Tarot Divination:
Three Parallel Traditions
Edited & Translated By
James W. Revak




King of Words from Antichi Tarocchi BolognesiWAITE. Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its connexions—power, command, authority, militant intelligence, law offices of the crown, and so forth. Additional Meanings: A lawyer, senator, doctor.
Reversed: Cruelty, perversity, barbarity, perfidy, evil intention. Additional Meanings: A bad man; also a caution to put an end to a ruinous lawsuit.

MATHERS: A Lawyer, a Man of Law, Power, Command, Superiority, Authority.
Reversed: A Wicked Man, Chagrin, Worry, Grief, Fear, Disturbance.

ETTEILLA: Lawyer, Man of the Law, Judge, Councilor, Assessor, Senator, Businessman, Medical Practitioner, Attorney, Public Prosecutor, Doctor, Physician.—Jurist, Jurisprudence.—Litigant, Jurisconsult.
Reversed: Ill-Intentioned, Wickedness, Perversity, Perfidy, Crime, Cruelty, Barbarity, Inhumanity.

Illustration (above): King of Swords from Antichi Tarocchi Bolognesi di Giacomo Zoni (c. 1780), republished by Lo Scarabeo. Click the image for a larger one.


WAITE: Widowhood, female sadness and embarrassment, absence, sterility, mourning, privation, separation. Additional Meanings: A widow.
Reversed: Malice, bigotry, artifice, prudery, bale, deceit. Additional Meanings: A bad woman, with ill-will towards the Querent.

MATHERS: Widowhood, Loss, Privation, Absence, Separation.
Reversed: A Bad Woman, ill-tempered and bigoted, Riches and Discord, Abundance together with Worry, Joy, with Grief.

ETTEILLA: Widowhood, Widow, Privation, Absence, Dearth, Sterility, Indigence, Poverty.—Empty, Vacant, Deserted, Idle, Inactive, Unoccupied.
Reversed: Evil Woman.—Bale, Malice, Trickery, Subtlety, Artifice, Mischievousness, Bigotry, Prudery, Hypocrisy.


Knight of Swords from Le Tarot DivinatoireWAITE: Skill, bravery, capacity, defence, address, enmity, wrath, war, destruction, opposition, resistance, ruin. There is therefore a sense in which the card signifies death, but it carries this meaning only in its proximity to other cards of fatality. Additional Meanings: A soldier, man of arms, satellite, stipendiary; heroic action predicted for soldier.
Reversed: Imprudence, incapacity, extravagance. Additional Meanings: Dispute with an imbecile person; for a woman, struggle with a rival, who will be conquered.

MATHERS: A Soldier, a man whose profession is arms, Skillfulness, Capacity, Address, Promptitude.
Reversed: A conceited fool, Ingenuousness, Simplicity.

ETTEILLA: Soldier, Man With a Sword, Man-At-Arms, Fencing Master, Swordsman.—Soldier From an Entire Corp or Army, Combatant, Enemy.—Dispute, War, Combat, Battle, Duel.—Attack [Address], Defense, Opposition, Resistance, Destruction, Ruin, Reversal.—Enmity, Hate, Wrath, Resentment.—Courage, Valor, Bravery.—Satellite [Attendant], Mercenary [Stipendiary].
Reversed: Incompetence, Ineptitude, Foolishness, Folly, Stupidity [Imbecility], Imprudence, Impertinence, Extravagance, Ridicule, Silliness.—Fraud, Swindling, Mischief, Cunning.

Illustration (above): Knight of Swords from Le Tarot Divinatoire (1909) by Papus & Goulinat, republished by Dusserre. Click the image for a larger one.


WAITE: Authority, overseeing, secret service, vigilance, spying, examination, and the qualities thereto belonging. Additional Meanings: An indiscreet person will pry into the Querent’s secrets.
Reversed: More evil side of these qualities; what is unforeseen, unprepared state; sickness is also intimated. Additional Meanings: Astonishing news.

MATHERS: A spy, Overlooking, Authority.
Reversed: That which is unforeseen, Vigilance, Support.

ETTEILLA: Overseer, Spy, Onlooker, Observer, Searcher, Connoisseur, Intendant.—Examination, Note, Remark, Observation, Annotation, Speculation, Count, Calculation, Computation—Learned, Artistic.
Reversed. Without Warning, Sudden, Suddenly, Suddenly Interrupting, Astonishing, Surprising, Unexpectedly.—Improvise, Act and Speak Without Preparation, Compose and Recite Straightaway.


Red indicates passages from Mathers or Waite which paralleled those of Etteilla, in the opinion of the editor

Green indicates passages from Waite which did not parallel those of Etteilla but did parallel those of Mathers, in the opinion of the editor.

For further details concerning the presentation and sources of this material, see the Introduction.


Copyright © 2000 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 1.1 (3/27/00).