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Best Thoth book to start with

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Miss Woo  Miss Woo is offline
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Originally Posted by gregory View Post
Not cryptic - I'd put Snuffin top of the list. DuQuette is VERY good - but not as digestible.
Ooh, I might get that next. Thanks!
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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Suffin and DuQuette are both good - Banzhaf is better than I thought for a long time although you have to dig a bit - Ziegler is abysmal IMO. I see no connection between the stuff he writes and the cards. He also relies heavily (some might say TOO heavily) on Angeles Arrien.

Ziegler is popular in German speaking countries, I really don't know why.

Sorry if I'm blunt.
Top   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
Suffin and DuQuette are both good - Banzhaf is better than I thought for a long time although you have to dig a bit - Ziegler is abysmal IMO. I see no connection between the stuff he writes and the cards. He also relies heavily (some might say TOO heavily) on Angeles Arrien.

Ziegler is popular in German speaking countries, I really don't know why.

Sorry if I'm blunt.
Thanks - I thought for a minute I was alone there. I can't understand it either.

And Arrien - yes, avoid her.
Top   #13
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Michael Sternbach  Michael Sternbach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
Suffin and DuQuette are both good - Banzhaf is better than I thought for a long time although you have to dig a bit - Ziegler is abysmal IMO. I see no connection between the stuff he writes and the cards. He also relies heavily (some might say TOO heavily) on Angeles Arrien.

Ziegler is popular in German speaking countries, I really don't know why.

Sorry if I'm blunt.
When I mentioned Ziegler I was fully expecting these reactions, for I know that many Crowley believers don't like him because he is partially relying on Arrien (as do Wanless and Tarantino). Arrien had pissed the believers off by taking the liberty to read the symbolism of the Thoth based on Jungian psychology rather than seeing it only as an illustration of Crowley's writings. Even though I don't subscribe to the way she is downplaying Crowley's importance, I basically see nothing wrong with her approach to the cards because their symbolism is universal and can therefore be read independently from any description. I don't regard the Thoth as merely a translation of something else but as a work in its own right.

I would not recommend to use any of the Arrien based books on their own, however, lest you would indeed miss some important aspects of the cards. That's why I mentioned the BoT first off. Duquette, Snuffin and Banzhaf are good, too, but I didn't suggest them in my short list because I knew they have plenty of supporters here anyway. I am surprised that nobody highlighted the importance of the Book T and/or Liber Theta yet, though.

The thing is, no book covers all the meanings of the cards. My approach is to read them all, then absorb what I find useful. Along these lines, I found the Ziegler books useful in my work with psychiatric patients during most of the 90s. They are insightful in terms of a spiritual psychology that speaks to many readers directly and includes practical exercises. They are much easier to understand than the BoT, thus suitable for beginners, while Ziegler's philosophy actually quite agrees with Thelema in many respects.

As for the aptness of the card meanings, all I can say is that they generally held true in my nearly 30 years of personal experience with the Thoth, although, as I said, I by no means limit my understanding of them to Ziegler or any other author. Surely, Crowley himself didn't claim that the BoT has all the truth in it, rather, he recommended to see how far its contents can be confirmed in practice, and generally to get acquainted with the cards empirically by applied divination.

It's rare to see i.e. Rachel Pollack under criticism because she doesn't slavishly adhere to Waite's cryptic writings - but then again, Waite was probably not charismatic enough to surround himself with the kind of fan club that Crowley still enjoys.
Top   #14
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I took BoT as a given But also the OP says she isn't ready for cryptic - and it is rather

Arrien - well, for a START there is the matter of seeing the pelican in the Empress card as a swan - she is plain inaccurate. (Maybe Harris didn't paint it too well - but the imagery is all about the pelican mythology, which is suggested very well with the beak to breast image, even if the ornithology is slightly suspect.) . The Jungian stuff as Jungian stuff is OK - but her application is seriously flawed. Also - as I said years ago here: My objection to Arrien is that she doesn't actually deal with the Thoth; she says right from the start that Crowley's stuff is too complicated so she chooses to disregard it. That is IMHO inexcusable and means the book teaches you nothing except what she sees in the deck, NOT what the deck is all about in any sense.

Both she and Ziegler are writing from the POV of their own subjective thoughts - and can seriously confuse - to the extent that they sometimes force the cards to agree with what they say. . Fair enough - read them once you are familiar with what Crowley himself said - and DuQuette and Snuffin do stick with that.
Top   #15
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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As a member of the "Crowley fan club" since 1972, I had only the BoT to go by for many years. I fleshed out a couple of readings of that with the large volume of qabalistic and Golden Dawn-based material that was (and - take note - still is) available - Crowley's Equinox version of Liber T, Case (I went through all of the BOTA course material), Knight, Fortune, Gray, Regardie, later on Wang. While not Thelemic - I had many of Crowley's non-tarot works for that grounding - it still gave me a solid platform on which to build my "Thoth temple." None of the current crop of Thoth interpreters was around until much later, so I'm kind of luke-warm to all of them. Duquette is good for the inspired beginner (but not, I think, the truly green novice); for me it was a bit like "snack food." I'm not sure how much good it does to embellish the BoT material with a load of psychological freight - or the RWS and TdM, for that matter - much of Crowley's thought seemed to be more in the exalted mystical vein, even though it was informed by some of the scientific advances of his time. Unlike the Thoth, which compels it's admires toward the BoT and its literary descendents due to its sheer density, I've often thought the RWS has gained its immense popularity in spite of Waite's written guidebook and its spiritual offspring.
Top   #16
Miss Woo  Miss Woo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I've often thought the RWS has gained its immense popularity in spite of Waite's written guidebook and its spiritual offspring.
I agree with this completely.

About the Book of Thoth, I just can't be bothered. It sounds huge (and really heavy and complex). I'm so lazy that I'm over reading. I used to be the kind of person who could read Jane Eyre in one night.
Top   #17
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gregory  gregory is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Woo View Post
I agree with this completely.

About the Book of Thoth, I just can't be bothered. It sounds huge (and really heavy and complex). I'm so lazy that I'm over reading. I used to be the kind of person who could read Jane Eyre in one night.
It's not that huge - but my printed copy has big type and too much white space, so it LOOKS bigger than it needs to be. You can always read it a card at a time on line. If you "can't be bothered" to read it, I'm not sure this is the deck for you, to be perfectly honest. Sooner or later you NEED to read it.

When I couldn't face reading it cover to cover, I did the 78 card study with the Thoth deck, and read (and posted) one card at a time, reading all the books I had on each card. It was fairly painless - but you do need 78 weeks to do that properly.
Top   #18
Miss Woo  Miss Woo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory View Post
It's not that huge - but my printed copy has big type and too much white space, so it LOOKS bigger than it needs to be. You can always read it a card at a time on line. If you "can't be bothered" to read it, I'm not sure this is the deck for you, to be perfectly honest. Sooner or later you NEED to read it.

When I couldn't face reading it cover to cover, I did the 78 card study with the Thoth deck, and read (and posted) one card at a time, reading all the books I had on each card. It was fairly painless - but you do need 78 weeks to do that properly.
In all the years I owned and used a Thoth deck, I never read any books about it; I just used my intuition.

eta

What I mean is, I don't want to start off with something heavy; I just want to start off with an introductory thing, like an entrée So this DuQuette book sounds perfect
Top   #19
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Woo View Post
In all the years I owned and used a Thoth deck, I never read any books about it; I just used my intuition.
I'm stealing LRichard's response to another thread to respond to this. I think he's right overall. You've obviously found the second way, but it seems a lot of the richness might be escaping you. In practical terms though, as a reading deck, it makes no difference as long as it produces useful results. Personally I find having that depth available to me gives my readings multiple dimensions and subtleties they wouldn't otherwise have.

"I can't use a deck unless I understand (or at least have the delusion that I understand) the imagery. The symbolism of the images in the Thoth, especially the Majors and Courts, can be elusive since they incorporate esoteric, mythological, and philosophical concepts which are often unique to the deck's author. Apparently, it is possible to 'read' the Thoth simply by looking at the images and imagining (intuiting?) meanings, but I am constitutionally unable to do this. If you want to use the Thoth, you will need to find a way to 'understand' it which you find personally satisfying."
Top   #20




 


 


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