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Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot, Lon Milo DuQuette, Weiser Books. No matter how straightforward they may seem at times, the writings of the controversial occultist Aleister Crowley are perpetually full of religious riddles, Astrological puns, and philosophical enigmas which can test and trick the reader at every turn. The Book of Thoth Tarot, created in concert with the phenomenally talented Lady Frieda Harris near the end of Crowley’s life, is positively saturated with complex symbolism drawn from his knowledge of Qabalistic mysticism.
However, for every occultist who readily admits to being confused by The Beast’s rambling Hermetic soliloquys, there appears one claiming Crowleyan expertise without understanding the simplest rudiments of occult theory. Lon Milo DuQuette is neither of the aforementioned, but is arguably one of the most qualified people on the planet to explain the inner and outer workings of Crowley’s mystical frameworks. A decades-long member (and current US Deputy Grand Master) of Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, he has written extensively on all things Thelemic, Hermetic, Enochian and Masonic. The newest, expanded edition of his Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot remains the best analysis of the source material created to date.
Those who have never opened DuQuette’s work before will be in for a treat, since he has one of the most readable and friendly styles of instruction one can encounter — a truly Solve et Coagula approach to the subject matter — which examines each philosophical root in detail before twirling them back together, giving the student of Tarot a proper foundation with which to understand the oddities and ambiguities of Thelemic cartomancy and divination. In addition, DuQuette’s wit and humor is always around to add a pun or chuckle to the more tedious bits of philosophical gymnastics, like a beloved, zany uncle who just happes to be a well-read wizard. If Crowley’s occultism interests you at all, consider this book required reading.