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The Pictorial Key To The Tarot: Being Fragments Of A Secret Tradition Under The Veil Of Divination

The Pictorial Key To The Tarot: Being Fragments Of A Secret Tradition Under The Veil Of Divination

The Pictorial Key To The Tarot: Being Fragments Of A Secret Tradition Under The Veil Of Divination

Written by the man himself, A.E. Waite, the creator of the most popular tarot deck in the world the Rider-Waite, illustrated by Pamela Coleman-Smith. Waite gives you his own unique interpretations of the cards, his method of divination using the Celtic Cross and a look behind the veil into the mystery that is tarot. First published in 1910, this version is complete with the original drawings by Pamela Coleman Smith. This book is a must have for the serious student or collector of the Tarot.

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3 comments on “The Pictorial Key To The Tarot: Being Fragments Of A Secret Tradition Under The Veil Of Divination

  1. 50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A hard to read, obscure, and confusing little book., June 1, 2000
    By 
    Uri Raz (Israel) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I’ve bought this book with expectations of getting loads of information in it, and was somewhat disappointed by it.

    The book suffers from several problems :

    - The book is a hard reading – Waite’s style is obfuscated, which makes the non-trivial material harder to understand.

    - Waite doesnt tell the whole truth, and not even half of it, not to mention the inclusion of misinformation. Examples include unexplained symbols (symbols on charioteer’s belt, the fool’s clothings, and many others), desciption of the emptress being ‘virgo intacta’, etc.

    - Some of the cards’ descriptions contradict, or at least appear to contradict, the pictures on the cards.

    - Waite borrows a lot from earlier writers, but then goes on to pass criticism on his sources and belittles them.

    So the book has to be read very carefuly, criticaly, and with a lot of patience. And those who do so *will* gain – the book is better than many of the instant tarot reading guides, giving truer and deeper information from the horse’s mouth.

    I suggest people to read this book, but *not* as the first book on the deck, and preferably along with other material (e.g. books about the golden dawn, tarot history, or symbolism).

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  2. 22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Waite not at his best…, December 17, 1999
    By 
    Roel van Leeuwen (Tauranga, New Zealand) –

    While Waites influence and authority in the esoteric world is without question, and equally without question is the massive influence he had on the art and practise of tarot, this book is not his finest work.

    ‘Pictorial Key’ is tolarable as a simple catalogue of meanings (which now can be got at any number of web pages) and gives a simple spread it is deviod of any real explination of why and wherefore. It does not explain the principles underlying the construction of the tarot and the practical results that come with the understanding of those principles. I would even go as far as to say that Waite deliberatly obscured and provided misleading information, prehaps in order to keep his obligations of secrecy to the G.D. or his own Order.

    As a practical beginners text I would say look elsewhere for clearer texts that have expanded and illustrated what Waite has published in ‘Pictorial Key’. For more advanced folk I would say the ‘Pictorial Keys’s best application would be to bury it in peat for several hundred years, dig it up and use it to light a fire. I gave it a rating of three purely for its historical importance. To rate it on a scale of usefulness would be to rate it several points lower.

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  3. 17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A necessary if unpleasant reading experience, July 27, 1997
    By A Customer

    Rating this one is difficult. The rich symbolism of Tarot was forever impacted by the Order of the Golden Dawn, and A.E. Waite’s “Pictorial Key” is a glimpse into that symbolism. Readers with a serious interest in occult Tarot will find this an essential text. Waite, though, considered himself bound by vows of secrecy, and mixes misinformation and blinds in his work to lead the “uninitiated” astray, so reading critically is a must. To make matters worse, his prose style is ponderous and leaden, deliberately overcomplicated and abstruse, less animated than Al Gore. However, modern tarot decks borrow and adapt from the Waite-Smith deck design; to understand the symbolism that underlies almost every deck on the market today (frequently symbolism the deck designers had no awareness of), this book is absolutely necessary. It won’t be a fun read, but it *is* necessary

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