Is the Thoth deck suitable for beginners?

I’m interested in start practicing Tarot so I’m about to get my first deck. I was planning to go for the classic Rider-Waite deck since it’s simple and I find it aesthetically appealing, but then I watched Mastering Divination course in which E.A. speaks highly of the Thoth deck. On the other hand, I read some reviews about the Thoth deck on amazon where it’s mentioned that it might not be the best choice for a beginner since it’s rather “dense” and aimed at more advanced practitioners who already have some experience. Is that valid at all?
Which one do you guys think would be most suitable for a beginner?

Thoth is the deck I learned with, am still learning with, and still use. I received it as a gift, and at first it did seem quite daunting. Every card has tons of details and variables that can be overwhelming when you begin. However, I feel that you’ll quickly get pulled into the ‘vibe’ of the deck, and will become more fascinated and entranced with it everytime you pull it out. I’ve had people request that I use rider Waite or other decks for readings, and I must say that in comparison, they feel cheap, generic and a little gimmicky. Thoth packs so much info into each card that every reading becomes highly personalized and detailed, with little to no effort on your part. I regularly just pull out a single card and see what it says, and 9 times out of 10, it will completely sum up the events of my past week, or even month, and lay out the rough lines for the week to come. Havnt had rider Waite do that yet.

Thanks a lot for your insightful input Lotus Eater, it definately makes sense and clarifies things for me.

What’s your opinion regarding the size of the deck? The Thoth deck in large size looks impressive but the cards won’t even fit on my desk for a Celtic Cross spread, so I can only get a [URL=]small-sized one[/URL] - similar to ordinary decks of playing cards (64 X 97mm). Hopefully this won’t make more difficult the learning process or affect the potency of my readings.

Edit: fixed link

Hopefully your explorations in this will bring many discoveries… I’d say the complement to LotusEater (where it was mentioned getting pulled into the vibe)- the only reason perhaps not to use would be if one felt a vibe pushing away from (ie it didn’t click) else I see it as building a strong foundation (ea card… doors).

to comment on your 2nd pt Dimitris (card size) - I’m a bit unconvertional and I hadn’t heard this elsewhere… but for what its worth, I had a Thoth deck and I only used the “major arcana” (23 cards) and I cut the cards where it is like there are surrounded with a frame that has some name/words etc. but I found if I cut the edges off (down to the art-card inside) it made the size more convenient- and more intense and focused… <also didn’t shrink the picts, thus I’d prefer this “alteration” over the “reduced size”>

I don’t know if that would still give you scale issues (also when I laid the cards out, espec getting to know them as a picture- just seeing part of it ~a corner, I’d know the entire design… thus I used a layout where the cards were a bit more Tiled/edges onto other cards… compacts it some in layout (also makes easier to see all at once, in soft focus vision “scrying I’s”)

Without reading what the others have said, I think the Thoth deck is suitable to start with - and it has room to grow on.

If you’re using it for divination, all you really need is the most basic symbols and then to put in the work. I would suggest using an empowered divination system such as that EA describes - you’re getting into the theta-gamma sync, you may also be calling an entity to guide your sight, and the cards serve as a visualization of your inquiry. In this case, you can use the meanings that come with the guidebook in the box, and then interpret. The more you use it this way, the more the cards will “speak” to you, and you’ll begin to “see” what is laid out before you.

For comfortable divination, especially for yourself, I would get one of the smaller sized Thoth decks like you mentioned - much easier to shuffle and work with.

If you mature in your use of the Tarot itself, rather than merely as a tool for divination, the Thoth deck gives you a lot of room to grow - as there is a lot of symbolism built into the deck, as well as a lot of writing about it. You can meditate into the cards, and learn all sorts of different meanings/uses/etc.

If you get into this aspect of it, it may be helpful to also get a full-size deck, so you can really look at the cards. Likewise, if you start reading cards for others, especially if you do it professionally, the presentation of the larger cards is perhaps more impressive - ie. a better performance and experience for the querent.

Also, there are a lot of variant Thoth decks out there with different art. As you find decks to look at, research them. First, find out what the format of the deck is - is it Thoth-style, Rider-Waite-style, something else? How big is it? Once you have these basics, do a google image search on the deck itself to see what the art looks like. Also read some reviews to make sure it is manufactured well so it will hold up.

Some people find a style that “speaks” to them, and as such aides their enjoyment of the deck. This will be an aide, as joy is a good driver of work.

I have the pocket Swiss deck of the Thoth tarot and they’re just a bit smaller than playing cards and great for using on the go. They’re much easier to shuffle than my standard Rider Waite Smith deck.

Having had a chance to read what the others said, I agree and would reinforce what they’ve said.

Also, for what it’s worth, my main two decks are Thoth decks. I use the pocket Swiss deck for most everything, just like TheWanderingFool said. Very easy to shuffle, plenty of room for spreads, portable. I think GamesWorkshop makes them. I haven’t put the full-size deck to much use, though if I were to, it would be for the reasons I mentioned above (meditation, gateways, professional readings) - but I think these could be done with the small one as well.

My partner has a Thoth-style deck with alternative art - it’s called The Sun and Moon Tarot. She really likes the art in it, it “speaks” to her better, so she can better get into the vibe. The card meanings are nearly the same, so she would be able to pick up a Thoth deck or any of the Thoth Tarot literature and not skip a beat.

We also have a Rider-Waite deck, but it hardly ever gets used - though it is the classic that most people think of when they think “Tarot”.

I use the Rider deck when reading for others and use the Thoth more for myself for introspection meditation and contemplation exercises. One exercise I like to do with Tarot is to separate the majors from the minors and draw one card from each and contemplate their relationship to one another. Doing a blank reading about yourself ( no question for the cards, let them tell you what they want to) using only the majors as well can reveal some powerful things about yourself.

Personally I’ve never felt drawn to the Rider-Waite deck, though it has still worked very well for lots of people. I’ve always loved the Thoth deck, and while it has much more complex symbolism than the Rider-Waite it’s still fine for beginners. I think the changes from the traditional tarot structure Crowley made to it were very well warranted.

There are subtle differences between the two decks - and the most obvious and first should be - when looking upon the fool…

One is facing toward the Sun…
The other - away from it…

Use both.
Study both.

I went with the Thoth Deck by Crowley - because it was his personal deck recreated without Waite’s influence and knowing their history - and biases - I prefer freedom in all senses…

I gladly walk away from the Light… all that I have known… for lies abide in the spoken word and moralisation… it is a messy mix…

I walk wherever I wish - with my own senses intact… let your own sense in all things be your guide - and let passion be your power - not your ruler.

If you get the Thoth deck get The Book Of Thoth by Crowley. It’s worth it, if you have to read a section multiple times to grasp it do it anyways and then read it a few more times because with Crowley’s style of writing you probably just scratched the surface.

I bought DuQuettes book on the Thoth deck and thought it was decent until I got the Book of Thoth. Crowley’s work explains the cards and system much better than DuQuettes and is a more complete read. I still felt a bit lost after reading DuQuettes book. Crowley’s book gave me a better understanding than any other on the tarot.

[quote=“TheWanderingFool, post:11, topic:1003”]If you get the Thoth deck get The Book Of Thoth by Crowley. It’s worth it, if you have to read a section multiple times to grasp it do it anyways and then read it a few more times because with Crowley’s style of writing you probably just scratched the surface.

I bought DuQuettes book on the Thoth deck and thought it was decent until I got the Book of Thoth. Crowley’s work explains the cards and system much better than DuQuettes and is a more complete read. I still felt a bit lost after reading DuQuettes book. Crowley’s book gave me a better understanding than any other on the tarot.[/quote]

As an addendum to this, don’t wait until you fully “understand” the Thoth deck to get started - for some people it takes years. If you have basic card meanings (which you can get from the starter book that comes with the deck), you can start doing divination work with them right away.

Another deck I’d strongly recommend is The Tarot of Ceremonial Magick by Lon Milo Duquette. It has the same structure of the Thoth deck, but is VERY user friendly and designed for practical readings. So if you feel a little intimidated by the Thoth deck I’d definitely check it out.

I’m curious as to how close the Thoth and CM Tarot are to the Golden Dawn Deck. I keep meaning to grab that deck along with the Rumi Tarot but something else always catches my short attention span first.

If youre interested, I just started working with the Egyptian Tarot, and Im finding it to be more accurate than almost anything else Ive tried. Check it out!

Thanks for the link they do seem interesting. I’ve probably got more decks than I need or use now. How are they more accurate? Do the symbols just resonate with you better allowing you decipher meanings easier?

I’ve had the Thoth deck for about 18 years, I’ve tried a few others but they just didn’t seem to jive with me. So my answer would be yes, find the one that resonates with you the best. Go on your first instinct.

Like said before in other posts, you don’t need to memorize all of the symbolism at first, It will grow as you do.

Another big plus going for the Thoth deck for people starting out is that the Minor Arcana have key Words, which can help with memorizing the definitions of the cards. A tip for cutting the deck with the Large Thoth Deck, is start the cut just using the corners and then square them up, it helps if you have small hands as this Deck is big But the artwork really Pops out at you.

Ive always felt that I have a strong connection with ancient Egyptian culture, so in that sense, it does resonate with me pretty well, but the fact that the images are so detailed helps out quite a bit too. For instance, in many decks, The Magus is just a dude raising a sceptre to the air with the other pointed at the ground, and given your knowledge, that can be taken at face value,

The Egyptian Magus is similar, but with extra little details, such as wearing a belt made of a snake biting its tail, and his cup, sword and gold are resting on a black cube engraved with an Ibis.

Depending on the reading, these details could mean nothing, or everything. If every card I draw has that little Ibis somewhere in it, or the black cube, then I would pay more attention to that recurring theme than I would at the cards themselves.
Thats not to say that one deck is better than any others, Its all up to preference and resonance, but out of everything, Ive found this deck has thousands of ways to relay a message, and resonates very “purely”

I don’t like Golden Dawn or Thelema, and would like to find a deck which doesn’t reflect their ideas, including Rider-Waite (although I like Pamela Colman Smith’s work).

at the same time, I think using a 14th century deck might be talking to me in 14th century terms – if that is true then I need something recent

do any experienced tarot readers have any thoughts on this?
thanks in advance