"Before you upon the Altar, is the Twentieth Key of the Tarot, which symbolically represents these ideas. To the uninitiated eye it apparently represents the Last Judgement with an angel blowing a trumpet and the Dead rising from their tombs—but its meaning is far more occult and recondite than this, for it is a glyph of the powers of Fire.
"The angel encircled by the rainbow, whence leap corrusca-tions of Fire, and crowned with the Sun, represents Michael, the Great Archangel, the Ruler of Solar Fire.
"The Serpents which leap in the rainbow are symbols of the Fiery Seraphim. The trumpet represents the influence of the Spirit descending from Binah, while the Banner with the Cross refers to the Four Rivers of Paradise and the Letters of the Holy Name.
"He is also Axieros, the first of the Samothracian Kabiri, as well as Zeus and Osiris.
'The left hand figure below, rising from the Earth is Samael, the Ruler of Volcanic Fire. He is also Axiokersos, the second Kabir, Pluto and Typhon.
"The right hand figure below is Anael, the Ruler of Astral Light. She also Axiokersa, the third Kabir, Ceres and Persephone, Isis and Nephthys. She is, therefore represented in duplicate form, and rising from the waters. Around both these figures dart flashes of lightning.
"These three principle figures form the Fire Triangle, and further represent Fire operating in the other Three Elements of
Earth, Air, and Water.
"The central lower figure with his back turned, and his arms in the sign of the Two equals Nine, is Arel, the Ruler of latent heat. He is rising from the Earth as if to receive the properties of the other three. He is also Kasmillos, the Candidate in the Samothracian Mysteries, and the Horus of Egypt. He rises from the rock-hewn cubical Tomb and he also alludes to the Candidate who traverses the Path of Fire. The three lower figures represent the Hebrew letter Shin to which Fire is especially referred. The seven Hebrew Yods allude to the Sephiroth operating in each of the planets and to the Schemhamphoresch."
The Magickal Title of this card is the Spirit of the Primal Fire. The path of Judgement links Hod to Malkuth. It is "The Splendor of the Material World. Mercury acting through Fire upon the Cosmic Elements." This is the first path undertaken by the student aspiring up the Tree which is off the Middle Pillar. It is quite a jolt to the initiate as he or she travels this path, which can best be described as a Baptism into the element of Fire. It is also the card that best represents the act of Initiation. On this path, one first becomes aware of the Divine Forces watching over and infusing needed spiritual energy into the Personality. Shin, the Hebrew letter associated with this path means tooth, suggesting the breaking down and consuming of food (energy.) Shin is attributed the element of Fire, but also to the fifth element of Spirit. Thus the experience of the 31st Path is that of the Spiritual Energy descending into physical matter. The Divine Spirit Shin plunges from Hod (by way of Binah and the Black Pillar) and infuses the student with the fiery Shin. The ingesting of this fiery energy awakens the student for the first time to the Divine Presence. The Judgement here shown is undertaken by the Personality of the initiate as he or she becomes more aware of a Greater Reality, which equilibrates his/her own imbalances. The Shin of Judgement is a Consecrating Fire which perpetually burns away the gross, leaving only the balanced, and the pure.
The four figures seen in the card of Judgement are Michael, Samael, Anael and Arel, all personifications of Fire and Heat. In the Golden Dawn text, they are also said to represent the four brothers of the Samothracian Mysteries. Although little is known today
about the secrets of the Samothracian rituals, in ancient times, they were as renowned as the Eleusinian Mysteries. The best known story surviving from the Kabiric Mysteries is that of the brothers, Axieros, Axiokersos, and Axiokersa who murdered the fourth brother Kasmillos. Kasmillos was buried and resurrected, and like Christ and Osiris, rose to Greater Glory. In the Judgement card, the figure in the foreground rising out of the tomb is Kasmillos, the Candidate, standing in the Air Grade Sign, showing that he has undergone the redeeming Fire of Shin, and now stands in the element of the Reconciler. He welcomes the influx of Spirit descending through the ether into his physical form. Like a halo around him is the form of a hawk, indicating that he is also Horus, Son of Osiris. The figures of Michael, Samael, and Anael, represent different forms of Fire operating through Earth, Air and Water. They are the three brothers who burn away the impure aspects of the Candidate; they test and try him, and ultimately, they initiate his triumphant Rebirth. (Three again refers to Shin, with its three Yods.) A green Fire Triangle is seen connecting them, against the red background of Shin-Fire. A cloudy mist in the center of the card symbolizes Air, the Reconciler between Fire and Water.
Interpretation in a Tarot Reading
Final Decision. Judgement. Sentence. Determination of a matter without appeal on its plane.
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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.