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


AngelWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Red WingsEtteilla III
White TunicWestcottDelaroccaVisconti-Sforza
Flame HairEtteilla III
CloudWirthT de MarseilleCharles VI
TrumpetWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
BannerWirthT de MarseilleVisconti-Sforza
Red CrossVandenborre
Coffins FloatWirthVachetta
Figures nakedWirthT de MarseilleCharles VI
Arms RaisedEtteillaParisian
Man LeftWestcott
Woman RightWestcottVisconti-Sforza
Child centerWirthT de Marseille
Faces awayWirthT de Marseille


  1. Red Cross on White Banner - this feature appears in earlier decks, but Waite may also be hinting at a connection with Knights Templar who wore a white mantle with a red cross on the chest.

  2. Angel with red wings and flame hair is repeated from the Lovers card. According to the Practicus ritual of the Golden Dawn, it is “MICHAEL, the Great Archangel, the Ruler of Solar Fire...” (Regardie, 172).

  3. In the Golden Dawn system, this card is assigned to the Hebrew letter Shin. This is drawn as a base with three verticals, represented by the three central figures. In the version of Judgment given in the Cipher Document, the card is roughly sketched with the letter Shin and the three figures on the three verticals. However, see The Fool, footnote 6 for a caveat about assuming that the Hebrew letters can be found in the Waite-Smith designs.

  4. Michael J. Hurst points out that the general configuration of the card suggests the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation, chapters 21 and 22, which in turn, is based on the description of the Temple in Ezekial, chapters 47 and 48. The three tombs in the foreground may represent the three gates on each side of the city (Rev 21:13, Ezk 48:32-33). Revelation 22:1-2 says “Then the angel showed me the river of life...flowing crystal-clear down the middle of the city street.

    On either side of the river were the trees of life.” Ezechial 47:1-12 says: “He brought me back to the entrance of the Temple, where a stream came out from under the Temple threshold and flowed eastward...he then made me wade...(the water gets deeper as he wades further in)...the stream had swollen and was now deep water, a river impossible to cross...Wherever the river flows, all living creatures teeming in it will live...along the river, on either bank, will grow evry kind of fruit tree.”

Based on original research by (in alphabetical order) M. J. Hurst and R. 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