Abiding in the Sanctuary, an exciting publication that thoroughly covers Waite’s 2nd, unpublished, deck has been re-released in a limited paperback edition. Costly, but worth it!
Tarot has been around for quite a while, in the scheme of a human life lasting maybe, oh, 80 years (and may we all live as long and happily as we desire). And it’s been evolving all that time.
Tarot history is easy to find and I’ll leave it for another time.
Right now I want to put you in touch with a tiny slice of its history that’s had a big impact on what tarot is now.
Back in the early 1900s, Arthur Edward Waite teamed up with illustrator Pamela Colman Smith to create perhaps the most well-known of the tarot decks, the Rider Waite Smith tarot (also known as the Rider Waite deck, rather a slight to Ms. Smith). Rider & Co issued the deck in 1909, which is why their name is on the deck.
A.E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith were both members of the Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization that delved deeply into the mysteries of life and spirituality. They developed their deck based on their knowledge and the teachings of the Golden Dawn. But the RWS deck made some very big changes from the common decks of the day (the XI/VIII Strength and VIII/XI Justice numbering differences, the images on the Minor Arcana, and several image changes in the Major Arcana), all of which seem normal to many of us today.
You would think that, given all the deep thought and work that went into what was a tarot revolution, Waite would have been satisfied with his attainments. And – having second thoughts, you’d realize that — like all scientists, artists, mystics and other great thinkers, Waite would never be done with delving deeper into the mysteries.
And, now that you think about it, why would it be any different for us?
It’s why you come back to these posts: to continue to uncover deep truths about the human condition. And it’s a very good thing to continue to explore, drawing from the wisdom of any informed and experienced source. Abiding in the Sanctuary – along with any writings by the authors involved – is an excellent key to deeper understanding of the Tarot.