Thoth Tarot

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Display of the Thoth tarot card deck in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

The Thoth Tarot is a divinatory Tarot deck painted by Lady Frieda Harris using instructions supplied by Aleister Crowley. Crowley referred to this deck as The Book of Thoth, and also wrote a 1944 book of that title intended for use with the deck. The illustrations of the deck feature symbolism based upon Crowley's incorporation of imagery from many disparate disciplines, including science and philosophy and various occult systems.


Crowley originally intended the Thoth deck to be a six-month project aimed at updating the traditional pictorial symbolism of the Tarot. However, due to increased scope, the project eventually spanned five years, between 1938 and 1943, and both artists died before its publication in 1969 by Ordo Templi Orientis. Publication rights were acquired by U.S. Games Systems soon after the first publication.

The meanings behind the cards and the inspiration for the artwork comes from the mythological Book of Thoth, a grimoire of secret knowledge given by the god Thoth to fabled magician Hermes Trismegistus.

Differences from the Rider-Waite Tarot

Crowley renamed several of the Major Arcana trumps compared to earlier arrangements, and also re-arranged the numerical, astrological and Hebrew alphabet correspondences of 4 trumps compared to the Rider-Waite Tarot deck in accordance with the Tarot of Marseilles, his 1904 book The Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis) and its "New Commentary."

In the "New Commentary" and The Book of Thoth, Crowley demonstrates that his trump arrangement forms a double loop in the zodiac-number and letter-number correspondences compared to the Rider–Waite, where there is no loop. There are interpretations as to why the Thoth Tarot deck does not follow Crowley's new arrangement having only a letter-number double loop and one of them is that it follows the same Golden Dawn arrangement as the Rider–Waite deck.

Tarot Topics
Major Arcana The FoolThe MagicianThe High PriestessThe EmpressThe EmperorThe HierophantThe LoversThe ChariotStrengthThe HermitWheel of FortuneJusticeThe Hanged ManDeathTemperanceThe DevilThe TowerThe StarThe MoonThe SunJudgementThe World
Minor Arcana Pentacles AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Wands AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Cups AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Swords AceTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNineTenPageKnightQueenKing
Decks Visconti-Sforza TarotTarot of MarseillesRider-Waite TarotThoth TarotOccult TarotAngel TarotVlad Dracula TarotHieronymus Bosch Tarot