The Universe and the Kerubs

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The Universe and the Kerubs

Postby Heru » Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:28 pm

In the Universe and Hierophant cards of the Thoth Tarot Crowley breaks with tradition and swaps the position of the Kerubic emblems for water and air (the Eagle and the Man). Supposedly his justification for this swap comes from his visions of the 24th and 23rd Enochian Aethyrs, NIA & TOR.

Part of the first footnote for the 24th Aethyr reads:
The Beast and the Scarlet Woman are attributed to (Leo) and Water (Scorpio). They are the two-in-one Chief Officers of the Temple of the New Aeon of Heru-Ra-Ha. (Note the Eagle Kerub in the 23rd Aire is Aquarius. Scorpio is the Woman-Serpent. This is important, for the old attribution is of the Eagle to Scorpio.)

I've been puzzled by this swap since I first saw the Thoth Tarot. Crowley obviously thought it was important otherwise he would not have had Freida Harris paint it on two different cards.

What implications/applications does this swap have in a practical magical sense? I can't recall ever seeing any ritual Crowley published that incorporates this swap.
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Re: The Universe and the Kerubs

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sat Sep 23, 2006 12:48 pm

Heru wrote:In the Universe and Hierophant cards of the Thoth Tarot Crowley breaks with tradition and swaps the position of the Kerubic emblems for water and air (the Eagle and the Man).

This doesn't switch the Elements - it just corrects their representations. The Golden Dawn era attributions came out of Alan Leo and similar Theosophical astrological writings that were pointedly anti-sexual. They thought the Eagle should represent the transcendance of physical sexuality.

But the only eagle that there ever was in the sky is Aquila, which rises in juxtaposition with the stars of Aquarius; and the Man figure is the upper torso of Ophiuchus which overlays the stars of Scorpio (giving the centaur-like half-scorpion, half-man - literally how it appears in the sky! - of the Babylonian boundary stones and other early astronomical recordings).

Personally, I think the human figure should be reserved for Spirit - Quintessence - the pentagram-form of the human shape as the integrating form of the others. But my opinion in the matter is a digression, and doesn't at all address what was intended in the Thoth deck design.

The most important factor in all of that, I suppose, is the preservation of the pattern of Tetragrammaton. In the Tarot cards, A.'.A.'. Probationer certificates, all Golden Dawn warrants, and numerous other documents and emblems, Yod Heh Vav Heh starts in the lower right and goes counter-clockwise around the circle - exactly as in the Pentagram, the distribution of the Enochian tablets and their sub-Elements, etc.

Crowley's footnote that you quoted simply shows that he had learned of the erroneous symbolism by the time he wrote those notes in the 1920s, and that they showed up in his vision work as early as late 1909.

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Re: The Universe and the Kerubs

Postby Heru » Sat Sep 23, 2006 1:37 pm

Jim Eshelman wrote:This doesn't switch the Elements - it just corrects their representations. The Golden Dawn era attributions came out of Alan Leo and similar Theosophical astrological writings that were pointedly anti-sexual. They thought the Eagle should represent the transcendance of physical sexuality.

Ah, this makes a lot of sense! But doesn't this "correction" of the symbolism create a whole host of practical problems? For example the Book of Lies version of the Star Ruby and it's Golden Dawn based vocalisation instructions.
Go round to the North and repeat; but scream BABALON.
Go round to the West and repeat; but say EROS.

If the "correction" is applied to the Star Ruby the vocalisations suddenly become the wrong way around. (Have we been here before? :lol: :roll:) The instruction to scream Babalon in the North relates to Water and the scream of the Eagle. Likewise the instruction to say Eros in the West relates to the symbolism of Man/Air. :?

Happy Equinox to you too!
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Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Sep 24, 2006 1:24 am

I don't take those vocalizations very seriously. IMHO they're just a way of saying, "Identify with the Kerubic energy of the element of the station," which one can do in many ways.

That is, I think they are very useful for showing how Crowley's mind was going when he wrote the ritual, but I've never taken them literally - just inferential of something broader.
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