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Advice on a suitable book for Tree of Life?

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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
I am not saying But if you paid your hard earned cash, and bought a book, you want the book to be rich, through, detailed and complete - not half written, and dwindle into notes with information which is everywhere.
If you bought a book on advanced mathematics would you complain that basic principles such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division weren't covered? Of course not! The author of such a book would consider these topics so elementary and self evident that he/she wouldn't even think to mention them.

The Book of Thoth isn't a beginners text. Like most Crowley books, the reader is assumed to already have some background knowledge. Crowley wrote in the full expectation that his readers were intelligent and motivated people who would make an effort and consult other sources if their knowledge was insufficient. This stands in stark contrast to many modern day books where sales figures are all important. Consequently an author is required to aim for the lowest common denominator and assume that their readers are totally ignorant of the subject under discussion and are in need of plenty of hand holding. This is why there are literally masses of beginner books, but very few for the more experienced reader.
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Louis Wilkinson, the editor of Crowley's commentary on The Book of the Law, had this to say about Crowley the writer:
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Originally Posted by Louis Wilkinson
He [Crowley] has no "vulgar sense"; having written for so long out of the ken of the general reader, he has forgotten that the general reader is not a specialist. The result is that, even in his lighter work, there are often certain references and words which the general reader would find unintelligible and therefore disconcerting; references and words that might irritate him and "put his back up" because they would make him feel ignorant, exciting the famous "inferiority complex." "Oh!" says Crowley, "but he can always look it out in a dictionary." What a revealing remark! If you write only for people who habitually use dictionaries, your sales can never be very large. But Crowley does not seem to realize this. He has the scholar's mind; and can no more imagine a reader without a dictionary at his elbow than he can imagine a reader without a shirt on his back.
...............
Another thing that Crowley has never realised is that readers are not, as a general rule, men and women of leisure and that they want things made reasonably quick and easy for them. He never troubles to condense for their benefit, he never does anything to save them time. In fact, he has never troubled to cultivate a single one of the practical, cunning tricks of the literary trade, and he never had any flair whatever for "what puts a reader off." His innocence in this respect is one of the most singular of his many singularities.
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Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
If you bought a book on advanced mathematics would you complain that basic principles such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division weren't covered? Of course not! The author of such a book would consider these topics so elementary and self evident that he/she wouldn't even think to mention them.

The Book of Thoth isn't a beginners text. Like most Crowley books, the reader is assumed to already have some background knowledge. Crowley wrote in the full expectation that his readers were intelligent and motivated people who would make an effort and consult other sources if their knowledge was insufficient. This stands in stark contrast to many modern day books where sales figures are all important. Consequently an author is required to aim for the lowest common denominator and assume that their readers are totally ignorant of the subject under discussion and are in need of plenty of hand holding. This is why there are literally masses of beginner books, but very few for the more experienced reader.
hmmm not sure if it is advanced. It is more of not focused than advanced?, because things are brought in from all directions into the topic in BoT. So readers get lost. For example, he talks about Einstein's relative theory in very first few pages of the BoT. If one is not familiar with Einstein and his relative theory, then would get lost what he is on about. Same with Dionysus and Isis and all the myriad of things he is bringing into the Trump discussions. He is definitely widely read, but deep? I am not sure. But if a reader is not, then will get lost in BoT due to the fact that he is not familiar about concepts brought in from other fields, not necessarily because he was a beginner.

Advanced topics and subjects in Math and Sciences are totally separate issue. They are concretely clear in what is beginner and advanced, and things, skills and theories build up as one goes along, and when they say Advanced, it is about doing something practical such as designing a rocket, calculating distance from Earth to a Galaxy located somewhere in the sky, or calculating resistance ohms in digital wireless circuit designed for microwave of range 2Ghz to 3Ghz so on.

That distinction of beginner and advanced is fuzzy and vague in metaphysical subjects such as Tarot, Cabala or Magic, if not impossible to define.

I think more books will be keep coming out on Thoth Tarot, Kabbalah and Tree of Life topics, as long as there are demands for them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
So readers get lost. For example, he talks about Einstein's relative theory in very first few pages of the BoT. If one is not familiar with Einstein and his relative theory, then would get lost what he is on about.
What?!

Just to be sure, you are talking about the short passage on pages 3 and 4? If so I fail to see your point. How anyone could be lost after reading that is a mystery to me. No knowledge of Relativity is implied. In fact you could drop "Einstein" and "Relativity" from that passage and it would make no difference.

"Generic scientific theory X does not rest on the fact that, when it was put to the test, it was confirmed."

This is true of all scientific theories, not just Relativity. Crowley just used Relativity as an example. An example that would have been widely discussed in his day by all manner of people.
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Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
Same with Dionysus and Isis and all the myriad of things he is bringing into the Trump discussions.
I see a great excuse to brush up on a little mythology. What's the problem with that? It can only broaden your knowledge and provide another perspective.
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Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
That distinction of beginner and advanced is fuzzy and vague in metaphysical subjects such as Tarot, Cabala or Magic, if not impossible to define.
You're either starting from a position of prior knowledge (of which there may be varying degrees), or you're starting from scratch and building up from the very basics.

As you point out, The Book of Thoth is lacking in many of the basics. In fact they are there, but they are presented in a very minimalist way. If you're already familiar with the basics of lets say Qabalah, then Crowley says more than enough on the subject. If you don't know it all that well, it might 'appear' that Crowley doesn't cover it in enough detail. (This is your gripe.) But do a little study and then return to The Book of Thoth, and I guarantee you that it will read like a completely different book.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
Excellent book. I love the keywords of each sephiroth. I don't think any other source of ToL and Tarot decks have this, or do they? Please enlighten me.
Not that I've seen. I tried to write the book that nobody else had written.
Thanks.
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What is being said here about Book of Thoth is exactly what makes it so great. So many books, after a first reading the "meat" has been stripped from the bone and I am pretty much done with them. Not that one. No matter how many years I have had it, it reveals something new all the time. It is exactly that it brings in all sorts of things to look up and reflect on that makes it magickal. It is like the everlasting gobstopper, always changing colors and flavors and never diminishing. I sometimes play imaginary games with myself, like if you could only have 3 foods for the rest of your life what would be smartest to pick, or what album would you never get sick of, and I imagine, if you were locked up and could only pick one book to keep (and not a dictionary or glossary of sorts as that is cheating), and only allowed to request others if tracking down a reference in your one book, you could be in pretty good shape with that one.
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I agree with Babalon. In fact, it has never been easier to read the Book of Thoth than it is now, since anything can be looked up instantly on Google. Granted, in some cases, like with the Tree of Life, you have to know what you're looking for and that connects to the non-basic aspects of it. One should also keep in mind the writing style of the book, which was rather archaic even when it was written. However that may be, it isn't a standard book of interpretations like many modern books, but one that gives you the tools you need to go further on your own, like Aeon's fishing metaphor. In that sense it highly respects the reader and expects them to do a lot of work on their own.

In terms of the mythology discussed, Isis and such, it would be impossible to include everything there. If Crowley would have retold every mythology that he mentions it would be more like the Encyclopedia of Thoth rather than a book, and would completely miss the point.

But, back to our topic, this is shared by many good books, even modern ones. Chicken Qabalah isn't Tarot-specific, doesn't give interpretations and doesn't go deep into the actual usage of the material it discusses, but it's a great book nonetheless. When Qabalah is concerned, you're expected to deal with the material on your own, otherwise you won't get very far. DuQuette's other book, Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot does have a short chapter on the Tree of Life, but it's barely an introduction, since that isn't in the cope of the book. It also has a very short chapter on card interpretations, but that chapter assumes that the reader will go elsewhere for that kind of material since the body itself has already given you the tools you need to know what you're looking for.

This may be the old-fashioned way of doing things, but when I started on the Thoth I read Understanding first, with a notebook, writing notes and working things out. Then I took a break from anything Thoth related for a few months and concentrated solely on Qabalah, studying each book rather than just reading it.

Maybe if Crowley actually was looking for profit he would have written the Book of Thoth with more of a general audience in mind, but I respect him very much for not going that route.
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I am not trying to let BoT down, or criticise. Even if I might, its importance and greatness will be intact from any such attempts. But what I am saying is, that if one is looking for meaty information for Thoth Tarot in conjunction with Tree of Life in Book of Thoth, he might not be very successful in the task, because of the scarcity of the information in there.

Tree of Life and the core origin of Kabbalah is based on the monotheistic Cristian religion, which the author of BoT had been against most of his life. I would guess this is the part of the reason, or maybe he was pressed for time getting the book published?

By all means, he mentions Kabbalah and Tree of Life in BoT in various places, albeit in cautious and disinterested manner it seems.

I agree, one is better studying Kabbalah from other sources, familiarise oneself to it, and marry it with Thoth Tarot as the way he wants refering to BoT whenever in doubt.
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Can I just point out that the 'free' PDFs of Robert Wang's book The Qabalistic Tarot are pirated and therefore denying Robert both his earnings and rights as an author.

I understand piracy is rampant, but if you give a damn about an Author and their livelihood buy the book. There are at least two current editions by publishers on both sides of the Atlantic, reasonably priced.
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In approaching the Book of Thoth (which I've been doing persistently - and occasionally even penetrating it - for some 45 years now), I've kept in mind the lines from the the opening "Bibliographical Note:"

". . . to reproduce the whole of his Magical Mind pictorially on the skeleton of the ancient Qabalistic system."

Also:

"He succeeded in uniting under the Schema of the Holy Qabalah, of which the Tarot is the greatest single element, all philosophical and magical systems soever, including that of the Chinese."

Hyperbole aside (and I have strong suspicions Crowley wrote or at least edited that text himself), I've always seen the BoT as an exercise in syncretism to partially satisfy the stated goal. It would have had to encompass a multi-volume encyclopedic set in order to be as detailed as we might have wished.
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