Fire: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema The Aeon XX

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema trump for the 31st path of Fire and Spirit is The Aeon XX. The path also corresponds to the outer planet Pluto. The traditional title of the trump is ‘Judgement’, viz., the Last Judgement when souls are called to the resurrection.

Fire: Egyptian Tarot of Thelema The Aeon XXThe esoteric title of this Tarot trump is Spirit of the Primal Fire. The spirit-fire is that which animates all living beings. It is the seed of the resurrection body. The mysteries of transmutation are summed up in the alchemical phrase, Igni Natura Renovata Integra, ‘Nature is wholly restored to perfection through fire’.

The geometric solid symbol of the 31st path is the tetrahedronal pyramid, which conveys admission. Shin is the letter of the 31st path and is formed from three flames joined at the base. Shin literally means ‘tooth’, but the significance is of spirit-fire or that which endures—bone, substance, eternity and immortal life. The ancient Egyptian source of the word is shen, the ring of eternity and the ‘round’, which is shown here being carried through the air by Horus in the form of a falcon.[1] The shen ring consists of the upper section or circle of the Ankh of Life, bound to a horizontal beam. It denotes eternity, the liberated spirit as opposed to life in the flesh.

At the top of the picture, to the left, are the Egyptian hieroglyphs for the Eternal (heh). The knotted flax is thought to be a wick for a lamp. The wick burns and gives forth a flame of light without perishing. It is fed on pure oil, which is the perfection of life. When the twin serpents of the Shakti Power cease to oppose and are woven together thus, the life force sustains an immortal existence. The appearance of things no longer deludes the soul. Nuit and Hadit are shown in the abstract solar glyph between the knots of eternity as circle and point.[2]

Horus carries the shen ring over a symbolic representation of the step pyramid of Djoser at the Saqqara Necropolis outside of Memphis, Egypt. Necropolis (Greek) means ‘city of the dead’, but this is really a misnomer as the Egyptians saw it as a place of eternal life. The Egyptian name is therefore heh, ‘Eternity’, identical in sound and meaning to the woven flax hieroglyph but spelled in such a way as to indicate a specific earth location.[3]

The base of the four-sided, seven-stepped pyramid is a trapezium or trapezoid. The parallel but unequal sides are indicative of the fourth dimension or non-Euclidian space-time. Beneath the desert of Saqqara is a labyrinth. Very large granite vessels are situated there in cells only big enough to fit them. It is unknown as to how these large and heavy objects could be placed in such a manner below ground.

What we do know is that the vessels, shaped somewhat like a sarcophagus or ark, were never designed to house a mummy. The insides of the sealed boxes are polished to mirror-like perfection. The function of these vessels appears to be cathodic, if we consider the accuracy and smoothness of their cutting, and their alignments in the underground labyrinth. According to some, they are subtle repositories of arcane knowledge predating the Ice Age and built to endure a catastrophe.[4]

Aeon, the title of the trump, means ‘Eternity’. The term does not necessarily refer to a period of terrestrial time as is commonly supposed. It is derived from Greek philosophy and conveys the meaning of circles outside of time. The number 20 links The Aeon with Fortune X (Kaph), or the Kalachakra Wheel.

Pluto, a further symbol of primal fire, is the outermost planet of the solar system, symbolising Deep Mind. Pluto can designate Kether and Malkuth, the Alpha and Omega—for the end is with the Beginning. Pluto may symbolise revolution or upheaval, an upward surging current of irresistible force that sweeps away the old and ushers in a new state of affairs. On the old Tarot decks the dead were shown rising up out of their tombs, summoned by a blast from the trumpet of the Angel Israfel.[5]

The death of the old signifies awakening to a new life, which is here the life of eternity. The background of our Tarot picture indicates the desert and sky of Saqqara turned upside down, or at a 90-degree angle. Horus, Lord of the Aeon, bears the key to eternity and flies across the liminal threshold of the worlds.

Spirit of the Primal Fire

The 31st path of Shin connects Hod, the sphere of Mercury, with Malkuth, the sphere of action and elements (or visible universe). The title of the path is the Perpetual Intelligence, so-called because it is concerned with the motions of the Sun and Moon as governing the revolutions of the Zodiac through the elemental principles. This path connects Malkuth with the left hand pillar of Form by which spiritual knowledge manifests and is fully realised. From the point of view of ordinary human consciousness, the fruits of such knowledge come to pass as future events. This is why the Tarot trump was formerly called Judgement, depicting the dead arising from their tombs in response to the vibration of the Angel of Judgement on the day of be-with-us. In reality, the call to truth is eternally present. It is the seed of each moment in time—hence the perpetuity inherent in the title.

The “revolutions of the Zodiac” refer to the turning of the double-sided wheel of time. One side faces time while the other faces outside of time. From the perspective of the mortal flesh, time seems to pass by so that we experience a present that is moving forwards, with a past that is behind and a future that is in front. From the perspective of eternity, on the other side of the wheel, there is no past or future. There is nowhere to go—eternity encompasses everywhere at once. Time in the earthbound sense simply ceases to exist.

The magical powers of the 31st path are those of Evocation and Pyromancy.


Notes

1. For an explanation of the multiple perspective drawing of the falcon, based on ancient Egyptian art, see Lucie Lamy, Egyptian Mysteries pp. 18 [Thames and Hudson 1981].

2. For an explanation of Nuit and Hadit as circle and point, see ‘Lapis Philosophorum’, pp. 9–12, Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs [Ordo Astri]. An abridged version can be read online here at Ordo Astri.

3. The Egyptian name for the Necropolis or Eternal Place is spelled with three mounds or hills and the circle-cross determinative. See Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, pp. 507 b.

4. The vessels were cut from solid granite and are upward of 70 tons.

5. Some sources have the Angel of the Last Judgement as Gabriel. The Angel is also associated with Raphael, Uriel and various others.

© Oliver St. John 2020

The Egyptian Tarot of Thelema is an entirely new concept in the field of practical magick, divination and Thelema. The Tarot is a work in progress. The 12 Zodiac trumps can be viewed here.

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Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake

Ritual Magick: A living initiatory tradition embodies a continuous unfolding and development. The need to prepare and publish this book owes to a new and vital current that has broken into pieces the philosophical basis of our predecessors.

Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake Cover-ArtThe rituals and methods have been thoroughly revised in that light. Kether is the uniting principle. There is no unitary intelligence as such. The ‘one’ that is adored by monotheists and self-determinists alike is the false crown of the Abyss. It has produced the nightmare of self-isolation.

There are differing interpretations of what is meant by the term ‘initiation’. The mundane aspect of initiation implies induction into a particular group with its corresponding egregore. Some suppose that initiation is only conferred through participation in a ceremony with others that have been similarly initiated. We have a more specialised view of initiation. We see it—and indeed practice it—as a continuous unfolding through reification of the work done. This has more to do with Gnosis than group bonding.

Inevitably the subtitle of the book, Initiation of the Star and Snake, will lead some to imagine they can ‘work the system’ alone and thereby achieve self-initiation. The term ‘self-initiation’ is an oxymoron. The Law of Thelema is a law of love and (therefore) a law of relationship. This does not mean, however, that initiation is only made possible through attending rites and ceremonies conducted by officers. Our method is through personal work done and the keeping of the diary Record. It involves self-discipline, study, prolonged effort and single-minded determination. There is no secret formula that will convey initiation to those unworthy to receive it. The mysterious operation of the Serpent Power is a good deal subtler than that.[1]

Ritual Magick: Initiation of the Star and Snake

Here is the ritual and ceremonial basis underlying the threefold structure of an Esoteric Thelemic Order comprising the Golden Dawn, Rosy Cross and Silver Star. Lucid explanatory texts, plus hundreds of graphic illustrations and diagrams accompany the rituals and methods.

The grade system is worked from Malkuth to Kether, following the paths of the Serpent of Wisdom. The Order of the Golden Dawn comprises the first four degrees. The Golden Dawn thesis concerns the equilibration of the four elements of the natural soul. The Order of the Rosy Cross comprises the fifth, sixth and seventh degrees. The work of the Rose and Cross is to unite the equilibrated soul to her opposite, the antithesis or Holy Guardian Angel. The Order of the Silver Star comprises the 8th, 9th and 10th degrees, summed up as the spiritual fruit or synthesis of the soul’s union with her Holy Guardian Angel.

Subjects include the Circle of the Place, Mudras or ‘signs of the grades’, Ritual of the Gates of Babalon, the Golden Mean, formulation of the Magical Name, Opening and Closing the Temple, Star and Snake Tantra-yoga, the (revised) Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram, Rising on the Planes, Skrying and Clairvoyance, Consecration of Talismans, the Thelemic Mass of Hormaku, Ritual for Psychic Self-defence, the Holy Guardian Angel, Ritual of the Rosy Cross, Consecration of the Magical Sword, Goetic Evocation, the Ceremony of the Watchtowers and Enochian Magick.


Notes

1. From the author’s Preface to the First Edition (October 2019).

Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake (view and order here).
Format: Trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”); 304 pages in total.

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Obeah and Wanga: Service to the Great Work

Service given to the Great Work is a vital spiritual obligation. It is vital because giving and receiving are one and the same act. Therefore service has practical import to the art of magick. It is not merely a ‘moral’ requirement.

Service to the Great Work: Pilgrim's Progress, H. Melville, W. Floyd (engraver)

According to the (Egyptian) Book of the Law, Liber AL, I: 37,

Also the mantras and spells; the obeah and the wanga; the work of the wand and the work of the sword; these he shall learn and teach.

The seeking out of esoteric knowledge should firstly involve the question, ‘How can I serve?’ Even Aleister Crowley, frequently cast in the mould of black magician—a role that he evidently delighted in playing—was unequivocal regarding the supreme importance of service freely given. One must be prepared to give all that one is and all that one has to the Great Work.

A spiritual vocation is ‘a calling’, not a personal choice to make. If we take undigested portions from various disciplines and then stick together the bits that we like, leaving out the bits we disapprove of or that cause discomfort, then what we end up with is not a magical or spiritual path but a patchwork puppet that will dance to our tune.[1]

Tyros nonetheless regard a magical Order as a brand product like any other. The quest or inner searching that supposedly precedes application to a mystery school is reduced to trivial nonsense: ‘Does it match my personal preferences, my self-image? Will it enhance my profile? What can they do for me?’ They vainly consider whether the Order is suitable for them, not the other way round as it should be and is, in reality. Perhaps a sales manager can help with such a difficult choice?

Madam, perhaps you would care to look at our range of colours in this style? We have a delicious shade of violet that would perfectly match your highlights. Dislike Qabalah? I am sure we could find another game that will take your fancy. We have a range of mystic methods from diverse global sources. Let us see what we have on our shelves, we will surely find something to please you…

The majority of magical shoppers plan to give nothing in return apart from their complaints when the immortal stone of the wise has not dropped into their lap within the first month—we can rest assured that no work will have been done. In magick we get precisely what we are prepared to give.

Service to the Great Work

Eckhartshousen’s Cloud on the Sanctuary is the Rosicrucian template for a magical Order, used by Crowley and many others since—though most have sought to avoid its rigorous obligations. Few now have even heard of it, yet should they happen to read it, they would probably think it has nothing to do with them. Likewise, there are those who think that John Bunyon’s classic of English literature, Pilgrim’s Progress, is only relevant for pious Sunday School pupils. It does in fact apply to any spiritual path in any tradition.

Members of the O∴ A∴ Collegium are expected to manage their own contributions to the Order. Usually they make regular or occasional donations, as according to their means. Ideally, each practitioner also adds to the store of knowledge. A Neophyte is literally a ‘new flower’ (neo photon). The honeybee is the cognate symbol, for that miraculous creature gathers the raw material from flowers, cross-pollinating along the way. The hive, with its hexagonal cells, is the emblem of the primal Matrix. Flowers open to the sun, for which the relevant Qabalistic path is the 30th, called The Gathering Intelligence. The six-fold opened cube of the universe, Tiphereth, is naturally the flower of the Golden Dawn of any functional magical Order. As knowledge is freely given out, so individual aspirants give freely to the Order that sustains them spiritually.


Books Required for Probationer Study*

The Enterer of the Threshold
Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs
The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth
The Phoenix and other Stellar Rites of Initiation

* The first two books on the list are required reading for our Students. The second two books are required for a Probationership.


Notes

© Oliver St. John 2017, 2019

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