The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

About The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite (1911)

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot was published in 1911 by Arthur Edward Waite. The book was written as a companion to the Tarot Deck Waite created and that was published by The Rider Company (hence the name of the deck, the Rider-Waite Deck). 

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot consists of three parts:

  1. Part I, “The Veil and Its Symbols” – An overview of the traditional symbols associated with each card as well as a history of the Tarot.
  2. Part II, “The Doctrine of the Veil” – Contains seventy-eight plates of the Rider-Waite Deck and explains the symbols used on each card.
  3. Part III, “The Outer Methods` of the Oracles” – Deals with using Tarot cards as a form of divination.

About Arthur Edward Waite

Arthur Edward Waite was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA, in 1857 and died in 1942 in London, England. Waite was a poet and a scholar of occult and esoteric subjects. Waiter became a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and clashed with fellow occultist Aleister Crowley. Waite wrote extensively on subjects like divination, esotericism, Freemasonry, alchemy, Kabbalism, and Rosicrucianism. However, Waite is best known as the creator of the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck – one of the most popular tarot decks in use today.

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite (1911) Table of Contents



Section 1: Introductory and General
Section 2: Class I. The Trumps Major
Section 3. Class II. The Four Suites
Section 4. The Tarot in History


Section 1: The Tarot and Secret Tradition
Section 2: The Trumps Major and Inner Symbolism
I. The Magician
II. The High Priestess
III. The Empress
IV. The Emperor
V. The Hierophant
VI. The Lovers
VII. The Chariot
VIII. Strength, or Fortitude
IX. The Hermit
X. Wheel of Fortune
XI. Justice
XII. The Hanged Man
XIII. Death
XIV. Temperance
XV. The Devil
XVI. The Tower
XVII. The Star
XVIII. The Moon
XIX. The Sun
XX. The Last Judgement
Zero. The Fool
XXI. The World
Section 3: Conclusion as to the Greater Keys


Section 1: Distinction between the Greater and Lesser Arcana
Section 2 The Lesser Arcana
King of Wands
Queen of Wands
Knight of Wands
Page of Wands
Ten of Wands
Nine of Wands
Eight of Wands
Seven of Wands
Six of Wands
Five of Wands
Four of Wands
Three of Wands
Two of Wands
Ace of Wands
King of Cups
Queen of Cups
Knight of Cups
Page of Cups
Ten of Cups
Nine of Cups
Eight of Cups
Seven of Cups
Six of Cups
Five of Cups
Four of Cups
Three of Cups
Two of Cups
Ace of Cups
King of Swords
Queen of Swords
Knight of Swords
Page of Swords
Ten of Swords
Nine of Swords
Eight of Swords
Seven of Swords
Six of Swords
Five of Swords
Four of Swords
Three of Swords
Two of Swords
Ace of Swords
King of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles
Knight of Pentacles
Page of Pentacles
Ten of Pentacles
Nine of Pentacles
Eight of Pentacles
Seven of Pentacles
Six of Pentacles
Five of Pentacles
Four of Pentacles
Three of Pentacles
Two of Pentacles
Ace of Pentacles
Section 3: The Greater Arcana and their Divinatory Meanings
Section 4: Some Additional Meanings of the Lesser Arcana
Section 5: The Recurrence of Cards in Dealing
Section 6: The Art of Tarot Divination
Section 7: An Ancient Celtic Method of Divination
Section 8: An Alternative Method of Reading the Tarot Cards
Section 9: The Method of Reading by Means of Thirty-Five Cards

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Count Dr Joseph M. I. von Beck

I am Joseph von Beck. I am the owner of and the sole contributor to the website, Decadent Set.
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