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Atu X - The Wheel of Fortune


Aeon418

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During a recent reading of Crowley's Liber A'ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici (The Book of Creation or the Goat of the Spirit) my eye was drawn to three verses that made me think of Atu X - Fortune.

 

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35.  And in all shalt thou create the Infinite Bliss, and the next link of the Infinite Chain.

36. This chain reaches from Eternity to Eternity, ever in triangles— is not my symbol a triangle?— ever in circles— is not the symbol of the Beloved a circle? Therein is all progress base illusion, for every circle is alike and every triangle alike!

37. But the progress is progress, and progress is rapture, constant, dazzling, showers of light, waves of dew, flames of the hair of the Great Goddess, flowers of the roses that are about her neck, Amen!

 

Adding up the verse numbers: 35 + 36 + 37 = 108. A significant number in the Dharmic religions, where it frequently appears in the number of beads in a mala or a rosary.

 

The idea of creating the next link in an Infinite Chain led me to reflect on the fact that Atu X - Fortune is esoterically a card of aspiration. In particular it points to the challenge of maintaining spiritual aspiration amidst the whirling maelstrom of continually changing circumstances. The focus of aspiration is symbolically the centre of the Wheel. It is that point of inner stillness from which the three forms of continual change on the rim of the Wheel can be seen for what they really are. Perhaps this is a reason why the Axle appears to form the symbol of the Eye in the Triangle.

 

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James A. Eshelman: "Atu X, The Wheel of Fortune, is a depiction of the constant revolution of these three principles, the eternal turning of the Wheel of Life. The inherent mystical task or challenge is to shift to a higher plane of operation than this triad so that one is no longer caught in their tag-team rhythms; that is, to attain the center or axle upon which the Wheel turns. At the same time, the challenge is how to live within their whirling patterns."

 

Typically we try to control circumstances. But in a universe of continual change we are destined to fail and suffer as a consequence. Perhaps a more awakened perspective is to aspire towards authentic self expression through the medium of continual change, while resisting the habitual impulse to grasp hold of the rim of the Wheel. 

 

There's an oddity to the design of Atu X - Fortune that is easy to miss. On page 90 of the Book of Thoth Crowley says the lightning bolts churn the firmament into a mass of blue and violet plumes. These plumes appear to be rotating counter-clockwise. This gives the impression that the Wheel itself is moving in the same direction. But the sequence of change symbolised by the Sphinx > Typhon > Hermanubis rotates clockwise. (Peace > Sloth > Activity)

 

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J. Daniel Gunther: "This is a very important detail. In the old Marseilles style Tarot decks, the wheel is turning counter-clockwise. But in the Thoth Tarot of Thelema, the opposite is shown. "The Wheel" of the Thelemic Tarot is turning clockwise."

 

Unfortunately Gunther does not expand on this observation. But a possible interpretation could be connected to the lightning. While the descending lightning churns the firmament in an anti-clockwise motion, the rising Aspiration within the Triangle points towards the very source of the lightning - the Circle of Stars - Nuit. This motion back towards the source reverses the directional rotation of the Wheel, which is incidentally the same as the Dharma Wheel, the Wheel of the Law. "Love is the law, love under will."  

 

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Liber XV - "O circle of Stars whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom Time is Ashamed, the mind bewildered, and the understanding dark, not unto Thee may we attain, unless Thine image be Love."

 

Change directed towards Nuit is what Crowley calls "love under will." Nuit's partner, Hadit, is the "goer" who identifies himself with the Axle of the Wheel. He is change, while she is the medium of change. Perhaps this is why Crowley emphasises the symbolic link between the Hebrew letter Kaph and Kteis - Phallos, while pointing out that card X "may also be interpreted as a Unity of supreme attainment and delight." 

 

It may be significant that the Sphinx sits at the apex of the triangle. The four virtues of the Adept  that She symbolises - to Know, to Will, to Dare, and to Keep Silence - must be established on the firm foundation of the balance between Typhon and Hermanubis. This balanced aspiration is that which awakens the fifth power, Ire - to Go.  

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On 12/26/2023 at 5:32 PM, Aeon418 said:

The focus of aspiration is symbolically the centre of the Wheel. It is that point of inner stillness from which the three forms of continual change on the rim of the Wheel can be seen for what they really are. 

 

This reminds me of the Empress, Emperor and Hermit phasing one into another.

 

Empress Salt, Emperor fiery Sulphur, & Hermit Mercury/Thoth, Hermes the psychopomp. 
 

On 12/26/2023 at 5:32 PM, Aeon418 said:

 He is change, while she is the medium of change. Perhaps this is why Crowley emphasises the symbolic link between the Hebrew letter Kaph and Kteis - Phallos, while pointing out that card X "may also be interpreted as a Unity of supreme attainment and delight."

 

seem to have come back to the Hermit again, the K of LURK

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On 12/26/2023 at 5:32 PM, Aeon418 said:

 

During a recent reading of Crowley's Liber A'ash vel Capricorni Pneumatici (The Book of Creation or the Goat of the Spirit) my eye was drawn to three verses that made me think of Atu X - Fortune.

 

37. But the progress is progress, and progress is rapture, constant, dazzling, showers of light, waves of dew, flames of the hair of the Great Goddess, flowers of the roses that are about her neck, Amen!

 

I saw that first and thought it was beautiful. 
 

On 12/26/2023 at 5:32 PM, Aeon418 said:

The idea of creating the next link in an Infinite Chain led me to reflect on the fact that Atu X - Fortune is esoterically a card of aspiration. 


Crowley’s description of the wheel, Rota, in the appendix of the BoTH was always my favourite too.
 

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This one wheel is forty-nine wheels, set at different angles, so that they compose a sphere; each wheel has forty-nine spokes, and has forty-nine concentric tyres at equal distances from the centre. And wherever  the rays from two wheels meet, there is a blinding flash of glory.

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1 hour ago, smw said:

This reminds me of the Empress, Emperor and Hermit phasing one into another.

 

Yes. Although Crowley does not seem to think that this continual change of state is necessarily an indicator of good fortune. It merely points to a change of fortune

 

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The Book of Thoth: (p.257) "Change of fortune. (This generally means good fortune because the fact of consultation implies anxiety or discontent.)"

 

I guess that's a warning to Tarot readers who habitually consult their cards out of idle curiosity. The only certainty is constant change. If you're presently in a comfortable situation the appearance of Fortune might be an unwelcome reminder of this inevitable certainty.

 

I'm sure Crowley's exposure to Buddhism heavily influenced his view of this card. Although I think he would disagree with any Buddhist notions of escaping the Wheel.    

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53 minutes ago, smw said:

I saw that first and thought it was beautiful. 

 

I'm still pondering the significance of the "chain" in those verses. The literal Chain described by Crowley in Book 4, part 2, chapter IV, as part of the three alchemical weapons that surround the Oil of Aspiration, is made of 333 alternating links of circles and triangles. (Sorry, I can't find a link to a decent picture of the illustration.) It's symbolic purpose is to restrict wandering. I'm certain that Crowley deliberately selected the word "wandering" because it is the literal interpretation of Samsara. 

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I've found a little pdf of Book 4, part 2, chapter IV - The Scourge, the Dagger and the Chain - that includes the illustration. The chapter itself is worth reading because it discusses the three alchemical principles.

 

"THE SCOURAGE, THE DAGGER, AND THE CHAIN." The Equinox book4/2 (1913): 25-30. (keepsilence.org)

 

I'm wondering if the 9 lightning bolts on the Fortune card correspond to the 9 lashes of the Scourge. But where's the Dagger? 

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On 12/31/2023 at 8:54 PM, Aeon418 said:

 

I'm still pondering the significance of the "chain" in those verses. The literal Chain described by Crowley in Book 4, part 2, chapter IV, as part of the three alchemical weapons that surround the Oil of Aspiration, is made of 333 alternating links of circles and triangles. (Sorry, I can't find a link to a decent picture of the illustration.) It's symbolic purpose is to restrict wandering. I'm certain that Crowley deliberately selected the word "wandering" because it is the literal interpretation of Samsara. 


In the accursed 10th Aethyr it is Choronzon that wanders. Apparently using the device of quotation to keep the scribe busy writing while getting ready to leap on him. 
 

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With a heart of furious fancies,

Whereof I am Commander,

With a burning spear

And a horse of Air

To the wilderness I wander.


I’m guessing that the 333 Choronzon chain means to stop a wandering mind as well

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On 12/31/2023 at 11:48 PM, Aeon418 said:

I've found a little pdf of Book 4, part 2, chapter IV - The Scourge, the Dagger and the Chain - that includes the illustration. The chapter itself is worth reading because it discusses the three alchemical principles.

 

"THE SCOURAGE, THE DAGGER, AND THE CHAIN." The Equinox book4/2 (1913): 25-30. (keepsilence.org)

 

I'm wondering if the 9 lightning bolts on the Fortune card correspond to the 9 lashes of the Scourge. But where's the Dagger? 


Don’t think I can see that one either…

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, smw said:

I’m guessing that the 333 Choronzon chain means to stop a wandering mind as well

 

Yes. Plus the Chain is worn around the neck which is the location of Da'ath when the Tree of Life is projected onto the human body.

 

Significant words associated with Choronzon are:

 

333 = ἀκολασία (akolasia) – licentiousness, intemperance, dispersion.

 

333 = ἀκρασία (akrasia) – bad mixture, ill temperature; unwholesomeness; lack of self-control; incontinence; excess.

 

Dispersion and lack of control are not qualities that we normally associate with the firm aspiration and fixed will needed to reach the still centre at the heart of the Wheel. This in it's turn is the 'progress' that adorns the neck of the Great Goddess with a garland of roses.

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11 hours ago, smw said:

Don’t think I can see that one either…

 

Crowley does mention the nails of the crucifixion being a substitute for the Dagger. This draws attention to the Hanged Man who sits on the other side of Tiphareth and balances the fiery aspiration of the Wheel of Fortune with the placid waters of surrender and sacrifice.    

 

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The Scourge keeps the aspiration keen: the Dagger expresses the determination to sacrifice all; and the Chain restricts any wandering.

 

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1 hour ago, Aeon418 said:

Dispersion and lack of control are not qualities that we normally associate with the firm aspiration and fixed will needed to reach the still centre at the heart of the Wheel. This in it's turn is the 'progress' that adorns the neck of the Great Goddess with a garland of roses.


Very nicely put back round.  💐

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On 1/2/2024 at 1:59 PM, Aeon418 said:

 

Crowley does mention the nails of the crucifixion being a substitute for the Dagger. This draws attention to the Hanged Man who sits on the other side of Tiphareth and balances the fiery aspiration of the Wheel of Fortune with the placid waters of surrender and sacrifice.    

 

 

 

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The Scourge keeps the aspiration keen: the Dagger expresses the determination to sacrifice all; and the Chain restricts any wandering.


I don’t find this semi-violent sacrifice and alternate weapon imagery appealing tbh… it’s a little scary 

🤷‍♀️

That’s  why I gave you roses back.  To move towards  something more in the spirit of loving. 

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On 1/14/2024 at 12:19 PM, smw said:

 


I don’t find this semi-violent sacrifice and alternate weapon imagery appealing tbh… it’s a little scary 

🤷‍♀️

That’s  why I gave you roses back.  To move towards  something more in the spirit of loving. 

 

Even if I did bring up lurking first... 😈 must be all that apocalyptic energy 

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On 1/14/2024 at 12:19 PM, smw said:

I don’t find this semi-violent sacrifice and alternate weapon imagery appealing tbh… it’s a little scary 

🤷‍♀️

That’s  why I gave you roses back.  To move towards  something more in the spirit of loving. 

 

This could be a nice segue into Crowley's alternate vision of the Wheel and the cute and cuddly Agnus Dei. There's nothing scary about him. Or is there? 

 

Incidentally, the 2nd footnote on page 133 in the Book of Thoth says the vision of the Wheel is the 4th Aethyr. But it's actually the 20th.

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On 1/18/2024 at 3:56 PM, Aeon418 said:

 

This could be a nice segue into Crowley's alternate vision of the Wheel and the cute and cuddly Agnus Dei. There's nothing scary about him. Or is there? 

 

Incidentally, the 2nd footnote on page 133 in the Book of Thoth says the vision of the Wheel is the 4th Aethyr. But it's actually the 20th.

 

An extract of the 4th Aethyr is in the previous section along with the footnoted  3rd - the 'Lord of Illusion' ( the Magus). 

Maybe it is just editing mistakes with the two sections.

 

The only thing that I noticed, (might be completely irrelevant) is that the 20th Aethyr has solar aspects. Crowley recognized K & C with his HGA, and also  a reference that the legends of Bacchus, Krishna and Adonis are 'solar' not Jupiterian. 

 

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The Jupiter of the Wheel is that Invisible Energy, whom one can only divine from his Hand, his means of Expression. He is Amoun, the Concealed One

 

In the 4th Aethyr the title PAZ refers to the Caput Draconis. According to Crowley -

 

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They are the Nodes of the Moon, which are points in which she crosses the ecliptic. They are called in astrology Caput- Draconis and Cauda -Draconis, the head and tail of the Dragon. The influence of the head of the Dragon combines in a peculiarly sudden and violent manner the effects of the Sun, and Jupiter, and it it therefore favourable for beginning any great operations

 

PAZ - 4 = Chesed, Jupiter, + the Hierophant, as demi-urge, appearing in the house of the Sun.

Not entirely sure where this is going, though it seems auspicious for a great working.

 

A sentimental parody of aspiration to Neshamah... eww.... :embarrassed:

 

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8 hours ago, smw said:

An extract of the 4th Aethyr is in the previous section along with the footnoted  3rd - the 'Lord of Illusion' ( the Magus). 

Maybe it is just editing mistakes with the two sections.

 

I think it is an editorial mistake too. However, there is a brief mention of Ixion in the vision of the 4th Aethyr. Ixion was blasted by a thunderbolt, kicked out of Olympus and bound on a wheel by Zeus/Jupiter as punishment for desiring Hera/Juno. Maybe Crowley intended to comment on this in connection with the Wheel, but forgot about it. 

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6 hours ago, Aeon418 said:

 

I think it is an editorial mistake too. However, there is a brief mention of Ixion in the vision of the 4th Aethyr. Ixion was blasted by a thunderbolt, kicked out of Olympus and bound on a wheel by Zeus/Jupiter as punishment for desiring Hera/Juno. Maybe Crowley intended to comment on this in connection with the Wheel, but forgot about it. 


yes, I saw that too. The version I read was that Zeus made a cloud, Nephele,  to appear to be Juno and Ixion embraced it creating a race of centaurs in the union.

 

For his impiety towards Juno he was bound to the flaming wheel for all eternity. However, there was a creative result of the union. I wondered if the suggestion is that this time the fate has been avoided.

 

In the 20th Aethyr the ‘energies’ of Juno are mentioned, which seem a fore runner somehow to this. Perhaps, the breeze of his HGA.
 

The lightning bolt/ thunderbolt are Jupiterian and feature on the Wheel (Fortune)imagery.  Also, the winds or ‘cloud’ formations move somewhat like a swastika, the ancient solar symbol of prosperity.

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4 hours ago, smw said:

For his impiety towards Juno he was bound to the flaming wheel for all eternity. However, there was a creative result of the union. I wondered if the suggestion is that this time the fate has been avoided.

 

I assume you are referring to this passage in the 4th Aethyr.

 

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Terrible and wonderful is the Mystery thereof, O thou Titan that hast climbed into the bed of Juno! Surely thou art bound unto, and broken upon, the wheel; yet hast thou uncovered the nakedness of the Holy One, and the Queen of Heaven is in travail of child, and his name shall be called Vir, and Vis, and Virus, and Virtus, and Viridis, in one name that is all these, and above all these.

 

I'm not so sure that fate has been avoided. It seems to me that despite fate a victory has been won. 

 

Titan, which Crowley spelt TEITAN, is 666 in Greek numerals. According to myth the Titan's were defeated by the Olympians and cast into Tartarus. This was also the fate of Ixion, who was bound to a Wheel spun by his desire, which is an obvious link to Atu X - Fortune. Here this symbolism is being used to indicate incarnation and mortality.

 

Teitan 666 is a label that Crowley sometimes used to indicate Adepts in general. Their aspiration is towards Binah - the bed of Juno, the Queen of Heavan, etc. - where they are reborn as V.V.V.V.V. - the Master of the Temple. Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici: "By the power of truth, I, while living, have conquered the universe".

 

The power of truth is the union of opposites. Despite being bound by Fate to the constantly spinning Wheel of mortality and desire, we are nevertheless capable of realizing the Immortal Axle at the centre of the Wheel.

 

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6. I am the flame that burns in every heart of man, and in the core of every star. I am Life, and the giver of Life, yet therefore is the knowledge of me the knowledge of death.

7. I am the Magician and the Exorcist. I am the axle of the wheel, and the cube in the circle. “Come unto me” is a foolish word: for it is I that go.

 

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In the vision of the 20th Aethyr Crowley points to deeper truth behind the Wheel of Fortune.
 

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Now I see the figures on the wheel, which have been interpreted as the sworded Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon. And that is wrong.* The rim of the wheel is a vivid emerald snake; in the centre of the wheel is a scarlet heart; and, impossible to explain as it is, the scarlet of the heart and the green of the snake are yet more vivid than the blinding white brilliance of the wheel.**

 

* See the usual drawing of Atu X by minor initiates.

** The symbolism here assumes the form of Liber LXV.

 

The deeper level of interpretation that Crowley says is based on the symbolism of Liber LXV would seem to be found in chapter III, verses 17, 18 & 20.

 

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17. Then I beheld myself compassed about with the Infinite Circle of Emerald that encloseth the Universe.

18. O Snake of Emerald, Thou hast no time Past, no time To Come. Verily Thou art not.

 

20. Also Thy coils are of infinite range; the Heart that Thou dost encircle is an Universal Heart.

 

The viewpoint of these verses is rooted in the centre of the Wheel. The surrounding "Circle of Emerald" is identified with collar of aspiration worn around the neck of the Unicorn in verse 2. The inscription on the collar is "Linea viridis gyrat universa - The Green Line winds about the Universe." Crowley identifies this green line with Venusian ideas of love and organic growth, and by extension, with the goddess Nuit herself. The Heart at the centre is the house of Hadit, the flame of life itself. The whirling of the Wheel, with it's seeming twists and turns of fate and fortune, are nothing more than the interplay of two cosmic principles. An added layer of symbolism is that Nuit and Hadit combined form Ra Hoor Khuit or the Holy Guardian Angel who unites the infinite within to the infinite without under the symbolic solar glyph of the point within the circle - the Wheel. 

 

Incidentally the 20th Aethyr is KHR, which is RHK - Ra Hoor Khuit - in reverse.

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The 20th Aethyr, KHR: "The figures on the wheel are darker than the wheel itself; in fact, they are stains upon the purity of the wheel, and for that reason, and because of the whirling of the wheel, I cannot see them."

 

The "purity" of the Wheel is its wholeness. It is symbol of the unity of all that exists. The three figures upon the Wheel are an assertion of difference and division. In Liber AL, I:22 the goddess Nuit describes this condition as the cause of "hurt." This also highlights the importance of the symbol of the Universal Heart at the centre of the Wheel. The heart that is open to reality is able to accept existence as it is without resentment. Instead of constantly wishing for better luck and a (temporary) change of circumstances, the real good Fortune is the ability to live fully and openly within continual change, no matter what form it takes.

 

Entelecheia has written about this in his book, Erotic Liberation - chp.3 "A Path with Heart."

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That attitude in which the heart is closed against reality - out of a mistaken belief it can protect itself - is what Aleister Crowley called the attitude of the Virgin Mary.

The Thelemic spiritual path asks that in those situations where your heart wants to close, you work to keep it open. The expectation is that you remain affirmative, awake, and aware, and that you do not curse yourself, your luck, or being. It's a training in resisting resentment and keeping the heart open.

 

In the Book of Thoth (p.91) Crowley says the Fortune card should be compared with the Tower. In the latter we see an image of apparent material destruction, which simultaneously represents sudden spiritual awakening and liberation. Likewise the Wheel of Fortune is an Ordeal X upon which the resisting and closed off soul is bound and torn to pieces (see Liber AL, III:55-56 and Liber LXV III:42-46) to open up their Heart to the Truth only visible from the centre of the Wheel.

 

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Liber LXV, III:31. I turned me about thrice in every way; and always I came at the last unto Thee.

 

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Follow thy Fortune, careless where it lead thee.
The axle moveth not: attain thou that.

 

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On 1/25/2024 at 3:42 PM, Aeon418 said:

Likewise the Wheel of Fortune is an Ordeal X upon which the resisting and closed off soul is bound and torn to pieces (see Liber AL, III:55-56 and Liber LXV III:42-46) to open up their Heart to the Truth only visible from the centre of the Wheel.


These references open up a rather mysterious set of associations. AC considers the  Virgin Mary as ‘ shutting herself up’  in contrast to the ‘Whore’ Babalon.

 

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Do we call Woman Whore? Ay, Verily and Amen, She is that; the air shudders and burns as we shout it, exulting and eager.

 

Rather unpleasantly, the Virgin Mary also needs to be ‘torn’ on the RV wheel.😐.
 

The source of this mystery I think is related to the Roman Catholic  view of the gate of Ezekiel 44:2 as referring to Mary. 
 

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It is written (Ezekiel 44:2): "This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it; because the Lord the God of Israel hath entered in by it." 


So Mary inviolate keeps the gate shut  & Babalon opens it for free passage back and forth to the supernals. 
 

However, In Liber LXV, III 42-46, as you mention, ( I have also just re-read your commentary on them) AC seems to use a feminine almost ‘Mary’ perspective as inspiration for his own feelings of being ‘torn asunder’ on the Wheel. 

 

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42: She hath been broken in pieces upon the Wheel; the hands of the hangman have bound her unto it.

 

43: The fountains of water have been loosed upon her; she hath struggled with exceeding torment.

 

 44: She hath burst in sunder with the weight of the waters; she hath sunk into the awful Sea. 

 

46: So am I, O Adonai, my beloved, and Thou hast burst me utterly in sunder.


It’s a bit like an inverse Christ on the cross suffering, but this time as a feminine figure. 
 

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Aeon418
Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, smw said:

It’s a bit like an inverse Christ on the cross suffering, but this time as a feminine figure. 

 

That's because it's primarily a reference to Heh-final of IHVH. She is the individual soul (regardless of gender) that is closed off and shut up in the cloak of individual existence that she mistakes for reality. The "hangman" who binds her to the Wheel suggests Atu XII - The Hanged Man, representing the suffering experienced by the individual soul that refuses to surrender and clings to its ego identity. This 'clinging' is what the Buddhists call Upādāna - attachment, grasping. This is related to Taṇhā, "thirst" or desire for reality to conform to the wishes of the individual, who craves pleasant experiences and shuns unpleasant experiences. But it is this that spins the Wheel of Samsara. After all, aren't we all hoping for better Fortune, despite that fact all experience is Nuit.

 

But the suffering and torment of the Ordeal of the Wheel is only experienced in direct proportion to the resistance we present to the Waters of the Universal Life. An ego-centric view that fearfully refuses to accept anything beyond the narrow confines of the Fortress it is imprisoned within. A view that refuses to accept the underlying message of Μαρίε = 156 = Bαβαλov.

 

This is why I think the Lamb, the Agnus Dei, in the alternative vision of the Wheel is described as the Enemy, because he is a symbol of Vicarious Atonement. The soul who is lured by his simulation of the "pure prompting of the soul" is being tricked by the "greatest of the deceivers" into refusing the Ordeal of the Wheel. The individual soul does not have to struggle and grow beyond its limitations when the Lamb has already done it for them on their behalf. 

 

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But I am he of whom it is written: He shall deceive the very elect.

 

The reference is to Matthew 24:24 and the appearance of the false Christ. When something persists for far longer than is needed, what was once a help may transform itself into a pernicious and restrictive influence. Despite the warm fleece and the air of mild meekness (Cf. II Corinthians. 11:14-15), the Lamb now acts as the deceiver of those "who but for me should come to the centre of the wheel." To this end he is described as feasting upon the Blood of the Saints. The blood is the personal life of the individual that must be surrendered into the Cup of Babalon - the Universal Life, to achieve an act of self-transcendence. These are the "bloodless" saints on Atu XI - Lust, and the reason why the corpse-pale Hanged Man is described by Crowley as a Cenotaph - an empty tomb. The Vicarious Atonement of the Lamb no longer fulfils this purpose. In this Aeon you must do it yourself.

 

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And for this is BABALON under the power of the Magician, that she hath submitted herself unto the work; and she guardeth the Abyss. And in her is a perfect purity of that which is above; yet she is sent as the Redeemer to them that are below. For there is no other way into the Supernal Mystery but through her, and the Beast on which she rideth.

 

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Aeon418
Posted (edited)

Continuing with Crowley's alternative vision of the Wheel, my eye was caught by this line.

 

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For in the beginning the Father of all called forth lying spirits that they might sift the creatures of the earth in three sieves, according to the three impure souls.

 

The phrase "impure souls" is intriguing. Whenever you see "purity" or "impurity" in Crowley's writings, you can be pretty confident that it has absolutely nothing to do with morals or moral purity. Whatever that means! Purity to Crowley was singleness of purpose, free of influences inimical to that purpose that may serve to deflect or dilute its focus. In the traditional image of the Wheel the energy of the three Gunas, symbolised by the Sphinx, Typhon, and Hermanubis, continually blend into each other and thereby energize the cyclical motion of the Wheel.

 

However, in Crowley's alternative vision of the Wheel it seems that this continual mixing and blending is undesirable. Whereas the traditional imagery of the Wheel represents the natural change of state in the external universe, the alternate vision of the Wheel represents the tripartite soul - Neshamah, Ruach, and Nephesh. Crowley repeatedly warns about the dangers of "confusing the planes." He thought this was a failure of many so-called "spiritual people" who mix the planes and begin making "spiritually based" value judgments and ascribing moral implications to completely amoral things. Crowley waxes lyrical on this subject of Spiritual Pride in his epic mystical poem, AHA.

 

MARSYAS Such are not the perfect saints.
While the imagination faints
Before their truth, they veil it close
As amid the utmost snows
The tallest peaks most straitly hide
With clouds their holy heads. Divide
The planes! Be ever as you can
A simple honest gentleman!
Body and manners be at ease,
Not bloat with blazoned sanctities!
Who fights as fights the soldier-saint?
And see the artist-adept paint!
Weak are those souls that fear the stress
Of earth upon their holiness!
They fast, they eat fantastic food,
They prate of beans and brotherhood,
Wear sandals, and long hair, and spats,
And think that makes them Arahats!
How shall man still his spirit-storm?
Rational Dress and Food Reform!
OLYMPAS I know such saints.
MARSYAS An easy vice:
So wondrous well they advertise!
O their mean souls are satisfied
With wind of spiritual pride.
They're all negation. “Do not eat;
What poison to the soul is meat!
Drink not; smoke not; deny the will!
Wine and tobacco make us ill. “
Magic is life; the Will to Live
Is one supreme Affirmative.
These things that flinch from Life are worth
No more to Heaven than to Earth.
Affirm the everlasting Yes!

 

In a footnote to the vision of the 20th Aethyr, Crowley comments on this kind of confusion of the planes as symbolised by the Lamb and Flag. (Emphasis added.)

 

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It is the superficial appeal of the idea of "Jesus" to the sentimental type of aspiration (the vilest parody of Neschamah is this pollution by the least virile elements of Nephesh) that has made possible the corruption implied in the doctrines of Sin and Vicarious Atonement. From this error have sprung the putrefaction of the reasoning faculties, and the suppression of all clear thinking, and the abominations of greed, persecution and the rest.

 

Right there is the genesis of the confused whirling of the "impure soul" wherein the Spiritual Aspiration has been muddied by aspects of the personal self. (Cf. Liber AL, III:43-45) Instead of a state of balanced harmony within the soul, wherein each of the three elements is purely itself, the soul is whirled around and mimics the action of the three Gunas. The solution to this bondage is revealed in the 14th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita - Vairagya - non-attachment.

 

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He who, seated as a neutral, is unshaken by the Gunas; who saying, "The Gunas revolve;" standeth apart, immovable.

Balanced in pleasure and pain, self reliant, to whom a lump of earth, a rock and gold are alike; the same to loved and unloved, firm, the same in censure and in praise.

The same in honour and ignominy, the same to friend and foe, abandoning all undertakings - he is said to have crossed over the Gunas.

 

This is the view from the Axle of the Wheel at the centre of the "pure soul," that perceives the whole Wheel as a manifestation of the body of the goddess Nuit. As such, all aspects of the Wheel, positive and negative, are affirmed with an everlasting Yes! Amor Fati. This is why Crowley describes the Fortune card as a "Unity of supreme attainment and delight." (BoT p.91) 

 

Incidentally, in his commentary in Visions & Voices, James A. Eshelman draws attention to the vision of the Wheel and says it "may be compared profitably to Liber Legis I:50."

 

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AL, I:50. There is a word to say about the Hierophantic task. Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other!

 

Synchronicity time! In a few days from now the Vernal Equinox will usher in the Thelemic New Year. In the dating system devised by Crowley, this new year will be Anno Vx. Although Crowley himself never appears to have openly done this, some Thelemites relate the Thelemic date to the Tarot Trumps. In this instance the current 22 year cycle (V) is represented by Atu V - The Hierophant. While the current year within that cycle (x) is represented by Atu X - Fortune. Make of that what you will.

Edited by Aeon418
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On 3/13/2024 at 4:04 PM, Aeon418 said:

An ego-centric view that fearfully refuses to accept anything beyond the narrow confines of the Fortress it is imprisoned within. A view that refuses to accept the underlying message of Μαρίε = 156 = Bαβαλov.

 


The four of disks showing  the establishment of the Universe just below the Abyss, is associated with the Fortress. I wonder if that has any relevance here. 
 

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The card is ruled by the Sun in Capricornus, the sign in which he is reborn. The disks are very large and solid; the suggestion of the card is that of a Fortress. This represents Law and Order, maintained by constant authority and vigilance. 

 

I used to think this card represented past incarnations at the foot of the Abyss. Something there about different attachments and identities, maybe.
 

Or the opposite frontier to the Supernals, where contradiction is Unity. 

Edited by smw
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Aeon418
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, smw said:

The four of disks showing  the establishment of the Universe just below the Abyss, is associated with the Fortress. I wonder if that has any relevance here. 

 

At the conclusion of the vision of the 11th Aethyr, when Crowley is about to leave the Fortress on the frontier of the Abyss, he hears the words of Christ on the cross;  "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani," and then experiences the "anguish of Gethsemane" where Jesus asks "let this cup pass from me." But to successfully cross the Abyss from the personal to the transpersonal he must surrender everything into the Cup of Babalon. Only after this, and the interlude with Choronzon, is he admitted entrance to the House of the Virgin in the vision of the 9th Aethyr. It is there that he beholds the Virgin Daughter of Babalon (see Atu XXI, which only the "pure of heart" can fully comprehend), or the Universe as it really is without the conceptual filters of the ego that "shut her up" and hide her behind the "veil of sorrow, & the pall of death" (Liber AL, II:52) characteristic of Mary inviolate.  

Edited by Aeon418
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