<<Thoth Tarot>>

The Thoth Tarot, also called the Book of Thoth, is the deck of 78 tarot cards designed by Aleister Crowley and illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. The entire deck is designed to be a pictoral representation of the Qabalah and especially the Tree of Life, a system of ten spheres and 22 interconnecting paths that is used to organize mystical concepts.

Major Arcana – short description

0. THE FOOL

KNOW NAUGHT!
ALL WAYS ARE LAWFUL TO INNOCENCE.
PURE FOLLY IS THE KEY TO INITIATION.
SILENCE BREAKS INTO RAPTURE.
BE NEITHER MAN NOR WOMAN, BUT BOTH IN ONE.
BE SILENT, BABE IN THE EGG OF BLUE, THAT THOU MAYEST GROW TO BEAR THE LANCE AND GRAAL!
WANDER ALONE, AND SING! IN THE KING’S PALACE
HIS DAUGHTER AWAITS THEE.
In spiritual matters, the Fool means idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavors to transcend earth. In material matters, it may, if badly dignified, mean folly, eccentricity, or even mania. But the essential of this card is that it represents an original, subtle, sudden impulse or impact, coming from a completely strange quarter. All such impulses are right, if rightly received; and the good or ill interpretation of the card depends entirely on the right attitude of the Querent.
I Magus:
The True Self is the meaning of the True Will:
know Thyself through Thy Way.
Calculate well the Formula of Thy Way.
Create freely; absorb joyously; divide intently;
consolidate completely.
Work thou, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent,
in and for Eternity.
Skill, wisdom, adroitness, elasticity, craft, cunning, deceit, theft. Sometimes occult wisdom or power,
sometimes a quick impulse, a brain-wave”. It may imply messages, business transactions, the
interference of learning or intelligence with the matter in hand.

II. THE HIGH PRIESTESS

Purity is to live only to the Highest; and the
Highest is All; be thou as Artemis to Pan.
Read thou in the Book of the Law, and break
through the veil of the Virgin.
Pure, exalted and gracious influence enters the matter. Hence, change, alternation, increase and decrease fluctuation. There is, however, a liability to be led away by enthusiasm; one may become “moon-struck” unless careful balance is maintained.

III. THE EMPRESS

This is the Harmony of the Universe, that Love
unites the Will to create with the  understanding of that Creation: understand thou thine own Will.
Love and let love. Rejoice in every shape of love,
and get thy rapture and thy nourishment thereof.
Love, beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, completion, good fortune, graciousness, elegance, luxury, idleness, dissipation debauchery, friendship, gentleness, delight.

IV. THE EMPEROR

Pour water on thyself thus shalt thou be
a Fountain to the Universe.
Find thou thyself in every Star.
Achieve thou every possibility.
War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition, originality, overweening confidence and megalomania, quarrelsomeness, energy,
vigour, stubbornness, impracticability, rashness, ill-temper.

V. THE HIEROPHANT

Offer thyself Virgin to the Knowledge and Conversation of thine Holy Guardian Angel. All
else is a snare.
Be thou athlete with the eight limbs of Yoga: for
without these, thou are not disciplined for any
fight.
Stubborn strength, toil, endurance, placidity, manifestation, explanation, teaching, the goodness of heart, help from superiors, patience, organization, peace.

VI. THE LOVERS [OR: THE BROTHERS]

The Oracle of the Gods is the Child-Voice of Love
in Thine own Soul; hear thou it.
Heed not the Siren-Voice of Sense, or the
Phantom-Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to the Silence.
Openness to inspiration, intuition, intelligence, second sight, childishness, frivolity, thoughtfulness
divorced from practical consideration, indecision, self-contradiction, union in a shallow degree
with others, instability, contradiction, triviality, the “high-brow”.

VII. THE CHARIOT

The Issue of the Vulture, Two-in-One, conveyed;
this is the Chariot of Power.
TRINC: the last oracle.

Triumph, victory, hope, memory, digestion, violence in maintaining traditional ideas, the “die-hard”, ruthlessness, the lust of destruction, obedience, faithfulness, the authority under authority.

VIII. ADJUSTMENT

Balance against each thought its the exact opposite.
For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.
Justice, or rather justice, the act of adjustment, suspension of all action pending decision; in material matters, may refer to lawsuits or prosecutions. Socially, marriage or marriage agreements; politically, treaties.

IX. THE HERMIT

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within:
keep Silence in all ways.
Illumination from within, the secret impulse from within; practical plans derived accordingly. Retirement from participation in current events.

X. FORTUNE

Follow thy Fortune, careless where it leads thee.
The axle moveth not: attain thou that.
Change of fortune. (This generally means good fortune because the fact of consultation implies anxiety or discontent.)

XI. LUST

Mitigate Energy with Love, but let Love devour all things.
Worship the name ____, foursquare, mystic,
wonderful, and the name of His House 418.
Courage, strength, energy and action, une grande passion; resort to magick, the use of magical power.

XII. THE HANGED MAN

Let not the waters whereon thou journeyest wet
thee. And, being come to shore, plant thou the
Vine and rejoice without shame.
Enforced sacrifice, punishment, loss, fatal or voluntary, suffering, defeat, failure, death.

XIII. DEATH

The Universe is Change; every Change is the effect of an Act of Love; all Acts of Love contain
Pure Joy. Die daily.
Death is the apex of one curve of the snake Life:
behold all Opposites as necessary complements, and rejoice.
Transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary, in either case logical development of existing conditions, yet perhaps sudden and unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but such interpretation is illusion.

XIV. ART

Pour thine all freely from the Vase in thy right hand, and lose no drop. Hath not thy left hand
a vase?
Transmute all wholly into the Image of thy Will, bringing each to its true token of Perfection.
Dissolve the Pearl in the Wine-cup; drink, and make manifest the Virtue of that Pearl.
Combination of forces, realization, action based on accurate calculation; the way of escape, success after elaborate maneuvers.

XV. THE DEVIL

With thy right Eye create all for thyself, and with
the left accept all that be created otherwise.
Blind impulse, irresistibly strong and unscrupulous, ambition, temptation, obsession, secret plan about
to be executed; hard work, obstinacy, rigidity, aching discontent, endurance.

XVI. THE TOWER [OR: WAR]

Break down the fortress of thine Individual
Self, that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins.
Quarrel, combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison.

XVII. THE STAR

Use all thine energy to rule thy thought: burn
up thy thought as the Phoenix.
Hope, unexpected help, clearness of vision, the realization of possibilities, spiritual insight, with bad aspects, the error of judgment, dreaminess, disappointment.

XVIII. THE MOON

Let the Illusion of the World pass over thee, unheeded,
as thou goest from the Midnight to
the Morning.
Illusion, deception, bewilderment, hysteria, even madness, dreaminess, falsehood, error, crisis, “the darkest hour before the dawn”, the brink of important change.

XIX. THE SUN

Give forth thy light to all without doubt;
the clouds and shadows are no matter for thee.
Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of thy play.
Glory, gain, riches, triumph, pleasure, frankness, truth, shamelessness, arrogance, vanity, manifestation, recovery from sickness, but sometimes sudden death.

XX. THE AEON

Be every Act an Act of Love and Worship.
Be every Act the Fiat of a God.
Be every Act a Source of radiant Glory.
Final decision in respect of the past, new current in respect of the future; always represents the taking
of a definite step.

THE UNIVERSE

Treat time and all conditions of Event as Servants
of thy Will, appointed to present the Universe to thee in the form of thy Plan.
And: blessing and worship to the prophet of the lovely Star.
The matter of the question itself, synthesis, the end of the matter, may mean delay, opposition, obstinacy, inertia, patience, perseverance, persistent stubbornness in difficulty. The crystallization of the whole matter involved.

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WORRY FIVE OF DISKS

The Number Five, Geburah, in the suit of Earth, shows the disruption of the Elements, just as in the other suits. This is emphasized by the rule of Mercury in Taurus, types of energy which are opposed. It needs a very powerful Mercury to upset Taurus; so the natural meaning is Intelligence applied to Labour.

The symbol represents five disks in the form of the inverted Pentagram, instability in the very foundations of Matter. The effect is that of an earthquake. They are, however, representative of the five Tatvas; these hold together, on a very low plane, an organism which would otherwise disrupt completely. The background is an angry, ugly red with yellow markings. The general effect is one of intense strain; yet the symbol implies long-continued inaction.

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XVI. THE TOWER [OR: WAR]

reak down the fortress of thine Individual
Self, that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins.
Quarrel, combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison.
This card is attributed to the letter Peh, which means a mouth; it refers to the planet Mars. In its simplest interpretation it refers to the manifestation of cosmic energy in its grossest form. The picture shows the destruction of existing material by fire. It may be taken as the preface to Atu XX, the Last Judgment, i.e., the Coming of a New Aeon. This being so, it seems to indicate the quintessential quality of the Lord of the Aeon. [See Liber AL III. 3-9; II – 13; 17-18; 23-29; 46; 49-60; 70-72.]

At the bottom part of the card, therefore, is shown the destruction of the old-established Aeon by lightning, flames, engines of war. In the right-hand corner are the jaws of Dis, belching flame at the root of the structure. Falling from the tower are broken figures of the garrison. It will be noticed that they have lost their human shape.

They have become mere geometrical expressions.
This suggests another (and totally different) interpretation of the card. To understand this, it is necessary to refer to the doctrines of Yoga, especially those most widely current in Southern India, where the cult of Shiva, the Destroyer, is paramount. Shiva is represented as dancing upon the bodies of his devotees. To understand this is not easy for most western minds. Briefly, the doctrine is that the ultimate reality (which is Perfection) is Nothingness. Hence all manifestations, however glorious, however delightful, are stains. To obtain perfection, all existing things must be annihilated. The destruction of the garrison may therefore be taken to mean their emancipation from the prison of organized life, which was confining them. It was their unwisdom to cling to it.

The above should make it clear that magical symbols must always be understood in a double sense, each contradictory of the other. These ideas blend naturally with the higher and deeper significance of the card.

There is a direct reference to this card in the Book of the Law. In Chapter I, verse 57, the goddess Nuith speaks:

“Invoke me under my stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the House of God”.

[For this reason the ancient title, to-day not very intelligible, has been retained. Otherwise, it might have been called War.]

The dominating feature of this card is the Eye of Horus. This is also the Eye of Shiva, on the opening of which, according to the legend of this cult, the Universe is destroyed.

Besides this, there is a special technical magical meaning, which is explained openly only to initiates of the Eleventh degree of the O.T.O.; a grade so secret that it is not even listed in the official documents. It is not even to be understood by study of the Eye in Atu XV. Perhaps it is lawful to mention that the Arab sages and the Persian poets have written, not always guardedly, on the subject.

Bathed in the effulgence of this Eye (which now assumes even a third sense, that indicated in Atu XV) are the Dove bearing an olive branch and the Serpent: as in the above quotation. The Serpent is portrayed as the Lion-Serpent Xnoubis or Abraxas. These represent the two forms of desire; what Schopenhauer would have called the Will to Live and the Will to Die. They represent the feminine and masculine impulses; the nobility of the latter is possibly based upon recognition of the futility of the former. This is perhaps why the renunciation of love in all the ordinary senses of the word has been so constantly announced as the first step towards initiation. This is an unnecessarily rigid view. This Trump is not the only card in the Pack, nor are the “will to live” and the “will to die” incompatible. This becomes clear as soon as life and death are understood (See Atu XIII) as phases of a single manifestation of energy.

POWER FOUR OF DISKS

The Four, Chesed, shows the establishment of the Universe in three dimensions, that is, below the Abyss. The generating idea is exhibited in its full material sense. The card is ruled by the Sun in Capricornus, the Sign in which he is reborn. The disks are very large and solid; the suggestion of the card is that of a fortress. This represents Law and Order, maintained by constant authority and vigilance. The disks themselves are square; revolution is very opposite to the card; and they contain the signs of the Four Elements. For all that, they revolve; defence is valid only when violently active. So far as it appears stationary, it is the “dead centre” of the engineer; and Capricornus is the point at which the Sun “turns again Northward”.
The background is of deep azure, flecked yellow, suggesting a moat; but beyond this

is a pattern of green and indigo to represent the guarded fields whose security is assured by the fortress.

In the Yi King, Sol in Capricornus is represented by the Second Hexagram, Khwan, which is the Female Principle. Compare the English word Queen, Anglo-Saxon Cwen, old Mercian Kwoen. Cognate are Icelandic Kvan, Gothic Kwens, woman. The Indo-Germanic type is g (w)eni and the Sanskrit root GwEN. Note also Cwm, coombe, and agnate words, meaning an enclosed valley, usually with water running from it. Womb—possibly a softened form?

Compare also the innumerable words, derived from the root Gas, Which imply an enclosed and fortified space. Case, castle, chest, cyst, chaste, incest and so on.

The primary radicle in all this class of words is the guttural. Observe the Hebrew attributions: Gimel, the moon; Cheth, Cancer, the house of the moon; Kaph, the Wheel; Qoph, the Moon, XVIII, Guttur, the throat. Sounds so made suggest the other throat; one is the channel of respiration and nutrition, the other of reproduction and elimination.

XIX. THE SUN

Give forth thy light to all without doubt;
the clouds and shadows are no matter for thee.
Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of thy play.
Glory, gain, riches, triumph, pleasure, frankness, truth, shamelessness, arrogance, vanity, manifestation, recovery from sickness, but sometimes sudden death.
This card represents, in heraldic language, “the Sun, charged with a rose, on a mount vert”. [Cf. the Coat-of Arms of the family of the Author of this book.]

This is one of the simplest of the cards; it represents Heru-ra-ha, the Lord of the New Aeon, in his manifestation to the race of men as the Sun spiritual, moral, and physical. He is the Lord of Light, Life, Liberty and Love. This Aeon has for its purpose the complete emancipation of the human race.

The rose represents the flowering of the solar influence. Around the whole picture we see the signs of the Zodiac in their normal position, Aries rising in the East, and so on. Freedom brings sanity. The Zodiac is a kind of childish representation of the body of Nuith, differentiation and classification, a chosen belt, one girdle of Our Lady of infinite space. The convenience of description excuses the device.
The green mound represents the fertile earth, its shape, so to speak, aspiring to the heavens. But around the top of the mound is a wall, which indicates that the aspiration of the new Aeon does not mean the absence of control. Yet outside this wall are the twin children who (in one form or another) have so frequently recurred in this whole symbolism. They represent the male and female, eternally young, shameless and innocent. They are dancing in the light, and yet they dwell upon the earth. They represent the next stage which is to be attained by mankind, in which complete freedom is alike the cause and the result of the new access of solar energy upon the earth. The restriction of such ideas as sin and death in their old sense has been abolished, At their feet are the most sacred signs of the old Aeon, the combination of the Rose and Cross from which they are arisen, yet which still forms their support.

The card itself symbolizes this broadening of the idea of the Rose and Cross. The Cross is now expanded into the Sun, from which, of course, it is originally derived. Its rays are twelve-not only the number of the signs of the Zodiac, but of the most sacred title of the most holy Ancient Ones, who are Hua. (The word HUA, “he”, has the numerical value of 12.) The limitation of mundane law, which is always associated with the number Four, has disappeared. Gone are the four arms of a Cross limited by law; the creative energy of the Cross expands freely; its rays pierce in every direction the body of Our Lady of the Stars.

With regard to the wall, it should be noted that it completely encircles the top of the mound; this is to emphasize that the formula of the Rose and Cross is still valid in terrestrial matters. But there is now, as was not previously the case, a close and definite alliance with the celestial.

It is also most important to observe that the formula of the Rose and Cross (indicated by the wall-girt mound) has completed the fire-change into “something rich and strange”; for the mound is green, where one would expect it to be red, and the wall red, where one would expect it to be green or blue. The indication of this symbolism is that it must be one of the great advances in adjustment of the new Aeon to work out simply and without prejudice the formidable problems which have been raised by the growth of civilization.

Man has advanced so far from the social system, though it was not a system, of the cave man, from the primitive conception of property in human flesh. Man has advanced so far from crude anatomical classification of the soul of any given human being; he has accordingly landed himself in the most dreadful mire of psychopathology and psychoanalysis. Tiresome and tough are the prejudices of the people that date morally from about 25,000 B.C.

Largely owing to their own intransigence, those people have been born under a different spiritual law; they find themselves not only persecuted by their ancestors but bewildered by their own uncertainty of foothold. It must be the task of the pioneers of the new Aeon to put this right.

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