The Crowley Tarot

By Christoph James

The Crowley Tarot

Welcome to the Tarot of Aleister Crowley

This publication will​ guide you through the meanings of each card, and allow you to understand the deck more clearly.

Several well known occult figures have been incorporated into the deck's imagery, and may be recognizable to students of the Crowley era.
Aleister Crowley was the author of the Thoth Tarot, and as such was not connected to the popular Rider Waite Tarot Decks.

I have attempted to create a tarot that reads as a Rider Smith Waite version, using Crowley as a template, for design and study.

"I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning."

 - Aleister Crowley

This publication is copyrighted 2021 and may not be reproduced without the consent of the author.

Inside The Tarot of Crowley

Table Of Contents

        Part One - The 78 Cards and their meanings

Part Two - A short biography of Aleister Crowley

Part Three - A list of characters from the world of the Occult

Part Four - Artistic influences and credits for the Tarot of Crowley

Part Five - End notes


Card 0 - The Fool




Holding back
Risk taking
Foolish acts

The Fool indicates your journey through life. There are ever present challenges to be met, but you step forth with little care and a great feeling of optimism.

The Fool on the roof of the building in this card is taking a leap of faith, whether he's ready or not. To his left, a saviour can be seen in the clouds watching over the traveler however; there is also a demon lurking in the mist.

Pictured in the right hand bottom corner is Aleister Crowley at the beginning of his fool's journey.

"The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can" -  J.R.R. Tolkien


Card 1 - The Magician


Ability Skill
Inspired action


Poor planning
Untapped skills

The Magician is located between the spiritual and material realms and serves as the conduit who can convert energy into matter. He is pictured with the four elemental symbols; Earth Air Fire and Water.

Crowley is pictured here in all his masonic finery. The dove below his right hand is a symbol of traditional magic, suggesting that much of his implied power was an illusion.

"Black magic operates most effectively in preconscious, marginal areas. Casual curses are the most effective" - William S. Burroughs


Card 2 - The High Priestess


The Divine feminine
The subconscious mind
Sacred knowledge



The High Priestess guards the subconscious mind and allows you to tune into your intuition in order to understand your deepest truths.

Crowley is represented in this card as the High Priestess due to his bisexual nature and apparent roles as both priest and priestess.

A willing supplicant is pictured on the roof, and in the doorway a nun lingers, witnessing the death of Crowley's Christian beliefs.

She is terrible with the terror of the avenging lightning, and gentle with the goodness of the bright sun; and both her terror and her gentleness are incomprehensible to humans.... But she is with everyone and in everyone, and so beautiful is her secret that no person can know the sweetness with which she sustains people, and spares them in inscrutable mercy.” - Hildegard Von Bingen


Card 3 - The Empress




Low energy
Creative block

Connect with your feminine energy and create beauty in your life by drawing on your senses of taste touch sound and smell. Allow your creativity to thrive.

The Empress is seen here with a fabulous feathered crown, and a beautiful feminine gown. The Pomegranate is pictured as a strong symbol of fertility. In Greek mythology, however, Persephone ate of the pomegranate, which bound her to the darkness of the underworld for one third of every year.

“The Empress surrounds you at all times. She feeds the soul with her brilliance and beauty of the night sky. Mountain landscapes, rolling hills, and ocean waves rise like the curve of her hips. Her breath is the warm air of summer, her cool palms are the willow tree's shade" - Sasha Graham


Card 4 - The Emperor





The Emperor represents fatherly control and authority. He brings structure rules and discipline to his kingdom while attempting to foster honour and happiness in a firm and wise manner.

The Emperor pictured on this card somewhat resembles a leader, however there is much beneath his surface that suggests turmoil. Crowley is pictured in front of his home, Boleskine House, on the banks of Loch Ness. The building is engulfed in flames, and burns while he sits upon a throne calmly smoking his pipe.

“Europe is haunted by the shadow of the Emperor. One senses his absence just as vividly as in former times one sensed his presence. Because the emptiness of the wound speaks, that which we miss knows how to make us sense it" - Valentin Tomberg


Card 5 - The Hierophant 




Abuse of power
Poor counsel
Against tradition

The Hierophant puts forward fundamental religious doctrines, and expects obedience. You are following conventional practices and you're not ready yet to explore new innovative ideas. 

Over time you will learn to follow your own intuition while seeking spiritual knowledge.

This card uses the Russian Monk Rasputin to represent the Hierophant. Whether or not the holy man was a skilled healer, or a complete charlatan, is a matter of opinion, and his inclusion in this deck suggests that a large percentage of religious leaders may not be what they seem. Be forewarned.


Card 6 - The Lovers




Self love

The Lovers card typically suggests a romantic joining or just a close friendship. Openness honesty trust and respect enters the union of two beings who proceed forward in a vulnerable but trusting manner.

The Lovers depicted on this card are a pair of young women. This suggests that love is not limited to society's expectations and beliefs. An old man looks on; somewhat confused, and possibly amused at the same time.

"While will is the law, the nature of that Will is love, but this love is as it were a by-product of that will; it does not contradict or supersede that Will; and if apparent contradiction should arise in any crisis, it is that Will that will guide us aright. Lo, while in the Book of the Law is much of love, there is no word of Sentimentality " - A. C.


Card 7 - The Chariot





The Chariot card is about overcoming conflicts and moving forward. Obstacles can be overcome if you avoid self doubt and maintain a positive attitude while moving forward in a straight line. 

Don't divide your strength across several paths. This will scatter your energies.

In this card the horse is unbridled from the chariot while a storm rages, suggesting that there are times when one must step back briefly from the battle to embrace family, before continuing with the fight.

Alas the Master, so he sinks in death. But whoso knows the mystery of man, sees life and death as curves of the same plan" -A.C.


Card 8 - Strength




Self doubt
Lack of control
Loss of courage

This card speaks of inner strength and stamina. You have the composure and maturity to achieve your goals while taming your animal instincts and raw emotions by channeling these strong feelings constructively. 

Balance and compassion are required ingredients that should not be overlooked, and will be helpful as you refine your natural feelings of aggression.

The elephant here represents great individual strength; while the school of fish suggests power in numbers.

"Sex is the sacred song of the soul; sex is the sanctuary of self" - A.C.


Card 9 - The Hermit


Inner guidance



The Hermit retreats to the hills in search of spiritual enlightenment, and this is the time that you might wish to consider seclusion and personal introspection. 

If you're thinking of changing directions in life, this is an opportunity for you to step away from the rat race and redefine your priorities. 
This venture should be unhurried, and rash decisions are to be avoided.

The face of this particular Hermit belongs to author and occultist Algernon Blackwood, who was connected to the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn.

"The Key of Joy is disobedience" - A.C.


Card 10 - The Wheel of Fortune




Bad luck

The Wheel is in constant motion. It is derived from the Wheel of Karma, that tells us that what we send out into the world will eventually come back to us, be it positive or negative. 

The wheel can be unpredictable and unnerving; yet if you accept what comes your way, you will inevitably be in control.

In this card, she who spins the wheel has suffered physical and mental harm, but still stands behind the wheel, optimistic that Karma will eventually reward her.

"The way of mastery  is to break all the rules, but you have to know them perfectly before you can do this, otherwise you are not in a position to transcend them" - A.C.


Card 11 - Justice


Cause and effect



Sometimes you are called to account for your actions and must accept the consequences. Justice is about the search for truth and you must explore what this truth means to you.

On this card the court of justice, which sometimes resembles a circus, is represented by a clown on stilts, and the cow in the doorway points to the often absurd nature of justice. In the left bottom corner Houdini and his wife are seen, indicating that fairness is occasionally no more than an illusion.

"One would go mad if one took the Bible seriously; but to take it seriously one must be already mad" - A.C.


Card 12 - The Hanged Man


New beginnings



Release old habits and practices. Rethink actions and behaviours. The hanged man is fixed in one position and change is necessary. Rather than resisting your situation and struggling with the ropes, you are able to shift your energy where it can be used best.

On this card a distorted image of Sarah Bernhardt is seen. The famous actress was no stranger to new beginnings as she rose above tragedy several times in her colourful and fascinating life.

"The man who is doing his true will has the inertia of the universe to assist him" - A.C.


Card 13 - Death


Letting go


Resistance to change

Despite common beliefs, the Death card can be one of the most positive of the 78 cards. You may embrace new opportunities now while you leave the past behind. Rebirth and transformation often follows sudden change, and this is a card that you should pay special attention to.

A young Crowley, robed in black, is pictured at a podium constructed from human bones. Below him, a raven and a wolf eye each other, and a headstone bearing the numbers 666 is at the dark priest's right hand side. The setting is a fog shrouded cemetery.

"Ordinary mortality is for ordinary people" - A.C.


Card 14 - Temperance 




Self healing

Temperance speaks of the flow and alchemy of life, and maintaining moderation is the message. You may be leaving a period of excess in your life now, and abstinence is suggested. Too much of anything eventually takes its toll.

This card shows an endangered spirit that is finding itself deep in the throes of an addiction. The person's soul is mirrored in their own eyes now, and realization is close at hand.

"Falsehood is invariably the child of fear in one form or another" - A.C.


Card 15 - The Devil




Reclaiming power

The Devil card informs us that one can be caged by an overabundance of luxury, and seduced by physical pleasures and addiction in an out of control material world. Recognizing this worldly bondage is the first step that one takes on the road to freedom.

The Devil pictured here is of course none other than Aleister Crowley himself. A large crow observes the self styled master of darkness as he stands in front of the Mapledurham Watermill, while sinister coiled tentacles rise out of the black water.

The Law of Thelema

"Do what thou wilt" Shall be the whole of the law. Love is the law ,love under will. There is no law beyond "Do what thou wilt". -  Aleister Crowley


Card 16 - The Tower




Fear of change
Averting disaster
End of drama

In general, the Tower card is not a desirable draw. Karma is at work and personal loss is indicated. Change is not gradual; it arrives like a flash of lightning. Now is the time to pick yourself up and begin again. Another keyword related to the Tower card is 'Revolution'

Crowley is pictured here at the top of the tower. He contemplates his next move, while surrounded by goats who symbolize the satanic worship of Baphomet. There is a storm brewing, and Crowley fears that his powers are waning.

The building pictured here is the Pendray Mansion on Vancouver Island. The building, which is said to be haunted, once belonged to the Pendray family; a wealthy family that experienced great personal loss due to a turn of horrific events, and gruesome deaths.


Card 17 - The Star




Lack of faith
Self doubt 

You are free now to be yourself. You connect with a stronger sense of destiny at this time, as you may have recently drifted away from what you had believed was your soul's purpose. Your options are clearer now and your path is lit with starlight.

The young woman depicted on this card stands outside a castle, clad only in pearls. She's abandoned her robes in an attempt to bare herself to the spiritual forces that surround her.

"I can imagine myself on my death-bed, spent utterly with lust to touch the next world, like a boy asking for his first kiss from a woman" - A.C.


Card 18 - The Moon




Release of fear
Painful memories
Repressed emotion

This is not the time to make snap decisions. Trust your intuition, and look at the situation from every angle. In short, look before you leap.
Reflect on mistakes you may have made in the past, with the understanding that they were life lessons that you overcame.

Arthur Edward Waite is pictured here, as he was one of Aleister Crowley's foes. Waite withdrew from the Order of the Golden Dawn in 1899, and eventually formed the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.

Arthur Edward Waite collaborated with Pamela Colman Smith to create the well known Rider Smith Waite tarot deck, which remains the most popular version of the Tarot to this day.
Waite was born in Brooklyn NY in 1857 and died in London in 1942.


Card 19 - The Sun




Lack of clarity
Low vitality
False Impressions

When the sun card appears it suggests that your past efforts are being rewarded now. 

This is generally considered to be a very positive card. A new day is drawing you forward to a favorable conclusion, and you are approaching your tasks with great enthusiasm. In reverse, the Sun card merely suggests that some minor delay may occur in the realization of your wishes.

Pamela Colman Smith is pictured here amongst the sunflowers. The face in the sun belongs to Helena Blavatsky, a controversial Russian Occultist

"Pixie" aka Pamela Colman Smith


Card 20 - Judgement


Decision making


Hasty Judgement
Poor logic
Self Doubt

The judgement card represents a cycle that has finished. You may be turning away from a traditional set of beliefs, to seek a new direction. 

There is self judgement happening here and a desire for self improvement. Perhaps you've received a wakeup call and you understand that another path will benefit you.

The interior of a church I visited in Carlisle in the U.K. is shown here. The troubled young woman is Lilian Gish the silent film star, and Ming the Merciless is at the pulpit. If you look closely you'll spot Pamela Colman Smith in the image, as well as Joan Crawford lurking above the pipes of the great organ.


Card 21 - The World




Lack of completion
Delayed success
Failed plans

The last card of the Major Arcana tells us that the journey which began with the fool is drawing to a close. Much has been learned and you are now in a position to apply the knowledge you've gained, to where you currently find yourself. Success happiness and harmony is at your fingertips.

A young woman from a bygone era is pictured here surrounded by technology and innovation from a new age of possibilities. Crowley's original Thoth deck appears at the card's center.

"Science is always discovering odd scraps of magical wisdom and making a tremendous fuss about its cleverness" - A.C.

Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands


New opportunities


Emerging ideas
Lack of direction

You are filled with motivation and inspiration, and find yourself open to new directions. Your results are not guaranteed, but you are gifted with great potential. 

Now is the time to harness your creative energy in order to insure long term success, but despite your best intentions you should be aware that your fate may still depend on the actions of others.

Harry Houdini followed his heart, and lived his passion. Houdini was a master illusionist and is pictured here transforming into a angry canine. He stares at the body of Rudolph Valentino, who followed his inspirations and passions to an early grave, at the age of thirty one. Neither man achieved long term success, through no fault of their own, and their demises were brought about by circumstances beyond their own control.

Two of Wands

The Two of Wands


Future plans


Fear of the unknown
Inner alignment
Lack of planning
Personal goals

You lack a clear strategy at this point, with regards to implementing your future plans.

A time of seclusion and meditation may be required in order to further define your long term goals. decisions must be made while you balance personal choice with risk.

Observe the inevitable Yin and Yang of your current situation.

The Brahman bull pictured here has a high tolerance for heat humidity and parasites.  Recall and attempt to embody these symbolic attributes as you embark on a path that may be riskier than the paths you usually follow.

Three of Wands

The Three of Wands




Small mindedness
Lack of foresight

Your horizons are broadening now, as you go beyond your comfort zone and experience a myriad of opening doors. 

Playing it safe at this point will close you off from new opportunities . This is also a time for patience, as unforeseen delays may frustrate you. 

The Key pictured on this card represents new opportunities, and will unlock the small door in the top corner.

"In the absence of willpower the most complete collection of virtues and talents is wholly worthless" 
- A.C.

Four of Wands

The Four of Wands




Personal celebration

Now is the time to pause and celebrate your current achievements.

Your journey will enter a new phase after you take a small break. You've achieved a major goal, but need to remember that there are more pieces to the puzzle.

The two friends pictured on this card are taking time to celebrate life together, as they briefly put the hard work behind them.

"I am above you, and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy" - A.C.

Five of Wands

The Five of Wands




Conflict avoidance
Inner conflict
Tension release

This may be a time of conflict and change for you. Results are not forthcoming because everyone is speaking at once. 

Diversity is necessary , but order and direction is important if gains are to be made.

The five men pictured here are focused on a shared goal; not unlike the crew of a submarine, yet each man has his own personal goals.

On one hand, rats symbolize hope endurance and strength, while on the other hand, they represent betrayal and aggression. Men can either come together for the better good, or they can abandon the collective will and gain very little. (A section of this card was created with a still from the movie 'hostiles')

Six of Wands

The Six of Wands 


Public recognition
Self confidence
Lack of ego


Fall from grace
Self centeredness
Private achievement

You are self assured and filled with confidence, having overcome many obstacles in your journey.

You're energized now to continue in the direction of your ultimate goals after realizing that your hard work has paid off.

It's best at this point however, not to rely on others definition of success while you continue to be true to yourself. If you reign in your ego now, it will make the victory even sweeter.

Bram Stoker was an active Freemason. While involved with the Lyceum Theater, he once hired Pamela Colman Smith as an artist. Stoker was interested in the works of Franz Mesmer, but was never a member of any occult groups, such as The Golden Dawn. His interest in mesmerism may have influenced the character of Count Dracula in Stoker's famous novel.

Seven of Wands

The Seven of Wands




Giving up

You have worked hard to get where you are, but some may challenge your authority, as they covet what you have accomplished.

Now is the time to take a stand, and be firm in your convictions.

You can overcome obstacles in your path by drawing on your supplies of natural strength and conviction.

A hard working ballerina  is at the height of her fame, yet in the background there lurks a jealous and controlling individual (perhaps her manager) who stands in the way of her achieving her full potential. Fortunately she has the strength to overcome the challenge.

Eight of Wands

The Eight of Wands




Internal alignment

Everything is moving quickly now. Go with the flow, and don't resist the pace.

There is a momentum here and a renewed energy that's arrived with the removal of previous distractions.

'Strike while the iron is hot' is the message this cards sends. Plan your projects carefully though, in order that they fall into place to complete the big picture.

Tintagel is pictured on this card. During a visit to the historic remains I wandered into Merlin's cave at low tide, and exited quickly after discovering the severed head of a large hog. I assumed that it had arrived there with the waves rather than having been left by anyone performing a ritual.

Nine of Wands

The Nine of Wands


Test of faith


Inner resources

You may feel beaten and exhausted at this point. Your strength and resilience is being tested.

Now is the time to remember that you have the necessary inner resources required to carry on and to prosper.

You're close to the end of the first chapter, so believe in yourself and keep on pushing. There is no obstacle that cannot be surmounted with your efforts.

The soldier pictured here is weary but not yet defeated. He's drawing on his inner strengths, knowing that he must carry on.

Ten of Wands

The Ten of Wands


Extra burdens
Hard work


Carrying the burden
Doing everything

The Ten of Wands is similar to the Nine of Wands, but even more of the same. You've been pushing yourself to the limits, and you need to delegate some of the tasks to others.

Failure to share the load may cause you to lose some of the initial inspiration that spurred you on.

You are the head of a team, and need to remember that a team is made up of a number of competent members.

The old blind woman carries a heavy load, but she doesn't falter. She's guided forward by the forces of nature, in the form of a lighting flash.

Page of Wands

The Page of Wands


Limitless potential
Free spirit


Self limiting beliefs
Redirected energy
Newly formed ideas
A spiritual path

The Page of Wands suggests that you are reenergized and ready to embrace new opportunities.

You're experiencing creative restlessness right now. 

Map out a strategy and experiment  with a few ideas in order to center your compass. Your ideas will be in the early formative stages, and guidance from a mentor can be helpful.

The Page of Wands is a creative and resourceful individual. He listens intently here to the advice being offered by a wise raven.

Knight of Wands

The Knight of Wands


Inspired action


Scattered energy

You feel you can take on the world now, but despite your boundless reserves of energy it's important that you remember to not be impulsive or impatient.

Plan details carefully, and don't expect immediate results. Above all else patience is required, and this is the direct message that you're receiving from the Knight of Wands.

There is little danger that any student, how idle or stupid, will fail to get some result; but there is a great danger that he will be led astray, obsessed and overwhelmed by his results, even though it be by those which it is necessary that he attain." - A.C.

Queen of Wands

The Queen of Wands




Self confidence
self respect
Sense of will

The Queen of wands asks you to remain determined in the pursuit of your goals.

Be bold in your undertakings, and own your real power.

Speak up and be and be heard while being true to your own definition of success.

Know when to take the stage, and when to direct or observe from the sidelines.

St. Michaels Tower, that sits atop Glastonbury Tor, is pictured on this card. The Queen of Wands dances in celebration at the foot of the stairs.

King of Wands

The King of Wands




High expectations

The King of Wands is a master at recruiting companions to help him achieve his goals.

He's very adept at using his charm to bring talented and skilled individuals along with him as he moves forward.

As a visionary leader he is skilled at encouraging others to join in the exciting work that will carry everyone to the successful realization of a common goal.

"The Many is as adorable to the One as the One is to the Many. This is the Love of These; creation - parturition is the Bliss of the One; coition - dissolution is the Bliss of the Many. The All, thus interwoven of These, is Bliss. Naught is beyond Bliss."  - A.C.

Ace of Cups

The Ace of Cups


New relationships


Self love
repressed emotions

Good news or celebrations are coming your way. If you've experienced poor health recently, you will soon swing in the other direction, and enjoy life more. Finances may improve, with opportunities coming your way. relationship issues will be solved.
In reverse, this card indicates sadness, pain, or repressed emotions. The suit of cups read upright or reverse spells out good or bad luck more clearly than the other suits.

The figures entwined on this card represent the balance of passionate love and carnal lust. The loving cup has been drained and both sides of the relationship are displayed.

Two of Cups

The Two of Cups


Mutual attraction



The two of cups represents mutual attraction, proposals, engagement, and a perfect union. If you're in a relationship you might soon find yourself taking it to another level of commitment. 

In reverse, the two of cups suggests a lack of harmony and balance in your life. A partnership may be in peril of breaking down, or you may be embroiled in conflict with others.

Arthur Edward Waite is pictured once again, and the pair of cups here represent a partnership he entered into with the artist Pamela Colman Smith, when deciding to create a deck of Tarot cards. The RSW Tarot was the first widely used deck to contain illustration for all 78 cards.

Three of Cups

The Three of Cups




Blocked friendship
Spiritual restrictions
Social angst

Because the suit of cups indicates abundance and riches in varying forms, it can be a satisfying card to draw from the deck. The three of cups is similar to the two of cups, but the rewards are magnified, or increased. 

You may well be tempted to overindulge at this time, so avoid excess, and remember that the card's properties in reverse are also tripled.

The silent film actress Theda Bara is pictured on this card. A trio of women dance in celebration above the clouds, unaware that war is approaching, as indicated by a fleet of dirigibles. Theda enjoyed great financial success early in her career, but died of stomach cancer at age sixty nine, in 1955.

Four of Cups

The Four of Cups





This is a time for inward reflection. Ground yourself and explore your spiritual and and emotional health before jumping into a new venture. Upcoming projects are arriving at your doorstep daily, and you can afford to be choosey. 

Don't leap into anything until you've decided that it's a perfect for you, as well as the friends and associates that surround you.

The doors pictured on this card represent large and small choices that you'll be faced with.

Five of Cups

The Five of Cups




Self forgiveness
Moving on

The five of cups indicates that although your situation may appear to be somewhat grim; you need to overlook small losses and push ahead. It's time for you to build bridges that span the obstacles in your path. 

You're tempted now to look at the glass as half full, but remember that setbacks are life lessons that you can turn into building blocks. At this point you may regard a loss as merely being a signal that change is required.

Crowley is pictured here, dressed as the prophet entrusted with the task of guiding humanity into the Aeon of Horus. The Egyptian god Horus was born of Isis and Osiris. Cairo was where Crowley began to define the beliefs of Thelema. The creature in the door represents any number of monstrous deities that Crowley attempted to conjure during his lifetime.

Six of Cups

The Six of Cups


Revisiting the past


Childhood issues
Bad memories

Gifts and charity are elements of the six of cups, as well as childhood memories, which can be joyful and painful. The card also indicates an increased level of cooperation and harmony in relationships. 

Recall how simple things seemed to be when you were a child, and how every day was filled with wonder. Try to recapture this feeling by bringing your reminiscences into the present moment in order to apply a simpler framework to your daily activities.

A young boy is pictured here stealing an innocent kiss from his friend. The Children are surrounded by comfort and abundance. There are a number of curious and fascinating objects around them, that hold the promise of adventure.

Seven of Cups

The Seven of Cups




Too much choice

Be careful what you wish for and be aware of the power of illusion. Be practical in your choices, because all that glitters is not gold. You have many options in front of you, and it's important to align your choices with your life's purpose. 

Conversely, that which may appear harmful is sometimes the gateway to greater rewards. Defeating your fears will often empower you to carry on.

There is a watchful eye in one of the windows, observing the young woman's choices. The snake which appears deadly at first, represents rebirth and transformation.

Eight of Cups

The Eight of Cups




Aimless drifting
Trying again
Walking away

Your first impression of this card will be negative, until you understand that you're overlooking something. You've been gazing at the cups in front of you in disappointment, as they don't hold what you're searching for. 

Once you understand that you need to look elsewhere, you can resume your journey. Now is not the time to cling to that which hasn't brought you fulfilment or hope. Move forward, and look elsewhere for answers. 

The Monk pictured here, has not yet realized that he has other options, which are represented here by the rows of windows behind him. Once he abandons the goblets and turns around, he'll be able to continue his quest. 

Nine of Cups

The Nine of Cups




Inner happiness

You may now feel that you are content with all aspects of your life. This card is an invitation to indulge in life's pleasures. You must however, remember to count your blessings.

Express gratitude for your bountiful gifts. Don't forget that everything is in a constant state of change, and what you now cherish may soon disappear as swiftly as it arrived.

Aleister Crowley was certainly no stranger to indulgence. He's depicted here, surrounded by opulence. The monkey represents his sometimes animalistic behaviour as well as signifying that we can easily be cast back to our beginnings.

Ten of Cups

The Ten of Cups


Blissful relationships
Divine love


Struggling relationships
Misaligned values

Relationships and family are thriving now. Harmony is a key word here, and many of your dreams and wishes have come true. 

Allow your inner guidance to continue to move you forward in the same fashion as before. Do so in a manner that allows you to align with your personal values instead of acquiescing to the expectations of others.

The family of mannequins pictured here suggest that the standard ideal of a perfect family is not always the guarantee of success. Allow your loved ones' quirkiness to enhance your home.

Page of Cups

The Page of Cups


Creative opportunities
intuitive messages


Doubting intuition
New Ideas
Emotional immaturity
Creative blocks

Your creative energy is at a peak, and a new project may be coming your way. Now is the time to trust your intuition, and let your feelings show. 

You will soon find yourself in full alignment with the creative powers that surround you. It may be wise to keep your ideas to yourself, until you move beyond the conceptual stage of your project.

Lon Chaney Sr. was an intensely creative and talented actor. Chaney is pictured on this card dressed in one of his fabulous costumes.

Knight of Cups

The Knight of Cups





The Knight of Cups doesn't merely dream of incredible creations; he takes action and moves forward to bring his dreams into the realm of reality with dedication and perseverance. 

He may however, encounter jealousy with regards to his creations, and become disillusioned when faced with a personal challenge to his rights.

Nikola Tesla, the brilliant futurist, and sometimes eccentric inventor represents the Knight of Cups on this card.

Queen of Cups

The Queen of Cups


Emotional stability


Self care
Inner feelings
Self love

Empathy and compassion are traits that describe the Queen of Cups. Pay attention now to your feelings and intuition as you use your mothering nature to advise and nurture those in need. 

This is one of your strengths, but you will need to insure that while you help others, that your own needs are also met.

Pictured here is Mina Bergson , later known as Moina Mathers an artist and occultist who married Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, one of the founders of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. 

King of Cups

The King of Cups


Emotional balance


Inner feeling

The King of Cups embodies status and authority. When times become turbulent he stays calm and balanced. 

This card indicates that you have gained control of your feelings and emotions. Avoid drama and use your intellect to make smart decisions. You posses a great deal of logic and are adept at using it to your advantage.

Austin Osman Spare, pictured here, was an artist who submitted several works to Aleister Crowley for publication  in his Thelemite journal, The Equinox.  He was soon invited to join Crowley's new magical order, the Argenteum Astrum. 

Ace of Swords

The Ace of Swords


Mental clarity
New ideas


Inner clarity
Clouded judgement

With the Ace of Swords you find yourself at the beginning of a new venture. Your communication skills and intellect will be challenged. 

Proceed with the mindset that all is new, and that success is very possible. Before you move toward your goal, make sure that you've done your homework and mapped a course that will avoid or flatten any bumps in the road.

You will face challenges now; however, the abundance of energy that you possess will see you through. 

This image of the upper gate of Tintagel reminds us that a centuries old people were able to overcome obstacles, and managed to build a large castle on the rocky shores of the north Cornwall coast in southern England. 

Two of Swords

The Two of Swords


Weighing up options
Difficult decisions
An impasse


Information overload

Go with your head as well as your heart now. You may need to gather more information in order to make clear decisions. Do this without delay even if it means asking others for help.

Balance the consequences of your choices with the rewards.

if you're feeling overwhelmed with a deluge of information at this point, it's imperative that you select the advice which is most relevant to the actualization of your goal.

"Wisdom says be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art; if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein. - A.C.

Three of Swords

The Three of Swords


Emotional pain


Negative self talk
Releasing pain

You may be feeling deep hurt and disappointment at this point in your journey.

The Three of Swords signifies an emotional release; a cry of pain.

It's alright to express your anger, as long as you still maintain your focus on the path ahead. It's also a time to let go of wounds or their causes, and to move ahead. Pain is always a lesson that makes you stronger once you have overcome it. Remember, it only rains when it's necessary.

I photographed this abandoned  boat on the beach at Brighton. The flowers growing inside it suggest that the way forward is always possible, and that life goes on despite obstacles. 

Four of Swords

The Four of Swords




Deep contemplation
Burn - out

Rest and recharge now before moving forward. Step back at this point and clear your mind, then take stock of the energies and resources that are available to you.

It's clearly time for you to take a break in order to avoid burnout.

Regaining your perspective will allow you to re-energize in preparation for the next chapter.

"They made figures of brass, and tried to induce souls to indwell them. In some accounts we read that they succeeded; Friar Bacon was credited with one such Homunculus; so was Albertus Magnus, and I think, Paracelsus. "He had at least, a devil in his long sword ' which taught him all the cunning pranks of past and future mountbanks. - A.C.

Five of Swords

The Five of Swords




Making amends
Past resentment

The Five of Swords indicates conflict with others.

Choose your battles wisely now, and in some cases consider compromise. If you're placing a relationship with someone in jeopardy; you're going to have to decide whether or not to sacrifice the relationship in order to attain your goals.

It's possible that accepting small defeats now will allow you to move forward towards larger victories.

"Now there is naught but a vast black triangle, having the apex downwards, and in the center of the black triangle is the face of Typhon, the Lord of the Tempest, and he crieth aloud: Despair! Despair!
 - A.C.

Six of Swords

The Six of Swords


Releasing baggage
Rite of passage


Resistance to change
Unfinished business

Change is sometimes essential for growth and personal development. You will experience loss in your journey; but if you overcome the inevitable sadness that it brings you'll gain mental clarity and a renewed acceptance of change.

Nothing lasts forever. Don't dwell on your losses. Let it go.

This is an opportunity for you to leave behind a behavioral pattern that is no longer serving you.

Perhaps my favourite image in the deck. I collaged this fabulous old abandoned mansion with a waterfront, then added a boat to the water. After finding a suitable vintage image of a mother and child, I placed them in the boat and added the swords. A change to the sky, and the addition of a halo and a glint of light on the water, brought it all together. 

Seven of Swords

The Seven of Swords


Acting strategically


Imposter syndrome
Self deceit
Keeping secrets

You may be using cunning and deception now to gain an advantage. This is risky behaviour, and a great deal of effort is required to pull it off.

Be strategic with your focus on others because they may be beating you at your own game. Try not to be so transparent with your plans.

Now is not the time to run away from responsibility and hard work; nor is it time to reveal all of your cards.

"I'm a poet, and I like my lies the way my Mother used to make them" - A.C.

Eight of Swords

The Eight of Swords


Negative thoughts
Self imposed restrictions
Victim mentality


Releasing negative thoughts
Self limiting beliefs
New perspectives
Inner criticism

You feel restricted and trapped right now. This might be due to debt, or a lack of choices and your beliefs may no longer be serving you. 

It's possible that you require a new perspective now in order to see the way out of a predicament.

If you trust your intuition you'll realize that there are many options available. Take off the blinders and look around. Now is not the time to wallow in self pity.

"The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices" - A.C.

Nine of Swords

The Nine of Swords




Inner turmoil
Deep seated fears
Releasing worries

Excessive worry may be keeping you up at night. You're allowing negativity to control your thoughts , and there's a danger that your fears might prompt a self fulfilling prophecy.

It's very important that you break the cycle of negative thought as quickly as possible.

A second point of view can be helpful, so don't hesitate to reach out for advice or support. Remember that you've dealt with similar problems in the past, and were able to overcome them.

The young woman seated on the bed is surrounded with starlight, but her negative thoughts, which hang above her in the form of nine swords will not allow her to bathe in the light that has brightened the room.

Ten of Swords

The Ten of Swords


Painful endings
Deep wounds


Resisting the inevitable

The Ten of Swords indicates that you may be the victim of a trusted friend's betrayal. A relationship may have ended now, but it hasn't left you devoid of hope.

You can't change what's happened, but you can change how you respond to the circumstances.

The important reminder here is that although this may seem to be your darkest hour; there is a light visible now at the end of the tunnel. The worst is over and the healing is about to begin.

The victim lies where he was struck down; pierced with many swords. High in the sky above, a figure flees the scene. He may represent the retreat of a traitorous friend, or possibly your own spirit moving away from the dark clouds that have gathered.

Page of Swords

The Page of Swords


New ways to communicate
Thirst for knowledge
New ideas


Self expression
Haphazard action
Talk and no action

The Page of Swords suggests that you are now filled with an abundance of new energy and enthusiasm.

A new idea has emerged, bringing with it new hope, knowledge, and belief. Move forward and get the wheels in motion again.

This is not the time to hold back. Express your ideas and plans boldly as you tackle them one at a time. It's important to remember however, that everything cannot be accomplished at once, despite your renewed beliefs.

Lon Chaney appears again, as the Page of Swords. His face recalls the sadness he's experienced, but now there's a new resolve, and a good deal of hope with the coming of light. The door to a new future has just opened, and the sunrise is beginning to light his way.

Knight of Swords

The Knight of Swords


Driven to succeed
Fast - thinking
Action oriented



As the Knight of Swords, you use the power of your intellect to achieve your goals.

Be assertive now, don't hang back and wait for something to happen. It's up to you to take the bit in your teeth, and make the first move.

Engage with others who have similar goals and skills, but be aware of the potential challenges.

Observe everything around you, and be aware of opportunities as well as pitfalls.

A young Crowley is pictured here as the Knight of Swords.

"I have been accused of being a black magician. No more foolish statement was ever made about me" - A.C.

Queen of Swords

The Queen of Swords


Unbiased judgement
Clear boundaries
Direct Communication


Overly emotional
Easily influenced
Cold hearted

The Queen brings maturity and receptiveness to the suit of swords. She is upfront and honest in her views, and will not tolerate anything less in others.

You are one who establishes clear boundaries, and you're quick to condemn those who cross the line.

Once others get beyond feeling intimidated by you, they are able to view your softer side; which allows for a more cohesive exchange of ideas.

Placed next to each other, the King and Queen of Swords in this deck form one image. It was created by blending the photo of a bevy of swans that I encountered with some vintage postcard images. The King is represented by a carving of a Green Man I photographed on Saltspring Island.

King of Swords

The King of Swords


Intellectual power
Mental clarity


Misuse of power
Inner truth
Quiet power

Stability and Clarity defines the King of Swords.

For maximum efficiency you often cut straight to the heart of the matter. You may come off as appearing to lack empathy, which is not the case; however an appearance of detachment allows you to more quickly arrive at balanced insightful decisions.

Stay fair in your dealings with others, but keep your eye on the prize.

The King of Swords is pictured here as a Green Man. In Sanskrit the 'Green Man' is sometimes referred to as 'The Face of Glory' and is often seen depicting the "Crowning of the Wheel of becoming"

Ace of Coins

The Ace of Coins




Lost opportunity
Lack of foresight
Scattered thoughts

New opportunities are coming your way. Prosperity and abundance are very possible, but it's up to you to take advantage of the opening doors.

The window of opportunity can close at any point, so be bold, but be careful with your choices, while remembering to not get in over your head.

As abundance arrives in all areas of your life; accept your good fortune with thanks.

"I've often thought that there isn't any "I" at all; that we are simply the means of expression of something else; that when we think we are ourselves, we are simply the victims of a delusion" - A.C.

Two of Coins

The Two of Coins


Multiple priorities
Time management


Over commitment

You're juggling your priorities right now with great skill, and it's not time to lose your finely tuned balance.

Remember that there's no need to rush. Time management is very important and necessary now.

Don't throw off the balance. This will disrupt the schedule. Be aware that a steady pace with few distractions will carry you easily through.

"Now, occultism is not like mystic faculty, and it very seldom works in harmony either with business aptitude in the things of ordinary life or with a knowledge of the canons of evidence in its own sphere" - A.E. Waite

Three of Coins

The Three of Coins




Working alone

To achieve your desired results, you need to collaborate with others.

You're a team leader whose skills are invaluable, but you are only as good as the sum of your parts.

Harmony and teamwork is essential in all matters.

Personal struggles that don't pertain to business, can also be overcome with the help of others.

"The learning of 'How' is the eternal 'Why' - unanswered! A genius is such, because he does not know how or why." - Austin Osman Spare

Four of Coins

The Four of Coins




Self protection

You may be taking an overly safe approach to finances right now. Micro management is not necessary in order to maintain your bankroll; however, overspending is not advised either.

Loosen the purse strings a little, and take a well deserved break.

Don't be afraid to invest in a safe bet that will bring returns to your business ventures.

"Everything comes in circles. The old wheel turns, and the same spoke comes up. It's all been done before, and will be done again" - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Five of Coins

The Five of Coins


Financial loss


End to difficulties
Spiritual poverty

Beware of inner spiritual poverty, which is more harmful than financial loss. 

Remind yourself that you've gained material rewards, due to your diligence, and that the satisfaction which comes with these comforts is less important than the lessons you are learning as you allow the road ahead to open your mind to spiritual rewards.

Much is to be gained by looking inward.

"May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I may triumph even when I fall" - A.C.

Six of Coins

The Six of Coins




Unpaid debts
One sided charity
Self care

With the sense of gratitude that you feel for circumstances that surround you now; you might wish to help others achieve the success that you've attained.

You're in a position to help someone financially, and should do so. Your generosity can also come in the form of a helping hand in the physical sense.

Sometimes sharing another's load is even more valuable than sharing cash. Moral support; often unasked for, can go a very long way for one in need.

"A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog"  - Jack London

Seven of Coins

The Seven of Coins


Sustainable results
Long term views


Limited success
No long-term vision
limited reward

Don't waste time and effort on tasks that will not deliver value. Step back and view the larger picture, and don't be concerned if the results of your hard work appear to be arriving at a slow rate.

Prioritize your activities carefully now, and use the time wisely.

Avoid frustration and remember the old saying; "Rome was not built in a day" but press ahead with optimism and enjoy little victories.

"Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out" - Robert Collier

"So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings" - J.R.R. Tolkien

Eight of Coins

The Eight of Coins


Repetitive tasks
Skill development 


Misdirected activity
Self development

Don't mistake your work for your identity: as it would be an error to lose yourself within your livelihood. That said, if you're learning a new skill, apply yourself fully to what your center of attention is drawn towards.

Focus and dedication will carry you through. 

You may also be working on improving your self also, so continue to work on adjustments and improvements.

Samuel MacGregor Mathers is pictured here, peering from a window, during a violent storm.
As one of the founders of the Order of the Golden Dawn, Mathers had many supporters, but one of his notable enemies was his former friend and pupil Aleister Crowley.

Nine of Coins

The Nine of Coins


Self sufficiency
Financial Independence


Over investment in work
Self worth doubts

After much hard work, you can now fully enjoy the fruits of your labour. Don't be afraid to pamper yourself with rewards, as this will encourage you to continue working in a profitable direction.

Take care of yourself for the long term by repeating those actions which were most successful, and eliminating the mundane, in order to reenergize for further work.

Avoid overindulgence however, while you reward yourself and others.

Edgar Allan Poe, who is pictured on this card, did not live long enough to enjoy the 'Fruits of his Labour". After a difficult childhood, Poe worked very hard to attain commercial success as a writer, but died at the tender age of forty, having not reached his full potential.

Ten of Coins

The Ten of Coins


Financial security
Long term Success


Negative materialism
Financial loss

It's a good time now to express sincere gratitude for the fulfillment of achieving your material goals and dreams.

 Long term benefits will appear now, and you'll feel compelled to share your good fortune with others. Don't fall into the habit now of wanting more and more.

Understand when you've achieved enough to be very comfortable, and realize that your slice of the pie may be just enough.

Page of Coins

The Page of Coins


Skill development


Learning from failure
Lack of progress

Pentacles represent the material realm, and correspond to the earth element.

You may be tapping into your ability to manifest the conclusion of more personal goals now. Educate yourself on the finer points of a new venture. The more you learn, the more you will advance.

Update your skills and embrace a new opportunity that may have come your way. If a path looks good to you, don't procrastinate; go forth.

Lon Chaney is at his most mischievous as the Page of Coins, while he hides amongst a collection of wheels and cogs that are embossed with coins bearing the image of Baphomet; an important figure within the cosmology of Thelema.

Knight of Coins

The Knight of Coins


Hard work


Self discipline

The Knight of coins is a leader who is methodical and detail oriented.

If your self discipline is waning; now is the time to knuckle down and put your nose to the grindstone. The work may seem mundane, but it's not difficult, and the rewards arrive easily. 

Be spontaneous in your after work activities while recalling that a rigid adherence to the rules is not necessarily mandatory.

“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time, who never loses any. It is wonderful how much may be done, if we are always doing.” ― Thomas Jefferson

Queen of Coins

The Queen of Coins


Financial provisioning


Financial independence
Work / Home conflict
Inner conflict
Self care

'The nurturing Mother of the material world' is how the Queen of Coins is described; she represents prosperity and security.

You're in a position to be generous with others, and to share your abundance with those you love. Maintain your nurturing, practical and down to earth attitude as you focus on investing in your family and personal wealth.

Remember to keep in mind that turning that caring energy in your own direction is also advised.

Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths were two cousins from England who, in 1917, took photographs of what they claimed were fairies. Arthur Conan Doyle took an interest in the photos and used them to illustrate an article for Strand Magazine. The strange images were referred to as 'The Cottingley Fairies'

King of Coins

The King of Coins




Wealth obsessed
Lack of self discipline
Financially inept

It may seem now that everything you touch turns to gold. You're at the pinnacle of your economic power and influence, and you're confidently assured of continued prosperity.

You feel that you no longer have a need to prove yourself, and it's no longer necessary to take risks.

Look at your relationship with money and wealth, and ask yourself if you're in danger of placing money before everything else. Don't sell your soul or your integrity for even more of the pie.

Gerald B. Gardner is pictured on this card. Gardner showed an early interest in the writings of Aleister Crowley, and his religion of Thelema that he founded in 1904. Before dying in 1947, Crowley elevated Gardner to the lVth degree of the Ordo Templi Orientis. 
 An introduction to Wicca some time later led Gardner to turn his interests toward Wiccan practices, and eventually he was responsible for renewing the public's interest in Witchcraft.


What follows is a very short biography of Aleister Crowley. The facts are culled from information available on Wikipedia  and other public sources online, and presented by me in an abridged version for this guidebook.

Who was Aleister Crowley?

Edward Alexander Crowley 
was born on the 12th of October 1875 in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire England to Fundamentalist Christian parents.

Crowley's Father Edward, was a devout Christian who read a chapter from the Bible to his wife and son after breakfast every day. Aleister's Mother, Emily Bertha Bishop, had a strained relationship with her son, and in fact described him as "The Beast". 

When Crowley was eleven his Father died of cancer of the tongue. This was a turning point in Young Crowley's life, as he had admired and respected his Father greatly.

Crowley's behaviour at school soon began to result in him being harshly punished. He despised his teachers, and before long the young man became increasingly sceptical with regards to Christianity.  This would later develop into further rebellious behaviour, such as smoking and having sex with prostitutes, resulting in a case of gonorrhea.

Eventually Crowley matured, and appeared to be overcoming the loss of his Father. He developed an interest in mountain climbing as well as chess, and poetry. At the age of twenty he enrolled in a three year course in philosophy at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then switched to a study of literature.

At this point Crowley changed his name to Aleister, having never been fond of his birth name.

"For many years I had loathed being called Alick, partly because of the unpleasant sound and sight of the word, and partly because it was the name by which my mother called me" - A.C.


At the age of 21 Crowley engaged in a same - sex sexual experience, which enabled him to recognize his bisexuality.

In 1897 Homosexuality was illegal; but despite this, and possibly because it was frowned upon, he was involved in a number of same-sex relationships.

In 1898 a trip to Switzerland and an introduction to the chemist Julian L. Baker resulted in Crowley becoming interested in Alchemy. 

Soon Aleister moved into his own luxury flat in Chancery Lane and invited senior Golden Dawn member Alan Bennet to live with him as his personal tutor in occult magic. After learning about ceremonial magic and the ritual use of drugs, Crowley said farewell to Bennet who left for South Asia to study Buddhism.

When Crowley returned to London he met Baker's Brother in Law George Cecil Jones. Jones initiated Crowley into the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn, an occult order which had been founded in 1888.

Shortly after this period Crowley purchased Boleskine house on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland. Crowley believed that the Manor house was ideally situated, as it allowed him the privacy to perform a series of rituals in which one might evoke their guardian angels.


In  1978 on a bus trip to Loch Ness, Boleskine Manor was pointed out to myself and the other passengers. Unfortunately it could not be seen through the trees, and I was told that the trip did not include a stop at the infamous house.

Crowley owned Boleskine until 1913. The ritual he was attempting required a minimum of six months preparation which included celibacy as well as abstinence from alcohol. On the darker side it also required the summoning of the twelve Kings and Dukes of hell.

According to legend, Aleister was called away to Paris by the leader of the Golden Dawn, and he neglected to follow thru with the section of the ritual that banishes the demons that he'd summoned. This was just the beginning of the tarnishing of Crowley's reputation. He was accused of tampering with Black magic to the 

extent that he was placing others in harm's way. Indeed a number of strange and frightening incidents, too numerous to recount here, occurred that added a to the belief that Boleskine was haunted by demons. It was said that Crowley was playing with forces of evil that were too powerful for him to contain, and he himself admitted that his experiments had gotten out of hand.

In 1970 Musician Jimmy Page took ownership of the estate, which coincided with his interest in Crowley, but sold it in 1992 after a further number of unexplainable turns of bad luck  occurred while his caretaker occupied it.

Boleskine has been ravaged by fire on more than one occasion , and rumour suggests that local inhabitants of the area may have put it to the torch themselves to rid Loch Ness of the apparent curse.

At last report, as of 2019, the Manor is being restored once again in the belief that its been cleansed of any evil.


Crowley's bisexuality and Libertine lifestyle alienated him from a number of the Golden Dawn's members, including W. B. Yates, who found him repulsive. When the group refused to initiate him into the second order he was finished with them, and went to Paris where he met with Macgregor Mathers, who had also fallen out of favour with the current members.

In Mexico in 1905 he published a series of poems entitled 'Oracles'

After an attempt by the pair to regain power of the Golden Dawn failed, Crowley decided to travel to Mexico. Crowley claimed to have been initiated into Freemasonry while there, as he continued to experiment with ceremonial magic. He climbed several mountains while he was in Mexico. After tiring of Mexico city he traveled to San Francisco, and from there to Hawaii, aboard the Nippon Maru. While aboard the ship Crowley had a brief affair with a married woman.

Throughout his life Crowley was a prodigious writer who published many books on the occult. Some of them were well received, while others were considered to the work of the Devil. He was very adept at promoting the public image of him as a wicked and dangerous man. It was good for book sales, and it drew women and men alike towards him.

Crowley's dangerous and risque abundance of charisma allowed him to practice an almost hypnotic form of control on his many partners. 

After a mountain climbing expedition in India Crowley returned to Boleskine in 1903 and married Rose Edith Kelly, who he'd met in Paris.

In 1904 Crowley and Rose arrived in Cairo. They set up a temple room in a rented apartment and began invoking ancient Egyptian deities, while studying Islamic mysticism.
Rose proved to be very sensitive in the area of mysticism, and became delirious on many occasions.


On March 18th Rose informed Aleister that the God Horus was waiting for them, then proclaimed that "The Equinox of the Gods had come" She led him to a nearby museum to show him a mortuary stele known as the Stele of Ankh-ef-en-KKhonsu. The Stele was exhibit number 666.

On the 8th of April Crowley spoke of disembodied  voices that claimed to be that of Aiwass, the messenger of Horus.
Over the course of the next three days Crowley wrote down everything the voice told him. The couple truly believed that they had been gifted with a great prophesy, and Crowley entitled the writings THE BOOK OF THE LAW, which suggested that people should live within their will.

This book was to become the cornerstone of Crowley's religion of Thelema.

He returned once again to Boleskine with his wife, where he began to suffer from paranoid delusions that Macgregor Mathers was using magic against him, and the relationship with his friend soured.

It was July 1905 now and Rose gave birth to a girl who they named Lilith. Married life was good for some time and the family went abroad often. Well away from the family news reach Crowley that their daughter Lilith had died of Typhoid in Rangoon. He later claimed that it was a result of neglect due to Rose's increasing alcoholism.


Crowley was under a great deal of emotional stress now, which wasn't helped by his use of Hashish and Opium. He became involved in a number of short lived romances with several women, while Rose remained at home, giving birth to another daughter. Lola Zaza Crowley. Lola was a sickly child, quite possibly due to fetal alcohol syndrome. 

Rose divorced Crowley in 1910 but gained custody of Lola. Sadly she was unable to care for her as dementia began to take hold of her. In 1911 it was necessary for Crowley to have Rose institutionalized, and she died in 1932.

Little is known of Lola's early years, as Crowley was not inclined to care for her.

Eventually she came to live with her Uncle Gerald Kelly, who had no love whatsoever for the girl's father.

She went on to live a quite peaceful life; having a daughter of her own, and died in 1990 at the age of 84.

After an awkward meeting between Lola and her Father when she was 14, Crowley described his daughter as:
 "Unmanageable. She despises everybody, thinks she's a genius, is stupid, inaccurate, plain, ill tempered, etc.etc."


Crowley spent the First World War in the United States. He took up painting at this time, and campaigned for the German war effort against Britain. Despite the fact that he later claimed to have infiltrated the movement in order to assist the British Intelligence services; little is known of his true motives.

Early in 1912 Crowley published 'The Book of Lies' it was described as "His greatest success in merging his talents as a poet, scholar and Magus. Before 1913 he developed an interest in sex magic, and devised a magical practice based on a variety of sexual indulgences. 

By 1914 Crowley was living  a hand to mouth existence, as his fortune had dwindled. He moved into a hotel and earned a modest fee writing for the American edition of Vanity Fair. In 1917 Crowley moved to New Orleans. He didn't settle there long, and continued to travel within the States, then settled in New York again, living in Greenwich Village where he created numerous paintings.

In December of 1919 with the war having ended the previous year Crowley returned to London, finding himself destitute again. After visiting his Doctor to seek a cure for his asthma he was prescribed heroin. Before long Crowley was addicted to the drug, and decided to leave London for Paris.

Crowley decided to form a community of Thelemites which he would call the Abbey of Thelema. He chose Cefalu in Sicily as the location for his commune of followers. Outside of his rented Villa, the worshippers wore robes, and performed rituals to the sun god Ra.

The nights spent inside the Villa were very different. Crowley's heroin addiction had come to dominate his life, and cocaine had begun to erode his nasal cavity.

The Abbey of Thelema


Aleister was now counting on the money that his followers contributed to finance his drug habit as well as paying for the rent of the Abbey, which had deteriorated to the point that it was no more than a most unsanitary flophouse whose wall were decorated with his bizarre and disturbing paintings.

Despite the conditions new, followers continued to arrive, ignoring the lurid stories of animal sacrifice and depraved sexual practices. Blood drinking and sodomy were said to be practiced daily, and some disciples came to the Abbey in the full knowledge that nothing whatsoever was forbidden. 

By this time Crowley was being referred to back in England as the wickedest man in the world who deserved to be hung. In 1923 former followers began to tell their stories to the press, and Benito Mussolini's fascist government ordered him deported. Crowley's 1922 novel 'Diary of a Drug Fiend' although a work of fiction, was based on his addictions, and it did little to embolden the suggestion that he was a desirable citizen.

In 1924 Crowley found himself in Nice after leaving London once more, and underwent a number of nasal operations.

Crowley went through a number of lovers of both sexes over the next few years with whom he continued to explore sex magic, however he was now a shell of a man whose indulgences had wreaked havoc on his body. He was soon deported from France, as the French government feared that he was a German spy. Around this time he met Maria Teresa Sanchez, a Nicaraguan woman.

Mr. and Mrs. Crowley in 1929


The pair became lovers, and Crowley married her solely for the purpose of allowing her to reside in London. Once the relationship began to become tiresome Crowley relocated once again. This time to Berlin. 

Hanni Jaeger

In Berlin Crowley took another young woman, Hanni Larissa Jaeger a 19 year old German artist as his lover, and partner in magical rites. He wrote to Maria Teresa saying "You should get a divorce--find a man who will stand for your secret drinking and your scandalous behavior"

Crowley omitted any reference to his own behavior. Hanni was now pregnant, and Maria Teresa was admitted to Colney Hatch mental hospital suffering from the delusion that she was the daughter of the king and queen. Around this time Hanni left Crowley.

At this point it should be obvious that a woman's worst fate in this era was to be connected with Aleister Crowley. Not only was he a misogynist , but he was clearly intent on punishing women as though he were making them pay for the neglect he suffered from his Mother.

Further readings on the subject will reveal to you that only a small selection of Crowley's "Scarlet Women" have been mentioned here.


According to Dorian Borsella's notes on Crowley; Moving into the twilight years, Aleister's health was not good but he was still up to fathering a child by a young woman admirer who had rushed up to him after one of his court trials. 

 In April 1944 the bombing of London drove Aleister out of his lodgings at 93 Jermyn Street, Piccadilly, to the Bell Inn, Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire; and later to Netherwood, Hastings, a boardinghouse that was to be his last lodging. He went to Hastings 17 Jan. 1945. He still entertained occasional guests, and greeted them with the Thelema salutation, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."

On December the first 1947 Crowley died of myocardial degeneration and chronic bronchitis. His last words were supposed to have been "I am perplexed." The funeral, 5 days later, was such that the Brighton Council resolved to take all necessary steps to prevent such an incident occurring again.


The Thoth Tarot

In 1938 Aleister Crowley decided to create the Thoth Tarot. He wrote a complete guide explaining the usage and meanings of the cards, then hired a talented artist; Lady Frieda Harris to illustrate the deck.

Crowley's Thoth Tarot deck as it appeared in the first printing.

Crowley originally intended the Thoth Tarot Deck to be a six-month project aimed at updating the traditional pictorial symbolism of the tarot. However, due to increased scope the project eventually spanned five years, between 1938 and 1943 and both Crowley, and the artist died before the deck was finally published in 1969 by Ordo Templi Orientis.

This brief bio is presented here to whet your appetite for more information on the life of Aleister Crowley. He lived an extremely full life, and travelled extensively, meeting and interacting with a great variety of interesting people.

The World of the Occult

This is a list of Occult figures that lived and practiced in the Crowley era.

The brief introduction is here to inform you of a small number of other characters who led interesting and fascinating lives in the Nineteen and Twentieth Centuries.

Alice Bailey 

Alice Ann Bailey (June 16, 1880 – December 15, 1949) was a writer of more than twenty-four books on theosophical subjects, and was one of the first writers to use the term New Age. Bailey was born as Alice La Trobe-Bateman, in Manchester, England.[1] She moved to the United States in 1907, where she spent most of her life as a writer and teacher.

Marie Anne Lenormand

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772–1843) was a French professional fortune-teller of considerable fame during the Napoleonic era. In France, Lenormand is considered the greatest cartomancer of all time, highly influential on the wave of French cartomancy that began in the late 18th century.


Algernon Blackwood

Algernon Henry Blackwood, CBE (14 March 1869 – 10 December 1951) was an English broadcasting narrator, journalist, novelist and short story writer, and among the most prolific ghost story writers in the history of the genre.

Helena Blavatsky

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (Russian), often known as Madame Blavatsky; née von Hahn; 12 August [O.S. 31 July] 1831 – 8 May 1891) was a controversial Russian occultist, philosopher, and author who co-founded the Theosophical Society in 1875.

Arthur Conan  Doyle

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.

Paul Foster Case

Paul Foster Case (October 3, 1884 – March 2, 1954) was an American occultist of the early 20th century and author of numerous books on occult tarot and Qabalah. Perhaps his greatest contributions to the field of occultism were the lessons he wrote for associate members of Builders of the Adytum or B.O.T.A.

Henri Gamache

Henri Gamache was the pseudonym of an otherwise unknown author who was active in the United States during the 1940s, and who wrote on the subject of magic. All his books were published in New York City and most of them consist of semi-scholarly popular compilations that draw from (and give credit to) previously-published works on occultism. His works are noted for their connection to the Afrocentric theories of Marcus Garvey.


Éliphas Lévi Zahed

Éliphas Lévi Zahed, born Alphonse Louis Constant (8 February 1810 – 31 May 1875), was a French sage, poet, and author of more than twenty books about magic, Cabbalah, alchemical studies, and occultism. Considered the greatest occultist of the nineteenth century.

Samuel Macgregor Mathers

Samuel Liddell (or Liddel) MacGregor Mathers (8 or 11 January 1854 – 5 or 20 November 1918), born Samuel Liddell Mathers, was a British occultist. He is primarily known as one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a ceremonial magic order of which offshoots still exist today.

Pamela Colman Smith

Pamela Colman Smith (16 February 1878 – 18 September 1951), also nicknamed Pixie, was a British artist, illustrator, writer, publisher, and occultist.

She is best known for illustrating the Rider-Waite tarot deck (also called the Rider-Waite-Smith or Waite-Smith deck) for Arthur Edward Waite.

Arthur Edward Waite 

Arthur Edward Waite (2 October 1857 – 19 May 1942) was an American-born British poet and scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and was the co-creator of the Rider-Waite tarot deck (also called the Rider-Waite-Smith or Waite-Smith deck).

William Butler Yeats

William Butler Yeats[a] (13 June 1865 – 28 January 1939) was an Irish poet, dramatist, prose writer and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature.

Yeats's mystical inclinations, informed by Hinduism, theosophical beliefs and the occult, provided much of the basis of his late poetry.


Kenneth Anger 

Kenneth Anger (born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer, February 3, 1927) is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor, and author. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, Anger focused upon occult themes in many of his films, being fascinated by the English gnostic mage and poet Aleister Crowley, and is an adherent of Thelema, the religion Crowley founded.

William S. Burroughs

Burroughs had a longstanding preoccupation with magic and the occult, dating from his earliest childhood, and was insistent throughout his life that we live in a "magical universe"

(Quote) "In the magical universe there are no coincidences and there are no accidents. Nothing happens unless someone wills it to happen"

Gerald Gardner 

Gerald Brosseau Gardner (13 June 1884 – 12 February 1964), also known by the craft name Scire, was an English Wiccan, as well as an author and an amateur anthropologist and archaeologist. He was instrumental in bringing the Contemporary Pagan religion of Wicca to public attention, writing some of its definitive religious texts and founding the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca.

Kenneth Grant

Kenneth Grant (23 May 1924 – 15 January 2011) was an English ceremonial magician and prominent advocate of the Thelemic religion. A poet, novelist, and writer, he founded his own Thelemic organisation, the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis—later renamed the Typhonian Order—with his wife Steffi Grant.


Lady Frieda Harris 

Marguerite Frieda Harris (née Bloxam, 1877, London, England — 11 May 1962, Srinagar, India) was an artist and, in later life, an associate of the occultist Aleister Crowley. She is best known for her design of Crowley's Thoth tarot deck.

By Crowley's own admission, the deck was originally intended to be traditional but Harris encouraged him to commit his occult, magical, spiritual and scientific views to the project. Harris sent Crowley a regular stipend throughout the project. She also used her society contacts to find financial backers for the exhibition of the paintings, the catalogues, and for the publication of the Tarot deck.

The pressure may have taken its toll on Harris and Crowley was sufficiently concerned to call in the lawyers to protect his 66% investment in the project. Crowley gives Harris praise in the introduction to the Book of Thoth:

Harris devoted her genius to the Work. With incredible rapidity she picked up the rhythm, and with inexhaustible patience submitted to the correction of the fanatical slave-driver that she had invoked, often painting the same card as many as eight times until it measured up to his Vanadium Steel yardstick! Throughout the project she insisted on her own anonymity but she reveled in working for such a notorious man.

Young Marguerite Frieda Harris


There are hundreds of resources on the internet that provide information regarding Tarot card meanings.

Of the numerous sites available, I've found that the most helpful resource is the 'BIDDY TAROT.COM' site. The information therein is consistently valuable and easy to understand.

Wikipedia, and the world wide web in general is a fabulous resource when it comes to educating one's self about Tarot and the Occult.

Simon Harrison, and the members of the facebook group at The Hermit's Cave are customers, friends and advisers, to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.

The cards in this deck were created by me, using a collage technique. They are comprised of vintage imagery that resides in public domain.

Other components are from photographs that I took in various locations. Many of the houses depicted still stand, in Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

This Deck and Guide 
is copyrighted 2021
all rights reserved 
by Christoph James

Aleister Crowley's ashes
 are located in Hampton
 New Jersey U.S.A.

Mr. Crowley

Mr. Crowley  
What went on in your head?  
Oh, Mr. Crowley  
Did you talk to the dead?  

Your lifetime to me seems so tragic
With the thrill of it all
You fooled all the people with magic
Yeah, you waited on Satan's call

Mister Charming
Did you think you were pure?
Mister alarming
In nocturnal rapport

Uncovering things that were sacred
Manifest on this earth
Oh, conceived in the eye of a secret
Yeah, and they scattered the afterbirth

Mr. Crowley
Won't you ride my white horse?
Mr. Crowley
It's symbolic of course


Approaching a time that is classic
I hear that maiden's call
Approaching a time that is drastic
Standing with their backs to the wall

Was it polemically sent
I wanna know what you meant
I wanna know
I wanna know what you meant, Yeah!

"Mr. Crowley" is a song by British heavy metal vocalist Ozzy Osbourne about English occultist Aleister Crowley. It was first released on Osbourne's debut solo album Blizzard of Ozz in September 1980 in the United Kingdom, and then a live version of the song was released as a single in November 1980. The song was written by Osbourne, guitarist Randy Rhoads, and bass guitarist/lyricist Bob Daisley.