The Hidden Church of the Holy Grail by A. E. Waite


Publisher, Rebman Ltd, London 1909
Hardback, bound in red book-cloth with gilt lettering to the spine, pp. xx + 714. (First Edition)
Condition, Used – Very Good. Cover shows some signs of wear, crushing to head and tail of spine and to the corners of the covers – otherwise a good clean copy of a rare book.

A.E. Waite gets to the heart of the Grail legend, in this 700 page book will satisfy both the academic reader who wants a survey of the Grail literature, and the more mystically inclined who seek the Grail itself. Waite examines in great detail every known source text for the Grail legend. His literate style makes interesting reading for well-educated readers, despite the repeating themes and story lines. Unlike some of the other writers on this topic, Waite is organized, focused, and not hesitant to turn a critical eye on half-baked theories.

In the last two hundred pages, he attempts to make some sense of it all. He examines and dismisses 19th century theories which linked the Grail to the Templars, or Masons, as well as the unorthodox Cathars, Albigensians and Waldensians of Southern France. His conclusion is that there is an ‘inner church’ in Christianity: not a conspiracy or a subterranean sect, but a mystical core. Instead, Waite’s concept of the hidden church is based on a deep comprehension of the sacrament of communion, and the Holy Grail is symbolic of this.

Waite published this magnum opus about the time that he (with Pamela Smith) was putting the finishing touches on his Tarot deck. A close read of this book will illuminate much of the Waite Tarot deck symbolism.

Book Details

Weight1.020 kg
Dimensions15 × 6.5 × 23 cm

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