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Small Book of Thoth

Small Book of Thoth

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Published by Natalia Paskevits

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Published by: Natalia Paskevits on Jul 23, 2010
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06/08/2013

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 Alei 
 ster Crowley’s 
 
Thoth Tarot Deck 
 as illustrated by 
Lady Frieda Harris 
 
How it came to be…
 
According to ancient tradition, The Book of Thoth was the legendary repository of the Egyptian mysteries;as such it is forever connected with occult knowledge, mystery schools and the esoteric secrets and magicalsystems that these schools taught. The Book of Thoth has long been associated with the tarot, which is saidby many to be the embodiment of its teachings.Crowley was undoubtedly one of the finest occult minds of our time and soon realized that despite thehistorical interest in the tarot that occultists harbored, there was a distinct lack of authentic texts that exploredthe cards, let alone develop them. He resolved to rectify that omission by creating one definitive text that wouldmake the Tarot accessible to everyone who had the desire to learn. Guided by the intelligences that haddirected him throughout his life, Crowley penned a legend, an extensive treatise on the tarot, which he namedThe Book of Thoth, after the tradition of wisdom itself.
Crowley‟s Book of Thoth incorporates the wisdom, philosophy, science and magick of Egypt, melding 
eastern and western mystery traditions to create the most complete method of studying the tarot and finding self-knowledge that there is in existence. Occultists such as A.E. Waite have written their own studies of the
tarot, but none of the succeeded in imparting the occult wisdom of Crowley‟s classic text. It has to be said that
the Book of Thoth is not usually recommended for newcomers to the tarot and to the occult. It unitesCabbalistic tradition, Tarot, philosophy, science and magick to create a complete yet multi-faceted traditioncreating a tool that can be used to explore the magickal and mystical elements of both microcosm andmacrocosm.
The Art of the Tarot
Crowley commissioned the surrealist artist, Lady Frieda Harris to undertake the artwork for the tarot deckthat was to accompany the treatise. The Thoth deck itself was a labour of love, an undertaking that took over five years of painstaking work, with many of the 78 cards being redesigned up to eight times before Crowleywas satisfied with the design. Lady Harris became both a student and in many ways a teacher to Crowley. Inorder to creat
e a visual representation of Crowley‟s knowledge, she first had to understand it herself. This
meant she also had to coerce him to crystallise fifty years of accumulated knowledge and enter into her ownexhaustive study of his teaching. From the first moment of its creation, the Thoth deck was and remains the
deck that must be absorbed and „lived‟. It cannot be understood from the outside; those using the deck must
always look within.
 
The fractal deck
The Thoth Tarot is one of the most symbol-rich decks in existence. Every single card contains a wealth of esoteric symbolism, which Crowley and Harris incorporated not only into the images, but also into the coloursused in the artwork. The myriad of images, each of which represents a symbolic path to a complex thought form,must be considered both individually and then in relation to the other symbols on the card. Essentially eachsymbol stands on its own as a complete idea and yet contributes to the greater intention of the meaning of thecard. Each of the 78 cards reveals a key to a specific area of esoteric knowledge. Together the symbols andthe cards combine forming a complex inter-relationship that creates a symbolic picture of the universe. Eventhe most innocuous symbol of each card is part of the whole, so that the spirit of the microcosm and macrocosm
is reflected in Crowley‟s deck. It is this fractal model of the universe that many mathematicians and physicists
often use to study cosmology from a scientific point of view, Crowley uses the tarot to validate thatunderstanding of the universe. Esoteric cosmology and scientific understanding of cosmology are not as far removed from each other as Science would have us believe.
Together Crowley‟s deck of cards contained the keys to the long forgotten esot
eric knowledge known only toa selected few in the Egyptian priesthood. It is this secret knowledge, the knowledge contained in The Bookof Thoth, that many feel that mankind has lost and needs to rediscover. The Book of Thoth was and still isthe roadmap to the new aeon. It allows the initiate to become a master of his fate by embracing his true will andsurrendering himself to the universe so that he symbolically takes his place as part of the whole in the same waythat each pictorial symbol does.
Method and Wisdom ~ the path to enlightenment
 The numbering of the Thoth Deck is based on the idea that each number (to paraphrase Crowley) is notsimply one greater or less than its neighbor; it is an independent and individual idea, a concept in its own right,
basically in the same way that every symbol and color is. Crowley elaborated on this by commenting, „like allconcepts, it has a spiritual, moral and intellectual identity‟. As we‟ve already discussed, any physicist will tell you
that mathematics is the key to understanding the mechanism of the universe; likewise, any cabbalist will tell youthat Cabbala is an esoteric exploration that incorporates both spirituality and science. Hence the mathematicsof the Thoth deck, from the simple numbering of the cards to the more complex system of Gematria thatcabbalists employ, needs to be understood. The tarot is essentially a pictorial representation of the tree of lifewith each tarot card representing a specific path on the tree of life and the cube of space.Pages 2-3 information from: http://www.the-book-of-thoth.com/content-187.html

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