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Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot Paperback – November 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lon Milo DuQuette has been involved with occult studies since the late 60s and has become an acknowledged and widely-recognized authority within the world of modern occultism. He is the U.S. Deputy Grand Master of the O.T.O. and lives with his wife Constance in Costa Mesa, CA

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Weiser Books; 1st Printing edition (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578632765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578632763
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Singer-songwriter and recording artist, Lon Milo DuQuette is also the author of 16 critically acclaimed books (translated in 12 languages) on Magick and the Occult. Critics have called him one of the most respected and entertaining writers and lecturers in the field of the Western Mystery Traditions.

Since 1975 DuQuette been a national and international governing officer of Ordo Templi Orientis, one of the most influential magical societies of the 20th Century. He is currently the Order's United States Deputy Grand Master. He is an internationally recognized authority on tarot and western ceremonial magick. Although he takes these subjects very seriously, he tries not to take himself too seriously. This rare combination of scholarship and humor has earned him in the last 20 years a unique and respected position in American spiritual and esoteric literature.

DuQuette appears occasionally on television and radio as a guest expert on subjects involving the occult. He is a contributor to the Magical Egypt DVD series' and a host on the new series, The Great Work.

He is a faculty member of the Omega Institute in Reinbeck New York, and Robert Anton Wilson's Maybe Logic Academy.

He lives in Costa Mesa, California with his wife of 45 years, Constance.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 143 people found the following review helpful By ranmasan on January 18, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truly an excellent book. And I must disagree with the earlier reviewer who felt that Crowley had somehow been "dumbed down" or sanitized. Nothing could be further from the truth. Duquette spends a significant amount of space and time (nearly 100 pages) on explaining such things as the Holy Guardian Angel, the new Aeon of Horus, the Tree of Life, the significance of the Book of the Law as it relates to Crowley's tarot, etc. The bulk of the book is filled with detailed descriptions of each card, and their significance in the Tarot as a spiritual journey...rather than dwelling on divinatory meanings. There is a section at the back that gives brief divination meanings for readings, but clearly he (and Crowley too), thought that divination was a side effect produced by the Tarot...useful certainly, but not the main significance.
My only complaint really, and it is a very minor complaint, is that Duquette keeps apologizing for having to spend so much time on the background stuff. One apology would have been enough...anyone completely unfamilar with Qabala et al should know what they are getting into, and EXPECT some time spent explaining it. Continually apologizing for it was not necessary.
I particulary liked the inclusion of bits of correspondence between Harris and Crowley, while the paintings were still being done.
Duquette suggests that Crowley's original Book of Thoth (book) would be required reading alongside this book, and I must agree. It doesn't replace the original, it just makes jumping into it a lot less painful. I wish this book had been available years ago when I first read the Crowley book!
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86 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Lon DuQuette has a talent for making things like the writings of Aleister Crowley almost make sense. With "Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot", DuQuette continues his project of demystifying the difficult but critical body of literature left behind by the Beast.
The current work includes an introduction to the Rose Cross design that is worth the price of the book in itself. There is also a brief overview of Crowley's life and work. This latter is somewhat superficial, but any biography of Crowley is bound to be incomplete. DuQuette then goes over each card in turn, bringing the lofty metaphysics of the Book of Thoth down to earth. His formula for understanding the small cards is a good example of this. Apply it, and you should be able to memorize and internalize the cards at a much faster rate.
This book was written both for people with no interest in Crowley, and for those who wish to understand the Beast better. As such, it has to make a few concessions that it might not have if it had been written exclusively for magicians. Some of the more sexual aspects of Crowley's doctrines are toned down a bit, for example.
This is only a deterrent for those who wish to keep Crowley in a box, along with their honorary degrees, suitable for framing. The rest of us will profit immeasurably from DuQuette's hacking through the thicket of Victorian prose to expose the roots and blossoms.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Frater S.P.R.V. on November 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
When it comes to the subject of Tarot cards, many people have become jaded, due to the proliferation of
decks like the "Tarot of the Cat People" or the "Baseball Tarot". It is nearly impossible to find any depth
to the divinatory meanings of such decks.
Best, by far, to look for the richness of tradition, which is where Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot
can be found. Unfortunately, the book Crowley wrote to elucidate the meaning of the cards so brilliantly
painted by Lady Freida Harris - The Book of Thoth - requires a patience and supplemental knowledge
quite a few readers do not possess.
That is where Lon Milo DuQuette's latest comes in. He looks at the history of not only Crowley,
but of Harris, the historical situation surrounding the Thoth deck's creation, and the myriad magickal
components inherent to the deck. And he does it in plain English, with touches of his delightful humor,
so the door can be thrown wide open for more Tarot enthusiasts to come to an understanding of what
Tarot is really about, especially the Thoth deck.
The extensive research which went into this volume, as well as DuQuette's own considerable
experience on the subject, make this a text to be valued and read time and again - just as DuQuette
himself recommends reading The Book of Thoth on a regular basis. But now, because of DuQuette's
incredible efforts, the latter will be better understood by a broader audience, and the Thoth Tarot more
comprehensively used for spiritually enlightening purposes, as it was meant to be.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Renus Hyena on November 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot is one of the most popular and best selling Tarot deck in the world. It is, however, more than deck of fortune-telling cards. For those with an advanced understanding of esoteric matters, it is one of western civilization's most important spiritual object d'art.
Designed by Crowley and painted by the surrealist genius Lady Frieda Harris, it distills in breathtaking and terrifying beauty the essence of the Hermetic mysteries; the quest for the Holy Grail; kabbalah; astrology; alchemy, and magick (even sex magick!).
To accompany the cards and explain their symbolic imagery Crowley wrote his magnificent magnum opus, The Book of Thoth. Penned in his last years, he literally raced death to desperately pour the totality of his vast knowledge and wisdom into a few hundred pages of complex concentrated esotericism. For the most part he succeeded, but unless the reader is already an advanced student of the mysteries the text is all but incomprehensible.
This irony has for nearly 40 years frustrated the tens of thousands of owners and users of the Thoth Tarot (myself being the most notable) who sincerely would like to know more about the cards but find we simply cannot wade through Crowley's highly stylized and post-graduate text. It took a genius to create the Thoth Tarot and the write The Book of Thoth, and fifty-five years after Crowley's death it took another genius to create the Rosetta Stone that unlocks the mysteries of these magical masterpieces.
In his 1993 Magick of Thelema (now renamed Magick of Aleister Crowley) Lon Milo DuQuette did what many very knowledgeable people thought was impossible.
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