Spiritual Guide to Universal Knowledge (The Thoth Tarot Videos) by Elizabeth Joyce
This instructional video set is intended to teach you to read with the Thoth Tarot deck. Tape One: The Thoth Teachings (Tarot), begins with the instructor, Elizabeth Joyce, providing an overview of her experience with Tarot and her beliefs. Included is a brief history of Tarot in general and the Thoth deck in particular. Most of her history is accurate, if scanty, though she consistently pronounces Crowley incorrectly (it is pronounced with a long o, like "crow," vice ow like "owl"). She also interjects many of her own views in what seems to be an attempt to inspire the listener with a feeling of mystery and awe. Joyce discusses the four suits in her introduction and demonstrates a Celtic Cross spread. More on her reading techniques later.
After her introductory remarks, Joyce discusses the meaning of each card, one by one, starting with the Major Arcana. The meanings given appear to be a mixture of Crowley, the Golden Dawn and Joyce's own meanings. At various times she mentions personal rules of thumb, but she never develops these ideas. For example, we are told that certain cards are "Fate" cards or "Psychic" cards, but we are never told what this really means, nor are we provided with a comprehensive listing of the cards that Joyce puts into those categories. Some of the information provided seemed to be peculiar to Joyce's personal reading style. For example, we are told that the Fool always indicates a decision is to be made. I had never come across this idea in my Tarot studies.
The next segment of the tape covers the Minor Arcana. Joyce describes the suits again in a bit more detail and gives a short description of elemental dignities. She then describes how to use Aces as timing cards with Wands representing summer, Swords representing fall, etc., etc. The third segment of the tape describes the court cards. Joyces description of the astrological assignments of the court cards was a bit confusing to me. For example she states that Pisces represents Cups. What happened to Scorpio and Cancer? She also discusses the so-called "Crowley Card" in this section of the tape. The Crowley card is an extra card included in some versions of the Thoth deck with a unicursal hexagram on it. She advises against its use as she feels that it "pulls down the energy and vibrations of the deck."
In the last segment of this tape Ms. Joyce does a reading using a 15 card spread, which she refers to as the "Crowley Spread." While this spread is in the little booklet that comes with some versions of the Thoth deck, I don't think that Crowley created it. At the start of the reading, Ms. Joyce has the querent shuffle and then cut the deck into three piles. She then starts to tell the querent information about future trends in his business without turning the cards over to see what they are. She provides no explanation here as to how she came to her conclusions. Throughout the course of the reading, Joyce provides information not available in the cards, presumably as a result of her psychic skills. Seeing travel in the reading she is able to give a specific location (California) and she "feels the letter 'T'" in connection with a name. While this is a nice demonstration of her psychic skills, it does nothing to help her audience learn to read. She does not discuss where she is getting this information, nor how her viewer can access similar information. The reading concludes tape one.
Tape Two: The Thoth Combinations, is designed to teach card combinations and specific spreads. Ms. Joyce provides a quick review of the suits and then describes the "combinations," which are primarily from the Golden Dawn and attribute special meanings to multiples of various cards. For example, four Aces mean "great power and force." Three Knights mean "messages, news or other information." Some of the meanings are unique to Joyce. After going through these combinations, Joyce demonstrates several spreads, including the 15 card spread that she calls the "Crowley Spread," a "Magic Seven Spread," a "Yes/No" spread and finally the "Celtic Cross." In this tape, Joyce explains how she makes trend predictions from the cut piles before she turns them over. She says that if the piles are fairly even, they always indicate money. She makes her trend predictions based on the relative heights of the piles. She does not explain what it means if the piles are uneven.
This set of tapes could be useful to those who want to see someone go through the deck and provide a set of meanings, or to see someone demonstrate how readings are done. Joyce's "psychic style" is demonstrated, but not explained. Joyce also provides some personal insights that are rather non-traditional. To her credit, she does use the Thoth deck, which one rarely sees in introductory material, but she then demonizes it somewhat by telling the viewer that the deck gave her headaches and that she was unable to use it until after she had studied Tarot for two years using the Universal Waite and the Aquarian deck (which presumably have lower vibrational rates).
You can also order the video here.