<<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.

Random card of the day

LOVE TWO OF CUPS

The Two always represents the Word and the Will. It is the first manifestation. Therefore, in the suit of Water, it must refer to Love, which recovers unity from dividuality by mutual annihilation.

The card also refers to Venus in Cancer. Cancer is, more than any other, the receptive Sign; it is the House of the Moon, and in that Sign Jupiter is exalted. These are, superficially, the three most friendly of the planets.

The hieroglyph of the card represents two cups in the foreground, overflowing upon a calm sea. They are fed with lucent water from a lotus floating upon the sea, from which rises another lotus around whose stem are entwined twin dolphins. The symbolism of the dolphin is very complicated, and must be studied in books of reference; but the general idea is that of the “Royal Art”. The dolphin is peculiarly sacred to Alchemy.

The number Two referring to Will, this card might really be renamed the Lord of Love under Will, for that is its full and true meaning. It shows the harmony of the male and the female: interpreted in the largest sense. It is perfect and placid harmony, radiating an intensity of joy and ecstasy.

Of necessity, the realization of the idea in the Four (as the suit develops) will gradually diminish the purity of its perfection.

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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.”

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.

VALOUR SEVEN OF WANDS

This card derives from Netzach (Victory) in the suit of Fire. But the Seven is a weak, earthy, feminine number as regards the Tree of Life, and represents a departure from the balance so low down on the Tree that this implies a loss of confidence.

Fortunately, the card is also attributed to Mars in Leo. Leo is still the Sun in his full strength, but the marks of decadence are already to be seen. It is as if the wavering fire summoned the brutal energy of Mars to its support. But this is not enough to counter- act fully the degeneration of the initial energy, and the departure from equilibrium.

The army has been thrown into disorder; if victory is to be won, it will be by dint of individual valour-a “soldiers’ battle”.
The pictorial representation shows the fixed and balanced wands of the last card relegated to the background, diminished, and become commonplace.

In front is a large crude uneven club, the first weapon to hand; evidently unsatisfactory in ordered combat.

The flames are dispersed, and seem to attack in all directions without systematic purpose.

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