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Why is the Thoth deck so popular?

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La Force  La Force is offline
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The Thoth deck for me, is top knotch.

Personal experience with the Thoth.

When I first got the Thoth, I was like WTH am I doing. Why did I get this Deck. It would live in and out of my cedar trunk.

I was so drawn to it, like flies on *****. lol, I couldn't for the life me put my finger on it. I purchased 3 books for this deck, read them all, put them away. Felt lost and confused. Then I said to myself dang it all, something is missing in all my other decks, Oh wait the system is messed up, WTH, darn RWS, then Darn all RWS clones, put all RWS decks in trunk, never to be read with again. Wow, that was drastic. Pulled out the Thoth, looked at the cards, said why are you so darn difficult, could you not be any easier, geezzz. What am I going to do with you anyways. Then I had this most interesting idea, scissor happy time. I cut of all the borders leaving only the image. hmmmm I thought, this better do it. I start using the the Thoth by just it's colors, how did those colors on each card make me feel. after a couple months of this, I then just focused on the divinatory meanings of each card, memorizing them (made flash cards out of recipe cards) started with one word, then worked my way up. Then, I moved into astrology (basics), then I gradually moved into (kabbalah) starting with just the pips, 1 - 10, the last thing I did was the paths of the major arcana. I still have the I-ching to learn, but that will come in time.

Basically if you take a step back from the complexity of the deck, to its most simple form, the deck will walk you through step - by - step at your own pace, never rushing you to know more advance stuff, until your ready to know. The book of Thoth, works in the same manner, you will only understand, what your able to at the time, and with each reading the book reveals a little more, based on your understanding.

when we were children we started school in kindergarden, then grade 1 up to grade 12. This is how the Thoth Tarot deck and the Book of Thoth works.

Does this make any sense to you?

so In my opinion, this is why the deck is so popular. I to this day can honestly say the Thoth deck doesn't have a System flaw. Which radiates strongly with me, being an over-analysis, over-thinker, I couldn't for the life of me find any flaws like I did in the RWS system, even though they are both GD, AC in my opinion fixed all the Flaws, where the RWS Failed in it's system.
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I ask myself the same thing.


I don't see the beauty in it, but others do. I guess it's just preference.
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Abrac  Abrac is offline
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Probably a combination of Harris' art and Crowley's philosophy I'd say. They're both pretty enigmatic and that draws people to it.

Not to get off topic, but just to clarify one thing. Waite's tarot draws influence from many sources, it's not strictly a GD deck. It has elements of GD, but for the most part it's based on Waite's Christian mysticism philosophy. I imagine it has flaws, but that could be said of anything if you look hard enough.
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La Force  La Force is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AquaPeacock View Post
I don't see the beauty in it, but others do. I guess it's just preference.
I honestly don't see the beauty in it either (The images) where I see the beauty is in AC writing, Intelligence, knowledge. The educational aspect of the deck. I call myself "all Brains" no feelings, lol well some feelings. My wheels constantly turns, never shuts off, always thinking, the only time I get peace, is stimulating my thought processess. The Thoth system does this for me. I don't have to use the Thoth deck persay, but I use the Thoth system, it heals my brain, puts me in a place of peace and tranquillity.

The Thoth is an intellectually speaking system, that I find invigorating.

ETA: The only way I can sleep, is listening to educational seminars or documentaries. Last night I went to sleep listen to Lon Duquette on Talkradio. That's the only way I can shut off my brian, in order to sleep. lol
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La Force  La Force is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
Not to get off topic, but just to clarify one thing. Waite's tarot draws influence from many sources, it's not strictly a GD deck. It has elements of GD, but for the most part it's based on Waite's Christian mysticism philosophy. I imagine it has flaws, but that could be said of anything if you look hard enough.
That is correct, all I found was flaws, after flaws, and I was looking hard enough, over-thought and analyzed it to death, even argued a few things about it. on and on it went, I just couldn't agree with it after my findings. That's why RWS decks live in my Trunk and stay there. lol I also gave a lot of those decks away, I didn't want anything to do with them.


I do have a *New DECK - The Sherlock Holmes - Which sadly is RWS based, but I have it cause it's an intellectual speaking deck, (Shelock Holmes Thinking and way of deducing / deduction). Also the way it's put together by John Matthews and Wilkinghan. I find intriguing and stimulates my brain. I don't use the RWS system with it. The only thing in my mind that I acknowledge in this deck is that strength is 8 and justice is 11. and I leave it at that, no more no less.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abrac View Post
Not to get off topic, but just to clarify one thing. Waite's tarot draws influence from many sources, it's not strictly a GD deck. It has elements of GD, but for the most part it's based on Waite's Christian mysticism philosophy. I imagine it has flaws, but that could be said of anything if you look hard enough.
And ironically, it is the Thoth that is most often accused of having an agenda while the RWS is seen as rather neutral. Truth is, both men set out to convey their own ideas about the world and Tarot was yet another form of expression for them both. Neither are "preachy" in the classic sense but without a doubt each deck pushes forward certain ideas and moralities.

Personally I am very drawn to the Thoth's outlook of freedom and the exhaustive analysis of that idea through 78 cards.
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The Happy Squirrel  The Happy Squirrel is offline
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Why is the Thoth deck so popular?


I have just received my first Thoth deck (that isn't for collection purposes). Trimmed it, and sat with it and DuQuette's book. And already, only in the last few days I began to understand why this deck is so special.

I am not sure it is fair to compare this with Waite's system. Waite and Crowley came from very different places with their decks. My impression from what I have seen so far - which is limited - is that the two men were motivated by very different things.

It feels almost as if Waite aimed to 'democratise' the tarot. While Crowley seek to communicate a higher order of the world with his.

Waite brought the tarot to the masses, Crowley said to the masses 'look what I have, if you want to see you have to come to me'. Consistently, Waite created a system which used a variety of recognisable sources from existing tradition (Sola Busca, Marseilles, Christian mysticism, etc) to communicate forward what he had learned from the Golden Dawn adding his own take on it (having one's own take is fair enough I think). While Crowley synthesised a completely new set of artwork based in the GD original design and his own Thelema.

As such, The Thoth is a bit more 'elitist' while Waite's is 'populist'.

Waite's system is archetypal so that it allows us to project our own shapes onto it. Thus the 'RWS clones', which I would prefer to call 'RWS based framework'.

Crowley's thoth deck is so specific and specialised that it is impossible to project our own images onto it.

Some argue this is a sign of superiority of Crowley's deck. Burns would say it depends on what you need and what you want your deck for.

In terms of art, the art on the Thoth deck didn't appeal to me until recently. Once I saw the paintings without the borders, they jumped at me in all of its art nouveau and Art Deco glory. Not all of them are attractive to me, but enough are just wow. Especially after you learn a bit more about what each of them contain and why.

The art in this deck is also, I feel, judged by itself, is far more sophisticated than Pamela Coleman Smith's art, who by all account was a working artist, a hired hand, compared to Lady Harris who lived a life of relative privilege, presumably able to be as artistic as she wished to without worrying about where the next meal was going to come from and clearly a more equal partner to Crowley than Smith was to Waite.

So to answer the question: I think it is because the Thoth deck is a 'specialised' deck, one which was created as a culmination of a life work, instead of a deck which was created to make the mysterious less so, to make the inaccessible accessible. The Thoth will have to be pursued to be accessible. It doesn't come to you, you have to go to it. On top of that, the art work is superior in its sophistication not only aesthetically but philosophically compared to Waite's.

It doesn't make it better than Waite's in my opinion. Just explain why some are devoted to it.

It is more mysterious and beautiful than Waite's, and I think it is human nature to be drawn to beauty and mystery
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I want to get it because there are other decks that I want to learn that are based on Thoth. I think I'll be done with RWS clones for a little while and it'll be time for something else.

Plus I'm a sucker for art.
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Of all the Tarot decks that adhere closely to the Golden Dawn system, even with its Thelemic and other biases, aesthetically it is the most exquisite and beautiful. While the mindset behind it is decidedly masculine, Lady Harris's art balanced it to soften the stark edges making it more spiritual, intuitive, alluring. What got me most were how the "human" figure in each card was drawn, making them appear solid but dreamlike, utterly gorgeous and heroic and just a little bit scary. Not to mention that behind all this lushness is a heavy but meaningful symbolism that puts it on par with the most esoteric decks ever made.
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I had the Book of Thoth for quite some time (and read it to the best of my ability, being just over 20 years old at that point) before I was able to get my hands on a deck. But my copy of the book had a number of color plates of the cards (even if badly reproduced) and I could see immediately that the art was something special. Later I worked with the deck and book together for study before starting to read with it. Divination really wasn't what I wanted to do at the time, but I knew people who wanted readings and it was the only deck I had. Lucky me!

Like Nemia, I felt no urge to buy an RWS deck for a long time. I have a couple of those now, and value them for their story-telling vividness (due more, I think, to Pixie's images than Waite's contributions in the PKT). The Thoth, on the other hand, is obviously an exceptional collaborative effort, with both book and deck a stunning achievement in its own right.
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