We have received a lot of interesting questions as a result of our website. We would like to share some of the answers with our visitors. You can email us through the link below.

Richard asked:

It is interesting in that you state that Waite understood the Court Cards here on your web site.  However, in your book, and in the 12th key, you state the opposite. Whatever the case, If one reads "The Pictorial Key To The Tarot" carefully, he states that the Knight should be used as a significator for a man 40 and over. It's clear he did understand it. It is also clear that he understood another great mistake: That the club in the regular suits of the playing deck is actually equal to the Pentacle in the Tarot. And that Wands are actually Diamonds. This is a huge mistake made by modern readers, for the very shape of the club is that of the "pantacle" and that the diamond is the very shape of the "tip of the magicians wand." Any comments?

David Allen Hulse answered:

Waite's comment in the Pictorial key is the exoteric Tarot derived from Ettellia who first put to print a systematic divination system for the Tarot. Mathers slim published pamphlet on the Tarot is one of Waite's source for this Outer Tarot. The Inner Tarot or Esoteric Tarot of the Golden Dawn puts forward a new order for the Court Cards.

Now in my 12th Key in the Western Mysteries, I reveal that Waite understood this secret order, but Paul Foster Case did not. Aleister Crowley also clearly understood this symbolism to the point of keeping part of the old system with the new in the hopes of lessening the confusion in this most thorny area of Tarotology. Waite demonstrates his understanding not in text but in picture symbolism. It is hidden in only two to the sixteen Court Cards but it is clearly there, and from these two clues the whole system can be evolved. The two clues are found in the Queen and King of Pentacles.

In the Queen of Pentacles the arms of her throne terminate in Goat's Heads. In the King of Pentacles the arms of his throne are decorated in Bulls. From these two clues the esoteric Court Card series can be gleaned. For the goat is Capricorn and the bull is Taurus.That makes the Queens the cardinal signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. Likewise the Kings become the fixed (kerubic) signs of Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius and Taurus. By default the Knights are the four mutable signs of Sagittarius, Pisces, Gemini and Virgo. The pages are the elements themselves of fire, water, air, and earth.

Now in this secret order the old hierarchy of King Queen Knight and Page are rearranged as Knight (Father-Fire) Queen (Mother-Water) King (Son-Air) Page (Daughter-Earth). This corresponds to the tetragrammaton and certain secrets in the Major Arcana.  Here the father as the knight quests for the queen and in winning the quest becomes the King who generate an heir in the daughter. The first is joined with the last to perpetuate a further cycle, allowing this new scheme to be an open-ended system rather than a closed hierarchy. This is covered in detail in the 12th key of the Western Mysteries. See pages 307-308 under The Court Cards and the Four-lettered Name of God.  Also reread Part Three- The Court Cards The Secret Order Which Eludes Almost All, pages 446-457.

As to the allocation of the pip suits of clubs spades hearts and diamonds to the minor arcana implements, this is anyone's guess. Early gambling cards used these 4 symbols, with the Tarot suits being an independent development. Your logic is as valid as any other theory on the subject. However the symbolism of the wand having a diamond head is very modern. It is in Waite and Case, but the more ancient symbol for this suit was a baton, stave or club, that was a severed limb of a tree shorn of its branches, resembling the club of Hercules. Since the staff is the suit of Wands, the modern suit of clubs are aligned to this suit from their name alone, rather than diamonds as you assert. However your assertion that the suit of clubs are the suit of pentacles as money is the same symbolism as used by the early french Tarotologists.  For the suit of clubs equaled material gain and money.

Ettellia and the Comte de Melle put forward in the 1780s the basic symbolism of the four common suits still on our playing cards today.  In their system Hearts are power, Diamonds are relationships, Clubs are money, and Spades are spiritual ideas and love. For more information see " A wicked pack of Cards" by Ronald Decker, Thierry DePaulis, and Michael Dummett (St Martins Press, 1996) for a wealth of information on the early French divination scheme for these four playing card suits.

There are also variations to the pip suits, such as acorns, bells, and leaves (resembling the spade). I have always used the modern Qabalistic association. This equates Wands to Clubs (as pointed out above), Cups to Hearts (for the romantic implication, but notice how diamond and spades in the french system equal relationships and love), Swords to Spades (since the spade is an edged tool like the forged sword), and Pantacles (or Coins) to Diamonds (by the association of diamond as wealth and currency).
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