Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot; an authoritative examination of the world's most fascinating and magical tarot cards, by Lon Milo DuQuette. Weiser Books, 2003. Pbk. 330 pp. 'Fascinating and magical' are epithets that chime most musically in the ears of true Crowleyite believers, but which jangle somewhat more dissonantly in the ears of non-believers.
Be that as it may, if you fall into the former category, this handsomely illustrated volume is definitely the book for you. It is positively bursting at the seams with magical tables and diagrams and with black-and-white images from the Tarot pack that Crowley designed with Lady Frieda Harris (who provided all the artwork, under instruction from The Master, to whom she was devoted).
It's worth noting that Lon Milo DuQuette is a lively, humorous and unconventional commentator. For instance when he gets to the 'Queen of Wands' he maintains that under this heading we should include such varied individuals as Ursula Andress, Joan Crawford, Albert Einstein and Wyatt Earp. (Wyatt Earp???)
But he is also capable of mystic mumbo-jumbo of the first water, as in the following: "In the language of Thelemic imagery, the elixir is brewed in the Holy grail by Babalam/Nuit in Binah (the Queen of our Qabalistic fairytale), who then offers it to the Beast/Hadit in Chokmah (the King of our Qabalistic fairytale) and they both drink (TRINC) and become ecstatically drunken. In doing so, they annihilate all sense of separateness, and so on."
Well, bully for them, say I. (Last orders. Time, gentlemen, please.)