Past Meetup

Lady Frieda Harris and the Thoth Tarot

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The artist Frieda Harris 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. Together they created an original and innovative tarot deck. Crowley and Harris were meticulous in their work, and Harris painted some of the cards as many as eight times.
Frieda Harris studied Projective Synthetic Geometry, and put this knowledge into her designs of the cards. Projective Synthetic Geometry was an evolution of the strict Euclidian geometry. Its roots had been developed by the mathematician Descartes in the 17th Century. Many of Descartes’ ideas were based on both mathematical and mystic assumptions, e.g. his axiom of parallels meeting at infinity. The ends of parallel lines lie in two opposite directions, but the idea of the point in infinity is that the point, infinitely distant in a direction, is the same as those infinitely distant in the opposite direction.
The paintings for the deck were exhibited in July 1942. Frieda Harris gave at least two lectures on the Thoth deck. However the deck was not published until after both Frieda and Aleister had died.

Frieda became a close platonic friend of Aleister Crowley, and helped make sure he was taken care of during his last days. She visited him on the day he died, December 1, 1947


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