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The Tarot and the Magus

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This is by no means simply a theoretical treatise accessible only to specialists. Any discerning reader can cope with the initiatory contents of 'The Tarot', perceiving completely new horizons of thought, activity, psychology, cosmogony and practical magic in this traditional form of Hermetic Occultism. An enormous number of questions that occur to the earnest seeker are answered in new and fascinating ways. The attentive reader is offered the opportunity to understand the true meaning of one's own life and destiny, as well as that of the epoch in which we live.

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15 Chapters

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Chapter One: The Fool, the Universe and the Aces



The Fool, The Universe and the Aces

0 The Fool = 1, Aleph Air, Mother Letter

XXI The Universe = 400, Tau Earth, Saturn, Double Letter

Naturally, these cards represent beginnings and endings. The Fool shows events happening from an unexpected source. The Universe is the matter in hand, the ending or completion of something or emigration to another country. Implicit in beginnings and endings is movement in time and place. Movement is from one Tree of Life to another, since the Fool starts with Kether and the Universe connects with Malkuth. Time can be from the past, present or future. A favourite saying in the Golden Dawn is that “Malkuth is Kether after another way”.

The Fool is the first card, numbered Zero, while the Universe is the last, numbered 21. Kabbalistically, the Fool is Aleph, 1, while Malkuth is Tau, 400. In gematria 401 is the number of ATh, Essence, the thing itself, which is why, in divinatory matters, the Universe is the matter in hand. ATh also means with, at or near, whilst ThA means a room or a space defined by boundaries. Since Aleph and Tau represent the entire range of experience, we see that they define all ‘rooms’ from the subatomic to the largest galaxies.


Chapter Two: The Magus, the Aeon, the Twos and the Kings



The Magus, The Aeon, the Twos and the Knights

I The Magus = 2, Beth Air, Mercury, Double Letter

XX The Aeon = 300, Shin Fire, Mother Letter

The Magus represents Mercury, communication and control: he has four weapons representing the four elements. In the same way that the Aces are the powers of the elements but not the elements themselves, the Two's show the four elements in their pure state. The Magus organises and the Aeon shows movement from the present with respect to the past, or a new current with respect to the future.

We have time represented as past, present and future contrasting with the previous pairing of Fool and Universe in which space is defined. Chokmah is the symbol of the Father and so the Knights are associated with this Sephirah. Beth and Shin total 302, the number of ARQA, Earth, and QBR is a cave, a hole in the Earth or a tomb. RQB means ‘to putrefy’; the Judgment card traditionally is associated with tombs and resurrection. A subtler interpretation of RQB is tied to the notion of the birth of the pure elements at the level of Chokmah. They represent a descent into matter and therefore are not pure. As soon as the elements appear, they will degrade, reflecting the astrological attributes of Cardinal, Fixed and Mutability of the 12 signs of the zodiac.


Chapter Three: The Priestess, the Sun, the Threes and the Queens



The Priestess, The Sun, the Threes and the Queens

II The Priestess = 3. Gimel Water, Moon, Double Letter

XIX The Sun = 200, Resh Fire, Sun, Double Letter

The Threes are part of the Supernal Triangle. The High Priestess is on the only path that goes from Kether to the Tree of Life below the abyss. The Priestess also represents the Moon partner to the Sun and the path of the Priestess is from Kether the Crown to Tipareth the Sun.

The numeration of these two cards is 203 – ABR, passed away, feather (symbol of Maat), wing, genitalia. ARB means to lie in wait. BAR is a well or spring and BRA means Created, the root of the word Briah, the watery second level of creation after Atziluth, associated with Chokmah and Binah. The Feather or Wing evokes Air, which came from Kether and in particular the Fool card, as well as the symbol of the Goddess Maat.

We have masculine and feminine images here. Kabbalistically, Binah is the Great Mother and the image is of the Dark Sea. Venus would be the obvious planet to associate with it but actually it is Saturn. ABR is also lead, the metal of Binah. GR means dwelling or abiding or a stranger, foreigner, pilgrim or guest. Chokmah and Binah together represent the watery and creative level of Briah. The Queens are usually depicted on a Throne, another symbol of Binah.


Chapter Four: The Empress, the Moon and the Fours



The Empress, The Moon and the Fours

III The Empress = 4. Daleth Water, Venus, Double Letter

XVIII The Moon = 100, Qoph Water, Pisces, Single Letter

The Empress is on the path that unites Chokmah and Binah, and the Moon card connects Malkuth to Netzach. While the Empress represents the qualities of Venus, fertility and beauty, the Moon has negative connotations. Interestingly, the image of the Dark Towers and the winding path could be taken to be an image of what might be seen on the Path of the Empress as she faces towards Kether. Chesed as number four is the Sephirah of stability, order and reliability, ruled by Jupiter. The numeration of the Empress and Moon is 104; AB HMVN means, “Father of the mob or multitude”, DQ is “crushed, fine or thin, dust”, Midian, MLK DVD, King David, NCHVM, Nahum, SDM, Sodom. One interesting polarity is SGVLH, personal belongings, and SVLCh, giving up, presenting, remitting – in other words the pair represent giving and taking. One last combination is TzDy, or fish hook, the 18th letter, relating to the Emperor.


Chapter Five: The Emperor, the Star and the Fives



The Emperor, The Star and the Fives

IV The Emperor = 90, Tzaddi Fire, Aries, Single Letter

XVII The Star = 5, Heh Air, Aquarius, Single Letter

Aleister Crowley famously transposed the Hebrew letters of these two cards, after an instruction in the Book of the Law, and it is interesting that the Pairing would bring these two cards together whether or not they were transposed. The numerical value of the cards is 5 + 90 = 95, which relates to HMN, Venus and MADYM, Mars (planetary ruler of Geburah), HMYM the Waters, MHLK journey, MLKH Queen, and ZBVLN Capricorn.

The Emperor card combines the idea of energy in its most material form with the idea of authority, and the card represents the idea of alchemical Sulphur. The action is sudden and violent, but does not last. Crowley makes it clear that his authority is derived from the Word of the Magus. The Star card, which was transposed by Crowley with the Emperor card, represents Nuith as manifestation of form, as opposed to the force of the Emperor, and the Star of Venus is strongly associated with her, which connects with the Empress.


Chapter Six: The Hierophant, the Tower, the Sixes and the Princes



The Hierophant, The Tower, The Sixes and the Princes

The Hierophant = 6, Vau Taurus, Single Letter

The Tower = 80, Peh Mars, Double Letter

Establishment versus destruction and chaos. The value of these two cards is 86, which is an important kabbalistic number: ALHYM, Gods (plural), HLLVYH Halleluyah, KVS, cup or chalice, LVYM the Levites, and YH YHVH ADM, The God of Adam.

Tipareth is the centre point of the Tree of Life, and means Beauty. In the Golden Dawn system this is where the Adept can meet his Holy Guardian Angel. This experience can be shattering as easily as illuminating. Once the Adept has met his HGA he has his own authority to act – he has no superiors to defer to. This is probably one of the key reasons why organisations such as the Golden Dawn ran into such factionalising.

The symbol of Tipareth is a young man, which is part of the reason why the Princes are associated with it. In some kabbalistic systems Tipareth is the centre point of Yetsirah, which relates to the element Air. Tipareth is also the junction point of Malkuth and Kether when Trees of Life are daisy-chained together. The polarity of these cards indicates maximum change with maximum stability.


Chapter Seven: The Lovers, the Devil and the Sevens



The Lovers, The Devil and the Sevens

VI The Lovers = 7, Zayin Air, Gemini, Single Letter

XV The Devil = 70, Ayin Earth, Capricorn, Single Letter

77 is one less than the number of Tarot cards, which is what it would be if we counted the Fool card as Zero. The Gematria is interesting; BOH is prayed, GYChVN the River Gihon (Genesis ii.13), ZYDVN Overflowing, MGDL Towers, Citadels, MZL the influence from Kether, OZ Strength, a he goat.

The Lovers card represents the concept that there should be equilibrium and harmony, so that the opposite idea should always be present. Solve et coagula or Analysis then Synthesis represents this idea. Crowley explicitly links the Lovers to the Magus card, not just because Mercury rules Gemini. He sees the card as “the Creation of the World”, where the voice of the Magus commands it. The marriage represented is of the Emperor and Empress, while the winged Orphic egg represents the colours of the Supernal Triangle.

AYN means an eye, which also appears on the Tower card. Capricorn and Pan rule high places, hence the gematria for Towers, Citadels, and of course, OZ, strength, for the Goat, symbol of Capricorn. This card represents the application of Will, whose successful application will result in Victory, the nature of Netzach. The two cards together suggest that the application of will in the analysis and synthesis of a situation will prevail, but of course the Lovers represents concepts relating to alchemy and the Great Work, so there has to be a union between subtlety of mind and the overwhelming will and aspiration to achieve the goal.


Chapter Eight: The Chariot, Temperance (Art) and the Eights



The Chariot, Temperance (Art) and the Eights

The Chariot = 8, Cheth Water, Cancer, Single Letter

Temperance or Art = 60, Samehk Fire, Sagittarius, Single Letter

68 has values of ChLL emptiness, ChS silence, NBYAH prophetess, SDD to shut up, and Binah. The Eighth Sephira of the Tree of Life is Hod which is associated with Mercury, and has kabbalistic connotations of prophecy.

The Chariot brings down the Water from Binah; the canopy is the blue of Binah, while the scarlet wheels represent fiery Geburah. Four sphinxes draw the chariot where the elements are counter changed to represent the 16 sub-elements. So despite the original influence of Binah and Geburah, we have an entirely balanced elemental disposition. In the Golden Dawn system, and in this book, the balanced appearance of all four elements is a powerful spiritual base for change, and is represented as the God Osiris. This is important, because the Chariot is the means of ascent through the heavenly planes, and is inspired by the Mercaba vision in Ezekiel 1, Chapter 1.


Chapter Nine: Justice (Adjustment), Death and the Nines



Justice (Adjustment), Death and the Nines

Justice or Adjustment = 30, Lamed Air, Libra, Single Letter

Death = 50, Nun Water, Scorpio, Single Letter

80 in gematria has meanings for KLL universal, general, KS Throne, OY town ruins, SK crowd, VOD union, assembling, YH ADNY God of Yesod and Malkuth, and YSVD Yesod.

The previous two pairings prepared us for the wedding that is promised in the Lovers and Art cards. The contract has been delivered in Adjustment. The Shekinah in Malkuth has been elevated to the Throne of Binah, the Mother. Libra, the sign allied with this card, is also the 7th house, which as well as ruling legal contracts and legal relationships, also signifies the world at large, hence SK crowd, VOD union, assembling.

Crowley is not entirely honest when he says that the secret keys of the Book of Law have not been published, since much of the Book of Thoth is devoted to the subject. He lifts part of the veil by hinting that part of the answer is found in the Fool and Adjustment, whose letters form AL, the name of the Book of the Law, and a Name of God. LA means ‘not’, in other words, everything that is not God. The first letter Aleph is composed of ALP. The final letter Peh is related to the Tower, and when we read Crowley's commentary on the Tower card, where he says, “…magical symbols must always be understood in a double sense, each contradictory of the other,” we are back to the Hegelian Dialectic.


Chapter Ten: The Hermit, the Hanged Man, the Tens and the Princesses



The Hermit, The Hanged Man, the Tens and the Princesses

The Hermit = 10, Yod Earth, Virgo, Single Letter

The Hanged Man = 40, Mem Water, Mother Letter

50 is the number of Nun, Death in the Tarot. Other meanings are: ADMH earth of Chesed, ATM closed, shut up, AYZBL Jezebel, ChBLY pains, sorrows, DG GDVL Jonah's whale, HMH to ferment, KL all, every, TMA unclean, impure, YM sea, MY, water, liquid, danger.

Jezebel is a notorious woman in the bible, responsible for the introduction of Baal worship, and for killing prophets, however, since the prophets were constantly exhorting the Jews to worship the One True God, we can safely assume the Jewish people were easily mislead, and there has been a consistent propaganda campaign against the woman. The combination of the symbolism of the Hanged Man and the Hermit can be seen in Jezebel.

The Hermit is equated with Virgo, ruled by Mercury, and the letter Yod, which is the first letter of Tetragrammaton, which immediately places the Hermit as Creator, and the Logos. In Gnostic terms, Creation is descent into matter, a source of evil, so there is some ambivalence concerning this card. As usual in the Book of Thoth, this card is intimately connected with the Supernal Triangle, but in this case it is the sperm in the womb of Binah.


Chapter Eleven: Fortune, Strength (Lust)



Fortune and Strength (Lust)

Fortune = 20, Kaph
Air, Jupiter, Double Letter

Strength or Lust = 9,
Teth Fire, Leo, Single Letter

29 means DKH is broken, and HDK, breakdown, overturn.

Eleven is Crowley's number of change and transformation, of Magick. Eleven is a powerful number as it is one beyond ten – it takes the magician out of the Tree of Life. Daath is said to be the eleventh sephirah which is the entrance to another Tree of Life or another Universe. In the rules of Gematria, an extra unit known as colel can be added to the value, which would give us 30, the number of Lamed, Adjustment, which is another important aspect to Crowley's system.

The Fortune card represents the universe in a state of continual change. The ten sephiroth are depicted on a wheel, in contrast to the Lust card. Much of this cards description in The Book of Thoth is taken up with a discussion of the Three Gunas, which describe the transmutation of elements, an important concept in Elemental Dignities. The Wheel is associated with the Eye of Shiva ‘whose opening annihilates the Universe’ (Book of Thoth). The reader is referred to Crowley's Rite of Jupiter, which resembles the Fortune card.


Appendix I: Meditations




The Meditations presented here have been developed from the pairing of the Major cards, the pairing of the verses of Liber 231, and the pairing of the initiatory correspondences of the Hebrew alphabet. The number of pairings total 11, the number of Change and of Magick. Each pairing is also associated with a stage of the Neophyte Ritual, the basis of Golden Dawn magic.

Thus we see that Liber 231 was created on the basis of the study of the Kabbalah, the use of the rituals of the Golden Dawn to attain the Holy Guardian Angel, and the names of Enochian Spirits. The reader is refered to the description of the magical weapons in the commentary on Column XLI in Liber 777. Rather than try to analyse the sigils, I suggest the reader study the magical weapons and discover the abstract forms of these weapons that can be found in the Sigils of Liber 231.

Part l. General Exordium

The Speech in the Silence:

The Assessors

Amprodius: A, the heart of IAO, dwelleth in ecstasy in the secret place of the thunders. Between Asar and Asi he abideth in joy.


Appendix II: The 22 Mercurial Spirits of Liber 231



The 22 Mercurial Spirits of Liber 231

For some reason Crowley chose to represent the names of these twenty-two spirits using a mixture of English, Greek and Coptic letters – the Hebrew alphabet is represented by AYN, or Nothingness, related to the Devil card. From the English letters the names of various Enochian, Goetic and other spirits can be discerned. The Coptic ST is explained in various Golden Dawn documents as having spiritualising influence from Kether. This leaves the Greek letters, which could have as easily been rendered in English. What do the Greek letters represent?

In my meditations on these Spirits, I was gradually led to consider Gnosis or Knowledge, usually secret knowledge. The Gnostics were on the one hand considered to be the precursors to the Christian religion, and on the other an enemy that had to be crushed by established religion. This philosophy was explored by Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophical Movement she founded. Alistair Crowley makes it clear in several places that he intended to continue the works of the Theosophical Movement, who, no doubt, feel they can get on quite nicely without his help. A characteristic of Gnosticism as it has come down to us is that its ideas have appropriated and misappropriated over the millennia. One side of Mercury that is not so well known is his role as thief. He steals things, ideas, and words. Spiritually, our original identity can and has been stolen. To know is to be.


Appendix III: The Qliphot and the Tarot



The Qliphot and the Tarot

The Meditations were written before my own understanding had increased to the point that they can be seen in a Gnostic context, but when included with the Mnemonic verses and verses of Liber 231, there is the basis for seeing the Tarot in a Gnostic Light. The Spirits discussed in this book are often considered to be Qliphotic, which is representing unbalanced, therefore dangerous or demonic energies that the magician should avoid until he has achieved high status and competency. The concept of the Qliphotic spirits comes from various Kabbalistic sources. The Qlippoth are never really explained, and it certainly was not the intention of the author to rashly introduce them to the readership. My experience of ‘Qliphotic’ Goetia and Liber 231 has been one of unendingjoy, a far cry from the terrifying descriptions given by writers down the centuries. I have been practising magic and divination for many years, so I tend to believe my own experience. If they are not evil, what are they? The answer seems to lie in Egyptian mythology, since that is the basis of the Golden Dawn rituals, as discussed in Chapter 11. The Bible and Kabbalah are based upon Egyptian mythology, a subject extensively discussed in Theosophy. According to the Egyptologist Gerald Massey, who was also a Theosophist, the Qliphoth were victims of Rabbinical spin!


Appendix IV: Self Initiation and the Neophyte Spread



Self Initiation and the Neophyte Spread

In this more egalitarian world, the necessity to be at a Temple, or even be a member of a Lodge in order to progress spiritually has waned. Cyber-Temples can be found on the Internet. With the development of the powerful magical techniques for attaining one's Holy Guardian Angel using the Tarot, a more formal structure for self-initiation is required.

Contact with one's Holy Guardian Angel is considered a pre-requisite for any Magician – Aleister Crowley purchased Boleskin in Scotland purely for the purpose of practising the Abra-Melin ritual. Six months of isolation and abstinence is required to complete the Abra-Melin ritual – not an easy task at the best of times.

A characteristic of success in contacting one's Holy Guardian Angel is the appearance of ‘demonic’ spirits. The word demon comes from daimon, a Greek word meaning deity, something entirely different. Based upon my experience of writing this book and the contact made with the Goetic Spirits, (which are part of the Abra-Melin heritage) and the spirits of Liber 231, it occurs to me that ‘demon’ in this context may better be described as ‘spirits who arrived unexpectedly’.



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