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Vinculus  Vinculus is offline
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Hello! This is my first post to the forum. I have a research-related question that I hope someone will be able to help me with.

In the Waite-Smith tarot deck, the four holy creatures depicted on the World card are a bull (in the lower left corner), a lion (in the lower right corner), an eagle (in the upper right corner), and an angel (in the upper left corner). They are said to correspond to the fixed signs of Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius, respectively. They are also said to correspond to the four classical elements of earth, fire, water, and air, respectively.

However, many occultists, such as Éliphas Lévi, assign the eagle to air and the angel to water. They assign Taurus and earth (rather than air) to spring, Leo and fire to summer, Scorpio and air (rather than earth) to autumn, and Aquarius and water to winter. As you can see, it is a metaphysical mélange.

Similarly, in the Waite-Trinick tarot, the four creatures depicted on the World are, again, an angel (at the top of the card), an eagle (on the left), a bull (on the bottom), and a lion (on the right). These presumably relate to the fixed signs of Aquarius, Scorpio, Taurus, and Leo, respectively, as well as to the four elements of air (or, alternatively, water), water (or, alternatively, air), earth, and fire.

I would like to know how Waite himself would have assigned the elements, seasons, and directions to the Trinick World card. Would the angel at the top of the card correspond to Aquarius, water, winter, and north? Or would the angel correspond to air rather than to water? I think you must get the idea by now.

Waite was a Christian mystic and sacramentalist; I wonder if he wanted to communicate a baptismal allegory on the World card?

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
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As a Christian mystic he probably also related them to the four evangelists and corresponding gospels', and Ezekiel's chariot.

However, if they also related them to the four fixed signs, the most obvious attributions (in the Northern hemisphere at least) are:

bull - taurus - earth - spring - east
lion - leo - fire - summer - south
eagle - scorpio - water - autumn - west
angel/man - aquarius - air - winter - north

(Scorpio is a water sign and Aquarius is an air sign, so I don't know why they (Levi you say) assign them as they do, all though it might be through the natural association of a bird with air ? But even so it would then be eagle - air - aquarius - winter; man - water - scorpio - autumn).

That being said neither the GD nor the French esoteric schools went with the obvious (astrological) associations - so there is no bet the Waite did either, my best guess would be he stuck with those of the GD.

The association of the four holy animals with the fixed signs is fairly modern (off the top of my head no earlier than late 17th, early 18th century - possibly even more recent than that? If I'm wrong and it is earlier then I suppose one might find it in Agrippa...) Anyways, from whatever period, the authority is sort of biblical, the eagle as the banner of one of the tribes of Israel being associated by some kabbalists with Scorpio. Though that being said no doubt if one cares to look it up one would find some variations as to such attributions among the kabbalists.
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Kwaw's correspondences are the astrologically correct ones.

I think Mathers did the elements, directions, and seasons like this:

Air - East - Spring
Fire - South - Summer
Water - West - Autumn
Earth - North - Winter

I generally go with the astrological, but the discrepancies give me a headache. Whatever Waite thought, I'm sure he went with the Biblical evangelists and creatures (as described in Ezekiel and John's Apocalypse).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw View Post

That being said neither the GD nor the French esoteric schools went with the obvious (astrological) associations - so there is no bet the Waite did either, my best guess would be he stuck with those of the GD.
I wonder if his attributions are given in the recent book on the Waite/Trinick deck? Perhaps someone here has it and can share whatever attributions are reported there.
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Thank you both for your answers! I was aware of the correct astrological correspondences, but wondered which ones Waite would have used. His rearrangement of the usual order of the four animals suggests a different set of attributions, but it is all speculation at this point.

In astrological temperament analysis (and the organic cycle of alchemical rotation), the order of the elements is air (spring), fire (summer), earth (autumn), and water (winter). However, Lévi and Wirth assign the order as earth (spring, bull, Taurus), fire (summer, lion, Leo), air (autumn, eagle, Scorpio), and water (winter, angel, Aquarius); that is, to the oppositional structure of the qualities rather than the elements themselves. Needless to say, I was struck by the unusual image on the Trinick World card.
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Waite's pips illustrations are consistent with the decans, and a bit of deductive reasoning (based on remarks in PKT) shows that in all likelihood he preferred the GD's Hebrew letter attributions for the trumps. So it would not be out of character for Waite to go along with the GD correlations for the elements.

ETA. Here is another GD influence on the Waite deck. For the significator in the CC spread, he suggests the following: Knights - older men, Queens - older women, Kings - younger men, Pages - younger women, which parallels the GD's Knight-Queen-Prince-Princess court system.
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Seasons? Try it when you live in the southern hemisphere where it is supposedly reversed (but in reality here in Oz you might have 6 or 8 seasons depending on where you live).

So, in a way it is based on locality. IMO it all boils down to that, some have disputed this saying there are 'natural directions' and Kabbalistic directions. As far as I can see 'Kabbalistic directions' are based on the the winds that blow qualities in from the 4 directions based on Israel ... they might get water (and moist wind) from the west, but I certainly dont (its desert and the biggest island continent on the planet out that way for me).

There is that 4 rivers out of Eden idea ... cant remember those attributions at the moment.

Good luck figuring anything Waite out .... he might have changed it or masked it then mixed it up with some of his own particular stuff.

Around here somewhere I have posted some threads comparing the iconography of the World card to Mithras ... IMO it is a depiction of the Lord (or Lady) of the World

http://www.whale.to/c/mithra46.jpg

http://www.sacredsource.com/images/ae.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_MryQii-dvu...s%2BZodiac.jpg

The encircling wreath

http://images-mediawiki-sites.theful...5852211611.jpg

I cant find the pics at the moment (the are included in my thread on the World card) but some of the old depictions show the development of the wreath and it turning into that as a replacement of the wheel of the Zodiac (and here Mithras is holding the similar RW figures 'batons').

To eventually become the Waite version where the zodiac has become the wreath and the snake a type of scarf or 'modesty drape'.

https://auntietarot.files.wordpress....4/rw-world.jpg

Which could represent the encircling serpent or Ophiuchus as well.

http://astronomologer.com/wp-content...e-Universe.jpg

Possibly the origin of the 'Christmas wreath' ?
( Dec 25th is Mitras birthday

http://www.markfulton.org/wp-content.../04/Mithra.jpg ....

which, here, is in June .... HEY! I am born on the same day as Mithras ... gold frankincense and myrrh gladly accepted
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Vinculus  Vinculus is offline
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I agree, ravenest; Waite would probably have obfuscated most of it anyway. Wisdom while you Waite!

At this point, I would speculate that the placement of the eagle (Scorpio) and the lion (Leo) on the Trinick World card represent alchemical water and fire, reconciled by air (the angel of Aquarius).

That is my best guess.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinculus View Post
I agree, ravenest; Waite would probably have obfuscated most of it anyway. Wisdom while you Waite!

At this point, I would speculate that the placement of the eagle (Scorpio) and the lion (Leo) on the Trinick World card represent alchemical water and fire, reconciled by air (the angel of Aquarius).

That is my best guess.
That seems valid - especially if air is in the 'reconciling' position, however the mode of understanding the elements in triplicity is very different from that in quadrature. For example the constitution of air is radically changed, as is fire - it's not just a swap around. Another difference is that in a system of four, air cannot be the 'reconciler' .
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Waite was a master at telling what others thought, but when it came to revealing what he himself thought he was a master of making mazes.

He gives a clue to what he may have thought, on the Wheel of Fortune, in the way he assigns the letters of the Tetragrammaton. Also, in the PKT, in his description of The World at the beginning of Chapter 2, he says:

"It is eloquent as an image of the swirl of the sensitive life, of joy attained in the body, of the soul's intoxication in the earthly paradise, but still guarded by the Divine Watchers, as if by the powers and the graces of the Holy Name, Tetragammaton, JVHV*—those four ineffable letters which are sometimes attributed to the mystical beasts."

*I'm sure this is supposed to be YHVH. I don't know what JVHV would mean in this context.

It does seem a bit of a mystery why the angel and eagle would be reversed on those two decks.
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