There are several factors that make The Ultimate Guide to the Thoth Tarot a worthwhile addition to your Tarot library. First and foremost, it is a really lovely looking book. Originally published in German, the English edition appears to use the O.T.O.'s 2007 photo retakes of the original paintings by Lady Frieda Harris. This is wonderful because the colors are clear and don't run so the Lovers are wearing their original white fur capes instead of the pink capes seen in some poor quality American printings. The pages are glossy and the overall look and feel is aesthetically pleasing.

What is new here and very well done is a total overhaul of the visual presentation of the cards. The symbols of the Tarot cards are broken down on the left hand page listing the 10 most important symbols for each Major and Minor Arcana card. These images appear as a closeup of the symbol with a short entry about its meaning. If you want a basic reading of the Thoth Tarot that doesn't involve spending years studying Quabbalah, modern magick and the classics, this book will give you the essential symbolic knowledge necessary to use this deck.

Although the symbols are classic, the interpretation can draw on modern pop culture. Amusingly in the symbolic description of the Winged Egg on the Magus/The Magician card, it references Harry Potter's “snitch”, the golden ball. For Justice, the Sword and Crescent Moon symbology is described using the Little Mermaid as metaphor. Most of the time the symbols and their descriptions reference the traditional but it is that willingness to consider the knowledge of the modern reader that makes this a lighthearted approach.

The right hand page has an image of the complete Tarot card with numbers referring to the left hand page's 10 symbols. The reader can choose between the basic meaning and more specialized readings such as prediction, success and happiness in life or as the card of the day. The emphasis is on the personal will of the questioner with a positive view towards the individual's ability to make choices. So the Devil card drawn for love and relationships states that mostly it is a sign of quality when the “dreaded shadow side” is revealed in a relationship. It is hard to get a disheartening reading. Life lessons are given gently.

The Thoth Tarot cards do not correlate exactly to other decks so don't plan to use this book for any Tarot deck interpretation. As a simple guide to start using the Thoth cards and understand their symbols, this book is excellent.

~review by Larissa Carlson Viana

Authors: Johannes Fiebig & Evelin Burgerg
Llewellyn, 2015   
pp. 189, $22.99

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