Thoth As Universal Solvent

I’m feeling a bit mystical this morning and got thinking that, with enough dedicated study and contemplation,  Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot is well-positioned to be “all things to all people” in the world of tarot divination. It has one foot in the New Age (and often strides nimbly past that metaphysical sink-hole, which is why it still has so much appeal to esoteric theorists), one foot in the Tarot de Marseille (compare those pips as I have done:, its head in the  multiverse of philosophical and scientific thought and its ass parked squarely in the qabalistic Tree of Life. I’ve been using it for so long that I often forget how versatile it is, kind of like the divinatory equivalent of the alkahest of Paracelsus, capable of rendering any problem into its constituent parts; if I have a particularly knotty question I will bring it to the Thoth, which never fails to inform and enlighten.  I see it as the ripe fruit on the vine that Crowley planted with his original precept, “The Method of Science, the Aim of Religion.” If you have the time and are inclined to some serious pondering, I stumbled upon this blog post that offers glimpses into ways that might be useful in unpacking the intricacies of Crowley’s arcane viewpoint into a  coherent interpretive methodology. (Although its goal is more ritualistic than divinatory and it treads some deep waters, its steps strike me as nicely attuned to that objective.)

The focused individual work this demands is the perfect antidote to the “how-to” books aimed at reducing the Thoth deck and its companion Book of Thoth into the mental equivalent of pabulum for easy digestion. I have yet to apply it and haven’t explored Alfred Vitale’s supporting paper, but it looks promising.

2 thoughts on “Thoth As Universal Solvent

  1. Beyond the marvellous pointer to the 6 Step Programme you mention I’m intrigued by the notion of Thoth as an alkahest. I think that warrants further musings, in your inimitable style.

    Too often I’ve witnessed new comers to Tarot marvel at the sheer beauty of the Thoth deck only to be turned away by the arcane landscaping that surrounds it, not to mention the reputation of Crowley himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In this age of the “cult of personality,” demonizing Crowley has become something of a cause celebre among the populists who don’t want to think too hard. Separating the man from the method is the first crucial step in any serious approach to his work. The fact that he makes no concessions for the benefit of the neophyte is something I’ve always admired, but it tends to leave beginners adrift until they get their bearings; many aren’t up to the task, which is probably as it should be.


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