Thoth, pronounced "tote", is the Greek name given to the Egyptian god of the moon (lunar deity), wisdom, writing, magic, and measurement of time, among other things. As the cycles of the moon organized much of Egyptian society's civil and religious rituals and events, so Thoth was also seen as the primary regulator of such things. He was a son of either Ra or Set, but is also said to be the secretary and counsellor of Ra. Thoth was a close companion of Astennu, a name which was occasionally used to refer to Thoth himself. He had a daughter named Seshat.
Thoth was known as a reasonable mediator. He supported Horus vs. Seth and mediated between Tefnut and Ra. In Duat, the underworld, he helped Osiris judge the souls of the dead. He also convinced Hathor (alternatively: Tefnut) to return to Egypt after she fled, pursuant to an argument with Ra (alternatively: Shu).
Thoth was credited by the ancient Egyptians as the inventor of writing and the 365-day calendar. He was usually depicted with the head of an ibis (whose beak looks like a crescent moon) or of a baboon (a nocturnal animal that has many similarities to humanity).
During the late period of Egyptian history a cult of Thoth gained prominence, and millions of ibises were mummified and buried in his honour.
August 6 is a date traditionally sacred to Thoth.
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- Djeheuty (Egypt)
Thoth in Thelema
Allan Bennett composed an invocation of Thoth based on ancient Egyptian texts, which Aleister Crowley edited into "Liber Israfel," a ritual that is also described as "an instruction in a suitable method of preaching."
Thoth appeared to Crowley on March 17, 1904 in Helwan, Egypt, during the sequence of events leading up to the reception of Liber Legis.
The Angel of the 6th Aethyr of The Vision and The Voice is described as "the radiance of Thoth." The vision of that Aethyr describes the Tarot as "the Book of Thoth" and calls the curse pertaining to the grade of Magus "the curse of Thoth." Crowley's identification of the Tarot as "the Book of Thoth" led to his using that phrase as the title of his book on Tarot; and the version of the cards produced by Crowley and Frieda Harris is usually called the Thoth Tarot.
In The Golden Dawn, Thoth was the god-form assigned to the office of Cancellarius, one of the Three Chiefs who were present (symbolically, at least) in the Neophyte ritual. The Cancellarius was identified with Tiphareth, the 5=6 grade, and the element of Air; his duties were those of Recorder and Examiner.Thoth (or Tahuti) is one of the three god-forms presiding over the A.'.A.'. Neophyte temple, along with Isis (Asi) and Horus-Apophis (Hoor-Apep). In "Liber Pyramidos," he is invoked as follows:
O Thou, the Apex of the Plane,Crowley also identified Thoth as a Magus in the sense of a holder of the Chokmah grade of A.'.A.'. According to the account given in Liber Aleph, Thoth was the Magus following Dionysus and preceding Mosheh. The Word of Thoth was AMOUN, "whereby He made Men to understand their secret Nature, that is, their Unity with their True Selves, or, as they then phrased it, with God." It is probably this conception of Thoth that led to his inclusion among The Gnostic Saints.
With Ibis head and wings of Night! Whose serpents strain
Their bodies, bounding the Beyond
Thou in the Light and in the Night
Art One, above their moving might.
In a footnote to Magick in Theory and Practice, Crowley wrote that "Thoth, God of Magick, was merely a man who invented writing, as his monuments declare clearly enough." Note, however, that the entire footnote is in the nature of a dig at the philological determinism of F. Max Mueller, concluding with a punning remark that "the Papyrus of Ani [a.k.a. The Book of the Dead] is only the Latin for toilet-paper.
Thoth in Popular Culture
Thoth is the name of a Carnival Krewe in New Orleans, Louisiana which parades on the Sunday before Mardi Gras. The Krewe features a float decorated with a large depiction of the ancient deity.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1981). The Book of Thoth. New York, S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1996). Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers : the Equinox,IV(1). York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1991). Liber Aleph vel CXI : the Book of Wisdom or Folly. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1997). Magick: Book Four. Edited, annotated, and introduced by Hymenaeus Beta. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser.
- Crowley, Aleister. (1998). The Vision & the Voice : the Equinox, IV(2). York Beach, Me. : Samuel Weiser.
- Fowden, Garth. The Egyptian Hermes: A Historical Approach to the Late Pagan Mind. Princeton, Princeton University Press 1986 (Deals with Thoth (Hermes) from his most primative known conception to his later evolution into Hermes Trismegistus.)
- Wikipedia. (2004). Thoth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thoth). Retrieved Sept. 20, 2004.