Timeline of the Thoth Tarot in Popular Media

Upon its first color publication in 1971, the captivating and provocative images of the Thoth Tarot vaulted into the visual of lexicon of popular culture, lending its exotic touch to television, motion pictures, comic books, and album covers. Originally designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Frieda Lady Harris during World War II, the Thoth Tarot quickly became one of the biggest-selling Tarot decks in the world.

This page is a real-time version of the Thoth sightings appendix from my paper “The Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot: Collaboration and Innovation” in Emily E. Auger (ed.), Tarot in Culture (2014). That appendix reflects what I had discovered by 2009 when I presented my findings to the annual meetings of the Popular Culture Association. The list has since grown substantially, and I plan to keep it updated here.  Not included are books that deal specifically with Aleister Crowley, occultism, the Thoth Tarot, or Tarot in general, as my goal is to document the images’ spillover into other areas of popular culture.

Emily Auger added significantly and generously to this list by sharing research from her forthcoming book, Cartomancy and Tarot in Film 1940-2010; please buy her book when it comes out.  Thanks also to the following keen-eyed Thoth-spotters who brought their sightings to my attention: Krzysztof Azarewicz, Kikhos Ba-Midhbar, Antti Balk, William Breeze, Lisa Coffin, Madeleine le Despencer, Charles DeYoe, Skott Holck, Sophia Horodysky, Danny Johnson, Hank Kuhfeldt, Kerry Kurowski, Ron Lelito, Shellay Maughan, Jessica Melusine, Julian Nichols, Stephanie Olmstead-Dean, Laurence Roberts, Peter Scott, Sondra L. Scott, Frater Serendipitous, Trina Simpson-Parker, Curt Steinmetz, Arild Strømsvåg, Patrick Sullivan, Christopher Surprise, Bryce Svob, Marco Visconti, Chris Walker, and Ilan Weiler.

All images are presented for educational purposes. The Thoth Tarot is © Ordo Templi Orientis, all rights reserved. The entries in this timeline indicate the studio or publisher that owns the copyright in the associated still image. Please do not repost.

Do you have a Thoth sighting not on this list? Please send a note to rk at richard-kaczynski.com.

1972

Night Gallery. NBC. “The Return of the Sorcerer.” Season 3, Episode 1, 24 Sep. 1972.

1976

Blue Öyster Cult. Agent of Fortune. Columbia, 1976. Album cover.

1980

Hart to Hart. CBS. “Sixth Sense.” Season 1, Episode 18. 11 Mar 1980.

1981

Killing Joke. “Follow the Leaders.” EG, 1981. 7″ & 10″ single cover.

Madame Xanadu #1. Steve Englehart (writer), Michael Kaluta and Marshall Rogers (artists). DC, 1981.

Pete Shelley. “Homosapien” music video.  Genetic Records/Island. 1981.

1982

Scorpio Rose.  Steve Englehart (writer), Marshall Rogers (artist). Eclipse Comics, 1982–1983. Rpt. Steve Englehard (writer), Marshall Rogers, Coyote Collection, v. 1. Berkeley, CA: Image, 2005.

1983

The Greatest American Hero. ABC.  “Wizards and Warlocks.” Season 3, Episode 10. 1983 (unaired). Dir. Bruce Kessler.

1985

20/20. ABC. Segment “The Devil Worshippers.” 16 May 1985.

Tales from the Darkside. CBS. “The Trouble with Mary Jane.” Season 2, episode 9, 24 Nov 1985.

Death, Infernal Death, independent, 1985. Cassette demo tape.

1986

The Royal Family & The Poor. “We Love the Moon” b/w “White Stains.” Factory, 1986. 7″ picture disc.

1987

Magnum P.I., CBS. “Forever in Time,” Season 8, Episode 5, 11 Nov 1987.

Grateful Dead.  So Far.  Dir. Len Dell’Amico and Jerry Garcia. BMG. 1987.

1988

Hellbound: Hellraiser II. Dir. Tony Randel. New World Pictures. 1988.

Gods of the New Age. Jeremiah Films. 1988.

1989

Married…with Children.  Fox.  “The Gypsy Cried,” Season 3, Episode 8, 5 Feb. 1989.

Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Grant Morrison (writer), Dave McKean (artist). DC, 1989.

1991

Unsolved Mysteries. NBC. Season 3, Episode 21, 30 Jan. 1991.

Hellblazer #39, March 1991 (writer Jamie deLano, artist Steve Pugh), p. 14-16; #40, April 1991 (writer Jamie deLano, artist Dave McKean), p. 6, 30, 33. DC.

Northern Exposure. CBS. “Jules et Joel.” Season 3, Episode 5, 28 Oct. 1991.

The Real People. “The Truth” b/w “Go Away.” Columbia, 1991. 7″, CD and cassette single.

Future Kick. Dir. Damian Klaus. Concorde-New Horizons. 1991.

1992

Braindead (released in North America as Dead-Alive). Dir. Peter Jackson. WingNut Films. 1992.

Romper Stomper. Dir. Geoffrey Wright. Australian Film Commission. 1992.

W.A.S.P.  The Crimson Idol. Capitol Records, 1992. Cover artwork.

Morbid Angel. Evil Demos: Demos 86/87 (bootleg).  Earpane, ca. 1992. Cover artwork.

Cherry #13. Larry Welz (writer and artist). Last Gasp, 1992.

1993

Cerebus #172. Dave Sim (writer and artist). Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1993.

1994

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Cinar/Nickelodeon.  “The Tale of Cutter’s Treasure: Part 1.”  Season 4, Episode 4, 29 Oct. 1994.

X-Files. Fox. “3.” Season 2, Episode 7, 4 Nov. 1994.

A Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults. Dir. Lenny Magill. Mail Order Video, 1994.

1996

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Cinar/Nickelodeon.  “The Tale of a Door Unlocked.”  Season 5, Episode 11.  27 Jan. 1996.

The Craft.  Dir. Andrew Fleming.  Columbia Pictures Corporation. 1996. (Opening montage.)

Sudden Manhattan.  Dir. Adrienne Shelly.  Phaedra Cinema. 1996.

1997

Sliders.  Fox.  “The Other Side of Darkness.”  Season 3, Episode 21.  11 Apr. 1997.

Strictly Supernatural. TLC. “Tarot.” 1997.

1998

Razor Blade Smile.  Dir. Jake West. Palm Pictures. 1998.

Ordo Equilbrio. Conquest, Love, and Self-Perseverence. Cold Meat Industry, 1998. Cover artwork and promotional photography.

1999

Dawson’s Creek. The WB. “Psychic Friends.” Season 2, Episode 17.  10 Mar 1999.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Cinar/Nickelodeon.  “The Tale of Oblivion.”  Season 6, Episode 10.  17 Apr. 1999.

2000

Promethea. Alan Moore (writer), J. H. Williams III and Mick Gray (artists). America’s Best Comics, 2000-2002.

2001

Venus and Mars. Dir. Harry Mastrogeorge. Atlantis Film. 2001 (Germany), 2003 (USA).

Jennifer Lopez. “Ain’t It Funny.” Sony, 2001. Music video. (Modified, but clearly Thoth-inspired.)

Snakes and Ladders. Alan Moore (writer), Eddie Campbell (artist). Knockabout Comics, 2001.

2003

The Fall of the House. Dir. Geoff Burton. Kurrajong Films/Australian Film Commission. 2003.

2004

The Last Detective. ITV. “Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts.”  Series 2, Episode 4.  5 Mar. 2004. Dir. David Tucker.

Toby Lightman. “Devils and Angels.” Lava Records, 2004. Music video.

2005

Beauty Shop. Dir. Bille Woodruff. MGM. 2005.

Born Killers (aka Piggy Banks).  Dir. Morgan J. Freeman.  Hudson River Entertainment. 2005.

Studio 666.  2005. Dir. Corbin Timbrook.  Razor. 2005.

Tarot. Dir. Eli Cross. Vivid Entertainment Group. 2005.

Garbage. “Run Baby Run.” WEA, 2005. Music video.

2006

Chicha Tu Madre.  Dir. Gianfranco Quattrini.  Primi Quattrini. 2006.

The End of Silence.  Dir. Anita Doron.  Faith Films. 2006.

Scoop. Dir. Woody Allen. BBC Films. 2006.  (Promotional artwork only.)

The L Word. Showtime. “Labia Majora.” Season 3, episode 1, 8 Jan. 2006.

The L Word. Showtime. “Lobsters.” Season 3, episode 3, 22 Jan. 2006.

Wife Swap.  ABC.  “Thompson/Askam-Schwartz.”  Season 2, Episode 20, 6 Mar 2006.

Haunting Evidence. Court TV. “Missing Teacher.” Season 1, episode 6, 19 Jul. 2006.

Decoding the Past. History Channel. “Secrets of the Playing Cards.” Season 2, episode 6, 14 Sep. 2006.

Tool. 10,000 Days. Tool Dissectional, 2006. Lyric book.

2007

Experiment in Torture.  Dir. Sean MacArthur.  Zoom & Doom Filmz. 2007.

The OC. WB. “The Case of the Franks.” Season 4, episode 13, 1 Feb. 2007.

2008

The Mindscape of Alan Moore. Dir. Dez Vylenz. Shadowsnake Films. 2005 (Denmark), 2008 (USA).

2009

Séance. Bluebird Films. 2009.

2010

Shooter Jennings & Hierophant. Black Ribbons.  429 Records. 2010.

Arcana.  Dir. John Longenbaugh. Open Circle Theatre, Seattle, 10 Sep – 2 Oct 2010.

2011

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Century: 1969. Alan Moore (writer), Kevin O’Neill (artist).  Top Shelf Productions, 2011.

The Red Masque.  Band promotional photographs, David Pym photographer.

2012

Szósty zmysł (Sixth Sense). Unknown episode of this Polish tv series. Dir Przemek Kossakowski. 2012.

Lao Che, “Zombi!” Mystic Production, 2012. Music video.

2013

Taboo USA.  National Geographic. “Secret Passions.” Season 1, episode 1, 4 Jun. 2013.

Nadia Bolz-Weber. Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint. New York: Jericho Books, 2013.

2014

Myth Hunters.  American Heroes Channel.  “The Hunt for the Book of Spells.”  Season 1, episode 9, 6 Mar. 2014.

Behemoth. “The Satanist: Prologue III.” Nuclear Blast/Metal Blade/Mystic, 2014. Promotional “making of” video.

Szósty zmysl (Sixth Sense). “Balkany.” Dir. Przemek Kossakowski. 2014.

2015

Prog (magazine), cover illustration and feature story on the band Rush, 5 Jan 2015.

Benefits Britain. Channel 5. Season 2, episode 9, 9 March 2015.

Richard Kaczynski. The Billionth Monkey. s.l.: Stanley’s Marvelous Comics, 2015.

Kayak (travel search engine), Price Forecast commercial, September 16, 2015.

2016

Ghostbusters International, #1 p. 5 & 7. Erik Burnham (writer), Dan Schoening, Ester Salguero, and Luis A Delgado (artists). IDW Productions, January 27, 2016.

Shadowhunters.  Freeform. “This World Inverted.”  Season 1, episode 10, 14 Mar. 2016. Dir. J. Miles Dale, story Y. Shireen Razack.

The Love Witch. Dir. Anna Biller. Oscilloscope Laboratories. 2016.

Daizha Morgann and Červená Fox. Promotional photos by Radiant Inc. October 2016.

2017

La Ragazza dei miei sogni (“The Girl of my Dreams“). Dir. Saverio Di Biagio. Draka Distribution. 2017.

The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, PA, seeks to get into the Guinness Book of World’s Records in its new category for the World’s Largest Tarot Card for the mural in their dining room. 23 February 2017.