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Thoth - Where would you start? Pls Help?

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treedog  treedog is offline
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keep studying: hard focus, soft focus...


I'm really new to the Thoth deck as well--in fact new to Tarot. The names of some of the pips like Ruin, Debauch, Cruelty, Despair and so forth, really scared me at first. In fact those names still put me off a bit. But the more I study the Tree of Life and astrological aspects (two systems I knew nothing about a couple of months ago) the more at peace I feel.

Little by little I see that no card is an end in and of itself. All is movement, and each position contains it's own solution, usually in the form of an insight. The books I'm reading (most mentioned in this thread) are really helpful. But what brings it in to focus and makes it relevant for me are the comments on this forum. I make some newbie comment about the 8th Sephira not sounding like "Splendor" to me, and I get lots of help from other posters that help with my understanding. I can see why some people just want to study the cards and leave "readings" to others. What a grand journey is this Thoth!

I would add to the reading list: The Tarot: A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages by Paul Foster Case. It's not AC Thoth, but it is GD, and it helps me see some of the evolution of the Thoth deck.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
If you are satisfied with superficiality and mediocrity, then no, you do not have to understand the symbolism. But then, why use the Thoth at all? Why would anyone find it satisfactory to use a deck which is not understood? I have a sneaking suspicion that some professional readers may use Thoth only to impress clients with the weird pictures. If you can understand those mysterious pictures, then you must be one smart card reader for sure!.
That had been my impression, in the past. And one of the reasons why I justified setting it aside. But now I feel ready to try again, and to attempt to truly understand it. Which, I have no doubt will take many, many years!
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I bought my Thoth about 7 months ago, but somehow I have not been able to get started with it. I started off with decks I purchased later, but the Thoth got neglected somehow.

Off late I have been realizing my neglect and have been scourging the forum for certain help to get on the right path for Thoth other than reading DuQuette. This thread had good resources and I think I would be better at using them.

Other than the literary sources mentioned here, is there anything in particular about how I should proceed with the Thoth? Do I just go with reading Thoth as I do my RWS clones? Or do I also keep referring the LWB for additional help? The fear of getting dependant on the LWB is rather the reason for keeping me away from reading with Thoth
Top   #33
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I started by learning enough about astrology, alchemy, and Qabalah to read the Book of Thoth without being totally bewildered. It included a lot of memorization, which was facilitated by posting relevant diagrams and such on the wall behind my desk where I would be sure to see them every day. Unless one is seriously interested in the esoteric, such an approach may not be feasible. However, you asked.

The esoteric and occult is not just a matter of this and that tidbit of information from new age woo-woo sources. For Crowley it was a serious study, and he organized it into an internally consistent and coherent system.

ETA. For example, memorizing the Zodiac and the Tree of Life is important; so that, for example when a card appears in a reading, you know instantly how it relates esoterically to the other cards in the spread. This opens up new, broader vistas of understanding that could never even be imagined merely by using only individual card meanings, and it introduces coherence into the spread. The Golden Dawn and Crowley Tarot systems are devised to facilitate this kind of reading activity. There is no substitute.
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Thank you for the detailed reply LRichard. I think it has definitely outlined a path that I need to take and something that I was unsure until right now.

Can I ask some more stuffs...

You mention memorizing Zodiac and the Tree of Life. Do you mean memorizing the particular allocation in zodiac here for the Majors and Minors? Like say Justice is related to Libra, and some particular minor is "x" degrees of "y" zodiac signs? I wouldn't mind memorizing anything for Thoth, but to be frank I have until now in my readings with other decks always neglected these minor details. Could you please explain how they could widen the scope for my reading using Thoth?

As regards memorization of the Tree of Life, did you mean memorizing about the location of the card on the Tree of Life? Could you please elaborate a bit?

I loathed "learning by heart" or memorization when I was in school/college, but I am ready to go any mile for knowing how to read the Thoth.
Top   #35
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I mean just to internalize the basic structure of the zodiac (a circle with the 12 zodiac signs placed around it in order) and the Tree of Life (the 10 circles of the Sephirot with the interconnecting paths).

Details can be added as you go along. For now don't worry about where the cards go. The idea behind this approach is just to learn the basic vocabulary which Crowley is using, so the book can be read with understanding.

I'm far from being an expert on Thoth. For example, there is a lot of Egyptian mythology with which I need to be more familiar.

The amount of information crammed into the deck is staggering, but it is not good to be intimidated or overwhelmed by trying to take it all in at once.
Top   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pacificwaters View Post
Could you please explain how they could widen the scope for my reading using Thoth?
I can't really add to what LRichard has said, except about this. A great part of esoteric Tarot is understanding that however you use it, it is a model of the world with active and passive forces, balances and most of all, everything is interconnected. So in fact, some of the most important aspects of the Thoth aren't on the cards themselves.

In terms of Kabbalah, this entails, as LRichard says, internalizing its general structure and what connects to what. Once you grasp the basic method, this isn't as much memorization as it might imply. Astrologically, this mainly means learning the attributions of the Trumps, and what they mean. It isn't actual astrology, at least not until you get to the Courts, but more in the sense of ideas, each astrological element is its own set of them. These two, astrology and kabbalah, together open up whole new worlds that are not apparent otherwise. Although some memorization is part of it, it isn't as much as you would think, since when analyzing the cards you tend to use the same tools over and over, and they become second nature in time.

For example, the Tower is attributed to Mars, and so is the fifth Sephira of Geburah, so all the fives have something in common with the disruptive influence of the Tower. Mars also appears in the Minors, although modified by the signs, and so there is also a connection between the five and ten of Cups, nine of Swords, two and seven of Wands and the three of Disks. What those connections are I can't tell you, it's up to you to work it out. That's where intuition comes in, how you connect all the different elements that are the building blocks of each card.

So you see, it's all interconnected. I'll toot my own horn here, I wrote two introductory essays about these subjects and although they're far from perfect, as well as incomplete, they may give you an idea:

Beginner's Kabbalah: The Four Worlds and the Tree of Life

Beginner's Kabbalah: The Court Cards
Top   #37
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A lot of experienced Tarot readers seem to misunderstand what happens when Tarot is superimposed onto the Tree of Life. Rather than restricting one's readings, it allows for much more flexibility and freedom in interpretation than when the Rider-Waite (or other) traditional meanings are used as a basis. As closrapexa explained, the Tree of Life is a model of reality. It is a sort of map or pattern, not only of the universe (macrocosm), but also of the individual (microcosm). This is a consequence of the truth expressed in the Emerald Tablet: "As above, so below; as below, so above." It is what makes possible divination as well as magic(k), and it also accounts for the incorporation of astrology and alchemy into the Golden Dawn system.

An interesting but little-recognized fact is that the Rider-Waite images on the pips are much more compatible with the Book of Thoth commentaries than they are with the traditional meanings given in Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot. This is not a coincidence.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
An interesting but little-recognized fact is that the Rider-Waite images on the pips are much more compatible with the Book of Thoth commentaries than they are with the traditional meanings given in Waite's Pictorial Key to the Tarot. This is not a coincidence.
I wouldn't say that for ALL of the pips in the RWS. A lot of the images are ambiguous as hell.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fianic View Post
I wouldn't say that for ALL of the pips in the RWS. A lot of the images are ambiguous as hell.
Like which? I've found that given the proper angle, they can be easily interpreted esoterically.
Top   #40




 


 


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