on 31 July 2005
Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot is arguably the most significant Tarot deck ever produced. He claimed to have put the whole of his Magickal mind into the deck, which was produced over a four-year period with his artist executant, Lady Frieda Harris. It certainly is one of the most aesthetically satisfying decks around and I find that using it helps me to deepen my knowledge of Tarot at many levels and brings out things that I would easily miss in other decks.
This edition is the largest version of the cards, roughly the size of postcards. As such they are not the easiest deck to work with in divination but the extra size is immensely valuable when the goal is meditation or detailed examination of the card symbolism. (No deck is more rewarding than this one for this kind of work.) Personally I keep this edition for home study and a smaller edition for my work as a professional Tarot reader.
on 20 January 2004
You can read the other reviews about beauty of the artwork itself, while I'm focusing to describe this particular edition compared to other editions.
This large Thoth deck (ISBN 0-87728-452-0) is printed in Belgium, but fear not; The cards do *not* have the feared greenish tint. Deck contains 78 cards plus a rainbow coloured Unicursal Hexagram card and O.T.O. card. No extra magus cards.
The colors differ from some editions slightly. For example The
Emperor is quite orange, compared to the Swiss decks, where he is blood red. According the little printing on the border of each card, this deck was printed 1996.
on 21 April 2008
This renowned deck deserves its reputation. It isn't an easy or beginners deck in any way; the imagery is challenging, very dynamic, deep and overloaded with occult imagery. A very personal deck; personal to Aleister Crowley that is. There is light and dark here and it never tries to put a positive spin on life or to comfort you - as some modern decks do. All of the happiness and suffering of existence is portrayed in this deck and for this reason some people might find it rather uncomfortable.
I'm not in agreement with the Order of the Golden Dawn's ideas or Crowley's breakaway notions and here he went to town. The struggle to fit the Tarot to the Quabbalah, Astrology, etc, etc. is just unnecessary, contrived and produced some quite ugly images and that is what the Tarot is mainly about; images.
On a positive note, this deck is visually stunning. Some cards are breathtaking, especially The Universe, The Star, The Hermit, The Devil, Death and Art. The court cards are probably the best ever drawn and I do like the re-naming used by Crowley of the Court cards - even if the reasoning for it is nonsense. My readings are often very deep and very accurate, but you have to be bold and strong or the cards will just freak you out.
It takes a long time to get the most from these cards and his accompanying Book of Thoth is an interesting and informative read. However, the style is very dated and frankly ridiculous in its attempts to unite everything occult and mysterious into one system.
This deck divides people and although I have had good results using this deck I do have serious reservations and I do understand why it is considered one of the worst decks by some quite experienced tarot readers. So you have been warned!
on 25 December 2000
1910 saw the introduction of the Rider-Waite tarot which was considered as revoloutionary, the Thoth came out about 35 years later and I think it was the next big step for all concerned with this divinatory technique. Not only is the deck supplemented with the Book of Thoth, and Crowley's Qabalistic magnum opus 777, it is artistically superb. Crowley is generally considered, even by his detractors, as the great Magical polymath of the 20th century. This tarot blends all of his Qabalistic, astrological, Hebrew, Thelemic and ceremonial concepts. When you see that Lady Harris was one of the main benefactors of the the last will and testament of Crowley you will understand the profound friendship they shared. This deck took five years to complete and several of the cards were repainted many times to satisfy Crowley's obsession with perfection. The Major Arcana is the best I know of, as are the deacons; and even though the Minor Arcana is lacking in the 'story telling' that is shown in the Rider-Waite it still excercises fascination. This deck is a must for all Thelemites and anyone serious about the Tarot. It simply cannot be ignored. Shuffle with care.
on 24 October 2011
Having started reading cards at the age of 15 and worked with numerous decks, I found that you really do need to have cards you truly 'believe in', cards that touch your soul, connect with you, call to you, that forge a relationship beyond words. The Rider-Waite deck is the original ABC deck, and to most this soon becomes too 'easy peasy' or elementary, and one tends to want something with greater depth and texture.
The Thoth Tarot deck speaks to your psyche on so many levels, on the turn of one card a wealth of internal messages are conveyed : through the use of colour, number, words, symbols, astrology, kabbala, subtle/dramatic imagery, classical archetypes, animals, figures, nature, suits, the four elements and so much more. These cards are pure magic to me. They evoke memories, emotions, thoughts, images and open a portal to future possibilities.
I have had a few people cast aspersions about the legendary late Alistair Crowley, calling these cards 'evil', 'black magic' or 'devil worship' because of the connection. In my experience they are absolutely nothing of the kind!! The book of Thoth and little book that comes with the deck IS confusing and speak of the Egyptian cult/religeon that Crowley founded - please do not read too much into the booklet (as it is quite technical in places, and somewhat dated) There are a few fabulous books on interpreting the Thoth Tarot out there and I would recommend using one of these as an accompaniment. Anyone familiar with Rider-Waite meanings will hace a healthy starting block to work from. However, once you have welcomed the deck into your heart, and decided to build a relationship with the cards, you will find that they will be like a trusted friend, and will never let you down. Have faith in yourself and allow yourself to connect with these cards, let each card communicate it's own special essence that resonates solely with you - and a whole new world will slowly, but surely, open up for you - these cards reveal a depth, honesty and insight that other decks do not. Beware, they WILL tell you what you NEED to know (when sometimes all you want to hear is what you WANT to know). I find these cards excellent for getting to the very heart of a matter, finding out core issues, blocks, things (and people) that stand in the way - in order to be able to come up with sensible, practical solutions that can make a real difference to your attitude, stance or way of looking at things. These cards are deep, penetrating, insightful and spiritual. They heal, uplift, support and acknowledge.
I now regularly use this deck to perform readings for clients. Even after 20 years, my bond, knowledge and connection with these cards grows, changes, and develops in ways that are hard to fully explain - I am still learning about life through use of these beautiful cards, still realising that my evolution is a journey of self discovery whilst utilising the magical mirror that is The Thoth Tarot.
on 21 September 2011
I bought this deck to add to my collection.
I was looking for a handy size to carry around with me.
Not only is the size ideal, but the cards I found I could read instantly.
They just made perfect sense to me.
I now prefer this size of tarot cards, just wish they made more.
As for the deck, you will either love it or hate it.
It certainly talks to you, even without a book.
Well worth buying and seeing if they are for you or not.
You won't know unless you buy and try them.
on 10 April 2006
This deck is my first departure from the Univeral Waite Tarot deck and it couldn't be more different! I initially bought the smaller Thoth deck, but immediately sent for this larger version when I found the images so stunning! I'm not sure that I will use this particular deck for everyday use - samller cards are easier to handle, and, anyway, I'm attached to the Rider Waite pictorial images on the minor arcana cards - although the Thoth deck's non-pictorial minor arcana designs (and their individual names) are still beautiful and fascinating.
The Thoth Tarot is stimulating and exciting - especially in this large format. If you're a tarot enthusiast, you should own this deck.