thoth

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

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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

GoodGod!

December, 2017

Meet the Gods: Thoth

 

(art by Samantha Sullivan)

Merry meet.

This month we look at Thoth – the Egyptian god of scribes and of the moon, as well as the father of magic, writing and occult wisdom. He was among the most important and perhaps the wisest of the gods.

According to one story, Thoth (pronounced Toth, rhymes with both) was a god without a mother, born from the lips of Ra at the moment of creation. In another tale, Joshua J. Mark noted in an article on ancient.eu, Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time and, as an ibis (a sacred, stork-like bird that waded in the Nile, was a popular pet and was associated with wisdom), lays the cosmic egg which holds all of creation. He was always closely associated with Ra and the concept of divine order and justice. His judgements were believed to be wise and fair.

Mark writes that Thoth was also said to “be self-created or born of the seed of Horus from the forehead of Set. As the son of these two deities, who represented order and chaos respectively, he was also the god of equilibrium and balance and associated closely with both the principle of ma’at (divine balance) and the goddess Ma’at who personified this principle (and who was sometimes seen as his wife).”

Thoth was often depicted with the head of an ibis. He sometimes wore a lunar crown upon his head. Sometimes he appears only as an ibis, and when he is A’an, the god of equilibrium, he appears as a seated baboon, or a man with the head of a baboon – sometimes with a lunar disc above his head.

In this form, “Thoth presided over the judgment of the dead with Osiris in the Hall of the Truth and those souls who feared they might not pass through the judgment safely were encouraged to call upon Thoth for help. … His home in the afterlife, known as the Mansion of Thoth, provided a safe place for souls to rest and receive magic spells to help them against the demons who would prevent them from reaching paradise. His magic was also instrumental in the revitalization of the soul which brought the dead back to life in the underworld,” Mark stated.

Along with written language, Thoth is credited with beginning law, philosophy, science and religion. He is also credited with inventing the 365-day calendar, said to have gambled with the moon to win the extra five days.

Thoth was worshiped by scribes throughout Egypt; many had a painting or a picture of him in their place of work. It is because of him the ibis became a symbol for a scribe. Scribes were said to offer the first drop of their ink to him before beginning their work each day. Writing cases, palettes and other tools of the trade were offered in his name.

His cult center was built at Khemenu in Hermopolis. In his honor, millions of mummified ibis were buried. His festival – Lord of Heavens – was celebrated on the New Year.

For ThoughtCo., Patti Wigington wrote that Thoth can be called upon for workings related to magic, wisdom and fate, and offered ways to honor him today:

Make an offering of handcrafted writing tools – inks, paper, or a quill pen – if you’re working on anything to do with writing or communications – creating a Book of Shadows or writing a spell, for instance.

Are you speaking words of healing or meditation, or mediating a dispute? Offer a prayer to Thoth, praising him for his wisdom and guidance.

Water, beer or bread are typically acceptable offerings for any deities in the Egyptian pantheon – use these in rituals honoring Thoth. Bonus points if you brew the beer or bake the bread yourself!”

Merry part. And merry meet again.

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

Noblemen Of God

October, 2011

THOTH EGYPTIAN GOD OF MAGICS AND WRITING


Some ancient Egyptians believe he invented writing itself, and taught it to humankind.  Others go further to believe that he was the creator of all religion an science of the world.  That being said, Thoth was a God of magnificent knowledge and vast skill in learning.  He is said to be messenger of the Gods, because of his writing and language abilities.   Thoth had the head of an Ibis bird.  A white bird with a beak in the shape of a crescent moon.  His connection with the moon and magic is just as strong as his connection to wisdom, making him a profound teacher in the magical arts.  Known as the author of spells in the Egyptian Book Of The Dead, Thoth was believed to usher the dead into the underworld.  Helping them review their life and lessons learned   He also had is own book, The Book Of Thoth.  The Egyptians believed, that whoever could read this book would become the most powerful magician of the world.  Another equally profound divine being was Thoth’s female counterpart Seshat.  The Goddess of writing, magic, and arithmetic much like Thoth.  She was said to be his lover and trusted companion.  Although sometimes the two were said to be the same person.

CONNECTING WITH THOTH

Since its harvest time, try writing down the things you want to harvest in the upcoming year, and what things you need to weed out of your life.  Ask Thoth to help you make these decisions.   

SYMBOLS AND THINGS TO PUT ON YOUR ALTER

Birds, moon, pens and pencils, scrolls, wands