; Emblematic Freemasonry; Book of Black Magic and of Pacts; The Holy Kabbalah amd the Book of Ceremonial Magic

The Tarot and Arthur Edward Waite – Waite engaged the help of artist Pamela Smith to develop the illustrations in the Waite deck. The symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is based on profound occult studies by Waite. Written by Waite in 1911 “The pictorial key to the Tarot” is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the Tarot.

I use the Rider Waite deck in my Tarot readings, for compassionate and understanding tarot readings


You may also find me at Bitwine where you may also seek compassionate and understanding tarot readings.


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