The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 15th path of Aquarius is Nuit XVII. The traditional title of the trump is ‘The Star XVII’. The esoteric title is Daughter of the Firmament: Dweller between the Waters.
The key-scale colour and other correspondences are of the 15th path of Aquarius (or 28th path in Crowley’s tables, which were not corrected). The hieroglyphs of Nuit’s name are shown at the top of the card. At the centre is Nuit bending over the Star Pentactys. In the lower section of the image is the Lion of Truth, Ma’a, Nuit’s power in the underworld and opposite sign of the Zodiac, Leo. According to the instruction of the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, I: 15, to the Scarlet Woman, Nuit-Babalon, “is all power given”.
Depicted on the lower border of the card is Saturn, the astrological glyph for Aquarius, and the letter of the 15th path, Hé, ‘a window’. The shape of the letter is that of a nomad’s tent (as with beth). The tent is shown from the side, with the aperture drawn open at the top for viewing.
Aquarius Invocation of the 15th Path
Thou art the Daughter of the Firmament, the Dweller between the Waters. Thou art the goddess of Infinite Space, and Babalon thy daughter. Thou art eternity. Thou art the Star of Nuit. Thou art love, and the seven lamps of Venus! Thou art the window of heaven and about thee is the glittering girdle of the stars. Thou art the Holy Graal itself, and the amrita with which it is filled; thy gift is the ambrosia of the Gods. Thou art the Waters of Space and thy cup is Binah on the Tree of Life. Thou art the essence of creative force that arises in pure darkness. Thy veil is the firmament of heaven. Thine are the Marks of Space, and thine art is Occult. In the Abyss, the clouds are broken up and drop down dew. Therefore thy magical weapons are the Censer for the perfumes, as clouds carry the distillation of the water of earth, and the Aspergillum for the sprinkling of the lustral water. For this is alike unto the shedding of rain from the clouds. We invoke thee, whose number is eleven! O thou curved one, continuous circle of Heaven!
The ‘seven lamps of Venus’ is the cluster of stars called Pleiades in the constellation of Taurus, ‘seven sisters’ or ‘doves’. The first printed Tarot deck, the Marseille, depicted Nuit as Venus in the constellation of Taurus, with the seven stars surrounding a larger one.
Aquarius, the Waters of Space, is a fixed air sign ruled by Saturn, the principle of limitation and form. The letter hé of the 15th path of Aquarius on the Tree of Life means ‘a window’, and has the value of 5. The window of ‘five’ is the image of the starry goddess Nuit, through which the seer perceives the primordial wisdom. The 15th path begins in Chokmah, associated with the ajna chakra, and terminates in Tiphereth, the radiant beauty of all the sephiroth. The path corresponds to Aquarius according to the correction given in the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 57,
All these old letters of my Book are aright; but Tzaddi is not the Star.
The material manifestation or mundane chakra of Chokmah is the Zodiac. Tiphereth appears in visible nature as the Sun, the life-giving spirit animating the zodiacal signs through the course of the year. The key to the Zodiac is the Sun acting through Spirit in governance of the Four Elements.
The Zodiac is called ‘Mazloth’ (MZLVTh) in the Qabalah. The word provides a key to understanding the transmission of consciousness veiled by the symbolism of the 15th path. The starry wisdom is the primordial gnosis, the secret kept by the priesthood of Set, builders of the oldest pyramids. The root of the word Mazloth is mezla, a type of influx or influence from Kether or the North Pole of the universe. Mezla has the meaning of ‘flowing, to flow down in drops’. It signifies a whirling, spiralic or radiant force. As Mazloth is the name of the Zodiac, mezla refers to the stars of Draco and Thuban at the North Pole. The Dragon constellation is thus named because at one time it coincided with the Nodes of the Moon, the Dragon’s Head and Dragon’s Tail. The Dragon is a cosmic symbol of the Occult Force or Serpent Power embodying the polar electro-magnetic force of the universe.
The idea of ‘flowing’ and ‘drops’ alludes to the fact that the true crown or lotus of Kether is feminine or neutral. The sahasrara chakra of the Tantras is described as a ‘moon’ or ‘moonflower’. It is unique among all other chakras in that its lotus flower is turned downwards, to pour forth the starry dew or nectar. The ‘one’ that is afforded Kether in the scheme of things is not a singular state of affairs but is the principle of union. Aleister Crowley’s isolationist statement in Liber 777, that the number one is “the goal not the means”, and that it is therefore “too simple to serve the purpose of the magician”, is false. The reverse is true in magick and Thelema. The ‘one’ is the means of yoga, as concentration of thought and the uniting principle. It is not an end or goal. There are no goals beyond the Abyss. Thus, Crowley was chastised by Aiwass in Liber AL, I: 48.
My prophet is a fool with his one, one, one; are not they the Ox, and none by the Book?
The number of the verse, 48, is that of Kokab or khu-khabs, the Star of Nuit. Furthermore, the ‘one’ is not an ‘opened out circle’; it is the axis formed when a point is moved within a circle or sphere. It does not exist without the circle of Nuit, or as in any way separate from her circumference. When imaged, Hadit is not depicted as a straight line but as a Serpent, or winged disk going forth. As a figure, the ‘one’ has no meaning without the infinitude of all other possible numbers. As declared in the oracle of Nuit in Liber AL, I: 2,
Every number is infinite, there is no difference.
And of the Star of Nuit, it is said in Liber AL, I: 9,
Worship then the Khabs, and behold my light shed over you!
Nuit is the Star Goddess particularly concerned with the occult or hidden side of nature; her mysteries are those of sex and generation—not the generation of physical progeny but the generation of the magical ‘child’ that is the true ‘son’ or sun-star of Nuit.
The magical weapons are the Aspigillum for the sprinkling of the lustral water, and the Censor for the perfumes. The magical power of the 15th path is that of Astrology; the starry wisdom of the 15th path should not be confused with popular notions of astrology.
The traditional divinatory meaning of Aquarius and the 17th Tarot Atu is “the cosmic; expansion of consciousness; creativity; hopes or ideals; poetry and music—or, illusions; new age spirituality”.
Nuit and Sirius, Star of Aquarius
Nuit is esoterically associated with Sirius or Sothis, her star of manifestation. The Egyptian name for Sirius, Sopdet, is the name of the goddess that gives birth to the star of Venus, and has the literal meaning, ‘triangle’. Sopdet (spdt) is also to 393, Thelema, the word of the Law in transmission and reception.
The heliacal rising of the binary star Sirius is constantly relative to the solar year, thus establishing the strong relation between terrestrial earth and the star sometimes termed as the ‘sun behind the sun’ of our solar system. The rising presently occurs, as measured from Cairo, on the 19th July. In antiquity, the rising took place immediately prior to the summer solstice and heralded the onset of the Nile inundation. As viewed from England at the present time, the conjunction of Sirius with the Sun, and so the occultation of Sirius, is for 70 (a’ain) days from July 3rd to August 11th.
During the time of the occultation of Sirius, Isis hides herself in the swamps of the Delta (‘triangle’) region to give birth to Horus. Originally, Set-Hadit was the only begotten son of Nuit-Sopdet. The conception requires no father, no paternal intervention. Thus, ‘there is no father in heaven’, for the All-father was the invention of patriarchs and eventually, religious monotheists. The pairing of Isis with Osiris was likewise a relatively modern version of the stellar myth that was popular with the Greeks and Romans.
The ancient Greeks named the constellational home of Sirius as ‘Dog’, and Sirius, its brightest star, the ‘Dog Star’. If we take what the epic poets wrote at face value then we may conclude that the Greeks and Romans supposed the occultation of Sirius or ‘dog days’, coinciding with summer heat, to be an ill omen. Curiously, they also thought this caused women to become sexually aroused. We must suppose they also found that disagreeable. By this time, all knowledge of the ‘space marks’, the occult alignments of the stars, was long forgotten or otherwise systematically repressed.
Sirius forms a triangle of stars with Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) and Procyon, called the ‘winter triangle’. This embraces much of the constellation of Monoceros, ‘Unicorn’. Four other stars, Pollux, Capella, Aldebaron and Rigel (left foot of Orion) form the ‘winter hexagon’.
This establishes a geometric and mystical relationship between Sirius and Orion, or Sah (‘magical body’). Thus the Nephalim or sons of the Ancient Ones are sometimes called, ‘Children of Orion’.
The geometry of the triangulation of Sirius with the hexagon, or hexagram by extension, automatically declares the Cube of Space, as can be seen by the diagram. The triangle, hexagram and square spell Lux Occulta, ‘Occult Light’ or Aur Muphala, 364, a name of Kether as the ‘moonflower’. The number 364 declares the days in a lunar year, and is a number of Set, the ‘breaker of the circle (of the year)’ and the only begotten son-star of Nuit.
This configuration involves seven stars in all, thus proportionately mirroring the seven bright stars of Ursa Major, the ‘axle of the universe’, rotating while always pointing to the Pole. That is in fact the esoteric meaning of aleph, which corresponds to the 11th path and Tarot trump the Fool 0. Aleph is not, as has long been supposed, the ‘ox that ploughs the field’ but is the ‘ox that turns the wheel or swastika of the stars’. Likewise, lamed is not the ‘scourge that drives the ox’ but is the Egyptian sickle ma’a that clears the way for truth (Maat), which is the Stellar Gnosis.
1. The Aquarius Star Pentactys of 15 that is shown on the Tarot trump Nuit XVII is described in our article on Capricorn and Set XV.
2. Adapted from Ritual Magick—The Rites and Ceremonies of Hermetic Light.
3. See Star and Snake of Egypt for a detailed examination of the cosmic serpent.
4. ‘Gematria’, pp. 43, 777 and other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley [Samuel Weiser 1973].
5. From Hermetic Astrology, pp. 14, Oliver St. John.
© Oliver St. John 2019