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Help me beat my wife! (in a Crowley/Tarot-related contest)  

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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
22/04/2011 4:59 am  

93!

I've made a bet with my wife, to find out which Tarot decks Aleister Crowley was known to have owned and used.

I know he owned the Wirth tarot (so she says), but I'm quite sure from remembering his diaries that he did spreads which featured minor arcana, and the Wirth at that time did not have minors. So which other deck did he use?

She's betting her tarot-contacts will find her the answers before my thelemic-contacts do.

93 93/93
Swami


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2011 5:14 pm  

So, no one actually knows which decks he used?


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Shiva
(@shiva)
Not a Rajah
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 5024
24/04/2011 5:54 pm  
"Swamiji" wrote:
So, no one actually knows which decks he used?

Apparently such is the case. Lashtalians are usually quick to respond when they are holding such rare insights.


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christibrany
(@christibrany)
Yuggothian
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2608
24/04/2011 5:56 pm  

I don't know for sure since in the diaries I have he doesn't mention which Tarot deck. But judging from his time period I would say he most likely either used the Marseilles tarot or the waite tarot. The waite tarot came out in 1909 so its a contender, but the marseilles seems to be most likely due to its greater age. Hope that helps somewhat.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
24/04/2011 7:28 pm  

93,

I'm sure Crowley used the Tarot, but if I recall correctly, his favorite form of Divination was the Yi King. That alone may limit the amount of information available.

He couldn't stand A.E. Waite, so it's dubious whether he owned one of his decks.

Knowing Crowley, he probably had a couple of older decks which he kept around for reference, but this is all just speculation.

If you lose, don't worry. My wife loves to get that huge excited grin on her face and say, "I win". Drats! Again?

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
24/04/2011 9:16 pm  

93

Well, the interesting thing is that the bet isn't over yet.
She hasn't been able to find anything from her sources either. This is fascinating to me, because you'd think that people would have some detail about this.

The marseilles deck itself was not particularly commonplace in Crowley's time, according to my wife, but there were some 19th century italian decks that were essentially copies-of older decks, that were in vogue. Apparently several in the golden dawn used those kinds.

The Wirth was also popular, but as mentioned, back then there was no full edition of the Wirth, only majors.

Finally, I really doubt that Crowley would have used the Waite deck, given the man's general opinion of Waite.

The investigation continues!

93 93/93
Swami


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/04/2011 1:08 am  

93,

That's interesting. I'm still not completely convinced; I know for example that at a certain grade G.D. members were expected to make their own Tarot deck, but I suspect that Crowley's tenure in that order was such that he didn't have time to get to that.
I'd like to see some actual evidence that Crowley used a G.D. deck; I mean, its possible, but I know for example that Yeats preferred to use a certain Italian deck (I forget which, but my wife knows).
Thank you for that tidbit anyways, though I'm not entirely sure this is resolved yet. I have to wonder what became of Crowley's decks; I read in the "thelema in the 60s" thread that Cooke supposedly ended up with one; which may or may not have been Crowley's Wirth deck. If there were others, what became of them?

93 93/93
Swami


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/04/2011 4:59 am  

93

My wife read to me something she found in one of her tarot-related forums which seemed pretty credible, and it indicated that the only card Crowley was KNOWN to have drawn was the trump card of The Moon. Surely, if he had drawn his own tarot deck, some reference to it would somewhere? In his diaries perhaps?

93 93/93
Swami


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AdoniaZanoni
(@adoniazanoni)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 72
25/04/2011 6:13 am  

Hopefully, I can at least confirm your wife’s research is accurate. Tarot research has become a strong point for me.

Please click this link
http://www.manteia-online.dk/deckreviews/contents.htm

Select this:
Crowley Thoth Anniversary Edition

The review states:
“Among Crowley's Golden Dawn papers was a hand colored pack of Oswald Wirth's tarot, which probably was the deck he used for his own early work with tarot. Despite Crowley's own aspiration to be an artist - several paintings are recognized from his hand - he never took it upon himself to create the tarot deck which, perhaps, was one of the obligations for the Golden Dawn members to descent the order degrees.”

Based on this I am not sure if Crowley produced his own Golden Dawn Deck. This quote above states “early work with tarot.”

As for the Golden Dawn Deck published, Robert Wang’s deck, Cicero’s Golden Dawn Deck, the Hermetic Deck have all been disappointments. Robert Wang‘s art is lacking in substance, draughtsman ship and the color is weak Robert Wang is a terrible artist. The art in Cicero’s is too dark, the line quality is hash and ugly, and the flashing colors are a lazy way to color this. The Hermetic Tarot is ugly in terms of line quality and the images are muddled. I still use these three decks for study.

The only decent Golden Dawn tarot images are from Pat Zalewski. The disappointments are the images are in black and white and they are based on Whare Ra teachings, a Golden Dawn offshoot. There has never been a decent Golden Dawn deck published.

The personal Tarot deck of William Butler Yeats was an 1845 Dotti. It is exhibited on the W.B. Yeats on line Museum.

Here is link reviewing the Deck Yeats owned and I was able to purchase this through Alida.
http://www.spiritone.com/~mfilipas/Masquerade/Reviews/dotti.html

The Materia site states:
“Many cards were redrawn as many as five or six times, before Crowley finally found them satisfying and up to his intentions.”

“As a curiosity, it can be mentioned, that the Ace of Cups as it is described in Crowley's text (Book of Thoth), does not correspond with the card actually illustrated, but refers to an earlier draft.”

I wonder if the draft of the Ace of Cups survived.

Please click this link

http://www.manteia-online.dk/bookreviews/contents.htm

Select this:
Akron- Crowley Tarot Führer (Reise durch die Welt des MEGATERION)

“When we, for example, come to The Magician, the question of copyright is discussed. American O.T.O, who own the copyright for the Crowley-Harris deck, have decided that the edition of the Crowley pack with three different `Magicians' is not in accordance with Crowley's intentions and have therefore, denied its continuous publication.”

I want to point out it is a shame there will never be more alternate Thoth cards published since this is “not in accordance with Crowley's intentions.” I would certainly want to own the other variations of the Thoth Deck in card format that are finished art for study and meditation since they were designed by Crowley and Harris.

Sumada creates a 4th Magus photo shop from genuine Frieda Harris image taken from "Man Myth & Magic."

http://sumada.multiply.com/photos/album/66/Thoth_Tarot_AGM_1986#photo=7


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2964
25/04/2011 6:31 am  

93,

Let us not forget that while Crowley may not have created his own deck while he was with the HoGD, and he may not ever have drawn his own deck, he certainly did employ his particular type of genius later in life, along with Lady Frieda Harris, in order to create the Thoth deck. So in retrospection, I would say that he did, eventually, fulfill that task.

I know it's neither here nor there concerning this thread, but just thought it worth stating to help avoid any would-be confusion later on.

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/04/2011 4:33 pm  

93

Azidonis, that's certainly true. I'd say that Crowley fulfilled that particular task far more successfully than any other G.D. member ever did (with the arguable exception of Waite, who beat Crowley in sheer numbers but came a distant second in quality).

93 93/93


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
25/04/2011 4:36 pm  

93

Adonia, my wife also owns a Dotti, and it is a wonderful deck.
I wonder if there was any chance that Crowley owned one too. He must have, at least at certain periods, had a Tarot other than the Wirth. Which one?! The fact that its a mystery is baffling.

93 93/93
Swami


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belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
27/12/2011 6:20 pm  

There's a Tarot divination by Crowley in Skinner's Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley for 23 September 1923 (pp. 173-175), where he uses a whole 78 card pack. He uses GD terms (e.g. Knight, Princess, Wands, Pentacles), but he doesn't name the trumps (just calls them Atu I, Atu III, etc.), so it is impossible to tell what particular pack he was using.

I'm interested in this question too, if it is answerable. He had plenty of opportunity to buy a French "Tarot de Marseille" if he liked, although by 1900 French card makers like Grimaud were producing the "Tarot Nouveau" for play (the one with double-headed genre scenes, not the traditional trumps). I doubt he would have liked any Italian packs, which were atypical and double-headed. Like Yeats, he might have found an older Milanese pack like a Dotti, but who knows?

Has either of you won the bet then?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
27/12/2011 7:18 pm  

No, neither of us have been able to definitively confirm which deck he used regularly.


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the_real_simon_iff
(@the_real_simon_iff)
Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 1836
27/12/2011 11:01 pm  

93!

I don't know which deck it was but it is described like this in the Harry Ransom Collection: "Tarot cards, printed and hand painted, 1889 (Paris) purchased by Crowley in 1906"

Maybe anyone has seen it in Texas?

Love=Law
Lutz


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amadan-De
(@amadan-de)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 686
27/12/2011 11:35 pm  

Slightly of Topic but re AdonaiZanoni's question about the survival of variant Thoth tarot designs, in 2006 a large collection of items relating to the Harris/Crowley tarot were offered for sale. No images were sent out but the descriptions include several variants from what was finally published (my favourite being a painting of The Fool as Harpo Marx) including the Magus that AdonaiZanoni posted a link to.  The entire collection was purchased by an undisclosed European Library.

I still have the original email notification with many descriptions though mostly not too detailed - ping me by PM if you'd like an editted copy.  It certainly gives an idea of how many different packs could be created if all the variants were allowed and there is even a suggestion that the currently available version includes a design that was not the one originally selected by Crowley.


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einDoppelganger
(@eindoppelganger)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 915
28/12/2011 9:13 am  
"AdoniaZanoni" wrote:
...they are based on Whare Ra teachings, a Golden Dawn offshoot.

Not to derail but, is it fair to call Whare Ra "a Golden Dawn offshoot?" As I understand it the temple had a clear cut lineage back to Mathers and was the longest surviving Golden Dawn group. They did adjust rituals to compensate for the antipodes but from what I understand they were quite consistent with the original (pre Regardie) GD materials. I may well be wrong, I am no expert on the G.'.D.'.'.

The private dwelling which housed the temple is still standing and apparently the basement rooms are still intact. The current owners are apparently a bit "spooked" by the house's history 🙂  I purchased a second hand book on the Whare Ra Golden Dawn Temple here in NZ. I was interested to discover that a page showing the layout of the temple contained pencil annotations of room measurements! Looks like someone went to the source 🙂


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belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
28/12/2011 11:09 am  
"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
93!

I don't know which deck it was but it is described like this in the Harry Ransom Collection: "Tarot cards, printed and hand painted, 1889 (Paris) purchased by Crowley in 1906"

Maybe anyone has seen it in Texas?

Love=Law
Lutz

This is the 1889 Oswald Wirth set with 22 trumps. The only reproduction I know is that in Stuart Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot, volume II, p. 393.

Crowley has painted over the borders of most of them, and changed the Hebrew letter attributions to match the GD system (Wirth's is the "Continental" system, with the Bateleur/Magus as Aleph and the Fool as Shin). Not much detail can be made out in Kaplan's reproduction.

I agree with another poster here that I think it is unlikely Crowley ever made a full GD Tarot according to Book T for himself. I think he must have bought one (or more) on any of his numerous stays in France. I also agree with the poster who said that it seems unlikely Crowley would be using Waite's pack.


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belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
28/12/2011 12:02 pm  

P.S. please tell me if you don't have Kaplan and I'll send you a scan of the relevant pages.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
28/12/2011 12:41 pm  

I assume that Crowley made a study of most decks in existence in his time and probably had one of everything at some time or another.

As a fluent speaker of French, he may also have had access to a great deal of French Hermetic Literature on the subject that has existed since the 18th Century in a profusion that was found nowhere else - certainly not England.

p.s. - I've love to hear from your wife on the subject.  😉  😀   


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einDoppelganger
(@eindoppelganger)
Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 915
29/12/2011 1:57 am  
"belmurru" wrote:
This is the 1889 Oswald Wirth set with 22 trumps. The only reproduction I know is that in Stuart Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot, volume II, p. 393.

Wasn't the Muller Oswals Wirth deck from the 80s a reproduction of the original with the addition of Minors (based on the Marasilles deck)?


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belmurru
(@belmurru)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 1025
29/12/2011 3:31 pm  
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
"belmurru" wrote:
This is the 1889 Oswald Wirth set with 22 trumps. The only reproduction I know is that in Stuart Kaplan, Encyclopedia of Tarot, volume II, p. 393.

Wasn't the Muller Oswals Wirth deck from the 80s a reproduction of the original with the addition of Minors (based on the Marasilles deck)?

That's right, it was produced by AG Müller and distributed by US Games. The trumps, however, were based on Wirth's 1927 designs, which are different from the 1889 set.

There is currently a thread on Aeclectic Tarot Forum that discusses all of the Wirth decks -
http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=168099

Oswald Wirth made several trump-sets in his life, but he never made a "whole" 78-card pack. The GD doctrines of the elements, decans and planetary rulers, which give life to the suits and pips, were not as developed among French occultists. Etteilla's system - a reconfiguration of the entire pack - was (and still is) widely used, but it would take Paul Marteau's Le Tarot de Marseille (1949) to start most French cartomancers using the "minor arcana" and not just the trumps.


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AdoniaZanoni
(@adoniazanoni)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 72
06/03/2012 6:36 am  
"amadan-De" wrote:
Slightly of Topic but re AdonaiZanoni's question about the survival of variant Thoth tarot designs, in 2006 a large collection of items relating to the Harris/Crowley tarot were offered for sale. No images were sent out but the descriptions include several variants from what was finally published (my favourite being a painting of The Fool as Harpo Marx) including the Magus that AdonaiZanoni posted a link to.  The entire collection was purchased by an undisclosed European Library.

I certainly wish that they would have publish an art book featuring all versions of Freida Harris' Thoth Tarot cards in full color. They are certainly worth meditating on and their weirdness in perspective and color certainly astounds my imagination.

It is ashame more alternative cards will not published in new editions of the Thoth Deck. For example the correct Ace of Cups that matches the description of the Book of Thoth or the other Magus  in Sumada's collection. If I were in charge I would try to make this happen and become a reality.


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AdoniaZanoni
(@adoniazanoni)
Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 72
06/03/2012 8:02 am  
"einDoppelganger" wrote:
"AdoniaZanoni" wrote:
...they are based on Whare Ra teachings, a Golden Dawn offshoot.

Not to derail but, is it fair to call Whare Ra "a Golden Dawn offshoot?" As I understand it the temple had a clear cut lineage back to Mathers and was the longest surviving Golden Dawn group. They did adjust rituals to compensate for the antipodes but from what I understand they were quite consistent with the original (pre Regardie) GD materials. I may well be wrong, I am no expert on the G.'.D.'.'.

There are two factions of the Golden Dawn the Stella Matutina led by Dr. Felkin and the Alpha Omega led by Mathers. For simplicity I am only limiting this example to two, for example Waite's group is omitted.  I considered Mathers’ order to be the original Golden Dawn and everything else is an offshoot. The Stella Matutina is the faction Regardie belonged too and where the Whare Ra originated from. Pat Zalewski’s deck  has the Major Arcana following the teachings of the Whare Ra as opposed to the Alpha Omega.

The Stella Matutina and the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha Omega each have their own Adeptus Major 6=5 and Adeptus Exemptus 7=4 rituals. Dr. Felkin’s Stella Matutina  rituals  were published in Secret Inner Order Rituals of the Golden Dawn. Unfortunately parts of the rituals were cut off deliberately by the publisher and no clear diagrams were provided. I was told Christopher Hyatt was the responsible one.

The Alpha Omega’s Adeptus Major 6=5 and Adeptus Exemptus 7=4 rituals Mathers created have not been published. However a section of the Adeptus Major is published in the The Book of the Concourse of the Watchtowers. The book contains a Theoricus Adeptus Minor Paper that show LVX signs and rendering and closing the veil in relation to equinoxes and solistices.  The Adepts Major paper shows other Golden Dawn Grade signs such as answering the Typhonic Sign of Invocation.

http://www.hermeticvirtues.org/Home/NewBookConcourseoftheWatchtowers/tabid/127/Default.aspx

There are two books that have been published that contain Alpha Omega version of the Golden Dawn material: King Over Water and Mather’s Last Secret by Nick Farrell. If you have Regardie’s Golden Dawn and are not a Golden Dawn collector, then you may not want to bother.

http://www.amazon.com/King-Over-Water-Samuel-Mathers/product-reviews/1908705019/ref=sr_1_10_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

http://www.amazon.com/King-Over-Water-Samuel-Mathers/dp/1908705019/ref=sr_1_10?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331019212&sr=1-10

There is also a 100 limited edition Golden Dawn Major Arcana Only Deck. They “are designed to the specifications of the Book T and the various Golden Dawn manuscripts.” I would assume this follows the Alpha Omega since Edmund William Berridge belonged to this order.
http://nick-farrell.blogspot.com/2012/02/limited-number-of-golden-dawn-tarot.html


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