The Nineteenth Key
□ RELATED SOUND: D Natural
□ DOUBLE LETTER: Fertility-Barrenness
□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of the Fire of the World
THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Thirtieth Path is the Collecting Intelligence and is so-called because Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial signs, and the perfections of their science, according to the rules of their resolutions.
The Path of Resh connects Hod (Splendor) with Yesod (the Foundation), and is the first of the Paths of the Personality triad to be encountered in rising on the Tree. It is an active Path on the intellectual-formative side; it is the activating force of the Personality which, like the Higher Self and the Spiritual Self, is composed of a "masculine" (intuitive-dynamic, Yod) and a "feminine" (intellectual-formative, Heh) and a set of energies which are the result of the opposing interaction of the two (equilibriating, Vau).
THE SUN (Resh) is described as the "Collecting Intelligence," meaning that it exercises control over a number of given components, in this case the Signs of the Zodiac which are symbolized by the twelve rays emanating from THE SUN. These Signs are the twelve guideposts of Personality and receptacles of Planetary influences, one of which governs the birth and life course of each incarnation. Thus the Sun is central not only to the incarnation at hand, but acts as a link between the Personalities which have been experienced in other
incarnations. It is also collecting in that all of the component parts of the Personality, discovered on these lower Paths, are here infused with the dual action of the Sun, light and warmth. It may appear curious, but these are considered intellectual qualities.
The activity of this Path is intellectual. In fact, the Path of THE SUN is the highest level of the human intellect, as THE STAR is the highest level of the emotions. They are balanced by THE TOWER, although looking at that card may hardly inspire confidence that a balance is taking place. Yet this represents the effect of the combined energies of THE SUN and THE STAR. More will be said of this in a later section.
Resh means head, which is consistent with the idea that this is the highest Path of human intellect, and that this is the "Collecting Intelligence." In this regard there is an interesting illustration from an alchemical manuscript of 1606, showing a figure with an orb-shaped body which is headless, but holds the Sun above. Beside this figure is written: "The World."103 The head is the Sun itself, held above the material body; without the Sun-head, there could be no world. Mathers corroborates this idea by calling THE SUN the "Splendour of the Material World." So the card basically represents the intellect acting upon the dualities of the human condition, consciousness and its earthly vehicle. This is the point of connection of the human intellect with the higher intellect, the Greater Life. The Sun is also the Son who carries on the work of the Father.
The Thirtieth Path is a composite one: The Four Elements, the Signs of the Zodiac and the Planets are all involved, under the rulership of the Sun, as is symbolized by the Hexagram. That figure means the perfect integration of Personality and Higher Self. On the Tree of Life this is shown as the interaction of the Astral and Ethical Triangles, God the Son of Tiphareth being primary to both. However the energies may be symbolized, the Path of THE SUN is a very important initiatory one.
The experience of THE SUN is very profound, for it is an introduction to the inner sun which is the light of the personality as the physical sun is the light of the material world. On this Path one experiences the warmth and light but, as on the plane of sensation, it is a sun at which one cannot look directly without suffering damage. The opposites attributed to Resh by the Sepher Yetzirah, fertility and barrenness, remind us that the same sun which illuminates and causes growth can destroy utterly. The blessing of the farmer is the curse of the solitary traveler in the desert, and it is on this Path that one discovers the great potentials of this power. This is the initiation of the Personality to the great source of inner light, an initiation which takes place within the physical vehicle (walled garden) and affects the dual components of the Lower Self.
An important point must be repeated here, one all too often neglected by those who discuss the Paths: Work on the Paths brings about definite physiochemical changes in the human body. In his study course, The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, Paul Case emphasizes the extent to which this is the case. In describing the Path of Resh, he says of the man who has achieved adepthood:
. . .marked inner differences from the average person are due to psychological contrasts to the mental states of ordinary human beings, but they are also the outer signs of organic changes inside the skin of the new creature. He is chemically and structurally unlike genus homo. There are different constitutents in his blood stream. Through his nervous system pass currents of force not present in most human bodies because in his organism channels are open which are closed in the physical vehicles of most persons. Centers in the nervous system and in the brain, and glands related to them, function differently in the body of an adept from the way they do in the bodies of the greater number of his contemporaries.104
It must also be borne in mind that the Personality, the component parts of which are symbolized by these lower Paths, functions through the body as an experience-collecting vehicle for the Spirit. One of the most serious mistakes which can be made is to conceptually divorce the physical body from the Powers which created it and which function through it. This is the crucible of the Alchemists, and the Sun is an important symbol in the Alchemical process of "turning lead into Gold."
The Paths of the Personality lead directly into the physical vehicle, i.e., that consciousness which we know as "self' is directly connected to our bodies. The Higher Self functions through the Personality if its influence is to be brought to the physical plane, as Pure Spirit must function through the Higher Self. Of course, there is no actual separation between these three: The Tree of Life describes a racial perception of a pattern of separation. But since perception varies widely from organism to organism, each individual must literally create his own Qabalah. The experience of the Path of Resh is critical to the development of this individual Qabalah. It is, moreover, the Path where one may receive the acceptance and imprint of those beings who direct the inner learning experience of the student. It is the point at which the student may be admitted to candidacy for the greater initiation of Tiphareth.
A considerable number of discoveries are made on this Path leading into Hod, a realm described by some as the point where the Inner Teachers exert their influence on the material world. This is a Path where the nature of the relationship between mind and body may become clear, where one begins to understand the control and limitations of the intellect. It is also a Path of awakening to the use of the tremendous sexual power of Yesod. It is the point at which sexuality is understood to be the great "secret" force manipulated by the initiate of the Mysteries.
Yesod is the Moon, sexuality, the ebbing and flowing Astral Light beneath our material existence. Hod is Mercury, the first differentiation of the specific Personality. It is hermaphroditic, both male and female, as these qualities have yet to be separated out when considering the Sephira on a downward course toward manifestation. The Path of THE SUN, thus considered developmental^, is the point of childhood of the emerging Personality as it builds toward a new incarnation. When we travel this Path upwards, we return to this point of new innocence. It is, quite literally, a growing younger, a process of birth backwards until we reach a stage where there is some recollection of the source from which we emerged.
This youthfulness, the Childhood of the Sun, is represented in Waite's card. Here, following an iconography developed by L6vi, a child is shown riding a white horse, symbol of Apollo, the Sun God. The implication is that on this Path we become the child Apollo.
The Golden Dawn card, basically following the Marseilles version, shows two naked children in a garden enclosed by a wall. One is standing on earth, the other is standing on Water. These are the purest expression of the positive (male) and negative (female) principles in incarnation, interwoven as in the Chinese Yin and Yang. The active male principle operates through the solid earth, while the passive female principle operates through the fluid consciousness of water. They hold hands to indicate that their activities are reciprocal. This is also a reference to Gemini, the sign which links Taurus (Earth) and Cancer (Water). Gemini was also the sign referred by the Greeks and Romans to Apollo and to the Sun.
The relationship of the Sun to the Zodiac is of some importance, as is indicated by the twelve rays in both the Golden Dawn and Crowley cards (Waite used 22 and the Marseilles deck 16). The Zodiac relates to Chokmah, from which the energy of this Path ultimately derives. The patterns of this energy are, moreover, shown by the salient and wavy rays, the alternating male and female currents. The seven falling Yods (Chokmah, again, being the ultimate source of the Yod) refer to the energies of the planets, under solar rulership, descending into matter.
Crowley's card is related to JUDGMENT, which he called The Aeon. It shows Heru-Ra-Ha, the Lord of Light who is the ruler of the new aeon to come, the next stage of human development. Appreciating this emphasis, it is curiously amusing to realize that Crowley has based the card on his own family crest, "the Sun charged with a rose on a mont vert."105
According to his explanation, the rose surrounded by the Signs of the Zodiac shows the development of solar influence. The green mound of earth beneath the rose-sun means fertility, and is so shaped as to suggest aspiration toward the higher. As in the other versions, there is a walled enclosure, but here the children are outside of it, meaning that humanity is no longer bound by the "prejudices of the people that date morally from about 25,000 B.C."106 Most interesting, perhaps, is Crowley's point that the cross, from the formula of the Rose-Cross, will expand into the Sun and twelve rays. It will no longer be limited by four arms, but will radiate outward freely.
One especially significant idea connected with this Path is, as the Golden Dawn ritual of the Twenty-Ninth Path states, that the "Sun embraces the whole of creation in its rays."107 This idea is conveyed in a variety of ways, such as by the four sunflowers and twenty-two rays in Waite's card, meaning the Four Worlds and Twenty-Two Paths. The Golden Dawn card shows ten flowers, to represent the totality of the Tree of Life. And Crowley's card, as has been noted, attempts to show the expansion of the Rose and Cross in relationship to the central Sun of manifestation. Thus, it too refers to the totality of creation made warm and bright by the rays of the Sun. Of course it is necessary, once more, to observe the distinction between the two sides of the Abyss. Creation and light mean all of Microprosopus to which Tiphareth is central. Potential, yet darkness, refers to Macroprosopus, i.e., the Supernal Triangle.
Was this article helpful?
The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.