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The Fool and the Harlequiness


 Anonymous
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I thought a thread on this topic might be appropriate given the day:-)

As I'm sure most people know (but just in case they don't) that certain cards in the Thoth deck by Crowley and Harris are meant to be studied in conjunction with each other - specifically they are meant to be traced out and laid over the other card so that the symbols are considered together.

Thus - the pommel of the sword in card eight - adjustment corresponds to the heart of the Fool. The place where the two chains of the balances meet are exactly in the same place as the Fools eyes. However - down at the bottom of the Fool card, on top of the crocodile - (where the Ladys feet intersect) I'm wondering what that pink thing is? A shell? Or something else? 🙂


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 Anonymous
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A study of the card may help.

The crocodile Sebek is linked with Set, representing power, cunning, hidden envy of others, malevolence, vindictiveness, all of which is rooted in a sense of sexual inadequacy and insecurity. The Fool is linked with Osiris before his dismemberment. The sun on his crotch represents solar virility (vir = man, virtue, verdant, hence Green Fool). The Fool is oblivious to the danger lurking between his legs, which symbolizes innocence before temptation and Fall. The motif later repeats in the resurrected sun of Harpocrates standing firmly astride the back of the crocodile.

For the Christian version of the above read Genesis 3. The serpent tempts Eve from the Tree of Knowledge, promising she and Adam will “become like gods”. What the serpent forgot to mention is the path to godhood leads to hell and back, before we can stand astride the crocodile without harm.

That pink shell thing on the crocodile symbolizes the manner of the Fool’s impending sacrifice and death. It does look like an oyster but Crowley claims it is linked with fish. His explanation smells fishy to me, but I'm sure the truth lies somewhere in there..


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 Anonymous
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Oh! I see! It's a little pink cave where the eels go swimming. When matched with the feet of Maat... how divinely Freudian! 😀

Lol. Thanks Tai.


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dvd464
(@dvd464)
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Could it be a pictorial depiction of a pineal gland? But does a crocodile even have a third eye?


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 Anonymous
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I think Tai has it right, dvd464. It's a vagina. I used to know that, but I'd forgotten it. 🙂

So considering the joint symbolism of the cards we have...

The Fools Heart and the Pommel of the Phallic Sword of the Magician.

Well - the etemology of the word Pommel comes from the Latin pomum which means an apple or similar fruit, which ties in with Genesis. And the vision and the voice says: "It is shown me that this heart is the heart that rejoiceth and the serpent is the serpent of Da'ath, for herein all the symbols are interchangeable, for each one containeth in itself it's own opposite..."

How interesting! And Maat weighs the hearts of men when they die, doesn't she? *ponders*

Well to consider the matter above the abyss necessitates contemplation of Ekaggatā, for in the progression of the highest Dhyanas there is bliss in the Unity of All but this disappears leading to a subtle form of happiness from it's absense. So the heart of the Holy Fool is filled with Love for All without distinction, and this is innocence, and in complete innocence the solar phallic light of Tiphareth makes the manifestation of All below the abyss possible. However - to eat of the apple and make a distinction between any one thing or another is to damn the innocent heart and close the doors of the corresponding heart Chakra.

And from the GD Cipher Manuscript:

"First cometh the Atu numbered 0, the O of the Heavens = Negative. Then 1 = the O opened out into a right line = the Positive. These two numbers have corrupted Egyptian Titles: 1 to the 0, Mat - to the 1 Pagad. These are Maut = Mother Goddess and Pekht = Extension. Maut of all extended through the Universe, "and above the shoulders of that great Goddess is nature in her vastness exalted."

I think I'll talk about the rest of the symbolism tomorrow. i.e. -

The Fools eyes and the 'Chains of Cause'.
And a Vagina and the tips of Maat's feet.

I'd like to hear other peoples interpretations of the symbolism first (and I'm hoping Tai and Kyle will comment). 🙂


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James
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Alrah,

Are you sure that is a vagina? I got a magnifying glass out and it didn't look like one to me?


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 Anonymous
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Concentrate on the whole

😉


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 Anonymous
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It could be a flaccid phallus I suppose. That would be more in keeping with the card given it's position by the ear of the crocodile.


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 Anonymous
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Perhaps it is a sexual organ, neither male nor female and of quite impossible composition and geometry? ;P


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 Anonymous
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I wish you could see what picture *that* produced in my imagination! 🙂 Oh Lord - the universe went donuts again.


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 Anonymous
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Technically its a fish bladder, but symbolizes the Kteis and Vesica Piscis. It all sounds gibberish to me.

My earlier assessment of Sebek was not precise and I think we should all be paying more attention to this misunderstood creature.


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 Anonymous
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There is a common sort of comb (Kteis) jellyfish called the Venus Girdle that looks exactly like a Sperm, which would be in keeping with the card, and it has the ridges seen on the painting also.

( )

The name 'Venus Girdle' also refers to an astrological phenomena - where the sky lights up pink on the horizon in the predawn, which I think also ties in nicely with the card.

And yes - let's get snappy with the crocodile now. 🙂


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 Anonymous
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Lol - The book of Thoth, pg 62... "Harpocrates is (in one sense) the symbol of the Dawn on the Nile, and of the physiological phenomenon which accompanies the act of waking."


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 Anonymous
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Correction and apologies for my foolishness. The pommel of Maats sword is actually no where near the fools heart when the cards are considered together. The mask of Maat is in that place. As a graphic designer I have no idea how I completely mistook that placement. Weird... but here we are. Sorry... If it was an April Fools joke then it was an exceptionally strange one played on me by my HGA. 🙂

However - the chains of cause do meet only in the fools eyes and don't correspond to any other card, although I have cause to doubt the evidence of my own eyes at the moment.


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lashtal
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Moderator's Note

Please combine thoughts into a single post, Alrah: it makes things much easier for subsequent contributors to quote.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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Ok Paul. No problem. If I just post once a day then I can jot my thoughts down on a notepad as and when they come throughout the day, and combine them in an evening post or two. Sorry if the 'notherting' demon got messy on the lawn. 🙂


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 Anonymous
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Sebek is called the Devourer, but that obscures its nature. The crocodile is associated with the element of water and fertility, symbolizing Nature in its most powerful urge that is both creative and destructive, waiting to consume the Fool. Note Crowley states the act of devouring is the equivalent of initiation. Thus Sebek represents, among other things, the awaiting transformation through matter and time. Love will make fools of all of us but it is only through time that one may become the perfected Holy Fool.

This sense of transformation through time or history is oddly missing, for example, in Crowley’s description of Hoor-Pa-Kraat as birth or dawn of the sun whereas the actual description is rebirth or resurrection of the sun. Behind the babe god lies the night and Osiris, the fallen and dismembered fool who fathered him under questionable circumstances. The image captures the beginning and the end of one cycle. Hoor-Pa-Kraat stands on Sebek because he is innocent, not realizing the infinity of others before him who have fallen for the same reasons, and fearless as the crowned and conquering child.

Details of the Fool card:

1. The zero symbolizes the beginning and the end.
2. The human race appears and disappears, rises and falls within this space - note the concept of weight.
3. The crocodile lurks beneath the Fool waiting to devour to him.
4. There is an infinite loop around the Fool that encircles his heart.

Sound familiar? There is clearly a relationship between the masculine Fool card and feminine Adjustment card. The Fool is being measured, weighed, by the Woman who seeks satisfaction.


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 Anonymous
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My initial assessment of Sebek was coloured by its association with Set who in its order-imposing aspect is similar to Saturn. The functions of both gods tend to be obscured under their negative reputations.

For example the Roman god of harvest is famous for castrating his father Ouranos. Why? Because the sky god constantly fathered children but could not stand their sight - an example of Nature procreating without restraint, proliferating like a spreading cancer. Saturn imposes order in the same way Set is able to fight off the chaos of Apep yet both gods are also regarded as sterile and dry. Saturn eats his children and thereby maintains his reign.

I have long regarded Set’s scattering of the pieces of Osiris to be a cunning concealment of his envy of his brother - an interpretation reinforced by the contending of Set and Horus as one of sexual supremacy - but this disregards the fact that Set initially attempted to kill Osiris by drowning and failed. A more balanced interpretation of Set, and by extension, Sebek, would be the sterilization of Osiris to prevent his resurrection. Thus Set’s actions arise from the need to effectively impose order rather than from feelings of inferiority.


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 Anonymous
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Well, we are told of the crocodile that he is a symbol of two exactly opposite things. Both fertility and infertility. Just as it was thought that the eggs of the vulture needed the element of air to fertilise them, then also the crocodile needed the water element, which is why he crouches amongst the lotus stems. If you think about it the Fool card is all about prebirth and the necessary conditions of birth or manifestation. The sun rises and is reborn each day from the waters of the Nile, but it is in the pink predawn light his mysterious recreation occurs - for Osiris is not drowned in the waters - Air is water and fire combined, and both fire and water rain from the skies in a storm*. Sobek, as the firery crocodile is infertile without joining with the water, but is also the symbol of maximum 'potential' fertility.

The fool is a creature of impulse. He does his creative Will in all innocence without considering the consequences of his acts but only as far as the conditions allow for.

As a thought, a mad creative impulse to scrawl a phallic glyph on a wall will pass, die and quickly be devoured by more rational thinking (is this good/bad to do?) and sets of habitual inhibitions come into play. Birth/Death. Impulse and Restriction. Especially if there is no alcohol and pencils present, which is why alcohol is such a useful thing sometimes, and the holy Fool is considered to be Baccus, the God of the Vine.

Place an alcohol soaked young mad man in the presence of a woman and an all together different creative impulse starts stirring. But at this beginning point, the golden bullets are still alive in the golden gun. The young man has simply taken her hand and the dance has not begun. The band are still tuning up thier instruments, so to speak.

Related to the tree, the golden background of the Fool card is not so much to do with Kether, as it is the influence of Kether descending upon Tiphareth -AL- light in utmost expansion - but we are told that this very vision of light is the last thing which the adept must abandon and it is the most difficult task, for the experience is one of unity with the light and complete unity is the complete and fulfilled satisfaction of the godhead. Therefore - considered seperately, the Fool without complete consummation with his Lady is potential, impulse, 0=2, the knowledge of the wise not understood, the direction unseen, the font hidden from sight and not of sight unless through the formula of AL - the ultimate and absolute source of our Angel in continuous creation of itself.

* And children of the utmost contradiction combined within their essential nature are born.


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 Anonymous
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"alrah" wrote:
Well, we are told of the crocodile that he is a symbol of two exactly opposite things. Both fertility and infertility.

Fertility - yes, but I have not found any source stating infertility. Definitely an ambivalent yet powerful creature.

"alrah" wrote:
Just as it was thought that the eggs of the vulture needed the element of air to fertilise them, then also the crocodile needed the water element, which is why he crouches amongst the lotus stems. If you think about it the Fool card is all about prebirth and the necessary conditions of birth or manifestation. The sun rises and is reborn each day from the waters of the Nile, but it is in the pink predawn light his mysterious recreation occurs - for Osiris is not drowned in the waters - Air is water and fire combined, and both fire and water rain from the skies in a storm*. Sobek, as the firery crocodile is infertile without joining with the water, but is also the symbol of maximum 'potential' fertility.

Please cite your source for the infertility of Sobek. The very concept of a creature both fertile and infertile is absurd. Crowley does associate Sobek with Set, but more in its destructive aspect. Also keep in mind Set is the god of desert storms and winds - very hot and dry - and the Fool card symbolizes potential and completion of one solar cycle. So while your elemental explanation of birth is creative, I am not persuaded.

"alrah" wrote:
The fool is a creature of impulse. He does his creative Will in all innocence without considering the consequences of his acts but only as far as the conditions allow for.

Yes, but I would take the above a step further. Crowley pairs the Fool with Adjustment and their relationship pertains to the beginning and end of the cycle. On the one hand, the Woman is measuring the Fool because she seeks satisfaction - think of the Sphinx presenting its riddle to Oedipus. The Fool, possibly bolstered with said alcohol, is setting out on adventures and initiations. On the other hand, after these adventures, the Fool is being weighed to ascertain his innocence or guilt.

I mean, just look at that expression on his face...


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 Anonymous
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"tai" wrote:
"alrah" wrote:
Well, we are told of the crocodile that he is a symbol of two exactly opposite things. Both fertility and infertility.

Fertility - yes, but I have not found any source stating infertility. Definitely an ambivalent yet powerful creature.

"alrah" wrote:
Just as it was thought that the eggs of the vulture needed the element of air to fertilise them, then also the crocodile needed the water element, which is why he crouches amongst the lotus stems. If you think about it the Fool card is all about prebirth and the necessary conditions of birth or manifestation. The sun rises and is reborn each day from the waters of the Nile, but it is in the pink predawn light his mysterious recreation occurs - for Osiris is not drowned in the waters - Air is water and fire combined, and both fire and water rain from the skies in a storm*. Sobek, as the firery crocodile is infertile without joining with the water, but is also the symbol of maximum 'potential' fertility.

Please cite your source for the infertility of Sobek. The very concept of a creature both fertile and infertile is absurd. Crowley does associate Sobek with Set, but more in its destructive aspect. Also keep in mind Set is the god of desert storms and winds - very hot and dry - and the Fool card symbolizes potential and completion of one solar cycle. So while your elemental explanation of birth is creative, I am not persuaded.

"alrah" wrote:
The fool is a creature of impulse. He does his creative Will in all innocence without considering the consequences of his acts but only as far as the conditions allow for.

Yes, but I would take the above a step further. Crowley pairs the Fool with Adjustment and their relationship pertains to the beginning and end of the cycle. On the one hand, the Woman is measuring the Fool because she seeks satisfaction - think of the Sphinx presenting its riddle to Oedipus. The Fool, possibly bolstered with said alcohol, is setting out on adventures and initiations. On the other hand, after these adventures, the Fool is being weighed to ascertain his innocence or guilt.

I mean, just look at that expression on his face...

Lol - Ok. It's Crowley who says the crocodile is a symbol of two exact opposite things (top of page 62 TBOT), and at the bottom of page 59 he says "The tradtion is that the crocodile was unprovided with a means of perpetuating his species (compare what is said above about the vulture Maut). Not in spite of, but because of this, he was the symbol of the maximum of creatve energy. (Freud, as will be seen later, explains this apparent antithesis.)

And he also goes on to explain elsewhere that all apparent contradictions are resolved into unity above the abyss, although they may seem absurb as we view them below the abyss.

He also says the the doctrine of maximum innocence developing into maximum fertility is found in the symbolism of Sebek. And as for the devourer... do you know many sperm die as they swim for all they are worth looking for an egg? No wonder the sperm who bags her looks pleased with himself after all of that effort! lololol.

I don't think guilt or innocence really come into it. Maat as Crowley see's her in the Adjustment card is Adjustment in a very Natural sense, as symbolised by the feet touching the Comb (or Fish Bladder which is filled with air), for these creatures keep their sense of equilibrium by a peculiar sense - the slightest movement of the sea is accounted for and instantly adjusts the direction of the comb. Combs are also interesting in that they are hermaphrodites (as well as giving of a spectacular light show). What more noble creature could anyone pick to be the female equivalent to the male sperm?

And as the human race are finding out these days - if you screw with nature then she adjusts the conditions to screw you right back. That was started in the Industrial Revolution in all innocence too, and what manner of monsters have been created! But nature is not weighing us up as guilty here. She's just reacting according to the natural laws. But I diverge.


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 Anonymous
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Thanks for that citation. First, note Crowley does not state the crocodile is infertile, but that it was “unprovided with a means to perpetuating his species”. This distinction delineates between logical absurdity and bad information. I suspect he is referring to parthenogenesis in reptiles and amphibians. Whatever the case may be, my research into Sobek and mating habits of the Nile crocodile does not confirm this particular assertion. When Crowley writes “once again, the animal kingdom is invoked to fulfill the function of fathering the redeemer” (p. 60) and cites Sobek as a case for sublimating energies, this is a case of intellectual parthenogenesis - straight out of the mind of Crowley.

Guilt or innocence sounds like a poor choice of words considering “there is no grace, there is no guilt” etc, but I chose those terms because the ascertainment of innocence is the central motif in these two cards and scales of Maat. The glyph for Her Feather is shu, meaning emptiness or void. We’re just scratching the surface, but these two cards, if studied carefully, will shed light on the Egyptian gods.


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 Anonymous
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I've been trying to marry off my points with yours about Set, the Solar Cycle etc and get this to work smoothly... and I think a recent bit of research may help.

If Budge is to be believed (128, Osiris and Egyptian resurrection) then the 'devourer' is also the 'devoured'. It may be that the crocodile is 'unprovided with a means to perpetuate his species' refers to the afterlife, for apparently it was the tradition of the Egyptians to eat the genitals of every fine crocodile in order to make the eater all powerful with women.

So in life this crocodile is the ultimate symbol of fertility, but after death the poor thing has no willy. *wince* And I suppose this closes the Solar cycle with the 2=0 formula.

I think you're right that we're just scratching the surface, but lets keep going... 🙂


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 Anonymous
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Leaving aside whether Budge should enter this thread, someone who goes around eating crocodile genitals is hardly a green fool or emblem of solar virility no? Yes the cards may be interpreted in this way. Some would even say this is a more “realistic” view. It also implies women are objects of consumption.

But it would not conform with principles of Maat which seek to ascertain and justify innocence, maintain order and balance. I think its safe to say the crocodile symbolizes the reality-principle that will initiate the Fool. But once the Fool starts initiating the crocodiles, he is no longer a Fool and these cards lose their traditional meaning under a more sinister hue.

Btw, the correspondences in Book 4 are useful when comparing and contrasting Sobek with Set:

Sobek = path 32, Tau/Cross, Earth and Saturn, Atu XXI (The Universe), Athena (who was born by parthenogenesis by springing from Zeus’ forehead) and Cronos, animal = crocodile, plants = ash, cypress, hellebore, yew, nightshade, magical powers = works of malediction and death, magickal weapon = the sickle etc

Set = path 26, Ayin/Eye, Capricorn, Atu XV (The Devil), Pan, Priapus (erect Hermes and Bacchus), animal = goat, ass, plants = Indian hemp, orchis root, thistle (yohimbe), magical powers = the witches sabbath, the evil eye, magickal weapon = the secret force, lamp etc.


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 Anonymous
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I was not suggesting that Crocodile genital eaters were in any way symbolic of the Fool. In 0=2 such primary phallic symbols come into play, then the fool is initiated, eventually the cycle completes itself and 2=0 - equating with the symbolic loss of the phallus.

Sinister or not - there were many initiatory traditions in the past where some poor fool would trot along to a cave and loose his willy (or foreskin) in the service of some God or another. If we're looking at the expression on faces - check out the Hierophants.


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 Anonymous
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Well, I feel like I’m in a cave and on the verge of losing something…

Your reduction of objects into dualities disregards the relationship between these objects and card as a whole. To state the crocodile is fertile/infertile and devourer/devoured reduces Sobek to logical absurdity and undermines the far more important fact of the danger the crocodile poses toward the Fool. When the card is paired against Adjustment Sobek becomes Ammit, the eater of the dead, the second death so feared by the Egyptians. The Fool is a fool because he is blind to the implications and danger in front of him - in the traditional Tarot he is blindfolded and stepping off the cliff while the dog yaps at his heels and tries to warn him.

I do agree with your description of 0=2 (the path of becoming/manifestion) that completes in 2=0 (the path of return/dissolution). I disagree on the crocodile genitals, but let's not split hairs or flog a dead horse.

Now, excuse me, while I go spelunking...


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 Anonymous
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Lol. Don't worry so about it Tai. 🙂 The danger posed to the fool is only the illusion of ego - and that danger is very *real* for the danger of it is that it is divided from the knowledge, intent and known essence of itself - but it is a relative danger and not an absolute one and therein... - not redemption is found for that implies there was a mistake in the first place - but the balance is found upon the tightrope.

And now I have to refer the tradition of the fool to gymnasts, clowns, and in general the circus of the greater wheel. 🙂

31

Alrah.

ps - The balance of the lady and the fools eyes seem to be next? 🙂


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 Anonymous
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"alrah" wrote:
As I'm sure most people know (but just in case they don't) that certain cards in the Thoth deck by Crowley and Harris are meant to be studied in conjunction with each other - specifically they are meant to be traced out and laid over the other card so that the symbols are considered together.

That's interesting. Can you (or anyone) point to a source, on this site or elsewhere (but preferably online) where this is discussed in detail? I don't want to put you to the trouble of a repetition of something "most people know" 🙂

The most obvious pairing to me (and one that's talked about a lot) is the Emperor v the Hanged Man (crossed legs, triangular position of the arms, orb v ankh etc).

The Lovers matches with Art...so that's 0 v VIII, IV v XII, VI v XIV. Looks like we're moving in octaves, which rather clashes with the septenary scheme of Liber Tau.

I can't see all of the pairings on that basis (VII v XV - wheels v balls? Or am I starting to see what I want to see?); is the pattern that consistent?

I'd like to explore this more; any helpful texts out there? Meanwhile, I've digitally scanned all my Trump cards and will print them out on transparent foils, superimpose some pairs "then (I hope) behoild" 🙂

Thanks for raising this topic.

OP


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 Anonymous
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Hi Oliver - this is discussed here: http://www.lashtal.com/nuke/PNphpBB2-viewtopic-t-3498.phtml

The only cards suggested to me to study in this manner were The Fool (A) and Adjustment (L), and the Chariot and Lust, and perhaps these are all... although the composition of the Aeon is interesting studied with AL.

If other cards in the Trumps are paired off to be studied in this manner I haven't been able to find them, but then again I wasn't chopping off and rearranging bits of them in the process of comparing them, as I note the authors who have studied Harris's geometric designs have done, so perhaps you'll turn up something interesting.

The biggest give away that the Fool and Adjustment are intended to be studied in this manner is the very rounded shape of the Fools eyes, and the exact placement of the 2 Axis of 'Chains of Cause' meeting in the same place as the Fools eyes.

I was going to say something about the Fool falling for 'how things appear to be'; and how when we are fooled by our preferences and our self image we can mistake how things really are - this being the chief cause of Samsara - or Adjustment in the pack - our Lady of Illusions and Balance. But I won't;-)


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 Anonymous
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"alrah" wrote:
I was going to say something about the Fool falling for 'how things appear to be'; and how when we are fooled by our preferences and our self image we can mistake how things really are - this being the chief cause of Samsara - or Adjustment in the pack - our Lady of Illusions and Balance. But I won't;-)

Wrong. The Fool is the point of perfect balance on the Scales.

The relationship between the Fool and Harlequin is a two-way street see? 8)


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 Anonymous
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Aha! Yes - but why the eyes and not the heart or crown etc Tai? 🙂

The eyes are the windows of the soul - or something else?


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 Anonymous
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Let me ponder that "something else"...

Agent Smith: Do we have a deal, Mr. Reagan?
Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss.
Agent Smith: Then we have a deal?
Cypher: I don't want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I want to be rich. You know, someone important, like an actor.
Agent Smith: Whatever you want, Mr. Reagan.


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 Anonymous
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*alrah claps her hands in delight!* 🙂

But what about when we forget outselves (our ego) Tai? In a moment of pure love for another, or lost in creative work? Isn't that when we feel the perfect balance? I think Mr. Reagen would have Maat's scales spiralling in 6 dimensional manifestation to balance all the disequilibrium! 🙂


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 Anonymous
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🙂 Perhaps it's better not to answer me though. Some things suffer from (are occluded by) too much examination. 🙂


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