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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot [Hardcover]

Arthur Edward Waite
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: £28.54 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

23 May 2010
This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

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The Pictorial Key to the Tarot + The Original Rider Waite Tarot Deck
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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 28 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,310,691 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By John
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By Hannah
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Images missing - beware Kindle version 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An entire chapter is missing. Beware. 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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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WAITE FOR IT! 13 July 2011
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the great practical authors who actually practices what preached.
Published 7 days ago by rick
2.0 out of 5 stars The book is about what the author thinks or feels ...
The book is about what the author thinks or feels when he sees the cards, and not what they mean or simbolize. Very shallow.
Published 9 days ago by Aline
2.0 out of 5 stars Despatched very promptly, however, book is written in ...
Despatched very promptly, however, book is written in very olde worlde fashion, not quite what I wanted so returned it.
Published 20 days ago by bevjn
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Expected pictures of cards to be in colour.
Published 1 month ago by Lesley Williams
2.0 out of 5 stars there are better ones out there
Didnt find this a very helpful book, there are better ones out there.
Published 1 month ago by ambrettagold
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good
This book shows all the cards and breaks each one down really well. You really need to buy a how to use guide with this book though as it does not explain how to use tarot but more... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Stela B.
Before I begin I need to make an observation. While this publication is widely considered to be one of the cornerstones of Tarot cannon it is equally true that that the more one... Read more
Published 6 months ago by THE D HAMMER
5.0 out of 5 stars Tarot, my favourite subject.
I bought this book because the subject matter is of intereset to me. I fround the book to be very informative and intertesting.
Published 9 months ago by David Burnel
4.0 out of 5 stars Pictorial Key to the Tarot
If you are looking for an obvious explanation for the tarot dont use this book, if you want a book which makes you think this is the book.
Published 20 months ago by claire stewart
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