Layered Orders: Crowley’s Thoth Deck and the Tarot
(a personal narrative by Jesse Bransford)
Date: Friday, July 17th
UPDATE: Please note, that due to popular demand, a second time slot for this event has been added. Jesse will be giving this talk at 7:30pm and again at 9:00pm on Friday, July 17th. Seating is first come, first served.
A deck given to his brother by his mother in 1986 sat in Jesse Bransford’s childhood bedroom from the early 90’s until recently, delivering itself into Bransford’s possession at an opportune moment…
The Tarot in general and Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot in particular represent a miasmic confluence of image and thought into a single structure that is both liberating and overwhelming in its scope. In creating the deck, Crowley (in collaboration with painter Lady Frieda Harris) sought to integrate the mythological structures of the major mystical systems of both Western and Eastern occult traditions and to bring them into line with contemporary scientific thinking. The symbolism of the cards blends Kabbalah, Alchemy, Astrology, Egyptian mythology, quantum physics and even the I-Ching in ways that are at the same time clear and utterly confounding.
In an image-soaked personal narration Bransford, whose research-based artwork has delved into many of the territories Crowley sought to unify, will discuss some of the basic concepts of Tarot symbolism, returning to Crowley’s deck as among the most total example of the cards’ syncretism and as the most controversial.
Jesse Bransford is a Brooklyn/Queens-based artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. He received a B.A. from the New School for Social Research, a B.F.A. from Parsons School of Design, both in 1996, and an M.F.A. from Columbia University in 2000. He is currently a Master Teacher with the post of Undergraduate Director at New York University where he has been teaching since 2001, as well as a member of the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism. His work is represented by Feature Inc. in New York, Kevin Bruk Gallery in Miami, Galerie Schmidt Maczollek in Köln, and Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art in Cleveland. Images of his work, a complete bio and related articles can be seen at www.sevenseven.com, a website he has continuously maintained since 1997.
Directions: ***PLEASE USE NEW ENTRANCE (see below)***
Observatory is located at 543 Union Street at Nevins.
Please enter Observatory via doorway on 543 Union St.
R or M train to Union Street in Brooklyn: Walk two long blocks on Union (towards the Gowanus Canal) to Nevins Street. 543 Union Street is the large red brick building on right.
F or G train to Carroll Street: Walk one block to Union. Turn right, walk two long blocks on Union towards the Gowanus Canal, cross the bridge. 543 Union Street is the large red brick building on the left.
For more information, see observatoryroom.org