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Book of Thoth: Egyptian Tarot Paperback – 19 Feb 1981

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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  • Book of Thoth: Egyptian Tarot
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  • Crowley Thoth Tarot Deck Standard
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  • Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot: An Authoritative Examination of the World's Most Fascinating and Magical Tarot Cards
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Product details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser; New ed of 2 Revised ed edition (19 Feb. 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877282684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877282686
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.3 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), who claimed to be the re-incarnation of Dr. John Dee among others, lived in England from 1875 through 1947. He is the author of several Weiser Books titles, including "Book of Thoth", "Diary of a Drug Fiend", "Magick", "Book of Lies", "Book of the Law and 777 & Other Qabalistic Writings". He was a poet, mountaineer, secret agent, magus, libertine, and prophet - was dubbed by the tabloids "The Wickedest Man in the World."


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 9 Mar. 2002
Format: Paperback
I would say this book will appeal to those who are willing to look at the Tarot for what it is. The beginner or the more experienced reader will both feel the deep insights this book has to offer, if they read it with an open mind. I know there are some that think this book is complicated and difficult to understand, however I would disagree. My advice would be to read it through once in a relaxed way, without trying to remember anything or understand all the details, then read the sections that appeal to you in more depth as you feel necessary. That way you will get the most from this excellent book. If you consider the Tarot an important and revelant subject you will need to read this book. I also highly recommend buying the deck itself.
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Format: Paperback
Crowley wrote a lot and much of it is pretty inaccessible. This is because he not only makes reference to complex magic systems, both Western and Oriental, but had his own particular slant on things, namely his trance-received path of Thelema. In addition, he had a unique and not always pleasant personality and was a product of his time and class, namely a privileged, even spoilt Edwardian brat. All in all, you might do well reading up on his life before looking at this particular book.

In my experience though, it is one of his best works and surprisingly accessible, to the extent that one could just about forgive, or at least overlook, his shortcomings as a human being. I feel able to take what I want from it and leave the rest i.e. the personality and millennial beliefs of the author. The descriptions of the cards and their meanings are very clear (based as they are on the Kabalistic Tree of Life and Golden Dawn tradition.) I especially like the different 'personalities' he describes for the court cards which can be very perceptive (especially so when you realise you are reading about yourself|) The essays on the major trumps are of interest for their range of classical references but not crucial for practical use. Bear in mind too that the style is very much of it's place and time i.e. first half of the 20th century England with attendant proper grammar, clear thinking and erudition.

I would say this book can be used with any more or less standard pack, not necessarily his own design - I only use his cards occasionally. That said, the Thoth deck he created with Frieda Harris remains one of the most strikingly artistic packs ever devised, each card a work of art in it's own right. There are a few colour (and the rest black and white) illustrations of the cards.
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By A Customer on 27 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
Unless you already have an indepth knowledge of occult matters and esoteric doctorines, you may find this book intelligable.
It is obviously highly thought of by many students of Tarot and the occult, but for most, I believe it will only serve to confuse and bewilder.
For example, a short quotation, 'One important interpretation of Tarot is that it is a Notariqon of the Hebrew Torah, the Law; also of ThROA, the gate. Now, by the Yetziratic attributions...this word may be read The Universe-the new-born Sun-Zero.'.
If your interest is pureley Tarot based, I have found 'Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom' by Rachel Pollack to be an informative and enjoyable study of the traditional Tarot. And for total beginners 'Learning the Tarot' by Joan Bunning an excellent start.
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Format: Paperback
I came to Crowley many years ago in an odd way. I was on holiday, driving along the road in a seaside town when something in a bookshop window caught my eye - or rather registered subliminally - since I was going too fast to actually see anything clearly. I just had to go back and see what it was that had attracted me so curiously - it was Crowley's Theory And Practice and I just had to have it although at the time I was not especially interested in this stuff. Most of it was unintelligible butI found things in it that were uncannily pertinent to my life so I persevered and I am glad I did. When I got round to buying the Thoth deck and book I had a fair grounding in Crowlian thought - even so I found the cards to be amazingly pregnant with meaning and astoundingly accurate when consulted. It is hard enough for an artist to depict what is visible but to depict what is invisible in the way Crowley and Harris have done here is almost beyond belief. You will, at this point, gather that I am something of a fan. All you need to get the most out of Crowley is intelligence, sensitivity, imagination, humour and perseverance. There are some good books on the Tarot - Oswald Wirth is excellent, Ouspensky's little volume a gem - but this is THE book.
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By Ivan TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 July 2014
Format: Paperback
This is THE most useful book on tarot ever written for anyone who wants to get beyond the parlour game. end-of-pier Madam Zaza Sees ALL fortune-telling scam that to many is all that the cards will ever be about.

I'm not sure if Crowley's assertion that the cards are the condensed, lost wisdom of the ages holds as true in this universe as well as the one that he found himself inhabiting for much of his life but It's helpful to go with the flow and suspend all disbelief for the duration of the experience, much as one might do when watching a film or reading some piece of impossible fiction. The experience is remarkably self consistent and has all the signs of doors opening up on the inner reality behind the facade, and this is where many, including myself, can and have gone wrong. The underlying reality perceived by understanding the cards is not THE reality, merely A reality but it is surely seductive and operators flushed with success, or awe at their enhanced perception may take many, many years to regain their objectivity. Sorry, not meaning to sound like Dennis Wheatley there ... :-)
Crowley presents an interesting perspective on the history of the Tarot which may or may not be mundanely factual but it certainly works as a key to unlocking certain levels of mystery which experience will verify for any dedicated experimenter.
The mapping of the Major Arcana onto the 22 paths of the OtzChim and the Hebrew alephbet(sic) are widely accepted though some attributes are stretched a bit, conventionally. Crowley was bamboozled by part of the 1904 (Cairo? sorry, this is all purely from long memory) working when the condensed ego reflection masquerading as his Holy Guardian Angel presented him with a few baffling insights, one of which was the "Tzadi is not the star.
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