Does the Rider-Waite tarot deck contain references to UFOs? The deck was the creation of Arthur Edward Waite and artist Pamela Colman Smith. Waite was a mystic and occultist, and as such he dealt with the many concept of spirit: angels, demons and elementals. But UFO aliens? Not likely as the deck was published in 1909.
Yet there are some intriguing parallels between the spirits of occultism and the concept of UFOs and aliens visiting earth. If we examine the Rider-Waite card Temperance, we notice there is a light in the background rising above some hills at the end of a path. The card’s light in the distance looks like a UFO, a glowing flying saucer. The image struck me as being similar to the iconic image from the movie poster of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
In Waite’s book, the Pictorial Key to the Tarot, he describes the Temperance card, and mentions the light in the background:
“A winged angel, with the sign of the sun upon his forehead and on his breast the square and triangle of the septenary. I speak of him in the masculine sense, but the figure is neither male nor female. It is held to be pouring the essences of life from chalice to chalice. It has one foot upon the earth and one upon waters, thus illustrating the nature of the essences. A direct path goes up to certain heights on the verge of the horizon, and above there is a great light, through which a crown is seen vaguely.”
He is describing the angel as a solar being (the sun upon his forehead)…a Star Man. It has the power of flight (wings) yet touches the earth with its feet. It is a visitor to earth. The light in the distance is described as a crown seen vaguely seen in a great light. A crown or disk seen in a light? Could this be the vessel used by the “angel” visiting earth? The angel looks oddly like the Nordic Alien with a strange geometric image on its breast.
I am not suggesting Waite was actually referring to literal alien star men, visitors from space. Yet, the concept seems part of our collective unconscious. The image of the light in the distance, down an empty road, with strange visitors awaiting us, does connect the tarot card to the movie poster. UFO aliens are archetypes. Angels appear like alien visitors. Or do aliens appear like angels?