The Thoth Tarot Deck was a Tarot deck developed by the English occultist Aleister Crowley and illustrated on his instructions by Lady Frieda Harris.
Aleister Crowley called the Thoth Tarot deck, the book of Thoth and claimed that the deck reflected the wisdom of the ancient Egyptian book of Thoth.
The Tarot card descriptions found on the Thoth Tarot deck are different in symbolism and imagery compared to other standard tarot card decks. Thoth is considered one of the most important deities of the ancient Egyptian pantheon. He is known as the God with the head of an ibis. He is the heart and tongue of the all-powerful Egyptian Sun God Ra.
He translated the will of Ra into speech and is the divine communicator of Egyptian mythology. He was the scribe of the Gods and was called the God of Writing.
The book of Thoth is used for divination through tarot cards. The tarot card descriptions on the Thoth deck are reflections of the great knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. A cult of Thoth grew during the last years of the Egyptian civilization who claimed to predict the future through occult divination. Aleister Crowley claims that the Thoth tarot deck developed by him was based on the tarot card descriptions followed by the cult of Thoth. He developed the deck between 1938 and 1943. He commissioned Lady Frieda Harris to illustrate the deck based on his visions and based on the ancient Egyptian book of Thoth papyrus by Jasnow and Zauzich. It took five years to develop the deck because Crowley wanted the images to reflect different disciplines including science and philosophy.
The tarot card descriptions in the Crowley Thoth tarot deck are different from the Rider Waite and other standard tarot card decks. The Major Arcana or trump cards are 21 in number and consist of the fool, the Magician or Magus, the high Priestess, the Emperor, the Empress, the Hierophant, the lovers, the chariot, Adjustment, the hermit, the wheel of fortune, lust, the hanged man, death, art, devil, tower, star, moon, sun, aeon and the universe. Court cards in the Thoth minor Arcana deck are the prince, the princess, queen and the knight.
While the suite of cups, disks, swords and wands remain the same, they are illustrated with an Egyptian hieroglyphic style. The pips of the minor Arcana in the Thoth deck relate to the signs of the zodiac with the aces depicting the root of the element they represent. Each pip card in each suite has an attribute. The wand suite relates to the fire signs of the zodiac. The ace represents the root of the fire element 2 dominions, 3 virtues, 4 completion, 5 strife, 6 victory, 7valor, 8 swiftness, 9 strength and 10 oppression. The cup suite represents the water signs of the zodiac. The ace represents the root of the water element, 2 love,3 abundance, 4 luxury, 5 disappointment, 6 pleasure, 7 debauchery, 8 indolence, 9 happiness and 10 safety. The sword suite represents the air signs of the zodiac. The ace represents the root of the air element 2 peace, 3 sorrow, 4 truces, 5 defeats, 6 science, 7 futility, 8 interference, 9 cruelty and 10 ruin. The disks suite represents the earth signs of the zodiac. The ace is the root of the earth element, 2 change, 3 work, 4 power, 5 worry, 6 success, 7 failure, 8 prudence, 9 gain and 10 wealth.