|The Book of Thoth - Part VI
(14842 total words in this text)
THE ROOT OF THE POWERS OF FIRE
ACE OF WANDS
represents the essence of the element of Fire in its inception. It is a
solar-phallic outburst of flame from which spring lightnings in every direction.
are Yods, arranged in the form of the Tree of Life. (For Yod, see Atu IX supra.)
It is the
primordial Energy of the Divine manifesting in Matter, at so early a stage that
it is not yet definitely formulated as Will.
although these "small cards" are sympathetic with their Sephirotic origin, they
are not identical; nor are they Divine Persons. These (and the Court Cards also)
are primarily sub-Elements, parts of the "Blind Forces" under the Demiourgos,
Tetragrammaton. Their rulers are the Intelligences, in the Yetziratic world, who
go to form the Schemhamphorasch. Nor is even this Name, "Lord of the Universe"
though it be, truly Divine, as are the Lords of the Atu in the Element of
Spirit. Each Atu possesses its own private, personal and particular Universe,
with Demiourgos (and all the rest) complete, just as every man and every woman
II's or VI's Three of Disks might represent the establishment of such an oracle
as that of Delphi, or VIII's might be the first formula of a Code such as Manu
gave to Hindustan; V's, a cathedral, XVI's, a standing army; and so on. The
great point is that all the Elemental Forces, however sublime, powerful, or
intelligent, are Blind Forces and no more.
TWO OF WANDS
pertaining to Chokmah in the suit of Fire, represents the Will in its most
exalted form. It is an ideal Will, independent of any given object.
will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way
perfect." AL. 1. 44.
background of this card shows the power of the planet
Mars in his
own sign Aries, the first of the Signs. It there represents Energy initiating a
Current of Force.
representation is two Dorjes crossed. The Dorje is the Tibetan symbol of the
thunderbolt, the emblem of celestial Power, but more in its destructive than its
is, in its earlier rather than its later form. For destruction may be regarded
as the first step in the creative process. The virgin ovum must be broken in
order to fertilize it. Fear and repulsion are therefore the primary reaction to
the assault. Then, with understanding of the complete plan, willing surrender
rejoices to co-operate.
issue from the centre. This indicates the influence of the Sun, who is exalted
in Aries. This is the creative Will.
Mars in Aries
is the attribution of the Geomantic Figure Puer. The meaning of these figures is
to be studied in the Handbook of that science: "The Equinox" Vol. I, No.2.
Remember that the Geomantic Intelligences (see Liber 777 Cols. XLIX and
CLXXVIII) are all primarily Gnomes.
THREE OF WANDS
refers to Binah in the suit of Fire, and so represents the establishment of
primeval Energy. The Will has been transmitted to the Mother, who conceives,
prepares, and gives birth to, its manifestation.
It refers to
the Sun in Aries, the Sign in which he is exalted.
is harmonious, for this is the beginning of Spring. For this reason one sees the
wand taking the form of the Lotus in blossom. The Sun has enkindled the Great
In the Yi
King, Sol in Aries is represented by the 11th hexagram, Thai; its meaning is
identical with the above description.
FOUR OF WANDS
refers to Chesed in the suit of Fire. Being below the Abyss, it is the Lord of
all manifested active Power. The original Will of the Two has been transmitted
through the Three, and is now built up into a solid system:-Order, Law,
Government. It is also referred to Venus in Aries, which indicates that one
cannot establish one's work without tact and gentleness.
The wands are
headed by the Ram, sacred to Chesed, the Father-god Amoun-Ra, as also to Aries;
but at the other end of the wands are the Doves of Venus.
symbol, the ends of the wands touch a circle, showing the completion and
limitation of the original work. It is within this circle that the flames (four
double, as if to assert the balance) of the Energy are seen to play, and there
is no intention to increase the scope of the original Will. But this limitation
bears in itself the seeds of disorder.
FIVE OF WANDS
This card is
referred to Geburah of the suit of Fire. Geburah itself being fiery, it is a
purely active ,force. It is ruled also by Saturn and Leo. Leo shows the element
of Fire at its strongest and most balanced. Saturn tends to weigh it down and to
embitter it. There is no limit to the scope of this volcanic energy.
represents the wand of the Chief Adept, showing that the authority is derived
from the superiors; were it not so, this card would be thoroughly disastrous.
Moreover, there are also two wands of the Second, or Major Adept. They have the
head of the Phoenix, which gives the idea of destruction (or rather purgation)
through fire, and the resurrection of the energy from its ashes.
There is also
a pair of wands of the Third, or Minor, Adept, which are daughters, so to speak,
of the wands in the Three of Wands. In this card there is the mitigating
influence of the Mother. One of the most difficult doctrines with regard to
Geburah is that, while it represents all this tameless irrational energy and
disturbance, yet it derives from the benign and gentle influence of the
understood this doctrine perfectly. Their Lion goddess, Pasht, was hailed as
"saeva" and "ferox", was even called "red in tooth and claw" by those fanatical
devotees who wished to identify her with Nature. The idea of sexual cruelty is
often inherent in the highest divine nature; compare Bhavani and Kali in the
Hindu system, and observe the Shiva-Sakti coition portrayed on many Tibetan
banners. See also Liber 418,4th, 3rd, and 2nd Aethyrs; and the description
supra of Atu XI.
SIX OF WANDS
represents Tiphareth of the suit of Fire. This shows Energy in completely
balanced manifestation. The Five has broken up the closed forces of the Four
with revolutionary ardour, but a marriage has taken place between them; and the
result is the Son, and the Sun.
is also to Jupiter and Leo, which seems to imply a benediction on the harmony
and beauty of this arrangement. It Will be seen that the Three Wands of the
Three Adepts are now orderly arranged; and the flames themselves, instead of
shooting out in all directions, burn steadily as in lamps. They are nine in
number, in reference to Yesod and the Moon. This shows the stabilization of the
Energy, and its reception and reflection by the Feminine.
There is no
circle to enclose the system. It is self-supporting, like the Sun.
SEVEN OF WANDS
derives from Netzach (Victory) in the suit of Fire. But the Seven is a weak,
earthy, feminine number as regards the Tree of Life, and represents a departure
from the balance so low down on the Tree that this implies a loss of confidence.
the card is also attributed to Mars in Leo. Leo is still the Sun in his full
strength, but the marks of decadence are already to be seen. It is as if the
wavering fire summoned the brutal energy of Mars to its support. But this is not
enough to counter- act fully the degeneration of the initial energy, and the
departure from equilibrium.
The army has
been thrown into disorder; if victory is to be won, it will be by dint of
individual valour-a "soldiers' battle".
representation shows the fixed and balanced wands of the last card relegated to
the background, diminished, and become commonplace.
In front is a
large crude uneven club, the first weapon to hand; evidently unsatisfactory in
are dispersed, and seem to attack in all directions without systematic purpose.
EIGHT OF WANDS
three cards of the suit belong to Sagittarius, which represents the subtilizing
of the Fiery energy; and Mercury rules the card, thus bringing down from Chokmah
the message of the original Will.
The card also
refers to Hod, splendour, in the suit of Fire, whence it refers to the phenomena
of speech, light, electricity.
representation of the card shows the Light-wands turned into electrical rays,
sustaining or even constituting Matter by their vibrating energy. Above this
restored universe shines the rainbow; the division of pure light, which deals
with maxima, into the seven colours of the spectrum, which exhibit interplay and
therefore, represents energy of high velocity, such as furnishes the master-key
to modern mathematical physics.
It will be
noted that there are no flames; they have all been taken up into the wands to
turn them into rays. On the other hand, the electric energy has created
intelligible geometrical form.
NINE OF WANDS
This card is
referred to Yesod, the Foundation; this brings the Energy back into balance. The
Nine represents always the fullest development of the Force in its relation with
the Forces above it. The Nine may be considered as the best that can be obtained
from the type involved, regarded from a practical and material standpoint.
This card is
also governed by the Moon in Sagittarius; so here is a double influence of the
Moon on the Tree of Life. Hence the aphorism "Change is Stability".
have now become arrows. There are eight of them in the background, and in front
of them one master arrow. This has the Moon for its point, and the Sun for the
driving Force above it; for the path of Sagittarius on the Tree of Life joins
the Sun and Moon. The flames in the card are tenfold, implying that the Energy
is directed downwards.
TEN OF WANDS
Ten refers to Malkuth, which depends from the other nine Sephiroth, but is not
directly in communication with them. It shows the Force detached from its
spiritual sources. It is become a blind Force; so, the most violent form of that
particular energy, without any modifying influences. The flames in the
background of the card have run wild. It is Fire in its most destructive aspect.
The card also
refers to the influence of Saturn in Sagittarius. Here is the greatest
antipathy. Sagittarius is spiritual, swift, light, elusive, and luminous; Saturn
is material, slow, heavy, obstinate, and obscure.
Wands are still crossed, showing the enormous power of the completed energies of
Fire; but they have lost their patents of nobility. Their ends seem more like
claws; they lack the authority and intelligence shown in the earlier cards; and
in front are the two formidable Dorjes of the Two of Wands, but lengthened to
picture suggests Oppression and repression. It is a stupid and obstinate cruelty
from which there is no escape. It is a Will which has not understood anything
beyond its du]l purpose,
its "lust of
result", and will devour itself in the conflagrations it has evoked.
THE ROOT OF THE POWERS OF WATER
ACE OF CUPS
represents the element of Water in its most secret and original form. It is the
feminine complement of the Ace of Wands, and is derived from the Yoni and the
Moon exactly as that is from the Lingam and the Sun. The third in the Hierarchy.
This accordingly represents the essential form of the Holy Grail. Upon the dark
sea of Binah, the Great Mother, are Lotuses, two in one, which fill the cup with
the Life-fluid, symbolically represented either as Water, as Blood, or as Wine,
according to the selected purpose of the symbolism. This being a primordial
card, the liquid is shown as water; it can be transformed into Wine or Blood as
may be required.
Cup, descending upon it, is the Dove of the Holy Ghost, thus consecrating the
At the base
of the Cup is the Moon, for it is the virtue of this card to conceive and to
produce the second form of its Nature.
TWO OF CUPS
always represents the Word and the Will. It is the first manifestation.
Therefore, in the suit of Water, it must refer to Love, which recovers unity
from dividuality by mutual annihilation.
The card also
refers to Venus in Cancer. Cancer is, more than any other, the receptive Sign;
it is the House of the Moon, and in that Sign Jupiter is exalted. These are,
superficially, the three most friendly of the planets.
hieroglyph of the card represents two cups in the foreground, overflowing upon a
calm sea. They are fed with lucent water from a lotus floating upon the sea,
from which rises another lotus around whose stem are entwined twin dolphins. The
symbolism of the dolphin is very complicated, and must be studied in books of
reference; but the general idea is that of the "Royal Art". The dolphin is
peculiarly sacred to Alchemy.
Two referring to Will, this card might really be renamed the Lord of Love under
Will, for that is its full and true meaning. It shows the harmony of the male
and the female: interpreted in the largest sense. It is perfect and placid
harmony, radiating an intensity of joy and ecstasy.
the realization of the idea in the Four (as the suit develops) will gradually
diminish the purity of its perfection.
THREE OF CUPS
refers to Binah in the suit of Water. This is the card of Demeter or Persephone.
The Cups are pomegranates: they are filled bountifully to overflowing from a
single lotus, arising from the dark calm sea characteristic of Binah. There is
here the fulifilment of the Will of Love in abounding joy. It is the spiritual
basis of fertility.
The card is
referred to the influence of Mercury in Cancer; this carries further the above
thesis. Mercury is the Will or Word of the All-Father; here its influence
descends upon the most receptive of the Signs.
At the same
time, the combination of these forms of energy brings in the possibility of
somewhat mysterious ideas. Binah, the Great Sea, is the Moon in one aspect, but
Saturn in another; and Mercury, besides being the Word or Will of the All-One,
is the guide of the souls of the Dead. This card requires great subtlety of
interpretation. The pomegranate was the fruit which Persephone ate in the realms
of Pluto, thereby enabling him to hold her in the lower world, even after the
most powerful influence had been brought to bear. The lesson seems to be that
the good things of life, although enjoyed, should be distrusted.
FOUR OF CUPS
refers to Chesed in the sphere of Water. Here, below the Abyss, the energy of
this element, although ordered, balanced and (for the moment) stabilized, has
lost the original purity of the conception.
refers to the Moon in Cancer, which is her own house; but Cancer itself is so
placed that this implies a certain weakness, an abandonment to desire. This
tends to introduce the seeds of decay into the fruit of pleasure.
The sea is
still shown, but its surface is ruffled, and the four Cups which stand upon it
are no longer so stable. The Lotus from which the water Springs has a multiple
stem, as if to show that the influence of the Dyad has gathered strength. For
although the number Four is the manifestation and consolidation of the dyad, it
is also secretly preparing catastrophe by emphasizing individuality.
There is a
certain parallelism between this card and the Geomantic figures Via and Populus,
which are attributed to the Moon in her decrease and increase respectively. The
link is primarily the "Change=Stability" equation, already familiar to readers
of this essay. Four is an "awkward" number; alone among the natural numbers, it
is impossible to construct a "Magic Square" of four cells. Even in the Naples
Arrangement, Four is a dead stop, a blind alley. An idea of a totally different
Order is necessary to carry on the series. Note also the
refolding-in-upon-itself suggested by the "Magic Number" of Four 1+2 + 3+4 which
is Ten. Four is the number of the Curse of Limitation, of Restriction. It is the
blind and barren Cross of equal arms, Tetragrammaton in his fatal aspect of
finality, as the Qabalists knew him before the discovery of the Revolving
Formula whereby the Daughter, seated upon the Throne of the Mother, "awakens the
Eld of the All-Father".
meanings of Via and Populus, refer to the "Handbook of Geomancy" (Equinox Vol.
FIVE OF CUPS
This card is
ruled by Geburah in the suit of Water. Geburah being fiery, there is a natural
antipathy. Hence arises the idea of disturbance, just when least expected, in a
time of ease.
attribution is also to Mars in Scorpio, which is his own house; and Mars is the
manifestation on the lowest plane of Geburah, while Scorpio, in its worst
aspect, suggests the putrefying power of Water. Yet the powerful male influences
do not show actual decay, only the beginning of destruction; hence, the
anticipated pleasure is frustrated. The Lotuses have their petals torn by fiery
winds; the sea is arid and stagnant, a dead sea, like a "chott" in North Africa.
No water flows into the cups.
these cups are arranged in the form of an inverted pentagram, symbolizing the
triumph of matter over spirit.
Scorpio, moreover, is the attribution of the Geomantic figure Rubeus. This is of
such evil omen that certain schools of Geomancy destroy the Map, and postpone
the question for two hours or more, when Rubeus appears in the Ascendant. Its
meaning is to be studied in the "Handbook of Geomancy" (Equinox Vol. I, No.2).
SIX OF CUPS
shows the influence of the number Six, Tiphareth, in the suit of Water. This
influence is fortified by that of the Sun, who also represents the Six. The
whole image is that of the influence of the Sun on Water. His fierce, but
balanced power operates that type of putrefaction-he is in the Sign of
Scorpio-which is the basis of all fertility, all life.
stems are grouped in an elaborate dancing movement. From their blossoms water
gushes into the Cups, but they are not yet full to overflowing, as they are in
the corresponding card below; the Nine.
the title of this card, must be understood in its highest sense: it implies
well-being, harmony of natural forces without effort or strain, ease,
satisfaction. Foreign to the idea of the card is the gratification of natural or
artificial desires. Yet it does represent emphatically the fulfilment of the
sexual Will, as shown by the ruling Sephira, planet, element, and sign.
In the Yi
King, Sol in Scorpio is represented by the 20th Hexagram, Kwan, which is also
"Big Earth", being the Earth Trigram with doubled lines. Kwan means
"manifesting", but also "contemplating". The Kwan refers directly to an High
Priest, ceremonially purified, about to present his offerings. The idea of
Pleasure-Putrefaction as a Sacrament is therefore implicit in this Hexagram as
in this card; while the comments on the separate lines by the Duke of Chau
indicate the analytical value of this Eucharist. It is one of the master-keys to
the Gate of Initiation. To realize and to enjoy this fully it is necessary to
know, to understand, and to experience, the Secret of the Ninth Degree of the
SEVEN OF CUPS
refers to the Seven, Netzach, in the suit of Water. Here recurs the invariable
weakness arising from lack of balance; also, the card is governed by Venus in
Scorpio. Her dignity is not good in this Sign; one is reminded that Venus is the
planet of Copper, "external splendour and internal corruption". The Lotuses have
become poisonous, looking like tiger-lilies; and, instead of water, green slime
issues from them and overflows, making the Sea a malarious morass. Venus
redoubles the influence of the number Seven.
The cups are
iridescent, carrying out the same idea.
arranged as two descending triangles interlaced above the lowest cup, which is
very much larger than the rest.
This card is
almost the "evil and averse" image of the Six; it is a wholesome reminder of the
fatal ease with which a Sacrament may be profaned and prostituted.
touch with Kether, the Highest; diverge never so little from the delicate
balance of the Middle Pillar; at once the holiest mysteries of Nature become the
obscene and shameful secrets of a guilty conscience.
EIGHT OF CUPS
Hod, in the suit of Water, governs this card. It shows the influence of Mercury,
but this is overpowered by the reference of the card to Saturn in Pisces. Pisces
is calm but stagnant water; and Saturn deadens it completely. Water appears no
longer as the Sea but as pools; and there is no florescence in this card as
there was in the last. The Lotuses droop for lack of sun and rain, and the soil
is poison to them; only two of the stems show blossoms at all. The cups are
shallow, old and broken. They are arranged in three rows; of these the upper row
of three is quite empty. Water trickles from the two flowers into the two
central cups, and they drip into the two lowest without filling them. The
background of the card shows pools, or lagoons, in very extensive country,
incapable of cultivation; only disease and miasmatic poison can flourish in
those vast Bad Lands.
The water is
dark and muddy. On the horizon is a pallid, yellowish light, weighed down by
leaden clouds of indigo.
the last card; it represents the opposite and complementary error. The one is
the Garden of Kundry, the other the Palace of Klingsor.
psychopathology of The Path, this card is the German Measles of Christian
NINE OF CUPS
Nine, Yesod, in the suit of Water, restores the stability lost by the excursions
of Netzach and Hod from the Middle Pillar. It is also the number of the Moon,
thus strengthening the idea of Water.
In this card
is the pageant of the culmination and perfection of the original force of Water.
The Ruler is
Jupiter in Pisces. This influence is more than sympathetic; it is a definite
benediction, for Jupiter is the planet of Chesed which represents Water in its
highest material manifestation, and Pisces brings out the placid qualities of
In the symbol
are nine cups perfectly arranged in a square; all are filled and overflowing
with Water. It is the most complete and most beneficent aspect of the force of
Figure Laetitia is ruled by Jupiter in Pisces. For its meaning consult the
"Handbook of Geomancy" (Equinox Vol I, No.2). Laetitia, Joy, gladness, is one of
the best and most powerful of the sixteen figures; for the Solar, Lunar, and
Mercurial symbols are, at the best, ambiguous and treacherously ambivalent;
those of Venus portend rather relief than positive beneficence; Saturn and Mars
are seen at their worst; and even the stable-companion of Laetitia, Acquisitio,
has its unpleasant aspects, and even its dangers. But the consonance of Laetitia
with this card amounts to little less than an identity; the wine is poured by
Ganymede himself, unstinted vintage of true nectar of the Gods, brimful and
running over, an ordered banquet of delight, True Wisdom self-fulfilled in
TEN OF CUPS
represents a conflicting element. On the one hand, it receives the influence of
the Ten, Malkah the Virgin. The arrangement of the cups is that of the Tree of
Life. But, on the other hand, they are themselves unstable. They are tilted;
they spill the water from the great Lotus which overhangs the whole system from
one into the other.
proper to water is complete: and disturbance is due.
from the influence of Mars in Pisces. Mars is the gross, violent and disruptive
force which inevitably attacks every supposed perfection. His energy displays
the greatest possible contrast with that of Pisces, which is both peaceful and
THE ROOT OF THE POWERS OF AIR
ACE OF SWORDS
The Ace of
Swords is the primordial Energy of Air, the Essence of the Vau of
Tetragrammaton, the integration of the Ruach. Air is the result of the
conjunction of Fire and Water; thus it lacks the purity of its superiors in the
male hierarchy, Fire, Sol and the Phallus. But for this same reason it is the
first card directly to be apprehended by the normal consciousness of Mankind.
The errors of such cards as the 7 and 10 of Cups are yet of an Order altogether
higher than the apparently much milder 4 of Swords. The study of the subtle and
gradual degradation of the planes is excessively difficult.
the obvious symbol of Air is the Wind "which bloweth whithersoever it listeth".
It lacks the concentrated Will of Fire to unite with Water: it has no
corresponding passion for its Twin Element, Earth. There is indeed, a notable
passivity in its nature; evidently, it has no self-generated impulse. But, set
in motion by its Father and Mother, its power is manifestly terrific. It visibly
attacks its objective, as they, being of subtler and more tenuous character, can
never do. Its "all-embracing, all-wandering, all-penetrating, all-consuming"
qualities have been described by many admirable writers, and its analogies are
for the most part patent to quite ordinary observers.
But, it will
instantly be asked, what of the status of this Element in the light of other
attributions? In the Yetziratic World, is not Air the first element to follow
Spirit? Is not Vayu the first emergence of the phenomenal from the arcane
obscurity of Akasha? How may one reconcile the doctrine of Mind with the fact
that Ruh, or Ruach, actually means Spirit itself? "Achath Ruach Elohim Chiim"
(777) means "One is the Spirit (not Air) of the Gods of the Living"? And is not
Air, the element attributed to Mercury, also most properly the Breath of Life,
the Word, the Logos itself?
must be referred to some less raw, cursory, elementary and superficial Treatise
than this present bat-eyed, penguin- winged, bluebottle-brained buzzing.
Nevertheless, although Air is in no system the lowest, and so cannot claim
benefit of clergy from the doctrine that Malkuth automatically resolves into
Kether, the following reference seems not wholly to lack either cogency or
The Ruach is
centred in the airy Sephira, Tiphareth, who is the Son, the first-born of the
Father, and the Sun, the first emanation of the creative Phallus. He derives
directly from his mother Binah through the Path of Zain, the sublime intuitive
sense, so that he partakes absolutely of the nature of Neschamah. From his
father, Chokmah, he is informed though the Path of Heh', the Great Mother, the
Star, our Lady Nuit, so that the creative impulse is communicated to him by all
possibilities soever. [How strikingly this fact confirms the counterchange of IV
and XVII, above fully expounded: as a link between Chokmah and Tiphareth, the
Emperor would have no great significance, and this exquisite doctrine of the
Three Mothers would be lost.] Finally, from Kether, the supreme, descends
directly upon him, though the Path of Gimel, the High Priestess, the triune
light of Initiation. The Three- in-One, the Secret Mother in her polymorphous
plenitude; these, these alone, hail him thrice blessed of the Supernals!
represents the Sword of the Magus (see Book 4, Part II) crowned with the
twenty-two rayed diadem of pure Light. The number refers to the Atu; also 22=2 X
II, the Magical manifestation of Chokmah, Wisdom, the Logos. Upon the blade,
accordingly, is inscribed the Word of the Law, This Word sends forth a blaze of
Light, dispersing the dark clouds of the Mind.
TWO OF SWORDS
This card is
ruled by Chokmah in the Element of Air. This suit, governing all intellectual
manifestations, is always complicated and disordered. It is subject to change as
is no other suit. It represents a general shaking-up, resulting from the
conflict of Fire and Water in their marriage; and proceeds, when Earth appears,
to crystallization. But the purity and exaltation of Chokmah are such that this
card manifests the very best idea possible to the suit. The energy abides above
the onslaught of disruption. This comparative calm is emphasized by the
celestial attribution: the Moon in Libra.
The Moon is
change, but Nature is peaceful; moreover, Libra represents balance; between
them, they regulate the energy of the Swords.
In the card
appear two swords crossed; they are united by a blue rose with five petals. This
rose represents the influence of the Mother, whose harmonizing influence
compounds the latent antagonism native to the suit. The Rose emits white rays,
producing a geometrical pattern that emphasizes the equilibrium of the symbol.
THREE OF SWORDS
Great Mother, here rules the realm of Air. This fact involves an extremely
difficult doctrine which must be studied at length in The Vision and the
Voice: Aethyr 14.
Binah is here
not the beneficent Mother completing the Trinity with Kether and Chokmah. She
represents the darkness of the Great Sea.
accentuated by the Celestial Lordship of Saturn in Libra.
This card is
dark and heavy; it is, so to speak, the womb of Chaos. There is an intense
lurking passion to create, but its children are monsters. This may mean the
supreme transcendence of the natural order. Secrecy is here, and Perversion.
represents the great Sword of the Magician, point uppermost; it cuts the
junction of two short curved swords. The impact has destroyed the rose. In the
background, storm broods under implacable night.
FOUR OF SWORDS
Four, Chesed, is here manifested in the realm of the Intellect. Chesed refers to
Jupiter who rules in Libra in this decanate. The sum of these symbols is
therefore without opposition; hence the card proclaims the idea of authority in
the intellectual world. It is the establishment of dogma, and law concerning it.
It represents a refuge from mental chaos, chosen in an arbitrary manner. It
argues for convention.
The hilts of
the four Swords are at the corner of a St. Andrew's cross. Their shape suggests
fixation and rigidity. Their points are sheathed---in a rather large rose of
forty-nine petals representing social harmony. Here, too, is compromise.
indolent or too cowardly to think out their own problems hail joyfully this
policy of appeasement. As always, the Four is the term; as in this case there is
no true justification for repose, its disturbance by the Five holds no promise
of advance; its static shams go pell-mell into the melting-pot; the issue is
mere mess, usually signalized by foetid stench. But it has to be done!
FIVE OF SWORDS
always, produces disruption; but as Venus here rules Aquarius, weakness rather
than excess of strength seems the cause of disaster. The intellect has been
enfeebled by sentiment. The defeat is due to pacifism. Treachery also may be
The hilts of
the swords form the inverted pentagram, always a symbol of somewhat sinister
tendency. Here matters are even worse; none of the hilts resembles any of the
others, and their blades are crooked or broken. They give the impression of
drooping; only the lowest of the swords points upwards, and this is the least
effective of the weapons. The rose of the previous card has been altogether
is happy to observe two perfect illustrations of the mode of this card and the
last in the birth of the Aeon of (1) Osiris, (2) Horus. He will note the decay
of such Virtue as characterized Sparta and Rome, ending in the establishment of
the Pax Romana. As Virtue declined, corruption disintegrated the Empire from
within. Epicene cults, such as those of Dionysus (in its degraded form), of
Attis, of Adonis, of Cybele, the false Demeter and the prostituted Isis,
replaced the sterner rites of the true Solar- Phallic gods; until finally (the
masters having lost the respect, and so the control, of the plebs, native and
alien) the lowest of all the slave-cults, dressed up in the fables of the vilest
of the parasitic races, swept over the known world, and drenched it in foul
darkness for five hundred years. He will delight to draw close parallels with
the cognate phenomena displayed before the present generation.
SIX OF SWORDS
shows the full establishment and balance of the idea of the suit. This is
particularly the case with this card, as the intellect itself is also referred
to the number Six. Mercury, in Aquarius, represents the celestial Energy
influencing the Kerub of the Man, thus showing intelligence and humanity.
But there is
much more than this in the symbol. The perfect balance of all mental and moral
faculties, hardly won, and almost impossible to hold in an ever-changing world,
declares the idea of Science in its fullest interpretation.
The hilts of
the Swords, which are very ornamental, are in the form of the hexagram. Their
points touch the outer petals of a red rose upon a golden cross of six squares,
thus showing the Rosy Cross as the central secret of scientific truth.
SEVEN OF SWORDS
the suit of Swords, does not represent such catastrophe as in the other suits,
for Netzach, the Sephira of Venus, means victory. There is, therefore, a
modifying influence; and this is accentuated by the celestial rule of the Moon
intellectual wreckage of the card is thus not so vehement as in the Five. There
is vacillation, a wish to compromise, a certain toleration. But, in certain
circumstances, the results may be more disastrous than ever. This naturally
depends upon the success of the policy. This is always in doubt as long as there
exist violent, uncompromising forces which take it as a natural prey.
like the Four, suggests the policy of appeasement.
shows six Swords with their hilts in crescent formation. Their points meet below
the centre of the card, impinging upon a blade of a much larger up-thrusting
sword, as if there were a contest between the many feeble and the one strong. He
strives in vain.
EIGHT OF SWORDS
Eight, Hod, here signifies lack of persistence in matters of the intellect and
of contest. Good fortune, however, attends even these weakened efforts, thanks
to the influence of Jupiter in Gemini, ruling the Decan. Yet the Will is
constantly thwarted by accidental interference.
The centre of
the card is occupied by two long Swords pointed downward. These are crossed by
six small swords, three on each side. They remind one of weapons peculiar to
their countries or their cults; we see here the Kriss, the Kukri, the Scramasax,
the Dagger, the Machete and the Yataghan.
NINE OF SWORDS
Nine, Yesod, brings back the Energy to the central pillar of the Tree of Life.
The previous disorder is now rectified.
general idea of the suit has been constantly degenerating. The Swords no longer
represent pure intellect so much as the automatic stirring of heartless
passions. Consciousness has fallen into a realm unenlightened by reason. This is
the world of the unconscious primitive instincts, of the psychopath, of the
ruler is Mars in Gemini, crude rage of hunger operating without restraint;
although its form is intellectual, it is the temper of the inquisitor.
shows nine swords of varying lengths, all striking downwards to a point. They
are jagged and rusty. Poison and blood drip from their blades.
however, a way of dealing with this card: the way of passive resistance,
resignation, the acceptance of martyrdom.
Nor is an
alien formula that of implacable revenge.
TEN OF SWORDS
Ten, Malkuth, as always, represents the culmination of the unmitigated energy of
the idea. It shows reason run mad, ramshackle riot of soulless mechanism; it
represents the logic of lunatics and (for the most part) of philosophers. It is
reason divorced from reality.
The card is
also ruled by the Sun in Gemini, but the mercurial airy quality of the Sign
serves to disperse his rays; this card shows the disruption and disorder of
harmonious and stable energy.
The hilts of
the Swords occupy the positions of the Sephiroth, but the points One to Five and
Seven to Nine touch and shatter the central Sword (six) which represents the
Sun, the Heart, the child of Chokmah and Binah. The tenth Sword is also in
splinters. It is the ruin of the Intellect, and even of all mental and moral
In the Yi
King, Sol in Gemini is the virtue of the 43rd Hexagram, Kwai, the Watery
modification of the Phallus; also, by the interlacing interpretation, the
harmony of these two same Trigrams.
signification is perfectly harmonious with that of the Ten of Swords It
represents the damping down of the Creative impulse, weakness, corruption, or
mirage affecting that principle itself. But, viewing the Hexagram as a weapon or
method of procedure, it counsels the ruler to purge the state of unworthy
officers. Curiously, the invention of written characters to replace knotted
strings is ascribed among Chinese scholars to the use of this hexagram by the
sages. Gemini is ruled by Thoth; 10 is the key of the Naples Arrangement; and
Apollo (Sol) is the patron of literature and the arts: so his suggestion might
appear at least no less suitable to the Qabalistic correspondences than to their
double emphasis on Water and the Sun.
this, however, the parallelism is complete.
THE ROOT OF THE POWERS OF THE
ACE OF DISKS
The Ace of
Disks pictures the entry of that type of Energy which is called Earth. It is
here proper to insist a little strongly upon one of the essential theoretical
theses which have inflamed the constitution of this present pack of Tarot cards;
for this feature is significant, and distinguishes it from the numerous crude
efforts of uninitiates to put themselves forward as adepts. The grotesque barber
Alliette, the obscurely perverse Wirth, the poseur-fumiste Peladan, down to the
verbose ignorance of such Autolycus-quacks as Raffalovitch and Ouspensky; none
of these or their kin have done more than "play the sedulous ape" to the
conventional Mediaeval designs. (Their luck was out: the Tarot is a razor!)
Eliphaz Levi was a master-scholar, and knew the true attributions; but his grade
in the Great White Brotherhood was only 6o~5o (Adeptus Major); and he had no
instructed foresight of the New Aeon. He did indeed hope to find a Messiah in
Napoleon III; but of the complete spiritual upheaval which accompanies the
Proclamation of a new Magical Formula he had no glimpse; no, not though he had
Maistre Alcofribas Nasier to guide him!
[See The Grands Annales
ou croniques Tresveritables des filz. Roy des Dipsodes.
1542. Book I, Chapter LVIII, where
is given not only a remarkable description of the social conditions of the
twentieth century e.v., but even, in the last line of the Prophetic Riddle, a
clear indication of the Magical Motto of the Adept chosen by the Masters to
announce this Formula-this Word, openly given in the name of the Abbey itself.
But, as so often is the case, it was too simple and straightforward to be seen!]
Encausse, "Papus", who followed Eliphaz Levi, felt himself even more closely
bound by his Oath of Secrecy, so that his dealings with the Tarot are worthless;
and that although he was Grand Master of the O.T.O. in France, and Grand
Hierophant 97º of the Rite of Memphis on the death of John Yarker.
historical data are necessary to explain why all previous packs are of little
more than archaeological interest; for the New Aeon demanded a new system of
symbolism. Thus, in particular, the old conception of the Earth as a passive,
immobile, even dead, even "evil" element, had to go. It was imperative to
restore the King-Scale colour attribution to that of the Aeon of Isis, Emerald
Green, as was understood by the Egyptian Hierophants. This green is, however,
not the original vegetable green of Isis, but the new green of spring following
the resurrection of Osiris as Horus. Nor are the Disks any more to be considered
as Coins; the Disk is a whirling emblem. Naturally so; since it is now know that
every Star, every true Planet, is a whirling sphere. The Atom, again, is no more
the hard, intractable, dead Particle of Dalton, but a system of whirling forces,
comparable to the Solar hierarchy itself.
dovetails perfectly with the new Doctrine of Tetragrammaton, where the Earthy
component, He' final, the Daughter, is set upon the Throne of the Mother, to
awaken the Eld of the All- Father. The NAME itself, accordingly, is no longer a
fixed symbol, emblem of extension and limit, but a continuously revolving
sphere; in the words of Zoroaster, "rebounding, whirling forth, crying aloud".
It has been
the custom of publishers or designers of packs to set their personal seal upon
the Ace of Disks, for grammatical reasons not unconnected with the perhaps
arbitrary differentiation in the Latin Language between the pronouns "meum" and
"tuum". Saith not the Bard?
"Steal not this Book for fear of
shame! The Ace of Disks-the Author's name. The Ace of Swords-thy corpse shall
look Like Agag's did, in Samuel's book. The Ace of Cups-drink thou no less Than
Brinvilliers the Marchioness! The Ace of Wands-thy death be reckoned Like that
of good King Edward Second!"
symbol of the Ace of Disks is consequently the personal Hieroglyph of "the
chosen priest and apostle of infinite space", "the prince-priest the Beast".
(Liber AL. 1.15.)
This is to be
compared with the Sigillum Sanctum of the Order of A..A..
In the centre
of all is yet another form of Tetragrammaton, the Phallus, showing Sol and Luna,
with the number 666 duly inscribed, as if to equilibrate, to fit into the
Vesica, with the seven sevens adding to 156 (BABALON 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 30 + 70 +
50=(7 + 7) divided by 7 + 77+ 77=156) as the Magick Square of 6 adds to 666
(1=62= ΤΟ ΜΕΓΑ ΘΗΡΙΟΝ 300 + 70 + 40 + 5 + 3 + I + 9 + 8 + 100 + 10 + 70 + 50=ןוירת
400 + 200 + 10 + 6 + 50). Should one choose to interpret the vertical line above
666 as 1, and add it, the number of the Scarlet Woman, 667, appears. (667 = Η
ΚΟΚΚΙΝΗ ΓΥΝΗ =8 + 20 + 70 + 20 + 20 + 10 + 50 + 8 + 3 + 400 + 50+ 8.) This
cipher is enclosed in a Heptagram, as manifestly needful; and this figure again
in interlaced Pentagons whose sides are ex tended, so forming a Wheel of 10
spokes whose boundary is a Decagon; and this again within a circular band, upon
which is inscribed in full the name ΤΟ ΜΕΓΑ ΘΗΡΙΟΝ, of 12 (6 x 2) letters.
whirling Disk are its six Wings; the entire symbol is not only a glyph of Earth
as understood in this New Aeon of Horus, but of the number 6, the number of the
Sun. This card is thus an affirmation of the identity of Sol and Terra-and that
will be best understood by those who have punctually practised Liber Resh for
the necessary number of years, preferably in such Hermitages as those of the
Sahara Desert, where the Sun and the Earth can soon be instinctively recognized
as living Beings, one's constant companions in a Universe of Pure Joy.
TWO OF DISKS
Two, Chokmah, here rules in the suit pertaining to Earth. It shows the type of
Energy appropriate to Two, in its most fixed form. According to the doctrine
that Change is the support of stability, the card is called Change.
rulers are Jupiter and Capricornus; and these symbols are most inharmonious, so
that in practical matters the good fortune of Jupiter is very limited. Their
influence on the card is not great. Yet, Jupiter being himself the Wheel (Atu
X), he emphasizes that idea.
represents two Pantacles, one above the other; they are the Chinese symbols of
the Yang and Yin duplicated as in the Hsiang. One wheel is dextro- and the other
laevo-rotatory. They thus represent the harmonious interplay of the Four
Elements in constant movement. One may in fact consider the card as the picture
of the complete manifested Universe, in respect of its dynamics.
About them is
entwined a green Serpent (see Liber 65, chapter iii, verses 17-20). His tail is
in his mouth. He forms the figure Eight, the symbol of the Infinite, the
THREE OF DISKS
of Binah in the sphere of Earth shows the material establishment of the idea of
the Universe, the determination of its basic form. It is ruled by Mars in
Capricornus; he is exalted in that Sign, and therefore at his best. His energy
is constructive, like that of the builder or engineer. The card represents a
pyramid viewed from above the apex. The base is formed by three wheels-Mercury,
Sulphur, and Salt; Sattvas, Rajas, and Tamas in the Hindu system; Aleph, Shin,
and Mem-Air, Fire, and Water-the three Mother letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
is situated in the great Sea of Binah in the Night of Time, but the sea is
solidified; hence the colours of the back- ground are mottled, a cold thin dark
grey with a pattern of indigo and green. The sides of the pyramid have a strong
reddish tint, showing the influence of Mars.
FOUR OF DISKS
Chesed, shows the establishment of the Universe in three dimensions, that is,
below the Abyss. The generating idea is exhibited in its full material sense.
The card is ruled by the Sun in Capricornus, the Sign in which he is reborn. The
disks are very large and solid; the suggestion of the card is that of a
fortress. This represents Law and Order, maintained by constant authority and
vigilance. The disks themselves are square; revolution is very opposite to the
card; and they contain the signs of the Four Elements. For all that, they
revolve; defence is valid only when violently active. So far as it appears
stationary, it is the "dead centre" of the engineer; and Capricornus is the
point at which the Sun "turns again Northward''. The background is of deep
azure, flecked yellow, suggesting a moat; but beyond this is a pattern of green
and indigo to represent the guarded fields whose security is assured by the
In the Yi
King, Sol in Capricornus is represented by the Second Hexagram, Khwan, which is
the Female Principle. Compare the English word Queen, Anglo-Saxon Cwen, old
Mercian Kwoen. Cognate are Icelandic Kvan, Gothic Kwens, woman. The
Indo-Germanic type is g (w)eni and the Sanskrit root GwEN. Note also Cwm,
coombe, and agnate words, meaning an enclosed valley, usually with water running
from it. Womb---possibly a softened form?
the innumerable words, derived from the root Gas, Which imply an enclosed
and fortified space. Case, castle, chest, cyst, chaste, incest and so on.
radicle in all this class of words is the guttural. Observe the Hebrew
attributions: Gimel, the moon; Cheth, Cancer, the house of the moon; Kaph, the
Wheel; Qoph, the Moon, XVIII, Guttur, the throat. Sounds so made suggest the
other throat; one is the channel of respiration and nutrition, the other of
reproduction and elimination.
FIVE OF DISKS
Five, Geburah, in the suit of Earth, shows the disruption of the Elements, just
as in the other suits. This is emphasized by the rule of Mercury in Taurus,
types of energy which are opposed. It needs a very powerful Mercury to upset
Taurus; so the natural meaning is Intelligence applied to Labour.
represents five disks in the form of the inverted Pentagram, instability in the
very foundations of Matter. The effect is that of an earthquake. They are,
however, representative of the five Tatvas; these hold together, on a very low
plane, an organism which would otherwise disrupt completely. The background is
an angry, ugly red with yellow markings. The general effect is one of intense
strain; yet the symbol implies long-continued inaction.
SIX OF DISKS
Six, Tiphareth, as before, represents the full harmonious establishment of the
Energy of the Element. The Moon in Taurus rules the card; and this, while
increasing the approach to perfection (for the Moon is exalted in Taurus and
therefore in her highest form) marks that the condition is transient.
The disks are
arranged in the form of the Hexagram, which is shown in skeleton. In the centre
blushes and glows the light rose- madder of dawn, and without are three
concentric circles, golden yellow, salmon-pink, and amber. These colours show
Tiphareth fully realized on Earth; it reaffirms in form what was mathematically
set forth in describing the Ace.
are arranged in accordance with their usual attribution; but they are only shown
as disks irradiated by the Sun in their centre.
This Sun is
idolized as the Rose and Cross; the Rose has forty- nine petals, the interplay
of the Seven with the Seven.
SEVEN OF DISKS
Seven, Netzach, has its customary enfeebling effect, and this is made worse by
the influence of Saturn in Taurus. The disks are arranged in the shape of the
geomantic figure Rubeus, the most ugly and menacing of the Sixteen. (See Five of
Cups.) The atmosphere of the card is that of Blight. On the background, which
represents vegetation and cultivation, everything is spoiled. The four colours
of Netzach appear, but they are blotched with angry indigo and reddish orange.
The disks themselves are the leaden disks of Saturn. They suggest bad money.
EIGHT OF DISKS
Eight, Hod, is very helpful in this card, because it represents Mercury in his
most spiritual aspect, and he both rules and is exalted in the sign of Virgo,
which belongs to the Decan, and is governed by the Sun. It signifies
intelligence lovingly applied to material matters, especially those of the
agriculturalist, the artificer and the engineer.
suggest that this card marks the turn of the tide. The seven of Disks is in one
sense the fullest possible establishment of Matter-compare Atu XV-the lowest
fallen and therefore the highest exalted. These last three cards seem to prepare
the explosion which will renew the whole Cycle. Note that Virgo is Yod, the
secret seed of Life, and also the Virgin Earth awaiting the Phallic Plough.
of this card is the interest of the common people. The rulership of the Sun in
Virgo suggests also birth. The disks are arranged in the form of the geomantic
figure Populus. These disks may be represented as the flowers or fruits of a
great tree, its solid roots in fertile land.
In the Yi
King, Sol in Virgo is represented by the 33rd Hexagram, Thun, "Big Air". It
means "retiring"; and the commentary indicates how best to make use of that
manoeuvre. This is congruous enough with the essence of Virgo, the secret
withdrawing of Energy into the fallow Earth. Populus, moreover, is the Moon
retiring from manifestation to her conjunction with the Sun.
NINE OF DISKS
Nine, Yesod, inevitably brings back the balance of Force in fulfilment. The card
is ruled by Venus in Virgo. It shows good luck attending material affairs,
favour and popularity.
The disks are
arranged as an equilateral triangle of three, apex upwards, close together; and,
surrounded at some distance by a ring, six larger disks in the form of a
hexagon. This signifies the multiplication of the original established Word-by
the mingling of "good luck and good management". The three central disks are of
the magical pattern as in earlier cards; but the others, since the descent into
matter implies the gradual exhaustion of the original whirling energy, now take
on the form of coins. These may be marked with the magical images of the
As a general
remark, one may say that the multiplication of a symbol of Energy always tends
to degrade its essential meaning, as well as to complicate it.
TEN OF DISKS
Ten, Malkuth, as always, represents the final issue of the Energy. Here is great
and final solidification. The force is completely expended and results in death.
Mercury rules this card in Virgo; and this may imply that the acquired wealth,
being inert, will be dissipated unless put to further use by devoting its power
to objects other than mere accumulation.
The disks, or
(as they have now become) coins, are arranged on the Tree of Life, but the Tenth
coin is much larger than the rest; the image indicates the futility of material
are inscribed with various symbols of mercurial character except that the coin
in the place of Hod (Mercury) on the Tree is marked with the cipher of the Sun.
This indicates the only possibility of issue from the impasse produced by the
exhaustion of all the elemental forces. At the end of matter must be complete
stagnation, were it not that in it is always inherent the Will of the Father,
the Great Architect, the Great Arithmetician, the Great Geometer. In this case,
then, Mercury will represent the Logos, the Word, the Will, the Wisdom, the
Eternal Son, and Virgo the Virgin, in every implication of that symbol. This
card is in fact a hieroglyph of the cycle of regeneration.
Geomantic figures, Mercury in Virgo is Conjunctio. The meaning, conjunction, is
shown plainly by the attraction of the descending (female) Triangle, the cipher
of the Yoni, to the ascending (male) Triangle, that of the Lingam. This union
completed, they appear interlaced, forming the figure of Capricornus, the Sign
in which the Sun finds his rebirth. It is the holy Hexagram, the symbol of the
uniting of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, the accomplishment of the Great
Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness. Sic sit vobis!
(An Oath written during the
Aiwaz! confirm my troth with Thee!
my will inspire With secret sperm of subtle, free, creating Fire! Mould thou my
very flesh as Thine, renew my birth In childhood merry as divine, enchanted
Earth! Dissolve my rapture in Thine own, a sacred slaughter Whereby to capture
and atone the Soul of Water! Fill thou my mind with gleaming Thought intense and
rare To One refined, outfiung to Naught, the Word of Air! Most, bridal bound, my
quintessential Form thus freeing From self, be found one Selfhood blent in
THE ATU: MNEMONICS
Truth, laughter, lust:
Wine's Holy Fool! Veil rent, Lewd madness is sublime enlightenment.
The Word of Wisdom weaves
the web of lies, Weds irreducible Infinities.
playmate, bride of Pan; God's Angel-Minister to every man.
Beauty, display thine
Empire! Truth above Thought's reach: the wholeness of the world is Love.
Sire and inceptor, Emperor
and King Of all things mortal, hail Him lord of Spring!
Wisdom to each apportioned
to his want By modes of Light, shed forth, great Hierophant!
To each his Understanding
sooth discovers Wordless: your mode, immortal Twins and Lovers!
Behold, the Chariot!
Through the water floods The Sangraal, life and rapture, Wine's and Blood's!
The Lion-Serpent begets
Gods! Thy throne The rampant Beast, our Lady Babalon!
Most secret seed of all
Life's serpent plan, Virgin, the Hermit goes, dumb Guardian.
Sped by its energies
triune, the Wheel Of Fortune spins: its Axle's immobile.
Adjustment! Rhythm writhes
through every act. Wild is the dance; its balance is exact.
In Mother-Deeps of Ocean
the God-Man Hangs, Lamp of the Abyss Aeonian.
Eagle, and Snake, and
Scorpion! The Dance Of Death whirls Life from Trance to Trance to Trance.
O Solve, coagula! By
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. shewn, The Tincture, the Elixir, and the Stone.
Παν! upon the summits the
God-goat Leaps in wild lust of ecstasy afloat.
Bellona, scream! Unhood the
Hawks! The roar Of Universes crashing into War!
Nuit, our Lady of the
Stars! Event Is all Thy play, sublime Experiment!
Witch-moon, upon thy beck
of blood afloat The Midnight Beetle's brave prophetic Boat!
The Sun, our Father! Soul
of Life and Light, Love and play freely, sacred in Thy sight!
Nuit, Hadit, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!
The Aeon Of the Twin Child! Exult, o Empyrean!
Naught becomes All to
realise the span Of naught, O perfect Universe of Pan.
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE TAROT
It being now
established, at the conclusion of the Essay, that the cards of the Tarot are
living individuals, it is proper to consider the relations which obtain between
them and the student.
analogy of a debutante at her coming-out ball. She is introduced to
seventy-eight grown people. Assuming her to be a particularly intelligent girl,
with a very high social education, she may know all about the position and
general characteristics of these people. This, however, will not imply real
knowledge of any one of them; she will have no means of saying how any one will
react to her. At most, she can know only a few facts from which deductions may
be made. It is unlikely, for example, that the V.C. will hide in a cellar if
somebody thinks that there is a burglar in the house. It is improbable that the
Bishop will indulge in the more blatant types of blasphemy.
of the student of the Tarot is very similar. In this essay, and in these
designs, is given an analysis of the general character of each card; but he
cannot reach any true appreciation of them without observing their behaviour
over a long period; he can only come to an understanding of the Tarot through
experience. It will not be sufficient for him to intensify his studies of the
cards as objective things; he must use them; he must live with them. They, too,
must live with him. A card is not isolated from its fellows. The reactions of
the cards, their interplay with each other, must be built into the very life of
Then how is
he to use them? How is he to blend their life with his? The ideal way is that of
contemplation. But this involves initiation of such high degree that it is
impossible to describe the method in this place. Nor is it either attractive or
suitable to most people. The practical every-day commonplace way is divination.
traditional technical method of divination by the Tarot here follows: It is
taken from The Equinox, Vol I, No.8, and its publication is authorized by
Frater O. M. Adeptus Exemptus.
1. Choose a card to represent the
Querent, using your knowledge or judgment of his character rather than dwelling
on his physical characteristics.
2. Take the cards in your left
hand. In the right hand hold the wand over them, and say: I invoke thee, I A O,
that thou wilt send H R U, the great Angel that is set over the operations of
this Secret Wisdom, to lay his hand invisibly upon these consecrated cards of
art, that thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of
thine ineffable Name. Amen.
3. Hand the cards to Querent, and
bid him think of the question attentively, and cut.
4. Take the
cards as cut and hold as for dealing.
the situation of the Querent at the time when he consults you.
1. The pack being in front of you,
cut, and place the top half to the left.
2. Cut each pack again to the
3. These four stacks represent I H
V H, from right to left.
4. Find the Significator. If it be
in the Yod pack, the question refers to work, business, etc.; if in the Heh
pack, to love, marriage, or pleasure;, if in the Vau pack, to trouble, loss,
scandal, quarrelling, etc.; if in the He' final pack, to money, goods, and such
purely material matters.
5. Tell the Querent what he has
come for: if wrong, abandon the divination.
6. If right, spread out the pack
containing the Significator, face upwards. Count the cards from him, in the
direction in which he faces. The counting should include the card from which
you count. For Knights, Queens and Princes, count 4. For Princesses, count 7.
For Aces, count 11 For small cards, count according to the number. For trumps,
count 3 for the elemental trumps; 9 for the planetary trumps; 12 for the
Zodiacal trumps. Make a "story" of these cards. This story is that of the
beginning of the affair.
7. Pair the cards on either side
of the Significator, then those outside them, and so on. Make another "story",
which should fill in the details omitted in the first.
8. If this
story is not quite accurate, do not be discouraged. Perhaps the Querent himself
does not know everything. But the main lines ought to be laid down firmly, with
correctness, or the divination should be abandoned.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE QUESTION
1. Shuffle, invoke suitably, and
let Querent cut as before.
2. Deal cards into twelve stacks,
for the twelve astrological houses of heaven.
3. Make up your mind in which
stack you ought to find the Significator, e.g. in the seventh house if the
question concerns marriage, and so on.
4. Examine this chosen stack. If
the Significator is not there, try some cognate house. On a second failure,
abandon the divination.
5. Read the stack, counting and
pairing as before.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE
1. Shuffle, etc., as before.
2. Deal cards into twelve stacks
for the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
3. Divine the proper stacks and
proceed as before.
PENULTIMATE ASPECTS OF THE
1. Shuffle, etc., as before.
2. Find the Significator: set him
upon the table; let the thirty- six cards following form a ring round him.
3. Count and pair as before.
the Nature of each Decan is shown by the small card attributed to it, and by the
symbols given in Liber DCCLXXVII, cols. 149-151.)
1. Shuffle, etc., as before.
2. Deal into ten packs in the form
of the Tree of Life.
3. Make up your mind where the
Significator should be, as before; but failure does not here necessarily imply
that the divination has gone astray.
4. Count and pair as before.
one cannot tell at what part of the divination the present time occurs. Usually
Op. I seems to indicate the past history of the question; but not always so.
Experience will teach. Some times a new current of high help may show the moment
I may add
that in material matters this method is extremely valuable. I have been able to
work out the most complex problems in minute detail. O. M.)."
It is quite
impossible to obtain satisfactory results from this or any other system of
divination unless the Art is perfectly required. It is the most sensitive,
difficult and perilous branch of Magick. The necessary conditions, with a
comprehensive comparative review of all important methods in use, are fully
described and discussed in "Magick", Chapter XVII.
The abuse of
divination has been responsible, more than any other cause, for the discredit
into which the whole subject of Magick had fallen when the Master Therion
undertook the task of its rehabilitation. Those who neglect his warnings, and
profane the Sanctuary of Transcendental Art, have no other than themselves to
blame for the formidable and irremediable disasters which infallibly will
destroy them. Prospero is Shakespeare's reply to Dr. Faustus.
GENERAL CHARACTERS OF THE TRUMPS
AS THEY APPEAR IN USE
ALL WAYS ARE LAWFUL TO INNOCENCE.
PURE FOLLY IS THE KEY TO INITIATION. SILENCE BREAKS INTO RAPTURE. BE NEITHER MAN
NOR WOMAN, BUT BOTH IN ONE. BE SILENT, BABE IN THE EGG OF BLUE, THAT THOU MAYEST
GROW TO BEAR THE LANCE AND GRAAL! WANDER ALONE, AND SING! IN THE KING'S PALACE
HIS DAUGHTER AWAITS THEE.
matters, the Fool means idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavours to
matters, it may, if badly dignified, mean folly, eccentricity, or even mania.
essential of this card is that it represents an original, subtle, sudden impulse
or impact, coming from a completely strange quarter.
impulses are right, if rightly received; and the good or ill interpretation of
the card depends entirely on the right attitude of the Querent.
The True Self is the meaning of
the True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way. Calculate well the Formula of Thy
Way. Create freely; absorb joyously; divide intently; consolidate completely.
Work thou, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, in and for Eternity.
wisdom, adroitness, elasticity, craft, cunning, deceit, theft. Sometimes occult
wisdom or power, sometimes a quick impulse, a brain-wave". It may imply
messages, business transactions, the interference of learning or intelligence
with the matter in hand.
Purity is to live only to the
Highest; and the Highest is All; be thou as Artemis to Pan. Read thou in the
Book of the Law, and break through the veil of the Virgin.
and gracious influence enters the matter. Hence, change, alternation, increase
and decrease, fluctuation. There is, however, a liability to be led away by
enthusiasm; one may become "moon-struck" unless careful balance is maintained.
This is the Harmony of the
Universe, that Love unites the Will to create with the Understanding of that
Creation: understand thou thine own Will. Love and let love. Rejoice in every
shape of love, and get thy rapture and thy nourishment thereof
happiness, pleasure, success, completion, good fortune, graciousness, elegance,
luxury, idleness, dissipation, debauchery, friendship, gentleness, delight.
Use all thine energy to rule thy
thought: burn up thy thought as the Phoenix.
conquest, victory, strife, ambition, originality, overweening confidence and
megalomania, quarrelsomeness, energy, vigour, stubbornness, impracticability,
Offer thyself Virgin to the
Knowledge and Conversation of thine Holy Guardian Angel. All else is a snare.
Be thou athlete with the eight limbs of Yoga: for without these thou are not
disciplined for any fight.
strength, toil, endurance, placidity, manifestation, explanation, teaching,
goodness of heart, help from superiors, patience, organization, peace.
The Oracle of the Gods is the
Child- Voice of Love in Thine own Soul; hear thou it. Heed not the Siren-Voice
of Sense, or the Phantom- Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to
inspiration, intuition, intelligence, second sight, childishness, frivolity,
thoughtfulness divorced from practical consideration, indecision,
self-contradiction, union in a shallow degree with others, instability,
contradiction, triviality, the "high-brow".
The Issue of the Vulture,
Two-in-One, conveyed; this is the Chariot of Power. TRINC: the last oracle.
victory, hope, memory, digestion, violence in maintaining traditional ideas, the
"die-hard", ruthlessness, lust of destruction, obedience, faithfulness,
authority under authority.
Balance against each thought its
exact opposite. For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.
rather justesse, the act of adjustment, suspension of all action pending
decision; in material matters, may refer to law suits or prosecutions. Socially,
marriage or marriage agreements; politically, treaties.
Wander alone; bearing the Light
and thy Staff. And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee. Be not moved
by aught without or within: keep Silence in all ways.
from within, secret impulse from within; practical plans derived accordingly.
Retirement from participation in current events.
Follow thy Fortune, careless where
it lead thee. The axle moveth not: attain thou that.
fortune. (This generally means good fortune because the fact of consultation
implies anxiety or discontent.)
Mitigate Energy with Love; but let
Love devour all things. Worship the name ____, foursquare, mystic, wonderful,
and the name of His House
strength, energy and action, une grande passion; resort to magick, the
use of magical power.
Let not the waters whereon thou
journeyest wet thee. And, being come to shore, plant thou the Vine and rejoice
sacrifice, punishment, loss, fatal or voluntary, suffering, defeat, failure,
The Universe is Change; every
Change is the effect of an Act of Love; all Acts of Love contain Pure Joy. Die
daily. Death is the apex of one curve of the snake Life: behold all Opposites as
necessary complements, and rejoice.
Transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary, in either case logical
development of existing conditions, yet perhaps sudden and unexpected. Apparent
death or destruction, but such interpretation is illusion.
Pour thine all freely from the
Vase in thy right hand, and lose no drop. Hath not thy left hand a vase?
Transmute all wholly into the Image of thy Will, bringing each to its true
token of Perfection. Dissolve the Pearl in the Wine-cup; drink, and make
manifest the Virtue of that Pearl.
of forces, realization, action based on accurate calculation; the way of escape,
success after elaborate manoeuvres.
With thy right Eye create all for
thyself, and with the left accept all that be created otherwise.
impulse, irresistibly strong and unscrupulous, ambition, temptation, obsession,
secret plan about to be executed; hard work, obstinacy, rigidity, aching
Break down the fortress of thine
Individual Self, that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins.
combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison.
Pour water on thyself thus shalt
thou be a Fountain to the Universe. Find thou thyself in every Star. Achieve
thou every possibility.
unexpected help, clearness of vision, realization of possibilities, spiritual
insight, with bad aspects, error of judgment, dreaminess, disappointment.
Let the Illusion of the World pass
over thee, unheeded, as thou goest from the Midnight to the Morning.
deception, bewilderment, hysteria, even madness, dreaminess, falsehood, error,
crisis, "the darkest hour before the dawn", the brink of important change.
Give forth thy light to all
without doubt; the clouds and shadows are no matter for thee. Make Speech and
Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of thy play.
riches, triumph, pleasure, frankness, truth, shamelessness, arrogance, vanity,
manifestation, recovery from sickness, but sometimes sudden death.
Be every Act an Act of Love and
Worship. Be every Act the Fiat of a God. Be every Act a Source of radiant Glory.
decision in respect of the past, new current in respect of the future; always
represents the taking of a definite step.
Treat time and all conditions of
Event as Servants of thy Will, appointed to present the Universe to thee in
the form of thy Plan. And: blessing and worship to the prophet of the lovely
The matter of
the question itself, synthesis, the end of the matter, may mean delay,
opposition, obstinacy, inertia, patience, perseverance, persistent stubbornness
in difficulty. The crystallization of the whole matter involved.
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