Mirror of the Soul: The Tarot Decks of Aleister Crowley and Austin Osman Spare

Brompton Cemetery Chapel

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Sunday 5 June 2016
13:00 - 15:00 (doors at 12:45)
Pop-Up, Something A Little Different, Theatre/Arts, Walks & Tours

The tradition of divination using the 78 cards of the Tarot deck dates back to Protestant and Masonic sects in the 18th century. It later became an important part of the philosophy of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the 19th Century occult organisation which included Aleister Crowley, the so-called “wickedest man in the world”, as well as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among its members. Golden Dawn had its own Tarot deck, apparently designed by one of its founders, S.L. MacGregor Mathers.

The creation of Crowley’s Thoth Tarot was planned as a six month collaboration with illustrator Lady Frieda Harris. In his talk Danny Nemu investigates how the project grew into a five-year exploration and integration of the symbolism of different strands of ancient wisdom. Crowley wrote The Book of Thoth as an accompaniment to his Tarot deck and a guide to its interpretation.

Draughtsman and occultist Austin Osman Spare – the progenitor of Chaos Magic - was a one-time collaborator with Crowley and a member of his mystical order Argenteum Astrum. Spare’s illustrative style was known for its use of monstrous and sexual imagery. In the Spring of 2013, curator Jonathan Allen helped identify a 79-card, hand-painted tarot deck as one created in 1906 by Austin Osman Spare. In his talk, Allen discusses the deck's provenance, its place in Spare's oeuvre and within the wider histories of cartomancy.

Tickets £12 including a Hendrick's Gin Cocktail. Please click here to buy.


Danny Nemu has been a student of tarot for over fifteen years. He now reads professionally and teaches at the Psychic College of London. Tarot is both his passion and his pleasure and he never leaves the house without a deck in his pocket. He believes that "tarot teached the reader that nothing is random, that chaos is alive and abundant."

Jonathan Allen is a London-based artist, writer and educator whose work has featured in many exhibitions and publications. Allen's work addresses the figuring of agency, the facticity of the image, and most recently the various magics at play within late modernity. He is an associate curator at The Magic Circle Museum, London.

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Brompton Cemetery Chapel
Entrances on Fulham Road or Brompton Road, London, SW10 9UG

Nearest station:
West Brompton (Tube)


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(2 reviews) Show Hide all

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Great afternoon lecture on Aleister Crowley in Brompton Cemetery. It's a good venue for that sort of thing. And with a nice gin cocktail. Maybe next time there will be toilet paper in the ladies room. Maximilliana visited Brompton Cemetery Chapel on 05 Jun 2016
07 Jun 2016 by

Really enjoyed the talk by Danny Nemu and Jonathan Allen. Both seemed to know a lot about the subject they talked. I felt like I learned a lot. Would recommend. Elaine visited Brompton Cemetery Chapel on 05 Jun 2016
07 Jun 2016 by

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