Major Sequence of the Book of Thoth

by 333! (nagasiva yronwode)


Working against secrecy fostered by magical orders who attempt to conceal Tarot attributions as a bid to draw membership, the following Philosophus degree work for the Great White Brotherhood deciphers and corrects the plentiful errors (/blinds) left or installed by Aleister Crowley in his 'Thoth' Tarot deck.

The diversity of errors in Crowley's works centered on the issue of the attributions for the Justice/Strength trumps (the GD-SWITCH) and the Emperor/Star trumps (the AC-SWITCH) gave me pause about the man's intention. He's not ordinarily this addled and inconsistent of expression. It appears that he hadn't made up his mind and was futzing with it over time (thus what comes down to us is a batch of inconsistent sloughings), or he wanted to draw attention to his contribution, and demonstrate to the dubious that it was somehow symbolically-valuable to move the images and names of the cards in addition to what was done by the Golden Dawn.

Crowley does give reason to think that he was undecided on the matter. However, he included tables for The Book of Thoth in which KEY data is reversed (notably on page 278; pages 279-280 and on page 284), so that we cannot deny their intentionality and therefore ought to give them priority, as they form the necessary data by which one might correctly adjust the Harris-Crowley deck to occult power.


There are contentions that the material in the tables to which I'm referring are typos. In emphasizing the ciphered character of these tables, I should provide for those who are unused to esoteric and secret data a description of the difference between the character of a typo and that of encipherment.

A typo is a mistaken keystroke in the execution of a large body of text. As I am typing this eentence the word "sentence" preceding contained a typo (quite accidental, I assure you!).

A cipher is a logical jumbling of a single dimension of a table or complex of information, keyed to logical resolution or to a specific resolution method (as via a code of substitution).


The term 'TFOUFODF' is ciphered in a single-letter substitution code one letter forward in the alphabet. Via logic or via my providing you with a decipher method (in this case A=B, B=C, ..., Z=A), you can resolve the meaning of this ciphered term as 'SENTENCE'.

Ciphers are significant because they result in something that is beyond the probabilities of random chance or some stray error. They indicate intentionality, planning. This is precisely what we have in the case of these tables: ciphers, not typos. To be clear, let me use an example:


Referring to The Book of the Law as "scared text" is a typo. The letters a and c have been transposed from the original word (sacred). If it were a cipher of a similar kind to what is found in the tables to which I am referring, it would look like this:

                txetde rcas

in which the dimension of the jumble is a reversal of its letter placement. This example can be more fully appreciated when the cipher occurs in the context of a body of text that allows a discernment of its intent:

e.g.    Many Troglodytes are incapable of apprehending the
        purity and truth of the Master's reception of the
        revelation on April 8-10, 1904 in Cairo, but this
        is to be expected as they suffer from delusions and
        blinders by which txetde rcas remains unseen as such.

Initially one might contend without due consideration that the sentence above contains a typo between "which" and "remains". By the context of the paragraph, however, we can see that, logically, the letters should be reversed so that its intended meaning will become clear:

       txetde rcas   becomes=>  sacred text

e.g.    Many Troglodytes are incapable of apprehending the
        purity and truth of the Master's reception of the
        revelation on April 8-10, 1904 in Cairo, but this
        is to be expected as they suffer from delusions and
        blinders by which sacred text remains unseen as such.

In this same manner, tables on 278 and 284 can be deciphered, identifying the proper attributions (see below).

Eliphas Levi and The Golden Dawn

Crowley's attributions occurred within a Golden Dawn context. As such, they are best seen as part of a longstanding desire to consolidate Tarot's game rudiments to attributive qualities, while maintaining a romantic and deceptive description of the Tarot as originating in Egypt and communicated by nomads.

The Golden Dawn adjusted what they'd inherited from Eliphas Levi of the attributions provided to the Tarot trumps in the late 19th century. Levi had placed the Fool (originally unnumbered) between the XX and XXI trumps in his published works and had used the Sepher Yetzirah (a Jewish mystical text emerging sometime between 100-600 CE and manifesting in several versions) as a source for these attributions, though the document merely matches up Hebrew letters with extant symbolism.


   P => Planet; S => Zodiac Sign

The Sepher Yetzirah pattern integrated the Hebrew letters in sequence along with specific Elemental, Planetary and Zodiacal attributions to each letter. It was used by early fabricators (de Gebelin, de Mellet, Levi, Papus, among others) to support assertions regarding the occult device's antiquity, and the Golden Dawn maintained this, perpetuating the falsity that it derived from Kabbalists. In fact (occult) Tarot was crafted atop a card game popular at one time in France and many parts of Europe, and still played to this day with specialized decks.

amongst occultists there are several sets of Planetary attributions which have been crafted, but those traditions which retain the Sepher Yetzirah as their basis tend to maintain their adherence to this pattern of Elements, Planets, and Zodiacal Signs as described above.


    II       III     IV        XI        XVII    XX     XXI

By a Trithemian feint (the "Cipher Manuscript"), the Golden Dawn revealed their Tarot, placing the Fool in front of the rest of the trumps (aleph => 0/Fool), and sliding the attributions down one place. Simultaneously, they chose a different Planetary sequence. Crowley obtained his attributions from them when he was initiated to the proper degree (8=3) in the Golden Dawn.


    I        II      III       X         XVI     XIX    XXI


   LETTER  ATTR      (1)LEVI            (2)GD/AC         ATTR CHANGES
E  aleph   AIR          I  MAGUS           0  FOOL
P  beth    MOON        II  PRIESTESS       I  MAGUS      MERCURY
S  vau     TAURUS      VI  LOVERS          V  HIEROPHANT
S  zain    GEMINI     VII  CHARIOT        VI  LOVERS
S  teth    LEO         IX  HERMIT       VIII  JUSTICE    GD SYMB SWITCH
S  yod     VIRGO        X  WHEEL          IX  HERMIT
P  kaph    MARS        XI  STRENGTH        X  WHEEL      JUPITER
E  maim    WATER     XIII  DEATH         XII  HANGED MAN
S  samekh  SAGIT.      XV  DEVIL         XIV  TEMPERANCE
S  aiyn    CAPRIC.    XVI  TOWER          XV  DEVIL
P  peh     MERCURY   XVII  STAR          XVI  TOWER      MARS
S  qoph    PISCES     XIX  SUN         XVIII  MOON
P  resh    SATURN      XX  JUDGMENT      XIX  SUN        SUN
E  shin    FIRE         0  FOOL           XX  JUDGMENT

This change of trump sequence made possible a further refinement that served to firm up the card-names/symbolism and attributions, called "The GD-SWITCH".


-------------------------- from VIII-JUSTICE-LEO and XI-STRENGTH-LIBRA to VIII-STRENGTH-LEO and XI-JUSTICE-LIBRA ----------------------------------

The GD-SWITCH was part of a general movement toward consolidation of attributive symbolism reflected as an occulted sequence 'behind' the cardgame symbols. With the fabrications on top of the game, clever manipulation over time enables a shift to a more rational and convincing composite. The STRENGTH-LEO & JUSTICE-LIBRA matchings were observed by the GD to be more in line with conventional zodiacal symbolism when the names and symbolism of the trumps were transposed within the series.

Once the game symbolism faded to the backdrop of Tarotic usage, secret societies made changes toward coherence as initiatic systems used "the secret and true associations of the Tarot" as bait for membership. Over time this had the effect of allowing for a gradual consolidation of occult attributions to the leftover rudiments of the game out of which it was constructed, giving the appearance that what was originally contended about the elegance of the whole was true (not because it originated this way, but due to the fact that it was half-concealed and became malleable by occultists).

Crowley's Religious Introductions

In Crowley's "Book of Thoth", he remarked on the value of the GD-SWITCH, and provided a rationale for including his own transposition of name and symbolism for his own Tarot deck (the EMPEROR/STAR pair; within his "Thoth Deck", as painted by Frieda Harris). Crowley contended that the symmetry of the transposition with respect to zodiacal signs served to justify his AC-SWITCH as well as the GD-SWITCH.

Crowley changed the names on the GD-SWITCH's cards (to VIII ADJUSTMENT/XI LUST) as markers for those who may study his deck's structure with respect to tradition. He also added the embellishment of art reflecting his religious doctrines, which derive from Christian scripture and Egyptomania (exemplified by his XI LUST and XX AEON trumps).

Contained within his scripture is a remark he interpreted as a directive to find 'the secret attribution of the Tarot', which ought include the DISassociation between the Star trump and the Hebrew letter tzaddi. How he was to effect this was something of a puzzle to him, apparently, and he left that puzzlement in a confusion of data within both his deck and his book. However, with attention to the details, the correct understanding of the AC-SWITCH may be deciphered as:


-------------------------- IV-EMPEROR-ARIES and XVII-STAR-AQUARIUS to IV-STAR-ARIES and XVII-EMPEROR-AQUARIUS ----------------------------------

Whereas the GD-SWITCH appears to have been an attempt to consolidate convincing symbolism, Crowley's contrivance was intended to provide support for his cult's scripture, and he used an analysis of the GD-SWITCH as part of a proffered rationale for making these changes (see Appendix B).

The history of the (occult) Tarot is wound into the being of and invitation to the occult order. The whole is woven as a fabric whose blinds allow the public to see into its significant and cryptic skein. Within the accompanying text to the deck, within the deck, or within some very obvious outside reference to the deck, there will be, hidden within it a method of deciphering the deck's attributes and using this to configure the Occult Device properly. Those who neglect this feature either have no secrets to occult (because they are vulgar constructions) or they are not following in the Golden Dawn tradition of ceremonialism and the employment of Tarot for magic (rather than augury or fortune-telling). The key to untangling Crowley's tarotics is to be found within his ciphered trump tables.


Despite the preponderance of contending assertions that may be found in Crowley's "The Book of Thoth: A Short Essay on the Tarot of the Egyptians, Being The Equinox III Vol. V" pertaining to the AC-SWITCH, understanding the information presented in its trump tables allows the informed reader to know what is being jumbled and therefore how to go about deciphering the attributions.

The tables on pages 278 and 284 in particular feature as part of their data absolute sequences conforming with occult tradition whose corruption is obvious and therefore correctable to those who can comprehend Key numbers (paths on sefirotic trees with which the Tarot is combined, numbered from 11 to 32), or zodiacal signs (from Aries to Pisces).

These sequences (Key numbers, zodiacal signs) are preserved and supported within the Golden Dawn tradition described above, and ultimately derive their content from fabrications after the pattern of letter-symbol attributes from Sephir Yetzirah.

Seeing Crowley's trump tables as ciphered data necessitates a rationale for deciphering them. The standard within table 278 which should be used is the Key Scale. The dimension jumbled in that table is the ROW order. It is ciphered by switching row 15 for 28 and 19 for 22. Therefore, a correction of deck and book is effected by reversing these 4 rows in that table.

The table on p 278 displays his abandonment of what he called "Title and Numbers Printed on the Cards" in favour of the "Key Scale", which are conventionally mapped to sefirotic paths on Tree of Life diagrams. Each trump is assigned to a path or Key Scale within that table:

Number/Title on Card    Letter  Value   Attribution      Key Scale

IV           EMPEROR    TZADDI  90,900  AQUARIUS         28
VIII      ADJUSTMENT    LAMED   30      LIBRA            22
IX              LUST    TETH    9       LEO              19
XVII            STAR    HE      5       ARIES            15


This table is otherwise in *ascending order down the page*, which indicates that these 4 are displaced as a blind, reversed with respect to the rest of the trumps, and a clear indicator of intentional encipherment. This table contains the information necessary to correct the cards, maintains the GD-SWITCH and the AC-SWITCH, plus the traditional zodiacal band and the Hebrew letters.

In "The Essential Dignities of the Planets" (p 284) the signs are proper in the wheel diagram, retaining the zodiacal sequence and conforming to the Wheel of the Dignities of the Planets.

The standard for the table on p 284 should be Rulership Wheel which accompanies "THE ESSENTIAL DIGNITIES OF THE PLANETS" table. Setting The Exaltation, Ruling, and Signs in order requires starting from the First House on the left below the Ascendant Line and proceeding counter-clockwise (the astrological method in reading zodiacal charts) and proceeding down through the rows of that table below the Wheel. To decipher this, one only swaps the Key Numbers 28 and 15 and, in order for the Exaltation, Rulership, and Signs to work out properly, row 19 and row 22 in their entirety. This yields:

                ARIES = 15
                LEO   = 19
                LIBRA = 22
                AQUAR = 28
That the reversals were intentional is obvious, but they are only meaningful and informative as a cipher in the table on p 278. The table on p 279-280 instructs the measures necessary for the correction to the trump colours (Star/Emperor), decipherment requiring the swap of the entire rows 15 and 28, while the table on p 284 is a trap which, if keyed to the paths, rather than to the Wheel Diagram, disrupts the purpose for the tables and their Wheel.


In an effort to provide a complete service to the aspiring occultist and tarotster, what follows are details of the proper changes to the Thoth Deck and Book of Thoth tables that will enable a proper symbolic resonance, conformance with tarotic tradition, and with Crowleyan religion should this be desired. They are given here as initiatic secrets revealed unto the wise, who will no doubt recognize their value and insight.

Crowley didn't just revert the names/images of the GD-SWITCH (VIII/XI) in his card deck. He left the Roman Numerals to both GD-SWITCH and AC-SWITCH in their old sequences and *corrected all their Hebrew letters* as an indicator of how the deck should be formatted by the operating 8=3 Practicus.

  Revising the Thoth Deck to Your Favourite Standards

        VIII -- CHANGE VIII to XI
          XI -- CHANGE XI to VIII

          IV -- CHANGE IV to XVII
        XVII -- CHANGE XVII to IV

          IV -- CHANGE TZADDI to HE

By transposing the Hebrew letters and Roman Numerals between trumps 15 and 28, and by transposing the Zodiacal Sign attributions and Roman Numerals between 19 and 22, Crowley implied his certitude of the GD-SWITCH (requiring only the change of Roman Numeral to effect it) and his extreme tentativeness about the AC-SWITCH (requiring 4 changes to complete by changing out the Roman Numerals and the Zodiacal Sign, and this in turn plays havoc with the graphic imagery of the card, obviously keyed as they are to the original astrological signs: RAM and WATER-BEARER).


You can now attest with other Practicus 8=3 that you know the secret attribution of the Harris-Crowley Thoth Deck, courtesy of initiation by Frater (I) Nigris (666) 333!

Having now received the most rational and inclusive attributions pertaining to the Harris-Crowley Thoth Deck, it remains for the student to fathom a natural, inclusive and logical standard which will transcend tradition in these more eclectic and flexible times.


"A History of the Occult Tarot 1870-1970",
by Decker/Dummett, Duckworth, 2002.

Appendix A: Card Names and the GD/AC Switches

Keeping the names the same, as some are wont to do, 
the GD-SWITCH was:

        FROM                            TO
NUMERAL VIII                            XI
NAME    JUSTICE                         JUSTICE
LETTER  TETH                            LAMED
ATTRIB  LEO                             LIBRA

NUMERAL XI                              VIII
LETTER  LAMED                           TETH
ATTRIB  LIBRA                           LEO

Since there are three constants, I usually remark on the item which varies (the name/symbolism), but have made accomodations for those whose confusion extends to trying to describe the GD-SWITCH and AC-SWITCH in terms of card names.

The Harris-Crowley Thoth changes everything *but* the Roman Numerals because Crowley pretty much ditched them as anything authoritative (describing them as "Printed on Tarot Cards" but not orienting to them in his tables).

For clarity's sake, the proper change reflecting this in description of the AC-SWITCH (again leaving the names the same for the benefit of the name-centered):

        FROM                            TO
NUMERAL IV                              XVII
NAME    EMPEROR                         EMPEROR
LETTER  HE                              TZADDI
ATTRIB  ARIES                           AQUARIUS

NUMERAL XVII                            IV
NAME    STAR                            STAR
LETTER  TZADDI                          HE
ATTRIB  AQUARIUS                        ARIES

this formats perfectly with the GD-SWITCH and constitutes a rational approximation of the Double Loop around the flux-point in the Solar Year, which Crowley wanted to use as support for his scriptural direction. It also completely disrupts the imagery of the trumps themselves, which would thence need somehow to be redesigned to be defensible (something which Crowley did not do, ostensibly because this was all a blind to confuse those who came after him).

Appendix B: Crowley's 'Symmetry' Contrivance

The 'Symmetry' Argument

Crowley's explanation for his switch derives from his attested revelation in his scripture. He attempts to justify his Tarot change not by reference to consolidating elegance of symbols, but by reference to a weak symmetry between the two switches involving zodiacally-attributed trumps. He fails to mention, however, that his deck does *not*, comparably, adjust the NAMES and SYMBOLISM to more rational and traditional standards (the rationale of support for the GD-SWITCH).

The fact that his doesn't mesh with conventional zodiacal symbolism undermines support for his suggested revision, unless one is a convert to his cult. Conventionally, the STAR is *not* better matched with ARIES than with AQUARIUS, and the EMPEROR is decidely *corrupted* in a change from ARIES to AQUARIUS. Whereas it was obviously an improvement for the GD to exchange STRENGTH with JUSTICE.

Crowley argues that as it involves the exchange of two zodiacally- attributed cards about a third, that there is a symmetry which somehow serves to further justify the change. Whereas the GD's is interior to the linear sequence of the Trumps themselves, the AC-SWITCH extends beyond the Trump-set's termination and back around to its beginning (following the zodiacal wheel), from XVII through the sign at XVIII MOON PISCES, back to the beginning of the trump sequence to the first zodiacal sign in traditional Occult Tarot: IV EMPEROR ARIES).

		                       CAPRICORN    |      SCORPIO
		  /(AC-SWITCH) AQUARIUS             |              LIBRA (GD-SWITCH)\
		 {      PISCES ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- VIRGO       }
		  \(AC-SWITCH  ARIES                |              LEO   (GD-SWITCH)/
		                       TAURUS       |      CANCER

Focussing only on the cards attributed to the zodiac signs and remarking on the 'symmetry' of the switches, one is ignoring the fact that the GD-SWITCH pertains to 2 Trumps 3 cards away from one another, rotated about a sign closer to Number VIII (IX HERMIT VIRGO) and that this symmetry only extends to a rough consideration of signs, rather than cards as a whole.

Crowley's suggestion pertains to 2 Trumps 9 cards away and then only through the end of the Trumps and back to their beginning (within the pack they are 13 cards away). While it is true that there is a degree of resemblance between these proposed switches of NAME and SYMBOLISM (especially if one ONLY looks at the Zodiacal signs), it is not compelling like the GD-SWITCH and there are far more elegant and interesting options available (see later appendices for some suggestions).

To be added: Appendix C: the Nigris Major Arcana Arrangement
Liber Tzaddi (originally subtitled "Practicus Data (G.'.W.'.B.'.: AA))" and Appendix A and Appendix B: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 17:29:03 GMT;
balance of Liber Tzaddi content assembled Sat, 17 Jun 2017 15:29:03 PT
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all rights reserved.