The Fourth Path In Kabbalah
□ PATH COLOR: Scarlet
□ RELATED SOUND: C Natural
□ MEANING: Window
□ SIMPLE LETTER: Sight
□ ESOTERIC TITLE: Sun of the Morning, Chief Among the Mighty.
THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in Scripture,
Job xxxviii.9. "and thick darkness a swaddling band for it."
The higher we rise on the Tree of Life, the more obvious it becomes that the Tarot trumps only point the way toward concepts which the mind cannot otherwise grasp. Until the present day this was a great deal more difficult because the language of psychology did not exist. Our terms such as "conscious," "sub-conscious" and "unconscious" are extremely useful tools because they conceptualize something inordinately fluid. Thus, in our present state of development, we easily deal with shades of consciousness within ourselves. We are coming closer and closer to an ability to deal with formlessness, pure consciousness. This is the promise of the so-called Age of Aquarius, although it is rarely stated in such terms. The student who begins to understand the next five Tarot Trumps (THE EMPEROR, THE EMPRESS, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, THE MAGICIAN and THE FOOL) will have taken a long step into that new age.
To this end it must be emphatically restated that the entire Tarot deck reflects the Universe which is made up of permutations of The One. From the One emerges opposites which are activating the formative, male and female. It is accurate to say that all male and female figures in the Tarot are Chokmah (Jah) and Binah (YHVH Elohim) wearing the robes of different planes, actually levels of vibratory rate, of the Universe.
THE FOOL is the One God Energy. THE MAGICIAN and THE HIGH PRIESTESS are the first differentiation into masculine and feminine within the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. These are the personal, subjective energies of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm. These are the personal, subjective energies of the Paths, as opposed to the objective, Universal energies of the Sephiroth.
The Qabalistic theory is that THE MAGICIAN is the consort of THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Considered psychologically, we know that THE MAGICIAN stands for the Will, while THE HIGH PRIESTESS, the "Root of Water," is the Pure Unconscious. So to describe THE MAGICIAN as the mate of THE HIGH PRIESTESS refers to the activity of the directing Will of the One on the Great Ocean of undifferentiated consciousness which It has Itself projected. In the Qabalah we are always dealing with reflexive qualities; God creates thought, then mind to hold that thought. Everything has to do with the perception and activity of The Divine Spirit on Itself, a process which various systems of symbols attempt to suggest. As was described in considering the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the Alchemists spoke of the Divine Self-interaction in terms of Sulphur, Salt and Mercury. These same terms may be applied to the upper-level cards of the Tarot. THE MAGICIAN is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt and THE EMPEROR is Sulphur. Crowley has gone so far as to position his Emperor so that the body forms a triangle and cross, symbol of the Alchemical Sulphur A .
THE MAGICIAN (Philosophic Mercury) acts upon THE HIGH PRIESTESS (Pure Consciousness) and they are, by their union, transformed into THE EMPEROR and THE EMPRESS, Sulphur and Salt. Of course, all of this may seem little more than an obscure abstraction, a bending of words almost for their own sake. But when we consider these principles as aspects of our own consciousness, they are quite basic.
When we close our eyes and allow free-form images to float by us. Taking whatever direction they will, we are tapping into the life energy "ruled" by THE EMPRESS. When we begin to think about what is happening before our eyes, classifying the images according to color, subject, or any other criterion, we are calling THE EMPEROR into play. We are acting upon form.
This is another of those cards where Paul Case brought exceptional insight to bear, as he explained why THE EMPEROR is on the Path below THE EMPRESS. He says: "Because she is the manifesting power which brings forms into being he has something to rule.. . The Magician, who appears now as the Emperor, would have nothing to control or transform did not subconsciousness send up from its depths a stream of images to be classified by the exercise of reason."235
It should be obvious that there is a certain crossover of the Yod and Heh energies. THE EMPRESS is the balance between Chokmah and Binah. She is the growth which comes from the interaction of the male and female, as in the fertilized cell. She is pure fruition. THE EMPEROR, on the other hand, while a potent masculine energy, is Heh on the Paths, meaning that its function is determined by Binah. This is a formative Path, its activities are rational and classifying, as is underscored by its bright red color, that of Binah in the World of Pure Spirit, Atziluth. The lower we go on the Tree of Life, the more the male and female energies are interwoven. And, by this reasoning, one might assume that the only "pure" male and female in the Universe are at the level of Chokmah and Binah, which is unfortunately not the case.
Having come to the level of the Supernal Paths, it is necessary to introduce an idea which may be perceived as destructive to the entire tower of male and female principles so neatly established to this point. Let us state the problem abruptly:
Chokmah ( hEDh , Wisdom), meaning the primary quality of maleness, is a female noun. And, if we are willing to accept the assertions of Gematria, the idea that sages of the past have buried truths in the interaction of numbers applied to each letter, or that each letter is itself a holy symbol, can we believe that the very gender of the title is insignificant here? Obviously not. However, the gender of the Hebrew noun for Wisdom is rarely mentioned by writers on the Qabalah, because it appears to be an irreconcilable problem of language.
But let us here take the point of view that whatever "gives birth" is exercising a primary female quality at the moment of birth. Adam is the first (symbolic) male, but insofar as his rib became the first female, he conceived and gave birth, thus performing a female function. The female was inherent in the male. What we are describing is not exactly androgeny, or even bi-sexuality, since it is a real transformation of the function of a given energy. Within all that is male there is female, and within all that is female there is male. In Jungian terms, the male harbors the perfect female image in his unconscious, as the female harbors the perfect male image in her unconscious. These are images of the self as opposite gender, the "contrasexual component." This is what Jung called the Anima (Female) in males and the Animus (Male) in females. These idealized qualities are personified as the Magna Mater, the Great Mother who is Binah and as the Wise Old Man, a personification of spiritual principle who is Chokmah.236 On the Paths, THE EMPRESS is Anima and THE EMPEROR is Animus. In Latin Anima means soul, while Animus means spirit; the very concept of soul represents the enclosure, or definition of boundaries of spirit, the Heh creating boundaries around the spiritual Yod. Thus the perfectly developed male type on the Paths is THE EMPEROR, and the perfectly developed female type is THE EMPRESS. These are the pure energies with which we meet and actually converse on the Paths.
Whatever terms may be used to describe THE EMPEROR, he remains the bridge between The Father (Chokmah) and The Son (Tiphareth). And the very fact that the Sun of Tiphareth is exalted in the sign of this Path, Aries, indicates that THE EMPEROR exercises some control of the Solar energy of the Higher Self. Thus the Path of Heh is called the Constituting Intelligence, meaning that it assists in the building up of the Light of Tiphareth from the utter darkness of the Supernal Triangle, as rational genetic structure directs the rising of the plant from the intense darkness of the Earth.
The importance of Tiphareth to THE EMPEROR is indicated by Crowley in his use of a Sun behind the Emperor's head, and in the overall two-color scheme. The card has been painted in Martian reds and Sun-yellows, warm colors suggesting a furious rush of activity which may be short-lived. There are also martial overtones, although it is only in Waite's card, with its armored figure, that this is emphasized, which is somewhat surprising considering the Golden Dawn text: "the General. . . the Conquerer, hot passionate, impetuous." The Golden Dawn card itself shows a ruler who, while he has absolute dominion, as is symbolized by the Orb and Cross in his left hand, is not a warrior. He is precise and firm, applying a mathematically measured reason to all things, but he does not wield a sword. The Sword is carried not on this Path of the fiery aspect of the Garden of Eden, but on its airy counterpart, THE LOVERS. And while the driver of THE CHARIOT of the water aspect is Odin, God of War, he is not shown at battle. In fact, the greatest sub-surface belligerence is with the earthy part of the Garden, THE HIEROPHANT.
It may now be suggested that these four cards, when considered in terms of a fifth, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, constitute a practical formula for the crossing of the Abyss. They are the means of attaining the Garden of Eden, which is the amalgam of multiple states of energy.
Pursuant to the Garden theme, it must again be noted that Crowley proposes an interchange of THE EMPEROR with THE STAR,237 which we believe to be a mistake. In dealing with THE STAR, we describe THE EMPEROR as the "Fiery aspect of the Garden of Eden," to which the Higher Self relates, while THE STAR is the Eden of the Personality. In both cases these are states where the general has just become specific, a pristine point where the consciousness can look both forward and backward. Thus is sight attributed to Heh. This is the self-observation of the One. It is the first Path to which a sensory function is attributed in the Sepher Yetzirah, suggesting that sight is the first of the senses as Aries is the first in the sequence of the Zodiac. And as the first sign, THE EMPEROR, Aries, emerges directly from Chokmah The Sphere of the Zodiac. That THE EMPEROR is based in the Chokmah energy is symbolized by the grey stone throne on which he sits in the Golden Dawn and Waite cards.
The Constituting Intelligence is understood as the first phase of a natural cycle. It stimulates the development of natural structures, as "Aries brings forth the Spring." The Golden Dawn card symbolizes this by the AriesRam wand, the wielding of the Aries energy by THE EMPEROR, and by the Ram beneath his feet.
In this one would expect the Emperor to be represented as a dynamic and masculine figure at the very peak of his abilities. Both the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards have taken this approach. Waite, on the other hand, followed by Case in the BOTA version, represents the Emperor as the traditional "Ancient of Days," the One who is older than time itself, the Supernal Father. Here there is disagreement as to whether the figure should be shown full-face or in profile, the profile tradition having been accepted by the Marseilles deck which shows the Emperor seated facing the viewer's left. Crowley adopted the same symbolism apparently agreeing that it is impossible for one to know the totality of the Emperor while in this earthly existence. On the other hand, the "Ancient Bearded King seen in profile" is symbolic of Kether and its relationship to the Ain Soph, not Chokmah. Presumably this explains the decision of Mathers and Waite to show the Emperor's full-face.
Most of the symbols on these cards are traditional: The Veil of the Abyss behind the Golden Dawn Emperor, Waite's Ankh Cross or the one symbol on which all four cards agree, The Orb of Dominion. Crowley, however, has made some obscure symbolic references. The Bee and the Fleur de Lys, for example, are described by him as related to the generalization of the paternal power.238 Another obscure symbol is the eagle on the Emperor's shield. The Marseilles card also uses an eagle, though it is merely a reference to imperial power. But Crowley's eagle is two-headed, with a crimson disk behind. He explains that this is the Alchemist's red tincture related to the Sun and to Gold. A similar white eagle on his EMPRESS card refers to the Moon and to Silver.
One final aspect of Crowley's card is symbolically problematical. At least his explanation of it seems unsatisfactory. We refer to the lamb at the lower right of the card, of which he says: "At his feet, couchant, is the Lamb and Flag, to confirm this attribution on a lower plane; for the ram, by nature, is a wild and courageous animal, lonely in lonely places, whereas when tamed and made to lie down in green pastures, nothing is left but the docile, cowardly, gregarious and succulent beast. This is the theory of government."239 One may be delighted by Crowley's wit, but somewhat puzzled by his use of an accepted symbol of the resurrected Christ to mean something "docile, cowardly, gregarious" and even "succulent." It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is another of Crowley's attacks on traditional Christianity, although the image is certainly inspired by the Golden Dawn ram.
Continue reading here: The Third
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