<<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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PRINCESS OF WANDS

The Princess of Wands represents the earthy part of Fire; one might say, she is the fuel of Fire. This expression implies the irresistible chemical attraction of the combustible substance. She rules the Heavens for one quadrant of the portion around the North Pole.

The Princess is therefore shewn with the plumes of justice streaming like flames from her brow; and she is unclothed,

shewing that chemical action can only take place when the element is perfectly free to combine with its partner. She bears a
wand crowned with the disk of the Sun; and she is leaping in a surging flame which re-calls by its shape the letter Yod.

This card may be said to represent the dance of the virgin priestess of the Lords of Fire, for she is in attendance upon the golden altar ornamented with rams’ heads) symbolizing the fires of Spring.

The character of the Princess is extremely individual. She is brilliant and daring. She creates her own beauty by her essential vigour and energy. The force of her character imposes the impression of beauty upon the beholder. In anger or love she is sudden, violent, and implacable. She consumes all that comes into her sphere.

She is ambitious and aspiring, full of enthusiasm which is often irrational. She never forgets an injury, and the only quality of patience to be found in her is the patience with which she lies in ambush to avenge.

Such a woman, ill-dignified, shews the defects of these qualities. She is superficial and theatrical, completely shallow and false, yet without suspecting that she is anything of the sort, for she believes entirely in herself, even when it is apparent to the most ordinary observer that she is merely in the spasm of mood. She is cruel, unreliable, faithless and domineering.
In the Yi King, the earthy part of Fire is described by the 27th hexagram, i. This shows a person omnivorous in passion of whatever kind, entirely reckless in the means of obtaining gratification, and insatiable. The Yi commentary is packed with alternate warning and encouragement.

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CRUELTY NINE OF SWORDS

The number Nine, Yesod, brings back the Energy to the central pillar of the Tree of Life. The previous disorder is now rectified.

But the general idea of the suit has been constantly degenerating. The Swords no longer represent pure intellect so much as the automatic stirring of heartless passions. Consciousness has fallen into a realm unenlightened by reason. This is the world of the unconscious primitive instincts, of the psychopath, of the fanatic.

The celestial ruler is Mars in Gemini, crude rage of hunger operating without restraint; although its form is intellectual, it is the temper of the inquisitor.

The symbol shows nine swords of varying lengths, all striking downwards to a point.

They are jagged and rusty. Poison and blood drip from their blades.

There is, however, a way of dealing with this card: the way of passive resistance, resignation, the acceptance of martyrdom.
Nor is an alien formula that of implacable revenge.

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.)
i. R.O.T.A. The Wheel

This card is attributed to the planet Jupiter, “the Greater Fortune” in astrology. It corresponds to the letter Kaph, which means the palm of the hand, in whose lines, according to another tradition, the fortune of the owner may be read. [Kaph 20 Peh 80 =100, Qoph, Pisces. The initials K Ph are those of .te.. and fa….] It would be narrow to think of Jupiter as good fortune; he represents the element of luck. The incalculable factor.

This card thus represents the Universe in its aspect as a continual change of state. Above, the firmament of stars. These appear distorted in shape, although they are balanced, some being brilliant and some dark. From them, through the firmament, issue lightnings; they churn it into a mass of blue and violet plumes. In the midst of all this is suspended a wheel of ten spokes, according to the number of the Sephiroth, and of the sphere of Malkuth, indicating governance of physical affairs.
On this wheel are three figures, the Sworded Sphinx, Hermanubis, and Typhon; they symbolize the three forms of energy which govern the movement of phenomena.

The nature of these qualities requires careful description. In the Hindu system are three Gunas – Sattvas, Rajas and Tamas. The word “Guna” is untranslatable. It is not quite an element, a quality, a form of energy, a phase, or a potential; all of these ideas enter into it. All the qualities that can be predicated of anything may be ascribed to one or more of these Gunas: Tamas is darkness, inertia, sloth, ignorance, death and the like; Rajas is energy, excitement, fire, brilliance, restlessness; Sattvas is calm, intelligence, lucidity and balance. They correspond to the three principal Hindu castes.

One of the most important aphorisms of Hindu philosophy is:

“the Gunas revolve”.

This means that, according to the doctrine of continual change, nothing can remain in any phase where one of these Gunas is predominant; however dense and dull that thing may be, a time will come when it begins to stir. The end and reward of the effort is a state of lucid quietude, which, however, tends ultimately to sink into the original inertia.

The Gunas are represented in European philosophy by the three qualities, sulphur, mercury and salt, already pictured in Atu I, III and IV. But in this card the attribution is somewhat different. The Sphinx is composed of the four Kerubs, shown in Atu V, the bull, the lion, the eagle and the man. These correspond, furthermore, to the four magical virtues, to Know, to Will, to Dare, and to Keep Silence.

[These are the four elements, summed in a fifth, Spirit, to form the Pentagram; and the Magical Virtue corresponding is Ire, to go. “To go” is the token of Godhead, as explained in reference to the sandal-strap or Ankh, the Crux Ansata, which in its turn is identical with the astrological symbol of Venus, comprising the 10 Sephiroth. (See diagram)].

This Sphinx represents the element of sulphur, and is exalted, temporarily, upon the summit of the wheel. She is armed with a sword of the short Roman pattern, held upright between the paws of the lion.

Climbing up the left-hand side of the wheel is Hermanubis, who represents the alchemical Mercury. He is a composite god; but in him the simian element predominates.

On the right hand side, precipitating himself downward, is Typhon, who represents the element of salt. Yet in these figures there is also a certain degree of complexity, for Typhon was a monster of the primitive world, personifying the destructive power and fury of volcanos and typhoons. In the legend, he attempted to obtain supreme authority over both gods and men; but Zeus blasted him with a thunderbolt. He is said to be the father of stormy, hot and poisonous winds; also of the Harpies. But this card, like Atu XVI, may also be interpreted as a Unity of supreme attainment and delight. The lightnings which destroy, also beget; and the wheel may be regarded as the Eye of Shiva, whose opening annihilates the Universe, or as a wheel upon the Car of Jaganath, whose devotees attain perfection at the moment that it crushes them.

A description of this card, as it appears in The Vision and the Voice, with certain inner meanings, is given in an Appendix.

R.O.T.A.-THE WHEEL
[The Vision and the Voice (4th Aethyr.)]

“There cometh a peacock into the stone, filling the whole Aire. It is like the vision called the Universal Peacock, or, rather, like a representation of that vision. And now there are countless clouds of white angels filling the Aire as the peacock dissolves.

“Now behind the angels are archangels with trumpets. These cause all things to appear at once, so that there is a tremendous con- fusion of images. And now I perceive that all these things are but veils of the wheel, for they all gather themselves into a wheel that spins with incredible velocity. It hath many colours, but all are thrilled with white light, so that they are transparent and luminous This one wheel is forty-nine wheels, set at different angles, so that they compose a sphere; each wheel has forty-nine spokes, and has forty-nine concentric tyres at equal distances from the centre. And wherever the rays from any two wheels meet, there is a blinding flash of glory. It must be understood that though so much detail is visible in the wheel, yet at the same time the impression is of a single, simple object.

“It seems that this wheel is being spun by a hand. Though the wheel fills the whole Aire, yet the hand is much bigger than the wheel. And though this vision is so great and splendid, yet there is no seriousness with it, or solemnity. It seems that the hand is spinning the wheel merely for pleasure-it would be better to say amusement.

“A voice comes: For he is a jocund and ruddy god, and his laughter is the vibration of all that exists, and the earthquakes of the soul.

“One is conscious of the whirring of the wheel thrilling one, like an electric discharge passing through one.
“Now I see the figures on the wheel, which have been interpreted as the sworded Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon. And that is wrong. The rim of the wheel is a vivid emerald snake; in the centre of the wheel is a scarlet heart; and, impossible to explain as it is, the scarlet of the heart and the green of the snake are yet more vivid than the blinding white brilliance of the wheel.

“The figures on the wheel are darker than the wheel itself; in fact, they are stains upon the purity of the wheel, and for that reason, and because of the whirling of the wheel, I cannot see them. But at the top seems to be the Lamb and Flag, such as one sees on some Christian medals, and one of the lower things is a wolf, and the other a raven. The Lamb and Flag symbol is much brighter than the other two. It keeps on growing brighter, until now it is brighter than the wheel itself, and occupies more space than it did.

“It speaks: I am the greatest of the deceivers, for my purity and innocence shall seduce the pure and innocent, who but for me should come to the centre of the wheel. The wolf betrayeth only the greedy and the treacherous; the raven betrayeth only the melancholy and the dishonest. But I am he of whom it is written: He shall deceive the very elect.

“For in the beginning the Father of All called for lying spirits that they might sift the creatures of the earth in three sieves, according to the three impure souls. And he chose the wolf for the lust of the flesh, and the raven for the lust of the mind; but me did lie choose above all to simulate the pure prompting of the soul. Them that are fallen a prey to the wolf and the raven I have not scathed; but them that have rejected me I have given over to the wrath of the raven and the wolf. And the jaws of the one have torn them, and the beak of the other has devoured the corpse. Therefore is my flag white, be cause I have left nothing upon the earth alive. I have feasted myself on the blood of the Saints, but I am not suspected of men to be their enemy, for my fleece is white and warm, and my teeth are not the teeth of one that teareth flesh; and mine eyes are mild, and they know me not the chief of the lying spirits that the Father of All sent forth from before his face in the beginning.
(“His attribution is salt; the wolf mercury, and the raven sulphur.)

“Now the Lamb grows small again, there is again nothing but the wheel, and the hand that whirleth it.

“And I said: ‘By the word of power, double in the voice of the Master; by the word that is seven, and one in seven; and by the great and terrible word 210, I beseech thee, O my Lord, to grant me the vision of thy Glory.’ And all the rays of the wheel stream out at me, and I am blasted and blinded with the light. I am caught up into the wheel. I am one with the wheel. I am greater than the wheel. In the midst of a myriad lightnings I stand, and I behold his face. (I am thrown violently back on to the earth every second, so that I cannot quite concentrate.)
“All one gets is a liquid flame of pale gold. But its radiant force keeps hurling me back.

“And I say: By the word and the will, by the penance and the prayer, let me behold thy face. (I cannot explain this, there is con fusion of personalities.) I who speak to you, see what I tell you; but I, who see him, cannot communicate it to me, who speak to you.

“If one could gaze upon the sun at noon, that might be like the substance of him. But the light is without heat. It is the vision of Ut in the Upanishads. And from this vision have come all the legends of Bacchus and Krishna and Adonis. For the impression is of a youth dancing and making music. But you must understand that he is not doing that, for he is still. Even the hand that turns the wheel is not his hand, but only a hand energized by him.

“And now it is the dance of Shiva. I lie beneath his feet, his saint, his victim. My form is the form of the god Phtah, in my essence, but the form of the god Seb is my form. And this is the reason of existence, that in this dance which is delight, there must be both the god and the adept. Also the earth herself is a saint; and the sun and the moon dance upon her, torturing her with delight.”

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 law suits or prosecutions. Socially, marriage or marriage agreements; politically,
treaties.
This card in the old pack was called Justice. This word has none but a purely human and therefore relative sense; so it is not to be considered as one of the facts of Nature. Nature is not just, according to any theological or ethical idea; but Nature is exact.

This card represents the sign of Libra, ruled by Venus; in it Saturn is exalted. The equilibrium of all things is hereby symbolized. It is the final adjustment in the formula of Tetragrammaton, when the daughter, redeemed by her marriage with the Son, is thereby set up on the throne of the mother; thus, finally, she “awakens the Eld of the All-Father.”

In the greatest symbolism of all, however, the symbolism beyond all planetary and Zodiacal considerations, this card is the feminine complement of the Fool, for the letters Aleph Lamed constitute the secret key of the Book of the Law, and this is the basis of a complete qabalistic system of greater depth and sublimity than any other. The details of this system have not yet been revealed. It has been thought right, nevertheless, to hint at its existence by equating the designs of these two cards. Not only therefore, because Libra is a sign of Venus, but because she is the partner of the Fool, is the Goddess represented as dancing, with the suggestion of Harlequin.

The figure is that of a young and slender woman poised exactly upon toetip. She is crowned with the ostrich plumes of Maat, the Egyptian goddess of Justice, and on her forehead is the Uraeus serpent, Lord of Life and Death. She is masked, and her expression shows her secret intimate satisfaction in her domination of every element of dis-equilibrium in the Universe. This condition is symbolized by the Magic Sword which she holds in both hands, and the balances or spheres in which she weighs the Universe, Alpha the First balanced exactly against Omega the Last. These are the Judex and Testes of Final Judgment; the Testes, in particular, are symbolic of the secret course of judgment whereby all current experience is absorbed, transmuted, and ultimately passed on, by virtue of the operation of the Sword, to further manifestation. This all takes place within the diamond formed by the figure which is the concealed Vesica Piscis through which this sublimated and adjusted experience passes to its next manifestation.

She poises herself before a throne composed of spheres and pyramids (four in number, signifying Law and Limitation) which themselves maintain the same equity that she herself manifests, though on a completely impersonal plane, in the framework within which all operations take place. Outside this again, at the corner of the card, are indicated balanced spheres of light and darkness, and constantly equilibrated rays from these spheres form a curtain, the interplay of all those forces which she sums up and adjudicates.

One must go more deeply into philosophy; the Trump represents The Woman Satisfied. Equilibrium stands apart from any individual prejudices; therefore the title, in France, should rather be Justesse. In this sense, Nature is scrupulously just. It is impossible to drop a pin without exciting a corresponding reaction in every Star. The action has disturbed the balance of the Universe.

This woman-goddess is Harlequin; she is the partner and fulfillment of The Fool. She is the ultimate illusion which is manifestation; she is the dance, many-coloured, many-wiled, of Life itself. Constantly whirling, all possibilities are enjoyed, under the phantom show of Space and Time: all things are real, the soul is the surface, precisely because they are instantly compensated by this Adjustment. All things are harmony and beauty; all things are Truth: because they cancel out.
She is the goddess Maat; she bears upon her nemyss the ostrich feathers of the Twofold Truth.

From this Crown, so delicate that the most faintest breath of thought must stir it, depend, by chains of Cause, the Scales wherein Alpha, the first, is poised in perfect equilibrium with Omega, the last. The scales of the balance are the Two Witnesses in whom shall every word be established. She is therefore to be understood as assessing the virtue of every act and demanding exact and precise satisfaction.

More than this, she is the complete formula of the Dyad; the word AL is the title of the Book of the Law, whose number is 31, the most secret of the numerical keys of that Book. She represents Manifestation, which may always be cancelled out by equilibration of opposites.

She is wrapped in a cloak of mystery, the more mysterious because diaphanous; she is the sphinx without a secret, because she is purely a matter of calculation. In Eastern philosophy she is Karma.

Her attributions develop this thesis. Venus rules the sign of the Balance; and that is to show the formula: “Love is the law, love under will”. But Saturn represents above all the element of Time, without which adjustment cannot take place, for all action and re action take place in time, and therefore, time being itself merely a condition of phenomena, all phenomena are invalid because uncompensated.

The Woman Satisfied. From the cloak of the vivid wantonness of her dancing wings issue her hands; they hold the hilt of the Phallic sword of the magician. She holds the blade between her thighs.

This is again a hieroglyph of “Love is the law, love under will”. Every form of energy must be directed, must be applied with integrity, to the full satisfaction of its destiny.

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