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In The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal Waite describes "The Pageants in the Quests" in which we find the Court Cards of the Minor Arcana:

Quote:
"When the questing knight pays his first visit. . . . The procession enters the hall in single file, and consists in succession of a page, or squire, who carries the mysterious Sword which will break in one danger only, of another squire who bears the Sacred Lance from which the blood issues, and then of two squires together, each supporting a ten-branched candlestick. Between these there walks the gentle and beautiful maiden who lifts up the Holy Graal in her two hands; she is followed by another maiden, who carries the Silver Dish. The procession passes twice before the couch on which the King of the Castle reclines." p. 139.
Mary
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Waite writes about the Grail procession with clarity and conviction. He knows of what he speaks. In the Wolfram version of the procession (Parzival, Book V), the squire with the blood-tipped lance walks in and out, then various maiden ritualists bring in candles, balsam, and a great garnet-hyacinth disc upon ivory pedestals, upon which the Grail (not described!) is placed. The knight Parzival sits next to the ailing Grail King Anfortas, as the Grail Queen bears the Grail before them. Foods and beverages materialize out of the Grail's power and serve the company there.. So, squire or page with lance, then knight with king, then queen with Grail. At the end of the ceremony, the king gifts Parzival with a grand sword. The symbols include lance, disc, Grail, sword, in that order. Waite works these through his and Smith's Tarot, as Mary has clearly shown. I think the Waite-Smith Tarot is truly a Grail Tarot by symbolic design, probably the first one so consciously intendeed and created out of the mix of Medieval and Renaissance symbols. Nothing new here, just a note of gratitude to Waite and Smith. And thanks to Mary's fine research, too.
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I'm surprised no one has caught what Waite actually said in his 1919 Occult Review article:
"I have said, now long ago, (1) that there are vague rumours concerning a higher meaning in the minor cards but (2) they have never yet been translated into another language than that of fortune-telling."
I don't know how this could be any clearer. He says this in 1919, so one has to assume by "never" he's including his own pack.

"Book 11" in Waite's The Holy Grail: History, Legend and Symbolism (1933), entitled "Further Critical Apparatus: The Ritual Hypothesis," does contain a section from Waite's original article from The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal on the "Lesser Arcana and the Graal Hallows"; however, that part should never have been included where it was in the HCHG as it has nothing to with the minor arcana or the Hallows. This is evidenced by the fact that it was subsequently moved in the 1933 book. Waite's updated article on the minors and the hallows from The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal is relegated to an Appendix in the 1933 book. "Book 11" in Waite's 1933 book has nothing whatsoever to do with the minor arcana, nor does any other part of the book except the Appendix.

There's no doubt Waite saw a certain correspondence between the minors and the Grail Hallows, but in 1919 he says it's a subject he wishes to "carry further one of these days." If he did carry it further it's not made clear, and certainly in 1909 it's not something he had developed at all, at least publicly in writing. In his comment on the Ace of Cups in the PKT he says it's "an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana." At this point it doesn't seem he's developed any clear theory regarding a higher or hidden meaning behind the minors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
I'm surprised no one has caught what Waite actually said in his 1919 Occult Review article:
"I have said, now long ago, (1) that there are vague rumours concerning a higher meaning in the minor cards but (2) they have never yet been translated into another language than that of fortune-telling."
.......
He obviously does not mean that the "vague rumours concerning a higher meaning" are necessarily false. The Minors in the Golden Dawn Tarot have systematic esoteric attributions: astrological decans, angels, Sephirot, etc., the significance of which may go beyond the purview of what is ordinarily considered "fortune telling."
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"“the Sephirotic attributions [number cards] . . . are especially remarkable . . . [and] certain secret schools have developed their scheme of symbolic interpretation to a very high point.” HCHG.

They key is in "The Metrical Romance of Joseph of Arimathea" by Robert de Borron as retold by A.E. Waite in The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal. Waite saw this story as the core & origin of the Grail myth as it developed from the 12th century on.

Waite explained: “The root-matter of the story can be expressed in a few words, and may be so offered to simplify the issues which are important to our purpose.”

I believe the following will demonstrate that he gave these “few words” to Pamela Coleman Smith who was professionally trained to illustrate stories. Her task was to integrate this Grail Romance with the divinatory meanings that Waite had compiled from several other sources (Etteilla, Mathers, Golden Dawn, Chambers, etc.)—a job she completed masterfully. Please look at the RWS Cups cards, in numerical order, as you read through this.

So, here is Robert de Boron's story of Joseph of Arimathea as told by Waite - USING HIS OWN WORDS! - as related to the cards in the Suit of Cups. [Summaries of details I’ve omitted are in brackets.]

Intro/Ace. It sets up the Grail as the theme of the story:
The vessel in which Christ prepared His sacrament [at the Last Supper] was delivered into the hands of Pontius Pilate. [Pilate gave Joseph permission to take the body of Jesus after the Crucifixion] and gave him in addition the vessel. In that vessel Joseph received the Blood, which was still flowing from the wounds of Christ. [The Jews then imprisoned Joseph in a tower.]
(PKT: The Ace of Cups is “an intimation of that which may lie behind the Lesser Arcana.” HCHG: “The correspondence of certain Tarot symbols with those of the Holy Graal . . . [have a] consequence.” (Note five streams coming from the Cup in the Ace and five wounds of Christ.))

2 - Christ came to Joseph in the tower, brought him the Sacred Vessel and communicated to him certain secret words which were the grace and power thereof. Joseph remained for forty years in his prison and was sustained by the Blessed Vessel as if in a condition of ecstasy. [The Emperor's son Vespasian eventually rescued Joseph from the tower.]
(PKT: Love, passion, . . . union, concord, sympathy, . . . that desire which is not in Nature, but by which Nature is sanctified.” (Remember the card has to also conform to traditional fortune-telling meanings.))

3 - Joseph collected his relatives and many companions who had embraced Christianity at his insistence, and by the the will of God the party started westward, carrying the Holy Grail. At first they were in a state of grace.
(PKT: “With cups uplifted, as if pledging one another. . . . Happy issue . . . healing.”)

4 - They took possession of a certain district and placed it under cultivation. At length a part of the company fell away from grace through the ’sin of luxury’.
(PKT: “Discontent with his environment. Weariness, disgust, aversion . . . as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only. Another wine . . . is now offered the wastrel but he sees no consolation therein.” Crowley calls this card, “Luxury.”)

5 - The result was a famine in the company.
(PKT: “It is a card of loss. . . . Patrimony, transmission, but not corresponding to expectations.)

6 - Alain, son of Brons, youngest of all, who chose a life of celibacy, was taken by Joseph into his heart after a special manner. To him was revealed knowledge of the Holy Graal, although not the Secret Words.
(PKT: “Memories, looking back on childhood.” And, “New knowledge.”)

7 - And Joseph invoked the Son of God on his knees in the presence of the Grail, reciting the petition of his people, who were in need of bread and meat. . . . Speaking from the Graal, Christ said to Joseph: ‘Tell him [Brons] how God did communicate unto thee the Holy Words, which are sweet and precious and gracious and piteous, which are properly called and named the Secret of the Grail.’
(PKT: “Strange chalices of vision.” Note the veiled, Christ-like figure in the center cup.)

8 - The Divine voice of the Graal directed that Brons should repair to a certain water and there angle for a fish. The first which he caught must be brought straightway to Joseph, who, on his part, should place it upon the Graal table. Between Joseph and Brons there was left a vacant seat corresponding to that which had been made void by the defection of Judas Iscariot.
(PKT: "A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his felicity . . . or previous concern.")

9 - Joseph was told to expose the Sacred Vessel openly in the presence of the brethren, on a table similar to that of his own Last Supper, and place the fish upon the Grail table over against the Sacred Vessel. By this means the sinners will be discovered speedily. The people were then to be summoned and informed that if they were true believers, who had kept the commandments and followed out the teachings of Christ, they would be welcome to sit down at the table.
(PKT: “A goodly personage has feasted to his heart’s content.”)

10 - The vessel was invoked, and it separated the good from the evil within the ranks of the people. The good people experienced all spiritual delight and inward refreshment, but the evil were not filled, and they could not even see that which was in full view, the Holy Vessel. Whosoever was seated thereat had the accomplishment of his heart’s desire. They were fed from within rather than from without. Joseph commanded that they should return day by day to partake of the grace administered.
(PKT: “contentment, repose of the entire heart.”)

King - Brons received the title of the Rich Fisher, for having caught the fish. [i.e., The Fisher King.]
(Note the fish around the neck of the King.)

Page - The company was divided further to continue the journey westward in successive parties, as ordained by Christ Himself, speaking from the Grail. And: In the sight of the Graal . . . true believers experience as much satisfaction as a fish, which, having been taken by a man in his hand, has contrived to escape therefrom and again go swimming in the sea.”
(PKT: “A fish rising from a cup to look at him. . . . News, message; reflection, meditation.”)

Try taking the de Boron story and making correspondences to any other suit or to the Major Arcana. How well does it work? Or take a combination of any cards, except those from the suit of Cups, and see if you can tell the story as well.

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Apparently the "language of divination" is quite flexible, and can even be employed to illustrate one of the Grail romances, without violating Abrac's quotation from Waite's 1919 article (which, by the way, refers to comments made earlier in PKT).
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". . .that which may lie behind the Lesser Aracana" probably is a reference to the Grail Hallows or their antecedents in folklore—the Grail imagery on the Ace being the “intimation”; but it's decidedly of little import. For Waite there were only “vague rumours” to go on and it’s a subject he never did treat fully. It’s funny how an offhand comment can come to take on such significance.

The imagery has to speak for itself. What does it symbolize, not what does it intimate.
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