The High Priestess: Waite’s Symbolism

We compare the symbols in Colman Smith’s High Priestess illustration to Waite’s instructions documented in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot (1910). We compare these descriptions to MacGregor Mathers (The Tarot, 1888),and the Book T of the Golden Dawn society. In this case we note Waite most definitely states that she represents the Roman church, specifically “the Secret Church, the House which is of God and man.” Whereas Mathers and Book T lean far more in the direction of assigning science and wisdom to her. There are additional items to note regarding the moon and femininity, but they are minor compared to this.

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