Thoth Tarot

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Template: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 project began in 1938 and was completed five years later in 1943, although it was not published until 1969 by the O.T.O. through the efforts of Grady McMurtry X°. 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.

(Cover of the Thoth Tarot deck, designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Lady Frieda Harris. Published by Samuel Weiser and U.S. Games. Copyright held by Ordo Templi Orientis.)

History of the Thoth Tarot

Although the origin of the Tarot in general is unknown, there is a definite beginning to Crowley's beautiful and intelligent rendition of this symbol system.

In February, 1899 e.v., Crowley attained to the grade of Practicus, and was accordingly entrusted with the secret attributions of the Tarot. He continued these studies for some time and eventually published the previously secret attributions in the Book 777.

It should be noted that the Tarot was his daily companion from 1899 e.v. until 1912 e.v., at which time he published a full account of the Tarot in The Equinox, Vol. I, Nos. 7 and 8. He succeeded in uniting all philosophical and magical systems under the Form of the Holy Qabalah and eventually this made its way into the Thoth Tarot.

For many years he was bothered by the fact that there wasn't any authentic Text of the Tarot. He was introduced to a skilled artist, named Frieda Harris, who embarked with him on the slow and tedious task of creating the Book of Thoth.

The original idea was to form a pack of cards that were based on the Mediaeval Editions, but corrected in the information that was published previously. This proved to be a task that may never see completion as it was too much for them to handle alone. However, Frieda Harris talked Crowley into creating an original work, embedded with all of the latest discoveries in modern science, mathematics, philosophy, and anthropology; to reproduce the whole of his work pictorially on the skeleton of the Holy Qabalah. He accepted the task.

The initial planned 3 months of work extended into 5 years and were still not published until 26 years after their completion, long after Crowley had exited this plane.


Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris, Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1981. ISBN 0877282684

Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.