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The Tarot of Eli-Major Arcana: Thoth Tarot- ATU 4-The Emperor & Tarot of The Spirit- Key 4-The Emperor

Western Qabalistic and Tantric Tarot Card Comparisons.

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The Emperor-ATU 4 is the 15th Path of Heh that runs between Tiphareth (Beauty-the Solar Logos) to Chokmah (Wisdom-Lesser Creator who rules over manifestation) and is known as the Constituting Intelligence (Dr.Paul Foster Case). In the Sepher Yetzirah (Qabalistic text) the letter Heh is a simple word meaning, sight. This is well represented in THE EMPEROR, since he is the "Fiery Aspect of the Garden of Eden" of which the Higher Self relates as a Self-observation of the One. It is the first path that is attributed to a function, suggesting that sight is the first of the senses, as Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac. This Path of Heh, THE EMPEROR, is what I call the First "I" sight, while the EMPRESS is the "Am" of understanding (an inner sight I call a "Womb with a view")...Together they are the "I AM", the Counter Sexuality of the One Mind/Energy.

Pursuant to the garden theme, it is time to note that Crowley poses and interchange of The Emperor with the Star which myself and most Western Qabalistic Scholars is a mistake. As stated, The Emperor is "the fiery aspect of the Garden of Eden", to which the Higher Self relates, while The Star is the Eden of Personality which connects the above and below. Each unto itself is a specific pristine point where consciousness can look both forward and back upon itself. Hence, sight is attributed to Heh, which is the Self -observation of the 1. Being that it is the 1st path of which sensation and/or sensory function which is attributed in the Qabalistic Text- Sepher Yetzirah, implying that sight is the first of the senses as Aries/Emperor is the first house in the Zodiac sequence. Therefore, as the first sign, Aries/Emperor, emerges directly from the 2nd Sephiroth- Chokmah, The Sphere of the Zodiac. Therefore, the Constituting Intelligence/Emperor is understood as the first phase of a natural cycle. All in all, the letter Tzadeh (Tzadde) which is errantly applied to The Emperor in the Thoth Tarot, should be applied to The Star, and the letter Heh (He), applied to the Emperor. This may confuse the student who uses a Qabalistic Tree diagram where the error of placement that is Tzadde as Emperor and Heh as Star are used. This is because they haven't discovered the error yet.

Because of our Divine Inheritance from the Demiurge (Lesser Creator) and the Great Mother (Binah-Female aspect of the Demiurge) we are all the "Shades" of consciousness. Modern psychology has called these Shades of Higher Consciousness, the Unconscious, the Subconscious and the Consciousness which just about every elementary school child has heard of even thought the subconscious is often confused with the unconscious. The Subconscious is the "body consciousness" created by the collective on cells and bacteria that is the body and/or is the instinctual mind of the Organic Organism. However, hearing of a thing is not knowing the thing. Because of the evolution of subjective thought, from Mythology, to fundamental Religions, and now to the modern science of Psychology, we are beginning to easily deal with the shades of higher consciousness within ourselves and are experiencing a New Age (The Age of Aquarius) of enlightenment. I say shades, because we have lived as illusions of Self/Mind by errantly thinking we are the thoughts we think. However, thoughts are the "first material" that we work with, and we are Psyche, not material; Because we have the "Divine Creative Mind"-imagination- we are the inventor not the invention.

The Higher we realize ourselves in consciousness or on the Self Tapestry of the Tree of Life, the more the student understands that the Trump or Cards of the Major Arcana only point the way towards understanding concepts that the brain cannot otherwise grasp.

By beginning to understand the next 5 Trumps/Paths, [THE EMPEROR, THE EMPRESS, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, THE MAGUS, THE FOOL], the initiate will be developing the consciousness of the Horus----the 22nd century human/"the Heavenly Man".

Because of modern physics, we know that there is only One Energy that cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed (and transmitted), and the student of the Tarot knows that all the 78 cards of the Tarot deck represent Transformations of the One. From the One, emergence the opposites,(0=2) which are activating the formative, Male (Electric) and Female (Magnetic) communion. Therefore, it is accurate to state that all Male figures are Chokmah (Jah) and Binah (YHVH Elohim) is that of all female. The robes they wear, in the Thoth art, represent the different planes and/or dimensions of our multiverse Mind, which are actually vibratory rate that are either Force (male) Chokmah or Form (Female) Binah, and/or their intertwining of vibration (The Divine Union/Dance of Goddess/God) that makes all things possible.

The Qabalist knows that the "Big Bang" came from what is the Source of Will and Energy- Kether. Therefore, the ejaculation of Energy, making the Kether -Will and male (Male is not a sex here, but an action). The O became 2, Androgynous, when I became united with Am, which is known as Chokmah and Binah, which should be stated Chokmah/Binah, just as Yin/Yang or Time/Space are known to be inseparable and established at the same moment. Thus, with some authority we can say that the “I “is male and the “Am” is female, for one is Wisdom (Chokmah) and the latter is Understanding (Binah)...and we can't experience one without the other!

In the Tarot, THE FOOL-0- represents the One Energy, THE MAGUS and the PRIESTESS, are the Macrocosm which reflects as Microcosmic, first differentiation of Male and Female energy polarity. Pure Consciousness, known as the "root of Water" is represented by the PRIESTESS and her consort, THE MAGUS, is considered psychologically as the Will. Hence, the term I Am, is understood as the intercourse of imagination and will. Like I've said before, I AM is your inherited Real name.

The mating of the PRIESTESS, to the MAGUS, is described in Robert Wang's book: THE QABALISTIC TAROT as, ".... the activity of the directing Will of the One on the Great Ocean of undifferentiated consciousness which It has Itself projected” [Big Bang] ( The bracketed words are my own). Here we think of the reflexive qualities of the Divine Creative; male-God creates, idea/thought, then the female God-mind /understands the idea, making it information. Information becomes in-form-action in this Universe. Information is therefore, a self-reflection making  the concept of the Universe as a Mirror, where everything is the perception and reflected activity of the Divine Radiant Spirit on its Dark Energy/ Matter background of unreflected Self, a process which the various and varying symbols of the Tarot are attempting to suggest.

The reason Crowley has positioned THE EMPEROR, so that the body forms a triangle and a cross, is because he is representing the alchemical symbol of Sulfur. This representation is because of the Alchemical explanation of the Divine-Self Interaction in terms of Sulfur, Salt and Mercury. In Tarot, Mercury is THE MAGUS, THE EMPRESS is Salt, and THE EMPEROR is sulfur. This may seem as little more than obscure abstraction: However, when we consider that THE MAGUS, (Philosophic Mercury) acts upon THE PRIESTESS (Pure Consciousness) and by Union they are transformed into THE EMPEROR (Sulfur/Fire) and THE EMPRESS (Salt/Water), we are actually considering the quite basic attributes of our own consciousness.

THE EMPRESS is on the Path of Daleth (meaning door) which is above the Path of THE EMPEROR, simply because without her manifestation of form, he would have nothing to rule. On the Path of Heh, the Emperor is a transformation of the MAGUS (Will). Basically, when we are classifying images according to color, subject, or other criterion, we are calling THE EMPEROR into play. As does THE EMPEROR, we are acting upon form via perspective/observation. Another way to see this exercise of rule, is that if the subconscious (mind of the Empress) didn't send up form from its depths, as a stream of images to be classified by the differentiating exercise of reason, Will would have nothing to control or transform. Thus THE EMPEROR, albeit a potent masculine force, functions as determined by THE EMPRESS.

As I have stated, THE EMPEROR, is the Path of Heh and its function is determined by Binah who is pure fruition. The Path of Heh, is a formative path of rational and classifying activities. The Thoth Card’s bright Red color is that of Binah (The Great Mother's Magic Blood) in the World of Pure Spirit known as Atziluth. Albeit, the male and female forces are seen as more interwoven in the lower levels as we go down the Tree of Life, the assumption that Chokmah and Binah are the only "Pure" states of Male and Female force is in error; As Chokmah(Wisdom), meaning the primary quality of maleness, is a female noun in Hebrew. Taking the point of view that whatever gives birth is exercising a primary female quality at the moment of birth, then all that is inherent in the male is inherent in the female and visa versa. We can mentally see this by understanding that the Creation of Chokmah, gave birth to maleness, and femaleness simultaneously, just as the creation of electricity (Male) created Magnetism (female) simultaneously. 

The students of Carl Jung know that he stated the "male harbors the perfect female image in his unconscious, as the female harbors the perfect male image in her unconscious", these 2 being the "counter sexual component" necessary for the transformation of force and form. Jung also called the "counter-sexual components", the Anima (female) in males and the Animus (Male) male in females. The Anima, means spirit in Latin and the Animus is Latin for soul. Hence, we can see that THE EMPRESS is Anima/Spirit/Unconscious and THE EMPEROR is Animus/Soul/Psyche, making the perfectly developed male type on the Inner mental Paths- THE EMPEROR and the perfectly developed female type- THE EMPRESS. These are the pure intelligent forces/Beings that we, as personality, meet and actually converse with on the many Paths/attributes of Mind. If we think of the One as a homo sapiens sapiens brain, albeit a simplistic comparison, then one (O) has become 2 in the brain, female left and male right in One Intelligent collective organism that is an "artificial self". The Tree of Life's Path of Heh is such a place of inner union.

Since the Sun/Son that is Tiphareth is in the sign of Aries, which is the sign of the Path of the Constituting Intelligence, indicates that THE EMPEROR exercises some control over the solar forces of the Higher Self.

Therefore, we have the term Constituting Intelligence meaning that THE EMPEROR assists in the building up of the Light that is Tiphareth from the utter-darkness of Limitless Light of the Supernal Triangle. This Path of Heh, could also be considered as the "start of Time"/measurement in infinite Space. In the Thoth card, this importance of Tiphareth to THE EMPEROR is illustrated by the Sun behind his head and the overall two colored scheme of Martian reds and Sun yellows. These 2 colors also suggest a furious/"divine frenzied" rush of often short-lived activity.

So to repeat:

In the Sepher Yetzirah (Qabalistic text) the letter Heh is considered a simple word meaning, sight. This is well represented in THE EMPEROR, since he is the "Fiery Aspect of the Garden of Eden" of which the Higher Self relates to as a Self-observation of the One. It is the first path that is attributed to a function, suggesting that sight is the first of the senses, as Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac. This Path of Heh, THE EMPEROR, is what I call the First "I" sight, while the EMPRESS is the "Am" of understanding (an inner sight I call a "Womb with a view")...Together they are the "I AM", the Counter Sexuality of the One Mind/Energy.

All this contributes to the understanding that the Constituting Intelligence is the first phase of a natural cycle, such as Aries bringing forth Spring. This understanding is shown as the lamb at the Emperor's feet and the Ram headed wand. Paternal Power is shown by the bees and Fleur de Lys. The 2 headed Eagle in front of a crimson disc that is on the Emperor's shield, symbolizes the Alchemist's red tincture related to the Sun and Gold. There is a similar eagle on THE EMPRESS card that refers to the Moon and Silver.

The Tarot of The Spirit-Key 4-The Emperor, incorporates some of the Traditional Tarot symbology. However, it also uses symbology that agrees with most Tarot Scholars and myself, by placing him behind a window, which is another meaning of the Hebrew letter Heh-sight/window. Therefore, he is seen as having clear sight and presence of mind. He is the organizer, the Measurer.

His lower legs are the bodies of eagles, for he has the ability to soar to the uppermost heights.

In his right hand is the staff of Venus, implying his connection to the Empress who is Daleth-the door- while he is Heh-the Window. He sits both inside and outside the Window of Beth, the House, because he is the Window to the Universe and the structure of the Window itself. The front of the Window displays the equal armed cross whose arms intersect behind the eyes of the Emperor. Hence, intersecting at the pineal gland, the location of the third eye, and seat of the Soul. The autonomic and spinal nervous systems are connected by the Pineal gland (constituting intelligence) and thereby, translates impressions received by the subjective self into impressions that the brain can comprehend .

The Emperor's cone of power, is the pyramid of light, the supernal triangle, that is shown behind him and descends through him to the navel and is crossed there, by the dotted equal arms of a cross. Indicating the symbol for sulphur, which represent fire, one of the 4 universal elements. The Ram headed scepter is that of Aries/Fire and represents the energy of beginnings (Spring). Hence, the pyramid of light is the first sight / the I of the One , the identity or path that leads to the Supernal Self.

The Divine Scroll of the Empress has now entirely wrapped the black cube that the Emperor sits upon. This is because the Emperor had a comprehensive knowledge of the Divine law and the Divine records. He sets the "rules of being" and/or the measurement of all things as the 4th Sephiroth -Chesed-the Architect. Through understanding he has mastered the dark and has given energy measurement/light. Hence, he is the window of light in the darkness.

When THE EMPEROR card is thrown during a reading it emphasizes:

  • The Principle of Personal Power and Leadership.
  • Building a pure base of Knowledge while remaining open minded.
  •  Pointing towards success, authority, stability and ambition in gain or achievement.
  •  Self-realization of Life Force and Personal Power.
  • War.
  • Conquest.
  • Victory.

If ill-defined by attending cards: 

  • The querent is up against a dominant boss, or authority figure (s) who sets rules, boundaries, definitions and analysis.
  • Strife.
  • Ambition.

Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper.

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