The Egyptians stored many texts, on a wide range of subjects, in "Houses of Life", the libraries contained within temple complexes. As Thoth was the god of knowledge, many of these texts were claimed to be his work. The Egyptian historian Manetho said that Thoth wrote 36,525 books.
The church father Clement of Alexandria, in the sixth book of his work Stromata, mentions forty-two books used by Egyptian priests that he says contain "the whole philosophy of the Egyptians". All these books, according to Clement, were written by Hermes, a pre-existing Greek god that the Greeks likened to Thoth, claiming they were one and the same god, having similar qualities, e.g. both invented writing.
Translation from Egyptian language and concepts to Greek language and concepts was not entirely accurate and some of the Egyptian authenticity was lost. Among the subjects they cover are hymns, rituals, temple construction, astrology, geography, and medicine.
The fictional Book of Thoth appears in an ancient Egyptian short story from the Ptolemaic period, known as "Setne Khamwas and Naneferkaptah" or "Setne I". The book, written by Thoth, is said to contain two spells, one of which allows the reader to understand the speech of animals, and one of which allows the reader to perceive the gods themselves.
According to the story, the book was originally hidden at the bottom of the Nile near Coptos, where it was locked inside a series of boxes guarded by serpents. The Egyptian prince Neferkaptah fought the serpents and retrieved the book, but in punishment for his theft from Thoth, the gods killed his wife Ahwere and son Merib. Neferkaptah committed suicide and was entombed along with the book.
Generations later, the story's protagonist, Setne Khamwas, steals the book from Neferkaptah's tomb despite opposition from Neferkaptah's ghost. Setne then meets a beautiful woman who seduces him into killing his children and humiliating himself in front of the pharaoh.
He discovers that this episode was an illusion created by Neferkaptah, and in fear of further retribution, Setne returns the book to Neferkaptah's tomb. At Neferkaptah's request, Setne also finds the bodies of Neferkaptah's wife and son and buries them in Neferkaptah's tomb, which is then sealed.
The story reflects the Egyptian belief that the gods' knowledge is not meant for humans to possess.
Egyptian Tarot Cards
Egyptian Tarot Cards - Inspired by the ancient tombs and the stunning works painted in tempera on papyrus. These cards were also partially inspired by the Tarot created by the famous occultist Jean-Baptiste Pitois in 1870. According to Pitois, Tarot came from the legendary Book of Thoth, a knowledgeable book which held all of the mysteries of Egyptian magic.
Tarot Toth Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) named for the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom, Crowley presented all his magical knowledge, and Lady Frida Harris depicted them in drawings. The Tarot Tot deck is full of esoteric symbols borrowed from such areas as astrology, numerology, Kabbalah, and oriental mysticism.
The illustrations of the deck feature symbolism based upon Crowley's incorporation of imagery from many disparate disciplines, including science and philosophy and various occult systems, as described in detail in his Book of Thoth
Aleister Crowley (1875-1947)
His last notable achievement was the publication of The Book of Thoth (1944), in which he interpreted a new tarot card deck, called the Thoth, that he had designed in collaboration with the artist Frieda Harris.