Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols by Robert V. O'Neill Justice


SwordWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Right HandWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Circle & DotVieville
ScalesWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Stone PillarsWirthT de Marseille
DrapeGebelinT de Marseille
Cubic ThroneDelaroccaCharles VI
DaisGoulinatMinchiateCharles VI
MatureWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
BlondeWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Red GownGoulinatT de Marseille
Green RobeSicilian
Green StoleBolognese
CrownWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
3 PeaksWirthDelarocca
Foot OutGebelinMinchiate


  1. Circle-in-Square Clasp - May come from the Freemasonry concept of "Squaring the Circle." Waite mentions (Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, p 473) the circle in square as meaning the four elements coming from the unity and says that it appears in the initiatory instructions for the Masonic grade of “Freres Chevaliers de Rose-Croix.” It may also be a reference to the Tattwa for earth sub air (Francis King, Magic, The Western Tradition, Fig 54 and p 26, and Israel Regardie, The Golden Dawn, pp 456-8). The possibility is made stronger by similar Tattwa-like forms on the chest of Chariot and Temperance. The possibility is made weaker by the fact that the Tattwa should be a blue circle in a yellow square.

  2. The scales on this card explain its attribution to Libra in the GD system. The color Green is also associated with Libra and may explain the cloak color. The number of this card in most traditions is 8. The number was changed in the Cipher Document so the attribution to Libra would be possible.

  3. "Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross" p 463 - The circle with the point in the center is the alchemical symbol for gold = the end of the quest = perfection (he uses this on Hierophant, Justice, Temperance) p 473 - Circle within a square - unity within the Quaternary of elements

Based on original research by Robert V. O'Neill. To add to this collection of information, please email Robert V. O'Neill.

The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
The Hermit
Wheel of Fortune
The Hanged Man
The Devil
The Tower
The Star
The Moon
The Sun
The World
Introduction to Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols

Additional Tarot History Resources Related to
Sources of the Waite/Smith Tarot Symbols

Holly's Rider-Waite Site A. E. Waite
The Hermitage: A Tarot History Site Villa Revak