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Opinion On Using Reversals For Thoth

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suedeheadsmiths  suedeheadsmiths is offline
Join Date: 28 Feb 2007
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Question Opinion On Using Reversals For Thoth

Hi everyone. I wanted to get everyone's opinion on using reversals for the Thoth deck. I use reversals for my WCS decks and I use them for my Thoth Deck. I have no desire to use elemental dignataries, (thanks Lyric), astrology or the Qabalah (well maybe the Qabalah), but for me personally, no offense to anyone, I think Astrology and elemental dignataries are a bunch of hooey. As I said just my personal opinion, I respect everyone's own personal beliefs.

Thanks, Chris
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mooiedragon  mooiedragon is offline
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Astrology is hooey, but tarot card reading has merit? Interesting! ;-p

Umm... I don't use reversals with the Thoth deck because as far as I know it's creator didn't intend them to be used that way. Crowley invented the deck based partially on elemental dignities and Quabalistic theories, so that's what I try and stick to when I'm reading with them.

It took me a while to get the hang of it, but when I use more of the esoteric theories on which the cards were based, I find that the readings become more accurate, and have been able to pinpoint significant dates with only a three card spread. But, I think everyone probably has a method that works best for them and you just have to test different ways until you find yours and if it happens to be with reversals... than that's the way you should read them. The cards "speak" to us all in different ways - it's not an exact science.
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Grigori  Grigori is offline
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Originally Posted by suedeheadsmiths
I think Astrology and elemental dignataries are a bunch of hooey.
Originally Posted by mooiedragon
Astrology is hooey, but tarot card reading has merit? Interesting! ;-p
Well a lot of other people have the same opinion as suedeheadsmiths... of course the are all wrong also! mwhahahaha (Firemaiden if you are reading this... )

I don't think you can understand the Thoth deck without having an appreciation of astrology, qabalah, ED etc.. however of course you can use it very well without any of that stuff, so IMO your not commiting any great sin if you don't use them.

My personal opinion is there is no real need or benefit to use the Thoth with reversals, and given that the backs are clearly "upright" I don't think its practical to do either. I guess I say, "if the back is not reversable, don't reverse the deck" SIMPLE!

ED's give us an idea of how a card is manifesting, as we can see how well it gets along with its neighbours in a spread. That is really all ED's are. A system to say "High Priestess likes to be next to The Moon, but she is not so happy stuck between the 8 of Wands and the Emperor" Very similar to reversals, but far easier to shuffle.
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ravenest  ravenest is offline
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Reversals - nope!
Astrology hooey - yep!
Why, take the poibnt that most modern (contemporary, non-magical , non- indigenous, etc) astrology cant even explain what it IS measuring or calculating, in the Thoth Crowley talks about astro signs, yet his tarot astrology was taken from G.D. that used constellations and started their Zodiac at Regulus as 0 deg. Leo and crowley seems to have copied half their system and used modern tropical western astrology to explain the rest, I'm not surprised that some taroists see astrology intarot as Hooey ...... although it doesnt have to be!
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Scion  Scion is offline
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Hey suedehead,

I don't use reversals for the Thoth or any of its derivatives, and haven't ever felt the need to, although I do use them for the Waite-Smith clan. The Thoth is one of those decks that just keeps unfolding... a funky thousand-petalled lotus of the occult. The more you interact actively, the more it offers.

As for the second (implied) question, I do use Elemental dignities to a degree and astrology pokes in there too. Modern astrology is pretty much crap, but then modern everything is pretty much crap so that isn't saying much. It's tricky to dismiss astrology when many of the decks being discussed (i.e. anything designed after 1870, say...) only have a system of meanings because of Qabalah & astrology.

I hear you talking about astrology, for many years I had a real problem interfacing with it because it seemed like anti-empirical BS and because of what it has devolved into in the past 100 years. Then I did a little digging into what astrology was before mass production and mass media transubstantiated it into mindless, new age gruel. It was never intended to predict the fate of haircuts and first dates. Actually, Astrology has a long, venerable tradition as the bedrock of Western esotericism.

I'm NOT an astrologer, but I've studied it enough to see the fertilizer in the bullshit. To be fair, learning about it has NOT made me start using it in readings, but I understand why the Continentals and various GD no-goodniks used it as the essential jumping off point for symbolic structure. There is a logic in their decision when you investigate...

That said, I have had readings done for me by hardcore astrologer/Tarot folk and the results and accuracy are uncanny. Freaky enough that after a reading by Lon DuQuette I decided to find out how the hell he was able to nail timing and circumstances so accurately. But (like qabalah) until the moment I started finding out about astrology , I pointedly didn't find out about it, if you know what I mean. No one has to learn anything, but neither does anyone need permission to ignore information. Something worth mentioning: over the course of Lyric's thread, she discovered that astrology and Qabalah (et al) are essential components of the Waite-Smith that she loves and reads intuitively, so she was using them, even if she wasn't studying them. If what you're saying is that you're happy to learn meanings without considering the source, and that works for you, rock it!

If we always knew where we'd wind up when we started a journey, we'd never leave in the first place.

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sweet_intuition  sweet_intuition is offline
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Why I use astrology while reading tarot

First of all, let me applaud Scion for his wonderful post on astrology. I only hope my little post here can be as insightful as his.

Before I ever picked up a tarot deck, I was fascinated by astrology. It was something that I had been studying ever since I was a child, courtesy my late grandfather, who took it up after retirement. Like many novices, and even experienced astrologers, I basically started out by mastering the definitions and theories about the 12 signs of the zodiac. However, it wasn't the kind of definitions one would get from a regular new-age paperback sun signs book that basically repeats and rehashes the works of Linda Goodman (who in my opinion is one of the most underrated astrologers in the astrology community - she made astrology popular with the masses true, but when reading her works, we can truly get a deep insight into our lives), I learnt about the signs through mythological, historical, and cultural archetypes. I learned about the history of astrology, the way it evolved throughout the ages. The different uses and definitions of it through the Egyptians, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, and even Vedic. I learnt about various systems of astrology, as well as, went hardcore into the hermetic, as well as, eastern philosophies that surrounded astrology.

Now I'm not a master at astrology, neither do I claim to be a master of anything, but I can say that I have studied it enough to give readings on a professional level. Never have I ever used it as a predictive tool (like many misinformed souls consider it to be), instead I always used it to guide people and empower them to live their lives to their fullest potential. Not to say that I couldn't predict with it, some of my predictions were quite uncanny, and still are, but there were parts of astrology which I felt were too limiting when working to empower people.

I then branched out into Chaldean Numerology, Palmistry, Aura viewing and charging, and many other branches of esoteric study, but it wasn't till I picked up my first deck of tarot cards that I felt complete.

Now coming to the point, astrology, when used in the right manner, can be something very vital in our tarot readings. True, it's not something you must absolutely use all the time, but when used, it can bring about entirely new dimensions towards using a card.

When we read about the correspondences of astrology towards the Tarot (Both Continental and GD) haven't we wondered, why was this sign or planet assigned to this particular trump. Or why this planetary decan, or a certain planet in a certain sign belonging to a card in the minors. As well as, why the court cards represent the cardinal, fixed, and mutable qualities of the elements they belong to?

That's where a thorough understanding of astrology fits in. True, we can get confused due to the varying nature of the continental and GD set of correspondences. However, there are reasons for the change in correspondences, one of the reasons being the discovery (or should I say re-discovery) of the three outer planets - namely, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (yes, I still consider this a planet). Through the discovery of these 3 distant, yet important planets, there has been a major shift in the set of correspondences, especially the planetary ones. For Example - The Continental 'Judgement' had the planet Saturn assigned to it, due to the fact that Saturn is the lord of Karma, and ultimately 'judges' us when the time is right. However, now with the re-discovery of Pluto, Saturn now corresponds to The World, and Judgement now corresponds to Pluto. Why? well, there is a deep astrological reason for it, but I shall discuss about that at another time.

Another aspect of astrology's value in the Tarot is regarding timing. Astrological timing is something that has been followed through since the times of ancient egypt to pre-vedic India. Using our knowledge of astrology (be it tropical or sidereal, our preference entirely) we can receive a more thorough understanding regarding readings where timing is essential. Now timing with the Tarot is controversial, and I wouldn't say that following, say the methods indicated in LMD's Thoth Book, or on the Super tarot site, are completely 100% accurate, but in my personal experience, they've worked for me say about ninety percent of the time.

The set of correspondences regarding other aspects, like parts of the body and the cards, or the five senses and the cards, the chakras, the herbs, countries and cities, ayurvedic body types, etc etc, are all to be honest, astrological in nature. I wish I could explain this further, but it would take a lot of time and a whole lot of typing energy.

Apart from that, a thorough understanding of astrology can bring a deeper analysis of the symbols used in the artwork of tarot decks, as well as, a deeper connection with the imagery of the cards themselves. Like in the Thoth deck, we all know that the charioteer is riding his chariot wearing a shimering armour of gold, but by understanding the sign of cancer on a deep level, we can see that the charioteer is also a private person that guards his emotions, as well as himself, with the utmost caution, which is why he covers himself with the armor. And an astrological reason why he holds the holy graal within his hands represents the tight connection cancer has towards motherhood, and the symbol of cancer itself, represents the union of male and female, resulting in the birth of a child, which still needs the loving protection of his mother's maternal nourishment.

Okay, now my hands are getting a bit tired of typing so much, but I just wanted to get my point across. Knowing astrology is not necessary at all in understanding the Tarot, even Thoth by that matter. But understanding it on a deep and thorough level, not only enhances our understanding, but also our appreciation for each of the 78 cards in the tarot deck.

I hope I've been able to help

Thank you

Love and Blessings

Top   #6
suedeheadsmiths  suedeheadsmiths is offline
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Talking Mr. Crowley

Thanks everyone. I was having a bi polar moment. I guess I just don't want to do the work. I get angry with this deck because it doesn't speak to me like my WCS does. Guess I'm just biased because I seem to like Waite better. I guess I'm just gonna have to get the Thoth Book and take a trip with Mr. Crowley. It should be an interesting journey for sure.

Thanks Chris
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Kenny  Kenny is offline
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There was a comment in one of my (few) Astrology books that said to be a professional Astrologer the amount of work needed is that of a degree student and this doubles over to tarot too I feel. I did A Levels and the amount of books I have for study for the tarot is way more than I ever used in one, or even all three courses. It might click for some, but for me I have had no click, just lots of Ah moments.

Yes it's work, and it can be hard, but I feel it'll be worth it in the end.
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cheekyinchworm  cheekyinchworm is offline
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I honestly would never have expected the level of anti-qabalah and anti-astrology sentiment here in the Thoth forum that I have seen over the past couple weeks. I'd expect that in most of the other forums, for sure, but here? I'm shocked, frankly.

Obviously, for a Marseilles deck, for example, the claim that the whole thing is founded in Qabalah and Astrology is hard to swallow. IIRC, there were occultists who claimed that. Eliphas Levi, wasn't it? And the Golden Dawn. And there is some serious doubt about this position.

No agrument there.

But, I'm pretty sure that the RWS deck was largely based on (or at least heavily influenced by) the Qabalah and Astrology and other Western religious and mystic strands.

And, I'm positive that Crowley constructed the Thoth Tarot around the Qabalistic Tree of Life and Astrological considerations, and alchemy and many other things. That's how he designed the thing for crying out loud!

So, I'm a bit at a loss to understand those who say, here in the Thoth forum, that the correspondences and attributions from Qabalah and Astrology are hooey.

The SYMBOLS THEMSELVES make an appearance on the cards for crying out loud!!! I'm just now studying the 6 of wands and there are two astrological symbols right on the card: one for Jupiter, and one for Leo.

Jupiter means something, stands for something, IS something in astrology. And Leo means something, too. And Jupiter in the sign of Leo means something more specific. And "Victory" dovetails quite nicely with it.

And, no surprise, the RWS 6 of Wands depicts a scene quite compatible with "Victory" and Jupiter in Leo.

Originally Posted by ravenest
Why, take the point that most modern (contemporary, non-magical , non- indigenous, etc) astrology can't even explain what it IS measuring or calculating, . . .
I think most if not all professional astrologers would disagree with this statement, and would explain exactly what Astrology measures. Something along the line of "Astrology is the science that explores the action of the celestial bodies upon animate and inanimate objects, and their reactions to such influences."

. . . in the Thoth Crowley talks about astro signs, yet his tarot astrology was taken from G.D. that used constellations and started their Zodiac at Regulus as 0 deg. Leo and crowley seems to have copied half their system and used modern tropical western astrology to explain the rest, I'm not surprised that some taroists see astrology intarot as Hooey ...... although it doesnt have to be!
I don't know the specifics of Crowley's Astrological system, but so far I have seen nothing which is inharmonious with modern tropical astrology such as is laid out in March & McEvers books. According to what I've read, Crowley actually introduced America to Astrology, ghostwriting for Evangeline Adams.

But it actually doesn't matter if Crowley's system is or is not completely harmonious with any other system. It doesn't matter if it was created from two or more distinct pre-existing systems. All that matters is if it is a coherent and cogent whole in and of itself.

And, I really shouldn't have to point this out in a Tarot forum--it's the sort of thing I point out all the time in a gadget type forum I frequent--but I will: the fact that different systems seem to contradict one another, or that no two astrologers can be in complete agreement, is in no wise proof that astrology is hooey.

Take something as simple and quantifiable and scientific as light. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second no matter who is looking at it. So if I'm standing still, and you are travelling towards me very fast, and in between us is a light bulb (also standing still), then you and I will both measure the same speed for the speed of light. It's a constant. And this, despite the fact that we are in relative motion. It's pretty hard to wrap your head around it; it's fairly non-logical, non-common sensical. In our everyday world, that's not the way things work. Our everyday experience indicates that one second of my time is one second of your time, and the same for space. An inch is an inch is an inch. But, generally speaking, this is not true.

And if something like light, which is a pretty material-world, objective phenomenon, can be so confounding and require a genius like Einstein to penetrate to the truth of it, . . . well, you see where I am going, right? Doesn't that say that spiritual and mystical and other higher-order truths are going to be even more so?

Astrology is hooey. I suppose that this is meant objectively, and is basically saying that the time and place of your birth have no statistical or scientific relation to your personality and inner world.

And, you know, I'm not certainly not convinced that that isn't true. But even if it were the case that a natal chart is an interesting but irrelevant compilation of fun signs and planets and concepts, it is still the case that the archetypes and archetypal truths laid out within astrology have great merit and applicability to our lives and the lives of others.

A certain class of mental vision requires concepts and forms, requires archetypes. For without these, the vision fails or never developes or is severely hampered. How much is contained within the person of "Scrooge"? He's rather archetypal, I think. Experience with Charles Dicken's famous story empowers the ability to see a certain type of character or influence within the people around us.

Of course, if that's all you had, it would be better that you had nothing. A set of archetypes should form a complete set of archetypes, or try to. I suspect that the human mind, collectively, creates these, in complete sets, because it needs them! This doesn't mean that one Pantheon of divinities must line up exactly against another.

But it does mean, I think, that when you understand one system fully, it actually helps you to understand another, and further, that you will see the same spiritual truths at the root of it all. Dogma and doctrine are not the same as the real essence and living powers of something. This is why comparative religion as an academic discipline is such a quagmire, I suspect.

Anyway, I'm going to cut myself off before I foam at the mouth.

I just don't understand the antipathy towards Qabalah and Astrology sometimes seen here. For myself, I am drinking these things in just like with the Tarot. It's water to a person dying of thirst, in my case. And at the moment I could care less whether or not Astrology really is predictive or not, because I find it eminently informative and instructive and coherent.

As Kenny has pointed out, becoming a truly proficient astrologer takes A LOT of work and study and thought and meditation. To just dismiss the whole lot of them with a simplistic observation about how no two of them are in complete agreement seems to me to be rather unfair and besides the point.


On another note, though, suedeheadsmiths, if you want to use reversals and don't want to get into Astrology and ED and all that, I'm totally cool with that. Please don't think I am trying to disagree with THAT. If Lady Harris did her work well (and I think she did) then it's all in there in the cards, and if they speak to you that clearly and powerfully without any research, ROCK ON! That's awesome.

Personally, I don't use reversals, and am currently trying to learn Astrology and Qabalah and other occult disciplines. I use reversals with the RWS, though. Just not with the Thoth.
Top   #9
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Lillie  Lillie is offline
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I think reversals are hooey.
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