I have to admit; I have been one of those people whom didn't like Aleister Crowley whose birth name was Edward Alexander Crowley. Now that I have done my homework and researched him, I believe he was just misunderstood. Yes he had a dark side and embraced it, but deep down I think he just had a thirst to be different and to make his differences known. He wanted to make his own 'religion' since he was forced to grow up in a religion he despised and abide the rules of others. I can connect with his feelings on that; growing up in a religion of my family that I did not feel was right for me, I ventured off and found my own path.
At first, Crowley was studying everything he could. He took parts of one and combined it with another and so on until he finally put it together for himself. When he wrote the book of Thoth and produced the Thoth deck he was being himself. Putting himself into the book and deck. I personally think the deck symbols and art work could have been illustrated a bit better, but they were his. Crowley in my opinion became very sexual at first to explore who he was, then later on in his life to deal with the death of his first daughter. He was a very intelligent man. Not that I agree with everything he did, to each his own.
I have also found in my research that his sexual side and the Thoth deck to be interesting in Sex magick. I had found that using a card or several cards from the Thoth deck, with your partner, performing sex magick to be quite powerful. The act that you both share to be bonding between you both. I however did not agree with Crowley on doing this in circle with whomever chosen. I think Crowley got carried away there a bit. But his intentions were in the right place.
Crowley stated that "The origin of Tarot is quite irrelevant, even if it were certain. It must stand or fall as a system on its own merits". He also stated that the "Tarot is an admirable symbolic picture of the Universe, based on the data of the Holy Qabalah [a kind of Jewish mysticism]. This new Tarot may therefore be regarded as a series of illustrations to the Book of the Law; the doctrine of that Book is everywhere implicit" he said about his deck.
So whether Crowley was demented like some say or a God in human form from others, I have found the Thoth deck to be interesting in its own right. Although this deck is not recommended for beginners, I can say if you fancy the Thoth deck, keep it for later when you are very comfortable with the Tarot.
Karen Artino - Tarot Editor