Arthur Edward Waite

Arthur Edward Waite

Infobox Person
name = Arthur Edward Waite

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caption = Arthur Edward Waite in the early 1880s
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birth_date = birth date|1857|10|02
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death_date = death date and age|1942|05|19|1857|10|02
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nationality = American flagicon|US
other_names =
known_for = Rider-Waite Tarot deck
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spouse = Ada Lakeman, Mary Broadbent Schofield
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children = Sybil Waite
parents = Captain Charles F. Waite, Emma Lovell
relatives = Frederika Waite

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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." [Gilbert, R.A."A.E. Waite: Magician of Many Parts", Wellingborough, Northhamptonshire, 1987, p.361]

Early life

Waite was born in the United States. [ [ Arthur Edward Waite ] ] Waite's father, Capt. Charles F. Waite, died when he was at a very young age, and his widowed mother, Emma Lovell, returned to her home country of England, where he was then raised. [ [ Arthur Edward Waite ] ] As they were not well off, Waite was educated at a small private school in North London. When he was thirteen, he was then educated at St. Charles' College. [ [ Arthur Edward ] ] When he left school to become a clerk he wrote verse in his spare time. The death of his sister, Frederika Waite, in 1874 soon attracted him into psychical research. At twenty-one he began to read regularly in the Library of the British Museum, studying many branches of esotericism.

When Waite was almost thirty years old, he married Ada Lakeman (also called 'Lucasta') and they had one daughter, Sybil Waite. [ [ Arthur Edward Waite ] ] 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".

A.E. Waite joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in January of 1891, became a Freemason in 1901, [ [ Arthur E. Waite ] ] and entered the "Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia" in 1902. The Golden Dawn was torn by further internal feuding until Waite's departure in 1914; later he formed the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, [ [ Arthur Edward Waite by Lee Prosser ] ] 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. [Howe, Ellic,"The Magicians of the Golden Dawn", London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972]

Author and scholar

's "Transcendental Magic, its Doctrine and Ritual" (1896) having seen reprints in recent years.

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 [Waite, A.E., "The Key to the Tarot", London, 1910] . The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot was notable for being one of the first tarot decks to illustrate all 78 cards fully, in addition to the 22 major arcana cards. Golden Dawn member Pamela Colman Smith illustrated the cards for Waite, and the deck was first published in 1910.

Other works

*Waite, Edward, "Inner and Outer Order Initiations of the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn", Canada:Burnaby, 2005. ISBN 0-9735931-7-2.


External links

* [ Short Biography]
* [ "The Masonic Career of A.E. Waite"] , "AQC" Vol 99 1986
* [ Genealogy and links]
* [ Works by Arthur Edward Waite] at Internet Archive (scanned books original editions color illustrated)
* [ Works by Arthur Edward Waite] at (plain text and HTML)

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