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Atu V - Bovis a' Sinistra


Aeon418

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The Book of Thoth, p.79:

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Though the face of the Hierophant appears benignant and smiling, and the child himself seems glad with wanton innocence, it is hard to deny that in the expression of the initiator is something mysterious, even sinister. He seems to be enjoying a very secret joke at somebody’s expense. There is a distinctly sadistic aspect to this card; not unnaturally, since it derives from the Legend of Pasiphae, the prototype of all the legends of Bull-gods. These still persist in such religions as Shaivism, and (after multiple degradations) in Christianity itself.

 

I suspect the "secret joke" is at our expense. Card V corresponds to the letter Vau, which means a nail. This suggests union because a nail joins one thing to another. But this union is contingent upon the nail being sharp, piercing and penetrating. Sounds rather phallic! How uncomfortable this initiation is depends on how much resistance there is to this union.

 

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Offer thyself Virgin to the Knowledge and Conversation of thine Holy Guardian Angel.
All else is a snare.

 

This particular initiator is described as sinister, which draws attention to his left hand. The left is sinister in Latin. And the left handed, inverted benediction is the only symbol that Crowley does not comment upon. V inverted becomes Λ - the Greek letter Lambda. The Hebrew equivalent is Lamed, which is attributed to Atu VIII - Adjustment.

 

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This card represents the sign of Libra, ruled by Venus; in it Saturn is exalted. The equilibrium of all things is hereby symbolized. It is the final adjustment in the formula of Tetragrammaton, when the daughter, redeemed by her marriage with the Son, is thereby set up on the throne of the mother; thus, finally, she “awakens the Eld of the All-Father.”

 

The Daughter is the individual soul who experiences existence as separateness and duality. The Son is Vau, the Holy Guardian Angel, who is experienced as a spiritual "Otherness" that progressively pierces and penetrates ones innermost being while ever deeper and more intimate union is achieved. (Inverted pentagram) But in perfect spiritual union there is no room for two separate beings.

 

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His Angel shall lead him anon to the summit of the Order of the R. C. (Rosy Cross) and make him ready to face the unspeakable terror of the Abyss which lies between Manhood and Godhead; teach him to Know that agony, to Dare that destiny, to Will that catastrophe, and to keep Silence for ever as he accomplishes the act of annihilation.

 

To Know, to Will, to Dare, and to Keep Silent are the four virtues of the Adept. These are represented by the four Kerubim, who have now been moved from Atu X - The Wheel to Atu V - The Hierophant. (Note how the former card now spins clock-wise, reversing the spinning of samsara.) The Hierophant's ultimate teaching is annihilation through complete union. To emphasise this the four Kerubim are placed in the order of N.O.X., the Night of Pan, symbolic of the union of ALL. While the serpent pierced with 9 nails has Fixed the Volatile.

 

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From the Abyss comes No Man forth, but a Star startles the Earth, and our Order rejoices above that Abyss that the Beast hath begotten one more Babe in the Womb of Our Lady, His concubine, the Scarlet Woman, BABALON.

 

Echoes of Pasiphae giving birth to the Minotaur, who was named Asterion - the Starry One. 

Edited by Aeon418
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Thank you for adding some layers of context to this rather challenging card @Aeon418.

 

Question: do you see the inverted benediction as a reminder of the changes surrounding the emerging new Aeon of Horus?

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1 hour ago, Wyrdkiss said:

Question: do you see the inverted benediction as a reminder of the changes surrounding the emerging new Aeon of Horus?

 

Yes, I do. I think one way to look it is as a symbol of reorientation. From a conventional point of view the inverted benediction can only mean the opposite of a traditional sign of benediction. From this perspective what was once a blessing has now become a curse. But if we take on board the notion that the Hierophant is revealing a new doctrine and a new way of relating to ourselves and the world around us, then our orientation to this new way might influence how we experience it. If we stubbornly insist on things always staying the same we effectively turn ourselves into an obstruction in the path of a raging Bull. But if we can embrace change and reorient ourselves to it, we can be energized and empowered by an influx of new and transformative energy.

 

There's a lot more I could say on this, but I think it is important to remember that the Hierophant corresponds to the letter Vau, which is 6. But the card itself is V or 5. This points towards the Great Work of uniting the macrocosm (6) and the microcosm (5). In the language of Alchemy this is described as the Fixing of the Volatile. But before this can occur the Fixed must first be Volatized. In the Tarot this is represented by the four 5's, which Crowley warns us must not be regarded as something "evil." 

 

Oddly enough the two paths that lead towards the 5th sphere of Geburah/Mars are Lamed and Mem. The associated Tarot cards are VIII - Adjustment and XII - The Hanged Man. Both cards feature the inverted benediction Λ. In the former card the chains of Karma are (re)balanced, while in the latter the Adept has reversed his perspective and "walks upon his hands." I suspect he has an entirely different view of what is "sinister."  

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17 minutes ago, Aeon418 said:

 

Yes, I do. I think one way to look it is as a symbol of reorientation. From a conventional point of view the inverted benediction can only mean the opposite of a traditional sign of benediction. From this perspective what was once a blessing has now become a curse. But if we take on board the notion that the Hierophant is revealing a new doctrine and a new way of relating to ourselves and the world around us, then our orientation to this new way might influence how we experience it. If we stubbornly insist on things always staying the same we effectively turn ourselves into an obstruction in the path of a raging Bull. But if we can embrace change and reorient ourselves to it, we can be energized and empowered by an influx of new and transformative energy.

 

There's a lot more I could say on this, but I think it is important to remember that the Hierophant corresponds to the letter Vau, which is 6. But the card itself is V or 5. This points towards the Great Work of uniting the macrocosm (6) and the microcosm (5). In the language of Alchemy this is described as the Fixing of the Volatile. But before this can occur the Fixed must first be Volatized. In the Tarot this is represented by the four 5's, which Crowley warns us must not be regarded as something "evil." 

 

Oddly enough the two paths that lead towards the 5th sphere of Geburah/Mars are Lamed and Mem. The associated Tarot cards are VIII - Adjustment and XII - The Hanged Man. Both cards feature the inverted benediction Λ. In the former card the chains of Karma are (re)balanced, while in the latter the Adept has reversed his perspective and "walks upon his hands." I suspect he has an entirely different view of what is "sinister."  

More on the above soon, but in meantime would you craft a post on adjustment (justice). ? I've neen struggling with repeated draws lately. If you care to.

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19 hours ago, Wyrdkiss said:

More on the above soon, but in meantime would you craft a post on adjustment (justice). ? I've neen struggling with repeated draws lately. If you care to.

 

Okay. 🙂 

 

My recent posts have been based on passages in the Book of Thoth that have caught my eye. I'll read through the chapter on Adjustment, see if anything jumps out and see where it takes me. 

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