Thoth tarot deck

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Cover of the Thoth tarot deck box.

The Thoth Tarot (/ˌtt ˈtær/) is a divinatory tarot deck painted by Lady Frieda Harris according to instructions from Aleister Crowley. Crowley referred to this deck as The Book of Thoth, and also wrote a book of that title intended for use with the deck.


Crowley originally intended the Thoth deck to be a six-month project aimed at updating the traditional pictorial symbolism of the tarot. However, due to increased scope the project eventually spanned five years, between 1938 and 1943 and both artists died before publication in 1969 by Ordo Templi Orientis. Crowley and Harris painted some of the cards as many as eight times. The current edition of the U.S. Games Systems deck has two prototypes by Lady Harris but then rejected by Crowley. In 1977 Harris' paintings were rephotographed for a second edition and further revisions followed in 1986 and 1996.


The illustrations of the deck feature symbolism based upon Crowley's incorporation of imagery from many disparate disciplines, including science and philosophy and various occult systems (as described in detail in his Book of Thoth).

Differences from Rider Waite Tarot[edit]

Order and names of trumps[edit]

Crowley renamed several of the trumps, and also re-arranged the astrological and Hebrew alphabet correspondences of some cards, in accordance with his earlier book, Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law):

All these old letters of my Book are aright; but צ is not the Star. (AL I:57)
Rider-Waite card Thoth equivalent
I: The Magician I: The Magus
II: The High Priestess II: The Priestess
VIII: Strength XI: Lust
X: Wheel of Fortune X: Fortune
XI: Justice VIII: Adjustment
XIV: Temperance XIV: Art
XX: Judgement XX: The Æon
XXI: The World XXI: The Universe

Names of court cards[edit]

A Thoth tarot deck.

Crowley altered the names of all the court cards apart from the Queen in the Thoth deck, which can cause some confusion for people used to the more common decks. The typical corresponding names are as follows:

Traditional Court Card Name Thoth Deck Court Card Name
Page Princess
Knight Prince
Queen Queen
King Knight

Titles and attributions of the Wands Suit[edit]

Number Sign Decan Ruler of Decan Name
1 The Root of the Powers of Fire
2 Aries 1st Mars Dominion
3 Aries 2nd Sun Virtue
4 Aries 3rd Venus Completion
5 Leo 1st Saturn Strife
6 Leo 2nd Jupiter Victory
7 Leo 3rd Mars Valour
8 Sagittarius 1st Mercury Swiftness
9 Sagittarius 2nd Moon Strength
10 Sagittarius 3rd Saturn Oppression

Titles and attributions of the Cups Suit[edit]

Number Sign Decan Ruler of Decan Name
1 The Root of the Powers of Water
2 Cancer 1st Venus Love
3 Cancer 2nd Mercury Abundance
4 Cancer 3rd Moon Luxury
5 Scorpio 1st Mars Disappointment
6 Scorpio 2nd Sun Pleasure
7 Scorpio 3rd Venus Debauch
8 Pisces 1st Saturn Indolence
9 Pisces 2nd Jupiter Happiness
10 Pisces 3rd Mars Satiety

Titles and attributions of the Swords Suit[edit]

Number Sign Decan Ruler of Decan Name
1 The Root of the Powers of Air
2 Libra 1st Moon Peace
3 Libra 2nd Saturn Sorrow
4 Libra 3rd Jupiter Truce
5 Aquarius 1st Venus Defeat
6 Aquarius 2nd Mercury Science
7 Aquarius 3rd Moon Futility
8 Gemini 1st Jupiter Interference
9 Gemini 2nd Mars Cruelty
10 Gemini 3rd Sun Ruin

Titles and attributions of the Disks Suit[edit]

Number Sign Decan Ruler of Decan Name
1 The Root of the Powers of Earth
2 Capricorn 1st Jupiter Change
3 Capricorn 2nd Mars Works
4 Capricorn 3rd Sun Power
5 Taurus 1st Mercury Worry
6 Taurus 2nd Moon Success
7 Taurus 3rd Saturn Failure
8 Virgo 1st Sun Prudence
9 Virgo 2nd Venus Gain
10 Virgo 3rd Mercury Wealth


  • Duquette, Lon Milo (2003). Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. Weiser Books.
  • Wasserman, James. Instructions for Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot Deck, included in the U.S. Games Systems publication of the deck.
  • Aleister Crowley (June 1974). The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians, Being the Equinox Volume III No. V. Illustrated by Frieda Harris. Samuel Weiser, Inc. p. 308. ISBN 978-0877282686. 
  • Bill Butler (1975). Dictionary of the Tarot. Schocken Books. p. 250. ISBN 978-0805205596. 
  • Gerd Ziegler (January 1, 1988). Tarot: Mirror of the Soul: Handbook for the Aleister Crowley Tarot. Weiser Books. p. 208. ISBN 978-0877286837.