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Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth tarot

by Lon Milo DuQuette

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Essential Resource for Students of Thoth Use and Imagery   (2008-10-07)

Very Good

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by Halvm



The  Thoth Tarot is highly revered, yet the accompanying text is often disregarded as incomprehensible.   With nearly 40 years of experience, Lon Milo DuQuette is highly qualified to embrace “Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot.” He manages this daunting task with admirable results, introducing Crowley’s seminal writing and art with a temperance of humor, personal insight and patience.


Notable strengths include addressing the English Occultist’s controversy without fixation, and breaking down his seemingly limitless arcane intellectualism.  Acknowledging the importance of Lady Frieda Harris’ artistic contribution, the arduous creative process is supported with invaluable correspondence.  Important facets such as the Cabbala and Crowley’s theory of the Aeon of Horus provide an essential bridge toward the subsequent true value of the deck.  This explanatory guide is supported with hundreds of footnotes, including essential references from the creator’s more esoteric and rare writings.


While the author helps one cross the chasm of an immense learning curve, he possibly gives too much information for the novice, as the excellent, “little bits of things you should know” is shadowed later by the highly complex “secrets of the Rose Cross Back.”  This is certainly passable until ready, however, as this book will not be processed in one evening on the couch.


As much as Crowley despised passive knowledge, Mr. DuQuette also encourages the reader with the care of a firm mentor pushing one out of the nest.   His selective analysis of the Major Arcana may foster feeling abandoned in the Thoth’s immense symbolic, cultural and mythological images.  The lesson, however, encourages both reader and qeurent to interact with the writing and deck independently, rather than simply reference passages for future regurgitation.


This study is highly valuable for scholars and historians of numerous disciplines, and absolutely essential for even the most confident of students working with Thoth Tarot.

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