The Six of Wands is a design Pamela Colman Smith used from her earlier depiction of “The Silent Knight”, in her Green Sheaf publication, December 1903, illustrating a poem “The Knight Errant” by Lady Alix Egerton.
Egerton also wrote “The Lament of the Dead Knight” in the Green Sheaf later that year, in July 1903.
The poem is a version of that published by Egerton in the same year, in a collection entitled The Lady of the Scarlet Shoes and Other Verses.
The Knight Errant
So unselfconfident, and yet so proud,
So much has borne, so much yet to endure ;
With every chance he yet remains obscure,
Dwelling in solitude among the crowd.
He could not face the world, unless disguised,
For Fear rides ever constant at his side,
None know it, his indomitable pride
Upholds the honour he has always prized.
With all his wealth of failures, yet, the right
To wear his golden spurs he won at length.
Through his great love, which is his only strength ;
And truly is he called ” The Silent Knight.”
Be this his epitaph when comes the end :
” A true Knight always and most loyal Friend.”
Pamela would have no doubt seen this as the perfect illustration of the Golden Dawn Book T description of the card:
Victory after strife: Love: pleasure gained by labour: carefulness, sociability and avoiding of strife, yet victory therein: also insolence, and pride of riches and success, etc.
Notice how Pamela has returned to the “golden stirrups” in the 6 of Wands, from the poem.
So in a reading, this card does mean victory but it can also mean that we must keep our own views to ourselves for a while, play it safe and careful until victory is assured.
Interestingly, the poem is also entitled “R. de M.” so it was likely dedicated to someone or about a person known to Lady Egerton. We wonder if this was Robert de Montesquiou (1855-1921).
We used the “Silent Knight” image on a cover of Tarosophist International.
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