Learning to read the Thoth deck
Why read with the Thoth tarot deck? Often the deck we chose to read with is just a personal choice of what we are drawn to and this is reason enough, if you are drawn to the Thoth then it can work for you as a deck. It may be it is the beautiful imagery, the knowledge that it has been designed with many layers of correspondences or the reputation that this deck will give you very direct readings that appeals to you, or perhaps it is just a feeling it wants to work with you that has brought you to consider owning this wonderful deck.
I feel this deck is indeed a very powerful tool, there are so many systems of thought represented in the deck in so many ways that it can tap into our collective unconscious very easily and bring us to intuitive meanings easily particularly if you are focused on your inner world and how we can better manifest our potential in this lifetime. The deck is balanced with its depictions of the happiest times of our lives and also the hardest times of our lives. So you can build a trust in this deck that it will tell you the truth of a situation. When it is difficult it won’t pull the punches however it also shows the way to work through and overcome the difficulties through working on ourselves. Every situation we experience externally brings with it a lesson we can learn from and by using the Thoth tarot to help us work through these lessons it opens the doors to our inner wisdom and healing.
So it is balanced, beautiful, multi-layered, direct and has no taboos – all topics can be expressed through this powerful deck. Crowley, I feel, was an excellent scholar of so many esoteric pathways, he also practiced all he learned and, though he had his own issues, throughout his life he was strong enough to follow his own heart and direction searching for the truth in all things despite being bedeviled. By using the Thoth we are given his study in correspondences through so many systems as a starting point and we then begin our own journey into our inner worlds to find our personal connection with the realms beyond the mundane.
Many people however, despite the attraction of the Thoth – find that they don’t know where to start once they have the deck in their hands, that somehow there is a resistance to working with it. It might be you have tried to read with it and have been put off by the direct keywords on some of the cards and the feeling of darkness that may be alongside these words. It might be you have read some of the books about the deck and have found the information from so many systems of thought coming together in one deck just seems overwhelming, how will you learn all these things and be able to use the deck. Perhaps you have heard of the reputation of Crowley and are nervous to be associated with some of the darker sides of his life. So the first place to start with reading with this deck is to look at your associations with it in the beginning and see which of these are really true for you and which are just getting in the way from someone else’s viewpoints that you have taken on as true.
Once you have acknowledged your misgivings and possible blocks to using the deck you can then move forward. You can start working with the Thoth from wherever you are at the time. You bring to it your current knowledge even if incomplete and allow your intuition to grow from your current place. You may know some astrology, or be familiar with the Kabbalah and these can help you access the cards intuitively as well as your own life experience. When you see an image on a card you can allow yourself to free associate with it, this loosens up any tendency to censor our intuitive thoughts and though many freely associated images my be relevant only to ourselves initially, in amongst this you very often find something close to an intended meaning for the card. With practice and continual self awareness you can come to know the sense of true intuition in you as opposed to wishful thinking or projected meanings.
The depth of information included in this deck doesn’t have to be known fully and intellectually to use the deck well – the images are universal, though we may know nothing of the connection of venus to love, or what the symbol is for venus we can know the keyword love, we understand the colours are soft and bring a feeling of love in the 2 cups for example, we see two sides to a water feature perhaps in the card, each necessary for the balance of it yet each is both separate and connected. Already we have gained much meaning from the associations on the image as well as with the keyword and the feeling from the colours. We have a start to the energy of the card. When we add the association of water with emotions and the number two for partnerships, the meaning develops further.
Self awareness if important though I feel, through self awareness we gain access to the fullness of ourself. Our shadow side – the parts of us we would like to deny – often hold the greatest ‘gold’ for us. As we get in touch with these, the anger, rage, jealousy, we would rather not have, acknowledging their existence, it makes us whole and shows us how we can be more of who we are – for every part of us we lock away and declare is not good enough, we also lock away some gold of our true nature which to be balanced we need. As we lock away anger we also lock away our ability to stand up for ourselves in the face of a bully for example. As we access our own shadows we are less likely to see them – or project them into others and thus we will see our clients more for who they are rather than who we are projecting onto them.
Another method of accessing your intuition is to journey into the card using a guided visualisation technique and to meet and converse with the characters and elements depicted in the card. People often experience the card landscape changing as they do this and additional images and messages come to them through the cards journey. This technique is good to open out your intuition in a general sense as well as when connected to a specific card image. It is also excellent to use to develop ourselves and our lives, clearing out issues and projections in our outer worlds, and also making our intuitive channelling for others clearer and more accurate.
Often when we are using our intuition we are tapping into what Jung called the collective unconscious and here lies the archetypal energies that the tarot embodies in itself. These energies are also represented by astrology and also the Kabbalah and consequently when the images on the Thoth were created the symbols associated with these archetypes were represented on the cards. This is the case to a greater and lesser extent with all tarot as each card can be said to be an archetypal energy – however with the Thoth the correspondences are well worked out and can be seen in so many different systems that there are many different access points to the cards energies. We just have to allow our thinking minds to step back enough to access the collective and so be shown the meanings needed.
When I work with the Thoth I start from the Jungian approach suggested by Gerd Zeigler in his books on the Thoth, this gives a good starting to point to understanding the depth of process that goes on within us and also how the tarot relates to this – it also shows us how to gain the healing potential from the most difficult of the cards. Sometimes if we work with the tarot for ourselves it is very hard to see how a card which on the surface is very negative is not actually gloom and doom for us – whilst it is telling the truth of a difficult time it is also pointing the way to work with this within ourselves to create healing and thereby bring peace within us.
I feel to work with the Thoth in this way on your own personal journey also adds to the ability to have to work with others in their lives and be able to stand alongside another and indicate the way forward when you have covered the terrain yourself – for you to ‘know’ the card on a deep level and how it acted within your own life you are then able to have a deeper knowledge of it when it is active for another in a reading you may be doing.
Using all these techniques you can then form a truly personal relationship with the deck, no longer soley based upon someone else’s meaning or an accepted meaning of a card, you have your own library of experience to draw upon as well as your intuitive access to the card and its archetypes.
From this stage of development you can then gather your own associations for cards from others use of them and how they work for them in their lives – you can add to your system of knowledge information from traditional sources – taking a deeper looking into the astrological correspondences and understanding how the astrology on a card can add another layer of meaning to it. Here too additional practical situations, issues, people, places, careers etc can be linked to cards through the astrological association. Similarly with the Kabbalah, Hebrew etc. Each system you are drawn to learn and use adds yet more information you can intuitively draw upon in a reading. By coming from this intuitive approach you can prevent yourself being blocked by the intellectual systems as you approach a reading, allowing the things you have learned intellectually to spring up from within you when they are needed rather than feeling overwhelmed about what a card could possibly mean from your intellectual mind.
So get out your decks and have a go, ask yourself about your blocks to the deck (perhaps even ask the Thoth itself too through a reading) and allow yourself to get to know your deck intuitively. If you are interested in an online course to do this within then take a look at my website for details of what we offer and how to apply for a place. http://www.tarot-training.co.uk
Learning to read the Thoth deck