1st Ten Major Arcana Wrapup

We pause for a summary overview of the first group of ten major arcana. My “read” of Waite’s reinterpretation of the symbols of tarot skews heavily towards “Christian” concepts. I think the High Priestess and the Lovers are the best examples of his divergent use of symbols. Waite also puts additional meanings in previously used symbols. He takes the very basic archetypes of the rennaissance cards, the kings, queens, marriage, pope, abbess, etc., and adds new symbolic meanings. In doing so, he shows his genius, as well as the genius of the Golden Dawn which overloaded those earlier cards with meanings drawn from, not from Christianity, but from the Qabal and numerology, which is where Waite differed from them.

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Stength: Waite’s Symbols

For a card relatively light on symbolism, Waite goes overboard to “Christianize” the context of the Strength card, adding symbols and changing the ones previously depicted. Connecting fortitude with the mysterious aspects of the divine union required significant changes to this card. This is especially ironic given that the four cardinal virtues predate Christianity. Another change, to its very order within the tarot deck, affected the numerological interpretation of the Strength card.

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