Leo the Lion: Tarot and Qabalah

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 19th path of Leo the Lion is Sekhet XI.[1] The Sun, the Solar Light, is the ruler of Leo. The esoteric title of the trump is Daughter of the Flaming Sword.

Leo the Lion: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema Atu XI SekhetSome have described the early Tarot of Marseille image of the 11th Tarot key as a woman closing the mouth of a lion, though it may equally be seen as a woman opening the mouth of a lion. The Egyptian ceremony of Opening the Mouth (of the deceased), for example, enabled the king or initiate to pass through the duat or underworld and navigate a path to the imperishable stars. This is an image of the opening of Da’ath, the Gate of Knowledge. It requires considerable spiritual strength and courage as there is a high risk of obsession by the flow of images on this high-powered path.

From ‘closing the mouth’ comes the association with the magical power of the 19th path of Leo, the Intelligence of Birds and Animals. The ability to converse with and understand the secret languages of wild creatures is listed among the powers of the ‘fallen angels’ or spirits of The Goetia. It is not necessary to evoke any Goetic spirits in order to converse with birds and other wild animals, though the method is not one that can be taught or learned in the ordinary way.[2]

Leo and the Flaming Sword

The letter of the 19th path of Leo the Lion is teth, ‘a serpent’. The early Semitic and Cretan forms of the letter depicted the circle cross, a marking of space and time. The symbol is identical to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic determinative denoting the ‘place itself’, the terrestrial location. The Egyptians used the ‘Mark of the Beast’ as a protective amulet. It was often associated with Sekhet, the lion goddess and Tauret, the keeper of the Net.[3] The crossing of the lunar 13th path of the Priestess and the solar 19th path of Leo the Lion is a cognate image.

The 19th path of Leo the Lion connects Chesed, the sphere of Jupiter, with Geburah, the sphere of Mars. The path is called the Intelligence of the Secret of all Spiritual Activities or the Occult Intelligence. The 19th path is the first that is wholly beneath the Abyss when descending, and the last before the Abyss when ascending the Tree. It is therefore the secret ruler and governor of all that is below, even as it receives the influence (mezla) from that which is above. The secret of the path is that visible nature veils or conceals the numinous source of all.


Notes

1. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for Leo is Sekhet XI. The card and its description may be viewed here at Ordo Astri.

2. Those who imagine this Tarot image to merely veil a ‘formula’ of sexual magick are naturally excluded from such conversations.

3. The Net is the cosmic matrix for form and is closely identified with Neïth or Nuit the star goddess. The Net has a dual function. On the one hand it opens a path to the stars for the justified soul. On the other hand, it may trap the soul in the underworld.

Qabalistic knowledge is adapted from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth, entry for the 19th number.

© Oliver St. John 2013, revised 2022

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Aries Equinox: Hrumachis

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the Aries Equinox is Hrumachis IV.[1]

Aries: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema IVThe king portrayed in traditional versions of the trump is the fisher-king found in the myths and legends of many cultures. The king is an image of meditation where key symbols are held and fixed by concentration of will. Meditation requires sustained and persistent effort over a lengthy period of time—years, not days or weeks—before it ceases to be regarded as a personal exercise.

The powerful astral glamour that pervades this path gives rise to the delusion of instant enlightenment, the notion that much can be gained spiritually in return for very little effort. The desire for acquisition of spiritual or magical powers, or the belief that one can be made ‘healthy, wealthy and wise’ through magical manipulation, psychological improvement or hypnotism is no more than the restless urge of the human ego to maintain its tyranny over the soul. The beginner at meditation discovers that instead of making things more comfortable, the practice irritates the body and is annoying to the ego. Most therefore terminate the discipline within a few days or weeks, deciding that it is not their ‘path’, after all—they soon return to the market place where vendors are eager to trade in miracles. The magical power of the 28th path is the Power of Consecrating Things.

The Aries Equinox and 28th path thus embody the principle of governance. The King and the land are one. The ego and body are one. There is a need to seek out a holy graal, lest the body of the king becomes a wasteland, and the soul is dragged down with it.

Aries Equinox: Natural Intelligence

The 28th path of Tzaddi connects Netzach, the sphere of Venus, with Yesod, the sphere of the Moon. The title of the 28th path is the Natural Intelligence, for it is the perfection of the nature of all things under the orb of the Sun. The desire of Venus reflected into the mirror of the Moon makes impressions upon the Astral Light. Much of the work of occultism is to create new forms as suitable vehicles for the incarnation of the will to transcendence. On the other side of the coin, forms are created to hook or enslave the soul, as revealed by the ‘fishhook’ of the letter tzaddi.[2]

Esoteric Title of the Tarot Key

The esoteric title of the Tarot trump is Son of the Morning, Chief among the Mighty. Lucifer or Satan, in Christian terms, is generally thought to be the ‘son of the morning’ referred to in the book of Isaiah, 14: 12, which is a title of Venus as the Morning Star. The title of the 4th Tarot Atu is incorrectly given in Crowley’s ‘acquired’ work, Liber 777, as Sun of the Morning. It is incorrect because the title refers to Venus, not the Sun. Chief Among the Mighty refers to the original Golden Dawn placement of the trump on the 15th path from Chokmah to Tiphereth. Curiously, Son of the Morning adumbrates the change of placement to the 28th path of Tzaddi recommended by Aiwass in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 57.


Notes

1. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the Aries Equinox is Hrumachis IV. The card and its full description can be viewed here at Ordo Astri.
2. The description of the 28th path is from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth.

© Oliver St. John 2015, 2022 (revised)

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Art and Magick of Pisces

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for Pisces and the 29th path of the Tree of Life is Khonsu XVIII. The esoteric title of the trump is Ruler of Flux and Reflux: Child of the Sons of the Mighty.

Pisces: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema XVIIIThe Sun’s entry into Pisces near the end of the cold months is a reminder of the darkest hour before the dawn. The springtime is not far away. In the southern hemisphere it is a reminder that the cooler air of autumn will soon drive out the burning heat of a long summer.

Pisces is traditionally ruled by the planet Jupiter, known to the Greeks as Zeus and to the ancient Egyptians as Amoun (or ‘Amen’). Jupiter, Zeus and Amoun were originally gods of the mountain and of the seas and rains that replenish the earth with new life and growth. Amoun is a mysterious god. He is self-created, and his location, unlike the sky-gods Horus, Hathoor and Nuit, is below the horizon. He is ‘The Hidden God’.

The Qabalah throws further light on the associations between Pisces, sign of the Fishes, and the mysteries of the Hidden God. Pisces is the 29th path connecting the material universe (Malkuth) with the animating power of Venus (Netzach), the morning and evening star. The magical power of the path of Pisces is the Twilight of the Place. As the days begin to lengthen in the northern hemisphere, the twilight is very noticeable. This is especially so with the lengthening of shadows near sunset, before Venus, the first and brightest star of the evening sky, appears in the west. The magical twilight is also the special light of a room prepared for ritual. Candles and the smoke of incense provide ideal conditions for the arising of spectral images. The Magical Mirror is the symbolic weapon of Pisces.

As the 12th sign and 12th house in astrology, Pisces represents the deeper realms of the dreaming or subtle plane. There are three types of consciousness according to the Hindu doctrine:

1. Waking consciousness
2. Dreaming consciousness
3. Dreamless sleep

The letter for Pisces is qoph or ‘Q’, which is frequently explained as the ‘back of the head’, owing to the shape of the Hebrew letter. However, it is more correctly understood as the ‘skull’, so it may symbolise the Polar North or the means of ingress and egress to and from the supra-mundane realms. It is in dreamless sleep that the soul is said to abide with Atma, the supreme principle, though this is not known or remembered. The dreaming plane can then be seen as an intermediary state between waking consciousness, in which reality is hidden behind the densest of veils, and dreamless sleep, where reality is not hidden, though scarcely known.

By inversion, a ‘queue’ is also a kind of tail. Most creatures on our planet have a tail, save for homosapiens. The sombre epic of mankind’s existence on the planet is yet another kind of tale—one that has been told in numerous ways by diverse cultures in all times. As we moved into the modern age, man’s tales became increasingly removed from reality.

Pisces and The Flaming Sword

The 29th path of Qoph connects Netzach, the sphere of Venus, with Malkuth, the sphere of the visible universe and is imaged forth by The Moon XVIII Tarot key. The title of the 29th path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so-called because it is concerned with the incarnation of all bodies according to the revolution of the Zodiac. The root of the word that is translated ‘Corporeal’ (gosham) implies a violent rainstorm or shower—the ‘shower of the life of earth’ that comes through the seed of the Unborn Spirit or Holy Guardian Angel in the ritual called the ‘Bornless’. The ‘seed’ refers here to the fluidic or formless fire from which all forms receive their essence.

The “revolution of the Zodiac” is explained by the operation of Sol and Luna, Spirit working through the Sun upon the four elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. All bodies are composed of these elements. Each creature has a unique astrosome, the symbol of which is the natal horoscope, varying according to the time and place of birth. The twelve signs of the Zodiac are cosmic archetypes. Merely knowing the ‘sign’ of birth does not reveal a person’s nature. The sign alone symbolises a type, not an individual.

The descent of this path is the incarnation or embodiment of each creature, while the ascent of it implies knowledge of the Occult Intelligences. The magical powers of the 29th path are of Bewitchments and Casting Illusions.

Qliphoth of Pisces

The Qliphoth of Pisces is ShIMIRVN (Shimiron) ‘Malignant Women’, and may be found in The Flaming Sword under the number 616. Curiously, the number 616 is a number of the ‘beast’ of Revelation—the number was later ‘solarised’ as 666. The 29th path connects Venus, the lowest sephira on the Force side of the Tree, with Malkuth, the dead-end of matter. The women of malicious intent are phantasms of decaying (or thwarted) desire, rife with poisoning and corruption. As such, these ‘women’ are no more than blind forces, but have a tremendous capacity to inflict harm on the unwary human. ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ is an aphorism that applies not only to the human but also to the elementar that is deprived of ‘blood’ or energy.

The Intelligence of the path orders the behaviour of species. When the human ego identifies personally with the biological urge to procreate or self-replicate—that force which is, in fact, entirely impersonal—all manner of aberrations occur. The person seeking self-fulfilment in the production of offspring, and finding the result is nothing of the sort, may subvert or redirect the flow of life-force into other objects of desire. Typical afflictions are ‘eating disorders’, so-called—for devouring and begetting are dual principles of the Great Mother at the cosmic level. The predatory behaviour of both men and women, especially when it forms part of a group mentality, is another, less specific. Alcoholism is yet another trait, since it arises from a desire to be reabsorbed back into the stream of life from whence the organism was formed. It is the self-assertion of the ego, maintaining the delusion of an isolated life and existence that is the root of all ailments of the soul.


Notes

1. The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for Pisces is Khonsu XVIII. The card and its full description may be viewed here at Ordo Astri.

All Qabalistic references are from The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth.

© Oliver St. John 2013, revised 2022

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