Tarot x 5: The Thoth Tarot

Deck used: Thoth Tarot (Aleister Crowley and Freida Harris, AG Muller). Collage images courtesy of Rookie.

Deck used: Thoth Tarot (Aleister Crowley and Freida Harris, AG Muller). Collage images courtesy of Rookie.

I'm starting a new series this month by going through my card collection, one deck at a time. Part personal documentation, part FAQ for all of you deck shoppers just waiting for someone to enable you (😉), I tackle the 5 Ws + H to help you get to know some of the tarot / Lenormand / oracle world's most fab decks.

I'm going in order of deck purchase (yes, I have this all documented chronologically in my bullet journal), just because it may be interesting to see the evolution of trends and even my own personal changes as a tarot enthusiast! This week, I'm moving into the Thoth, my very first deck.

What's my favorite card? The 7 of Swords or Futility. I cut the borders of my deck and therefore lost all the titles on them. I don't think my logical brain would actually allow myself to pick "Futility" to be a favorite… but I love the sky blue tone of the card, what I perceive to be shattered glass in the background, and the elegance of the swords. The lesson, to me, is finding beauty in Futility. When we accept that something's over, we are forced to confront the finite quality of it. Sometime putting an end to something, admitting to futility, can be truly beautiful. 

What's my least favorite card? The 3 of Wands or Virtue. Just as my logical brain would probably not pick "Futility" as a favorite, I don't think it would pick "Virtue" as a card I don't like. My intuition, however, pointed me to this card I was considering which was my least favorite because I find it clunky. Those wands look so big and ungraceful compared to the delicate swords of Futility, you know? The red orange color looks so brash and crude. Which probably says a lot about my own personal views on virtue. Just as Futility can be beautiful, maybe I find "Virtue" in and of itself to be quite surface, shallow and crude at times. Tee-hee.

Who I was when I bought this deck? This is me on my 21st birthday, blowing out my candles at a surprise dinner party my friends and family threw for me. My friends and I loved reading through horoscopes and asking the cards about our love lives. I had no clue about the Thoth—all I knew was that the illustrations were beautiful. As I read through the guidebook to get answers for me and my friends, I was flummoxed because I could not understand a word. LOL.

When did I buy it? I'm not sure what year I bought the Thoth but it was in the late 90s for sure! Everyone wanted that Winona Ryder Reality Bites haircut. 

Where did I buy it? The first "specialty" bookstore in Manila was Powerbooks, which had its first branch along Pasay Road in Makati. I ended up there with my high school friends because one of us was on the hunt for a children's book to gift an ex-boyfriend (and again, LOL).

How did I find it then and how do I use it now? I gave up on the cards after a couple of months because they really did not make any sense to me. These days, I use the Thoth for in-person client readings and always, always with an oracle. Instead of clinging to the keywords, I use this deck intuitively, drawing from hues, shades, tonal quality, and color.

Why is it still part of my collection? If you would believe it, I almost got rid of this deck because I felt it useless, even as I started to dive into tarot again many years after college. If I hadn't seen a YouTube video of the Thoth trimmed, I think I wouldn't have this deck now! After I trimmed these cards, rounded the corners and edged them with a bronze Sharpie, I fell in love with the cards all over again.

Want to learn more about the Thoth? Check out my review of this deck in comparison to the Sun and Moon Tarot.