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Thoth or Rider-Waite?

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FraterGrant's Avatar
FraterGrant  FraterGrant is offline
Join Date: 04 Jul 2004
Location: Rhinebeck, New York, USA
Posts: 406

Grrr! Now I am really confused. I asked my plain old Rider Waite (my first deck ever) If I should learn with it. I turned up the 4 of wands. I then asked if it would give me a card that would for sure tell me if I was supposed to learn with it, and I turned up the Moon. What am I supposed to do? I like the Rider Waite, I just dont like the Art (thats why I would get the Robin Wood). I love the Thoth, and I connect with the majors, but the un-illistrated Pips throw me off badly!
Top   #11
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Centaur  Centaur is offline
Join Date: 11 Dec 2002
Location: London, UK
Posts: 1,701

Originally posted by TaranRavenfrost
I like the Rider Waite, I just dont like the Art (thats why I would get the Robin Wood). I love the Thoth, and I connect with the majors, but the un-illistrated Pips throw me off badly!
I think that you have answered your own question.

I think that you should get yourself a copy of the Robin Wood. I found it easier to learn from an RW based deck, before I started with the Thoth. But, now, I use both and learn from both. Again though, everyone is different. I have read of some people who have used the Thoth as a starting point. I guess it all depends!

With regards to your reading:-

4 of Wands, and the Moon: I think that those are two positive cards to draw. The 4 of Wands would to me indicate that pursuit of learning with the RW would be successful. And the appearance of the Moon might hint at intuition, and psychic-potential. Perhaps the reading was telling you that the RW would be a good way to develop this?
Top   #12
FraterGrant's Avatar
FraterGrant  FraterGrant is offline
Join Date: 04 Jul 2004
Location: Rhinebeck, New York, USA
Posts: 406

Hmmm...Maybe I did awnser my own question! Plus, there are TONS of books that deal with RWS imagery, so thats a huge plus (all the books on Thoth are like 20 bucks!). Now, I just have to get that dumb Thoth deck in from the mail so I can exchange it for the Robin Wood!
Top   #13
Alobar's Avatar
Alobar  Alobar is offline
Join Date: 14 Jun 2003
Location: USA
Posts: 121

the choice is easy really.

on the one hand you have 'See Dick run' (RW). on the other hand you have the forefront of tarot thought, the absolute frontier of the artform (Thoth).

in view of this, which deck is 'prettier' seems rather unimportant, don't you think? if you want pretty, get the 'Gilded Tarot' ().
Top   #14
Parzival's Avatar
Parzival  Parzival is offline
Join Date: 26 Apr 2004
Location: Maryland, U.S.A.
Posts: 849
Thoth or Rider-Waite?

Take this from an old teacher who has explored Tarot too much and who remains a Fool: your 4 of wands is the Waite-Smith, structured with simple clarity, while the Moon is the mysterious,twilightish,conscious-unconscious Crowley-Harris.Study both,live with both,see their contrasts and unities.I think one is more left-brained,one is more right-brained--- together,they make the whole Mind. Aun knows.
Top   #15
Little Baron  Little Baron is offline
Join Date: 18 Aug 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 9,963
Little Baron 

Hi there

Not much to add since there have been some excellent advice already.

I go along with the 'study side by side' method; learning from the comparisons and differences in either deck. Which one comes out strongest (if it is either of the two you end up with), only time will tell. The RW was a good teacher for me, but in the same way, the Rohrig, which I didn't understand so well when I started, was a very preceptive deck that pulled me in, after all. If one speaks then maybe that is the one to go with; otherwise, learning becomes a chore.

Not sure that my advice was very constructive there, but best wishes and look forward to hearing how things turn out.

Top   #16
FraterGrant's Avatar
FraterGrant  FraterGrant is offline
Join Date: 04 Jul 2004
Location: Rhinebeck, New York, USA
Posts: 406

Im Back! lol. I have decided to study with the Thoth first. I am going to buy the book "Introduction to Tarot" which compares the RiderWaite and the Thoth. Now, I will fill you in on why I chose the Thoth.

I felt this longing, nagging feeling to pick it up. So I opened my deck box, and pulled out the Thoth. When I touched the cards, it was like lightning running through me. I then said "Should I start a new writing project?" and I drew the Ace of Wands. Then, I felt, or heard someone say "Creativity". I then, knew. I knew that I should study the Thoth.

I guess you just dont know how much you like something until you dont have it. Same way here, I didnt know the connection I had with the deck until the connection was broken. But GODDESS, its good to be back!
Top   #17
JulieG's Avatar
JulieG  JulieG is offline
Join Date: 24 Apr 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 31

I went through the same issue myself: RW or Thoth.

I began on RW, which I still adore and use, but kept hearing about Thoth and was very intrigued. I finally bought a Thoth deck to see for myself what it was all about and was immediately captivated. I felt connected with it - even though I still struggle with readings.

To me though, I see them as very different decks. I personally find RW a very practical deck - one that can give concise answers to everyday issues in a relatively simple way. Thoth, however, I find very deep and spiritual - to the point that even a simple reading results in a heavy dose of naval gazing (even if all I wanted to know was whether the dog would be fine on his next vet visit). Thoth seems to go right to the psyche of a person - focusing on the individual as opposed to events. It's also steeped in Kabbalah, numerology and astrology and connects to Jungian archytypes so it's pretty heavy stuff - quite intricate in its overall design.

Now that's just my experience - others may feel differently.

But I would encourage anyone interested in Tarot to at least try Thoth at some stage. It opens up a whole new dimension to readings. Be guided by your instinct and whether you feel connected to the cards - everyone has their own preference and it's best to work with a deck you can connect with than force readings from a deck you feel unsure about.
Top   #18
Sybilant's Avatar
Sybilant  Sybilant is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2004
Location: New York, USA
Posts: 26
Exclamation decks and how we think with them

I am also interested in the "WCS or Thoth" question and currently am really enjoying "WCS AND Thoth" as an answer.

One of the things I think we're talking about when we talk about different decks is also the thought and the books and other kinds of information available about them. When I think of WCS I think of Rachel Pollack's "78 degrees of wisdom" and its view of the cards as resonant fragments of stories (among other things). The Thoth deck seems to be more about abstract ideas and powerful but nonlinear unconscious archetypes. These are also contrasting styles of thinking.

Two books that are REALLY helping me to enter into the richness of the Thoth are "The Crowley Tarot" by Akron and Hajo Banzhaf, and "Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot" by Lon Milo DuQuette. The latter gives glimpses into alchemy, astrology, numerology, the Qabala, and the "big story" woven into the cards; the former gives a tremendous wealth of information about every single symbol and image in the deck. To give you an idea of how much information is in these books, Lon gives a 20 page chapter elucidating the design on the BACK of the cards. And Akron and Banzhaf give 4-5 pages on each of the trumps, but they're 2 columns of small print, so that's really like getting 16-20 pages on EACH CARD.

I found the imagery of the Thoth compelling but completely impenetrable until I started reading these books. Now it's incredibly rich (maybe a little too rich at times!). The book "tarot, mirror of the soul" tries to give some access to the cards in 2 pages apiece, but for me this didn't really help at all. Your mileage may vary.

I guess the reason why people recommend starting with WCS is that you can read a paragraph, or a page, and have a reasonable understanding of a given card... whereas with Thoth the "cost of entry" is a lot higher, unless you take a purely intuitive approach. The rewards might be greater too. In any case it's wonderful, wonderful, to have both these decks, and so many more, and so much thought and writing and discussion about them.

Start wherever you are, follow wherever the mystery leads you, take notes, and let us know what you find!

best to all,
Top   #19
WizardOfNines's Avatar
WizardOfNines  WizardOfNines is offline
Join Date: 11 Aug 2004
Location: Washington, USA
Posts: 20
Thoth and Rider-Waite

I see a place for each deck.
They each have a different vibration and sound to me, relating to a different part of my being and making the connection between me and the world in different ways.

The RW is as many of you have said less intimedating so that intuition and easy understanding is the rule. That's great for those of us that need that simplicity. But be aware that the simplicity is only aparent - not in reality. There is a great depth of soul to the RW tarot deck that grows as one's familiarity to the deck and it's connection to one grows.

The Thoth deck is deep right from the beginning and can be intimitdating - at least it was for me until I said 'Hi' I'm Wizard of Nines and I'm glad to meet you at last. Then having started off on the right foot our relationship has been growing. I know that it will be a long but fruitful learning curve. So be it.

So I don't see it as an 'either/or' but an 'and' choice but only when the time is right.

I hope your joy in both decks is as great as mine has been.

Wizard of Nines.
Top   #20



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