Lady Frieda Harris and Crowley’s Thoth Tarot

As far as Alchemical rock stars go, few have the repute of Hermes Trismegistus, which means Hermes the Thrice Magical. He has other names, including Mercury, the fastest planet in our skyscape. An even older name goes back to Egypt, where Hermes was called Thoth, and this is where Aleister Crowley found the inspiration for his Tarot cards, the Thoth Deck.

Crowley was no stranger to Egypt; possibly his most famous work, his Book of the Law, was written in Cairo, under the scrivening of his wife at the time, Rose. However, at least from the standpoint of cartomancy, his most significant work is the Book of Thoth, a work that could never have seen fruition outside the efforts of Lady Frieda Harris.

So, who was Lady Freida, the artist who painted the artwork that constitutes the Book of Thoth?

Marguerite Frieda Harris was born in London, England in 1877. She died in 1962, in the town of Srinagar, India. Upon that journey, she met the world’s most wicked man, Aleister Crowley. She was 60 years old at the time but decided that painting for the self-proclaimed devil himself was a project worth her time, money and effort.

The end result has stood the test of time, even though she remained anonymous on the actual artwork, a fate that she shared with Pamela Coleman Smith. The art lives on.

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