Apr 13, 2014

The Empress Fulfilled

Empress card design Crowley/Harris Thoth deck

Here we have The Empress. The High Priestess has matured. It is no accident that the first clearly gendered forms of the Major Arcana are Female. The pansexual Fool and Magus energies must either manifest in Form or dissipate into Abyss. A vessel is required for Life to occur.

I am extremely busy this week. As you've probably noticed, my opinion is that the Thoth Tarot is the only deck that matters. As my time is scarce and The Empress card is a representation of balance between ideas we've already discussed, a cursory examination of Aleister Crowley's design will suffice.

The Numerology of Qabalah is most prominently represented by the Ten Sephiroth on the Tree of Life, however the Paths between them also partake of numerology's philosophy. (1-10 are The Numbers; all numbers following repeat the cycle in a parallel series. 1 = 11 = 21; 2 = 12 = 22, etc.)

The Path of The Empress is balanced between Chokmah (2, masculine activity) and Binah (3, feminine receptivity). Being that this card is assigned the numeral III, the philosophy of feminine receptivity is therefore slightly exalted. However, all of the receptive images are "full," or Spiritualized. Her arms are held in the circular form of the alchemical glyph for Salt, the base matter of existence, lacking Spiritual motivation. Not so, here, for She is pregnant. From Her closed fist, sprouts the lotus of Isis. (See the Thoth design of the XIII card for a satisfying confirmation of the link between numbers and concepts. Death is the only method for repaying the loan of Life. This philosophy is further represented by the image of the Pelican of legend. She stabs her own heart that her young may feed. The cycle is infinite.)

The Empress is often seen as the female "counterpart" of the following card, The Emperor. They are not mirror images, entirely. Analyze the imagery and the placement of the Paths upon the tree. The Empress is the concept of fully realized harmony and balance. She is the highest or most ideal concept of cohesive tension, the only Path of balance in the Supernal triangle.

"Feminine" does not mean "human woman." Any presumption of sexist bigotry in Tarot or Qabalah is mistaken. In describing the previous Trump, The High Priestess, Aleister Crowley states, "The Brothers of A∴A∴ are Women; the Aspirants to A∴A∴ are Men." Is he referring to some genital mutilation cult? Of course not.

The spiritual/mental drive towards so-called Enlightenment is called "masculine." The Realization, once attained, is that every human body, man or woman, is a "feminine" vessel, driven by the Spirit or Mind. To those still sputtering about the sexism of those statements, asking why the genders were assigned these metaphoric "roles" in the first place: A) You are absolutely missing the point here, which is of equanimity B) look in your underwear. Some people have an innie, some people have an outtie and for the vast majority of human history those were hard and immutable definitions of gender. When you're sitting around a campfire, inventing gods, that's the kind of thing the kids are gonna ask about.

Sex has long been regarded as a form of Magick by occultists. Again, we must delay the topic but there are further hints in this Trump. In acknowledgement of the tiny birds perched atop the "flamelike uprights of Her throne," Crowley points the reader toward the poetry of Catullus and Martial:

"Sparrow, my sweet girl's delight, whom she plays with, holds to her breast; whom, greedy, she gives her little finger to, often provoking you to a sharp bite. Whenever my shining desire wishes to play with something she loves, I suppose, while strong passion abates, it might be a small relief from her pain. Might I toy with you as she does and ease the cares of a sad mind" - Catullus

Vaginal masturbation is the subtext. (I am not bending these words to suit my purposes. Read "The Death of Lesbia's Sparrow," referring to the loss of Lesbia's virginity, for further confirmation.) The sparrow [and dove] in the card are perched atop blue flames, suggestive of the "active feminine" element of Water, concerned with emotional energies. The subscribed doctrine is to exalt Sex beyond a robotic, mundane impulse. Activate and integrate the Higher Consciousnesses inside you to elevate your physical actions to a Divine Purpose.

Thank you for your time. Are there any questions?


<<< II - The High Priestess
IV - The Emperor >>>

Recommended Reading:

Dion Fortune - The Mystical Qabalah
Aleister Crowley - The Book of Thoth
Alejandro Jodorowsky - The Way of Tarot: The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards
Naomi Ozaniec - The Kabbalah Experience
Joseph Campbell - Tarot Revelations
Paul Foster Case - Tarot Revelations
Lon Milo Duquette - Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot

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