<<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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ACE OF SWORDS

The Ace of Swords is the primordial Energy of Air, the Essence of the Vau of Tetragrammaton, the integration of the Ruach. Air is the result of the conjunction of Fire and Water; thus it lacks the purity of its superiors in the male hierarchy, Fire, Sol and the Phallus. But for this same reason it is the first card directly to be apprehended by the normal consciousness of Mankind. The errors of such cards as the 7 and 10 of Cups are yet of an Order altogether higher than the apparently much milder 4 of Swords. The study of the subtle and gradual degradation of the planes is excessively difficult.

In nature, the obvious symbol of Air is the Wind “which bloweth whithersoever it listeth”. It lacks the concentrated Will of Fire to unite with Water: it has no corresponding passion for its Twin Element, Earth. There is indeed, a notable passivity in its nature; evidently, it has no self-generated impulse. But, set in motion by its Father and Mother, its power is manifestly terrific. It visibly attacks its objective, as they, being of subtler and more tenuous character, can never do. Its “all-embracing, all-wandering, all-penetrating, all-consuming” qualities have been described by many admirable writers, and its analogies are for the most part patent to quite ordinary observers.

But, it will instantly be asked, what of the status of this Element in the light of other attributions? In the Yetziratic World, is not Air the first element to follow Spirit? Is not Vayu the first emergence of the phenomenal from the arcane obscurity of Akasha? How may one reconcile the doctrine of Mind with the fact that Ruh, or Ruach, actually means Spirit itself? “Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim” (777) means “One is the Spirit (not Air) of the Gods of the Living”? And is not Air, the element attributed to Mercury, also most properly the Breath of Life, the Word, the Logos itself?

The student must be referred to some less raw, cursory, elementary and superficial Treatise than this present bat-eyed, penguin- winged, bluebottle-brained buzzing. Nevertheless, although Air is in no system the lowest, and so cannot claim benefit of clergy from the doctrine that Malkuth automatically resolves into Kether, the following reference seems not wholly to lack either cogency or pertinence.

The Ruach is centred in the airy Sephira, Tiphareth, who is the Son, the first-born of the Father, and the Sun, the first emanation of the creative Phallus. He derives directly from his mother Binah through the Path of Zain, the sublime intuitive sense, so that he partakes absolutely of the nature of Neschamah. From his father, Chokmah, he is informed though the Path of Heh’, the Great Mother, the Star, our Lady Nuit, so that the creative impulse is communicated to him by all possibilities soever. [How strikingly this fact confirms the counterchange of IV and XVII, above fully expounded: as a link between Chokmah and Tiphareth, the Emperor would have no great significance, and this exquisite doctrine of the Three Mothers would be lost.]

Finally, from Kether, the supreme, descends directly upon him, though the Path of Gimel, the High Priestess, the triune light of Initiation. The Three- in-One, the Secret Mother in her polymorphous plenitude; these, these alone, hail him thrice blessed of the Supernals!

The card represents the Sword of the Magus (see Book 4, Part II) crowned with the twenty-two rayed diadem of pure Light. The number refers to the Atu; also 22=2 X II, the Magical manifestation of Chokmah, Wisdom, the Logos. Upon the blade, accordingly, is inscribed the Word of the Law, This Word sends forth a blaze of Light, dispersing the dark clouds of the Mind.

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KNIGHT OF DISKS

The Knight of Disks represents the fiery part of Earth, and refers in particular to the phenomena of mountains, earthquakes, and gravitation; but it also represents the activity of Earth regarded as the producer of Life. He rules from the 21st degree of Leo to the 20th degree of Virgo, and is thus concerned greatly with agriculture. This warrior is short and sturdy in type. He is clothed in great solidity of plate armour; but his helmet, which is crested with the head of a stag, is thrown back, for at the moment his function is entirely con- fined to the production of food. For this reason he is armed with a flail. The disk which he bears, moreover, is very solid; it represents nutrition. These characteristics are borne out by his horse; a shire horse, solidly planted on all four feet, as was not the case with the other Knights. He rides through the fertile land; even the distant hills are cultivated fields.

Those whom he symbolizes tend to be dull, heavy and preoccupied with material things. They are laborious and patient, but would have little intellectual grasp even of matters which concern them most closely. Their success in these is due to instinct, to imitation of Nature. They lack initiative; their fire is the smouldering fire of the process of growth.

If ill-dignified, these people are hopelessly stupid, slavish, quite incapable of foresight even in their own affairs, or of taking an intelligent interest in anything outside them. They are churlish, surly, and jealous (in a dull sort of way) of what they instinctively realize is the superior state of others; but they have not the courage or intelligence to better themselves. Yet they are always irritably meddling about petty matters; they interfere with, and inevitably spoil, whatever comes their way.

In the Yi King, the fiery part of Earth is represented by the 62nd hexagram, Hsiao Kwo. This is as important as its complement, Kung Fu (see under Prince of Cups); it is a “big Khan”, the trigram of Luna with each line doubled. But it is also suggestive of the Geomantic figure Conjunctio, Mercury in Virgo, corresponding very closely indeed with the Fire of Earth attribution in the Qabalistic system.

To the Chinese sages, moreover, the shape of the figure gave the idea of a bird. The meaning is, accordingly, modified by human influence of the more frivolous and irresponsible kind, Shakespeare’s “little wanton harlotry”, the French cynic’s “Souvent femme vane”, and the fickle mob of Coriolanus; indeed, of History itself.

But Mercury in Virgo symbolizes Intelligence (and even creative Idea) applied to Agriculture; and this (once more!) harmonizes perfectly with the Ten of Disks, which is ruled by this Planet and this Sign. This adds to the superabundant mass of proof that this whole system of symbolism is based upon Realities of Nature, as understood by the materialist School of Science-if such a school survives in some obscure and obsolescent University! Such coherence, such introverted exfoliation, cannot be the chance parallelism of the dreams of nebulous philosophies.

The character described by this card is therefore exceeding complex yet admirably well-knit; but its dangers are indicated by the symbols of Luna and the bird. In the happiest cases, the qualities thus indicated will be romance and imagination; but overweening ambition, the pursuit of Ignis Fatuus, superstition, and the tendency to waste time in idle dreaming, are perils all too frequently found in such sons of the soil. Thomas Hardy has painted many admirable portraits of the type. Ill-starred indeed and black with bile are those who have profaned the Sacred Fire, not enkindling Earth to new, more copious, more varied life, but peering in deceptive moonlight, turning their faces from their mother Earth.

QUEEN OF SWORDS

The Queen of Swords represents the watery part of Air, the elasticity of that element, and its power of transmission. She rules from the 21St degree of Virgo to the 20th degree of Libra. She is enthroned upon the clouds. The upper part of her body is naked, but she wears a gleaming belt and a sarong. Her helmet is crested by the head of a child, and from it stream sharp rays of light, illuminating her empire of celestial dew. In her right hand, she bears a sword; in her left hand, the newly severed head of a bearded man. She is the clear, conscious perception of Idea, the Liberator of the Mind.

The person symbolized by this card should be intensely perceptive, a keen observer, a subtle interpreter, an intense individualist, swift and accurate at recording ideas; in action confident, in spirit gracious and just. Her movements will be graceful, and her ability in dancing and balancing exceptional.

If ill-dignified, these qualities will all be turned to unworthy purposes. She will be cruel, sly, deceitful and unreliable; in this way, very dangerous, on account of the superficial beauty and attractiveness which distinguish her.

In the Yi King, the watery part of Air is represented by the 28th hexagram, Ta Kwo.

The Shape suggests a weak beam.

The character, excellent in itself, cannot support interference. Foresight and prudence, care in preparation of action, are a safeguard (line i.) Advantage is to be won, moreover, by reliance on help from apparently unsuitable comrades (lines 2 and 5). This alien strength often supplies the defeat of inherent weakness, and may even create definite superiority to circumstance (line 4). In such an event, there may be temptation to undertake rash adventures, foredoomed to failure. But even so, no blame is incurred (line 6); the conditions of True Will have been satisfied, and the issue is compensated by the feeling that the right (however unfortunate) course has been adopted.

Such people acquire intense love and devotion from the most unexpected quarters.

STRENGTH NINE OF WANDS

This card is referred to Yesod, the Foundation; this brings the Energy back into balance. The Nine represents always the fullest development of the Force in its relation with the Forces above it. The Nine may be considered as the best that can be obtained from the type involved, regarded from a practical and material standpoint.

This card is also governed by the Moon in Sagittarius; so here is a double influence of the Moon on the Tree of Life. Hence the aphorism “Change is Stability”.

The Wands have now become arrows. There are eight of them in the background, and in front of them one master arrow. This has the Moon for its point, and the Sun for the driving Force above it; for the path of Sagittarius on the Tree of Life joins the Sun and Moon. The flames in the card are tenfold, implying that the Energy is directed downwards.

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