The Thoth Tarot- ATU 11- Lust & Tarot of the Spirit-Key 8-Strength:
In many traditional Tarot Decks, key 8 is called STRENGTH: However, ATU 8 is the Adjustment card in the Thoth Tarot, which replaces the Justice card of Traditional Tarot. Hence, ATU 11-is the Lust Card in the Crowley-Harris deck. Lust is the love of vigorous strength.
The LUST/Strength Card is Key,11 of the Thoth Tarot and Key 11, Strength
Hence, I'll choose to place Key/ATU 11-Lust with Key 8, Strength Card, as does Robert Wang in his book, THE QABALISTIC TAROT.
Crowley observed the "Divine Frenzy", the Vigorous Expression of Self, and the Universal need of "I Will Be". He commented in the Equinox: “In Daath is said to be the Head of the Great Serpent Nechesh or Leviathan, called evil to conceal its Holiness." Interestingly, Crowley had the seven headed beast of the Apocalypse, of which he personally identified with, as his representation of Lust and/or Divine Vigor. Upon the Beasts back, rides the Scarlet Woman, as a representative of the Vestal Virgins. This seemingly counter-intuitive representation goes along with the argument that the Divine Creative, only creates good and/or what it wants. Therefore, what looks to be evil, is really beneficial. In Qabalah this is known as the comment, "If it exists, it is supposed to". And to put a more positive spin on this Scarlet Woman/Divine Whore, it should at first be understood that the Tarot images are metaphors. For instance, the Divine Whore is of the red solar spectrum, and/or Red Suns, which by the way are the majority of Stars in our universe. Also life as we know it, comes in the atomic forms of the Carbon Atom, an Atom that can only be made by Red Suns. The carbon atom is the most flexible of all atoms, and will mate with most any other atom and therefore, far from being monogamous . Hence, it is the Divine Whore/Scarlet womb/wo-man and/or the atomic mother of Organic Matter, from which living forms are made. Hence, Carbon atoms are the lovers of vigor.
The Lust Card-Key 11, is the Path of Teth, the 19th Path on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The Hebrew letter, Teth, means snake, which is often referred to as Serpent Force and/or The Sex Force. The zodiacal sign assigned to this card is Sun Powered sign of Leo; Leo is symbolized as a Lion, and Teth, is a Snake, the combination of these two, is the Lion-Serpent, the idea of which fostered the Dragon and later Chimera images of the ancients. The interchangeability of the Lion and the Serpent symbols represents an important key in understanding the great embedded profundities of this card. The Serpent/Sex Force is the force that impregnates the Orphic Egg and/or Universal Ovum. It is vigorous, fecund and fertile spiral energy. Spiral and Spirit come from the same Greek root word-Spiro, which means breath and/or to breath. It is therefore, the inhale and exhale force of life and is link with the Pranayama breath exercises of yoga. Pranayama, is Sanskrit for "inhale/exhale" and/or "life/death".
On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, The Supernal Triangle (upper trinity) is composed of Kether (Crown), Chokma (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding), and is composed of what Dr. Paul Foster Case stated in his BOOK OF TOKENS, as the "Radiant darkness of the Limitless light." The Supernal Triangle is above the Abyss, while the Path of Teth crosses just below it (the yellow path of Strength- between Chesed and Geburah). Thus, the Path of Teth, Lust, is the first Path of Microprosopus (Microcosm or Lesser Countenance) and the Primary Path of the Higher Self, linking great opposites below the Abyss.
As symbols interchange, such as the Lion and Serpent, one understands that the realities these symbols represent, can also be interchanged. In truth, the 1st law of Thermodynamics; "One Energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed", is the One Spirit/Fire of Qabalah, and can take any form it wills and in great diversity; as the Universe of I AM, that has been procreating for the past 14 billion years and daily expressing Self.
Wisdom, is often represented by the snake holding its tail in its mouth (also an 8 symbol laying on its side and called the Lemniscate). Many of us of the western cultures, know that the Serpent was also considered the Tempter, in the garden of Eden myth. However, since it is Fiery, the Serpent is vital Life Force, and/or the Redeemer. But then the Sun itself is both Tempter, that uses the seductive warmth of the solar caress to tempt one to stay too long sunbathing and in the worst case scenario, of burning the tempted-sunbather to near death on the beach and yet still a Redeemer, by providing Vital Life Force. Hence, moderation often determines what is "good and bad" for someone.
The Universal Process of Transformation can be confusing but it should be known that without the flow of vital life force between opposites, there would be no diversity. Nor would there be "Limited Light", or Solar power, that all manifestation is constructed of. To the living, transformation can mean death and is feared. However, breathe is only freshened by exhaling the old air and breathing in the new. Life is the same, as life refreshes itself, by transformation. However, this is a often unseen process, for our brains die and we ignorantly think we are a brain rather than the energy that is running it. Spirit is Photonic, and the sparks of photons that jump between synapses in the brain, are Spirit- your Original Identity. The I AM. Hence, you are the energy of life, and not what you animate in your name.
Therefore, we have the Greater Countenance, the Macrosopus (Macrocosm), of Limitless Light, the "Unseen", that can only be known as Darkness or Dark Fire (Dark Energy), designing 2 (Male- Female) Self-concepts from O; The "I Will BE" of Kether, twisting it by "self-contemplation" into 8, so that what seems as limits could be produced by the interchange of Forces and Form. The Dark Light/Energy is the invisible/unseen Subjective infinity of the One, (Macrosopus) and the Limited light of manifestation is the Objective, and knowable measurement and/or finite side of the One-Energy . (Microsopos). The whole of which is often called by Gnostics as "The Mirror"---one side infinitely dark; the Abyss, and the other side reflective of the image of Personas who identify self by looking into it. That could also be called the Unconscious and the consciousness. The consciousness, being the "mask" we wear over our "Image-Maker" and/or the Imagination of the Unconscious.
To put this simply, The Lust of the One, by becoming 2 (8) who are always joined in impassioned flow or mutual attraction, (electric and magnetic), is the stuff of Vital Life Force. I think you can now see why Vital Life force, is also called "sex energy".
The Lion symbol of the 7 Head Beast in the Thoth Tarot, in the context of the Qabalah, has to do with Lustful Strength and is not a representation of a being, as it refers to the greatest strength of all, the light of the Sun/Son, the ruler of Leo, as the "Divine Frenzy" of Creation. The Solar Power represented in the Lust or Strength Card, can open the Higher levels of Consciousness beyond the Sun/Son (the 6th Sephiroth-Tiphareth) itself who is the Center of the Holy Hexagram, and the point of Union of the six surrounding Sephiroth. This creates the 7 heads and/or as the Western mysteries state, the Seven Sacred Palaces.
The graphic representation of the Ancient god Mithra, whose body was that of a man and whose head was that of a lion, depicts this concept anthropomorphically.
The Brute force (symbolized by the Lion) of Kundalini (Serpent Force--Vital Life Force) can be used destructively or constructively, and on this Path of Teth, flows the Vital Life force from Chesed (Mercy) to Geburah (Severity) which forges the Sword of Geburah, indicating the possibility of the initiate being overwhelmed by the power which one evokes. We are reminded (Re-Minded) here, that as the Sun/Horus is a vital life force to manifestation, the Dark Sun, is vital to the flow of Higher Thought, but knowing your limits, will keep you from becoming Sunburned in the flesh, and the severity of a Mind Burn (Emotional trauma) in the consciousness. Lust, in a Godly sense, can "burn out your lights"! So the initiate must become adept at Self-Knowledge, so that they don't damage their "I sight" when joining frequencies of intelligence with Highest Intellectual Forces. In other words, the small ego is dissolved into the Greater Ego. This is a type of annihilation, the domain of Geburah and her sword.
Putting aside metaphor, too much Sun/Vital Sexual Force can be dangerous as it also powers emotion/energy-in-motion. That is why the Tantrics, and Gnostics, go through long, diligent meditations, exercises of intellect, and philological devices so that this flow of Vital Life Force is controlled while being unblocked, unrestricted, (not feared) and can flow through and out into another, forming a Vital Spiral of energy flow, that Revitalizes Life all around them, as well as, in them.
The rising up of the "Lion Serpent”, vitalizes the Seven main body Chakras (Seven heads of the Beast). So all of you who wish to experience the Rapture of Kundalini, note that the Rapture can become a Raptor to those whose "House/identity is not built on a strong foundation"; and the foundation is of Love. Love is what holds your molecules together, even under the rapid increase in atomic vibration that your body undergoes when the "Kundalini rises"; when the inner Sun is let loose. In the Universe, The Lust of God, is the Orgasm caused by union of opposites, that never stops flowing as Love and/or Loving to Be; 0=2
As I stated, I agree with Aleister Crowley's expansion of the STRENGTH card, into the LUST card because the Passion-The Vital Force of Universal Data Stream of I Am is the Construction, "the motion within the movement" of everything, is the Passionate expression of the I into Am- as 2, who then Join to become One Passion that creates All, i.e. the Active and Passive force of Kundalini, and/or of Lion-Serpent. It can also be called "Serpent theory" instead of the Quantum Physics "String Theory", where every particle has a serpentine string of active and passive energy with in it and becomes two particles (positive/active and negative/passive) as it enters this limited light universe. In other words, there is within all atoms, vibratory strings of Vital Fiery Force. Thus, Lust, where active and passive forces come together, seems a more appropriate understanding of the underlying "motion" of Life.
The Kundalini, or Fiery Lion Serpent is the Vital aspect of Life Force, which in manifestation, is duality of passivity and activity. Kundalini is known as the Sacred Fire/inner sun/inner soul, when in its active phase, purposely un-directed by the individual Will of a personality and motivated by the Greater Will of the I AM.
The UNIVERSE ATU 21, is the completion of the LUST CARD, and you'll see the Woman figure riding the Lion Serpent on the Lust card, or controlling the Lion in the traditional Strength card, or dancing with the Serpent Force in the Universe card. Both illustrations are arcane veils, concealing of principles, though at different ends of manifestation. Hence, Crowley, identified the Invisibility of this Powerful Womb like force with the Invisible Sephiroth of Daath/the Vesica Pisces of the Supernal Triangle. Therefore, in Thoth Tarot, LUST is the beginning of the Microcosm and THE UNIVERSE is the completion of it. Both of these cards are of "that which is Womb", at the Highest Level, the womb-mind/ wo-man who has tamed the Lion-Serpent and the womb-mind/ wo-man who dances in space surrounded by the Cherubim of the four elements, are both expressions of that which is the EMPRESS key 3 and/or Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth that is the Trinity Goddess.
Again, this is a very powerful path and those of sensitive psyche, will be profoundly affected. One must appreciate the fact, that this Path of Teth, Lust/Strength, is a statement of methodology; whereby, the Will controls the emoting of Vital Life Energy as intent; Hence, emotions. We must also remember, that the word Power, means "the ability to do work" and our body, if Loved as a master Craftsman loves and adores one's favorite- tools, gives the Psyche a great Will -Power, in this dimension of crystallized energy. Here, in Malkuth our psyche has the power to weave our very own frequencies of Vital Life Force into masterpieces of Self-Identity! This requires a focused willful intelligence, and not some mad hatter personality, that can't even control its own thought and must have a savior to save it from its futile thought processes.
Therefore, Skry this card only after you are capable of holding a one-thought or image focus during an entire meditation! Any Psyche that Touches the Lust OF the Great Father/Mother, will be profoundly charged, changed, and expanded beyond comfortable perspectives, all of which can be dangerous to our delicate egos. In other words, one must be diligently initiated in channeling higher and higher vibratory levels of Vital Life Force, with loving mind, before they "Ride the Lion-Serpent". That is also why A. Crowley calls the Traditional Strength Card Lust. For even the "little lust" of the manifested (Microcosm) seems to be beyond the cultural survival mind's or small-ego's control, as every politicians "secret life" will show. It is hard to imagine, what the Macrocosmic Lust would do to such a psyche made weak by "fear of rejection"... but then again, we have examples in Adolf Hitler, Stalin, etc.
Again: Lust/Strength represents a very important initiatory formula dealing with this Spiraling Power of Spiritual Microwaves, is the Force that opens, or stimulates all the Chakras (energy centers) in the Human body. The Principles embedded in the Lust or Strength Card, tell us how to use this power. This is a "Divine Frenzy" which when stated Alchemically, “the heat of the furnace makes the Stone" or if religious, “inflame thyself with Prayer". The Heat applied, is the great passion or "adorable Fire" within the confines of Tantric exercises, or the exercise of the Middle Pillar (Aleister Crowley's book,777), all of which I recommend the interested party research.
Crowley's imagery may shock some, as he presents the Whore of Babylon, taming the Lion-Serpent but then he understood that the epitome of virginity (sign of Virgo), was the Sacred Virgins of the Temples, before Christianity, made them "evil women" or Saints, of which both perspectives were confusingly applied. The Christian word 'Whore" is a bastardization of the Greek word, Hetacrate, meaning female companion and our Soul's greatest companion is the Carbon Atom-Queen Mother of all Organic life.
The Tarot of The Spirit- Key 8-Strength, is totally comparable to the Thoth Lust Card. Here we have the Divine Feminine, encircling the universal phallus, forming a dance of the serpentine forces of she/he, which is shown as the ida pingala of the Hindu yoga's. To be a body of Horus, the Heavenly Human, (Hebrew-Adam Khadmon) the divine feminine and the divine masculine must be at equilibrium flow along the body's spinal column. Her The Divine Creative is shown as the Great Mother, who is the "middle pillar" between the dark and white pillars. The body's middle pillar is the spinal column.
To many, the love of vigor and/or lust seems to be an unbalance state of pleasure seeking. However, it is the "inner bliss" of perfect balance. As Joseph Campbell* was so apt to point out, "Follow your bliss". You really don't want to be on your deathbed saying, "I shouda, woulda, coulda".
*Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American Professor of Literature at Sarah Lawrence College who worked in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the human experience.Joseph Campbell - Wikipedia
Inner bliss is synonymous with Inner-Light (the Inner Soul) and the understanding and experiencing of the one energy in transformation. We are the intimate experience of I AM or at least were created in the uninterrupted image of I Am. However, this image has been profaned by those who rule definition as "words". Once, profaned, one cannot love themselves, and must seek some outside form of "love". In other words, love is not the recognition of inner bliss, but an outer strife-ridden fear of rejection, seeking surcease in some other person, place or thing. This insatiable seeking serves the enslavement of your identity by the Patriarchy well. As J.Christ was quoted as saying in the Gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas, of the Nag Hammadi Library, a translation of ancient Gnostic Texts: " Whoever has come to understand the world has found only a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world." In the same text he also said", He who knows the Father and the Mother will be called the son of a harlot.'' J.C. was obviously a Qabalist who was known as a Gnostic Nazarene.
The Nag Hammadi Library . The Gospel of Thomas . ... (56) Jesus said, "Whoever has come to understand the world has found (only) a corpse, and whoever has found a corpse is superior to the world." ... (105) Jesus said, "He who knows the father and the mother will be called the son of a harlot." (106) Jesus said, "When you make the two one, you ...
The Leminscate is also shown around the neck of this Motherly figure. Here is the symbol for the equal balance of the 0=2 formula of the twin serpents of ida pingala and of all creation in this universe. It is also the symbol for infinity in Western Magic.
When the Lust or Strength card is thrown during a reading, it implies :
If ill dignified:
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