A. E. Waite

Arthur Edward Waite (2 October 1857 – 19 May 1942), commonly known as A. E. Waite, was an American-born British poet and 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."[1]

Arthur Edward Waite
Waite in the early 1880s
Born2 October 1857
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died19 May 1942 (aged 84)
London, England
Resting placeBishopsbourne Village, in the county of Kent, England
Known forRider-Waite Tarot deck
Spouse(s)Ada Lakeman, Mary Broadbent Schofield
ChildrenSybil Waite
Parent(s)Captain Charles F. Waite, Emma Lovell
RelativesFrederika Waite

Early life

Waite was born in Brooklyn, New York, United States.[2] Waite's father, Capt. Charles F. Waite, died when he was very young, and his widowed mother, Emma Lovell, returned to her home country of England, where he was then raised.[3] As they were not well off, Waite was educated at a small private school in North London. When he was 13, he was then educated at St. Charles' College.[4] When he left school to become a clerk he wrote verse in his spare time. In 1863 Waite's mother converted to Catholicism. The death of his sister Frederika Waite in 1874 soon attracted him into psychical research. At 21, he began to read regularly in the Library of the British Museum, studying many branches of esotericism. In 1881 Waite discovered the writings of Eliphas Levi.

When Waite was almost 30 he married Ada Lakeman (also called "Lucasta"), and they had one daughter, Sybil. Some time after Lucasta's death in 1924, Waite married Mary Broadbent Schofield. He spent most of his life in or near London, connected to various publishing houses and editing a magazine, The Unknown World.

Arthur Edward Waite London Jan 13 1921
Waite photographed in London, 13 January 1921.


Golden Dawn

Waite joined the Outer Order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in January 1891 after being introduced by E.W. Berridge.[5] In 1893 he withdrew from the Golden Dawn. In 1896 he rejoined the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1899 he entered the Second order of the Golden Dawn. He became a Freemason in 1901,[6][7] and entered the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia in 1902. In 1903 Waite founded the Independent and Rectified Order R. R. et A. C. This Order was disbanded in 1914. The Golden Dawn was torn by internal feuding until Waite's departure in 1914; in July 1915 he formed the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross,[8] 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.[9]

Aleister Crowley, Waite's foe, referred to him as the villainous "Arthwate" in his novel Moonchild and referred to him as "Dead Waite" in his magazine Equinox. Lovecraft has a villainous wizard in his short story "The Thing on the Doorstep" called Ephraim Waite; according to Robert M. Price, this character was based on Waite.[10]

Author and scholar

Waite was a prolific author and many of his works were well received in academic circles. He wrote occult texts on subjects including divination, esotericism, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, 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.[11][12] A number of his volumes remain in print, including The Book of Ceremonial Magic (1911), The Holy Kabbalah (1929), A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1921), and his edited translation of Eliphas Levi's 1896 Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual (1910), having seen reprints in recent years. Waite also wrote two allegorical fantasy novels, Prince Starbeam (1889) and The Quest of the Golden Stairs (1893), and edited Elfin Music, an anthology of poetry based on English fairy folklore.[13]

Tarot deck

Waite is best known as the co-creator of the popular and widely used Rider-Waite Tarot deck and author of its companion volume, the Key to the Tarot, republished in expanded form the following year, 1911, as the Pictorial Key to the Tarot, a guide to Tarot reading.[14] The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot was notable for being one of the first tarot decks to illustrate all 78 cards fully, not only the 22 major arcana cards. Golden Dawn member Pamela Colman Smith illustrated the cards for Waite, and the deck was first published in 1909. It remains in publication today.

It is known that the inspiration for this deck was partly provided by Sola-Busca Tarot (Northern Italy, 1491), the first and only fully illustrated Tarot deck up to the time of publication of the Rider-Waite Tarot.


  • Israfel: Letters, Visions and Poems, London: Allen, 1886.
  • The Mysteries of Magic: A Digest of the Writings of Eliphas Levi, London: George Redway, 1886.
  • Alchemists Through the Ages, 1888
  • The Occult Sciences: A Compendium of Transcendental Doctrine and Experiment, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1891.
  • The Hermetic Museum, in two volumes. London, 1893.
  • The Alchemical Writings of Edward Kelly, London, 1893.
  • Turba Philsophorum (translator), 1894
  • Devil-Worship in France. London: George Redway, 1896.
  • The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, 1898.
  • The Pictorial Key to the Tarot. London: William Ryder & Son, Ltd., 1911.
  • The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry, in two volumes. London: Rebman, 1911.
  • The Book of Destiny and The Art of Reading Therein, London: William Rider & Son Ltd., 1912.
  • The Book of Ceremonial Magic, London: 1913.
  • A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, 1921.
  • Saint-Martin: The French Mystic and the Story of Modern Martinism, 1922.
  • The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross: Being Records of the House of the Holy Spirit in its Inward and Outward History, London: William Rider & Son Ltd., 1924.
  • The Holy Kabbalah, 1929.
  • The collected poems of Arthur Edward Waite, in two volumes, London: William Rider & Son Ltd.
  • A New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (Ars Magna Latomorum) and of Cognate Instituted Mysteries: Their Rites, Literature, and History, New York: Wings Books, 1994. ISBN 0517191482.
  • The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail: Its Legends and Symbolism Considered in Their Affinity with Certain Mysteries of Initiation and Other Traces of a Secret Tradition in Christian Times], Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Fredonia Books, 2002. ISBN 1-58963-905-7.
  • Inner and Outer Order Initiations of the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn, Canada: Burnaby, 2005. ISBN 0-9735931-7-2.
  • Theories As to the Authorship of the Rosicrucian Manifestos, Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2005. ISBN 1-4253-3290-0.


  1. ^ Gilbert, 1987, p. 361.
  2. ^ "Arthur Edward Waite". Kheper.
  3. ^ "Arthur Edward Waite". Controverscial.
  4. ^ "Arthur Edward Waite". Everything2.com.
  5. ^ King, p. 52.
  6. ^ "Arthur E. Waite". Freemasonry.bcy.ca. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  7. ^ Gilbert, R. A. "The Masonic Career of A. E. Waite". Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. QCCC Correspondence Circle Limited. Archived from the original on 5 September 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2010.
  8. ^ "Arthur Edward Waite by Lee Prosser". Ghostvillage.com. Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  9. ^ Howe, Ellic,The Magicians of the Golden Dawn, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972
  10. ^ Price, Robert M., ed. (1995). The Azathoth Cycle: tales of the blind idiot god. Oakland, California: Chaosium. p. vi. ISBN 978-1-56882-040-8.
  11. ^ Waite, A. E., Shadows of Life and Thought: A Retrospective Review in the Form of Memoirs, London: Selwyn and Blount, 1938
  12. ^ Gilbert, 1987.
  13. ^ Brian Stableford, "Waite, A. E.", The A to Z of Fantasy Literature, (pp. 420–21). ISBN 0-8108-6829-6
  14. ^ Waite, A. E., The Key to the Tarot, London, 1910
  • Gilbert, R. A. A. E. Waite: Magician of Many Parts. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. 1987.
  • King, Francis X. Modern Ritual Magic: The Rise of Western Occultism (2nd ed.).

External links

Ali Puli

Ali Puli, also known as Alipili, is the attributed author of a number of 17th-century alchemical and hermetic texts. However, his historical existence is doubtful, and A.E. Waite went as far as to describe the work attributed to him as "forgery pure and simple in respect of age and authorship [which] may be left to stand at its value in the matter of content."He is described as a Mauretanian Christian of Asiatic extraction - also variously as an Arab (because he was said to have written in Arabic), and a Moor.Most probably, Ali Puli is the pseudonym of Johann Otto von Helwig (1654-1698), a German physician, alchemist and author.

Alpha et Omega

The Alpha et Omega is an occult order, initially named the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, co-founded in London, England by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers in 1888. The Alpha et Omega was one of four daughter organisations into which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn fragmented, the others being the Stella Matutina; the Isis-Urania Temple led by A.E. Waite and others; and Aleister Crowley's A∴A∴.Following a rebellion of Adepts in London and an ensuing public scandal which had brought the name of the Golden Dawn into disrepute, Mathers renamed the branch of the Golden Dawn remaining loyal to his leadership to "Alpha et Omega" sometime between 1903 and 1913. "The title was usually abbreviated as A.O." and according to some sources its full name was "Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega". All of the temples of the order appear to have gone out of existence by the Second World War.

Four of Swords

Four of Swords is a Minor Arcana tarot card.

Tarot cards are used throughout much of Europe to play tarot card games.In English-speaking countries, where the games are largely unknown, tarot cards came to be utilized primarily for divinatory purposes.

Grimorium Verum

The Grimorium Verum (Latin for True Grimoire) is an 18th-century grimoire attributed to one "Alibeck the Egyptian" of Memphis, who purportedly wrote in 1517. Like many grimoires, it claims a tradition originating with King Solomon.

The grimoire is not a translation of an earlier work as purported, its original appearing in French or Italian in the mid-18th century, as noted already by A. E. Waite who discussed the work in his The Book of Ceremonial Magic (1911), stating:

The date specified in the title of the Grimorium Verum is undeniably fraudulent; the work belongs to the middle of the eighteenth century, and Memphis is Rome.

One version of the Grimoire was included as The Clavicles of King Solomon: Book 3 in one of the French manuscripts S. L. MacGregor Mathers incorporated in his version of the Key of Solomon, but it was omitted from the Key with the following explanation:

At the end there are some short extracts from the Grimorium Verum with the Seals of evil spirits, which, as they do not belong to the Key of Solomon proper, I have not given. For the evident classification of the Key is in two books and no more.

Idries Shah also published some of it in The Secret Lore of Magic: Book of the Sorcerers in 1957.

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Latin: Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae; or, more commonly, the Golden Dawn (Aurora Aurea)) was an organization devoted to the study and practice of the occult, metaphysics, and paranormal activities during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Known as a magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was active in Great Britain and focused its practices on theurgy and spiritual development. Many present-day concepts of ritual and magic that are at the centre of contemporary traditions, such as Wicca and Thelema, were inspired by the Golden Dawn, which became one of the largest single influences on 20th-century Western occultism.The three founders, William Robert Woodman, William Wynn Westcott and Samuel Liddell Mathers, were Freemasons. Westcott appears to have been the initial driving force behind the establishment of the Golden Dawn.

The Golden Dawn system was based on hierarchy and initiation like the Masonic lodges; however women were admitted on an equal basis with men. The "Golden Dawn" was the first of three Orders, although all three are often collectively referred to as the "Golden Dawn". The First Order taught esoteric philosophy based on the Hermetic Qabalah and personal development through study and awareness of the four Classical Elements as well as the basics of astrology, tarot divination, and geomancy. The Second or "Inner" Order, the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (the Ruby Rose and Cross of Gold), taught magic, including scrying, astral travel, and alchemy. The Third Order was that of the "Secret Chiefs", who were said to be highly skilled; they supposedly directed the activities of the lower two orders by spirit communication with the Chiefs of the Second Order.


A hierophant (Ancient Greek: ἱεροφάντης) is a person who brings religious congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy. The word comes from ancient Greece, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera, "the holy", and phainein, "to show". In Attica it was the title of the chief priest at the Eleusinian Mysteries. A hierophant is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles.


Keter (Hebrew: כֶּתֶר , lit. Crown) also known as Kether, is the topmost of the Sephirot of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. Since its meaning is "crown", it is interpreted as both the "topmost" of the Sephirot and the "regal crown" of the Sephirot. It is between Chokhmah and Binah (with Chokhmah on the right and Binah in the left) and it sits above Tiferet. It is usually given three paths, to Chokhmah, Tiferet and Binah.

Keter is so sublime, it is called in the Zohar "the most hidden of all hidden things", and is completely incomprehensible to man. It is also described as absolute compassion, and Rabbi Moshe Cordovero describes it as the source of the 13 Supernal Attributes of Mercy.

Keter is invisible, colorless.

Knight Kadosh

The Knight Kadosh is a Freemasonic degree or ceremony of initiation performed by certain branches of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry (or simply, "Scottish Rite"). It is the Thirtieth Degree of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite for the United States of America, and the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of Canada. The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, does not confer a degree entitled "Knight Kadosh." Instead its thirtieth degree is entitled "Grand Inspector."The term "Kadosh" is derived from the Hebrew word "קדוש", which means holy or consecrated. "Kadosh" and "Knight Kadosh" is often abbreviated in masonic documents as "K--H.'." and "K.'.K.'.D.'.H".

Musaeum Hermeticum

Musaeum Hermeticum ("Hermetic library") is a compendium of alchemical texts first published in German, in Frankfurt, 1625 by Lucas Jennis. Additional material was added for the 1678 Latin edition, which in turn was reprinted in 1749.

Its purpose was apparently to supply in a compact form a representative collection of relatively brief and less ancient alchemical writings; it could be regarded as a supplement to those large storehouses of Hermetic learning such as the Theatrum Chemicum, or Jean-Jacques Manget's Bibliotheca Chemica Curiosa. It seemed to represent a distinctive school in Alchemy, less committed to the past and less obscure than the works of older and more traditional alchemical masters.The full Latin title is: "Musæum Hermeticum, omnes sopho-spagyricæ artis discipulos fidelissime erudiens, quo pacto summa illa veraque Medicina, qua res omne, qualemcumque defectum patientes, instaurari possunt (quæ alias Benedictus Lapis Sapientum appellatur) inveniri ac haberi queat inveniri ac haberi queat. Continens tractatus chymicos novem præatantissimos, quorum nomina et seriem versa pagella indicabit. In gratiam filiorum doctrinæ, quibus Germanicum Idioma ignotum, in Latinum conversum ac juris publici factum.


The first edition contained:

The Remonstrances of Nature ascribed to Jean de Meung

The Twelve Keys of Basil Valentine

Subtle Allegory (Michael Maier)

Three Treatise of Philalethes

The Book of Alze

Open Entrance to the Closed Palace - Philalethes

A Tract of Great Price

The Only True Way

The Testament of Cremer

The Glory of the World

The Waterstone of the Wise

The Golden Tract concerning the Philosopher's StoneThe illustrated book contains 445 + 35 pages.

The 1678 edition is 863 pages long, and includes:

Aureus tractatus de philosophorum lapide

Aureum seculum redivivum

Hydrolithus sophicus

Aquarium sapientum

Demonstratio naturae, quam errantibus chymicis facit

Via veritatis unicae

Elegans, perutile et praestans opusculum, viam veritatis aperiens

Gloria mundi, aliâs, paradysi tabula

Vera priscae scientiae descriptio

De lapide philosophico tractatus eximius

Lambsprinck nobilis germani philosophi antiqui libellus De lapide philosophico

De lapide philosophico

Tripus Aureus

Tres tractatus chymici selectissimi

Basilii Valentini, benedictini ordinis monachi, Germani, practica una cum 12. clavibus et appendice

Practica cum duodecim clavibus et appendice, de magno lapide antiquorum sapientum

Testamentum cremeri, abbatis westmonasteriensis, angli, ordinis benedictine

Novum lumen chemicum, e naturae fonte et manuali experientia depromptum

Introitus apertus, ad occlusum regis palatium

Subtilis allegoria super secreta chymiae perspicuae utilitatis et iucundae meditationis

Philalethae tractatus tres

Metallorum metamorphosis

Brevis manuductio ad rubinum coelestum

Fons chymicae veritatis

Vitulus aureus

Paschal Beverly Randolph

Paschal Beverly Randolph (October 8, 1825 – July 29, 1875) was an African American medical doctor, occultist, spiritualist, trance medium, and writer. He is notable as perhaps the first person to introduce the principles of erotic alchemy to North America, and, according to A. E. Waite, establishing the earliest known Rosicrucian order in the United States.

Rider-Waite tarot deck

The Rider-Waite tarot deck (originally published 1910) is one of the most popular tarot decks in use for divination today in the English-speaking world. Other suggested names for this deck include the Rider-Waite-Smith, Waite-Smith, Waite-Colman Smith or simply the Rider deck or Waite deck. The cards were drawn by illustrator Pamela Colman Smith from the instructions of academic and mystic A. E. Waite, and published by the Rider Company.


For the character in Xenosaga, see Gaignun Kukai, Jr.Rubedo is a Latin word meaning "redness" that was adopted by alchemists to define the fourth and final major stage in their magnum opus. Both gold and the philosopher's stone were associated with the color red, as rubedo signalled alchemical success, and the end of the great work. Rubedo is also known by the Greek word, Iosis.

Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia

Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (Rosicrucian Society of England) is a Masonic esoteric Christian order formed by Robert Wentworth Little in 1865, although some sources acknowledge the date to be 1866-67. Members are confirmed from the ranks of subscribing Master Masons of a Grand Lodge in amity with United Grand Lodge of England.

The structure and grade of this order, as A. E. Waite suggests, were derived from the 18th-century German Order of the Golden and Rosy Cross. It later became the same grade system used for the Golden Dawn.

Stella Matutina

The Stella Matutina (Morning Star) was an initiatory magical order dedicated to the dissemination of the traditional teachings of the earlier Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Originally, the outer order of the Stella Matutina was known as Mystic Rose or Order of the M.R. in the Outer. Notably, when occult author Israel Regardie released the documents of the Golden Dawn to the general public for the first time, it was not the teachings of the original order, but those of the Stella Matutina that he revealed. The Stella Matutina was one of several daughter organisations into which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn fragmented, including the Alpha et Omega led by John William Brodie-Innes and Macgregor Mathers, the Isis-Urania Temple led by A.E. Waite, and others.

The Grimoire of Pope Honorius

The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, or Le Grimoire du Pape Honorius, is an 18th to 19th century grimoire, claiming to be written by Pope Honorius III (1150 - 1227). It is unique among grimoires in that it was specifically designed to be used by a priest, and some of the instructions include saying a Mass. While its name is derived from the 13th century Grimoire of Honorius, its content is closer to later grimories like the Key of Solomon and Grimorium Verum. The first edition of the Grimoire is said to have appeared in 1629, and was likely forged near the end of the sixteenth century, roughly nine hundred years after the death of its supposed author. According to A. E. Waite, "...[I]t is a malicious and somewhat clever imposture, which was undeniably calculated to deceive ignorant persons of its period who may have been magically inclined, more especially ignorant priests, since it pretends to convey the express sanction of the Apostolical Seat for the operations of Infernal Magic and Necromancy."

The Lovers

The Lovers (VI) is the sixth trump or Major Arcana card in most traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

The Sun (Tarot card)

The Sun (XIX) is a trump card in the tarot deck. Tarot trumps are often called Major Arcana by tarot card readers.

The White People

"The White People" is a horror short story by Welsh author Arthur Machen. Written in the late 1890s, it was first published in 1904 in Horlick's Magazine, edited by Machen's friend A. E. Waite, then reprinted in Machen's collection The House of Souls (1906).

The story has since been described as an important example of horror fiction, influencing generations of later writers.

Wheel of Fortune (Tarot card)

Wheel of Fortune (X) is the tenth trump or Major Arcana card in most Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.