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Abrac  Abrac is offline
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466

I don't think it's necessary to box the RWS into only what Waite says, but I do believe in trying to find out what was in Waite's mind, at least for the sake of inclusiveness. To those who might say it's impossible to know what was in Waite's mind I only quote the Introduction from the Pictorial Key:
"As regards the verbal meanings allocated here to the more important Trump Cards, they are designed to set aside the follies and impostures of past attributions, to put those who have the gift of insight on the right track, and to take care, within the limits of my possibilities, that they are the truth so far as they go."
It's fairly easy to know what was in Waite's mind once you're on the right track.

A list of popular authors can be compiled a mile long, but I'll go out on a limb here and say none of them have a clue what was in Waite's mind. That's not to say they have nothing to contribute, only that they can't be relied on if you want to understand Waite.

I think there's a good possibility that in Waite's mind the figure represented Metatron, the external manifestation of Shekinah. In the Waite-Trinick Lovers image—which is essentially the same as the Waite-Smith—the figure hovering overhead is identified as Shekinah:
". . .and it is this which you see before you, the wedlock of the soul and the Christ natures, under the wings of Shekinah."—The Ceremony of Reception in the Portal of the Third Order

In The Secret Doctrine in Israel (1913), Waite cites numerous references from the Zohar which identify Metatron as the vesture, or outer manifestation of Shekinah. Here are a few:
"So also Metatron, who is an aspect of Shekinah, is indifferently male and female. . ."—Pg. 194.

"Shekinah herself, in the state of distinction which—as we have seen—is postulated concerning her, is either, the first of created things or may be such when she assumes the vesture of Metatron."—Pg. 202

"She is the Mistress of the Celestial School, called the Abode of the Shepherds, and this is a school of Metatron, understood as a vesture or form assumed by Shekinah.—Pg. 205
On pages 262 & 263 there's a lengthy footnote in which Waite compiles a list of references to Metatron in the Zohar. Item "(n)" says:
"There is an obscure suggestion that he may be the Angel of the Sun, and it is said also that he draws milk for his purification from his mother, as if she were the Matrona [Shekinah] in Binah and he were the Begotten Son or Vau.
This is of interest for a couple of reasons. First, the reference to Metatron as the Angel of the Sun; and secondly it suggests Metatron is the Son, or Zein Anpin, the Lesser Countenance.

In the Waite-Smith, what we get is a lot of surface meaning; but there's meaning within meaning. The subsurface meaning is illustrated more openly in the Trinick images. There's also the benefit of Waite descriptions of the images in the FRC rituals.
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