The Tarot of The Ages-Key 11-Strength, uses the traditional Tarot title of this Key. By using the title Strength, this card traditionally signifies the eternal spirit and its abilities to overcome all obstacles. The Key 11 Strength card of the Tarot of The Ages, is assigned the zodiac sign of Venus and the Hebrew letter, Caph-meaning Fist. Venus, is usually the planet used to represent the Virgin/Maid and the letter Caph, is use for a closed system such as the Wheel of Fortune (key 10). Since the Woman shown is a Temple Priestess, she could represent the Vestal Virgins of a later date. However, the holding open of the lion's mouth represents strength and not a closed system. So the reason for the letter Caph, may allude me here. However, it could be used to represent one's fortune.
This card represents trusting in one's inner strength to tame one's warrior pride and material determination and pass through the World of Man, with kindness and grace. For only then will you go beyond the dominion of the zodiac and lead a life of courageous strength.
The Egyptian Priestess of Horus (the Hawk) is shown with a lemniscate (Greek for Ribbon) above her head that is used to represent Infinity in Western Magic. One will often find this symbol over the head of the Magician or Magus card of Tarot. The Sphinx in the background, head of pharaoh on lion's body, was remodeled by an earlier pharaoh (click on link below for more info.).
When the Tarot of The Age- Key 11-Strength is thrown in a divination it implies the same meanings as the Thoth Tarot which is shown at the end of this blog.
The Thoth Tarot- Key 11- Lust
In many traditional Tarot Decks, key 11 is called STRENGTH, and the Tarot of The Ages-Key 11 Tarot is no different; However, in Aleister Crowley's estimation, the word Strength doesn't do this description of intelligence justice; an opinion I share.
Crowley knew of the "Divine Frenzy", the Vigorous Expression of Self, and the Universal need of "I Will Be" known as Eheieh. 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 good when used as it is constructed to be.
In Qabalah this is known as the comment, "If it exists, it is supposed to".
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. The zodiacal sign assigned to this card is Sun Powered sign of Leo; Leo is symbolized as a Lion, Teth, is a Snake, the combination of these two, is the Lion-Serpent, the idea of which fostered the Chimera and/or Dragon 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.
On the Tree of Life, The Supernal Triangle 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 of Qabalah, and can take any form it wills and in great diversity; as the Universe has shown. Everything is Light and under the manipulation of the Mind of the Creatrix (imagination) light has become many forms of Self-Awareness.
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.
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. Thus, we have the Greater Countenance, the Macrosopus (Macrocosm), of Limitless Light, that can only be known as Darkness or Dark Fire (Dark Energy), designing Two (Male- Female) Self-concepts from O; 0=2. The "I Will BE" (Eheieh) of Kether, twisting it by "self-contemplation" into 8, so that limits could be produced by the interchange of Forces and Form. The Dark Light is the invisible/unseen subjective infinity of the One, (Macrosopus) and the Limited light of manifestation is the Objective, and knowable finite side of the One (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 all who look into it. That could also be called the Unconscious and the consciousness. We "look into the Mirror" when we identify ourselves by thought.
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 intellect, as it refers to the greatest strength of all, the light of the Sun/Son, the ruler of Leo (Solar Photons), 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 (Tiphareth) itself. Souls are Solar collectives of Photons. You are therefore, a "Sun/son of the Divine Creative".
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/Inner Soul) can be used destructively or constructively, and on the very 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 is a vital life force to manifestation, the Dark Sun, is vital to the flow of Higher Thought, of frequencies beyond the normal microwaves one uses for thought; However, 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 intelligence with Higher Intellectual Forces. Hence, pranayama techniques of tantra yoga meditations are recommended, for a gentle awakening of the Kundalini-a type of inner volcano that once awakened can be constructive or destructive, as all powerful forces are.
Putting aside metaphor, too much Sun/Vital Force can be dangerous as it also powers emotion (Energy-in-motion), so 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 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 7 main body Chakras (7 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 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 under goes when the "Kundalini rises". 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 and/or "Life".
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 Construction, "the motion within the movement" of everything, is the Passionate expression of the I into Am- as 0= 2, who then Join to become One again: 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, 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, when in its active phase, purposely un-directed by individual Will. Your Real Identity is Energy, not matter. You are the Solar Evolution of the Greater Self, not of a planetary microself. The microself, is tuned to your microwaves, by the Natural act of Being. Hence, the material form is just an Avatar on this visible reflection side of the "mirror", while you exist as the I AM... on the Invisible light side of the mirror. You are Spirit-Mind-Body, a trinity that now produces intimacy with its creation.
The UNIVERSE key 21, is the completion of the LUST CARD, and you'll see the Woman figure riding the Lion Serpent on the Lust card, or wrestling 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.
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/man who has tamed the Lion-Serpent and the womb-mind/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.
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 Vital Life Energy with intent; Hence, emotions under will. 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 Will the 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-Awareness! This requires a focused willful intelligence, and not some mad hatter personality, that can't even control its own thought and blames "the world" or those around him/her for their dysfunction.
Therefore, Scry 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 trained 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.
Lust/Strength represents a very important initiatory formula dealing with Serpent/Kundalini Power. 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. Something more for the diligent student to investigate!
When the Lust or Strength card is thrown during a reading, it means the querent:
- One is relying on spiritual powers to manage the situation at hand and is receiving the strength to overcome.
- Following one’s own inner light, doing what their "heart of heart", inner-self, says is right.
- There can be an experiencing of a "gut level" driving force, instinctual and compelling for protection or survival.
- Also, possessing the courage of one's convictions.
- The strength of Passion, in the Higher Nature, which are power, courage, energy, action and magnanimity.
- One is experiencing the Law of Self-Domination, self-rule and self-control.
- One's Spirit has claimed dominion over the flesh.
If ill dignified:
- Lack of faith.
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