“Strength”, hermetic Tarot ’91
“Fohat” – Helena Blavatsky’s term for electro-magnetism or Light
The red lion’s roar converts to speech from the woman’s hips and womb, to sing the Holy Names and archangels of the compass.
The red lion is the raw passionate nature. The woman gently stretches his mouth open. The gesture is the whole expression of the Great Work. It does not prohibit. It guides and it delivers, according to nature.
Key 8: Strength – Builders of the Adytum
The two little trees in the landscape indicate a brook – running water. There is no blue colour in this Key, because the content suggests the surfaced subconscious so totally. Through the manifest and the latent, flows the inherent polarity of all life and consciousness, a movement through the tao of substance and the virtual sea. So the content of this Key is saturated with the Priestess (Isis) – like closing your eyes to the colour red and seeing green.
Consider then – (a fresh thought) – Strength and The Priestess together, as complementary, and how they express and are the Fountain.
Keys 2 and 8, by Builders of the Adytum
The Lion’s front feet/her feet root the Kundalini (which also waves in the lion’s tail) right up through her combined head/his body beauty & the beast to the gentle curve of her attention, and the flowers that grow briskly from her hair into a lemniscate. Her left hand pulls his upper mouth back, her right hand presses down his lower jaw, for him to give tongue. Now I feel their physical and psychic unity in and of the landscape, like an asana.
Hear within, the roar of the hermetic lion. The roses and leaves around his neck, yoke him by figure of eight wreath to the woman. The colours are Mars and Venus: the desire nature.
The Priestess simply sits, with her rolled up Tora scroll – the akashic record of all time – unravelling a tiny bit: the pomegranates glow behind her. The Tree of Life is a fountain. Those pomegranates are the red lion’s roar around and through her – like the upraised cobra behind some Indian deities. She is shekhinah, the veil of the sanctuary; and from her lap the river flows.
Solomon’s white and black pillars indicate the chequered pavement, the trestleboard. The trestleboard is the ground-bass, the masons’ grid from which the Pattern rises – like the gothic arch from vesica pisces.
The Pattern is the way of life – the signature of nature, as in the fibernacci series – the pattern of dance, of Karmic activity or sacred speech. Paul Foster Case wrote in The Tarot – a Key to the Wisdom of the Ages: “Our mental patterns are determined by self conscious interpretation of experience. Let observation and attention (the Magician) be faulty, superficial, negative or fearful, and the resulting sequence of subconscious reactions is bound to be destructive. Then the spoken word and unuttered speech of thought (the Chariot) will be vehicles for a destructive pattern, and we shall set wild beasts at our own vitals.
“Change the pattern and you change the result. Make it accurate, profound, courageous, positive. Then you tame the lion and he becomes your servant.”
Prana is not the breath, but the electro magnetic vitality the breath draws in and out: the particle where breath is consciousness. Consciousness is the universal cosmic pattern, in human, animal, plant and mineral, as in the intergalactic space.
So this Key is called the Secret of the Works. It is the little place behind the garden, where the gardener keeps the tools, trowels and cuttings that are coming along.
The Priestess in her blues is concealed in the little valley by the trees (just below the violet mountain in the Key); where water flows. Pure Consciousness (white) turns blue (subconsciousness) and also green (fertile) and red-orange (the Sun) – what a flower. The pillars are lotus buds. She is in bud. Mother Isis is furled in bud. This Key’s ruler is the Moon.
When the egg is fertilized, the sperm dissolves to the embryonic feminine matrix (mater, material, la mer) from which after conception, the gender will differentiate to male or female. The man inseminates, but the woman broods, creationally.
Genesis says HASHEM breathed onto the waters to differentiate them – above, below. It suggests the waters – the Woman – were there before God’s outbreath. HASHEM (means Lord, or God’s Name) breathes Yod (father) as Heh (mother) into Vav – ADAMAH (clay or earth – the child). The second Heh gestates a new Yod or family. And thus, the tetragrammaton cycles of life – the prana, in and out.
As Eve was fashioned from Adam’s rib, she originally lay closer to him than breathing, until he came to recognise her. HASHEM “fashioned” and showed him. And so the molecule forms. The universal atom of HASHEM is feminine-receptive.
There is a sleepy rumour in my family tree, that our German great-grandmother is descended from the artist Lucas Cranach. Cranach painted character portraits, beautiful studies from nature, and old men lusting luscious young women. Another branch from his seed twigged out eventually to Goethe, and who knows where else? Be that as it may. Rhyzomes and root systems are threaded through the ground of being: turn over any spadeful of the ground, and see … we are all connected, eye to you.
In this painting, after the famous one by Cranach, Adam is a puzzled scientist with Eve’s offering.
These ideas arose from the monthly meeting of BOTA London group; we studied Key 8 yesterday. Many Tarot decks (The Sacred India Tarot, for example) have Strength at 11 and Justice at 8, the other way round. For meditation and divination, this does not really matter; there are cultural subtleties. The two Keys uphold equilibrium, and there is much to be said for both versions. For a Kabbalah based deck, the Lion at 8 fits the symbolism (Leo) of the Hebrew letter TETh. The TETh’s hieroglyph or sign is a half coiled snake, the visual echo in the lion’s tail.
In the Sacred India Tarot, card 8 is Varuna as Justice, god of the winds: the mythology there, has much in common with Egyptian NUT the sky goddess. Strength and Justice readily transpose. See posts on The Creation of the Sacred India Tarot archive, http://aryayogi.wordpress.com
Finally, here is the Tree of Life, with the 22 Tarot Keys – the Hebrew alphabet – positioned on the 22 paths down the lightning flash.
For more information of the Builders of the Adytum‘s work and correspondence courses, visit http://www.bota.org
And L’Shanah-Tova! – Happy New Year
My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.
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