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A Collector’s Guide to the Thoth Tarot

Shellay Lynne Maughan 2015


The Book of Thoth

The Thoth Tarot was designed by Aleister Crowley and executed by Lady Freida Harris. The project took five years, from 1938 to 1943, and was published as The Book of Thoth [h]. What we now know as the Thoth Tarot are the illustrations for this book. This major undertaking was completed near the end of Crowley’s life and reflects his seasoned thinking and accumulated knowledge.

The collaboration between Crowley and Freida Harris was an active one [i]. A major feature of the illustrations is the use of Projective Synthetic Geometry, or magical perspective, that Harris explored constantly in her artwork.

There was no deck of cards printed to accompany the Book of Thoth, but it’s clear that Crowley intended there to be one as soon as time and funds allowed. As it turned out this was not until the late 1960s, after both he and Freida Harris had passed on. Since its first publication as a color deck, the Thoth Tarot has never gone completely out of print, a claim that can be made by almost no other tarot deck.


Sangreal One-Color Thoth

Sometime in the mid to late-1960s Carr Collins and the Sangreal Foundation commissioned the Simpson Printing Company of Dallas, Texas to print the B&W illustrations from a first edition of The Book of Thoth [b], as a tarot deck. The images were printed with blue ink, and the backs in red. The size of these cards was 5.5 x 3.75 (140 x 95 mm), which became the de facto standard for all large size Thoth decks. About 250 decks were made.  

Lt Ed. OOP

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