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"Killing the Thoth Deck" -Mary Greer

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Quote:
Originally Posted by zan_chan

But then Ms. Greer does make a good point in quoting the beginning of the Book of Thoth. About the book itself, Crowley writes, "Its perusal may be omitted with advantage." Is that Crowley humor, or is there really something to it?

Thoughts?
I don't think that Crowley believed anything he wrote could be omitted with advantage.
Top   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie
I don't think that Crowley believed anything he wrote could be omitted with advantage.
Exactly. And once you know that is the basis of Arrien's work, it is very hard to take it seriously.

It will be interesting to see what happens if the deck survives and the book doesn't - but ain't never going to happen !
Top   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac
I think Crowley would have agreed that to rigidly define them would be to kill them.
Crowley would not, and did not agree.
Quote:
The 78 symbols of the Tarot are admirably balanced and combined. They are adequate to all demands made upon them; each symbol is not only mathematically precise, but possesses an artistic significance which helps the diviner to understand them by stimulating his aesthetic perceptions.
Top   #13
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I haven't read the book in question, but I think the Thoth can be digested either way. I'm not sure of the "advantage" of less study, but I still haven't studied Crowley to any great extent (only the Book of Thoth and much of that was cryptic and incomprehensible to me, which is why I didn't follow his writings further). I've been using the Thoth for over 20 years now. It's still my all-time favorite deck. I'm not going to tell you I'm better off that way, but since I don't know all that I'm missing, and I seem able to give good readings with it, I'm not convinced I'm worse off either. I'm sure there are some symbols I would comprehend better with more study. But is it necessary for me to comprehend them as Crowley intended in order to read with the deck? I don't think so. (I still plan to read Duquette.)

But it's a deck that is deep in both symbolism and expression. Either of these to some extent require study to comprehend -- and I won't say how much, because I think that depends on the user's background. But if you have tried reading with the Thoth already and you feel you need more study, then by all means study. If you don't feel you need more study but want it in order to ensure you aren't missing anything, then by all means study. However if you're reading with it just fine, then further study is more of a luxury choice, similar to deciding whether to take elective classes in high school (oh how I wish I'd chosen accounting and typing back then, lol). You may decide later that it was the wrong decision, but unlike high school, the Crowley books are always there.

There are those who will tell you what you "should" do, but in the end it's your decision.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
But the latter method is a smaller universe that tends to tell you what you want to hear. I wonder why....

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?
I have to disagree with this, but then mileage may vary. Are you saying that if one reads and comprehends all of Crowley's writings, one will never read what they want to into the cards?
Top   #14
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With the Thoth I feel I never totally understand it but at any given moment I read with it to the best of my abilities at that time!

I have read the Book of Thoth, DuQuette and Snuffin and looked a lot at the cards but I cannot absorb all stuff from all books at all times!

I just keep on stumbling forward with it because I love the images so much!

As with anything & everything in life, the deeper you go, the more rewarding it is.
Top   #15
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Nevada, believe it or not, I agree with everything you said. If someone wants to let the cards speak for themselves, fine. The cards have been specifically designed to elicit specific responses. If anyone wants to explore the original intent in greater detail, read the Book of Thoth.

What I find annoying is clowns like Arrien, who seek to redefine the original intention behind the symbolism for their own clueless purposes.
Top   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Nevada, believe it or not, I agree with everything you said. If someone wants to let the cards speak for themselves, fine. The cards have been specifically designed to elicit specific responses. If anyone wants to explore the original intent in greater detail, read the Book of Thoth.

What I find annoying is clowns like Arrien, who seek to redefine the original intention behind the symbolism for their own clueless purposes.
Okay. Well since I haven't read her book, I can't comment on that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zan_chan
On first reading this article (and then confirming such ideas with a wise friend) I assumed that it was nothing but an exercise in extreme laziness. In the past week of mounting research, confusion, frustration, and bitterness (and fun and intrigue, too!) into the Thoth, I can definitely understand how and why someone would want to come up with a reason to get to use the deck without doing the work. On its own, the Thoth is a beautiful stack of cards and it's easy to see why any reader would want a chance to play with them. Not every reader, however, wants to do all the work involved to get to know the deck in the way I would assume Crowley would have wanted.
Whether you learn from Crowley's writings or from using the deck, it's going to be work. The only "lazy" option is not using it at all, which would be more choice than laziness. I tend never to agree with the term "lazy" anyway. I don't think true laziness exists, just choices. Most people work hard at whatever they choose to do.

Yes, someone who studies Crowley in detail will get something different from the deck, but better or worse? Who's to say really? I think I'd have to do more than read her book to have an opinion on that. I'd have to be her, or at least have a reading with the Thoth from her.

Now my words read as if I'm just trying to be argumentative, so I'll let it go.

PS I have been using tarot for some years, and I have never felt I understood a deck 100%. If that happens, I'll likely get bored with that deck very quickly. It's the uncertainty and mystery that make the cards useful, IMO.
Top   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac
Greer said... that the symbols are open to subjective interpretation
but what is the context?

my better judgement tells me not to respond to this thread... I would always encourage anyone to rethink anything of value

However.. ....

[the following .. edited to tone it down]

The Thoth is a system of amazing depth... and built from profoundly deep knowledge... the Thoth symbols are part the system, a language, a philosophy, a genius mind and artist

therefore .. the symbols within this system all have a (mostly) consistent meaning toward expressing that system...

to reinterprete Thoth symbols (that are not vague enough to justify the effort) based on such shallow reasoning ... will ensure that the reader ... will not get the benefit of the system... nor achieve the deep insights to which it provides a path

I have not the least interest in how anyone uses the Thoth personally, but I do see harm when experts are guiding people who are searching for an understanding of the Thoth to such a process ... that defeats the purpose/uniqueness/power of using the Thoth, and has even worse effect of planting within these seekers of Truth the belief that this is the advice of an expert and end their advancement...

like redefining words in a language.. I don't believe in angels, so I'll substitute the definition for "bird" because that feels more realistic..

<<<< who seek to redefine the original intention behind the symbolism for their own clueless purposes.>>>

yes, I think the book is the worst ever written on the Thoth, and misleading the seeker, though I have no problem with someone creating a new system for the Thoth, but it's the teaching that that would be authentic that I would object to. The Thoth is one of the great journeys in life. ((the book was so bad , that I wouldn't even give it away or sell to a used bookstore, I wouldn't want to propagate it))

Are they seeking a politically correct Thoth? (reminds me of a review I wrote of a new translation of Rilke's Book of Hours (which I have translated myself) , it removed and rewrote entire sentences to be "more acceptable" in it's philosophy; it completely changed the meaning of dozens of lines of poetry, some had no Resemblance to the original. This is serious, because the english reader with no knowledge of German, has no other access to grasping the poems. The translator decided what would be conveyed... that's not the work of a enlightened translator... I insist that the reader be given the best representation of the author and let the reader draw their own conclusions. (I trust everyone can think and consider) )
Top   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada
Are you saying that if one reads and comprehends all of Crowley's writings, one will never read what they want to into the cards?
No, that's not what I am saying. The cards already mean something very specific. They were designed according to that specifc meaning and, if allowed to speak for themselves, will elicit a corresponding response within the receptive reader.

Things start to go off course when people treat the cards as a "tabula rasa" and project their own meanings onto the cards.
Top   #19
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I am hardly a Thoth specialist - I love it and use it often, but others on this thread are far more knowledgeable about it than me. However, I can say this about Arrien's book: it's one of the worse tarot books I've ever read. I think others must have rumbled it, because when I tried to give it away, I couldn't find any takers . It's a misguided attempt at revisionism, and not terribly original either, full of pseudo-psychologising.

As for studying the Thoth: I found that a mix of Crowley's own writings (not only the Book of Thoth) with some writers like Lon Duquette and Hajo Banzhaf have worked well to help me explore the cards in more depth and read them better - my own method has always been a blend of analysis and intuition, which together give me insight (hopefully) on a question. Both are helped by deepening study, and I do find I avoid the excesses of the hall of mirrors (without fully emancipating myself from it, I admit). When in doubt, however, I go back to Crowley.

Crowley was a ferociously erudite man who had constructed a well-formed magickal system: the Thoth deck was the artistic and tarot representation of that erudition and that system, as represented by Lady Harris's amazing paintings. Simply to throw these away makes about as much sense as to look at Western European Medieval Christian art without any knowledge of or curiosity about Christianity, the Bible, the Catholic Tradition, the stories of the saints and Christian symbolism. I mean - if you don't know that a dove hovering above someone is the pure soul of that person, it's just a bird about to crap on someone's head, isn't it? Likewise, if we don't know anything about the alchemical process and symbolism, and what Crowley wrote about them, how can we understand or read cards like Art or The Lovers? If we know nothing about his vision of the Aeon of Horus and the symbolism of Harpocrates - what will the Aeon card tell us? How can we possibly interpret the 10 of Disks without knowing what Crowley had to say about the Tree of Life? 'A lot of money'? that doesn't go very far, and it's pretty distant from what Crowley intended!

At the same time, there is the challenge of not 'reading the book' when you are interpreting the cards in a reading situation - and so time spent with the cards alone is equally necessary. A tough job? Well, the Thoth took a lifetime for Crowley to work up to and was the result of an intense collaboration between two gifted people - so it's not supposed to be easy... but the more I study, the more rewarding I find it. I have done it in phases, over the past few years.
Top   #20




 


 


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