□ DOUBLE LETTER: Riches-Poverty
□ ESOTERIC TITLE: The Lord of the Forces of Life
10 WHEEL OF FORTUNE ]
10 WHEEL OF FORTUNE ]
THIRTY-TWO PATHS OF WISDOM: The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is so called because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence.
The Path of Caph, the WHEEL OF FORTUNE, runs from Chesed to Netzach. It is the connecting Path between the Personality and the Higher Self on the Pillar of Mercy under Chokmah. The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom calls it the Intelligence of Conciliation, implying that it has a mediating function. And, in view of what has been considered about the regulation of energy on the Path of JUSTICE, it is not surprising to learn that Jupiter is assigned to this Path, or that Jupiter is said to govern the circulation of the blood.
Caph is a double letter, one of the "Gateways of the Soul." To it are attributed the opposites of riches and poverty which could be considered the natural fluctuation of the Jupiter forces on this Path. Of course, the riches and poverty are not of this earth, they are of the soul itself.
As a word Kaph means fist. It is the closed hand which symbolizes grasping comprehension, as well as the completion of an activity or the closing of a circle. It is closed, and yet it is in a state continuous motion, a cycle always in many stages at the same time. In this regard Kaph is the scarf covering the Dancer in the UNIVERSE card. Moreover it will be found that as Kaph is the closed hand, the card preceding it, THE HERMIT (Yod) is an open one.
The wheel, so important to this Path, is a very ancient symbol of life itself, the very turning of which, in some systems, is a prayer. It is the wheel of birth, death and rebirth. It is the wheel of karma. But it is emphatically not a wheel of chance or accidents. There are no accidents in the Universe, which is one of the key lessons of this card. We are solely responsible for our own destinies. Fortune provides us what we earn, which is not always pleasant.
The key to the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is duality and the interchange of energies between opposites which make the wheel spin. The wheel is the activity of all manifestation, as is symbolized in the Golden Dawn version by the twelve spokes. These are the Signs of the Zodiac, each in its correct Atziluth-Path color. The Crowley deck uses ten spokes to symbolize the totality of the Sephiroth, while Waite uses a system of eight spokes based on twice four: the letters TAR O and the mil* . The pattern of Waite's wheel is based on the Wheel of Ezekiel illustrated by L6vi in his Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum,175 and described by the older occultist in very complex terms:
The Wheel of Ezekiel contains the solution of the problem of the quadrature of the circle, and demonstrates the correspondences between words and figures, letters and emblems; it exhibits the tetragram of characters analogous to that of the elements and elemental forms. It is a glyph of perpetual motion. The triple ternary is shown; the central point is the first Unity; three circles are added, each with four attributions, and the dodekad is thus seen. The state of universal equilibrium is suggested by the counterpoised emblems, and the pairs of symbols. The flying Eagle balances the man; the roaring Lion counterpoises the laborious Bull.
Kether, the Crown, Tiphareth, Beauty; and Yesod, Foundation, form a central axis, while Wisdom, Chokmah, equilibrium with Understanding, Binah; and the Severity of Justice, Geburah, makes a counterpoise with the Mercy of Justice, Chesed.176
Insofar as dualities in active manifestation are implied here, it might be suggested that two wheels would better describe what is intended than one: i.e., one wheel interlocked in another like a gyroscope, each turning in different directions. This really illustrates what is meant by the Intelligence of Conciliation. It is the mediation of activity between rotating opposites. Rotation, in this sense, means a sequence, something which begins and ends and then begins again. This means periodicity, rhythms of activity as well as cause and effect, what the Golden Dawn text calls the "counterchanging influence of Light and Darkness." Waite describes this activity as "the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe. . . the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein."
The Sphinx is the stable element in the midst of change. Thus in both the Crowley and the Waite cards it sits at the very top of the Wheel. In the Golden Dawn card, however, it is removed from the Wheel entirely. While Crowley and Waite emphasize the Sphinx as a balancing phase of cyclic energy, the Golden Dawn card emphasizes its role as the guardian of the gateway of the mysteries, holding the secret of life and death.
This interpretation is a later (largely Greek) one, colored to some extent by eighteenth century romanticism. In Egypt the Sphinx was originally a portrait of the Pharoah, symbolizing his great power (the lion's body) over adversaries. This view is corroborated by numerous reliefs in which the Sphinx-Pharoah is shown vanquishing his enemies.
The best known Sphinx is that presumed to be Cheops, who built the Great Pyramid about 2500 B.C. When the Greeks saw this monumental sculpture, more than 1500 years later, they took it to mean all that was mysterious and magical, a sense reflected in the tale of Oedipus on the road to Thebes. The Sphinx barred the road and asked each traveler the question: "What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs in the afternoon?" Those who failed to answer the question were destroyed. Oedipus, however, knew that the answer was man, himself, who crawls in childhood, walks on two legs in adulthood, and uses a cane in old age. The response of the Sphinx to Oedipus' correct answer was to throw itself into the sea, an action replete with meaning for the student of the Qabalah.
The Greeks brought one important modification to the Sphinx image. What was originally the portrait of a pharoah on a lion's body became a woman on the body of a male lion. Thus, the Sphinx came to represent not only man with the raw power of the animal kingdom, but also a balance of male and female in the same form.177
The special importance of the Sphinx to the Golden Dawn is discussed in the Order's papers on the Enochian Mysteries:
Now learn a mystery of the Wisdom of Egypt. 'When the Sphinx and the Pyramid are united, thou hast the formulae of the Magic of Nature.
'These are the keys of the wisdom of all Time; and its beginning-who knoweth it? In their keeping are the sacred mysteries and the knowledge of Magic and all the Gods.'
In the ritual of the 32nd Path leading into the Theoricus Grade, it is thus written. 'The Sphinx of Egypt spake and said: I am the synthesis of the Elemental Forces. I am also the symbol of Man. I am Life. I am Death. I am the Child of the Night of Time.178
Most original here is the concept that the Sphinx is the synthesis of the Elemental Forces (recalling the Pentagram, symbol of man, which is the Spirit above the four Elements. In fact, the documents state that there are four forms of the Sphinx: Bull, Eagle, Man and Lion.179
It is not entirely clear why Waite has shown these animal symbols holding books, although we must assume this to be a reference to the Four Gospels. The Lion, Eagle, Man, and Bull, found in the vision of Ezekiel,180 and possibly of Assyrian origin, were taken by Christianity to represent the Four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And when the Kerubiim are shown holding books, it means the different aspects of Christ about which each Evangelist wrote.181 Here Waite may be extending an assertion by L6vi that the Wheel is comparable to the Greek monogram of Christ. What is important, at any event, is the amalgam of Four Elements on this Path. The Sphinx is the Kerubiim all in one. Moreover, the Pyramid which, when united with the Sphinx supposedly provides a magical formula, is four-sided and refers to Chesed.
The Sphinx is, thus, a cardinal symbol of manifestation. It is both that through which one passes in birth or death, and that which contols the passage. It is the directing aspect of the Higher Self in Tiphareth; it is protective, and a Keeper of the Gates which keeps the Personality from absorbing more than its system can handle. To be able to correctly answer the question of the Sphinx (that answer being an extension of the Greek axiom: Man, know thyself!) means that one is prepared to pass through the gates of inner consciousness. To pursue the Oedipus legend: When the question was correctly answered, the Sphinx threw itself into the sea. This means that, being no longer needed, the "gate"
now being open, the Gate Keeper was absorbed back into the Great Sea of consciousness. More accurately, it was absorbed back into the Individual Higher Consciousness which created it. On the other hand, the Sphinx "slays" those who are unready to pass consciously beyond the restrictions of time and space, concepts valid only in terms of matter. The destruction by the Sphinx of those travelers who cannot answer its question, is the protection of the Personality by the Higher Self. But it may also be considered the real death process. Those who know the nature of the Sphinx may pass consciously from one state to the next, while others fall into a deep sleep, a "destruction" of awareness from which the soul gradually awakens into a new condition.
Beside the Wheel itself, the Sphinx is the only element common to the three modern versions of the Key shown here. The Golden Dawn card has only two figures, that of the Sphinx and the Cynocephalus. The Waite card shows the Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon, as does Crowley's version.
The figures in the Marseilles key represent a transitional period in the Wheel of Life iconography. The Wheel, which seems to have originated during the Romanesque period (llth-12th centuries), was a popular device for representing man at the mercy of changing fortune.182 In the earliest versions human figures were shown on the Wheel, with one above that is ruling. Animal figures were probably introduced toward the end of the fifteenth century to underscore man's animal nature and the mutability of life. Thus, the Marseilles card shows very generalized figures of good and evil, with a ruler above who balances these aspects on the Wheel. The imagery serves to remind us, by comparison with the other cards, of the extent to which the symbolic explanation of the Tarot has been embellished over the past two hundred years. From the mid-nineteenth century on, each of the card's figures has borne a very specific mythological reference.
Beginning with the Golden Dawn card: What is called the Plutonian Cynocephalus is a dog-faced ape sitting beneath the Wheel. This animal, symbolizing time and eternity, is the traditional companion of Thoth (Hermes-Mercury), and is the hieroglyphic symbol for writing.183 Thoth is the inventor of writing and the scribe of the Gods, who waits, especially, upon Osiris. It is he, called the Lord of Holy Words, who records the results of the weighing of souls on the Path of JUSTICE. Thoth is also said to have measured time, dividing it into years, months and seasons. Thus time and eternity is attributed to his companion, the Cynocephalus, which the ancients referred to the Moon, the "planet" believed to follow Mercury.
The implication of the Golden Dawn illustration is that the Sphinx and the Cynocephalus are two different (above and below) aspects of the stable force which monitors and regulates life's seasons. The Sphinx is the quadripartite Elemental Being guided by the Higher Consciousness (the human head). The Cynocephalus (body of the faithful ape linked with the head of a form almost human) means the "words" which we use. These words are the vibratory patterns of existence which turn the Wheel. And, as the Gospel of St. John begins: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."184 This passage has to do with the Lesser Divine Creator, the
Demiurge which we have identified as Chesed, origin of the Path of the WHEEL OF FORTUNE. In general the card means that when the Higher Self brings the Four Elements under control, the "words," vibratory patterns, become our faithful companion, and we are no longer bound to the wheel.
The Waite and Crowley cards, both more traditional than that of the Golden Dawn, must be interpreted in terms of the interaction of Sphinx, Hermanubis and Typhon. Hermanubis is a dual God, which Case mistakenly called a combination of Hermes and Anubis, but actually combining Horus and Anubis. He is Heru-em-Anpu, meaning Horus as Anubis. This God form, a later Egyptian development, is described by Wallis Budge as possessed of "two distinct and opposite aspects; as the guide of heaven and the leader of souls to Osiris, he was a beneficent God, but as the personification of death and decay he was a being who inspired terror."185
The myth of Typhon or Typhoeus is of Greek origin. Typhon was involved in the wars of supremacy of the Gods. He was a monster so horrible that even the Gods fled at the sight of him. But, as the legend goes, he was eventually subdued by Zeus, who set him afire and buried him under Mt. Aetna. So Typhon became known as the fire-breathing monster who personified volcanoes and typhoons. He was also called the Father of the Sphinx.
As his mythology developed, Typhon was associated with the Egyptian God, Set, brother and murderer of Osiris. Set was the symbolic dark side of Osiris (recalling the Golden Dawn text stating that this card involves the "counterchanging influence of Light and Darkness"). Typhon is also associated with the Dragon Aphophis, who is the accuser in the Book of the Dead. Insofar as Typhon is shown as a snake, as in the Waite card, he is one of the forms of Set.186 All of this is linked together by the idea that Anubis, who is also Horus, is often represented (like St. George) slaying the Serpent.
Thus in Typhon and Hermanubis we have phases of energy which supersede ("slay") one another, three types of energy which underlie manifestation. These appear at the center of Waite's Wheel as the symbols of Salt Sulphur A, and Mercury g. The fourth figure, the same as the sign of Aquarius is the Alchemical symbol for dissolution.
In the Hindu system, what the West calls the "Three Alchemical Principles," are called Gunas. The Gunas are Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva is the philosophic Mercury, superconsciousness. Rajas is Sulphur, activity, passion and desire. Gunas is Salt; it is ignorance and inertia, subconsciousness. The idea that the WHEEL OF FORTUNE symbolizes the revolution of natural phases is generally accepted, though there is some confusion about which of the Gunas is applied to which figure. Crowley states that the Sphinx is Sulphur, Hermanubis is Mercury and Typhon is Salt.187
The Golden Dawn version, on the other hand, would allow the Sphinx to be considered nothing less than the Superconsciousness, Sattva, the Philosophic Mercury. And we see that in Waite's card the Sphinx sits above the Mercury sign on the Wheel.
In the Golden Dawn papers it is stated that Mercury is attributed to Kether, Salt is attributed to Chokmah and Sulphur is attributed to Binah. The
"Three Principles of Nature" are also related to the three Maternal letters of the Sepher Yetzirah.
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