Text of a tape of a talk given in Liverpool by Eugene Halliday.
We started off by saying that the first card, the Magician, represents the Absolute, the Infinite Sentient Power, represented by the letter Aleph or Alpha, which is the symbol of the Absolute and we have to think of this card as signifying Power and consciousness of power. This power is Infinite and yet, is always in motion. It is called, by the philosophers, Absolute Motion. The Absolute motion is motion that is conceived without any limiting factors whatever; so that you have to conceive this motion as propagating itself simultaneously in all directions, to Infinity. That in propagating itself in all directions we have to conceive that all these different directions have elements in themselves, of contradiction. That is, the movement from North to South and South to North, are contradictory. In the same way two motions propagated in a bath of water from the tap end and the other end must be said to be mutually contradictory.
If we do a useful experiment with water, get a bath full of water, and instead of putting one person in, we put two people in, one at each end. Then we note that the ripples started by the insertion of two Girl Guides at opposite ends, cause the motions in the water to travel in contrary directions and to pass through each other. We see a very peculiar thing. That although the motion is travelling from North to South and South to North, simultaneously, the motions do not stop each other, but somehow, mysteriously, pass through each other. We could arrange the periodicity of these waves in such a way, that the trough of one wave, say the North to South wave, coincides with the crest of the South to North wave. If we do this, the water, apparently, is still. Yet we know, for a fact that it is not still, but really that the North-South and the South-North wave, which are mutually contradictory, are out of phase. When the crests coincide or the troughs coincide, we say they are in phase. When the troughs an the crests do not coincide, we say they are out of phase. As we can demonstrate in water, these motions can be seen to travel in contrary directions and can be seen to pass through each other. Very peculiarly, where they intersect, they tend to produce zones of spin, vortices. To represent this we draw a line with an arrow on the end to show the direction of the waves. Where they meet in the centre the two arrowheads make a sign like the cross of Andrew, the Andrew Cross. This is also called the Whirling Cross. Two forces, on opposition, where they meet, tend to produce a zone of rotation. This zone of rotation is equivalent to the creation of a finite being. Although the motions of the water may be considered to be infinite, and to propagate themselves to Infinity, yet where they are contrary in direction, they produce spin, and this spin arcs, or, creates a limiting factor round the zone.
The Magician represents this Absolute Motion, and the Absolute Motion, in its Absoluteness contains all conceivable directions and therefore, all mutually contradictory directions, which, while contradicting each other, nevertheless, pass through each other and yet, at their intersection points, produce zones of spin or vortices. Each vortex is equivalent to an individual being. When we remember that the whole of the significance of the first card includes all the legitimate implications of an Infinite Sentient Power, then we have to say, that wherever such a vortical spin arises, the Sentient Power in that place, identifying with its actuality, that is, with its vortical spin, assumes the form of an individual Sentient Power. That is to say, of a soul. A soul simply means, a finited zone or a rotating zone of Sentient Power.
The biggest soul we can imagine is the Macrocosmic Soul, signified by the Logos Soul of the Gospel of John. Therefore, if we take the first big spin produced by the Magician, by the Absolute, we embody the significance of this spin-zone in the second card, the High Priestess.
The High Priestess, therefore, signifies the Macrocosmic Sphere. This sphere is simply a great vortex of Sentient Power and the forces inside this sphere are reflecting themselves on the inner walls of this sphere and so traversing and producing a grid or screen of forces. This screen is the same as the rood screen that we hear of in ecclesiastical circles. It is similar to the chancel that in effect screens the essential nullity or voidity of the Absolute. The Absolute is called void because void means vehicle potential on oid, a form. We note that if we write it both ways, boustrophedon, it spells dio. This is the same Jove that you find in the Pantheon of the ancients. The void, V O I D, is D I O V, Jove. It means, in the one form Jove, creating or analysing God, and in the other thing, potential form. This potential form is fa, form in power. Potential means power. It is not reduced down to the level of finitives, which are separable from each other in any ultimate sense. The form-potential is the power-form which, in the motion of the Absolute, at its intersection ports, produces the dio or analysing or manifesting God. The name of this sphere generated, corresponding with the second the High Priestess is the sphere of Sophia (sophere). This is the Macrocosmic Wisdom. In the Indian philosophy, it is the Shakti of God. We take the Magician as the equivalent to Shiva, which is the pure, quiescent consciousness, the catalytic consciousness, then this same thing, actualised as the Sophic Sphere is Shakti, or the empowered, the dynamic aspect of consciousness which constitutes cosmic Maya or the Great Illusion.
All form is illusory in the sense that all form appears not to be power when we view it if we look at the shape of the walls, or the hanging lamps or the mouldings on the ceiling, it appears that they are static and yet we know, factually, that they are made of power. It is simply a behaviour of power, power is apparently, being static, but static means only, that the powers are opposing each other. It is in the dynamic opposition that the static appears.
In the second card, therefore, the High priestess we see the sphere of Macrocosmic Wisdom, which is the Great Illusion, which the Magician sets up as his object, or the mirror of his power. He then, would be represented by the Absolute Sun, and the High Priestess by the Moon, the Absolute Moon, the mirror, which is simply the formulating aspect of the power of God the Magician. The next thing that happens, is that this High Priestess has to be acted upon by the Magician Power and precipitated into the time process and therefore, serialised. When we imagine this sphere, the standing sphere of the Cosmic Sophia, the Gnostic Sphere or Wisdom Sphere, when we imagine it to be created, if we just leave it at that level, nothing is going to happen. It is just going to be a standing sphere of form. Therefore, the Magician inserts into it, a power which starts a motion from any point in the sphere and travels right through the sphere and thus serialises, within this infinite of its own being, the temporal process as the serially presented form of the eternally simultaneous form.
When it precipitates the time process, the High priestess, the Cosmic Wisdom is precipitated in the time process and appears as the Empress. This Empress is the first mother of the human race. It is, if you like, Eve. It is all mothers in so far as they have authority within the family. The mother is the natural, original authority to the child that needs to be fed. She has the power to give nourishment and she has the power to withhold it. Consequently, she rules by withholding nourishment or giving it. But she rules in this method, by giving or withholding nourishment, comfort and so on. It is apparent, from her emotional way, of giving it when she feels like it, that it is not the best way of handling a very large scale relationship involving innumerable entities, and therefore, she is not articulate in her feeling life and therefore is in need of the Emperor who is her own son, who also is her husband.
This Emperor now has the power to articulate the formal contents as the man has the power, rationally to say what he is thinking. The woman, in general, does not want to say what is the rational form of the universe, because she is concerned with feeling relationships. She lives her life in relationships but the man wants to live his life from formal considerations, from geometrical and mathematical principles. The Emperor, therefore is like the temporal precipitate of the Absolute and he assumes Absolute authority and he places above his head, the solar crown which properly belongs to God and declares himself the articulate expression of God within the time process. These are the kings who are crowned and declared divine. Divine, of course, means they have the ability to divine, that is to say, to see the differences between things, to articulate differences.
When the Emperor takes over authority from the Empress, he discovers(
) the Empress because that would mean the overthrow of his temporal authority So as he sees other men need this mother concepts he says let us go back to the High Priestess. So it is the Eternal Mother concept, which is the Immaculate Mary of the Church, the Eternal Mother Principle, let those who need the eternal Mother Principle, worship in the Eternal instead of in the temporal. So they don’t have to take notice of his temporal wife, the Empress, but they can take notice of the Eternal, the High Priestess, the Sophic Sphere. But, at the same time, this Sophic Sphere never speaks in the time process and therefore, she also needs an articulator, the Hierophant or High Priest. The king then establishes the Hierophant, whose duty it is, to explain what the Eternal Mother wants the mother-needers on earth, to do. The Hierophant is going to get men who need a mother to obey him in the name of the Cosmic Mother Principle. So the Holy Virgin Mary, in her celestial form becomes the hidden authority behind her hierophantic representatives on earth.
The Emperor and the Hierophant who are fully aware of the needs of people, decide to capitalise on the sexual needs of people, because, apart from eating food, the next basic and essential activity of life is a sexual relation. When a commodity is in continuous demand, it is not a bad idea if you can corner the market and therefore, the sex act itself, which is a necessity for universal procreation has to be made taboo, unless sanction is received. The sanction comes in two forms. For those who need the mother, the sanction comes from the hierophant, you have to have church permission to copulate. But, for those who do not believe in this Mother Principle, you will have to have a temporal licence from the Emperor’s representative. So, you can be married in the registry office by the Emperor’s representative or in the church by the Emperor’s hierophantic representative, but, in any case, you have to have permission.
Meanwhile, the secret is leaking out, because the Emperor and the Empress have some sons. Sometimes the Emperor is rather busy and he is away from the Imperial Palace and he impregnates some person outside the palace. (This results in a person) who is called the Bastard, or the man who will use the bastardo, which means the baton sinister.
He has derived from his father, the information about how to run the state
But from his mother he has inherited a low position. So, he is very jealous of his father’s authority and he is determined to overthrow his father as soon as possible. But he knows that unless he can control the sexual impulse in himself and break out of the necessity for permission from the Emperor and the hierophant that he will never be able to establish his own empire. He, therefore, goes to work upon his own inner polarity. He understands and conquers his own male and femaleness and works to unify himself into one battery of unified will.
So, the Chariot, the Charioteer, represents the end of the first septenary grouping and passes spontaneously, into the eighth card, here shown as strength, which shows a virgin either closing or opening the mouth of a lion by gentleness. The lion is the symbol of the time process. If you look at the very early sculptured representations of Saturn and Chronos, you will find that this is a man with a lion’s head. If you read the Bible, you will find the devil goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and who is behaving suspiciously like Saturn who hives rise to and devours his own children. By the application of Infinite energy, that is to say, indetectable energy, by the application of force in such a way that nobody knows it is in application, one can shut the mouth of time or open the mouth of time This means that in any given time-place, something can be done. It means that in the time, one can inhibit something that would manifest spontaneously or one can cause something to manifest which is really out of joint. The time is out of joint, means the time is absolutely out of eternity, and if one understands the meaning of this individuated Will, born out of the polarity of the inner sexual nature of male and femaleness or the volitional and conscious aspects of being, unify this, and then apply the thing in the world of action, one can either open the potential of the time or close the potential of the time. One can create opportunities or destroy opportunities in the time process.
The cards are arranged in a septenary manner, three sevens plus one. An octave is always seven notes plus one. If we arrange them in this manner, we can see a relation between the first card and the eighth card. Twice seven is fourteen plus one is fifteen. It is always this plus one, so that the first of the second seven is the strength and has the same glyph over the virgin’s head as the magician has, namely the figure of eight on its side, the glyph of Infinity. Just as the magician signifies Infinite Power, so this virgin, closing or opening the mouth of the time- lion, also signifies Infinite Power. Infinite meaning, not finite, meaning indetectable. Any power that is exerted in an indetectable way is Infinite Power. The eighth card, therefore, is the same thing as the first card.
If we take the top row and say it corresponds with spiritual values, the spiritual plane, the second row will correspond with the psychic plane and the third row with the terrestrial, gross material. First row causal, second row subtle and third row, gross. So, at the psychic level, the Magician appears as the person who has discovered the polarity principle within himself in the sixth card, in the seventh card has unified it and in the eighth card, has now realised the necessity for secrecy and the application of this force in indetectable amounts. Once the technique of applying this in indetectable amounts has been discovered, one automatically passes on to the ninth card, which corresponds with the second card.
At the level of the individual psyche, the High priestess appears as the Hermit. That is to say, the Hermit is looking for this very wisdom, this Cosmic Wisdom signified by the second card. He has a lamp, which signifies individual light and he is walking about in broad daylight, looking for the truth. In its negative aspect this card signifies that one grows very old in the pursuit of truth. In its positive aspect, it signifies, that if one realises that one is actually using ones individual light to find the light, then one already is old. One is ageless. The Ancient of days, the title of God, now vested in the Sophic Sphere, embodies itself in the Hermit. Hermit, as you can see, her, means power-ratio, and the mit is the hebraica of time. It is the power-ratio appearing in the time, the time-power-ratio. So, the individuated man, who is aware that it is his own light that he is using in order to see light, and who has penetrated to the meaning of the biblical statement, “In Thy light shall we see light.”
He is ready to pass on to the tenth card, which is, the Wheel of Fortune and corresponds with those things that happen in the temporal world, because there exists within the world, various types of beings. In some cards we find these as represented as two figures, the Ape and the Wolf. The Ape signifies he who copies the activity of the Wolf. The Wolf signifies, he who has a great appetite to gulp up all world power. In the Waite version of the card, the figure on the left is a Serpent, meaning a very wily, cunning person, and a Hermanubis, which is, of course, a Hermes and Anubis figure. Hermes is Mercury, and Anubis is the Egyptian God of the Jackal that barks when the Sun comes up. We can translate Hermanubis and as self-advertiser, and the Serpent as a cunning fellow who is jumping on the bandwagon of the self-advertiser to get the benefit of his advertising.
So, the Wheel of Fortune, the temporal wheel of success and failure, is driven by self-advertisers and cunning blokes trying to join in with their very successful tactics. If we add into this, the apes and the wolves, we will get four types of being, all of which exist, tremendous appetites to wolf up the world, and they are actually called Wolf or Wolfson or the equivalent, and while they are wolfing it up, some others, without the same appetite or drive, nevertheless, go through certain types of apish antics, as if they had this drive. The apes and the wolves are also turning the wheel which the self-advertising hermanubists and the subtle jumper-on-bandwagons are also driving.
Sitting on top of the wheel, however, is a Sphinx, a mysterious four-part being, who has the power, because it represents the Magician, the Charioteer, the Hermit, it has the power to chop, as they go round, at the self-advertisers, the subtle fellows, the wolves and the apes. He knows these things exist and he can cut at them as they go by and give them a little prod, if the wheel tends to slow down. Although these things may be termed bad, if we remember that Jacob Boehme once said the worst is as good as the best, you can see that the temporal wheel would not keep turning if there were no wolves, no apes and no hermanubises and no serpents. If there were not self-advertising fellows and wolfing appetite fellows and copy-cats and subtle, cunning people, then the wheel of temporal evolution would stop. Therefore the Sphinx has a dual role. He is there to cut off the heads of any that he feels are better without heads and he is also there to prod them to make sure that the wheel keeps turning.
In the four corners of the card we see the symbols of the four-fold man which are attributed to the four gospels. We see the Man, represented as reading the book. This, of course, in the Zodiac, is Aquarius. We can see the Bull, which is Taurus and the Gospel of Luke. We can see the Lion which is Mark and the sign Leo and we can see the Eagle, which is Aquila, an extra-zodiacal constellation, correspondent with Scorpio. Matthew is said to have a man as its symbol. The Wheel of Fortune is then driven in this way and over it stands the Sphinx as executioner, either to slow the wheel down when it goes too fast or to prod somebody into keeping it turning where it is threatening to go too slow.
This Charioteer/Hermit, embodies himself, mysteriously in the Sphinx, who can, if he wills, start cutting at the apes and the wolves and the self-advertisers and the subtle serpents. In order to avoid this danger to him, of taking over the position of executioner on the Wheel of Fortune, which is a full-time occupation and not very rewarding in any way excepting cash, he passes on to the consideration of the eleventh card and we see that this card is underneath the Emperor. He is the authority in the temporal world, and the eleventh card is Justice.
We know that eleven signifies one over ten, ten means ordinal perfection, eleven means one over the ordinal system. Over every ordinal system there is force. An ordinal system is a system of equilibrated forces and the individuated force outside the system is the force that can determine where the balance is going to fall. The Hermit, therefore, looking at the full-time occupation of the executioner Sphinx of the Wheel of Fortune, realising that there is such a thing in every finite situation as the danger of interference from outside the system by Infinite Power. Realising there is a principle of Macrocosmic Justice, he decides, if he is wise, that he will not accept the position of executioner in the temporal Wheel of Fortune. Justice means the natural result of an expression of power. Whenever power moves, it necessarily changes. The change is imposed upon itself by the moving power. So that, if a power circulates, by the act of circulating, it produces a finite zone and in the process, has tied itself up. This is Justice, not the simple temporal justice represented by a scale balancing in the time process. This is the justice represented by two forces in opposition producing a zone of rotation or, a zone of rotation, a circumscribed roll with the inner forces pressing out and the outer forces pressing in. There is a balance of power between the inner finite and the outer Infinite. Sinking into the consciousness of the Hermit, this says, no matter what I do, if I am finite, there is always power beyond me that can at as a stabilising force to contradict whatever I do. In Indian philosophy, this card of Justice would be represented by Karma, that is, by the cause and effect of desire once released. When desire is released it, necessarily, tends to objectify itself and once it has objectified, it is exposed to the consequences of objectification. So, that, if a man looks at a woman secretly and thinks her beautiful, “I love her,” and he never tells her, he goes away quickly before she can read the expression in his eyes, then he is not objectified and cannot be brought to account. But, if he stays about long enough to be detected and to be provoked into verbalising his emotional response, his verbalisation is an objectification and it can be aid to him, “Lo, you have spoken.” You are a committed man when you have spoken. So, it is said, to speak is to fall.
The card of Justice says, whether you release your will or your ideas or your emotions as soon as you release the energy, it begins to precipitate on a centre. Every energy shot out from a finite tends to fall gravitationally, onto itself and create a new object. This object exposes the will of the man who throws it and the sped arrow cannot be reclaimed. The hermit is very careful, therefore, about Justice. He knows that every act, contains within itself, the seeds of self-objectification and therefore of self-accounting, self-exposure and self-refutation, therefore he works very secretly. Once he has comprehended the meaning of this Justice card, he realises that the best thing to do is to accept these facts of the reciprocal effects of power upon itself, this reflexive process, and he will hang himself upside down.
That is to say, standing on temporal values on the principle of individuatedness in the time process, on the principle of every man for himself, he will say, “I will hang myself on the principle of government which proceeds from the Absolute. This is the number twelve. Twelve means governmental perfection. This man hangs himself, very cheerfully, he is shown on the card, smiling, and he is hanging by his right leg and his left leg is bent. That his left leg is bent means that his time leg or rational process, is put out of commission. That he suspends himself by his right leg, symbolises that he wills, the right leg signifies will, he wills to go from the Infinite, from the Absolute. Naturally he has got a halo round his head because he must know what he is doing in order to will these things if he hasn’t already been a Hermit and penetrated to the meaning of the individual light, understood the Wheel of Fortune and understood the principles of Cosmic Justice, that he will not wilfully hang himself on the Eternal. But, if he does hang himself on the Eternal then he can afford to be happy, because he knows, in this hanging process, that the Eternal is trying to create, trying to evolve beings that will hang themselves on the Eternal. That is, beings who will will what the Eternal wills. He is now so illuminated, that he realises that you cannot win unless you hang yourself on the Eternal. Therefore, he hangs himself on the Eternal. He abandons his little temporal life of the separated, polar beings and he asserts his identity with the Infinite, with the Absolute. When he hangs himself upside down, he is then ready to face the fact of death.
The death card, thirteen, shows the figure of Death, the skeleton on the horse. The horse is white meaning the equilibration of all powers or the consummation of days or the Last Judgement. Bowing before him are all manner of terrestrial beings, including a hierophantic figure. All these figures which are in the time process must be eliminated in the time process. They cannot survive because they have come to be in the time process. Anything born within the time must die within the time.
So the Hanged Man, the man who has hanged himself upon the Eternal, on the Infinite, is now ready to face the fact of temporal death because he is no longer concerned with his temporal life. He can therefore, realise, why this Death card, the thirteenth card, is underneath the sixth card, the Lovers. This sexual polarity in the Lovers is the spiritual correspondent of the psychic fact of Death. When the Absolute, which is pre-analytic, pre-dual, non-dual, when that Absolute has polarised itself in the time process as man-woman, it has actually killed its pre-analytic non-duality and made itself nescient in two ways. In the woman it has made itself ignorant of the processes of the man, and in the man it has made itself ignorant of the processes of the woman, so that there is a process of mutual misrepresentation and misunderstanding going on between temporal man and temporal woman. This adds up on the psychic plane to the death of the individual who has not comprehended this war between the poles of his own being. All the alchemical pursuits of the elixir of life, the food of immortality, the ambrosia, the mysteries is said to be concerned with sex and the fusion of the polar opposites of one’s own being. It is said that death can be conquered if one can understand, penetrate, to the meaning of sexual energy and its polarisation within the body. One can preserve oneself by causing one’s own man and woman to come together so that instead of the merely external relationship, there is an inner relationship in the individual between the female and male aspects. This is the same thing as conquering temporal death because by so doing, one welds the psychic body, the subtle body, into a polarised unity which cannot be destroyed at the death of the gross material body.
Consequently, after the death card, we find a card of Temperance, which tells us how to nourish this principle of the polarised will, which appears in the Chariot and the figure represents an angelic figure with wings. On his chest is a triangle, the symbol of synthesis or integration of being. This angel is pouring from one chalice into another chalice the waters of life, that is, the waters of the psyche. The two chalices correspond with the intellectual life and the volitional life. The statement is made, that every idea is a packet of energy and that every will has a correspondent form. If we get hold of the idea, and begin to penetrate to the dynamic content, the dynamism that precipitated itself as the idea, we can unlock the idea and regain the involved will of the idea. So what is a mere intellectual proposition, now becomes, in effect, a battery of will power. In every idea properly analysed, the energy released re-involves itself in the will-centre. In the same way, whenever one feels an impulse of will, careful self examination of the will, the motive of the will, will reveal a hidden idea, a form within the will which clarifies the will. By this method of feeding the will into the idea and the idea into the will, the whole body begins to become a dynamic, non-dual power. So the fifteenth card then, represents, on the psychic level what the Chariot does on the Spirit level.
We now pass on to the third octave and we see immediately that on the gross material level, this spiritual infinite, the Absolute Magician, now appears in the time process as the Devil. God is the Devil. That is the God of the Infinite is the Devil of the gross material world. If you bother to look up the word ‘Devil’, you will discover that this devil comes from the same root, dev, or god, comes from. It is said the ‘diabolos’ or deus invertus, is God inverted. The Devil is God inverted because, from the point of view of any gross materialist, the Infinite Power of the Absolute must always appear as a threat to his gross material stability and purpose. Every gross materialist is trying to establish something in the time process, something like the Tower of Babel, which we will see in the next card. This purpose is in constant danger of refutation, of destruction by forces outside the particular system that he is trying to build. Therefore, God, the Infinite, appears at the gross level, as the objectification off the devil.
In the devil card, we see that the Devil himself is standing on the block of stone representing the material world and chained to it are two figures, a man and a woman, as in the Lovers card and they have little tails to show that they are partly animalised by the relation. On the tail of the woman there is a figure, something like a loganberry or a strawberry or it could be a pomegranate. It means the potential seeds, the ova within her body which represent the potentials of her being which have involved themselves into eggs and will generate as children in the time process with no benefit whatever to her, psychically. The man, of course, has a flame for a tail signifying his hot, fiery, desirous nature in the pursuit of his object in the time world. These two beings are represented as chained together because they are chained to the block signifying the material world. When we look at them we see that they represent a man and a woman in a material relation who have got together only for material considerations. Thus, a man marrying a woman because she is wealthy or a woman marrying a man because she thinks he is going places and is going to become a great figure in the material world. When they come together for material considerations, for wealth, for comfort, for the big Hermanubis or show-off, then they are tied together by merely material considerations and they are subject to the devil powers. That is to say, they are subject to a perpetual threat from the Absolute God who is continuously threatening to disintegrate their temporal world.
Consequently, in the next card, we find the Tower appears. The Tower, of course, signifies the same thing as the Tower of Babel in Genesis, where it says men said, “Let us gather together and build a tower for ourselves, and make a name for ourselves before we are scattered in the earth.” The statement is that we are building this tower in order to make a name in the gross material world. Any man who sets out to create, at the gross material level, an objective image to call at other people to bow down, directly or indirectly, to create a temporal image that other people can see, or become aware of, or define, and that he is going to require them to be subordinated to this image which he has created, any such person is the builder of a Babel tower. Babel, literally means, “ A house against itself.” You know that Christ says, “ A house against itself shall not stand.” We take the letter B and we write it boustrophedon, two Bs, put an L in the middle, which means the link factor and also the stimulus or goad, the B.B if we put them both together is the cross in a circle. We draw a circle, which signifies the unitary principle, we divide it down the middle, vertically and horizontally and then we split it and we have two letters, B, one facing right, the other left. We put the L in for the link factor and this spells Babel for a house against itself or self-contradiction or confusion.
The lightning here represented is, of course, the lightening which is coming through from the Absolute and striking down through the Tower from the gnostic sphere, the sphere of wisdom through the Hermit, who is now the Prophet, who is speaking in the name of the Absolute and of Wisdom and telling man, at the temporal, gross level of building his material image, that this thing cannot win. He is telling that the Eternal is a fact and that temporal things must fall. The Hermit, here, functions as prophet. You look in the Old Testament, and the functions of prophets, going about, cursing kings for their naughtiness, you will get a good illustration what the Hermit signifies in this context.
Because this is a fact, that all temporal things must fall, therefore the Hermit, the Wise Man, in the gross material world, understanding that the Empress is the temporal precipitation of the Eternal Wisdom, understanding that the Empress is the target of those pursuers of the Wheel of Fortune, those Apes and Wolves, those Serpents and those self-advertising Hermanubis creatures, he, understanding this, says “Let us pour back into the Infinite whatever we get out of it.”
Therefore in the seventeenth card, we find the Star. We see the stars in the sky, representing celestial forces and we see the nude figure of a woman, which means a will. Woman always means a will or affection as a man means an idea or initiative. This will pour back from the finite containers, whatever belongs either to water or to earth. That is to say, either to the subtle or the gross world. Pay back to the Infinite whatever has been taken from it. If the man who understands this continuously gives away what he acquires and never attributes it to his own finity, to his own individual efforts, whatever he acquires, he pays it back into the source. Because he pays it back, then more must come in, because, when he pays it back, the hole, the doorway through which it flows, in the act of flowing through it, the power has made the door a bit larger. As long as we let it out, the door gets bigger and bigger. If we try to close the door, that is, to be egotistic, and pretend that this is our own peculiar virtue, our own image and that it is worth holding, in the act of holding it and refusing to give credit where credit is due, that is, to the Infinite, refusing to do this shuts the door. When the door is shut then the Infinite Power cannot flow through.
As a warning to this, the Hermit sees, that if we don’t pay back in this way, we will go under the dominion of the moon, and this very, very baleful orb symbolises the phasic behaviour of power in Cosmos, it waxes and wanes, it grows and diminishes. Power, likewise, under the moon, that is to say, under the final term of material existence, must diminish and increase and diminish and increase. In this next card we see the Moon represented both full and in phasic behaviour, with the crescent on it. It is on its waxing side here t symbolise the power will increase. But, if it is increasing now, it must diminish later. Baying at the Moon there are two creatures. One is supposed to be a dog and the other is a wolf, but the dog is only a domesticated wolf and the wolf is an untamed dog. Both of them worship the Moon. These dogs have been used to symbolise that which worships phasic behaviour and is dominated by the mood. In the Sanscrit form, the mood is called gunas. It means mood or modal activity and is also the word from which the word gyn, woman, is derived. It is peculiarly the card of phasic femaleness, of this inconstancy of the affective life that is not in contact with the Infinite Spirit. Every change of mood in the human being can be said to be Moon-dominated in this sense. The dog, tame and wild, are baying at this because they don’t understand it. When a wolf bays at the Moon, it can’t help it, but somehow, this great light seems to it, terribly important.
We are human beings and therefore we are like Christ, a Pantherion. That is a pantechnican of animals. We have all animals within us and we can find, if we look at the Moon, an echo of dogs, both wild and tame. We actually feel the Moon as a peculiar influence. It seems very strange. We say that it has a baleful effect or it has a beautiful effect according to whether our love-life is going well or ill. Coming out of the water of this card of the Moon is a crayfish. This symbolises the emerging from the depths of the unconscious, and in the water, the non-individuated unconscious, what Carl Jung would call, the collective unconscious. From this unconscious, conjured up by the pull of the phasic behaviour emerges the threat of the formless horror from below. This means that inside every man, when he is suffering from the mood, when his moods are elated or depressed by whether things are going well or ill, there emerges from the depths, some strange forebodings. So that, when things are going well, there is a little shadow that overshadows them and threatens the removal of these things and when things are going badly, the shadow that comes on says, “I told you so, I told you it was going to go wrong.” So that when thing is bad you feel the ethic is correct, it is bad. And, when it is good you feel it is not possible to continue so it must be coming bad. As long as you are subject to this phasic behaviour, this change of mood, so long will you be dominated in the same way as this wild dog and tame dog and this crayfish subject is.
In the same card, there are two stone pillars. These signify, like the Pillars of Hercules, the gateway to the Beyond. These creatures dare not go through those pillars any more than the ancient peoples, living in the Mediterranean dare sail through the Straits of Gibraltar to see what was beyond. We know that the Ancient Britons somehow managed to get through. But to the Mediterranean people actually to dare to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar into the great ocean beyond, was unthinkable. Very, very few people dared to do it. These two stone columns signify the Pillars of Hercules on the Straits of Gibraltar, or the outer limit and polarity of the finite. Those beings subject to phasic behaviour, dare not go beyond that which is definable. Beyond the medi-terranean, the middle-of-the-earth-ocean, there is an Atlantic Ocean. There is a terrible eating-weaving force. Like the Edomite Kings, there is an Infinite force which will slowly take you to pieces. There is a nameless monster beyond, and in the name of this monster, it is best for us not to go beyond the definition.
The Hermit who understands the meaning of this card, and who it was who set up the Pillars to mark the lines beyond which we must not go, is ready to pass into the significance of the next card which, being vertically below the Hierophant and the Hanged Man, naturally must express itself in this kind of significance. The Hierophant represents the articulated version of the Eternal Mother or Sophic Sphere and the Hierophant has no power over the Hanged Man because the hanged Man has become his own Hierophant and having done so and carried on through his next stages of development, he has become the card of the Sun.
The Sun signifies heat and light, on this card, straight lines and wavy lines the straight lines are the light and the wavy ones are the heat. The straight ones correspond with your intellectual or structured mind and the wavy ones to volitional and affective processes. The Sun gives forth heat and light, form and power. In this card, the Hierophant, self-realised, the psychic level of the Hanged Man who is his own High Priest, now appears as a naked little boy on a white horse. He is now innocence personified. He is getting remarkably close to the supreme image of the Fool. He has now become a child. “Except ye become a little child you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, here symbolised as the world. So this innocent little boy, he is now riding without reins on a white horse. Horse symbolises the Horatio or power ratio being and , of course the white horse signifies this in perfect balance. He is going forth flying a red standard, red means activity. He is not flying a blue standard of thought, he is going out doing things, riding on his equilibrated power knowing the meaning of the Hierophant and the Hanged Man. He has now become an Innocent who is riding about without reins. He is not guiding his horse, he is going where his horse takes him, but his horse is his equilibrated balance of power.
This means to say he is now completely ready for the Last Judgement in the gross material world, just as the Hanged Man was ready for the physic death. So, likewise, this innocent boy riding the horse in the Sun card, he is ready for the gross material death. He has begun to understand why it is that his red flag appears as a red cross on the banner of the trumpet which the angel is blowing. The angel is blowing this trumpet, and, emerging from the tombs are all the dead, and they are going to be judged. Christ says, “Every man goes into his own place and his works follow him.” It is appointed to man once to die and after that, the Judgement. He understands the meaning of this Judgement card. If you have hanged yourself adequately on the Infinite, you have already escaped the Judgement. Therefore you can operate like the innocent boy on the horse. The Last Judgement must come. That is to say, once the temporal process has started, there are certain necessary developments. If we go back to the beginnings of art in the caves and look at the way this art has given birth to subsequent arts and we go back to primitive science and look how that primitive science has grown into modern science, and we go back to primitive philosophy and primitive religion and see how they have grown, we see that there is a natural term of all activities of the human race just as there would be a natural term if we inserted into a closed sphere, a lot of moving particles. These moving particles would move about until they had distributed themselves equably. The would then attain what we call ‘maximum entropy’ and they would then go into the Judgement state. They have equilibrated. Each little particle is now in its own place and this is the Conservation of Days or the final adding up of all the activities of the temporal process in the Last Judgement.
If one gets through the Last Judgement, then having been aware that one is the Magician who precipitated this world, having fought through the Chariot and the hermit and the Hanged Man; having paid back into the Eternal what one borrowed from it; having realised one’s innocence as a child and therefore gone over the Judgement, one gains the whole World without losing one’s soul.
The card called the World, number twenty-one presents us with a funny problem in solution. There are twenty-two cards here and there are twenty-two letters in the Hebrew Alphabet and they are said to be in correspondence. The scholars have always had a very, very great difficulty with the card of the Fool. The card of the Fool is said, traditionally, to be in the twenty-first place, but it is not numbered twenty-one. It is numbered zero. If we put the world in the twenty-first place we find that it is made of three sevens, which means the whole balance, the resting point on the three planes of being, the conative, the affective and the ideational levels, this World is a three-fold, a trinity World of power, of feeling and of formulations or ideas. It is number twenty-one, correctly, because of the numerical symbology and yet that place is the one, traditionally, allotted to the Fool. If we place the Fool in this twenty-first place and then read the World card after it, a funny thing will happen. The last letter in the Hebrew Alphabet is Tow or Tav, according to how you spell it in German, and this Tow letter symbolises a cross, or the sign of the cross, and the World is then seen simply as the crossing of the Absolute powers off the Magician, so that, the World, as such, is the objectified Absolute. In this sense, the World does not correspond, simply with the material World that we live in, nor with the material World of planets, of the Sun, of solar systems, of sidereal systems, whatever is visible to us. The totality of all visibles is an infinitely small amount of what is signified by this card, the World.
This World is represented by a woman who is nude except for a peculiar flying drapery. The drapery is flying to symbolise that it is the Spirit. That it is the World signifies that it is formulated. That it is a woman, signifies that it is a will to formulate. This is the Shakti in the Indian philosophy. The power of the Absolute, which has now objectified itself as he World, but this World is transcendent of the material World that we know of. It is the World Absolute internal to which, the World as we know it, the subtle World and the gross material World subsist. Although we say here, that the Absolute has objectified itself as the World this is not pantheism, because, by this World, signified in this card, we do not refer to the so-called World of material nature, but to the actual power of the Absolute, in so far as by its own self-contradictory motions it establishes the mesh of form.
If we then place the World on the Tav, or cross, we have placed the World on the point twenty-one where the Fool should be. The twenty-second letter is the Tav, why should we attribute the significance of the twenty-second card to the World? Let us see why.
The Fool signifies, ‘He who has completed his evolution.’ He has become aware that hi is the Absolute. He knows the macrocosmic Sphere of Wisdom. He understands how she is precipitated into the time process, historically, as the first Mother, the temporal Empress. He understands why the deficiencies at the intellectual level made her inarticulate, he therefore understands why the male, the Emperor usurped her authority by clear articulation. He understands why that Emperor erected the Hierophant to talk about the Eternal Mother to displace the authority from the temporal mother. He understands and connives with the Hierophant to make sexual relations permissible only by permission. Her also understands why the mysterious bastard, the illegitimate Christ to be must oppose the powers temporal because he is born out of them and understands what they are. He understands the meaning of the infinite application of power, the indetectable application of power. He understands what it means that the Hermit is old and carries within a lamp, in broad daylight, a little individual light to find the truth. He understands that the Wheel of Fortune can be driven by Apes and Wolves, by self-advertisers and subtle beings and he understands what the Sphinx is doing there and rejects this position for himself. He understands Cosmic Justice, the self-objectification of desire, the self-exposure of power once objectified. He understands and affirms the position of the Hanged Man as an upside down volitional man who refuses to operate his own life from temporal considerations. He understands the principle of Death and how everything temporal, every authority, even the powers of the Emperor and the Hierophant must bend before this fact of the possibility of the psychic Death by definitions which will precipitate itself into the gross world of the Last Judgement. He understands the method of reciprocal self-feeding of idea and will. He understands that the gross material world interprets the Absolute Infinite God as the Devil because the Infinite threatens its finite purpose. He understands the babbling Tower of confusion and why it must be overthrown by the inherent nature of the temporal definition. He comprehends why it is necessary to return to infinity everything that came out of it in order to keep the door of one’s being open. He know the meaning of the Pillars of Hercules and that they are there not to tell you to go no further but to tell you where the definition finishes, so that you can, if you are so willed, go beyond the definition into the infinite of Atlantis. He knows the new innocence of the child who is riding on this horse and who is the embodiment of the Sun which symbolises the unified power of the Absolute expressed as Lord of the Time process. He knows the Last Judgement and he knows the World. He knows all these things and therefore, in a very peculiar sense, the Fool is the World. So we can place the Fool and the World, both of them in the twenty-first place and we can allot to these two, either the twenty-first or the twenty-second letter.
The twenty-first letter is the letter Shin which we have represented as a trident.
In some cards, continental cards this is sometimes called Forca for the Fool, the fork, the trident. This Fool understands the meaning of this letter. It has been said before, this Hebrew letter Shin, if it is pointed on the right hand arm, the sinister on heraldically, it is pronounced ‘shin’ and if it is pointed on the left hand arm, heraldically, the dexter side, then it is ‘sin’. Exactly the same letter, pointed on one side is shin or good or shine and on the other side is bad, sin or private aim. The whole letter Shin signifies fire and this fire is the Absolute enery of the Magician, the energy of the Magician, which objectifies as the World. I said “enery,” I left out the hard G because it should not be there. This Absolute energy, used, symbolically by Heraclitus, as fire, is also the energy which formulates as the Logos , as Cosmic Wisdom. It is also the same that appears in the gross material world as matter. So there is no difference, essentially, between a gross material particle and the Will of God to self-objectification, and the Fool understands this. He knows that this material world is spiritual, right through and he also knows that all definitions are self-objectification of Sentient Power which has no compulsion so to objectify and he knows it has the power to scrub out all the definitions it has made and therefore, in no sense is he limited by the definitions which he finds within the temporal gross world. He does not accept these definitions, and therefore when we look at his card we find that this young man is represented as a youth. This is the Eternal Youth and he is walking over the edge of a cliff and the edge of this cliff is the same thing as the Pillars of Hercules. He is sailing out of the Mediterranean and he just doesn’t care. Whatever definition you give him, he says, “That is a definition. If you have given it to me you are either reacting mechanically, because somebody has inserted the definition into you, or if you are not reacting mechanically, then you are willing to give me this definition and it is your will I am concerned with, not your definition. Either the thing is mechanical or it is volitional. If it is volitional, I too, am a will, and I will make another definition, unless your definition suits my purpose.
So, the Fool is the supreme prince of indefinition. Indefinition, negatively, not-definition and indefinition positively, in-definition, inner defining power. This definition is the same thing as devinition or divine nature. So, this Fool is the same card as the Magician, only, he has completed the process. All the power of the Father is put into the hands of the Son. This is the New Testament. The father puts all His power into the hands of the Son. The Magician Aleph, puts all his power into the hands of the Master of Supreme Indefinition who appears as the Fool.
This Fool and this World, from the point of view of the Fool are not different. The Fool, called the Mystic Fool, as opposed to the congenital idiot in the time process, this Mystic Fool knows that he is the World and he also knows that if there is, if there is any other will, if there is any validity whatever in all the other beings presented within consciousness alongside with the body which he uses as centre of reference, if there is any validity in them, it must be of the same order that he has, and it must be, ultimately, entirely arbitrary what they define. He honours their definition because he honours his own definition and in honouring his own definition, he is released from their definition whilst still honouring it.