Anyone who wishes to learn tarot can find a plethora of books on the subject. Anyone wishing to study the Rider Waite Tarot in depth can also find many, many books to choose from. However, for students of the Thoth Tarot, there are fewer options and the options available don’t always seem to have the goal of enlightening the reader. The Ultimate Guide to the Thoth Tarot stands apart from other choices in terms of clarity and presentation of information. This full-color guide breaks down the cards symbol by symbol to aid in both understanding and memorizing the meanings.
To begin, the authors present general tarot information in the form of lists. Making lists (especially, as these authors do, lists that focus on the top ten items in a category), forces the list-maker to think about their material concisely and to prioritize it. Reading lists is quick way to get a clear overview of a topic. For those of you who have The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot, you will notice some repetition; however, most of the lists here are tailored to the Thoth deck and some of the information is pertinent to all tarot. Some of the lists included in this book are:
Do not assume that because lists are quick and simple to read that they lack depth. For example, in the 10 Rules for This Book list, one is:
"What is printed on the label doesn't always tell the (whole) truth! That is true for most of the subtitles of the Thoth Tarot, and it applies to many areas of life. The beauty, the content, and the human experiences that are revealed within them go far above and beyond templates of meaning such as "success" or "failure." We would like to make that apparent. And rarely is a tarot better suited such an endeavor than this one.
In the aforementioned 10 Helpful Tips for Interpretation list, there are tips about things to pay attention to and things to ignore (the authors are very keen to steer readers away from the subtitles that are a traditional part of the Thoth deck). Here is an example of one of the tips:
"Blind Spots are Gateways to New Perspectives
If, to the best of your abilities, you can see a card as only positive or negative, then you know that you have discovered a blind spot in your perspective. Or if you have the impression that the artist of a particular card has misrepresented the meaning, then there is evidence of such a blind spot in your perspective. Rejoice: This blind spot almost never emerges only through the tarot cards, but the corresponding theme is usually present in your everyday life. Do not rush; actually take your time to gradually enlighten this blind spot. You will be rewarded with new perspectives!"
The lists for the suits include information such as the elemental association, a concrete message, a practical message, key terms, psychological functions, associations, and mottos. Just the lists alone provide plenty of useful information. But the heart of the book is made up of the pages on the cards. Each card is studied in-depth and includes a color illustration of the whole card plus ten smaller illustrations highlighting specific symbols in the card. In addition to the individual symbols, we get information on the basic meaning, the spiritual experience, how to use the card as a "card of the day," what the card means as a prediction, what it means in love and relationships, and what it means for success and happiness.
The best way to see the value of this book is to see the two-page spread of card.
The image here gives you an idea of the page layouts. This may be too small to read, so I'll pull out an example. Many people find the Thoth difficult because the images on the Minors are not illustrations of scenes that can easily read as a story. The symbols section for the 5 of Cups, for example, breaks down the sometimes abstract symbols and explains them. In this card, the butterfly-shaped stalks stand for transition, maturation, transformation. Die and become (phoenix principle)! Promise of new or rediscovered ease of overcoming the process of change.
Imagine the Top 10 Symbols for each and every tarot card revealed and interpreted in such a clear, easy to read manner. For the beginner, this gives a great introduction to the cards. For even more seasoned readers, we know that every time we look at the cards, we see something new. This book is a quick and concise reference for those symbolic touches that may have eluded us in the past, or, if you are like me, it breaks down and illuminates symbols that I didn't even recognize as symbols. Learning the Thoth Tarot is like learning to see the world in a different way.