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Author Topic: Understanding the Thoth Tarot  (Read 95 times)

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saltonaslug

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Understanding the Thoth Tarot
« on: October 25, 2019, 02:31:11 PM »
When I first heard about Lon Milo DuQuette’s “Understanding the Thoth Tarot,” I had just ordered a nice shiny hardcover of the “Book of Thoth,” and I really wondered why someone would want to write a book on the Thoth tarot when the man who actually created the cards themselves had already written a book about them. Then my (absolutely gorgeous) copy of the “Book of Thoth” arrived, and I fully understood why there’s a need for some intermediate literature here.

“Understanding the Thoth Tarot” is pretty much a crash course in Crowley’s tarot that will take the reader from either knowing either absolutely nothing or a little bit about the deck to knowing a little bit more about the deck. There’s a lot to learn here-the tarot corresponds to everything. In the past, Thelemites have said to me: “the tarot is everything” or the “the tarot the key to everything,” or some other statement equally as cryptic without really offering an adequate explanation as to what that meant in a practical sense. Ideally, you will understand what that means by the end of this book.  I’m going to do my best in going through this work in detail in the next coming days- so please feel free to contribute!

Nubti

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Re: Understanding the Thoth Tarot
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 03:38:30 PM »
Having already read both books, I don't see why intermediate literature is needed. The Book of Thoth was my first introduction to Crowley/ Thelema at all, and it was perfectly comprehensible at the time. I read it with ample help from Big Brother (Google) for things which I found difficult (such as the qualities of the Zodiac, the Houses, and Planets, the Tree of Life, etc), but within the context of the book, really not much of that is necessary to get a running start.

I personally found Lon's explanations very boiled down. to the point where they become largely meaningless beyond the scope of simple card-reading. Sure, there's technical stuff being explained, but it doesn't capture the essence, the 'spirit' of the deck nearly in the same way. It's not unlike an intellectual analysis of it with some humor thrown in, yet without any life in it.

I suppose the one thing that it does better than the Book of Thoth is the illustrations.

All that said, I see little reason to NOT read it. If you're struggling with the Book of Thoth, and find yourself looking for an easier read, it's not a terrible place to start... as long as you actually switch to Crowley's book about halfway through. At chapter 14, to be exact - that's the point where the book goes from "Tarot for Dummies" to "let's try to put in as little work as possible".

It's rather troublesome. And even on the topics Lon does cover... why not just get Magick in Theory and Practice?
I'm really not sure who this book is aimed at, honestly.

PS. If you don't yet have the book, you can find a copy here: https://archive.org/details/LonMiloDuquette-UnderstandingAleisterCrowleysThothTarot-2002/page/n2

saltonaslug

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Re: Understanding the Thoth Tarot
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 04:53:07 PM »
I’m still on the first section, right around chapter ten. So far my impressions have been a mixed bag, but overall I appreciate the book as a contemporary source. I found his explanations of how to Rosy Cross/Tarot have a conceptual basis to be one of the most concise/simple explanations on the subject one could find. I didn’t really “get” that concept until this read.

Any experiences with the Chicken Qabbalah?

Also, I’d like to say that for anyone out there wondering where to start, the Book of Thoth is certainly the way to go. I would say 75% of the time, what Crowley was talking about was perfectly clear, concise and logical- and the other 25% of the time I had no idea what he was saying. I should probably take the time to work through that book with google on hand. There are just certain sections that reference such a large amount of knowledge (like the zodiac and certain aspects of Gemetria) that I am largely unfamiliar with.

Satyr

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Re: Understanding the Thoth Tarot
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2019, 01:38:44 PM »
I'm really not sure who this book is aimed at, honestly.

The Caliphate. They are sort of a captive audience. Many are not practicing, so they collect books. It's Lon's job to see that new titles keep coming.