There is a special relation between Leo and Libra-Maat, through the esoteric title of the Tarot trump Adjustment VIII, the Daughter of the Lords of Truth. Aleister Crowley used a clever design, the möbius strip, to show how this works in The Book of Thoth.
The Tarot and path correspondences of the Tree of Life are most ingenious. Leo and Libra revolve about Virgo, while Aquarius and Aries revolve about Pisces. The original type of lamed, the letter ‘L’ of the Law of Thelema and 22nd path of Libra or Maat, was the ancient Egyptian ‘sickle’ hieroglyph. According to the Esoteric Doctrine of Thelema, Lapis Philosophorum:
“The original title given to the Cairo transmission was Liber L. By standard Qabalistic values, the letter ‘L’ corresponds to Libra and the Scales of Maat, ‘truth’, having the value of 30. The original form and meaning of the letter lamed is ‘sickle or scythe’. It is the Egyptian hieroglyph for ‘truth, justified, true vision and true-speaking’. It also spells LION. Before we can apprehend the Law of Thelema, stripped of accretions, we must invoke the scythe to clear the way.”
The sickle spells ma’a, ‘truth’. When the image of a lion is placed beneath, it spells the name of the lioness Mau or Sekhmet. She is the principle of love in the most powerful or dynamic aspect, the love of truth. Thus Sekhet (power) and Maat (truth) are inseparable to our way of thinking. The sickle hieroglyph is identical to the astrological glyph for Saturn, save for the tau cross-bar. Saturn is the ‘power behind Venus’, as Set-Hadit (the stellar Sirius) is the manifester of the seven stars of Ursa Major: Love is the law, love under will.
There is much talk of ‘power’, as though it were something than can be acquired, purchased, gained or lost—as though it were a thing in itself. There is much made of the term ‘empowerment’ in New Age literature and academic (or psychological) occultism. Yet, with all this careless use of jargon, one seldom if ever finds anyone taking the trouble to define the term, to say what they mean when they use this word, ‘power’. The first definition in the Oxford Dictionary is, ‘the ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way’. Very well then; so if we understand power as ‘the ability or capacity to do something’, then what is the source of such an ability or capacity? The emphasis with this common definition is on the verb ‘to do’; it is all about doing and acting. Yet all such doing, moving, going about the place, is merely the observed effect, the appearance.
Maat and Thelema
The exoteric concept of power owes to causal determinism, where one thing or event is caused by another that preceded it, so on for perpetuity. If we seek for the cause, the Will, we find that we know nothing whatsoever about it. All we know is effect or appearance, and we mistakenly judge this to be a cause. This whole idea of power then collapses in upon itself, revealing nothing. The solution is really quite simple. In the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, II: 3–4, Hadit (Will) declares his nature:
In the sphere I am everywhere the centre, as she, the circumference, is nowhere found. Yet she shall be known and I never.
To use a geometric analogy, the circle of all possibility (Nuit) is determined by the hypothetical point (Hadit). If we move the point, the curvature changes. Yet the point only exists by virtue of the circle. Neither comes first or second; every event is simultaneous and spontaneous. The ‘Will’ is esoteric. The ‘Effect’ is exoteric. Hadit will not be known because he is the Knower, consciousness itself, which causes things to appear.
We can only approach the esoteric cause through the mode of analogous thought. Rational thought stops short, reaching its ring-pass-not, at causal determinism; thus far and no further. Let us return to the question of power. What then is true power? For example, do politicians really possess a thing called ‘power’? They may produce acts of governance, and those acts may be enforced by the power of the State via the police and military forces. But if politicians seemingly have the power to command forces, from whence does that power originate? In the case of the politician, it depends entirely on the bargains, the deals they have made with others behind closed doors. It depends on the confidence of their financial backers. Modern economic systems are moved by blind forces, which is called a ‘market economy’. That power owes much to the chance element of the roulette wheel. The gamblers feel powerful on winning, powerless when losing, especially if losing all, in which case they may be seen sky-diving from an apartment window twenty floors above the ground. What then is the real meaning of such power?
There is only one true power in the universe. That power is the power of attention, observance. Every creature on earth but one exercises that power continually and with utmost precision, not being deluded for one moment into thinking that it can be won, lost, acquired, given or received. The one creature that alone confuses power and will is the human creature. The isolating doctrine of scientism and psychological determinism has ensnared the modern esoteric movement, including mainstream Thelema, and thwarted its true purpose. Initiation, direct knowledge, is the remedy for the ill. The foundation of true initiation is not in learning what to think, but how to think differently—through the mode of analogous thought, which is the method of communication used by the ancient mystery schools.
1. See Crowley, The Book of Thoth pp. 9–10, ‘The Double Loop in the Zodiac’.
2. See Babalon Unveiled—Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri].
© Oliver St John 2018
Drawings of Sekhet and Maat by Jeff Dahl.
Sickle-Maat-Lion hieroglyph drawn by Oliver St. John, based on EA Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary.