It is difficult to say who the most famous tarot reader in human history is as the practice of tarot reading has been around for centuries and there are many notable figures throughout history who have used and popularized tarot. However, one of the most well-known and influential figures in the world of tarot is Aleister Crowley. He was a British occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet, and mountaineer, who was responsible for revising the Rider-Waite tarot deck and creating his own deck, the Thoth Tarot. He also wrote extensively on the subject of tarot and its use in ceremonial magic. Many contemporary tarot readers and practitioners still refer to and use his decks and books.
The Father of Modern Tarot
Aleister Crowley, born Edward Alexander Crowley in 1875, was a British occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet, and mountaineer who had a significant impact on the development of modern tarot. He is often referred to as the “Father of Modern Tarot” for his contributions to the field. Crowley’s influence on tarot can still be seen today in the many tarot decks and books that continue to reference his work.
Crowley was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a secret society that was heavily involved in the study of occultism and the Western Mystery Tradition. It was through his involvement with the Golden Dawn that Crowley first became interested in tarot. He began to study the Rider-Waite tarot deck, which was the most popular deck of the time. However, he found the deck to be lacking in certain areas and began to revise it to make it more in line with his own personal beliefs and understanding of the tarot.
Creating the Thorh Tarot and The Book of Thoth
Aleister Crowley’s revisions to the Rider-Waite deck resulted in the creation of his own deck, the Thoth Tarot. The Thoth Tarot is considered to be one of the most important and influential tarot decks of the 20th century. The deck consists of 78 cards, with the traditional 22 cards of the Major Arcana and 56 cards of the Minor Arcana. The artwork on the cards is highly symbolic and evocative, and the meanings of the cards are heavily influenced by Crowley’s understanding of the Qabalah and the Western Mystery Tradition.
One of the key differences between the Thoth Tarot and the Rider-Waite deck is the way in which the cards are interpreted. Crowley believed that the traditional meanings of the tarot cards were too limited and that the true meaning of the cards could only be understood through the use of intuition and personal understanding. He encouraged tarot readers to use their own personal experiences and understanding of the cards in order to gain deeper insight and understanding.
Crowley also wrote extensively on the subject of tarot and its use in ceremonial magic. His book “The Book of Thoth” is considered to be a classic in the field of tarot, and is still widely read and studied by tarot enthusiasts today. In it, Aleister Crowley explains the symbolism of the Thoth Tarot and provides detailed interpretations of each card. He also discusses the use of tarot in ceremonial magic and provides instructions for using the deck in rituals and meditations.
Aleister Crowley’s influence on tarot can also be seen in the many other tarot decks and books that have been created since the publication of the Thoth Tarot. Many contemporary tarot readers and practitioners still refer to and use his deck and books, and his ideas and methods continue to be studied and used in the field of tarot today.
Aleister Crowley’s Legacy Lives On
Aleister Crowley’s legacy goes beyond the tarot as he was also an accomplished mountaineer, poet, and ceremonial magician. He was an advocate of the philosophy of Thelema, which he formulated himself, it is a religious philosophy that emphasizes the pursuit of individual freedom and the discovery of one’s true will. He also wrote extensively on the subject of Thelema and its relationship to other spiritual and occult practices.
In conclusion, Aleister Crowley was a complex and influential figure in the world of tarot and the occult. His contributions to the field of tarot, specifically through the creation of the Thoth Tarot deck, have had a lasting impact on the way in which tarot is understood and used today. His emphasis on intuition, personal understanding, and symbolism in tarot interpretation has inspired many contemporary tarot readers and practitioners. His book “The Book of Thoth” is still widely read and studied as a classic in the field of tarot. Crowley’s legacy goes beyond tarot, as he was also an accomplished mountaineer, poet, ceremonial magician and advocate of the philosophy of Thelema. His ideas and methods continue to be studied and used in the field of tarot, and in the broader realm of spirituality and occultism.