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Tarot History )

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.tarot,alt.magick,alt.divination
From: "Elaine M. Petersen" 
Subject: Re: Tarot History (was Re: Pamela Smith Deck (was ....))
Date: 27 Jun 1996 09:10:36 GMT

Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law: (nagasiva) wrote:
>49960626 AA1
>(nagasiva engaging a commentary quite possibly in error):
>|>Waite is best known for the Smith-Waite tarot, which a woman named
>|>Smith, who is too often neglected within tarot studies, painted,
>|>apparently as inspired or directed by Waite himself.  the deck is
>|>popularly known as the 'Waite-Rider' (Rider is the original publisher)
>|>and became rather important to Rosicrucian and Qabalistic mages such
>|>as Paul Foster Case and his own society (B.O.T.A.), as well as 
>|>becoming an inspiration for the modern occult revival after 1950.
>|This last is an interesting assertion.  I'd be interested in hearing you
>|expound a bit more on this connection between Smith's deck and such mages
>|as Case.
>I don't know very much about this connection.  I haven't even looked at
>the tarot FAQ in a while.  I'll post it here subsequent to this post in 
>the thread and see what more it might say.  I'm also going to Xpost this
>to the alt.occult.kabbalah.golden.dawn newsgroup if possible.

Well, Case and Waite were both, at one time, members of the Golden Dawn. 
It seems that Waite did take his vow to conceal the teachings of the order 
seriously, and changed some imagery in his deck in order to maintain his 
vow.  Case's imagery is actually a bit closer to the GD deck, or so I am 

I myself find it interesting that the three arguably most influential 
decks, Case, Waite, and Crowley, were conceived of by men, but painted by 
women (Parke, Smith, and Harris).

>are you then saying that the GD deck (some particular one?) preceded that 
>of the Smith-Waite and that these latter improved upon the Minor Arcana?
>I don't know its relationship to the BOTA deck, but it strikes me as
>almost identical to the Smith-Waite.  I welcome objections and correction.

The GD had its own deck, and all members were expected to copy it by hand. 
A description of these cards can be found in Regardie's "Golden Dawn". The 
relationship between the Waite and Case decks are that they were produced 
by former members of the GD.

The Case deck, incidentally, does *not* have an illustrated minor arcana.

>I'd like to know more about the original tarocci game (are the rules
>published online somewhere?) and this original GD Deck of which you 
>speak.  who created it?  how similar was it to the Smith-Waite?  does
>it bear any relation to the rather long history of tarot beyond these
>decks?  is it the same, relatively, as what is now being called the
>'Golden Dawn Tarot' in public stores, etc.?  did Waite use it as a 
>basis from which to produce his deck?  why did his become more popular
>as compared to the GD?   a mere matter of secrecy and public exposure?

See above. Also, check out Regardie's "Golden Dawn".

>|In what way do you see an important link between the deck created by
>|Pamela Smith and the deck designed by Paul Foster Case for BOTA?
>I have a book by Case indicating his signifances for the cards and 
>while they are not colored in, their forms are very similar to Smith's, 
>with some additions of detail, in almost all the cards of which I am
>aware.  this varies considerably from the nonGD decks which I've
>studied in overview books on the history of the tarot, so I presumed
>that the Case and BOTA people were very fond of Smith's (or the GD?) 
>work.  I may well be mistaken.  maybe it isn't linear so much as that
>the GD of which you spoke inspired a great many rivals/alternatives.
>again, comments and corrections welcome.  it's been a while since I
>did research on the history of tarot or any of these decks.  thanks.

My suggestion is that you pick up, say, a Marseilles deck, and examine the 
minor arcana and compare it to the more recent decks. I think you will 
find it very interesting.

Incidentally, my records show that the Waite deck was published by Rider 
in 1910, and that the Case deck was possibly published in 1927.



Elaine M. Petersen
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.   USA

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