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Tarot Hermeneutics

Exploring How We Create Meaning with Tarot

Week Three Waite-Trinick Tarot

Audio W-T Tarot Week Three (please download file rather than try to listen to it as streaming)

Opening quote for this class Plotinus' On Intellectual Beauty, Ennead 5.8.5-6 [pdf pp. 8-10]

Also suggested but not required the excerpt from From Word to Silence II: The way of negation, Christian and Greek by Raul ortley pp. 242-252, also skim as interest holds. is summary, concluding portion of how the via negativa developed in pagan and Christian thought. Both volumes have pdf eds. for your own perusal: From Word to Silence 1
From Word to Silence 2

Suggested but not required: "Sympathy or the Devil" by Wouter J. Hanegraaff [is a founder and president of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism, ESSWE] offers an account of the hermetic influences on Renaissance magic and the vivacation [pdf p. 10] of images, skim as interest holds. pdf. pp 11-14 reference Plotinus above.






Think question: (this question does not require research so much as study of the images, their order and interrelationship and come up, imagine a response to this observation of titles and attributions in the Waite-Trinick Images)
What is the significance the four images entitled Shekinah? XXVIII The Moon XXIX Justice XXX The Star XXXII The World?
Why not XII The Empress? XVIII The High Priestess? Or XXVII Temperance?

Any volunteers?

Titles for the Major Arcana

The attributions listed here are in accordance with those of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Society of the Inner Light, the Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.), the Servants of the Light, and Pamela Eakins, Tarot of the Spirit.
Waite-Trinck number Card name (Astroanalog): color association; musical note; Path; Hebrew letter; alternative title
Golden Dawn Titles:

XX The Hermit (Virgo): Yellow-green; F-natural; Chesed-Tiphareth; Yod; Keeper of the Secret Tradition
9 Virgo—Hermit: Truth, The Helper, The Sage, The Ancient One, Prudence, Occult Light, The Path to Initiation, Adonis, Attis, The Secret Seed, The Pet, The Spermatozoon, The Prophet of the Eternal, The Pilgrim Soul, The Perfectionist, The Veiled Lamp, The Critic, Magus of the Voice of Power, Perfected Love, The Virgin, Inner Knowledge, Light and Force, The Servant, The Analyst, Hygeia, Intelligence of Will, Capuchin, Diogenes, The Perfected Tool, The Harpy, Response, Coition, The Old Man, The Hunchback, The Supreme Will, The Mercy of Beauty, The Magnificence of Sovereignty.

XXI Death (Scorpio): Blue-green; G-natural; Geburah-Tiphareth; Kaph; Mystical Death
13 Scorpio—Death: The Grim Reaper, The Circle Completed, The Scythe, The Angel of Death, The Skeleton, The Angel Azrail, Transformation, Reincarnation, Change, Sunrise, Sex, The Tax Man, Liberation, Reproduction, The Dark Angel of the Doors, The Tunnel, The Eagle, The Child of the Great Transformation, Thanatos, Charon, Birth, The Detective, The Great Snake, Kundalini, Metamorphosis, The Scorpion, Motion, Imaginative Intelligence, The Three Manifestations of Matter, The American Indian, The Red Man, The Sovereignty and Result of Victory.

XXII The High Priest or Hierophant (Taurus): Red-orange; C-sharp, D-flat; Chesed-Netzach; Lamed; The Church
5 Taurus—High Priest: The Hierophant, Pope, Grand Master, Master of the Secrets, The Builder, The Gypsy Prince, Hierarch, Archpriest, Magus of the Eternal, The Prince, The Silent One, He Who Hears and Teaches to Hear, Revealer of the Holy, Universal Law, Master, Voice of the True Self, The Listening of the Silence, The Physical Voice of Triumph and Eternal Intelligence, Divine Presence as Voice, The Pontifex or Bridge-Maker, Triumphant and Eternal Intelligence, Intuition, Hearing, The Earth Spirit, The Wisdom and Fountain of Mercy, The Bull.

XXIII The Hanged Man (Neptune): Pale blue; G-sharp, A-flat; Geburah-Hod; Mem; Crowned Master
12 Neptune—Hanged Man: The Sacrifice, Spirit of the Mighty Waters, The Thief, Judas, The Victim, Samadhi, The Acrobat, Crucifixion, Mental Purity, The Law of Reversal, Baptism, The Drowned Man, The Musician, Balder, The Divine Giving-Forth, Stable Intelligence, The Redeemer in the Waters, The Old Man of the Sea, The Example, The Sacrificed God, Dissolution, Poseidon, The Dancer, The Invisible One, The Severity of Splendor, The Masochist.

XXIV The Sun (Sun): Orange, gold; D-natural; Tiphareth-Netzach; Nun; Christ of Glory
19 The Sun—Sun: Eternal Youth, The Center of the Self, Lord of the Fire of the World, Ra, The Symbol of Tetragrammaton, Apollo, The Eternal Child, Christ, The Ceaseless Giver, Phaethon, Mithra, The Spiritual Phallus, The Central Fire, Continuous Energy, Illumination, Lord of the Aeon, Rajas, Collective Intelligence, Regeneration, Fertility and Sterility, The Splendor of Fundamental Strength, The Higher Self.

Note by Elena Charalambous

I've looked up the book and managed to read the 22 numbered stages on amazon books.  I've also done some other research and found a lecture by Waite on Masonry where he discusses Solomon's Temple and the creation of a 'new man' occurring through the process of initiation. 

  ''They constitute together an image of coming out from some old condition by being unclothed therefrom- partially at least- and thereafter of entering into a condition that is new and different, in which another kind of light is communicated, and another vesture is to be assumed, and, ultimately, another life entered.'' Waite 

Like Tomberg, Waite appears to be exploring the spiritual significance of The Christ through the tarot - which involves meditation in order to open the mind to receiving - Love.  There is the notion that man is a vessel that is able to experience the magnificence of God in and only in, his consciousness. Waite states in Lamps of Western Mysticism that he who has LOVE does need any other teacher or intellectual pursuit.  He who only intellectualises the teachings will fail to receive and experience the essence of the spiritual quest. 

There is a difference between using The Tree of Life for the purpose of doing 'man's will' and doing God's will; as there is a difference between intellectualising and experiencing.  The cards appear to be illustrating the process of spiritual experience - from the old man (clothed) to the new man (naked) - being born again of the spirit; and the maintenance of this new creation through the regular filling of the spirit (receiving spiritual gifts/elan vital) and protection against sin (which separates the spirit from the divine). 

Some Notes and Reference links by Cynthia Tedesco

see handout

right now it seems the HM/THE DROWNED MASTER may have more in common w/THE WORLD/UNIVERSE then i thought... the draped scarf is red in some Marseilles & Italian Tarots & the waters above & below may be BIRTH/DEATH for the MANDOROLA/VECIS PECIS (SP I KNOW?) CONCIOUSNESS/UNCONCIOUSNESS? I feel like a 'valley girl' w/the high tone at the end of every sentence.

the RAINBOW if 'on it's side' is 1/2 of the 'Corona' around the Shekinah/World/Universe...

the coral/bed for THE DROWNED MASTER reminds me of THE FISHER KING & of course the symbol of FISH itself.

i have a quote re: a philosopher who was drowned in the Pythogorean School for discovery of IRRATIONAL NUMBERS. see the attachments. what is more 'irrational' than Mysticism????!!!!!! perhaps a too too stretch??!!!

also the SWASTIKA has KABBALISTIC  meaning & that's a hard one to track down but i'm attaching what i got.

this IS LAZY SCHOLARSHIP i know... but i'm crazed for time & i hope you won't be too mad at me... i've bit off more than i should this week but i couldn't resist...

oh... another 'thought' ( such as i have these days ) is that THE RWS seems to have much more invested w/ASTROLOGY & the WT Tarot w/Kabbalah. an observation in my 'dottage' after reading the GOLDEN DAWN BY WAITE ( KUNTZ'S FOLIO) & THE INNER SANCTUARY from Tali & Marcus.

HOWEVER i'm 'taking the fifth' & reserving the right to change my mind!


from the catholic saints/symbols site... 

very incomplete but a start...  will work on this further for other references....



Related Pages

Classes Completed

Week 1 Notes,

Audio W-T Tarot Week One

(please download file rather than try to listen to it as streaming)

Week 2 Notes,

Audio W-T Tarot Week Two

Week 3 Notes,

Audio W-T Tarot Week Three

Week 4 Notes,

Audio W-T Tarot Week Four

Week 5 Notes,

Audio W-T Tarot Week Five


See digital images of the Waite-Trinick Tarot from the British Museum Research website where one can download for one's own personal study all 43 images.

For access to study material see annotated study Guide


Christian Symbols

Liturgical Vestments

Golden Dawn Major Arcana as Drawn by Wang under the direction of Regardie