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the_real_simon_iff
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93!

I was often wondering why the famous AC portrait of LAM nearly everywhere seems to be retouched, thus looking like this:

Nearly all google picture searches will show you this one. I have a contemporary photograph of the painting which shows some kind of ornamental crown of hearts on the head, and I also found it (exclusively web-wide it seems) on P.R. Koenig's site:

Although it looks like it is added on the second pic, I see it here on my photograph also, and this is also the way one can find it in the photograph collection of the Harry Ransom Research Center. I don't have the Blue Equinox at hand, so I do not know which version is in there.

Any thoughts on the crown? Or its removal?

Love=Law
Lutz

EDIT: PLEASE USE THE PICTURE UPLOADED TO THE GALLERIES (AND STILL THE LAST UPDATED ON THE LEFT) FOR REFERENCE BECAUSE THE ONE FROM KOENIG'S SITE LOOKS SO RETOUCHED.


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ianrons
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Could it be a spinal cord? LAM is, after all, the bija of Muladhara chakra.


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OKontrair
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The Blue Equinox version is very cleaned up - no background and no hat, even the edges of his furry cape have been trimmed. It includes the two mystic - not apparently Enochian - characters at bottom left and is titled 'The Way'. I am looking at the Weiser edition of the Blue Equinox so not necessarily evidential.

OK


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herupakraath
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"ianrons" wrote:
LAM is, after all, the bija of Muladhara chakra.

How can that be determined from a painting? 😉


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kidneyhawk
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How can that be determined from a painting?

Well...it's a DRAWING! 😀

I agree, though, that simply because LAM=Muladhara Bija Mantra that LAM (the entity or thing represented by AC's sketch) does not necessarily equal that Mantra or Chakra per se.

There is a small but fairly clean and clear reproduction of the original drawing as it is framed in Outside The Circles Of Time.

I've never before seen the "hat."

Kyle


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the_real_simon_iff
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"kidneyhawk" wrote:
I've never before seen the "hat."

93!

I uploaded it to the galleries, maybe Paul and Ian can approve it. It does not look retouched, it comes from a collection of photographs of Croowley's art named "New York Collection", which I thought were more or less contemporary photographs.

Strange...

Love=Law
Lutz


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ianrons
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Paul has always dealt with the Galleries and approvals and stuff but I've assumed it's OK and gone ahead, whilst he's out getting a tan.


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ptoner
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IMHO it looks like the top photo has had the Crown of hearts rubbed out...
anyone else notice this... if you look closely it appears to have very faint line where the edges of the crown should be and even the motled marks of the lines of hearts.
Picture 2 has had everything external from the actual image removed henced giving it a touched up quality...

Seems to me that the crown was orginally susposed to be there then later removed...
Why?


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OKontrair
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In Remembering Aleister Crowley by Kenneth Grant (between pp26,27) there is an image of this picture without the headgear but with a vague smudged out ghost of where it once was. As the actual picture passed directly from AC to Grant I conclude that the alteration was done by AC.

OK


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ianrons
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As the actual picture passed directly from AC to Grant I conclude that the alteration was done by AC.

I don't quite follow. Why couldn't the alteration have been done by Grant?


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OKontrair
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Yes, of course it could but the appearance of the hatless version in the 1919 Blue equinox inclines me to think that AC approved that form. My Blue Equinox is 1972 which is not true in other respects so may not be in this, maybe someone with a 1919 copy can confirm. The Harry Ransome version is from photos taken of AC's New York exhibition so the only version of Lam + hat is very early.

So delete conclude and insert conjecture, surmise, hazard, presume, speculate, ruminate or guess.

The more I look at this picture the more I think that it only wants a bit of greenery coming out of the top to become a prize winning turnip.

OK


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ianrons
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Thanks for the clarification. I don't have a 1919 Blue Equinox so this is helpful...


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sonofthestar
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Seems to be a furry cape, but is it really?

Yes, a spinal cord is quite possible!
And what appears to be some hat or crown, could also be part of a serpent’s body from which the head ushers forth---into what, if you turn the drawing upside down and appreciate it from that perspective?

One could also say he looks like a baby that still resembles a fetus, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket!
The drawing can be understood in many a way.

As for the hearts, ………..

Love is the law, love under will.


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ianrons
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Doesn't it look more like it's *behind* the figure than on top of its head?


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sonofthestar
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Ianrons,

The head would extend upwards if you were looking down at it; it lacks for shading behind that dome!

Love is the law, love under will.


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ianrons
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I may be being dense, but that comment doesn't make sense to me. Could you please elucidate?


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sonofthestar
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Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

There is another way to see it. Add shading right behind where the head joins the serpent neck, and then turn the drawing upside down.
It would then look as though the very top of the cranium were extending a little over where the neck actually joined the head. That small section of the neck would be implied, and not actually visible.
Imagine if the background were black and there were stars all about, and Lam was "reaching" his destination!

Love is the law, love under will.


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 Anonymous
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If the thing with hearts was his neck, it would look like he's trying to insert his pointy chin into the cleft beneath. 😆

But the disposition of the "crown" makes it look like it's been added later, as it doesn't obscure his impressive pate in any way.

Maybe Grant Photoshopped it on to further some sinister agenda...

Or maybe Crowley Photoshopped it to test Grant in some way.


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OKontrair
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Yes it does look as if it's behind. Or did seeing as it's been removed.

Getting rid of that feature of the picture strikes me as an improvement. Why should an artist not tweak his masterpiece?

What provenance is there for the name LAM anyway? In 1919 AC was calling it 'The Way' and as late as 1945 referred to it to Grant as 'The Lama'. He says there/then that it was drawn from life. Hearts 'n' all?

Maybe symbolically LAM2 is 'heartless'.

In Blue Equinox version as well as a clean up the two mysterious characters have moved further away from the image. So I tentatively deduce that some editorial/presentational thought was given to the image at/about that time.

OK


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 Anonymous
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This was uploaded here to provoke further thought on the matter:

http://www.lashtal.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1259


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 Anonymous
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It brings us to the log in page....


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 Anonymous
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Hmmm - It seems that the 3 dots in the address bar must be replaced with:

mage.php

for it to open ?


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lashtal
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You need to log in to the Galleries to see it properly...

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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IAO131
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93,

The second one looks obviously doctored, both the 'crown of hearts' above him and the extremely white background behind him. Also, if you look in Voice of the Silence you'll see the top photo, not the bottom.

"LAM is, after all, the bija of Muladhara chakra."

Huh?

IAO131


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Palamedes
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"IAO131" wrote:
"LAM is, after all, the bija of Muladhara chakra."

Huh?

IAO131

What, what? Are you trying to say you did not know that each cakra has its own 'seed' (bija) mantra, consisting of one syllable, and that the one corresponding to Muladhara cakra is 'lam'? And that Muladhara is at the lower end of the spinal column? IAO131, have you been slacking off in your studies? 😉


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the_real_simon_iff
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"IAO131" wrote:
The second one looks obviously doctored,

That's why I proposed to examine the uploaded scan in the galleries, which clearloy does not look retouched. I have no idea why the pic from Koenig's site looks like this, but I could imagine that he thought the quality of his pic with the "crown" was too low and so he combined it with a "usual" LAM pic - at least that is how it looks like. Anyway, I uploaded a good quality scan of the (I believe) ca. 1919 photograph of Crowley's New York exhibition. If you look at this - and you consider it not a fake, but an earlier version. In fact, I think, it is a perfect explanation for the "umbra" above the head in other LAM reproductions, which could simply be the trace of the erasing of the crown - you start to wonder a) what Crowley wanted to say with the "crown of hearts" and b) why he removed it later, since it is already lost in the Blue Equinox.

Here is the url of the picture, I cannot embed it into the post, maybe it is too large. I don't know: http://www.lashtal.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-190 7"> http://www.lashtal.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-1907

Love=Law
Lutz


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amadan-De
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I've just been looking at Remembering Aleister Crowley and the picture of Lam there (mentioned above by OKontrair) does have the crown/hat clearly visible. It is fainter than in the_real_simon_iff's uploaded scan but much clearer than in the usually reproduced image - you can easily identify the individual hearts for example (it helps if you are looking in good light). If the photo of the framed picture in OTCOT mentioned by kidneyhawk doesn't show the crown/hat at all perhaps Grant removed it? Or is it obscured by the frame?
Would anyone have any idea as to the provenance of the image used in Remembering Aleister Crowley?
At first look it almost seemed possible that the crown/hat was an image showing through from the other side of the paper but the reverse is shown on the facing page and has nothing like it on it.
Mysterious.


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 Anonymous
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It looks like the top of his head has been drawn completely, and I can't see any sign that his actual head has been altered, so the crown was never drawn to actually cover part of his head as it would do if it was sitting on it.

So it looks like the crown was maybe added as an afterthought, then later removed.

It does look better without the crown because it looks like it has been added after the sketch was completed.


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the_real_simon_iff
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93!

I finally found some time to scan the Lam portrait in Kenneth Grant's wonderful "Remembering Aleister Crowley". I urge you to take a close look and compare, well, a superficial glance should be enough.

So it seems pretty sure to me that the "crown" was once there. I assume it was there when it was exhibited in New York so it was not totally unimportant to Crowley at that time. Although he is not known for reworking his paintings, I assume AC did erase it and so I ask again: Any thoughts on what the crown could have meant? Or why it was erased? Are there any diary entries about it? Does the Alamantrah Working gives any clues? Any 120-year olds who attended the NY exhibition?

Just curious

Love=Law
Lutz


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OKontrair
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I see from comparing the 2 Lams side by side that there are other variations than the ones we have discussed so far.

Whole-hearted LAM has three rows of hearts and row three (outermost from pate) is partly cut off. Feint-hearted LAM has a complete row three and the beginnings of a fourth row. Also FHL has the darkest background nearest the face with a light background at the edge of the page. WHL - the gallery version from the Harry Ransome collection - has a light background near the cheeks, like a glow, and darker background at the edge of the page.

These two images are definitely of the same object because there is an identity of small detail in what must have been spontaneous marks by the artist.

Lastly I largely agree with the observations of sonofthestar and Nashmiron.

Upside down the image looks like a phallus with the 'furry cape' being pubic hair and the central feature of the former bottom edge being a vaginal opening. In my opinion this fits with Crowley's instructions to Grant from Remembering AC on p58:

1. it was drawn from life.
2. ...not an apt fancy... a description accurate and recognisable by any person familiar with the subject.
3. you would not do this with other pictures....you would say 'a girl's head'.....etc.

OK


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faustian
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Not to veer this topic off its usual tangent, but what is everyone’s opinion as to the resemblance of Crowley’s LAM and our classical pop culture’s rendition of the Alien Gray? Which came first and are they related?
Which then begs the question: Is Liber Al of alien origin? If so, what is the purpose?


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priestofal
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OKontrair --

I hadn't read of those instructions from Crowley to Grant before. You appear to be paraphrasing, but those words fit my thought that Lam is a woman's clitoris (and other bits) personified -- that "it" is a woman, basically. This idea is especially suggested by the reference to 'a girl's head'. The "crown of hearts" would seem to be a reference to the singular function of a clitoris, the transmittal and retrieval of love... If I am correct, then it is amusing (at least from this man's perspective) that a depiction of a woman's genitals and the concept of what is alien have become bound together in people's minds.... (Ahh, note the expression on Lam, too! Perhaps "his" head took a little co(a)xing out.)


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the_real_simon_iff
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"OKontrair" wrote:
1. it was drawn from life.
2. ...not an apt fancy... a description accurate and recognisable by any person familiar with the subject.
3. you would not do this with other pictures....you would say 'a girl's head'.....etc.

93!

For clarity I attach the part from "Remembering AC", because I never realized that the part with the girl's head might be a hint, as priestofal suggested.

Letter from AC to Grant:
[...] The drawing which you covet.
The drawing has a title. I do not mean an apt fancy, but a description accurate & recognisable by any person familiar with the subject, like "The Tower Bridge by Moonlight" or "Portrait of Mr. Ernest Bevin" or "Barnham Beeches".
You are allowed 3 days and 3 guesses. If correct the drawing is yours; if not; the test can be repeated at the Autumn Equinox.[...]

AC's replay to Grant's effort:
I thought I had explained carefully that I wanted an answer, not a sermon! If I point to a tea-pot, and ask "What is that?" You don't say "The refreshing beverage which we owe to the Chinese calms the mind, and induces a state of feeling whhich is conducive to carrying on one's work" etc., etc.
This is a terrible defect in your outlook on life; you cannot be content with the simplicity of reality and fact; you have to go off into a pipe-dream.
Yet you wouldn't do this with the other pictures on the walls; you would say rightly "a girl's head" or "Boy from Martinique" or "Snow-peak beyond foothills" & so on, as the case may be. Idealism is the way to falsehood.

Grant goes on:
[...] Crowley was being difficult. My description was concise, considering that at that time I had not seen the portrait of Lam reproduced in the Blue Equinox in 1919. Crowley reconsidered his assessment and, a few days later, he handed me the picture with a dorsal inscription {To my very dear Frater Aussik 400 [...] "a very present help in time of trouble" (Trouble="Victory")} He had suffered grave bouts of asthma, and on May 8, 1945, he wrote in his diary: "Aussik helped a whole lot; gave him 'The Lama'". Crowley told me that the portrait had been drawn from life. [...]

For those who do not have the book present. I hope the quoting is still what is called "fair use".

Love=Law
Lutz


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OKontrair
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Yes, I was paraphrasing and I must have expressed myself poorly. I was wrong to assume everybody would just go get the book and look it up. Sorry.

I'll paraphrase again.

Crowley wrote to Grant and the subject of the letter was : 'The drawing which you covet.'

"The drawing has a title. I do not mean an apt fancy, but a description accurate and recognisable by any person familiar with the subject, like 'The Tower Bridge by Moonlight' or 'Portrait of Mr. Ernest Bevin' or 'Barsham Beeches'. "

Then Crowley gives Grant 3 days and 3 guesses. If correct the drawing would be his but even if not Grant could try again at the Autumn Equinox. Grant made his response which must have been off-target because Crowley then responded:

"I thought I had explained carefully that I wanted an answer, not a sermon! If I point to a teapot and say "What is that?" You don't say........(ridiculous long description of a teapot follows) etc.

Then a few disparaging remarks I'm to lazy to type out.

Then:

'You wouldn't do this with the other pictures on the walls, you would say rightly "a girl's head" or "Boy from Martinique" or "Snow peak beyond foothills" & so on, as the case may be. ........'

I have done a picture to illustrate what I mean and sent it to the gallery. If I knew how I would put it here but I never even got the hang of quotes.

As for the alien business, well I have never turned my mind in that direction. What do the gods/aliens, if any, want of us? These are the rabid nightmares of early farmers. All that sheep and lamb imagery inclines me to think that god wants us for food. If we behave one way we taste nicer, if not we need more time in the oven.

OK


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the_real_simon_iff
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93, OK!

I see we had the same idea.

"OKontrair" wrote:
I have done a picture to illustrate what I mean and sent it to the gallery. If I knew how I would put it here but I never even got the hang of quotes.

You need an url for the picture (afaik), you cannot attach it from your computer. If you want to, you can send it to me and I can put it on my website and give you the url.

Love=Law
Lutz


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OKontrair
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Thanks Lutz,

I should have waited a few minutes. It's not easy typing when you're 120 years old.

I have already sent it to 'Members Creations' because there was not a section called 'Members members'.

I'll send you one anyway, and the other one will turn up here later.

OK


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the_real_simon_iff
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93!

Here is OK's picture:

Love=LAw
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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Now it looks like LAM is being born (on a nice bit of patterned carpet). Have you ever seen a baby being born normally, squished up heads are quite normal. 🙂


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 Anonymous
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Perhaps it's supposed to show the entire proccess of conception and birth in a single glyph.

Oh wait a minute, what if Lam is a secret agent? Maybe he's still alive and working for CSI or whatever they're called. 😯


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ptoner
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It reminds me more of the sperm fertilizing the egg in this image above.

I have my own idea of what i think it represents but i would need to highlight sections of the image to clearly indicate how i see it.
To me i see the tree of life starting with malkuth as the earthly cloak. All the way up to kether which on the "crown" of Lams head has been isolated and obtains absolute compassion and so the unconditional universal love flows from the crown.

If you notice there are spheres down both sides of Lams face indicating the Pillar of Mercy and the Pillar of Severity on his left and right side. The middle pillar is indicated as the route to traverse indicated by the line encompassing the middle seperoiths.

The eyes form the veil below the first triad.

I am sure the more knowledgeable amongst us can develop this further... or possibly ridicule my comments.
In my opinion that's what i see.


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ianrons
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I'm sorry but I can't buy the phallus idea, Andrew. Clearly when AC says it was "drawn from life" he meant to say this is representational art, expressing "the simplicity of reality and fact". And although the new scan is great and better not being "gray", I don't understand why it has to be upside-down.


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ptoner
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I agree Ian, the image was drawn and meant to be viewed the in its intended portrait position.
Why does it need to be turned up-side-down?

The fact you mention "Drawn from life" and "the simplicity of reality and fact" echoes my comments in relation to the "tree of life" contained within the drawing.


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OKontrair
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Hi Ianrons

Did you just use the word 'clearly'? You bold brave fellow.

Nothing has to be upside down but generally I find the world so topsy turvey that nearly everything benefits from being looked at back to front and round the other way.

If it's a test piece or used as one then it brings to my mind the Rohrschach test. One of the considerations in that test is No.4 "Turning of the card with failure to turn being labelled a possible sign of depressive psychoses."

I do not really hold with the idea of things meaning other things. What then do those things mean?

Anybody's guess is as good as mine. My first two guesses by the way were:

1. Turnip without its leaves.
2. The Mekon of Mekonta.
3. - and current temporary opinion - a doodle of Crowley's dick.

I can't find it in me to take this picture seriously. Still, at least Prof. Rohrschach thinks I'm not a depressive psychotic.

OK


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the_real_simon_iff
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"ptoner" wrote:
If you notice there are spheres down both sides of Lams face indicating the Pillar of Mercy and the Pillar of Severity on his left and right side.

93!

I agree that there can be perceived spheres on the face. How about colouring them?

Love=Law
Lutz


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 Anonymous
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Well, I see the familiar vulva-sipping AAlian that was commonly observed on the peyote trading routes in the American southwest* during the seventies. Yep, that's it!

* Hence the UFO conotation, perhaps?

8)


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ptoner
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"the_real_simon_iff" wrote:
I agree that there can be perceived spheres on the face. How about colouring them?

Thanks for the quick draft... good start, you left out the first triad tho! 🙂

I intend to use Photoshop and the image once i get a bit of time and show the extent of the tree of life reflected in Lam's face how i envision it.
You certainly have made a great start for me, much appreciated Lutz.


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the_real_simon_iff
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"ptoner" wrote:
you left out the first triad tho! 🙂

93!

It is hard to see in white, black and grey on a black and white drawing, but it is there 😉

Ain, Ain Soph and Ain Soph Aur would then be formed by the three rows of hearts?

Love=Law
Lutz


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ptoner
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Now your talking my language. 🙂
I think all the factors are there, on show for us to see.
You also almost can make out the cross pattern that joins tiphereth, netzach, yesod & hod via the lips of lam.


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ptoner
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So within the "Egg" is the Tree of Life is how i imagine it overall.

Brings me back to the name Lam
Lam, (whose name derives from the Tibetan word for "way" or "path")

Does this not fit so nicely into the title of the image?


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michaelclarke18
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the_real_simon_iff wrote:-
''So it seems pretty sure to me that the "crown" was once there''

To me, it looks a bit like the ''crown'' is something coming through from the other side of the paper. Maybe a drawing on the verso side?


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