A E Waite | Happy Birthday!
On this day, 163 years ago, in Brooklyn Arthur Edward Waite entered the world. For the first time? Who knows!
His father died when he was very young, so his mother returned to her homeland, England, taking the young Arthur with her.
It was the death of his sister in 1874 that triggered what would become a life-long interest in the occult and he soon found his way to the esoteric sections of the British Library. And aren’t we grateful that he did?!
I was today years old when I found out that for the nine years prior to the Rider Waite Smith Tarot being released into the world, Waite worked for Horlicks!
He joined the ranks of The Golden Dawn in 1891. This esoteric group was popular with creatives in the 1890s and unfortunately, there were a lot of very large personalities in its membership (including Aleister Crowley) and it pulled itself apart (put itself back together and pulled itself apart again!)
It was 1909 when he hit the big time (in the Tarot world!) when the tarot deck he’d designed along with fellow Golden Dawn member Pamela Colman Smith was published by Rider. Initially known as the Rider Waite Tarot, over more recent years the enormous contribution of Pixie Smith has been better recognised and it is more often referred to as the Rider Waite Smith Tarot.
It is the best-selling Tarot deck in the world – ranked no 1 for Cartomancy and New Age Mysicism and no 2 for Tarot, today on Amazon. Not bad going for a deck that is well over 100 years old!
Tonight I’ll have a Horlicks in your honour, Arthur!