Thoth tarot deck

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Display of the Thoth tarot cards in a museum. Thoth Tarot Cards in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.jpg
Display of the Thoth tarot cards in a museum.

The Thoth Tarot is a divinatory tarot deck painted by Lady Frieda Harris according to instructions from Aleister Crowley. Crowley referred to this deck as The Book of Thoth, and also wrote a 1944 book of that title intended for use with the deck.

Contents

Background

Crowley originally intended the Thoth deck to be a six-month project aimed at updating the traditional pictorial symbolism of the tarot. However, due to increased scope the project eventually spanned five years, between 1938 and 1943 and both artists died before publication in 1969 by Ordo Templi Orientis.

Symbolism

The illustrations of the deck feature symbolism based upon Crowley's incorporation of imagery from many disparate disciplines, including science and philosophy and various occult systems (as described in detail in his Book of Thoth).

Differences from Rider Waite Tarot

Order and names of trumps

Crowley renamed several of the trumps as compared to the Rider-Waite tarot deck and earlier arrangements, and also re-arranged the astrological and Hebrew alphabet correspondences of some cards, in accordance with his earlier book, Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law):

All these old letters of my Book are aright; but צ is not the Star. (AL I:57)
Rider-Waite cardThoth equivalent
I: The Magician I: The Magus
II: The High Priestess II: The Priestess
VIII: Strength XI: Lust
X: Wheel of Fortune X: Fortune
XI: Justice VIII: Adjustment
XIV: Temperance XIV: Art
XX: Judgement XX: The Æon
XXI: The World XXI: The Universe

Names of court cards

Crowley altered the names of all the court cards which can cause some confusion for people used to the more common decks. The typical corresponding names are as follows: [1]

Traditional Court Card NameThoth Deck Court Card Name
KingKnight
QueenQueen
KnightPrince
PagePrincess

Titles and attributions of the Wands Suit

NumberSign Decan Ruler of Decan Name
1The Root of the Powers of Fire
2Aries1stMarsDominion
3Aries2ndSunVirtue
4Aries3rdVenusCompletion
5Leo1stSaturnStrife
6Leo2ndJupiterVictory
7Leo3rdMarsValour
8Sagittarius1stMercurySwiftness
9Sagittarius2ndMoonStrength
10Sagittarius3rdSaturnOppression

Titles and attributions of the Cups Suit

NumberSignDecanRuler of DecanName
1The Root of the Powers of Water
2Cancer1stVenusLove
3Cancer2ndMercuryAbundance
4Cancer3rdMoonLuxury
5Scorpio1stMarsDisappointment
6Scorpio2ndSunPleasure
7Scorpio3rdVenusDebauch
8Pisces1stSaturnIndolence
9Pisces2ndJupiterHappiness
10Pisces3rdMarsSatiety

Titles and attributions of the Swords Suit

NumberSignDecanRuler of DecanName
1The Root of the Powers of Air
2Libra1stMoonPeace
3Libra2ndSaturnSorrow
4Libra3rdJupiterTruce
5Aquarius1stVenusDefeat
6Aquarius2ndMercuryScience
7Aquarius3rdMoonFutility
8Gemini1stJupiterInterference
9Gemini2ndMarsCruelty
10Gemini3rdSunRuin

Titles and attributions of the Disks Suit

NumberSignDecanRuler of DecanName
1The Root of the Powers of Earth
2Capricorn1stJupiterChange
3Capricorn2ndMarsWorks
4Capricorn3rdSunPower
5Taurus1stMercuryWorry
6Taurus2ndMoonSuccess
7Taurus3rdSaturnFailure
8Virgo1stSunPrudence
9Virgo2ndVenusGain
10Virgo3rdMercuryWealth

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References

  1. Wang, Robert (June 1987). The Qabalistic Tarot. Weiser Books. ISBN   9780877286721.