The Magus

This post I will talk about the Magus of the Thoth deck – some decks come with three versions of this card, they were never intended to all be used but were there as consideration for the owner to either pick one or to just appreciate other versions that were created by Frieda Harris. In those times there were two extra card slots for printing which weren’t needed and so for some publications they decided to make the alternative versions available.

The Magus

I came to the Thoth initially through the Gerd Ziegler book whilst I was also training as a counsellor so the psychological approach of Zeigler, being a Jungian therapist, appealed to me. He had made the decision to include all the magi in the deck and simply make the two be the skewed meanings of the magus as a whole – the unexplored extremes of ourselves – our complete light side and our complete dark side. The central and commonly defined ‘correct’ magus as the integrated dark and light sides of ourselves – the magical flow of life we experience when we are true to ourselves and incorporate information from our dark and light sides in our decisions and mapping of our life paths.

I found the approach useful to point out when I was being unaware that my shadow had taken over my actions, or that I was purely looking for the good in things and becoming unbalanced in doing so despite my good intentions, and of course where each of these were appropriate actions, or influences to allow.

I mention it in this month’s Thoth tips as there is often a discussion in the Thoth community around the three magi and some purists to Crowley’s wishes feel one should not use all three. It is my belief that we can and should follow our own heart about their use whilst keeping our eyes open for where we may delude ourselves. As with all things we need to find the path that is right for us at the time.

I have on previous posts talked about the White and Black magi alone so here I will expand up on the transcendental Magus.

This Magus walks the line between that which could be seen as good and that which could be seen as bad – having full awareness of both he knows when it is for the highest good – or in line with his true will – to keep a secret, to lie even for the right reasons, and when it is necessary to be impeccably open, when he needs to communicate in a adapted way to present his ideas and when he can simply be himself. He uses his ability to read and empathise with others to enhance his communication and to be heard in the essential things, even if some of the things he could say he leaves out. He is an excellent salesman, as long as he believes in what he is selling, he doesn’t not worry if he can not explain all the points – just to explain why it is good in the terms the person will understand, is enough. He is our own expert communicator. He appears relating to writing, data, the transmission of it, so the internet, travel to many places and quick movement. This card is connected to mercury – both the flexible communicator and the swift mover. He brings messages from afar and is playful and can be like a trickster. In the transcendental Magus we see the sacred clown archetype. How we can ‘get away with’ a difficult message by using humour – the person is able to receive the meaning without casting out the messenger as they might otherwise.

He is a creator and uses the power of speech to create his dreams – as we think things into being the speaking of our dreams brings forces together to make them happen – whether we are talking through the use of spoken ritual – or simply the talking of our dream to travel the world with our friends to find someone has synchronistically offers to remove some or all the obstacles you felt were barring you from living out the plan. What would I do with my house – oh I know someone who is looking for a 6 month let who loves plants so can care for your garden  too etc. Things that would not come to light had you kept quiet about your intentions.

The Magus aligns his intentions with his true Will and each other and thus creates easily, as all his energy is focused to a point. This concept can be seen very easily on this card image, there is a balance yet with flexibility; it is very well depicted as he stands almost dancing on his toes, able to use all that is around him to create.

 

 

 

The Hanged Man

This month’s card to explore is the Hanged Man.  This is the 12th card of the major arcana and shows a man suspended by one foot from an anhk, held there by a snake.

Hanged Man

The card is associated with the element water and is about baptismal initiation rights. It has obvious associations of seeing the world from a different perspective and the idea of voluntarily giving up action in order to achieve a more enlightened attitude even if it may require going through some discomfort or pain.

In the Thoth this is taken another step and often challenges us to release old patterns of behaviour and trust in something higher to guide us into the unknown – ie our life without our known ways of responding, defending and behaving. So it is a powerful card of inner transformation and surrender.

The crossed leg shown below the cross also has relevance in that a triangle below a cross indicate our sinking into the unconscious – the darkness – in order to retrieve our true selves and be born into the light anew. The snakes on the card lend themselves to this idea also.

There is a connection with eternal life and a feeling of permanence of spirit with this card too – as we release our inner fears, including the fear of death, so we are truly free to life each moment in the eternal now and are not as focused on the past or future, we are free to be completely in the present.

The Hermit

This month we look at the Hermit. This is connected to Wisdom through it’s attribution of Yod – the Hebrew letter, which is the first letter of the name of the Godforce YHVH. So we have associations with creation and father too, you can see this in the card in the image of the sperm and egg. The card is also attributed to Virgo and so Mercury(being the ruler of Virgo and exalted in it’s domain), in a high form, is represented here. There is good communication and also a tendency towards service for the higher good. Mercurial energy here is not wasted on chit chat but only used to further express truths and heal the self and others.

hermit

So in a reading we can see the Hermit heralding a time spent in self healing, self discovery and a withdrawal from the mundane world as one would expect of a hermit, and also a time of giving or receiving healing or advice to others to aid them on their way. The hermit might be a therapist you visit to help you overcome issues that are troubling you, or he may represent your own therapeutic skills in working with others.

He is independent and doesn’t need reassurance from others as he follows his own inner light.

On the Kabbalah we see this card as the balancing of the energy of love and mercy from Chesed (4’s) and the more practical expression found in Tiphareth (6’s). So we see the choice to express the deepest spiritual feelings and use one’s Will in this way. Heart is the way, rather than logic or practical knowledge, the person acts from their very spiritual centre. The effects are very present on the physical plane though and not just ethereal in nature, hence the idea of a deep healing. You can see the practical effects depicted in the wheat harvest in the card image, reminding us of both the symbolic food from inner work as well as the manifestation of good results on the physical, earthly plane.

Cerberus on the card represents the guardian of the underworld, the hermit has tamed him and so leads souls through the underworld safely, also the three heads represent speech, action and thought and the full command of these faculties that the hermit has.

 

Queen of Swords

This month’s card to explore is the Queen of Swords.

Queen of Swords in the Thoth (a well shuffled version!)

Queen of Swords in the Thoth (a well shuffled version!)

The queens in the Thoth are connected with Binah and so a mature feminine force. Binah is often considered restrictive, as the womb is restrictive it is also a place for grouwth and the new – but with boundaries. The queen here is also very boundaried and in the realm of the swords we see the mastery of thoughts, used in a way to nurture the self and others. We see her removing a mask, it is as if she is able to remove the mask she herself may have worn once, the thoughts she used to conceal her naked vulnerability from herself and the world. Now she can be seen in full and is facing both her own truth and sees the truth in those before her too. She weld the sword of discernment and will cut away all the superfluous untruths and allow the raw core of things to be seen unfettered with apology or judgement.

As such often she represents someone working in the field of counselling or psychotherapy with the ability to cut to the core of things, the ability to be genuine, yet boundaried, with clients and the insight to understand and help change thought patterns that are unhelpful on the path to ones own truth and Self. She nurtures the birth of the true self in our thoughts. She is the watery aspect of air so emotional logic which connects well with the field of psychotherapy and other emotional therapies.

She also represents a trustworthy honest friend who can witness our journey without casting judgement or needing us to do things their way.

her openness and vulnerability are her strengths and allow her to step outside of a situation and view it dispassionately whilst also holding her own person response. Her position on the clouds in the image reflects this perspective well also.

As court cards are also parts of us and not just who we find ourself attracting, though the process is the same – we attract people who show us parts of ourselves. in the same way in a reading this card can be both someone in the life of the querant as well as the querant themselves.

So the querant will have all these qualities coming from within themselves and using them to navigate the world. There is a need to drop masks to allow the vulnerability to be their strength. To get to the truth of the matter and to see their own thoughts truthfully, discerning what is mental chatter and discomfort and what is actually at the core.

It may well be that the querant has to use their ability to hold their own thoughts and perceptions in one hand and listen clearly to another with empathy through the other before making any response. And when a response is made it is not to be judgemental but discerning -having compassion and seeing that the others perception is likely to be spot on from their point of view, but your own point of view might tell a different story for you and you follow your own perceptions allowing the other theirs. Conflict is sorted by owning one’s feelings and acting for oneself, listening well and ensuring that what you have heard it is communicated back – even if it is something you actually disagree with. you don’t have to go along with someone’s ideas to listen to them fully.

She is the master of intention and able to think clearly about what is best in a situation. Insight and discernment working together well. She often is seen in service to others as she is one who, having seen, wants to take action to help another’s position.

Some may see her as cutting if she speaks a truth that is not ready to be heard, though it doesn’t bother her that someone has a negative opinion of her, she is more concerned with having the truth out, knowing the truth sets us free even if it is a painful birth sometimes.

 

The Fool

This month I am looking at the Fool card. This card is a very powerful card and contains a huge amount of symbolism and depth – I will just scratch the surface a little here this month.

The Fool

The card shows the Fool as the main character with feet up suggesting an ungrounded quality – it is almost as if he has his feet in the air sliding along joyfully on ice – I feel this connects us with the Fool’s trustfulness qualities – not fully owning his responsibility but completely trusting all will be well. An innocent childlike faith in things. The cord wrapped three times round the card is likened to the umbilical cord and is seen coming from his right nipple. There is a sense that he is nurtured and fed by his connection to the great Mother, hence his ability to have such complete faith. The universe looking after him as he follows his heart in all things. We see this manifest practically in someone’s ‘beginners luck’ with no conscious knowledge of how something ‘should’ be done often we find our first attempts at something are very effective, and decline as we start to impose our will, control and learning upon them before returning to a more conscious competence. This umbilical cord has a caduceus entwines and represents the healing that can spontaneously come as we follow our hearts into situations we then learn from and heal old wounds with the experience. It is also a symbol of transformation which is often apparent when this card appears. A new start and a complete transformation of how we view the world; we have fresh eyes on things and an excitement and heart based joy arises.

The bag he carries contains disks – each with an astrological symbol upon it. they are arrange around the sun symbol in the center, the planets surrounding and the constellations surrounding the planets, thus we have a representation of the universe. The fool carries with him the potential of all the universe and a potential wealth of everything that exists. Nothing is formed as yet – however the possibility is there as he sets out on his journey. The sun in his genitals and the sun as center in the bag both suggest that it is his own viewpoint that he is starting from, he has confidence, even where a more mature approach would consider this ‘foolish’. His moves forward are all about him, yet also he is in tune with himself in this starting position, there is rarely error in his approach, only the potential for great things to develop from the learning situations he encounters.

He ignores his fears and his animalistic desires, even his wounds, he is not ‘trying’ to heal, merely healing through the process of what befalls him naturally. Often we find this on our life path, that without conscious determination to heal our past we are put in situation which show us more and more clearly where we need to develop and heal. Our life in a sense is its own therapy, once we pay attention to it we can gain a great deal from following where we are drawn to go. The foll doesn’t have that awareness yet – however it is likely to come, through the situations he places himself in, and through his inner Will being adhered to. Fear does not make him careful and this is a strength.

 

21 The Universe

This month’s card for us to explore is the Universe. This card is the last of the major arcana and as such is about endings – however unlike the dramatic transformation of the Death card, here we experience a more harmonious, natural ending to things and a letting go of the struggle to change as all has been done that can be done. What we have learned through the process now stays with us and protects us for the future ahead. We can be free and innocent, naked as the dancer is, offering our transformation process up now as we no longer need it. We can trust in ourselves deeply to see and understand our responsibility and action in any situation, to know our choices and to decide from a clear place without us hiding important information from ourselves out of historical protective mechanisms.

The Universe

The Universe

 

Looking at the origin of the symbolism on this card we see it is astrologically connected with Saturn. The planet of structure, solidity, reliability and trustworthiness. So we see these traits in ourselves when this card appears. We can depend on ourselves. We also have no need to rush forward, but can take our time, there is nothing to escape from and no urgency – we are happy to be where we are in the moment. Saturn is the reality checker and here in this card we see that we are fully connected with reality as we have travelled the Major Arcanas challenges in order to arrive at this place. We are able to set boundaries where needed and able to be disciplined and ordered in order to travel the path in life we decide upon.

Tau is the Hebrew letter associated with this card. It means cross or mark and could be seen as a signature or a signing off of something. On the Kabbalah it is the path between Yesod and Malkuth so the journey of final manifestation on the Earth and then the return to spirit. So we have here more connections with the natural ending of one thing and the beginning of a new journey with a different focus. As we travel down the tree of life we are incarnating and becoming more fully present on the earth plane avoiding nothing and embracing it all – as we then turn round and travel up towards spirit so we are being aware of all that is on the earth plane – our personality, our inner nature and the limitations of being incarnated and having embraced it all we can now transcend without it being a journey of avoidance of pain, it becomes a journey which acknowledges pain and uses it for enlightenment.

The four corners of the card show the 4 Kerubim, the guardians and protectors. They also represent the 4 elements and so indication our inner protection through our wholeness. 

The building is the building of the earth plane and Crowley called this “the skeleton plan of the building of the house of Matter” it shows 92 chemical elements as seen by J Sullivan. So there is a strong symbol of the building blocks of all matter here in this card too and represents final manifestation in another way too. As Crowley also said it represents the celebration of the completion of the Great Work (which is our individuation here on this plane.)

 

10 of Cups

Happy New Year to you all!

This month we will look at the 10 cups, the imagery and symbolism in the Thoth deck.

The most striking connections we see on this card are with the Kabbalah and with the astrology linked to this card.

The arrangement of the cups show the tree of life and the lines between them the paths between the nodes. As a 10 it is connected with Malkuth and indicates the manifestation and perfection in the realm of the emotions (cups) So we see that satisfaction and fulfillment have been attained and that the person is fully aware of their emotional nature and of the concept that true joy can only come from within and it not externally determined. There is an outpouring of emotion from the highest source – Kether and it fills all the cups – the central pillar of the tree overflowing into the bottom cup.

Then looking at the astrology we see that this card is mars in pisces – two very different energies – the dynamic energy of mars in the peaceful still energy of pisces. However this is how the emotional energy doesn’t stagnate – the forcefulness of mars is at its most spiritual here and it ensures that the water does not remain still in its contentment but has the ability and energy to move forward into action, into the next step of manifestation through the 4 worlds of the Kabbalah. Mars energy keeps the pisces energy from stagnating in its abundance of water.

We can also see this as a shift from pisces into Aries – the next sign on the zodiac – which happens to be ruled by Mars. Even the image of the cups on the card show a resemblance to the sign for Aries and so the indication that it is movement from receptivity and complete emotional fulfilment into the active warrior like energy of Aries. Spring somes and a new path of growth is started having achieved emotional clarity and fulfilment.

As this is our card to start the year – perhaps have a think about what your next steps are with the tarot – how can you shift your enjoyment of learning about and working with the Thoth into the next stage? How can you make the Thoth more active and dynamic in your life? Answers to these question will help you move forward now.

I am taking applications for the Initial Thoth group course at the moment. It will be starting in February – there are limited places so do get your applications to me as soon as you can if you feel this is your next step in the journey.

May you have a wonderful New Year