Learn about Crowley's Tarot deck of Thoth and occult legend Osman Spare's deck.London June 1943: Aleister Crowley publishes the Tarot deck of Thoth. Simultaneously, the deck of artist Austin Osman Spare is placed in the private archive of the Magic Circle where it lies forgotten.
London June 2016: Speakers Jonathan Allen and Danny Nemu celebrate the London lives and occult legends of Crowley and Spare in the year the latter’s deck has been rediscovered.
The tradition of divination using the 78 cards of the Tarot deck dates back to Protestant and Masonic sects in the 18th century. It later became an important part of the philosophy of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the 19th Century occult organisation which included Aleister Crowley, the so-called 'wickedest man in the world' (as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) among its members.
The creation of Crowley’s Thoth Tarot was planned as a six month collaboration with illustrator Lady Frieda Harris. In his talk Danny Nemu investigates how the project grew into a five-year exploration and integration of the symbolism of different strands of ancient wisdom. Crowley wrote The Book Of Thoth as an accompaniment to his Tarot deck and a guide to its interpretation.
Draughtsman and occultist Austin Osman Spare – the progenitor of Chaos Magic – was a one-time collaborator with Crowley and a member of his mystical order Argenteum Astrum. Spare’s illustrative style was known for its use of monstrous and sexual imagery. In the Spring of 2013, artist and curator Jonathan Allen rediscovered a unique hand-painted tarot deck created c.1906 by the artist. In his talk, Allen discusses the deck's provenance, its place in Spare's oeuvre and within the wider histories of cartomancy.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a wizard (Harry) then join these master magicians for all manner of occult goings-on. It's gonna get weird in here – real weird.
Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.