Edward Waite was an English mystic, occultist,
and a member of the
occult society, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
A prolific writer of over seventy books, Waite's lasting legacy is not through his writing but through his creation of the Rider-Waite Tarot deck.
In the early 1900’s, Waite had just completed his book — The Key to the Tarot — and
he needed someone to illustrate it.
Waite commissioned artist Pamela Colman Smith to design a set of tarot cards.
His key innovation was to illustrate
all 78 cards, not just the 22 Major Arcana, but the 56 Minor cards as well.
Also, he wanted them to be pictorially
suggestive of their divinatory meanings.