TEN OF CUPS, Lord of Perfected Success (Mars in Pisces). Angels of the Decan: Aasliah and Mihal .
This is Malkuth in Briah, the influence of Malkuth in the unconscious Mental World. Here is a situation where the generally understood astrological meaning of an aspect does not apply. In an astrological reading, Mars in Pisces, a watery sign, would signify a dispersal of energy and a degree of frustration. But the meaning here is that the fire of Mars causes the waters of the final sign of the Zodiac to rush furiously in Briah, bringing great success on the material plane. As all of the card images suggest, the happiness is "inspired from above." On the other hand, it should be remembered that the Tarot, when used for divination, is best applied to mundane matters, and the meaning of this aspect may be considered different if applied to a more spiritual plane. In ordinary divination, the meaning is matters definitely arranged and settled as wished, permanent and lasting success.
This is Malkuth in Yetzirah, the influence of Malkuth in the Astral World. From the standpoint of material things, this is the most destructive card in the deck, and no one likes to see it appear in a spread. But those who use the Tarot as an instrument of spiritual development learn not to take life's experiences at face value. And insofar as the Tarot is used to predict future events, the statement can be made about it that can be made about astrology, "The stars impel, they do not compel." We are not slaves to our destiny, but have the capacity, through inner processes, to considerably improve our earthly lot. To do so is no less ethical than resigning a position when it is clear that some work-related disaster is on the horizon, or walking on the sidewalk when "the cards tell you" that if you walk in the street you will probably be struck by an oncoming automobile. We should use the capacities we have been given.
The divinatory meaning of this card is ruin, death, failure, disaster. This is more of a death card than is DEATH, which generally means a situational death, a transformation.
TEN OF PENTACLES, Lord of Wealth (Mercury in Virgo). Angels of the Decan: Hahaayah (¡"Pyrin) and Laviah (iPiKi?).
This is Malkuth in Assiah, the influence of Malkuth in the material World. Mercury, God of commerce, rules the earthly sign Virgo. Its placement here assures material gain so vast that it may lose its importance, a situation described as an embarras de richesses.
The Golden Dawn version follows the same pattern as the Marseilles deck showing gain by the roses in full bloom. Both Waite and Crowley use the whole Tree of Life to suggest completion; following the planetary attribution, Crowley's Tree shows various symbols for Mercury.
They represent the forces of the Heh Final of the Name in each suit, completing the influences of the other scales. The mighty and potent daughter of a King and Queen: a Princess powerful and terrible. A Queen of Queens, an Empress, whose effect combines those of the King, Queen and Prince Yet her power existeth not save by reason of the others, and then indeed it is mighty and terrible materially, and is the Throne of the Forces of the Spirit. Woe unto whosoever shall make war upon her when thus established!
PRINCESS OF WANDS, Princess of the Shining Flame, The Rose of the Palace of Fire, Princess and Empress of the Salamanders, Throne of the Ace of Wands.
The Princess of Wands is Earth of Fire, the personification of Specific Earth of Primal Fire. In the Golden Dawn card her hand rests upon a golden altar decorated with Rams' heads (Aries) reminding us that in the system of Decans it is Aries which both begins and ends the series. The Fire being "sacrificed" on the altar of Malkuth, the Fire of the Wand (now so imposing as to be considered a dangerous club), and the Fire beneath her feet shoot upwards. This card is a dynamic and unpredictable as the Tiger which is the crest of the Princess.
In this card, as in all of his Court cards, Crowley attempts to represent the activity of the force in question. His swirling, dancing figure, inseparable from the Tiger, is the mundane aspect of fire. Here, especially, Crowley's dependance on the Golden Dawn designs is clear.
One must, finally, comment on the Waite "Pages," and the Knaves of the Marseilles deck, both of which are exoteric. Insofar as these cards are the "Bride of Microprosopus," they must be shown as female. The Heh final is the Inferior Mother. Waite knew this, and was perhaps avoiding an idea which he considered an esoteric secret.
PRINCESS OF CUPS, Princess of the Water and Lotus of the Palace of the Floods, Princess and Empress of Nymphs and Undines, Throne of the Ace of Cups.
The Princess of Cups is Earth of Water, the personification of Specific Earth in Primal Water. In the Golden Dawn card there are three important symbols: the turtle, the swan and the dolphin, the latter having been discussed in regard to the TWO OF CUPS. The Turtle is a symbol of wisdom (because it withdraws into its own shell); it is also related to long life in some systems.89 But the swan in the key symbol for this Princess, who wears a cloak of soft feathers. The swan is related to Orpheus (who chose to be reborn in that form), and thus to the lyre and all musical forms. The tradition among seaman is that the swan brings good fortune.90
As in his PRINCESS OF WANDS, Crowley abstracts the three symbols of the Golden Dawn card, although he describes the form issuing from the cup as the tortoise which in Hinduism has on its back the Elephant which supports the Universe. This is, therefore, a card of emergent life from the sea, and of matter crystallizing within water.
PRINCESS OF SWORDS, Princess of the Rushing Winds, Lotus of the Palace of Air, Princess and Empress of the Sylphs and Sylphides, Throne of the Ace of Swords.
The Princess of Swords is Earth of Air, personification of Specific Earth in Primal Air. The Golden Dawn Princess stands at a silver altar which bears no fire, only smoke which may be blown in any direction by the Air of Yetzirah. She is intended to represent a mixture of Minerva (Goddess of Wisdom) and Diana (Goddess of the Moon and of the hunt). The crest describing her personality, is a head of Medusa. Medusa was at one time a very beautiful woman who, because she offended Athena was transformed into a hideous creature with hair of serpents. The very sight of her would turn men to stone.91 Thus, the indication here is that the personality of the Princess is not entirely pleasant. It should also be noted that it is Perseus who severs the head of Medusa. He is also represented on the Golden Dawn version of THE LOVERS, rescuing Andromeda from her earthly shackles. Mathers, a great symbolist, unquestionably intended that we make this connection.
PRINCESS OF PENTACLES, Princess of Echoing Hills, Rose of the Palace of Earth, Princess and Empress of the Gnomes, Throne of the Ace of Pentacles.
The Princess of Pentacles is Earth of Earth, the personification of Specific Earth in the World of Primal Earth. Her Golden Dawn attribute is a winged Ram's head (made a helmet by Crowley) suggesting that she is a
completion of that found in the PRINCESS OF WANDS. The Princesses are less dependant of one another than are the other Court cards, insofar as the elements are blended in Malkuth.
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