19 Sep 2011 79 Comments
The Waite-Trinick Tarot – 1
At our Tarosophy tarot conference this weekend I was delighted to announce my discovery of a set of original John B. Trinick paintings commissioned by A.E Waite, 1917-1923. These Tarot images were painted and drawn towards “The Great Symbols of the Paths”, a profound and evocative illustration of the spiritual ascent narrative in the initiatory schema.
As you know, A.E. Waite co-produced with painter Pamela Colman-Smith what have become the most popular Tarot deck in the world. Now we are looking at what he produced ten years after that time, with a well-known stained glass artist, J. B. Trinick – a set of images that have been rarely seen in public, if at all – a set of images almost a century old that mark the swansong of the magical revival in Victorian England.
Marcus Katz and I recently viewed these enigmatic and timeless images, with their border paint marks and pencil blobs, with the holes still in the canvas where they were perhaps hung in the temple, and were completely overwhelmed by their astonishing beauty. Not only that, we found Waite’s own commentary on the images, and Marcus has reconstructed Waite’s correspondences to the Tree of Life – which as far as we are aware is also unpublished.*
I also announced at the conference that Tarot Professionals have arranged an agreement with the present custodians of these particular paintings and sketches to publish a full-colour book with our commentary and research.
However – this is where we need everybody’s assistance. In order to properly publish and make accessible these images we require funding to have high quality images taken and there are also additional costs to use the images. This is a not-for-profit venture; we are only keen to bring this historic work to light at last.
And the cards seem to want this to happen – as you will see in further blog entries as I recount my tale of research.
The whole research into this set of images has taken a long time – and I have been experiencing magical synchronicities and events throughout, leading to this most recent discovery of paintings. I’ve also been able to discover some answers to the riddles posed by Decker & Dummett in the first published mention of these images almost a decade ago. There are further questions and other originals still to be discovered, maybe – my goal is to follow the calling of the cards to be seen.
Here is a small part of one of the images, in low-resolution (as unfortunately whenever I put something online, it gets copied even if I ask that is it not copied) for a preview. Please do not copy this – you are otherwise welcome to link to my blog page here if you wish!
I am sure you can guess which image it is, as it is one of the more obvious symbols. However, you may be surprised that this is only one quarter of the entire image – and the rest of it contains wonderful symbolism, meaning and Kabbalistic correspondence:
Over the next month or so, I’ll blog about my experiences, research and the book as it is funded and we go into production.
I’d like to blog today about one little snippet – showing how my primary research takes place.
My research passion is in Genealogy and it was through my research into Trinick’s life using primary source material that lead to many of the breakthroughs in this project. There are still some things that cannot be done on the internet – useful as it is! In fact, the first of many coincidences is that I quickly found that John Trinick lived here in the Lake District, only a stone’s throw away from my house! There is a further story to this which I will be able to reveal soon, which makes the whole quest much like a real-life Dan Brown novel.
Anyhow, I’d like to say today that there is indeed “a lot in a name”. The first published mention of these Tarot images was in 2002, in “History of the Occult Tarot”, where Decker and Dummett (p. 158) give Trinick’s full name as John Brahms Trinick. I presume this was taken from an earlier published reference to Trinick in 1987.
My first task was to follow that lead, so I checked and found that his First World War Embarkation Roll does indeed show John as “John Brahms Trinick”.
One of the next stages of conducting my type of research was to access the births and deaths Index in the UK. I immediately found the name recorded as John Brave Trinick. This was somewhat conflicting. The only way to ensure accurate research was to order both the Birth and Death certificates.
The certificate arrived with me on the morning of our Tarosophy conference this last weekend and as you can see from the scan it clearly has John Brown (maybe?) Trinick crossed out and replaced with John Brave Trinick.
I am now waiting to receive the birth certificate as there is another anomaly which I have rarely seen – in the births index it is hard to locate John’s record, as it was not where it should have been. I think this is quite unusual because it was written by hand at the bottom of the index.
Why is this important and what has it to do with these Tarot images? Well, it is through following strange leads or anomalies that interesting & unexpected discoveries are made, so in itself, the name is sometimes not so important – but chasing it reveals other threads and strands of the full story. Also, it means that we become more certain of the facts of a story as we progress and build research – in fact, some things I have found may be shown soon as incomplete, disproven, wrong – and that is great, if it leads to further knowledge. This is to be expected.
As this story unfolds, I’ll be sharing more with you – we have so much already to tell; Freemasonic symbols, lost artifacts in bookshops, mysteries in stained glass windows; the stuff of fiction playing out in my real life!
In the meantime, please visit our funding drive to assist in this once-in-a-lifetime journey.
* It is not the same as published with the incomplete b&w images in Decker & Dummett.