The Liber T Tarot is most obviously a clone to the Thoth Tarot. If not the only "true clone" I've seen. The imagery found in the Liber T is simply a different rendition of Harris' artistry. The most apparent difference between the two is Serio's rounder and more fluid style compared to Harris' geometric and angled illustrations. What really sets it apart from the original Thoth is the fact that the Liber T has scenic pips (or numbered cards). What's neat about Serio's rendition and addition to Harris' artwork is that the Liber T's scenic pips still contain Harris' non-scenic pips, found below the additional imagery. Again, these pip illustrations may not be identical to Harris' (due to differences in artistic interpretation), but are still `basically' the same. Other than the scenic pips presented in the Liber T Tarot, the major difference between it and the Thoth Tarot is the name of the suits. The Thoth uses the titles of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, while the Liber T favours the titles of Scepters, Cups, Swords and Spheres. While the Thoth Tarot sports the Golden Cross as the card's back image; the Liber T uses the art found on Serio's ATU VIII - Adjustment. The Liber T backs are completely done in a blue scale with some decorative bordering, and like the Thoth's back, are not reversible.
One of the biggest complaints I see in the online community about the Liber T is that Serio's artwork does not seem to capture the same evocative response generated from Harris' artwork. I agree that Serio's artwork is not as bold or loud as the imagery found in Harris' Thoth Tarot; but to some it may be a relief. I find that with the Thoth Tarot there is a lot going on in each card. Found mostly in the Major Arcana and Court Cards; not only is there the "main character/event," but there is a plethora of symbols, in addition to the geometric patterns that can sometimes make up the foreground and background of each card. For some, it may be hard to find and stick with a focal point which can be difficult to decipher within a reading. Personally, I love Harris' artwork found in the Thoth and rejoice in the multifaceted layers, but then there are also times when my eyes may want or need a rest. The Liber T is a nice alternative to the Thoth Tarot in this aspect. Serio really downplayed a lot of the geometric foregrounds and backgrounds, which can be sometimes difficult to get past. The Liber T cards make studying the Thoth a lot easier on the eyes. In place of the Thoth and Harris' geometric backgrounds, Liber T and Serio seem to favour a star-lit sky where the astrological signs and planets make their appearance in the cards. This, I believe is where Liber T gets its full name: "Tarot of the Stars Eternal".
Another complaint I've seen is that the Liber T Tarot does not include a "Keyword" at the base of the pip cards. I do not know the actual reason for this, but would assume that the creator Negrini did not find it necessary, as unlike the Thoth, the Liber T has scenic pips. Upon my comparison of the Thoth Tarot with the Liber T Tarot, I may have found other reasons. While comparing the Little White Books of the Thoth Tarot card descriptions to the Liber T's, I found that Crowley's Thoth Keywords weren't always the ones chosen by Negrini. While the majority of differences were mostly alike in meaning, others seemed to add new dimensions to the Tarot than Crowley had referenced. The Liber T even added some new themes! I think the most remarkable additions in the Liber T's LBW are those of the 8 of Cups: possibly representing anorexia, and 10 of Cups: possibly representing bulimia. Upon study of the cards you see that in the Liber T's 8 of Cups there are two figures who look sickly-thin; and in the 10 of Cups, you see a thin woman standing before a large plate of food and a rather large (if not obese) person. In general, I think the Liber T really updated the meanings from the language used in Crowley's time.
Then there is the issue of colour accuracy. There are some that will find with intensive studies of the Thoth that the Liber T doesn't always seem to deliver the same colour scheme as denoted by Crowley's Book of Thoth and other Golden Dawn/Esoteric teachings. I went through the Thoth and Liber T Tarots, laying out each card next to the other (Thoth Card Name &/or # | Liber T Card Name &/or #) and found this to be not 100% true. The colour patterns/schemas within both the Thoth and Liber T Tarots are basically the same. The only differences I noticed while doing this was that the majority of differences occur in the pip cards. While the Thoth just has the Suit Pip designs, the Liber T has expanded upon this, where Serio added some scenic imagery. In order to convey an accurate `scene' for the pips, Serio would need a broader range of colours to depict a `realistic' image. Without getting out a magnifying glass and studying the cards in a wide range of lights; I see this as being the only obvious difference in colouration.
While surfing the reviews found on Amazon US, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Liber T Tarot, I read that there were concerns with some that the Liber T conveyed images that would depict images that were "Creepy, Pervy & Dark!" or that contained "bestiality". First, let me assure you I did not find the first to be a personal issue, and the second claim (if true) may have only occurred in one card. As far as "creepy" and "dark" goes, I've seen the same thing said about the original Thoth Tarot and shall not discuss it here, as I do not understand that view. As for the aspect of "pervy", I think that would depend on your personal views of human sexuality. To be frank, there is a very sexual aspect to the Liber T deck. As in the Thoth, there are semi-frequent, but never obscene, depictions of nudity. Nothing is `pornographic', and any nudity is done in such a light fashion that nothing is even remotely comparable to "the real thing(s)". Unlike the Thoth and its non-scenic pips, in the Liber T there are some references to sex: as in intercourse. The 6 of Cups in the Liber T depicts a male/gay couple (viewers left), a male-female/heterosexual couple (viewers center), and a female/lesbian couple (viewers right) obviously engaged in sensual relations. I found this delightful, as the act of sex is not (nor has it ever been) solely for the Male/Female coupling (with the exception of the act of sex as needed for natural conception)! The only indication I've found within the Liber T of "bestiality" is present in the 10 of Cups, where to the viewer's right there is a woman (who happens to be on her hands and knees, holding one arm out where a black bird is perched), and close behind her a donkey (who happens to be arched over her, and is licking the woman's head). In this image, it is not detailed enough to be sure that there is an act of bestiality occurring (thankfully). If it was intended (nothing in the Little White Book references it), it certainly fits with Crowley's Book of Thoth's commentary on this particular card:
"The work proper to water is complete: and disturbance is due. This comes from the influence of Mars in Pisces. Mars is the gross, violent and disruptive force [the donkey] which inevitably attacks every supposed perfection. His energy displays the greatest possible contrast with that of Pisces, which is both peaceful and spiritualized [the woman with bird]" (p. 201-202, 2011 printing).
I'm not particularly convinced that it is definitely an act of bestiality, but for anyone familiar with Crowley's supposed colourful sexuality, it might not be a long stretch. It is possible that the donkey is not physically present, but represents a perversion within the woman's mind.
Due to Serio's more simplistic artwork I found some of the Liber T's renditions of the classic Thoth cards capable of clarifying certain aspects of Harris' Thoth artwork. For starters, even without knowing that Harris had issues depicting human faces, I feel that human facial expression was not her greatest asset. Serio's facial expressions found within the Liber T Tarot are much more readable and realistic than those found in the Thoth Tarot. Upon further inspection, Harris' facial expressions literally seem to be carved out of stone than out of (the sometimes sub-)human flesh. The Liber T really seems to deliver more variety of human emotion amongst the human characters in their Tarot. As for other clarification brought to me via the Liber T, let me note that I have not been working with the Thoth Tarot for exceptionally long, nor do I own the Large/Standard edition of the cards, only the Medium/Playing Card Sized Deck. Some of the images I found within the Liber T to be more clarifying may indeed be due to the smaller sized deck I own and work with. Regardless, what follows will be those cards/images I felt were further clarified within the Liber T Tarot. In the Liber T's ATU VI - Lovers card, I was able to make out the word "Thelema" on the cupid's bag of arrows much easier than I could straining my eyes on my Thoth. In the Liber T's ATU XVII - The Star, the seven-pointed-star depicted in the upper left hand corner of the card reads "BABALON", a letter in each of the star's points. That I cannot even remotely see in my Thoth card. In ATU XIII - Death, I was able to make out the overturned Lilly and Rose much easier than in the Thoth, where Harris' artwork led me to believe the overturned Rose was in actually an onion (Death = Change; it worked)! In the Liber T card of ATU XIV - Art, I was able to see that the person is a combination of Man and Woman (something indiscernible in Harris' Thoth version); the Liber T adds symbols for Man (') and Woman (') on their chests. Within this card it was also more apparent that the two items that were being placed into the cauldron were those of Fire (Male) and Water (Female). In the Thoth version, Harris' artwork led me to believe that it was lightning and Water. In the Liber T ATU XVIII - The Moon, it was much more apparent that the two Egyptian characters were holding the astrological symbols for Venus - ' - viewers Left and Mercury - '- viewers Right.
As far as imagery differences go, I found more than I expected between the Thoth and Liber T Tarots. I'm happy to report that the majority of differences occur in the pip cards; I've only found one major difference in one of the Major Arcanas, in two of the Aces, and one Court Card. The majority of differences I found were usually reversals of image position from the Thoth Tarot. At first, I thought it was the Liber T trying to make a statement; trying to switch up perspectives from the original. This theory was disqualified upon studying the 5 of Swords where the Pentagram is still reversed in the Liber T, with the apex (top point of Pentacle) still pointing down. The more I went through the cards, the more I found this theory was inconsistent.
* Found in ATU XIX - The Sun: the Thoth Tarot starts the Astrological Zodiac at 12-o'clock with Aries (as it is mostly referred to as the first Sun Sign), while Liber T starts at 12-o'clock with Scorpio.
* In the 4 of Wands/Scepters: Thoth has the depiction of the bird at 12-0'clock, while the Liber T depicts the goat at 12-o'clock.
* In the Ace of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth's center of image displays the number 666 with 3 entwined circles in the shape of an upright triangle, the Liber T has the number 666 placed around the 3 edges of an unfolded cube.
* In the 2 of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth has the alchemical symbols for the Elements in the center circles of the Yin-Yang, while the Liber T does not! -This particularly affected me, as I learned that the Yin-Yang was composed of two colours, usually opposites, to represent that within Nature, nothing is composed completely of one Element, but that within each contained a part (no matter how small) of its opposite: ex. Feminine-Masuline, Night-Day, etc. In the Thoth Tarot, the Yin-Yang's were those of Fire & Water (Masculine & Feminine; the Primal Polarity) and Air & Earth (Masculine & Feminine).
* In the 5 of Disks/Spheres: the Liber T changes the original Thoth arrangement of the Elemental Tattvas, keeping Spirit (the black oval) at the apex (top point of Pentagram).
* In the 6 of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth has a Solar (equilateral/equal-armed) Cross behind the petals of the Rose with its barbs (representing direction: North, South; East, West and/or the Elements/Earth), the Liber T has a reversed mini-Golden Cross behind the petals of the Rose without its barbs. -That irritates me personally; while I have learned the design of the Golden Cross and can fully appreciate it for what it stands for, I still have an issue with the Christian Cross (longer vertical arm than the horizontal) and can much better identify with the Solar Cross (equal lengths of the horizontal and vertical arms) - often representing the balance of the Four Elements (Earth, Air, Fire & Water or Direction).
* In the 7 of Disks/Spheres: in the Thoth the Qabalistic arrangement places helmets/heads and bulls heads within the Spheres on the Tree, while the Liber T uses all bull heads/Taurus symbols - '.
* In the 8 of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth depicts all flowers with a five-pointed-star center on the Tree, while the Liber T has imagery of sliced-into pomegranates. It is interesting to note that the arrangement of seeds found within a pomegranate are in the shape of a five-pointed star. -I like this card a lot, as it tells the story of Persephone, with her decent into the Underworld, taking Hades as her husband; while her mother Demeter remains ruling over Earth, one side of the landscape around her depicts Fall (the time Persephone is away from her, at home in the Underworld) and Spring (the time of the year Persephone is allowed to return to the Realm of Earth to be with her mother).
* In the 9 of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth version the Tree is depicted with multiple faces in the Spheres, while the Liber T uses planetary symbols.
* In the 10 of Disks/Spheres: the Thoth Tarot has an assortment of symbols on all of the spheres of the Tree, the Liber T chose to remove the symbols from spheres 1-6, swapped the symbols for 7 & 8, and used totally different symbols for 9 & 10.
* In the Ace of Swords the Liber T inverted the sword (handle up, point down) from the Thoth Tarot's depiction (point up, handle down).
* In the 6 of Swords: in the Thoth the Golden Cross is right side up (where the elongated arm is on the bottom), in the Liber T the Golden Cross is upside down (the elongated arm is on the top).
* In the King of Swords: the Thoth has 3 golden birds depicted in the viewers right hand corner, in the Liber T there are 2 black birds.
* Finally, in the Ace of Cups: In the Thoth the center of the Cup has 3 entwined circles in the shape of a triangle, the Liber T chose to forgo that symbol and use in its place the word/Crowley's Goddess `BABALON'.
Overall I really like the Liber T deck, despite its differences from the original Thoth. Is it a deck for die-hard Thoth purists? -I would think not. Is it a deck for beginners of Thoth study? -I would hesitate to recommend knowing the obvious differences I have discovered. I would suggest that any newcomer to Thoth Tarot try out and get familiar with the original Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot. If, for whatever reason, the student was so ardently opposed to the imagery of the original Thoth Tarot; then perhaps this would be a good alternative, keeping in mind all the differences they may have to overcome/compensate for.