- Hardcover: 340 pages
- Publisher: Rider & Co; 2nd edition (1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091093708
- ISBN-13: 978-0091093709
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.7 x 3.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 119,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Pictorial Key to the Tarot Hardcover – 1 Jan 1971
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About the Author
Arthur Edward Waite (October 2, 1857 - May 19, 1942) was an occultist and co-creator of the the popular and widely used Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume, the Pictorial Key to the Tarot. This was notable for being one of the first decks to illustrate all 78 cards fully, as opposed to the 22 major arcana. Waite was a prolific author with many of his works being well received in academic circles. He wrote occult texts on subjects including divination, Rosicrucianism, freemasonry, black and ceremonial magic, Kabbalism and alchemy; he also translated and reissued several important mystical and alchemical works. His works on the Holy Grail, influenced by his friendship with Arthur Machen, were particularly notable. A number of his volumes remain in print, The Book of Ceremonial Magic, The Holy Kabbalah, and New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry having seen reprints in recent years. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
There may be many easier, clearer and more user-friendly guides to the Tarot available now but since this is less than a quid, it would be a mistake not to have this in your library.
"...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!
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.Read more ›
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.
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...........Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A.E. Waite has written a clear and comprehensible book on a fascinating subject.Published 9 months ago by Mrs. Rachel Lowe
Very good companion for the Waite deck, bit hard to digest, after just 1 readPublished 16 months ago by Marshal marshall
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 24 months ago by Helen Noone
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 morePublished on 16 Jun. 2015 by d m colton