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The Pictorial Key To The Tarot (Illustrated) [Kindle Edition]

Arthur Edward Waite
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Although there were many Tarot decks prior to the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, and many after, none has gripped the popular imagination as much as this set. Waite covers the significance and deeper implications of each card, and gives practical instructions as to how to conduct a reading. The symbolism of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck is based on profound occult studies by Waite, and his exposition in this book of its use and meaning is unexcelled. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the Tarot.

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Product Description


This is the essential Tarot reference by the designer of the best-known Tarot deck. Simple to learn and interpret their meanings, Tarot cards are regarded by many as "the 'training wheels' on the bicycle of psychic development." This pictorial key contains a detailed description of each card in the world's most popular 78-card Rider-Waite Tarot deck, along with regular and reversed meanings.

About the Author

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." Born in the United States, and raised in England, A.E. Waite joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1891, became a Freemason in 1901, and entered the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia in 1902. The Golden Dawn was torn by further internal feuding until Waite's departure in 1914; a year later he formed the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, not to be confused with the Societas Rosicruciana. By that time there existed some half-dozen offshoots from the original Golden Dawn, and as a whole it never recovered." (Quote from

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3182 KB
  • Print Length: 242 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00L18UZG4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #137,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 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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10 of 10 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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5 of 5 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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9 of 10 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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3 of 3 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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7 of 8 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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9 of 11 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 What better than the Tarot explained by the man who developed ...
What better than the Tarot explained by the man who developed it. Some of the language takes getting used to but still a valuable teaching aid.
Published 1 month ago by Helen Noone
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing on colours clothing
Unless I was reading a different book to the reviews I read before purchase,this book was just outlining what anyone could pick up by just going on you tube. Read more
Published 1 month ago by d m colton
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not what I thought it was but quite useful
Published 3 months ago by Debbie Osbourne
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not like Rider Waite Tarot!
Again not a fan, outdated to say the least. John of:
Published 4 months ago by tarot-journeys
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Excellent book
Published 4 months ago by Lorna
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful
Nice book, a wealth of information. Very helpful, well written.
Published 5 months ago by Brian Landry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting book, thank you
Published 8 months ago by Laura Vango
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the great practical authors who actually practices what preached.
Published 10 months 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 10 months 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 11 months ago by bevjn
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