Posts Tagged ‘Thoth


Tarot Czterech Żywiołów

Continuing my exploration of uncommon and noteworthy Tarot treasures, the Tarot Czterech Żywiołów (or Tarot of the Four Elements) is an intriguing Polish deck published in 2000 by Janusza Wieloboba (writer) and Amos (artist).

The imagery on many of the cards is reminiscent of the Crowley/Harris Thoth deck. An interesting “twist” on the Court cards are figures depicting both the upright and reversed meanings.  There are also some small scenes or figures on the bottom of several of the Major Arcana cards which provide additional hints to the nuances of the card’s energies.

The cards are quite small (92 x 56 mm, 3 10/16 x 2 3/16 inches), and although that makes it a good travel deck I wish there was a larger version so that the expressive artwork could be better viewed.  I recommend having a magnifier handy when viewing this deck to gaze more deeply into its magickal charms.

Here are some sample cards (slightly enlarged):

Chariot and Justice, showing influences of the Crowley’Harris Thoth cards.  Also note the small figures on the bottom of the card which embellish the cards reversed meanings;  the Chariot reversed meaning is Waywardness (the trampled knight under the horses), and Justice reversed meaning is Savagery (the combative figures).

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Chariot & Justice

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Chariot & Justice

The Princess of Cups has an upright meaning of “Trust” and a reversed meaning of “Envy”; on the reversed image she is choking the swan!  The Prince of Disks (which once again shows the influence from the Thoth deck) has a upright meaning of “Heavy Work” and reversed meaning of Phobia; the reversed Prince seems tired of that heavy work and appears to be taking a nap.

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Princess of Cups & Prince of Coins

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Princess of Cups & Prince of Coins

The Ace of Swords is quite similar to the Thoth Ace of Swords, and the 8 of Wands displays a very energetic arrangement.

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Ace of Swords and 8 of Wands

Tarot Czterech Żywiołów - Ace of Swords and 8 of Wands

The Tarot Czterech Żywiołów is a fascinating (but hard to find) deck.  You may be able to find it from the Tarot Garden.  It is worth the search.

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Art and images are copyright by the respective artists who created them, and may not be reproduced without permission from the artists.

Crowley / Harris Thoth Deck – First Test Printing

I was fortunate to obtain 2 cards (The Lovers and the Ace of Swords) from the first test printing of the famous Thoth Tarot deck by Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris.  These cards, along with many other Crowley/Harris/Thoth items, were made available in August 2007 from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

Here’s the information about these cards:

In 1943 Crowley had a series of collotype printing blocks made to reproduce in color the images of seven individual tarot cards plus the design that he intended to have printed on the reverse side of each card. The plates were primarily struck so that high-quality color prints could be made to tip into his forthcoming The Book of Thoth, however he also took advantage of their availability to have a small test run of those cards made, for distribution to friends and acquaintances who might be persuaded to help finance the full printing of the pack. These are two of that test run. Each with the Rose Cross design on the back. Very unusual, and the true first printing of one of the most famous tarot decks.

The cards are are not as heavy or firm as the later printed cards, but are in excellent condition, given that they are 64 years old. There is some very slight separation in a few spots on the edges where the two prints were glued together. The colors are vivid and the images clear.  Perhaps they were handled by old Uncle Al himself!

The Lovers:
(135 x 90 mm, 5 5/16 x 3 1/2 in)

Thoth - The Lovers - First Test Printing

Ace of Swords:
(134 x 90 mm, 5 1/4 x 3 1/2 in.)

Thoth Tarot - Ace of Swords - First Testing Printing

Note that these cards have an additional light grey unbroken frame line on the outer border, not found in other versions of the deck.

Back of card:

Thoth Tarot - Back - First Test Printing

The back has an additional full row at the bottom of the card that does not appear in later versions of the deck. This row does not contain the Wand, Cup, Sword, Disk designs within each section, but just contains the colors for each section (red for Wands, blue for Cups, gold for Swords, green for disks). There is also a partial row visible at the bottom, on the right, and at the top of the card.



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