Talk: The Women of the Tarot – the interpretation of the Golden Dawn Book T as manifested by Frieda Harris and Pamela Colman Smith
A E Waite’s Pictorial Key to the Tarot, supported by Pamela Colman Smith’s designs, and Aleister Crowley’s Book of Thoth, manifested in Frieda Harris’s magnificent paintings, are the two most significant works on the Tarot today. Waite and Crowley each formulated their own theories concerning the origins and meanings of the Occult Tarot. Each of them based their interpretation of the symbolism and correspondences on the Golden Dawn’s Book T, one of the secret texts given to initiates. Waite and Crowley both commissioned artists to design their cards, and in each case, engaged women who possessed both the artistic skills and the esoteric awareness required to bring the images to life.
In this talk, Deja Whitehouse will explore the individual contributions of Frieda Harris and Pixie Smith within the context of the Golden Dawn’s interpretation of the Occult Tarot. Consideration will be given not only to artistic presentation, but to their personal interpretation and their ongoing legacy.
Following a 25 year career in commercial business analysis, Deja Whitehouse completed her doctoral thesis In Search of Frieda Harris, under the supervision of Professor Ronald Hutton, and was awarded her PhD in January 2020.
Deja has produced an annotated consolidation of the Harris-Crowley correspondence and associated material for the Warburg Institute, and has written articles for Chipping Campden History Society’s Journal Signpost, Aries: Journal for the Study of Western Esotericism and forthcoming publications by Palgrave MacMillan and Kamuret Press.
She has also presented her research at the Theosophical Society in Edinburgh, Glastonbury Occult Conference 2019, the Magickal Women Conference, Trans-States 2 Conference, Treadwell’s Bookshop, and the Magickal Women Conference Summer Salons.
Deja considers herself an eclectic pagan, favouring a solitary path, preferably through woodland and close to water!