concepts

Book Review – Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette

March, 2019

Book Review
Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot
New Edition
by Lon Milo DuQuette

I have in my hands the new edition of Lon Milo DuQuette’s Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot published in 2017 by Weiser books, an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC (65 Parker Street, Suite 7, Newburyport, MA 01950), and I am excited and intimidated. Excited because I already own the 2003 edition of this valuable book (I purchased it early on in my Tarot career, right after I bought the Thoth Tarot alet, nd Crowley’s The Book of Thoth), and intimidated because compared to DuQuette (who, by the way, was intimidated by the idea of writing this book in the first place), I am a neophyte as far as the Thoth Tarot goes. Excitement wins out, so let’s dive in.

Like many Tarot enthusiasts, I originally purchased my Thoth Tarot Deck, and then decided that I must have Crowley’s version of a LWB (“little white book,” the pamphlet included with many decks), his 287 page companion book to the deck titled The Book of Thoth. While filled with amazing knowledge and lore regarding Crowley’s deck, this book is not for beginners and I found that I could not read it without having several reference books beside me. My next purchase was DuQuette’s book and I have never regretted that purchase. DuQuette is known as a “Crowley expert,” an authority on both the man himself and the deck he fashioned. As DuQuette is also an O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) member, he is able to present in plain language the ideas and concepts that Crowley had in mind as he created his deck.

Understanding the Thoth Tarot has a soft cover with a matte finish color photo of the image for the Princess of Disks created by Lady Freida Harris, the artist of the Thoth Tarot Deck, on the front. This is the same cover image as the 2003 edition, but with more intensity added to the colors, a hint of what is to come. The book is 6 inches by 9 inches and has 330 pages printed on white paper with an easily-readable black type face that is a bit small but considering the astounding amount of information to be found in the book, understandable and worth the effort.

DuQuette offers quite a bit of information about Crowley, the Tarot in general, and the Thoth Tarot in particular, beginning with his Preface to the second edition and continuing with chapters regarding Aleister Crowley, Lady Harris, the artist who created the potent images of the Thoth Tarot, and the images she created, and background information that serves as the foundation for the Thoth Tarot, such as Thelema, the Tree of Life, the Rose Cross, the Egyptian Pantheon, the Ordo Templi Orientis, and shifts of consciousness, as well as symbols, colors, sex magick, and the Holy Guardian Angel. Part II, The Cards, does not come until page 79, and the actual information regarding the individual cards begins with The Fool on page 96. In this book DuQuette truly offers us deep and extensive background information regarding the Thoth Tarot, and he shares many rabbit holes that will lure us to learn more about the topics covered.

There are 176 pages of information regarding the cards themselves. Each Major Arcana card is described with an image of the Thoth card, a description of the traditional image of the card, the name of the card, the element, Hebrew letter, and the colors associated with the card, several quotes, and two or more pages of descriptions. The Minor Arcana cards are described with an image, a description of the traditional image, the name, element, astrological information and colors associated with the card, and at least one page of descriptive text.

After the card descriptions, DuQuette continues with chapters describing the divination process and suggested divinatory meanings for the cards. Chapter 21 contains a glossary of Thelemic terms and Tarot terms, followed by footnotes. The inside back cover contains a beautiful full-color image of the complete Hermetic Rose Cross, described and defined by DuQuette within the book.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is a necessary book for even the most casual Tarot enthusiast. Yes, it is like any other textbook: it is no easy read but rather reaches deep and challenges us to become familiar with terms and concepts that might not be a part of our everyday life. But since we are drawn to the Tarot because it broadens our minds and allows us to articulate ideas and visions, we should open ourselves to the opportunity to learn presented by this book, without hesitation.

There are small additions to the original 2003 edition. DuQuette has added an introduction that provides information regarding sex magick and the cards, a description of the unicursal hexagram card that is included with some Thoth decks, and DuQuette’s own Roll-With-the-Flow spread.

In my opinion, DuQuette’s Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is the quintessential book on the Tarot in general, and the Thoth Tarot in particular. This is truly a comprehensive read on the Thoth Tarot and the esoteric knowledge connected to the deck. This is a Tarot book you will return to again and again, for the more you learn about the Thoth Tarot deck, the more you will get from re-reading the chapters of this book.

Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot: New Edition on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Unsolicited Advice from the Adventures of a Lowly Shop-girl

July, 2018

 

Concepts I Have Put into Practice

A couple of years ago, I was working in a beautiful office at a formerly great place that had just been purchased by a corporation. Things were pretty good, but morale was rapidly deteriorating as the corporate big wigs were implanting their uncomfortable and ineffective ideas into a healthy business. In short, they were ruining it! Lucky for me, I got fired.

With 3 days to go to my vacation, just back from bereavement leave, and a mortgage to pay as a single gal, I was a little concerned. I found myself in the very same situation where so many people are finding themselves today…unemployed. But not only unemployed, also frightened, uncertain and basically freaked out. My level of education either over-qualified or under-qualified me, even though my schooling did not support what I really wanted to be doing, yet going back to school seemed an unlikely option. Selling all of my belongings and moving to a different city was not a viable possibility, either. My cats would hate it and I really like the stuff I’ve collected too much to sell it all. Aaahhh, what to do? Confusion and fear began to set in. I knew, I just knew that fear would be my worst enemy. So first and foremost, I made a pact to come up with any way possible to refute fear.

Concept #1 –Counter thoughts of FEAR with thoughts of GRATITUDE. Fear is generally based in ‘lack of something’. The easiest and best way to counter it is to focus on what you DO have in your life and how much you appreciate it!

I then did what any responsible person would do. I promptly headed to my psychic.

Concept #2 – Gather information from a trusted resource, i.e. a respected friend, a good psychic, your own research of what appeals to you.

In the past she had told me that I was going to buy my house, (when I had no way of accomplishing that), meet certain friends, travel to certain places, be in certain circumstances, all of which at the time of her telling me I thought, “Yeah, right!” But each and every time, she was spot on. She was absolutely correct at every turn. This time she told me not to worry about my current unemployment situation as I would soon become an energy worker. Once again, true to form, I thought, “Yeah, right!,” completely forgetting the previous six months training in Holographic Sound Healing I had been attending.

Concept #3 – Stay positive and stay open! Open to opportunities from unexpected places, because they WILL be presented to you.

Immediately I asked, “Can I make a living at it? I mean, will I be able to make a living at that?”

She smugly replied, “That’s up to you.” (Damn, I hate when people tell me what I am supposed to already know.)

Concept #4– Believe in your abilities! Chances are, if you are drawn to doing something, it resonates with you…and YOU will resonate with IT!

Not two weeks later, it was our final certification class for Holographic Sound Healing. As I looked around the room to everyone paired up and working with each other, I noticed how very different they were than my randomly selected partner and me. Well, not really randomly selected, everyone else just paired up and left us to work with each other.  My partner’s name was Janet and she had an aura about her; One of strength, power, and certainty.  She held a serious expression, almost stern and unapproachable. She is one of those people that seem to have a secret knowledge, that ‘has it all figured out’ and if you get close enough, she may share the secret of life with you…or she might just kick your ass.  In short, she was a tough read, but she definitely exhibited strength. I think there may have been an intimidation factor felt by the other folks in the class, but I was not bright enough to pick up on it. These people must have known something to just leave us to each other, but she was the only other zaftig, long-haired, wild-bohemian looking person in the group, so of course I was immediately drawn to her!

So here we are. The last day of this amazing six month training and we are exhibiting all that we have learned. We are paired up; positions chosen and we are ready to go. Janet and I were talking a little bit which delayed our start, so everyone began toning before we did. I thought to myself, “Darn it, I am already a few steps behind. Okay, quiet yourself, find your center, there are all these steps you have to go thru in preparation before you begin the actual toning process, and you were talking thru it! Okay, get it together, don’t lose focus…” And while I was trying to quiet myself and go thru these very important steps to ‘get connected’, I found it extremely difficult, as all I could focus on was the other pairs toning to one another already.  That horrible voice in my head, a.k.a. FEAR says, “Ugh, they are already waaayyyy ahead of you. You better hurry up. Get thru the steps, quick, hurry, get connected!” (Yeah, that was helpful.) The more I tried to focus on myself to quiet my mind, the more I could only hear them all toning. But it didn’t seem like toning, it sounded more like singing. I wondered, “Who are they singing for?” They were all aspiring to sound so angelic and lovely. Hitting these very soft high notes, lilting their way to Spirit and a higher connection. Individually, they were charming. But putting them all in the same room with each other, and hearing it all at once, I mean, these beautiful, open people were all being so serious and trying to sound so ‘pretty’ that for some reason, it just made me giggle a little out loud. Then I realized that I had just giggled out loud. I thought, “Oh no.”

To self, C’mon Tala, don’t laugh. That would be extremely inappropriate and simply wrong. I mean, these people paid good money, studied for months and are trying their best to perform this culmination of cultivated experience and spiritual expression. They are all such lovely people. Whatever you do…don’t laugh.

Side note: I am not sure how you would spell it, but do you know that outward snort sound; the one that is made when you are trying to repress a cough, or a sneeze, or… a laugh? Yeah, that’s what came out next. I looked at the two faces closest to Janet and me, and they were being polite by continuing their vocal toning and attempting to hide the horror at my faux pas. “Oh no, they heard me.” I was mortified.  Here I am, trying to make an impression on the instructor, be at the top of my class, respect and honor my fellow Sound Healers, truly connect with Spirit and the Hathors, and I cannot hold it together for the life of me. I looked to Janet expecting her to show an expression of disapproval, but it was worse. Her complexion was all red, her eyes were filled with sparks and her face was contorted. I thought I had awakened a dragon, and then it came…

 Both of us just burst out giggling. There was no hiding it. Bear in mind, the next pair of people were only 6 feet away from us! And the more we tried to control it, the worse it got. Janet’s laugh went from a giggle to flat out guffawing; I went from guffawing to a high pitched squeal! We laughed so hard and so loud that we were both crying. I could not control the fact that my tongue was sticking out of my mouth and I was drooling! It was awful, and I thought to myself, “This is AWFUL! How disrespectful! These poor people, what they must think of me? Us?” That just made it worse. For ten straight minutes, we were laughing-crying-laughing. It got to the point that we completely shut down the other people trying to tone, they were so thrown off by our uproarious cackles they just stopped toning altogether and waited for us to stop. For Janet and me, it just added proverbial fuel to the hysterical fire! We got to the point where we just stopped caring and went with it.  At the end of it all, where there began two strong, somewhat stoic women on a sweet, velvet settee, was now a sloppy, drool and tear ridden, embarrassed lump of two bodies flopped over each other, gasping for air.

Once we wiped ourselves off, straightened our clothing, blew our noses and composed ourselves as best we could; it was time to face everyone. At this point we both figured we blew it. We could see in their eyes that they were waiting for a cue from the instructor, Randeane, on how to react. One thing seemed to be a general consensus, Janet and I were now thought of as ‘The Bad Girls of Holographic Sound Healing’, but gosh, it felt SO GOOD! Janet and I actually thanked each other.  A huge weight had evaporated and all the fear and concern and worry about everything in the world was just lifted and transmuted. So, bring it on. We feared nothing! We felt AMAZING! We were glowing!

Randeane came over to us and announced to the class, “Now THAT was Sound Healing!”

In that one statement, everyone was given permission to laugh! And we all did, together. But Janet and I did not get off that easy. Randeane put us on the spot to actually tone in front of everyone. We were depleted of all fear; we were in sheer joy and audacity at that moment and just went with it. What came out was more powerful than anyone in that room expected, especially us!  

Concept #5– Don’t edit your joyful self!  Do what brings you joy! Be in the moment of joy!

After we surprised ourselves, Janet turned to me and said, “We are going to work together”.

Within two weeks, Sacred Alignment was conceived. Within a month we were performing individual healing sessions and within two months we were conducting group sound healing meditations. We have been steadily booked at our convenience out of several locations ever since!

Concept #6 – Set your intentions when you are in a positive state of mind. (Refer back to #1 & $2)

I am not saying that changing our ways of thinking are always easy. And yes, we all can have low energy days, needs for release; times when we want to run and hide under the covers. Do not beat yourself up if you are subject to especially low energy and need to cry on someone’s shoulder or go into your cave. It is important to honor that time as well. But remember that you are in control.

Concept #7 – Be energetically responsible. Honor your needs, but put effort into caring for yourself and not sucking your friends and family dry of their energetic resources. They may not be there when you need them next time.

Concept #8– Do not beat yourself up for not being perfect. Think of yourself as an artist, everything you do is art. Some people might just not understand the concept yet.

Well, I am happy to report that it is almost 7 years later and I’ve been working as a spiritual practitioner professionally ever since. I am a successful sound healer and energy worker, and I have had the pleasure and honor of helping so many people solve their problems every day by working in a metaphysical bookstore where I get to offer books, stones, candles, spells, and advice to help people along their path. A New Page in Middletown Connecticut has been my home into my home base for my practice and my day job, where Yvette Page has been one of my best teachers and closest friends. I opened up to the universe and I was truly blessed! 

Concept #9 Remember to count your blessings!

***

About the Author:

Tala is a healer of multi-cultural decent and influence. Her heritage is a mixture of Celtic, African, Native American and European decent. However, her spiritual journey began when she and her mother were living throughout Mexico. While exploring one of our world’s ‘Sacred Power Spots’, Chichen Itza in the Yucatan, Tala was struck by a bus and was pronounced dead. She was revived when three indigenous Mayan Shamans appeared from the jungle and proceeded to pass her body between them and chant. They brought her to their hidden jungle village on the mountain to recover and heal for three days. When Tala emerged from the jungle on the fourth day, she told her mother’s companion that she had been “given the light of god by the Mayan people”. She was five years old when she experienced this N.D.E. (near death experience). This opened the door to her receiving messages and visitations from spirits to this day.

At age 23, Tala was the recipient of Shaktipat, in person directly from Shri Anandi Ma. This is a transmission of energy/ god force through (in her case) physical touch which awakens the Kundalini. It often sets the person on their true spiritual path. Many who receive Shaktipat become healers and teachers.

Over the years, combined with her continuing formal education, she has maintained a balance between the physical sciences and the metaphysical. She was one of the first 60 people in the U.S. to be sent to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX to be trained by NASA to educate local teachers about the International Space Station in its beginning stages. She became an R.C. Counselor, Peer Counselor, and an Ordained Minister for the Universal Life Church. She is a Certified Holographic Sound Healer and is a Reiki Practitioner. This year she has become an ordained Minister and Reverend of Our Lord & Lady of the Trinacrian Rose Church and has completed her 2 year apprenticeship in the Pachakuti Mesa Cross-cultural Shamanism and is now a Paco-Shaman. She has made her living for the past years as a powerful energy worker/healer of individuals and groups and a master craftsman of ritual, ceremonial and energetic tools. Her dream is to travel the world and continue her formal and spiritual education with scholars, locals and indigenous peoples.

Tala is a Spiritual Practitioner of the Shamanic arts, she studies Ancient Spiritualities from all over the world and she is a Sacred Toolsmith making tools for Shamans, Pagans and Energy Workers. You can find her at ‘A New Page’ at 1060 Newfield St., Middletown, CT

You can find the shop’s Facebook page at:

Www.facebook.com/anewpagestore For updates and upcoming events, meditations, classes, talks, Fire & Drum Circles and Fairs!