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The Tarot of Eli-Major Arcana: Thoth Tarot- ATU 20-The Aeon & Santa Muerte Tarot-Key XX-Judgment

Western Qabalistic and Tantric Tarot Card Comparisons.

Thoth-ATU 20-The Aeon

Santa Muerte - Key XX-Judgement


The Path of Shin-20-The Aeon



The 31st Path

Primary Path color: Radiant Orange-Scarlet.

Musical Note: C Natural.

Meaning: Tooth.

Maternal Letter: Fire.

Qabalistic/Esoteric Title: The Spirit of the Primal Fire.

The Aeon-ATU 20 is the 31st Path of Wisdom that is known as The Perpetual Intelligence, because it regulates the motions of the Sun/Masculine Fire and Moon/Feminine Water, each in an order convenient for it. The Path of Shin known as Judgment because it joins (the orange path on the right lower side of the Tree of Life glyph) the Earth (Malkuth) with Splendor (Hod), the base Sephiroth  and completion of the Pillar of Severity (The right side of the Tree of Life --your left if looking at it--forms a Pillar to the top Black circle that is Binah. This is the Pillar of Severity.) .

Through the 31st Path, Earth is now connected to the ultimate expression of Binah (Goddess/Mother) which is the Will to Form that is the activating Path of Intellect while the opposite path, The Moon, is a formative Path of Emotion. This Judgment, is a process undergone by the Personality as it strives to become conscious of its own inner working. It is a perpetual process of monitoring the Personality toward the Universal Collective Consciousness or what I call "Claiming your Divine Inheritance".

The Spiritual powers, invoked by the desire of the path traveling student, slowly burn away that which is deemed unworthy of Divine Inheritance by the redeeming fire; a process that is actually physical and can be associated with the Kundalini Fire of the Root chakra as it rises up the spine towards the Brain. This is the "Splendor of the Material World"(as noted by the Golden Dawn) that points out the relationship of the Path of Shin to the physical body as a state of Resurrection or Rebirth.

Being the Path where the components of the Personality first encountered in the Universe Card are critically analyzed and judged (evaluated). It is a bright and fiery probationary path of the intellect while the Moon is the dark, cold and watery probationary path of the emotions. Both are the introduction to the true nature of Self (Greater Self) in incarnation and can thus be extremely difficult. The difficulty is enhanced by the fact the Solar or Soul-Self that you are, is an evolution of Light, that coincides with that of Matter but is not of Matter. That is one reason why people are cautioned about "Raising the Kundalini"(primal life/sex force). It can cause an extreme physical unbalance as it is energy-in-motion, and/or "e-motion" which can open "Pandora's box" and thereby releasing the dark phantoms of the subconscious that one is not yet prepared for.

As seen in the 20-Aeon card, all elements are present on this path, either active or inactive--which is to say expressed (seen-active) or unexpressed (unseen passive) making these Elemental Paths difficult to understand. Shin contains all four alchemical Elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The evolution of the cosmos is from the subtle (simple) to the most complex; from nothing to something. From simple quanta (subatomic particle) to complex molecular and cellular structures. Therefore, in all things, the whole is implicit in the developing parts......for more info on Shin, click bottom link.

In the Thoth ATU 20-, The Aeon, supersedes all earlier concepts of the Key, and show the harmonious and spiritual state of human existence which will be on earth in the 22 century (according to Crowley). This is symbolized by the Goddess Nuith, and her consort Hadit (seen as a golden orb of light). Their union births Horus, shown as seated and standing depicting his active and passive forms. Another name for Horus is Heru, which is synonymous with Hru, "The Great Angel set over the Tarot", and is the reason why traditional tarot cards, such as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, show an angel blowing a trumpet over the dead that arising from the open coffins.

According to Qabalistic and Gnostic philosophy, the Aeon also symbolizes the passing of the 500 year period of darkness and trial, preparatory to a new Aeon of Light. There is much more to know, so if you have questions---research is recommended.

Aeon (Gnosticism)

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In many Gnostic systems, various emanations of "God" are known by such names as One, Monad, Aion teleos (αἰών τέλεος "The Broadest Aeon"), Bythos (βυθός, "depth" or "profundity"), Proarkhe ("before the beginning", προαρχή), Arkhe ("the beginning", ἀρχή), and Aeons. In different systems these emanations are differently named, classified, and described, but emanation theory is common to all forms of Gnosticism. In Basilidian Gnosis they are called sonships (υἱότητες huiotetes; sing.: υἱότης huiotes); according to Marcus, they are numbers and sounds; in Valentinianism they form male/female pairs called syzygies (Greek συζυγίαι, from σύζυγοι syzygoi, lit. "yokings together").

This source of all being is an Aeon, in which an inner being dwells, known as Ennoea ("thought, intent", Greek ἔννοια), Charis ("grace", Greek χάρις), or Sige ("silence", Greek σιγή). The split perfect being conceives the second Aeon, Nous ("mind", Greek Νους), within itself. Complex hierarchies of Aeons are thus produced, sometimes to the number of thirty. These Aeons belong to a purely ideal, noumenal, intelligible, or supersensible world; they are immaterial, they are hypostatic ideas. Together with the source from which they emanate, they form Pleroma ("region of light", Greek πλήρωμα). The lowest regions of Pleroma are closest to darkness—that is, the physical world.

The transition from immaterial to material, from noumenal to sensible, is created by a flaw, passion, or sin in an Aeon. According to Basilides, it is a flaw in the last sonship; according to others the sin of the Great Archon, or Aeon-Creator, of the Universe; according to others it is the passion of the female Aeon Sophia, who emanates without her partner Aeon, resulting in the Demiurge (Greek Δημιουργός),[1] a creature that should never have been. This creature does not belong to Pleroma, and the One emanates two savior Aeons, Christ and the Holy Spirit, to save humanity from the Demiurge. Christ then took a human form (Jesus), to teach humanity how to achieve Gnosis. The ultimate end of all Gnosis is metanoia (Greek μετάνοια), or repentance—undoing the sin of material existence and returning to Pleroma.

Aeons bear a number of similarities to Judeo-Christian angels, including roles as servants and emanations of God, and existing as beings of light. In fact, certain Gnostic Angels, such as Armozel, are also Aeons. The Gnostic Gospel of Judas, recently found, purchased, held, and translated by the National Geographic Society, also mentions Aeons and speaks of Jesus' teachings about them.[2]


Plérome de Valentin, from Histoire critique du Gnosticisme; Jacques Matter, 1826, Vol. II, Plate II

In the system of Valentinus, as expounded by Irenaeus (i. 1), the origin of things was traced to two eternal co-existent principles, a male and a female. The male was called Bythos or Proarche, or Propator, etc.; the female had the names Ennoea, Charis and Sige. The whole Aeonology of Valentinus was based on a theory of syzygies, or pairs of Aeons, each Aeon being provided with a consort; and the supposed need of the co-operation of a male and female principle for the generation of new ones, was common to Valentinus and some earlier Gnostic systems. But it was a disputed point in these systems whether the First Principle of all was thus twofold. There were those, both in earlier systems, and even among the Valentinians who held, that the origin of things was to be traced to a single Principle, which some described as hermaphrodite; others said was above all sex. And among the Valentinians who counted thirty Aeons, there were those who counted Bythos and Sige as the first pair; others who asserted the Single Principle excluded Bythos from the number, and made out the number of thirty without reckoning him. Thus Irenaeus says of the Valentinians (I. ii. 4. p. 10), "For they maintain that sometimes the Father acts in conjunction with Sige, but that at other times he shows himself independent both of male and female." And (I. xi. 5) "For some declare him to be without a consort, and neither male nor female, and, in fact, nothing at all; while others affirm him to be masculo-feminine, assigning to him the nature of a hermaphrodite; others, again, allot Sige to him as a spouse, that thus may be formed the first conjunction."

Hippolytus supposes Valentinus to have derived his system from that of Simon; and in that as expounded in the Apophasis Megale, from which he gives extracts, the origin of things is derived from six roots, divided into three pairs; but all these roots spring from a single independent Principle, which is without consort. The name Sige occurs in the description which Hippolytus (vi. 18) quotes from the Apophasis, how from the supreme Principle there arise the male and female offshoots nous and epinoia. The name Sige is there given not to either of the offshoots but to the supreme Principle itself: however, in the description, these offshoots appear less as distinct entities than as different aspects of the same Being.

Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. vi. 17) makes Sige the daughter of Bythos and by him the mother of Logos, a fable which he classes with the incests which heathen mythology attributed to Jupiter. Irenaeus (II. xii.) ridicules the absurdity of the later form of Valentinian theory, in which Sige and Logos are represented as coexistent Aeons in the same Pleroma. "Where there is Silence" he says, "there will not be Word; and where there is Word, there cannot be Silence". He goes on (ii. 14) to trace the invention of Sige to the heathen poets, quoting Antiphanes, who in his Theogony makes Chaos the offspring of Night and Silence.

In place of Night and Silence they substitute Bythos and Sige; instead of Chaos, they put Nous; and for Love (by whom, says the comic poet, all other things were set in order) they have brought forward the Word; while for the primary and greatest gods they have formed the Æons; and in place of the secondary gods, they tell us of that creation by their mother which is outside of the Pleroma, calling it the second Ogdoad. ... these men call those things which are within the Pleroma real existences, just as those philosophers did the atoms; while they maintain that those which are without the Pleroma have no true existence, even as those did respecting the vacuum. They have thus banished themselves in this world (since they are here outside of the Pleroma) into a place which has no existence. Again, when they maintain that these things [below] are images of those which have a true existence [above], they again most manifestly rehearse the doctrine of Democritus and Plato. For Democritus was the first who maintained that numerous and diverse figures were stamped, as it were, with the forms [of things above], and descended from universal space into this world. But Plato, for his part, speaks of matter, and exemplar, and God. These men, following those distinctions, have styled what he calls ideas, and exemplar, the images of those things which are above ...

For more information about the Aeons, click on the link with Wikipedia:

The Aeon, key 20, is called the Path of Shin, Shin is a Hebrew word with a double meaning one of which is Tooth and the other, the Maternal meaning of the Shin is Fire, both the meaning of the Path and the Maternal meaning are a powerful combination that is often used as a symbol for the Hebrew name of God,Shaddai (see below) and used a sign of blessing.

The Hebrew Letter SHIN

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There are 22 letters in the Hebrew Alphabet. Each one has a specific meaning and a numerical number attached to it. I want to discuss the incredible 21st letter: שׁ SHIN. It is in the same form in Hebrew and in Aramaic/Syriac, a text used in both the Old and the New Testaments. Daniel 1 – 6 is an example of this and some of what Jesus says is in Aramaic. Daniel does not shift to Hebrew until chapter 7. We posted this in our Daniel studies and aha. Daniel 1-6 he is addressing the Greeks and in 7- 12 he is addressing the Hebrew Israelites.

שׁ‎ literally means “teeth”, “press”, “sharp”, “change.” In gematria, Shin represents the number 300 [Wikipedia]. SHIN or שׁ also stands for the Hebrew name of God: Shaddai. Recall the song El-Shaddai? Because of this, a kohen (priest) forms the letter Shin with his hands as he recites the Priestly Blessing. In the mid-1960s, actor Leonard Nimoy used a single-handed version of this gesture to create the Vulcan hand salute for his character, Mr. Spock, on Star Trek. What did they know that we are just discovering? Nemoy’s parents were both Ukrainian Jews.

Now the question; is it purely coincidence or bible code through the Hebrew alphabet??? When we look at our reflection in a mirror we see a reverse image of ourselves. Right? Let’s draw this all together.

The three valleys that run around Jerusalem with one running through Jerusalem are: (1) Valley of Jehosephat also called the Kidron Valley runs east of Jerusalem, (2) Valley of Hinnon runs around the other side of Jerusalem; some identify it with the *Valley of Shaveh, and (3) the Valley of Tyropoeon which runs through the eastern side of Jerusalem. Jesus will return to the Mount of Olives which is also to the east of Jerusalem. When he does the Mount will divide north and south through a natural fault line Zechariah had no knowledge of when he wrote this passage in Zechariah 14:3-5.

*THE VALLEY OF SHAVEH is the first landmark mentioned from a map of ancient Jerusalem. However, this valley’s exact location remains a mystery, as does the identity of Melchizedek, the king of Salem at this time. This is where he met Abraham and Abraham gave 1/10 of his belongings to Mechizadek as a tithe-offering.

The Valley of Tyropoeon runs through Jerusalem at an angle mostly to one side of this city. Perhaps this picture [for visuals] will understand what I am saying.

#6 is the Valley of *Hinnon/GeHannon

#5 is the Valley of Tyropoeon

#4 is the Valley of Kidron/Jehosephat

*This is also known as the Valley of death of Gehenna or GeHinnom in Hebrew. Child sacrifice was practice here by Judah.

Dr.Paul Foster Case describes the Path of Shin, as, “The Perpetual Intelligence", because it is a continuous monitoring Intelligence of the progress of the Personality toward Universal Consciousness. Now I have often called the Mind Universal UnConscious, not consciousness, simply because a consciousness is a microcosmic reality; However, if we release our consciousness to the Universal Conscious Energy, we have developed a Consciousness that bridges the Macrocosm and Microcosm of evolutionary Self for now are not only "imagined as Self" in the Dreams of the One mind, we are also Lucid in that Dream of Self as a Self-Awareness and/or as I Am, has developed its identity, we have become the I AM's intimacy with its creations of Self! When we realized the I Am in ourselves, we have then successfully become the Horus, the 22nd century human evolution! That is the reasoning behind Crowley's replacing the old Judgment card with the newer Aeon card.

The Path of Shin joins the Earth Intelligence-Malkuth with that of Hod-the Splendor Intelligence, which is the Sephiroth base of the Pillar of Severity, connecting Earth with the Will-To-Be ( Will to form) of the Great Binah. On this path, the Student experiences a perpetual burning away of that which is unworthy by the Spirit controlled "Redeeming Fire"; a process that is physically experienced as the higher vibratory Passion of the Eheieh, I Will Be (I AM), that starts the process of I AM..., begins hotly flowing through our bodies. This is a point of delicate balance, and a Teacher of the Mysteries must expect the Students to react in peculiar ways, such as a feeling of heated passion for the Teacher. This is simply a misplaced transference, because the cultural ego, seeks self-gratification when stimulated by a seemingly outside influence. This bright energy is really the beginning of unconditional love radiating within the student whose inner self is responding to the Gnosis (Knowledge).There exists a Love/ Passion dynamic that is the Fire of Spirit reacting to sensual flesh and with proper guidance the Student will go into the Fire, instead of trying to control it with conditions, which apply only to the ego.

Therefore, the lesson of Hod (splendor), is that love and passion are not a peacock's splendor (ego), rather it is the Foundation of all Creation. For the personality to know this is a perpetual process of "burning off the unworthy", so that progress can continue, is often hard won. When the "Splendor of the Material World" is burned away, it is a kind of physical resurrection, a rebirth of body and personality sending us perpetually towards the Great Mother. This "rebirth" is really just receiving the Real Persona of the Soul, in the Brain. Rather than the dogma and indoctrination of self that is done by culture. In other words, the resurrection of the original Personality that has been buried under the propaganda of words; Words being a false substitute of identity.

This paradigm of resurrection is bases on the developments of the opposite card to this progressive Path of Shin, A path that is THE MOON -Key 18, relating to the disciplined quest for a greater reality, that actually changes the physiological. In other words, the balanced Energetic forces of both Shin and Qoph (the Moon) stimulate the rebirth of our bodies that necessitates a physiological rebuild, necessary to handle the higher vibratory states of the Higher Consciousness and the One Emotion that is Love without conditions. This is a process that Dr. Paul Foster Case described, as building a "Master's Body". A body, where the Kundalini is flowing, uncoiled and hot, without emotionally adverse effects. This requires a judgment of Self as the worthy recipient of the Knowledge of the I AM.

To explain Shin another way: The Path of Shin, is the bright fiery probationary path of the Intellect where the components of the Personality first encountered in The Universe- Path of Tau, are critically analyzed and evaluated, i.e. Judged . Again, the opposite path is that of THE MOON, a dark watery probationary path of emotions. The balance of Aeon and Moon, builds the Master body...the Manifested Body of Horus - The Solar Child of Isis and Osiris. (The two previous Aeons).

These introductory Paths to the True Nature of Self/I AM in incarnation, are usually extremely difficult to travel, because these Elemental Paths of which The Aeon, The Fool, and The Hanged Man are known, are very difficult to understand. This mental difficulty is because all of the Elements are present on each Path, in either repressed or expressed form. For example, the pattern of maternal letters (form producing intelligence that is represented as Water). There is also stated in the Qabalistic text, Sepher Yetzirah that Air (Gases) produces Water which produces Fire which we know to be true by studying physics. THE FOOL-0, is pure Air. THE HANGED MAN-KEY 12, is Air acted upon by Water, and THE AEON- Key- 20, is Air and Water acted upon by Fire within the human body. It pays to note, that the human body is the Crucible of Spiritual Alchemy. And Fire is link with the expression of the Primal Will to be.

Therefore on the Path of Shin, the Unconsciousness (Water ) is activated by the Dynamic Principle (Fire=Will) in the presence of equilibrating Mind (Air) with in the physical vehicle/self-consciousness (Earth), all of which produces a balance of intelligence forces in the individual necessary for total understanding of the Personality structure and its relationship to the Greater Self.

Many Qabalists know the Middle Pillar, the straight alignment of Malkuth, Yesod, Tiphareth and Kether, Which constitute the " Supreme Man" (Adam Khadmon) is the pillar of balance, yet the Path of Shin, is Left hand Path, or the left side Pillar of Severity and is usually subject to imbalance. The answer to this seeming quandary is that every symbol, represented on these Path cards, is a duality, containing its own opposite. Each Path must contain the essential components of its opposite Path, as energy moves from positive to negative, male to female, electric to magnetic. Upon viewing Hod (Splendor) you will see that it is connected or conjoined with Netzach. Hod is related to The Aeon, and Netzach is related to The Moon, showing that intelligence applied without feeling is as pathological as feeling applied without intellect. And since the Cards represent a kind of intellect/conscious energy, everything we experience, every idea, every activity, co-exists in us with its opposite.

There are so many subtle concepts to grasp in the Major Arcana, that the student may feel overwhelmed. Luckily, the images on the Cards are pictorial representation of the visual experiences of the Paths opening up a great deal of learning and data by meditating on them as if they were mandalas. These Qabalistic Images have been carefully assembled over the centuries by the experienced mental work of highly advanced women and men, who have at first traveled these inner Archetypal Roads and then meticulously laid down, in image, the details to assist latter generations.

However, It is the shortcoming of most students who begin these astral paths, that at once encountering theses Tarot constructs, believing that they have a reality of their own. The Qabalistic Teacher must explain that only when the student is able to go beyond the lower Astral, is it where one touches upon realities that activate the symbols, i.e. "open the Gates" to greater Consciousness. For instance, while traveling the Path of Shin, one may at first experience what is illustrated on the Aeon Card. Diligent skrying, will soon project our consciousness beyond the visual construct into an understanding that the Path is the enervating, activating effect of the Cosmic Motive Principle on the individual consciousness. That is to say, that on the Path of Shin, the Fiery Spiritual Will (Kundalini) permeates the Personality of the individual, as light does in the descent of Energy into Matter. Thus, the last illusions of personality separateness from the soul are burned away.

The Tree of Life is as the Universe, if we have learned any physics at all, we know that from the simplest concept (I Am), came all the complexity that is the Cosmos. In the Big Bang theory, a singularity (I AM), which came from nothing (Dark energy and Dark Matter), exploded outward, and became many. This is also a concept easily seen in the development of the human body, as a single celled zygote, divides into hundreds of thousands of cells, each a copy of the first one, ultimately ending up as a human body. In the Tarot, The Fool, is the ultimate simplicity and The Universe is representative of the ultimate complexity and yet all the Cards are implicit, unexpressed in The Fool (0=2). Therefore, in all the cards in-between we find the balance between what is expressed or unexpressed.

I am ending this discussion of simplicity into complexity, with the understanding that The Aeon, The Universe and The Moon are aspects of our individual waking consciousness that comprises a sensual personality while also representing evolutionary stages of Self -Awareness.

The Aeon Card, representing the Path of Shin, is where the aspirant to the Mysteries experiences the Personality being lifted from the tomb of matter and evaluated on the extent to which it has balanced the four alchemical elements of Malkuth; Intellect (Fire), emotions (Water), Spirit (Air) and physical-sensual being (Earth). This individual balance also explains the fact that each individual aspirant encounters different experiences on the Paths.

It should be noted, that the patterns of the cards will be totally meaningless, unless the student understands what is symbolized by the four alchemical "Elements" and/or Elemental Forces that every Qabalistic symbol represents to a specific part of the Whole Self.

Further understanding of The Aeon or Path of Shin, is in its meaning, "Tooth", which suggests hardness, sharpness and/or biting. It is often interpreted as the teeth which chew prior to the ingestion of energy into the system--in this case the Kundalini is released and chews up the divided personality, by dealing a final bite to the perception of a separate and individual physical self, leaving the original Persona which is Child of God. A continual process of "Above all things, Know thyself"

As I have mentioned, Crowley's Aeon card departs completely from the traditional Cards of the Ryder-Waite or Golden Dawn Tarot decks. The Aeon card is illustrative of Crowley's personal philosophy derived from The Book of Law, which he stated was revealed to him, thus forming the core of his teachings. He called the Aeon Card the Stele of Revealing. In his explanation of the Aeon, he claimed it superseded all traditional concepts of the Key (Judgment Card) because it shows the harmonious, spiritual state of human existence that will reside on this earth in the mid-twenty second century. This advanced human condition is illustrated by the Dark Sky Goddess Nuith arching over her consort, Hadit, who is the Golden Orb of Light. Their Union produces Horus, as shown both seated and standing, his passive and active forms. Crowley states that another name for Horus is Heru, which is synonymous with Hru, which he calls "The Great Angel set over the Tarot".

Consistently, Qabalistic philosophy which is a system of Gnosis (Knowledge) that evolves with the races of mankind, suggests that we have passed into the predicted 500 year period of extreme darkness and trial, the "dumbing down" of mankind by the Patriarchy, preparatory to a new Aeon of Light. Thus, we have the letter Shin below the Standing Horus, in a flowery form and the Three Yods, each have an internal human shape that is arising to partake of the Light of the coming Aeon. Naturally the study of The Book of Law is recommended to further the understanding of this card of the new Aeon.

The advice of the Dead: Having judged and pondered the situation, act rapidly and indulge the desire that is awakening in you.

-From the Santa Muerte-Book of the Dead by Fabio Listrani

The images depicted on the Santa Muerte-Key XX-Judgement, actually are similar to the images on the Judgement Card of Traditional Tarot; such as the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, that Crowley spurned as "incomplete". The Angel Gabriel, blowing his horn to raise the dead, is shown as a skeleton of and Eagle and the family of 3, in the background of RWS tarot, is shown as 3 skeletons dressed in morning clothes, observing a child skeleton rising out of its coffin. All of which pays homage to Santa Muerte and keeping with the Christian concept of the "final judgement day" of the Soul.

In Crowley and Lady Feida Harris's work, the Thoth Tarot, depicted the child as the resurrection of Osiris as Horus, the "Enlightened or Heavenly Man" who is the Soul (Sun/Son) arisen in the flesh of the homo sapiens sapiens producing both Adam Khadmon and Eve Khadmon as the "Golden Consciousness" of the Divine Creative. However, the imagery of both cards, points to the evolution of Higher Intelligence and possess the same definitions.

When the Aeon/Judgement card is thrown during a reading:

  • It states that a final decision has been reached.
  • A matter has been determined without appeal on its plane.
  • The final decision has been made, and a new state of enlightenment is beginning. 
  • Recognition of the Great Correlations.
  • Expanded perception.
  • Liberation of previously concealed abilities.

If ill defined by surrounding cards:

  • False identification.
  • Self-delusion.
  • Megalomania. 

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