Merry we meet - Merry we meet - Merry we meet
Pagan Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Arthur Edward Waite
Written and compiled by George Knowles
Edward Waite while born in America, is better known as an English mystic,
occultist and prolific writer on Masonic and esoteric subjects.
A member of the famous occult
order, the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn”, Waite published a number of
important books on esoteric matters. His
most lasting legacy however, is not through his books, but via the Tarot Deck he
created. Called the “Rider
Waite Tarot Deck”,
it is perhaps the most popular tarot deck to have come out of the twentieth
Arthur Waite was born in Brooklyn,
NY, on the 02nd of October 1857.
His father Charles F. Waite was a Capt in the American Merchant Marine,
while his mother Emma Lovell was the English daughter of a wealthy London
merchant involved in the East India trade.
Just a year after he was born and while on a voyage from Connecticut to
London, Waite’s father died at sea on the 29th September 1858.
Widowed and pregnant at the time, after giving birth to his sister
Frederika, Emma and the children returned to London, England.
is not generally known, is that the children had been born illegitimately, for
Emma and Capt Waite had never been legally married, her family had objected to
it. On her return to London and due
to her family’s continued ostracism, she was forced to rear her children in
the poorer less fashionable suburbs of north and west London.
The rejection of her family also caused her to convert to the Roman
Catholic Church, a faith she past on to her son and daughter.
they were not very well off, Emma did her best to educated Waite, first at small
private schools in North London, and then at St. Charles’s College, a Roman
Catholic school in Bayswater. After
leaving school, Waite started work as a clerk, and in his spare time wrote
poetry and romantic fiction. Waite
spent much of his life in and around London, as a prolific writer he soon became
connected with various publishing houses. His first published work was “An Ode to Astronomy”
(1877), after which he published many poems and stories in minor literary
journals, later he also edited a small magazine “The Unknown World”.
In 1886 his first major work on the occult appeared:
“The Mysteries of Magic, a Digest of the writings of Eliphas Levi”
his sister's death in 1874, Waite lost interest in the Roman Catholic Church,
but retained a great love for its ritual ceremony, in his later associations
with secret Orders; he would utilize various aspects of Roman Catholicism in his
own ritual constructions. Waite
to explore alternate paths of spirituality and occultism.
He started with Spiritualism,
but found it not to his liking and moved on to the Theosophical Society. This he found fascinating, but disapproved of the
anti-Christian bias he found in the works of H. P. Blavatsky, its leading
this time Waite was a regularly reader at the Library of the British Museum,
studying many branches of esotericism. It
was here that he came across the writings and teachings of Eliphas Levi, and
realized where his direction lay. While
he had already written and published numerous poems and romances, he also
recognized his shortcomings as a writer of fiction, and therefore decided to
concentrate on a career as a critic and compiler on the history and doctrines of
occultism. It was here while
studying at the British Museum that he first came into contact with the likes of
S.L. MacGregor Mathers, one of the original founders of the “Order of the
Golden Dawn”, but at the time he didn’t liked him.
still not feeling happy in the Order, left in 1893 only to return again in 1896
and continue working through the grades. In
1899 he entered the Second Order and began working his way to the top.
However the Order had already started its downward slide, when in 1897
Dr. Westcott as the head of the Order in London, was forced to resign and
Florence Farr the famous stage actress took over.
Still under the direction of Mathers in Paris, Farr’s relationship with
Mathers was strained and she lacked Dr. Westcott’s practical management
abilities. After his leaving, the
extensive grade-work and examination system of the Second Order began to
deteriorate and the whole London Order slipped into decline.
the meantime to aid his own progress, Waite turned his attention to Freemasonry.
On the 19th September 1901, he was initiated into the Runymede
Lodge No. 2430 at Wraysbury, Bucks, and raised on the 10th February
1902 in the St. Marylebone Lodge No. 1305.
This was a good step for Waite to make for many influential people were
involved in the Grand Lodge who had previously resented his researches, were
also high-level members of the Golden Dawn.
Two months later in April 1902, he also joined “The Societas
Rosicruciana in Anglia” (S.R.I.A.), which also contained leading members of
the Golden Dawn.
he had been raised, Waite began his quest for higher degrees in earnest, and
proceeded to the Holy Royal Arch, being exalted in Metropolitan Chapter No. 1507
on 1 May 1902, following this a week later with his Installation as a Knights
Templar at the Consecration of the King Edward VII Preceptory.
Waite had formulated the theory that all esoteric practices and
traditions, whether Alchemy, Hebrew Kabbalah, Legends of the Holy Grail,
Rosicrucianism, Christian Mysticism or Freemasonry, were secret paths to a
direct experience of God. He was
convinced that the symbolism in each of these traditions had a common root and a
common end, and that their correct interpretation would lead to a revelation of
concealed ways to spiritual illumination.
1910 Waite was installed as the Master of Runymede Lodge, and while he pursued
his other interests, he always remained a loyal member, contributed to its
lectures and regularly attended its meetings.
That is until 1920, when he moved from London to Ramsgate in Kent.
By which time his association with Craft Masonry had faded, as he
released his memberships with other fraternities, though he remained a member of
his Mother Lodge until his death.
However many of the old group didn’t like the new Order, for Waite did not care for magic and replaced it with mysticism. This led to another schism and the more magically inclined members including Dr. Robert William Felkin and John William Brodie-Innes, left to form the “Order of the Stella Matutina”. The new Order struggled on for a few years but continued to be dogged by dissidents; further feuds followed until Waite dissolved the Order in 1914.
replaced it the following year with the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, making
clear in its constitution it’s independence from all other Orders.
One clause stated that: “The
Fellowship of the Rosy Cross has no concern whatsoever in occult or psychical
research, it is a Quest of Grace and not a Quest of Power”.
Another clause stated: “The
Independent and Rectified Rite with its dependencies, if any, in so far as now
in activity, and the Stella Matutina Temple together with its dependencies, are
not in communication with the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and cannot be
Visited or Joined”.
Fellowship of the Rosy Cross as did many of the other factions created after the
demise of the Golden Dawn, gradually lost its momentum and faded into history.
After the demise of the Fellowship, it was rumored that his marriage to
‘Lucasta’ had deteriorated, and that he had taken up-with and was living
with his secretary in Penywern Road, Earl's Court, London.
She it turns out was an ex–member of the Isis-Urania Temple whose motto
was Vigilate, which was most appropriate for other rumors circulated that he had
taken to drink. She appears to have
doted on him hand and foot, and helped him through a difficult time.
In 1920, Waite moved from London to Ramsgate in Kent, there to
concentrate on his writings. After
the death of 'Lucasta' in 1924, he married Mary Broadbent Schofield (Una
Waite died on the 19th May 1942 and was buried in the churchyard at Bishopsbourne in Kent, near to where he had spent most of his later years. Despite his prolific contributions to the rituals and lectures that make up the history of Freemasonry, he was accorded just a brief, three-paragraphed obituary in The Freemasons' Chronicle (vol. 135, p. 178, 6 June 1942). In it he was merely characterized as a poet and writer on Freemasonry. Waite’s grave is now obscured by a thick growth of deadly nightshade, an appropriate parallel to the blight that has fallen on his reputation.
prolific writer of over seventy books, as well as lectures, rituals and many
contributions to journals and magazines, Waite’s lasting legacy is not through
his writing, but through his creation of the “Rider Waite Tarot Deck”.
In the early 1900’s as head of the reconstructed Isis-Urania Temple of
the Golden Dawn, Waite had just completed his book “The Key to the Tarot”
and needed someone to illustrate it. One
of his members was an accomplished artist called Pamela Colman Smith, who he
commissioned and directed in the design of a beautiful set of cards. The main innovation being the illustration of all cards, not
just the Major arcana
but the Minor cards too, and in such a way as to be pictorially suggestive of
their divinatory meanings. He
also made popular the spread known as the Celtic Cross, which was then taught in
the First Order of the Golden Dawn.
his other writings and scholarly pursuits, Waite
produced translations of Eliphas Levi and Papus, as well as re-issues of
mystical and alchemical works such as those of Thomas Vaughan.
Some of his main works include:
The Mysteries of Magic (1886)
Handbook of Cartomancy (1889)
Occult Sciences (Keagan
Paul – 1891)
in France (Redway
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1901)
Studies in Mysticism (1906)
New Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry (1921)
Emblematic Freemasonry (1925)
The Secret Tradition in Freemasonry (1937)
His autobiographical Shadows of Life and Thought (1938)
Other books include: Book of Ceremonial Magic, Book of the Holy Grail, Quest of the Golden Stairs, Belle and the Dragon, Unknown World, Works of Thomas Vaughan, The Way of Divine Union, Strange Houses of Sleep, Azoth or the Star in the East, Book of Spells, Collected Poems of Arthur Edward Waite, The Golden Dawn Tarot, Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus, Hidden Church of the Holy Grail, Raymond Lully: Illuminated Doctor, Alchemist and Christian Mystic, Secret Doctrine in Israel, Three Famous Mystics, Turba Philosophorum, Understanding the Tarot Deck, and The Way of Divine Union.
Finally, during his life, Waite may well have developed from a poor background and poor education, into a snobbish man of distinction, contemptuous and critical of his contemporaries, he certainly ruffled a few feathers during his time. But isn’t that the trait of many a great man? Despite dedicating much of his life to Freemasonry, few if any masons in England would seem to think so. Not so in America, were a large collection of his writings, lectures and letters, have been collected and stored for prosperity in the Iowa Grand Lodge Library, Ceder Rapids. USA.
To be added
First published on the 24th November 2004, 15:09:45 © George Knowles
Best wishes and Blessed Be
Site Contents - Links to all Pages
A Universal Message:
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Wicca & Witchcraft
The Wiccan Rede / Charge of the Goddess / Charge of the God / The Three-Fold Law (includes The Law of Power and The Four Powers of the Magus) / The Witches Chant / The Witches Creed / Descent of the Goddess / Drawing Down the Moon / The Great Rite Invocation / Invocation of the Horned God / The 13 Principles of Wiccan Belief / The Witches Rede of Chivalry / A Pledge to Pagan Spirituality
Traditions Part 1 - Alexandrian Wicca / Aquarian Tabernacle Church (ATC) / Ár Ndraíocht Féin (ADF) / Blue Star Wicca / British Traditional (Druidic Witchcraft) / Celtic Wicca / Ceremonial Magic / Chaos Magic / Church and School of Wicca / Circle Sanctuary / Covenant of the Goddess (COG) / Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) / Cyber Wicca / Dianic Wicca / Eclectic Wicca / Feri Wicca /
Traditions Part 2 - Gardnerian Wicca / Georgian Tradition / Henge of Keltria / Hereditary Witchcraft / Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.) / Kitchen Witch (Hedge Witch) / Minoan Brotherhood and Minoan Sisterhood Tradition / Nordic Paganism / Pagan Federation / Pectic-Wita / Seax-Wica / Shamanism / Solitary / Strega / Sylvan Tradition / Vodoun or Voodoo / Witches League of Public Awareness (WLPA) /
Other things of interest:
Gods and Goddesses (Greek Mythology) / Esbats & Full Moons / Links to Personal Friends & Resources / Wicca/Witchcraft Resources / What's a spell? / Circle Casting and Sacred Space / Pentagram - Pentacle / Marks of a Witch / The Witches Power / The Witches Hat / An esoteric guide to visiting London / Satanism / Pow-wow / The Unitarian Universalist Association / Numerology: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / A history of the Malleus Maleficarum: includes: Pope Innocent VIII / The papal Bull / The Malleus Maleficarum / An extract from the Malleus Maleficarum / The letter of approbation / Johann Nider’s Formicarius / Jacob Sprenger / Heinrich Kramer / Stefano Infessura / Montague Summers / The Waldenses / The Albigenses / The Hussites / The Native American Sun Dance / Shielding (Occult and Psychic Protection) /
Sabbats and Festivals:
The Sabbats in History and Mythology / Samhain (October 31st) / Yule (December 21st) / Imbolc (February 2nd) / Ostara (March 21st) / Beltane (April 30th) / Litha (June 21st) / Lammas/Lughnasadh (August 1st) / Mabon (September 21st)
Rituals contributed by Crone:
Animals in Witchcraft (The Witches Familiar and Totem Animals) / Antelope / Bats / Crow / Fox / Frog and Toads / Goat / Honeybee / Kangaroo / Lion / Owl / Phoenix / Rabbits and Hares / Raven / Robin Redbreast / Sheep / Spider / Squirrel / Swans / Unicorn / Wild Boar / Wolf / Serpent / Pig / Stag / Horse / Mouse / Cat / Rats / Unicorn
In Worship of Trees - Myths, Lore and the Celtic Tree Calendar. For descriptions and correspondences of the thirteen sacred trees of Wicca/Witchcraft see the following: Birch / Rowan / Ash / Alder / Willow / Hawthorn / Oak / Holly / Hazel / Vine / Ivy / Reed / Elder
Rocks and Stones:
Articles contributed by Patricia Jean Martin:
Apophyllite / Amber / Amethyst / Aquamarine / Aragonite / Aventurine / Black Tourmaline / Bloodstone / Calcite / Carnelian / Celestite / Citrine / Chrysanthemum Stone / Diamond / Emerald / Fluorite / Garnet / Hematite / Herkimer Diamond / Labradorite / Lapis Lazuli / Malachite / Moonstone / Obsidian / Opal / Pyrite / Quartz (Rock Crystal) / Rose Quartz / Ruby / Selenite / Seraphinite / Silver and Gold / Smoky Quartz / Sodalite / Sunstone / Thunderegg / Tree Agate / Zebra Marble
Wisdom and Inspiration:
Articles and Stories about Witchcraft:
Murdered by Witchcraft / The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / A Battleship, U-boat, and a Witch / The Troll-Tear (A story for Children) / Goody Hawkins - The Wise Goodwife / The Story of Jack-O-Lantern / The Murder of the Hammersmith Ghost / Josephine Gray (The Infamous Black Widow) / The Two Brothers - Light and Dark
Old Masters of Academia:
(Ancient, Past and Present)
(Departed Pagan Pioneers, Founders, Elders and Others)
Pioneers: Founders, Elders, Leaders and Others
Aidan A Kelly / Albertus Magnus - “Albert the Great” / Aleister Crowley - “The Great Beast” / Alex Sanders - “King of the Witches” / Alison Harlow / Allan Bennett - the Ven. Ananda Metteyya / Allan Kardec (Spiritism) / Alphonsus de Spina / Amber K / Ann Moura / Anna Franklin / Anodea Judith / Anton Szandor LaVey / Arnold Crowther / Arthur Edward Waite / Austin Osman Spare / Balthasar Bekker / Biddy Early / Barbara Vickers / Bridget Cleary - The Fairy Witch of Clonmel / Carl " Llewellyn" Weschcke / Cecil Hugh Williamson / Charles Godfrey Leland / Charles Walton / Christopher Penczak / Christina Oakley Harrington / Cornelius Loos / Damh the Bard - "Dave Smith" / Dion Fortune / Dolores Aschroft-Nowicki / Donald Michael Kraig / Doreen Valiente / Dorothy Morrison / Dr. John Dee & Edward Kelly / Dr. Leo Louis Martello / Edain McCoy / Edward Fitch / Eleanor Ray Bone - “Matriarch of British Witchcraft” / Eliphas Levi / Ernest Thompson Seton / Ernest Westlake / Fiona Horne / Frederick McLaren Adams - Feraferia / Friedrich von Spee / Francis Barrett / Gavin and Yvonne Frost and the School and Church of Wicca / Gerald B. Gardner - The father of contemporary Witchcraft / Gwydion Pendderwen / Hans Holzer / Helen Duncan / Herman Slater - Horrible Herman / Heinrich Kramer / Isaac Bonewits / Israel Regardie / Ivo Domínguez Jr. / Jack Whiteside Parsons - Rocket Science and Magick / James "Cunning" Murrell - The Master of Witches / Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone / Jean Bodin / Jessie Wicker Bell - “Lady Sheba” / Johann Weyer / Johannes Junius - "The Burgomaster of Bamberg" / Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim - the “Hexenbrenner” (witch burner) / John Belham-Payne / John George Hohman - "Pow-wow" / John Gerard / John Gordon Hargrave and the Kibbo Kith Kindred / John Michael Greer / John Score / Joseph “Bearwalker” Wilson / Joseph John Campbell / Karl von Eckartshausen / Lady Gwen Thompson - and "The Rede of the Wiccae" / Laurie Cabot - "the Official Witch of Salem" / Lewis Spence / Lodovico Maria Sinistrari / Ludwig Lavater / Madeline Montalban and the Order of the Morning Star / Margaret Alice Murray / Margot Adler / Michael Howard and the UK "Cauldron Magazine" / Margaret St. Clair - the “Sign of the Labrys” / Marie Laveau - " the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans" / Marion Weinstein / Martin Antoine Del Rio / Matthew Hopkins - “The Witch-Finder General” / Michael A. Aquino - and The Temple of Set / Monique Wilson / Montague Summers / Nicholas Culpeper / Nicholas Remy / M. R. Sellars / Mrs. Maud Grieve - "A Modern Herbal" / Oberon Zell-Ravenheart and Morning Glory / Old Dorothy Clutterbuck / Old George Pickingill / Olivia Durdin-Robertson - co-founder of the Fellowship of Isis / Paddy Slade / Pamela Colman-Smith / Patricia Crowther / Patricia Monaghan / Patricia “Trish” Telesco / Paul Foster Case and the “Builders of the Adytum” mystery school / Peter Binsfeld / Philip Heselton / Raven Grimassi / Raymond Buckland / Reginald Scot / Richard Baxter / Robert Cochrane / Robert ‘von Ranke’ Graves and the "The White Goddess" / Rosaleen Norton - “The Witch of Kings Cross” / Rossell Hope Robbins / Ross Nichols and the " Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids" (OBOD) / Rudolf Steiner / Sabrina Underwood - "The Ink Witch" / Scott Cunningham / Selena Fox - founder of "Circle Sanctuary" / Silver Ravenwolf / Sir Francis Dashwood / Sir James George Frazer and the " The Golden Bough" / S.L. MacGregor Mathers and the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn” / Starhawk / Stewart Farrar / Sybil Leek / Ted Andrews / The Mather Family - (includes: Richard Mather, Increase Mather and Cotton Mather ) / Thomas Ady / T. Thorn Coyle / Vera Chapman / Victor & Cora Anderson and the " Feri Tradition" / Vivianne Crowley / Walter Brown Gibson / Walter Ernest Butler / William Butler Yeats / Zsuzsanna Budapest /
Many of the above biographies are briefs and far from complete. If you know about any of these individuals and can help with additional information, please contact me privately at my email address below. Many thanks for reading :-)
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