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thoth study or intuition????

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Parzival's Avatar
Parzival  Parzival is offline
Join Date: 26 Apr 2004
Location: Maryland, U.S.A.
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thoth study or intuition?

Alobar,I appreciate your question, and your quote from Paul Case: "Tarot is a system of enlightenment ." But this system does essentially involve moving through symbols towards insights and revelations,so that it's meditative with visual patterns.True,study can see the symbols as an end, not as a means towards an end. And the esoteric direction can be lost in the forest of endless symbol-trees.It's all in the balance between the extremes of interpretation and meditation.No one approach tells the whole tale, at least as I see it . (No one deck carries all perspectives of truth, either.)
Top   #21
LadyMedusa  LadyMedusa is offline
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Re: thoth study or intuition????

Originally posted by yaraluna
are there any people out there that use the thoth deck as a 'normal' deck for divination?
There are probabally many of them.

Originally posted by yaraluna
i mean, i see that a lot of people study the thoth deck, its symbology, meaning, A.crowleys stuff etc etc.
Ever since i saw it i wanted it because of the comments regarding the possibilities of this deck when reading with it, the looks of it, and how much i 'wanted' it. once i got it i read with it from intuition and just have a quick look at he LWB so i can learn crowleys approach. but...but... that's all for me.i wanted to 'study' the deck like you guys, but it just doesn't 'attract' me to do so, or better say it just doesn't feel right for me to do so at this moment.

You may be at the point in your path where you will learn much more about the systems and symbols in this deck if you look for answers to your questions as they present themselves.
I have found that if someone is not really seeking to learn from a formal study, they don't get much from it, and they don't really stick with it.

Originally posted by yaraluna
would i be missing a lot in my readings just by doing 'intuitive/previous knowledge of tarot' readings with it instead??

Depending on your already existing knowledge of the systems and symbols this deck uses...Maybe.
(Some here would say absolutely)
Ultimately only you can answer that question.

I think as long as you fill in the gaps you feel need filled, in the way that works best for you, then your on the right track.

Top   #22
Nevada's Avatar
Nevada  Nevada is offline
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Re: Re: thoth study or intuition????

Originally posted by LadyMedusa
You may be at the point in your path where you will learn much more about the systems and symbols in this deck if you look for answers to your questions as they present themselves.
Great point, LadyMedusa. Some of us like to get right to the "doing" and continue learning as we go along. I would hate to see someone who's longing to read with a deck delay doing so until they consider themselves a tarot scholar. I'm much more interested in the symbolism of a card when it comes up in a reading than I am when it simply comes up in the course of study.

My method of studying a new deck is to do readings. When I do them, I first note my intuitive take on the cards. Then I may or may not look up the book meanings. If I'm still not satisfied I'll study the symbols more closely. Learning is an iterative process. It doesn't happen all at once, with an avalanche of knowledge and no application for the knowledge. The mind needs time to process bits and pieces, and reason to retain them.

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Vincent  Vincent is offline
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Nevada  Nevada is offline
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Location: California, USA
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I don't think anyone here has advised foregoing study altogether. Most of us have great respect for the creators of the deck. I certainly do. Everyone here is just expressing their opinions. It's okay to be in the minority with your opinion. We're all there at times.

The question was whether one could go ahead and begin reading with the deck while first undertaking the study of it.

Learning symbolism requires study. Training the intuition requires practice. (Practice and meditation are the only way I know of to train oneself to know the difference between intuition and guessing. If anyone else has a better method, please tell me.)

There has to be a balance between the two for one to learn to read with a deck. That balance differs from reader to reader. It's an individual decision. For me the intuitive end of things is more important, because I want to read with the deck (not usually for divination, BTW, but for personal insight). But if reading isn't the primary goal, if one doesn't wish to train the intuition, then of course study would be the more important of the two.

For me, the usefulness of a deck depends on the artwork, on whether it taps into the part of my mind that feeds the intuition. But as with any artwork, that's an individual thing. You won't find an artist whose work hangs in a gallery standing by to explain the symbolism to everyone who views their paintings. They shouldn't need to. The artwork must stand on its own. My guess is that's why Crowley was so fussy about how Lady Frieda Harris painted the cards in the Thoth deck.

Tarot is a little different from ordinary art, but not that much so. To appreciate it, to read with it, one needs to tap into one's own response to it. To understand the creator and how their mind used and intended the symbols, study is required.

Lady Frieda herself said, "The pictures of these cards . . . are intended for the purpose for which the cards were first designed, to stimulate reflection and meditation." (This can be found at the end of her section of the LWB, first written for the Berkeley Galleries exhibition in 1942.)

Again, we're only expressing opinions here.

Top   #25
Alobar's Avatar
Alobar  Alobar is offline
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Originally posted by Vincent
To me, it seems obvious that if you wish to understand the Thoth deck, you will have to make the effort to understand the ideas that Aleister Crowley iconified in his deck. You have to attempt this even if it's only to have a platform from which you can disagree with his ideas.

That means undertaking a lot of study, and of course, not everyone has the time or inclination for such study. And, such study is not encouraged by the predominant pop-Tarot culture which pushes out such books as 'Tarot for Dummies', 'Tarot in 5 Minutes', or more specifically, the dreadful Angeles Arriens book that dismisses Crowley's contribution to the Thoth deck, in the first few pages.
thank you, and well said.

You see, facts can be proved one way or another, whereas 'intuition' is never burdened by such bothersome luggage.
thank you, and very true.

I just didn't want you to think you were a lone dog barking at the moon. There are some who feel the way you do, and have enough respect for the people who created the decks, to investigate why they thought the way they do.
and thank you, i was beginning to wonder!
Top   #26
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FraterGrant  FraterGrant is offline
Join Date: 04 Jul 2004
Location: Rhinebeck, New York, USA
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I can read my Thoth intuitivly, with only looking at the pictures and keywords. Yes, some trip me up, but thats why I also study my deck. I read intuitivly, and study with it. That way, I can read MORE intuitivly. Like someone else said, If you dont understand some symbols, you have to study them. Without it, you cant read intuitivly correctly or effectivly. But like another person said:

To Each His Own, To Own His Each
Nothing cannot be learned,
It is all inside of reach
From the Sun to the Stars, The Plains to the Beach
Please o Tarot, Please, Teach me all that you can teach.

Sorry again for my poetry. And yes, that was made up on spot.
Top   #27
Vincent  Vincent is offline
Join Date: 04 Dec 2003
Location: SA Australia
Posts: 353

Originally posted by Nevada

You won't find an artist whose work hangs in a gallery standing by to explain the symbolism to everyone who views their paintings.
Yes, you will.

Not literally, of course, but having just visited the National Art Gallery in Canberra, I was pleased to see detailed notes on Sidney Nolan's Ned Kelly series, written by the artist, explaining his use of colour, symbolism, and composition, of the paintings.

It added a great deal to my understanding, of a series of paintings that I hadn't much liked before.

Art is the transmission of an idea through a medium. If you have no clue as to what that particular idea is, how can you tell if the artist has succeeded?

Originally posted by Nevada

They shouldn't need to.
Why not?

Some art is almost impossible to understand without knowing what the artist is trying to accomplish.

Top   #28
isthmus nekoi's Avatar
isthmus nekoi  isthmus nekoi is offline
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isthmus nekoi 

Three points I'd like to share:

- I find esoteric study adds different threads of meaning. And the trick is to be able to weave all these layers together into a cohesive pattern. I read just fine when I was completely ignorant of Crowley's Liber Legis. Then I read the whole darn thing, plus commentary and now when I read, I've got one more thread woven into this incredible tapestry of the Thoth deck. The more threads you have, the more you have to work with which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it.

- If we go by the Thoth deck you'll find purity of suit gives only potential without grounding, but following the development of any suit too far leads to a top heavy system that eventually collapses on itself. Why are the tens like this? Because there is no system which can crystalize without leaving stuff out. Even the most holistic of systems I can think of - Daoism - has holes. Intuition as a system can only take you so far. Ditto for studying esoteric systems. The most encompassing system I can think of honestly is getting out there and living life. Living your life the best you can will probably make you a better reader, more than anything else.

- Finally, I think intuition and objective study look at a deck from two directions. Intuition from the whole to the specifics; objective study from the specifics to the whole. I believe it's most fruitful to have both working in tandem no matter what the goal, but we all have our preferences.
Top   #29
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le pendu  le pendu is offline
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le pendu 

I'm a study person.

I've come to the decision to take the meanings and symbols of a deck as the creator of the deck intends.

I'm just coming to the Thoth again, 20 years after first reading with it, but not connecting to it then. Recently I've been using the Cosmic Tribe Tarot, and using the DMs given by the creator and the author of the companion book. Since it is Thoth based I have started looking again at the Thoth deck and am falling in love with it. So I've purchased the Book of Thoth book, and Understanding the Thoth Tarot.

For the Aeclectic Community Tarot III deck, I am currently working on the 10 Wands. For this card I am considering recreating the Thoth card as part of the design, because I am considering mixing Thoth with RWS symbolism. I've actually recreated the card from scratch using photoshop and photography, not exact, but without a doubt, Crowley's card. Because I had these books I was able to figure out that the 2 main wands are Dorjes, the same as on the 2 Wands. There is a reason that the wands look like this. There is a connection, a sub story being revealed. Just looking at the cards, I'm not sure how long that would have taken me to figure out. How long would it take me to recognize the connection between the two cards in this deck? If I based my readings on other decks, that connection would not exist. By learning the *language* of the deck, I am freed to really be in the moment during a reading.

Perhaps it is like acting. Some people like to improvise. Some people learn their lines.. but never really *know* them, always thinking about what the next thing to come out of their mouth should be. But most actors study a script, they tear it apart, know every nuance. Why did the author choose those words? Why is my character doing this? What is the meaning of this scene? And only after really learning the lines and knowing that particular script, by that particular author, are they ready to perform. And when they do, they can just be in the moment. The words and emotions come effortlessly because they no longer have to think about them, they have learned the language of their role.

Did you know those were horses on their heads?

Top   #30



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