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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot Hardcover – 23 May 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Kessinger Publishing (23 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1161368345
  • ISBN-13: 978-1161368345
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.1 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,883,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Arthur Edward Waite (October 2, 1857 - May 19, 1942) was a scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck. As his biographer, R.A. Gilbert described him, "Waite's name has survived because he was the first to attempt a systematic study of the history of western occultism - viewed as a spiritual tradition rather than as aspects of proto-science or as the pathology of religion." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By S. Roxburgh on 21 Dec. 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book alongside Rachel Pollacks excellent '78 degrees of Wisdom', which uses the Rider-Waite deck as it's primary reference.Don't be put off by the old-style language in A.E.Waites book, for if you persevere with it his words add so much extra insight into the meaning of the cards. Note also, it is wonderful being able to view the original black and white card images presented in the book.If you are keen on the Rider-Waite pack, it is essential, in my view, to own this book alongside any later references. I strongly advise you to buy it alongside Rachel Pollacks book, then alternate between each as you learn.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hannah on 7 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Arthur Waite provides information for the widely known and original Tarot deck that he created.

"...the pictures are like doors which open into unexpected chambers, or like a turn in the open road with a wise prospect beyond" ~A.E Waite

The English is a little difficult to understand and he doesn't seem to give that much information on his deck, since there is a lot more information available published by other authors. But, he does give simple meaning for his cards in the upright and reversed positions and, as the name of the book suggests, a good explanation of each picture. He also offers a good overall view of what his deck is about, its development, possible origins and its true purpose. It also provides a full reference list to all the sources Arthur has used in his book, which would of excellent use for those wishing to study the Tarot's origins and development.

If you are a serious Tarot student, then it would be a good thing to have read this book and to have it on your shelf. And not just because Arthur is the creator of the original Tarot deck but because there is some information in this book, that is overlooked by today's authors on the subject.

ETA: I highly recommend the new Tarot student starts with 'Tarot Card Meanings: Fundamentals' and 'Tarot Card Meanings: Interpretations' - By Paul Foster Case. He tells you what A.E. Waite didn't!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rosie Gamgee on 19 July 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Despite reading the previous Kindle review which said there was a section missing from the ebook, I bought it anyway, hoping the problem had been resolved. I was disappointed to find that some of the images of the cards are missing too. Not good if you are studying the deck!

Otherwise it is a great way of getting used to the card designs and in some of the meanings. It is the classic Tarot primer and it is great it is available on kindle.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John on 7 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is widely regarded as a definitive work on Tarot , accompanying as it did the original designs for the 'Rider-Waite' Tarot. The author explains some of what went into the designs and as such it is the only truly authoratitive account of the origins of this partiular deck ( and similar derivative decks);this was among the first decks to have pictorial illustrations for each and every card , and many other decks use the same symbols today . Arthur Waite himself came up with or refined the content of all the cards in the deck , and supervised the designs which were drawn and coloured (at least as prototypes for printed versions) by Pamela Coleman Smith.
All this makes this seem to be an ideal book to learn about tarot from , but unfortunately the case is not so simple . The main problem with the book is that it is all written from A.E Wate's rather antiquated and lofty point of view . Waite himself was an early member of the Golden Dawn , a Victorian society which has been alternately scandalised and glamourised largely due to the reputation of its most notorious member , Aleister Crowley . The truth about the Golden Dawn is that it was largely composed of scholarly members of the 'upper classes' , generally educated in private schools , who were probably slightly rebellious and expressing this though an interest in 'the occult sciences' . For this reason much of what they wrote about was based upon scholarly studies of subjects such as Egyptology and the like ; in other words their 'occultism' is underpinned with an elitism , both of a social and intellectual nature .
This is the problem with this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Somerville on 15 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This Kindle edition is missing an entire chapter of the
book, being
Part II: The Doctrine Behind the Veil,
Section 1: The Tarot and Secret Tradition.

I have reported this to Amazon so they can alert the
publisher. This is the danger where texts of books
are available on the internet and uploaded into ebook
formats. Where the missing chapter should be it jumps
straight into a description of the cards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JB on 7 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The best book to further your knowledge of the tarot, I am a professional reader and this book has opened my eyes to learning more about the tarot, very impressed
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Miss W. Merrymoon on 13 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
Arthur Edward Waite was a famous figure in the British spiritual movement of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. He was born in Brooklyn, United States of America but spent most of his life in England. The Roman Catholic church was strongly influential in his life, and he firmly believed in the existence of an esoteric Christian church - it was upon this belief that his involvement with magic and the occult was built. For a long time he was closely associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.. He wrote books on ceremonial magic, freemasonry, the Holy Grail and the Rosicrusian Brotherhood, and died in 1942.

Waite's stated intention in writing this book is expressed in three parts - "I have dealt with the antiquities of the subject and a few things that arise from and connect therewith" (p.viii). Secondly, "I have dealt with the symbolism according to some of its higher aspects" (viii). Thirdly, (with regard to divination), "I have given prominence to one method of working........having the merit of simplicity" (p.ix).

As a whole, the book is also presented in three parts - i) the seemingly obvious outer symbolism of the Tarot, making a brief visit to both Major and Minor Arcana, and an exposition of the Tarot in history; ii) a more in-depth look at the Major cards; and iii) the Minor Arcana, and divination.

At the beginning of the book Waite is at pains to point out that he has only written it in order to pre-empt anyone else's attempt to explain the Tarot. He states that "The fact remains that a Secret Tradition exists regarding the Tarot, and...........
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