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Published April 12, 2017 Updated August 07, 2023

Thoth Tarot – Aleister Crowley Tarot

Aleister Crowley Tarot – the sombre luminary – Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943

1972 United Kingdom USA Llewellyn Publications Lady Freda Harris Art Gallery Cartomancy Tarot Wartime Thoth Add to Collection

The Thoth Tarot was painted by Lady Frieda Harris (1877-1962) under the guidance of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) during WWII, a time of great national anguish. Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943. This was the time when the Stalinist terror regime was in full swing and Hitler’s dictatorship was in it’s final throes, only a few years before George Orwell published his dystopian novel “1984”. The designs are of very great talent and ingenuity, executed with intensity, reflecting a projection into the future of a society overshadowed by dark forces. The cartomantic illustrations feature symbolism derived from Crowley's hotch-potch of disparate disciplines and occult systems.

Aleister Crowley Tarot - Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943

Above: Aleister Crowley Tarot cards, designed between 1938 and 1943. This is the 1st edition by Llewellyn Publications, St Paul, USA, c.1972. 78 cards + title card in slip case. The cards have unornamented borders, and no Hebrew letters or astrological symbols are present. Later editions have these features added. The original paintings were made with wartime materials, and are currently housed in the Warburg Institute, London, where they are beginning to show signs of deterioration.

Aleister Crowley Tarot - Crowley and Lady Freda Harris worked on the illustrations between 1938 and 1943
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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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