About our Thoth inspired Tarot decks
Our "indie" Thoth based and inspired Esoteric Tarot Decks
Our indie and esoteric tarot decks are Thoth inspired and considered “Thoth based” in that they follow the naming conventions of the Thoth deck by Aleister Crowley and Lady Freida Harris. For example, in the Thoth deck Crowley renamed the “Justice” card “Adjustment”, the “Strength” card “Lust”, “Judgement” to “The Aeon”, and “The World” expands to become “The Universe”.
The minor arcana likewise use Crowley’s shortened versions of the Golden Dawn names for the spirit of the each card. For example, the Golden Dawn called the Eight of Wands “The Lord of Swiftness” – which becomes the “keyword” Swiftness in the Thoth deck. Similarly, the Golden Dawn called the Eight of Swords “The Lord of Shortened Force”, which was condensed in Crowley’s deck to Interference.
All of our decks are “Thoth based” in that they follow these naming conventions.
“Thoth inspired” to us means that some philosophies present in the Thoth deck related to these name changes are also incorporated into these works.
In the case of the Rosetta Tarot, some, but not all, of the minor arcana cards are also “Thoth inspired” in the sense that they have some visual similarity to their Thoth complements. The Majors are different.
The other decks you will find here are Thoth inspired in ideology only, and are not artistically similar to the Thoth tarot in any of the cards.
Indie Tarot for all
Our tarot decks are “indie tarot decks” or independently published, by Atu House Publishing, the independent imprint of M. M. Meleen, and not available from the major tarot distributors. We believe in supporting the local economy and so we print and manufacture all of our decks, boxes, and books as close to where we live in the USA as possible, and do much of the assembly by hand.
This is “small batch” tarot: short-run printing, hand drawn art, and assembled in house.
These independently published tarot decks are also “Thoth inspired” because they incorporate Thelemic themes, but they are usable by anyone familiar with the Rider Waite Smith tarot or the Thoth tarot. This is because both the Thoth deck and the RWS deck are derived from the same Golden Dawn esoteric tarot roots. The decks incorporate accurate and recognizable tarot symbolism, so anyone can use them.
Original Symbolic Tarot Art
While these tarot decks use the Thoth based names for the cards, the artwork is original. We don’t consider these decks Thoth clones, though the Rosetta Tarot does have a few cards inspired by their Thoth counterparts.
Any artist can create a Thoth clone or an RWS clone. But it takes visioning and true understanding of tarot concepts to create original and unique new tarot art. Because this must be done while still honoring the original message of each card and keeping the meanings broad and accurate.
Many modern commercially published and indie tarot decks narrow or distort the traditional tarot meanings in their recreations. Some seem to be created by artists who may not be grounded in long term genuine esoteric tarot study. You will discover that our decks have unique art that stays true to esoteric tarot principles.
More than a Thoth clone
The Rosetta Tarot does have a few Minor Arcana cards that resemble the Thoth, but most of the Rosetta cards are completely new tarot interpretations. And even those that resemble their Thoth counterpart have subtle twists. These changes were designed to illuminate something about the card that was hidden in the Thoth version, often in plain sight.
What makes a good Thoth inspired deck?
A good Thoth based deck will do more than just use the naming conventions of the Thoth deck. Most importantly, the Judgement card is not merely renamed as The Aeon. The Aeon card also should illustrate the cosmic perspectives of the Thelemic trinity: the gods Nuit, Hadit, and Horus. These three deities arise and replace the “dead arising from their tombs” on the RWS Judgement card.
Like the family of zombies rising in the RWS card, the living gods of The Aeon card correspond to the three primary elements of water (Nuit), air (Hadit), and fire (Horus). They also in their own way represent the same theme of awakening and arising. These elements reference the aeons of Isis, Osiris, and Horus. The aeons are periods of human development that arise and encompass thousands of years.
A good Thoth inspired deck will offer unique tarot reinterpretations from the new Aeon perspective without copying the art of the Thoth deck.
The best Thoth inspired decks also incorporate Thelemic approaches and ideas into the art and symbolism, referencing the tenets of Thelema and the spiritual tarot teachings of the new Aeon found in the Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley.
New Thoth-inspired visions for Thelemic concepts
The Tabula Mundi Tarot and Pharos Tarot (and our forthcoming new Thoth inspired deck!) are completely original and new visioning of tarot cards and concepts. They also incorporate the tenets and symbols of Thelema in the artwork where appropriate. With each new deck we boldly attempt to elevate tarot.
Do I need to study Thelema to use these cards?
You don’t need to be a Thelemite to use a Thoth inspired or Thoth based deck. Because the traditional tarot symbolism is there even if the reader isn’t aware of or interested in Thelema, anyone, even a beginner, can learn tarot from these decks.
In fact, many people have written us to say how much they have learned about tarot from our decks, even through they prefer not to have anything to do with Crowley.
Their artworks don’t copy or resemble the Thoth or the Rider Waite tarot but instead are original tarot archetypes from the mind of the artist and author M.M. Meleen.
However, you will find that they embody the concepts of traditional tarot. They aren’t just one persons vague tarot ideas, but universally channeled concepts true to the long established conventions of esoteric tarot.
Why esoteric tarot?
We call our decks “esoteric” because of the occult knowledge they incorporate. Esoteric means “intended for or understood by only a small group, especially one with specialized knowledge or interests”.
Teaching the occult mysteries of Tarot
In this case, the specialized knowledge is “occult” knowledge. This is defined as “of, relating to, or dealing with supernatural or magical influences, agencies, or occurrences”. These decks all incorporate the mysteries of Astrology, Alchemy, and Qabalah into their very structure. While “occult” and “esoteric” can also mean hidden and private, these decks are designed to teach the mysteries, not obscure them.
Which tarot deck is right for me?
That is a very individual choice. Choose what appeals most to you, or try them all. The decks listed below are listed in order of creation and date of publication. As they were all done by the same artist, they do grow as the artist grows. So try them in order, and grow along with them.
The Rosetta Tarot and the Book of Seshet
About the Rosetta Tarot
The Rosetta Tarot is an independently published or “indie” esoteric tarot, a Thoth inspired tarot, and the first tarot deck made by M.M. Meleen. It was self published in November of 2011. It is a “Thoth based” tarot or a tarot based on the Thoth deck by Aleister Crowley, but with its own unique art. As a devoted student of the occult for many years, the artist has incorporated the symbols of Astrology, Alchemy, and Qabalah. Rosetta was voted into first place as the best tarot deck of 2011 by Aeclectic Tarot voters.
The namesake: the Rosetta Stone as a key
Tarot is a universal language. This deck was named for the Rosetta Stone, a famous language translator. A “Rosetta” is often an alternate word for “key” or decoder. This is in reference to the Rosetta Stone, a fragment of an ancient Egyptian granite stele.
The stele was inscribed with three identical scripts: ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, a pre-Coptic script called Demotic text, and ancient Greek.
The Rosetta Stone proved to be the key to decoding and deciphering the previously unreadable Egyptian hieroglyphs. In the same way that the Rosetta stone revealed the languages of these cultures, the Rosetta Tarot weaves Egyptian symbolism and Greek mythologies with alchemical symbolism.
Tarot for unlocking the subconscious mind
The Rosetta Tarot may unlock the “doors of the houses”. It can reveal secrets of the Tarot hidden in plain sight – both secrets of the Thoth tarot and those of tarot in general.
Tarot is a language that allows things in the subconscious mind to be consciously accessed. Potentialities in nascent form can be seen and pondered, and perhaps positively affected. It is a potent tool for meditating on themes of self-discovery.
Artwork of the Rosetta Tarot: elemental media for each suit
The Rosetta Tarot is a unique indie Thoth-inspired or Thoth-based tarot, hand drawn and painted, with different artistic media for each suit corresponding to the element of the suit.
Colored pencils (little wooden wands) were used for the Wands suit. Watercolors and ink were used for the suit of Cups. Dry point etching with a metal stylus created the suit of Swords. Oil pigments of earth were used in the suit of Disks. And all were tied together with touches of acrylic paint, which due to its symbolic elasticity was used to paint the Majors.
The Book of Seshet guidebook
Rosetta Tarot’s companion book is called The Book of Seshet. Seshet is the feminine counterpart to the god Thoth, and “Mistress of the House of Books”. The Book of Seshet makes an excellent introductory guide to the Thoth system, to the Qabalah, and to the intersection of Astrology with Tarot.
Reviews of the Rosetta Tarot
For reviews of the Rosetta Tarot, check out these:
You can see some Rosetta cards here, from the Papyrus edition, next to the original artwork.
Our most recent edition of Rosetta has the same art but is in a new larger size and metallic ink card backs. The borders are also updated with a new glowing color and the attribution symbols of the tarot correspondences have been added.
Tabula Mundi Tarot and Book M: Liber Mundi
About Tabula Mundi Tarot and its Thoth inspired roots
Tabula Mundi Tarot is a thinking person’s deck, an intelligent alternative to RWS and and its derivatives, and an alternative or complement to the Thoth tarot.
Tabula Mundi is considered by many to be M.M. Meleen’s Magnum Opus. Some have called it a masterful esoteric tarot that has also evolved Tarot itself. It’s also a Thoth based and inspired tarot, but every card offers a new tarot visioning and unique composition and design not artistically influenced by Lady Frieda’s own brilliant illustrations.
After completing the Rosetta Tarot, M.M. Meleen immediately began work on Tabula Mundi Tarot as there was a whole new perspective on tarot to convey.
Multiple readings of the Book of Thoth opened up new worlds of understanding that the artist incorporated into the deck over a period of five years.
A unique tarot deck of many firsts that will improve your tarot readings
Tabula Mundi Tarot is the first deck in history to visually make plain the correspondences between the Major and Minor Arcana, and the astrological decans.
It is also the first deck to mnemonically encode these relationships between Majors and Minors, Minors and court cards. It does this through a series of arresting repeating visual leitmotifs that link related cards, opening whole new worlds of connections and correspondences in a tarot reading.
As you work with Tabula Mundi Tarot in readings, the visual themes that link interrelated cards will create new revelations to make you a better reader. The relationships between cards will allow for new thoughts and interpretations, and messages will be revealed.
Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. This tarot is a Thoth-based tarot, but so much more. It must be experienced to be realized how much it has to teach not only those new to tarot but also those who have been reading for decades.
A picture of the world: Tabula Mundi Tarot variations and history
Tabula Mundi Tarot was started in 2011 right after the Rosetta Tarot was published. It was first published as a Majors deck in 2014, as a full 78 card deck of black and white drawings in 2015, and in a final full color version in 2016.
The art is all hand drawn and painted. The line art was drawn with permanent fine line magic marker and the color art was brush painted with colored acrylic inks.
Tabula Mundi roughly translates as “a picture of the world”. If you only get one unique tarot deck in your lifetime, get Tabula Mundi Tarot. We promise it will open up whole new worlds.
About Book M: Liber Mundi, an advanced tarot guidebook
Book M: Liber Mundi is the guidebook for Tabula Mundi Tarot. Do you want to learn more about tarot and astrological decans, the court cards and their familial relationships? If you would like to begin to unpack the incredible depths of Crowley’s Thoth system of tarot, check out Book M. If you are ready for more advanced tarot teachings, Book M is for you.
Reviews of Tabula Mundi Tarot:
Check out Benebel Wen’s review of Tabula Mundi Tarot:
or check out the very first review of it ever, originally on Aeclectic Tarot but preserved on M.M. Meleen’s blog:
Here are some unsolicited customer reviews of Tabula Mundi Tarot, from our former store:
There’s nothing else like this beautiful deck!
I read once that ‘symbols do their own thinking’, and that’s poetry, but there’s a grain of truth about how they work on me. Much like the Thoth that inspired it, symbols in Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus convey a great deal, bypassing the language center of the brain to slip underneath and in. But the added genius of TM that I’d never come across before is the way those symbols reappear across cards in organized but artistically imaginative ways.
Minors have visual elements inspired by their astrologically associated majors, for example, so I can’t help but discover new connections across the deck. Reading with it has been like walking into a larger room and finding there’s more for me to learn and do.
The art includes an eclectic mix ranging from ancient mythology to modern science. It’s completely original while staying true to its inspiration, and I learn something new whenever I spend time with it (or with Book M). At this point, if I could only have one deck, TM would be it.
My Best Tarot EVER!
It’s too bad I can’t leave 6 stars, because I would. This deck has quickly grown to be my favorite tarot and my ‘go to’ deck. The imagery, the colors, the symmetry of the cards, the cohesiveness between them, it’s so beautiful. You must try out this deck and see for yourself. It is a Thoth and RWS bred together, but favoring Thoth. Nonetheless this tarot is a new breed and I believe will become widely regarded. Get it!
Stunning deep and beautifully rendered- The very very most exquisite deck I own(and I own a lot of Tarot Decks) and full of increasingly complex principles and I have not stopped studying since they came to live with me(to my left as I type this) and the deck I would take as my luxury item onto a desert island(swoon). MMM I fall more in love each day HH(X)
Very highly recommended-these are thelema depths of wise and insightful quality
You can see many of the Majors here:
and see some of the Minors here:
or check out the black and white edition:
Ready for Tabula Mundi Tarot? It comes in a large edition, a luxury edition, a mid size perfect for shuffling in color or black and white, a portable mini color pocket size edition, and an extra large altar size Majors only deck in color or black and white. It also comes in sets packaged with Book M!
Pharos Tarot and Spectrum Fari
About Pharos Tarot – an unusual and most unique Tarot deck
If you thought Tabula Mundi Tarot was unique in the world of indie tarot, you will be surprised and delighted by the unusual tarot you can explore with the Pharos Tarot Majors. Are you ready for something completely different, haunting and beautifully rendered? Just when you think you have seen everything in the world of esoteric tarot decks, along comes the Pharos Tarot to guide you where no tarot has gone before.
Pharos Tarot is a Majors only deck published in 2020. After creating the Rosetta Tarot and evolving with Tabula Mundi Tarot, M.M. Meleen wanted to go somewhere new with tarot. But how could the wheel be reinvented again? Then the artist had a dream, or more appropriately, a vision during a hypnagogic state – that the Tarot was a deconstructed Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse of Tarot
2300 years ago, Alexander the Great had a dream. He dreamed of an old, bearded man (the Hermit perhaps). This hermit recited these words to him: “Now there is an island, in the much dashing sea in front of Egypt. Pharos is what men call it.”
Alexander thus chose the island of Pharos as the site for his city of Alexandria. Alexandria was famous for the Hermetic Arts, the library of Alexandria – and the Pharos lighthouse, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Color and light
Pharos Tarot is named after the lighthouse as it travels the color scales through light using the medium of watercolor. Watercolor is known for its luminosity as pigment is diffused in water transparently, allowing the light of the white paper to shine through. Water is a prism, and the combination of water and light creates color. The eyes take in light and color and the mind interprets the vision.
Tarot as a guidance system
Pharos Tarot is also named for the fabled Pharos lighthouse because tarot is a guidance system, designed to shed light on dark or foggy situations. A lighthouse lights the way, a beacon illuminating possible paths and dangers. Tarot also shines light on human situations, allowing for navigation past the obstacles of life.
Golden Dawn color scales of Tarot
This is an art tarot deck with each painting hand painted in watercolors. Like all of our tarots it is painted in the Golden Dawn color scale colors specified for the card in Crowley’s 777.
The Golden Dawn color scales do more than create stunning color compositions. The colors assist in pathworking, and evoke the mood and theme of the spirit of each card.
The deck could be considered Thoth influenced, for Thelemic themes.
The Lighthouse as metaphor
Pharos Tarot is set in a dream world. But oh what this dream has to teach you about yourself and about tarot! The deck shows how the Hebrew letters that correspond to each Major Arcana, also correspond to individual parts of a lighthouse system. This deconstructed mythical lighthouse is of course a stand-in for the human enlightenment experience.
About the Spectrum Fari guidebook
Spectrum Fari explains each part of this mythical lighthouse, and also is one of the most complete explanations of the spiritual meanings of the Golden Dawn color scale colors and how and why they relate to each tarot card.
A singular addition to the world of Tarot
If you have been to the ends of the earth with tarot and are ready for something new and uncommon, Pharos Tarot is ready to be your lighthouse. It’s an extra-large Majors only deck for now, to showcase the beautiful art.
A review of Spectrum Fari
Here is an unsolicited review of Spectrum Fari, the Pharos guidebook, from our former store:
A Lighthouse among Tarot Books
You can’t go any further from the notorious lwb (little white booklet) with its generic meanings than with Spectrum Fari, M.M. Meleen’s book that helps you enter the world of the Pharos Tarot. I don’t have the deck in my hands yet but had to read the book (I bought the Kindle version), I simply couldn’t wait. I looked at the website illustration to see what I read and I’m sure that holding the cards in my hands will be even more illuminating. But the power of the light beam caught me while I read.
This is a visionary deck and a visionary book. Mel has been to the heart of tarot and back. The most special part of the book is her reasoning behind the application of the colour scales. As artist with three excellent decks under her belt, she knows everything about esoteric colour and how to use it. It’s fascinating reading.
Here’s a look at the Sun card, from Pharos Tarot:
and here is the enigmatic Death card:
The Pharos Tarot is a Majors only extra large art deck for your altar.
Pharos Tarot comes in three versions: borderless, bordered, and bottom border only.
The borderless and bottom border version have larger art and show the alternate tarot titles. The bordered version has traditional and alternate titles and attribution symbols. The bottom border version has the titles in the Golden Dawn color scale King scale colors.
A new talismanic tarot in progress
About this new magical tarot of 777 and the decans
M.M. Meleen has a new esoteric tarot deck in the works, coming soon. The image above is ink line art for the Two of Wands, the first decan of Aries. When complete, the deck will be hand painted in full color.
The art for this tarot deck was started immediately after the publication of Pharos Tarot. How could tarot evolve further?
777 and the magical descriptions of the decans
This deck does something that to our knowledge hasn’t ever been done as well. The artwork for the minors was done during the artist’s “decan walk” experience. It follows the magical descriptions of the astrological decans in 777, leaving nothing of the description out. There are a few card sets that have decan based art. But this one also adds the additional layer of traditional tarot meaning and symbolism to each card, making it a true tarot.
For the Majors, it also stays completely faithful to the Golden Dawn 777 descriptions. While some decks reference these descriptions in one card or another, we are not aware of any available tarot deck that has faithfully represented all 22 to the letter.
Did you ever think that with the many tarot decks out there that the wheel of tarot couldn’t possibly evolve? M.M. Meleen started drawing this tarot after finishing the unique Pharos Majors. This deck will also be a surprisingly refreshing new addition to the universe of tarot.
A ceremonially rendered talismanic tarot
The line art for this deck was done in black ink with dip pens. The first pencil drawing of the Fool, the trump of Air, was ceremonially inked during the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on the 2020 Winter Solstice that ushered in a new 200 year epoch of Air sign conjunctions of these two giants.
The 36 minor cards 2 thru 10 of each suit were both drawn and inked during their respective astrological decan, beginning on the Vernal Equinox of 2021 in a yearly “decan walk” journey.
The court cards were drawn faithful to the Golden Dawn descriptions of their regalia in Book T and Liber Theta.
Tarot for the magical practitioner
This a new tarot for the magical practitioner and student of tarot and the astrological decans, and is coming soon in 2023.
Here is a post on Tabula Mundi and the decans – but it has a sneak peak of the Nine of Wands from the new deck:
The best way to stay informed about when this new deck will be released is to sign up to the newsletter at the link below.
Interested in this new talismanic tarot deck?
If you would like in progress updates showing the art for this new tarot work in progress, and ultimately, to be notified when it becomes available, subscribe to our newsletter.