Tuesday, 1 March 2011

From Elias Ashmole to Arthur Edward Waite: The Search for Lost Knowledge - Part 5

Arthur Edward Waite was a Freemason, Occultist and was the co-designer for the famous Rider-Waite Tarot Deck. He was a member of the Golden Dawn and wrote many works on Freemasonry and mysticism. My second book The Transformation of Freemasonry discusses his career; his desire to search for lost knowledge being similar to other Freemasons of the late Victorian period and mirroring the work by earlier Masons such as Elias Ashmole and Robert Moray. Waite's Tarot designs incorporated Masonic symbolism and Masonic themes - his Masonic interests being revealed on the High Priestess card for example, with the 'B' and 'J' on the two pillars standing for 'Boaz' and 'Jachin' - the two pillars of Solomon's Temple, and in the Wheel of Fortune card - which is described in the Fellowcraft degree in English Emulation ritual.
Esoteric Freemasons such as Waite wanted to explore all aspects of the Craft, they wanted to search for that what which was lost by looking deeper into the history, the symbolism and the philosophy of Masonry, and their search should be an example to us today.

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