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Thoth Court Card "Moral Characteristics"

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DerNarr  DerNarr is offline
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Hey all, don't memorize characteristics, just focus on the astrological identity.

Here's the twist - IIRC (I gave away my copy of "Thoth" to a good friend) Crowley is a little ambiguous about whether or not he gives the astrological characteristics of the preceding sign in a sense where the characteristics of that sign are part of the profile, or whether or not he's being genuinely old school by referencing the long-term shift in the heavens where the constellations themselves have shifted relative to the solstices. Both the ambiguity of this and the old-school solid thinking (as in genuinely and deeply pre-Christian) are classic Crowley.

Soo... your call - is the Leo profile straight Leo, or do you see it as late Cancer + Early mid-Leo? If you opt for the latter, which is what is literally described, you get something interesting, a "cuspy" personality. These are very real things, I married and had kids with one, and all of my strong attractions have had some of this. A cuspy personality is always a bit on the outside looking in; a late Taurus craves the intellectual freedom of Gemini, an early Gemini craves the security of Taurus, etc etc. Don't just memorize the characteristics, think about the elements and the fixed/cardinal/mutable formula behind these personalities. And keep an open mind as to whether the court cards are communicating these archetypes AS archetypes or whether or not there's a clear reference to a real-world personality with an obvious sun/rising/gender reference - if that kind of literal divination is your style. Do what thou wilt, as the man said!
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Thanks for doing this Barleywine, I don't use the Thoth but all what you've done can very easily be used with the Liber T, which is what I'll do.

I've printed your PDF out and will keep it with Scion's Liber T PDF.
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DerNarr View Post
Hey all, don't memorize characteristics, just focus on the astrological identity.

Here's the twist - IIRC (I gave away my copy of "Thoth" to a good friend) Crowley is a little ambiguous about whether or not he gives the astrological characteristics of the preceding sign in a sense where the characteristics of that sign are part of the profile, or whether or not he's being genuinely old school by referencing the long-term shift in the heavens where the constellations themselves have shifted relative to the solstices. Both the ambiguity of this and the old-school solid thinking (as in genuinely and deeply pre-Christian) are classic Crowley.

Soo... your call - is the Leo profile straight Leo, or do you see it as late Cancer + Early mid-Leo? If you opt for the latter, which is what is literally described, you get something interesting, a "cuspy" personality. These are very real things, I married and had kids with one, and all of my strong attractions have had some of this. A cuspy personality is always a bit on the outside looking in; a late Taurus craves the intellectual freedom of Gemini, an early Gemini craves the security of Taurus, etc etc. Don't just memorize the characteristics, think about the elements and the fixed/cardinal/mutable formula behind these personalities. And keep an open mind as to whether the court cards are communicating these archetypes AS archetypes or whether or not there's a clear reference to a real-world personality with an obvious sun/rising/gender reference - if that kind of literal divination is your style. Do what thou wilt, as the man said!
My purpose here wasn't to create a list of keywords for memorization - astrology is no more about piling up keywords than tarot is - it was to put some "meat on the bones" of the decans to show that there is an extensive and varied knowledge base behind them, well beyond what Crowley chose to highlight in his Minor Arcana interpretations, well beyond "Mars means action and Aries is pioneering: presto, an 'adventurer.' " It's interesting to see where that tradition aligns with the Thoth meanings and where it doesn't offer much insight. It was the Golden Dawn material from Liber T that Crowley was working with, and I can't see that he added much new to it. (Until I discovered that his General Principles of Astrology content was mostly ghost-written for Evangeline Adams, I never thought he was much of a "nuts-and-bolts" astrologer.) What was missing from both Liber T and the Book of Thoth was a comprehensive exploration of the astrological bases for the decanic assignments; they mostly "cherry-picked" what suited their purpose, although they did a reasonably careful job of it overall.

I think this table will be most useful when you can't quite put your finger on something about a court card that lies deeper within its astrological profile. And just maybe it will encourage tarot enthusiasts to explore astrology with more appreciation.
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
I'm the Prince of Discs, first decan of Taurus. He's a very difficult fellow, no doubt about it. This is one of those cards that usually rings rather uncomfortably true, especially the "Worry" part.
Yes, he obviously had a soft spot for us stupid, insensitive, dull Disks... ;-)
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nemia View Post
Yes, he obviously had a soft spot for us stupid, insensitive, dull Disks... ;-)
I don't think he had a soft spot for anyone who wasn't named "Aleister Crowley" (unless maybe it was Frieda Harris). He didn't nail my Knight of Cups very well, but I truly am a "cuspy" type, born on the Summer Solstice at 0Cancer22, with both Venus and Mercury in Cancer. As a personality type, the Queen of Cups is probably a better fit, since it has the Gemini "shadow decan" and both Venus and Mercury in Cancer. (Just don't tell my beer-drinking, pick-up-driving, ball-cap-wearing fishing buddies I said that. )
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I've been getting tired of having to wade through the Book of Thoth every time I need insight on potential meanings for a court card in a particular situation.
I may be in the minority but wading through the Book of Thoth is like being sucked into the web where one thing leads to another and layers of info start seeping into your brain - the amount of information in AC's book is fantastic and the references that lead you on to further study is what makes it such a gem.

Thank you for sharing your research

Nicky
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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicky View Post
I may be in the minority but wading through the Book of Thoth is like being sucked into the web where one thing leads to another and layers of info start seeping into your brain - the amount of information in AC's book is fantastic and the references that lead you on to further study is what makes it such a gem.

Thank you for sharing your research

Nicky
I do that when I'm able to just sit and read for the sheer pleasure of it. If I'm after something specific that I "almost" remember about a certain card, I often have to condense and interpolate "on-the-fly" from a wide-ranging cornucopia of ideas. It was a case of knowing where to find it but not being able to pin down the specifics from memory. I just did the same thing here and captured it in one place to avoid the repetition.
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DerNarr  DerNarr is offline
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more on Thoth


Sorry if my above message was a bit too dismissive, but it isn't 1/33 as dismissive as ye ole Great Beast could be.

Here's the thing with "Thoth" - AC really saw it as a disguised cheat sheet of most of the core hermetic cannon, w/r/t Kaballah and the Zodiac, and, beyond that, saw himself as (imagine that) the one who could correct the perhaps intentional flaw and realize the true nature of the design (which is why he recreated Temperance/Lust in his image and tinkered with the traditional order of the Trumps). If the nature of the court cards seem like an afterthought, that's because they basically were! He thought the Minor Arcana were exactly that - relatively straightforward treatments of the zodiac and the elemental powers. His real love was obviously reserved for the correspondence of Gematria and Kabbalah with the "letters" of the Trumps.

If I knew my classical Hebrew at all, and had any real experience with the Kaballah, I'd have an opinion on whether or not his marriage of the Trumps with these systems was successful or procrustean hackwork. I don't, so I don't.

This is typical AC, on one hand, he was far ahead of Joseph Campbell and all manner of new age syncretists in terms of his genuine and deep knowledge of multiple occult traditions, on the other, he was reckless and probably psychopathic. His relationship with Lady Frieda was obviously one more of exploitation than one of creative peers, which is reflected in the generally bad art which characterizes "Thoth" in my opinion. He also seduced, mostly by correspondence, Jack Parsons around that time, thus helping warp the mind of what was probably the most talented American-born scientist of his generation (and accidentally fathering Scientology in the process, as well). Never boring!
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Moderator Note:


Hi folks,

While I'm not removing any posts, I should interject and remind all of the Thoth Forum Guidelines which state:

Quote:
Being a controversial man, Crowley frequently attracts debate and criticism. This section of AT is intended to be a place for interested people to further study his work or explore using the many approaches to working with the Thoth deck. Debating the merits of his deck or magick does not belong in this forum, as it tends to derail efforts to actually study the material. Which after all is what this forum exists for. Debating the validity of a magical approach to tarot or similar discussions, are better suited to the general sections of AT, such as the Talking Tarot section.
The line between legitimate discussion of Crowley, his works and what the above says isn't always clear-cut, but I'm just reminding everyone should a discussion develop because of DerNarr's above post, it really should be taken over to the Talking Tarot Forum. It would also be off-topic for this thread.

Thanks all, and carry on.
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Rose Lalonde  Rose Lalonde is offline
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Thanks for that, Barleywine. It does help to put "meat on the bones" as you said.
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