The Magus

This post I will talk about the Magus of the Thoth deck – some decks come with three versions of this card, they were never intended to all be used but were there as consideration for the owner to either pick one or to just appreciate other versions that were created by Frieda Harris. In those times there were two extra card slots for printing which weren’t needed and so for some publications they decided to make the alternative versions available.

The Magus

I came to the Thoth initially through the Gerd Ziegler book whilst I was also training as a counsellor so the psychological approach of Zeigler, being a Jungian therapist, appealed to me. He had made the decision to include all the magi in the deck and simply make the two be the skewed meanings of the magus as a whole – the unexplored extremes of ourselves – our complete light side and our complete dark side. The central and commonly defined ‘correct’ magus as the integrated dark and light sides of ourselves – the magical flow of life we experience when we are true to ourselves and incorporate information from our dark and light sides in our decisions and mapping of our life paths.

I found the approach useful to point out when I was being unaware that my shadow had taken over my actions, or that I was purely looking for the good in things and becoming unbalanced in doing so despite my good intentions, and of course where each of these were appropriate actions, or influences to allow.

I mention it in this month’s Thoth tips as there is often a discussion in the Thoth community around the three magi and some purists to Crowley’s wishes feel one should not use all three. It is my belief that we can and should follow our own heart about their use whilst keeping our eyes open for where we may delude ourselves. As with all things we need to find the path that is right for us at the time.

I have on previous posts talked about the White and Black magi alone so here I will expand up on the transcendental Magus.

This Magus walks the line between that which could be seen as good and that which could be seen as bad – having full awareness of both he knows when it is for the highest good – or in line with his true will – to keep a secret, to lie even for the right reasons, and when it is necessary to be impeccably open, when he needs to communicate in a adapted way to present his ideas and when he can simply be himself. He uses his ability to read and empathise with others to enhance his communication and to be heard in the essential things, even if some of the things he could say he leaves out. He is an excellent salesman, as long as he believes in what he is selling, he doesn’t not worry if he can not explain all the points – just to explain why it is good in the terms the person will understand, is enough. He is our own expert communicator. He appears relating to writing, data, the transmission of it, so the internet, travel to many places and quick movement. This card is connected to mercury – both the flexible communicator and the swift mover. He brings messages from afar and is playful and can be like a trickster. In the transcendental Magus we see the sacred clown archetype. How we can ‘get away with’ a difficult message by using humour – the person is able to receive the meaning without casting out the messenger as they might otherwise.

He is a creator and uses the power of speech to create his dreams – as we think things into being the speaking of our dreams brings forces together to make them happen – whether we are talking through the use of spoken ritual – or simply the talking of our dream to travel the world with our friends to find someone has synchronistically offers to remove some or all the obstacles you felt were barring you from living out the plan. What would I do with my house – oh I know someone who is looking for a 6 month let who loves plants so can care for your garden  too etc. Things that would not come to light had you kept quiet about your intentions.

The Magus aligns his intentions with his true Will and each other and thus creates easily, as all his energy is focused to a point. This concept can be seen very easily on this card image, there is a balance yet with flexibility; it is very well depicted as he stands almost dancing on his toes, able to use all that is around him to create.

 

 

 

The Hanged Man

This month’s card to explore is the Hanged Man.  This is the 12th card of the major arcana and shows a man suspended by one foot from an anhk, held there by a snake.

Hanged Man

The card is associated with the element water and is about baptismal initiation rights. It has obvious associations of seeing the world from a different perspective and the idea of voluntarily giving up action in order to achieve a more enlightened attitude even if it may require going through some discomfort or pain.

In the Thoth this is taken another step and often challenges us to release old patterns of behaviour and trust in something higher to guide us into the unknown – ie our life without our known ways of responding, defending and behaving. So it is a powerful card of inner transformation and surrender.

The crossed leg shown below the cross also has relevance in that a triangle below a cross indicate our sinking into the unconscious – the darkness – in order to retrieve our true selves and be born into the light anew. The snakes on the card lend themselves to this idea also.

There is a connection with eternal life and a feeling of permanence of spirit with this card too – as we release our inner fears, including the fear of death, so we are truly free to life each moment in the eternal now and are not as focused on the past or future, we are free to be completely in the present.

The Hermit

This month we look at the Hermit. This is connected to Wisdom through it’s attribution of Yod – the Hebrew letter, which is the first letter of the name of the Godforce YHVH. So we have associations with creation and father too, you can see this in the card in the image of the sperm and egg. The card is also attributed to Virgo and so Mercury(being the ruler of Virgo and exalted in it’s domain), in a high form, is represented here. There is good communication and also a tendency towards service for the higher good. Mercurial energy here is not wasted on chit chat but only used to further express truths and heal the self and others.

hermit

So in a reading we can see the Hermit heralding a time spent in self healing, self discovery and a withdrawal from the mundane world as one would expect of a hermit, and also a time of giving or receiving healing or advice to others to aid them on their way. The hermit might be a therapist you visit to help you overcome issues that are troubling you, or he may represent your own therapeutic skills in working with others.

He is independent and doesn’t need reassurance from others as he follows his own inner light.

On the Kabbalah we see this card as the balancing of the energy of love and mercy from Chesed (4’s) and the more practical expression found in Tiphareth (6’s). So we see the choice to express the deepest spiritual feelings and use one’s Will in this way. Heart is the way, rather than logic or practical knowledge, the person acts from their very spiritual centre. The effects are very present on the physical plane though and not just ethereal in nature, hence the idea of a deep healing. You can see the practical effects depicted in the wheat harvest in the card image, reminding us of both the symbolic food from inner work as well as the manifestation of good results on the physical, earthly plane.

Cerberus on the card represents the guardian of the underworld, the hermit has tamed him and so leads souls through the underworld safely, also the three heads represent speech, action and thought and the full command of these faculties that the hermit has.

 

The Fool

This month I am looking at the Fool card. This card is a very powerful card and contains a huge amount of symbolism and depth – I will just scratch the surface a little here this month.

The Fool

The card shows the Fool as the main character with feet up suggesting an ungrounded quality – it is almost as if he has his feet in the air sliding along joyfully on ice – I feel this connects us with the Fool’s trustfulness qualities – not fully owning his responsibility but completely trusting all will be well. An innocent childlike faith in things. The cord wrapped three times round the card is likened to the umbilical cord and is seen coming from his right nipple. There is a sense that he is nurtured and fed by his connection to the great Mother, hence his ability to have such complete faith. The universe looking after him as he follows his heart in all things. We see this manifest practically in someone’s ‘beginners luck’ with no conscious knowledge of how something ‘should’ be done often we find our first attempts at something are very effective, and decline as we start to impose our will, control and learning upon them before returning to a more conscious competence. This umbilical cord has a caduceus entwines and represents the healing that can spontaneously come as we follow our hearts into situations we then learn from and heal old wounds with the experience. It is also a symbol of transformation which is often apparent when this card appears. A new start and a complete transformation of how we view the world; we have fresh eyes on things and an excitement and heart based joy arises.

The bag he carries contains disks – each with an astrological symbol upon it. they are arrange around the sun symbol in the center, the planets surrounding and the constellations surrounding the planets, thus we have a representation of the universe. The fool carries with him the potential of all the universe and a potential wealth of everything that exists. Nothing is formed as yet – however the possibility is there as he sets out on his journey. The sun in his genitals and the sun as center in the bag both suggest that it is his own viewpoint that he is starting from, he has confidence, even where a more mature approach would consider this ‘foolish’. His moves forward are all about him, yet also he is in tune with himself in this starting position, there is rarely error in his approach, only the potential for great things to develop from the learning situations he encounters.

He ignores his fears and his animalistic desires, even his wounds, he is not ‘trying’ to heal, merely healing through the process of what befalls him naturally. Often we find this on our life path, that without conscious determination to heal our past we are put in situation which show us more and more clearly where we need to develop and heal. Our life in a sense is its own therapy, once we pay attention to it we can gain a great deal from following where we are drawn to go. The foll doesn’t have that awareness yet – however it is likely to come, through the situations he places himself in, and through his inner Will being adhered to. Fear does not make him careful and this is a strength.

 

21 The Universe

This month’s card for us to explore is the Universe. This card is the last of the major arcana and as such is about endings – however unlike the dramatic transformation of the Death card, here we experience a more harmonious, natural ending to things and a letting go of the struggle to change as all has been done that can be done. What we have learned through the process now stays with us and protects us for the future ahead. We can be free and innocent, naked as the dancer is, offering our transformation process up now as we no longer need it. We can trust in ourselves deeply to see and understand our responsibility and action in any situation, to know our choices and to decide from a clear place without us hiding important information from ourselves out of historical protective mechanisms.

The Universe
The Universe

 

Looking at the origin of the symbolism on this card we see it is astrologically connected with Saturn. The planet of structure, solidity, reliability and trustworthiness. So we see these traits in ourselves when this card appears. We can depend on ourselves. We also have no need to rush forward, but can take our time, there is nothing to escape from and no urgency – we are happy to be where we are in the moment. Saturn is the reality checker and here in this card we see that we are fully connected with reality as we have travelled the Major Arcana’s challenges in order to arrive at this place. We are able to set boundaries where needed and able to be disciplined and ordered in order to travel the path in life we decide upon.

Tau is the Hebrew letter associated with this card. It means cross or mark and could be seen as a signature or a signing off of something. On the Kabbalah it is the path between Yesod and Malkuth so the journey of final manifestation on the Earth and then the return to spirit. So we have here more connections with the natural ending of one thing and the beginning of a new journey with a different focus. As we travel down the tree of life we are incarnating and becoming more fully present on the earth plane avoiding nothing and embracing it all – as we then turn round and travel up towards spirit so we are being aware of all that is on the earth plane – our personality, our inner nature and the limitations of being incarnated and having embraced it all we can now transcend without it being a journey of avoidance of pain, it becomes a journey which acknowledges pain and uses it for enlightenment.

The four corners of the card show the 4 Kerubim, the guardians and protectors. They also represent the 4 elements and so indication our inner protection through our wholeness. 

The building is the building of the earth plane and Crowley called this “the skeleton plan of the building of the house of Matter” it shows 92 chemical elements as seen by J Sullivan. So there is a strong symbol of the building blocks of all matter here in this card too and represents final manifestation in another way too. As Crowley also said it represents the celebration of the completion of the Great Work (which is our individuation here on this plane.)

 

The Priestess

The card we will look at this month is the Priestess.

Priestess

This card is a card representing independence and an ability to see beneath the veil, ie to be psychic and to understand how the universe works from spiritual law and understanding. Though it is not an intellectual knowing but an intuitive understanding of the deeper mysteries of the universe. It is connected to the Moon and the associations of mystery, the unknown and reflecting light back to source also come in here. The Priestess connects with the higher realms as well as is able to reflect back to people what they are creating in their lives, often times with advice on how to change things. The moon can also be seen to be symbolised in the image by the priestess wearing the crown of Isis which symbolises the changing phases of the moon. Isis is associated with stability so there is also the idea that change happens but is also stable, and that in order to have a stable life we must change continually in line with the flow of the truth of things. She is naked showing her dedication to the truth of things and what is beneath – there is no need to conceal things – there is enough mystery in the universe of itself.

More technically the image on the Thoth deck shows a woman with her hands outstretched – she is in a meditative state and is not looking to the physical world to find her answers but within so doesn’t need her eyes to be open.

The card is associated with the hebrew letter Gimel which means camel – you can see the camel depicted on the card’s image too. The idea of camels being self sufficient in the desert  fits with this interpretation of the card. She is independant and needs no other person to rely on or to feel or be safe. Her safety is within her. She is also able to contain the worries and fears of others without feeling burdened as she can see the bigger picture. She crosses the abyss between oneness of spirit and the earthly realms. As with all of us we have to make this connection alone – ultimately there is only ourselves when we start to look at birth and death in the physical realm – even though in spirit we are all one – we make this journey of the physical world ultimately alone.

There is also a great abundance associated with this card in the crystals and fruits at the bottom of the card and the bow of Artemis on the lap of the priestess (Crowley states this connection). She is the Goddess of hunters and also connected with the moon – she is independant and a warrior as is the priestess here. She provides what she needs for herself and through her own connection with the abundance of the universe.  It can also be seen as a lyre (Frieda Harris has said this) and as such is also a symbol of protection and of hathor – a form of Isis.

The Priestess is the path between Kether and Tiphareth on the Kabbalah and so is the direct link to spirit. Also a very balanced position, she possesses access to secret and hidden wisdom of the higher realms through this symbolism also.

The Lovers

This card depicts a number of opposites balancing each other in some way – with the couple in  the middle joining as one in marriage which is being blessed by the hermit above them.

Lovers

Intuitively there is a sense of commitment to uniting differences, whether this is in a partnership sense or whether it is within ourselves. We unite all the opposites in ourselves, acknowledging the different sides of ourselves and bring them together to work as a team in our lives. Sometimes using the active side of ourselves, sometimes the passive, sometimes the part of us that wants to be out there in the world with others – sometimes the part that wants solitude. As we balance the expression of the opposites we find within so we find peace. The card shows the Hermit as the overseer which matches to the part of ourselves that is the observer of our lives, the part that is untouched by life or even death, the eternal in us. This more spiritual part of us can observe and in a sense mediate any conflicts between our various sides. As we work with this inner part of the part so then also we find ourselves able to connect with another person in the external world of our lives. As we come to love all of our own conflicting sides so conflicts with those around us is less and we are more likely to attract a mate who will both complement us and also challenge us, but also will be a match for us. Commitment is possible if desired by both parties.

The card is connected to Gemini the twins so reflecting duality here also.  Also this can indicate good communication and connections with data transmission as Gemini loves these fields. All things analytical are indicated and the ability to look at many sides of a situation. As we consider all angles we come closer to the truth.  It can indicate an ability to keep changing as the world needs of us, Gemini being a mutable sign. The reds, golds and pinks indicate higher love, passion and self-esteem unite the couple together.  These inner qualities, when we develop them fully. help us to integrate ourselves and then also to have them reflected back to us from a partner.

So there is a sense of finding the perfect partner for you at this point in time – one who mirrors who you are and are not. This may bring with it a great challenge to face all parts of yourself, though when this card arises it suggests you are ready to do so. Bearing in mind a ‘perfect partner’ may be the one who most fully reflects you so if you have issues to work on these are reflected also, so the relationship may not be easy – though compelling.

You can also see the analysis aspect of the card reflected in the arch of swords that created the arena for the marriage. The swords are about analysis, thinking, dissecting and discerning. In the image they come together in harmony from two sides so there is a suggestion of balance being found after much discussion and assessment.

There is also the opposite of this expressed in the card – not surprisingly as the card is all about opposites coming together – Cupid is above the couple blindfolded – bringing to mind things such as ‘love is blind’ and the idea that the unconscious has a say in the attractions we have to people. So whilst all the analysis is going on there is also the factor of what we can not see or know at the time – the unconscious drive that propels us to ourselves even when we do not recognise our self fully in another. Hence the way we may often find ourselves compelled to be with someone yet find out quite quickly that they are not all we thought and difficulties arise, offering us the challenge to go within and find more of ourselves. The challenge of wanting to be with them yet obstacles that seem to be insurmountable. If we walk the path of our heart with as much awareness as we can then we can learn a great deal and be the richer for the experience. Mere analysis is not always enough.

 

 

 

Adjustment

This month’s card to look at is Adjustment.

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Now; I realise as I post this, this was the card I spoke about last month. Last month I picked it from the deck – with the ‘What do people what to know more about.’ intention. This month I had completely forgotten last month’s card and just was very drawn to discuss this card. It is only now as I paste this into the email that I see we were talking of it last month. However I feel my approach to the same card is somewhat different in discussion here to last month so I will stay with it and just allow the further discussion to further inform. I hope you enjoy it 😀

In other decks Adjustment is the Justice card. Here Crowley connects the card as the feminine counterpart of the Fool. As the fool jumps and follows his instinct and intuition without any guarantees so Adjustment is the response the universe gives to our impulses. The resulting feedback to our actions in a sense.

When this card turns up in a spread we can see it as the need to maintain balance and recognise our influence in the world – if we are out of balance in ourselves then the world around us seems chaotic and imbalanced. As we increase our self balance so the universe reflects this back to us.

On the card we see the woman has a mask on her and she is not looking at external actions and results in the world but rather is looking internally to her own inner world and her responses to the different sides of herself. As she listens intently so her action can be made accurately and to reflect her own inner truth. This ensures the world around also reflects her inner truth. If we spend time in meditation we can find this inner balance, from this place then we make our decisions and as we do this so what the universe sends back to us is closer to what we truly feel and believe.

It can be seen as the law of karma, however a simplistic look at this removes the sense of self destiny, learning necessary lessons and can tempt us into a punishment and control ethos – this is not what this card is about. It is more about the fine balance we keep ourselves in. The making of decisions after carefully weighing up the ramifications of all we say, do and don’t do. As we consider all points of view from our deepest self so we find the response that moves us forward on our highest path of development.

The card is ruled by libra, which is the scales and also concerned with keeping the peace, finding balance and reducing extreme demonstrations to the minimum. This energy can be blocking in some circumstances where we find we are so busy keeping the peace we have forgotten to listen to our own truth. So when this card is surrounded by difficulty then the need to go within and allow ourselves to witness fully our extremes is the way to release the stuckness experienced. It is as if we are so busy balancing we have forgotten to look what is in the scales and decide whether it has merit.

Fours are represented here by the orbs, these sets of 4 are reminding us that stability is possible if we don’t allow external circumstances to throw us off balance. We can experience peace at this time, and even large difficulties can be navigated successfully.

Adjustment

This month I am going to explore the card Adjustment. This card immediately hits us with a feeling of balance and calmness, the character on the card is balanced very precisely on tiptoe and there are scales indicating things have to be even on all sides to maintain this position. There is a sense of the need for continual micro-adjustment to maintain this balance. Any wild movements throwing the whole scene off.

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It is ruled astrologically by Libra – also a sign of great balance, peacekeeping and with this the sense of difficulty making decisions, due to trying to establish what is truly fair as so often things can be viewed from many different perspectives. Consequently we also see the idea of weighing things up, is it this or is it that?

The blue and blue green give us a feeling that part of what we have to weigh is what is in our heart – what is our truth? How can we be the most authentic to ourselves. Then once we have established this how can we communicate this to others in a fair and balanced way – respecting their side and their point of view?

As we contemplate these things we come closer and closer to the truth and reality of a situation. We also may find as we approach the truth we also approach the sides of ourselves that have been developed to protect us from past situations that are no longer relevant. These ‘untruths’ of our current predicament are brought forward to be seen in thelight of the present day. The reality of now. Often this card arises after we have done some work on our old historically driven patterns of behaviour and the current situation challenges us to see and understand our pattern and also simultaneously react from the truth of the hear and now without denying our past. It can be quite tricky.

On a more mundane level we have the associations of justice, fairness and legal contracts of all kinds – communications written and presented that ensure that all people are fairly accounted for in situations that either have had conflict in them, or could have conflict of interests in them. We have divorce arrangements, house contracts, law suits and inheritance issues around a will with this card – other surrounding cards making it clearer which of these and aso how to approach the setting up of a legal document in a specific situation. The emperor perhaps suggesting to take charge, 8 disks suggesting get help from a professional or at least look at the details very carefully, etc etc.

There is high integrity required with this card, as any imbalance is instantly adjusted, so a disharmonious action with the Will of the Whole will be reflected back to us very quickly so we can see where we ourselves need to make our inner adjustments to be in harmony with our highest potential. It is a card of karmic action from this perspective.  We are sent feedback, in the form of the situations around us, so as to learn and further progress with our development, and the feedback will be or is, exacting.

There is a great deal of a sense of precision with this card but also an emphasis on love, as Venus rules Libra, and Venus is very concerned with love and beauty, the highest goal of all of us to live with love. So all adjustments are made in the name of love – the balance is not one of retribution, but of honouring more than one perspective in love, sometimes involving a lesson if we resist the truth, but the redress is from a loving heart of high integrity. We say no to those hurting us physically, and direct them to help for their pain rather than melting out retribution for wrongs experienced. As we work in this way we stay in balance in our own lives understanding that the ‘wrong doer’ is also a part of ourselves we keep in balance to be whole.

The Emperor

This month’s card is The Emperor

Emperor

The first things that hits us with this card is the colour, lots of reds and yellows here and oranges between. Red is the colour of power, action, blood, life, the base chakra – where we connect to the earthly realm – the material, money and earthly concerns. From this we have already a sense of the card’s meaning.

 

Yellow is a colour of the solar plexus and our self-esteem and sense of self, is it the sun and the corresponding associations of warmth, connection, life, light, growth and the self.

 

Each colour has its flip side to the anger and violence of red, the cowardice (yellow-bellied) and overdone energy of the sun in its burning, the arrogance of over self-assertion.

 

If we start to look to the technical make up of the card we see this card is connected to Aries (ruler mars and colour red) and the sun is exalted in Aries and we have an astrological link with the above initial observations. Aries being the leader  the driving force, the warrior of a group of people. Confident and assertive and if overdone with its mars ruler, also aggressive and unyielding  Aries is indicated by the sign of Aries on the border and more obviously in the depiction of the ram through out the card. The dark and light Ram representing the two faces of this powerful warrior energy, the rams head on the sceptre, the tool with which the power is wielded.

 

Many of the Thoth cards can be read in this way – as we look at the image, so tightly connected to the underlying systems of thought, so we access the card’s meaning easily and simply – with little knowledge of the depth of astrology we could fathom beneath it – indeed taking it further and exploring these realms is interesting and enriching, but to understand the cards to start to use them it is not necessary. We can begin from where we are.

 

Other emblems and motives on this intricate card that we can read from the image alone include:

 

The bees on the garments of the Emperor symbolising working together as a group, hard work generally and a feeling of organisation and industriousness. They also symbolise fertility and that good works can come from the Emperor’s leadership. You can see the bees in their honey making as the ability of the Emperor energy to provide for the young, to father children and provide a good stable nutritious base for them to grow from. There is a sense too that the bee is in service to the Queen, and so it is in the Emperor energy, reflecting in us that our masculine sides are the protectors of the intuitive feminine side, the intuitive having the inspiration of direction and the Emperor serving her – leading the group to the direction she suggests.

 

The number four is represented here frequently – in the card number itself, the shape of the Emperors legs, the cross upon the orb, the dominant points in the circles to the left and right – 4 being the number of stability, structure, buildings (four walls). He is a stable character, dependable and committed. Able to make decisions and follow them through.

 

The lamb at his feet a symbol of innocence, youth and softness, all this authority needing to be tempered by a reminder of the vulnerability of people, and ourselves. As he protects and cares he becomes a stronger leader, and balances his determined warrior energy.