The Ryder-Waite JUDGMENT card is the Thoth Aeon, key 20, and this card is called the 31st Path of Shin, by Dr. Paul Foster Case, the creator of the B.O.T.A . Shin is a Hebrew word meaning Tooth. The maternal meaning of the letter Shin is Fire, both the meaning of the Path and the maternal meaning are a powerful combination of Tooth and Fire.
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 a Universal Collective Unconscious, not consciousness, or just unconsciousness, simply because we know our consciousness, as a self-conscious which 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. That Bridge becomes Whole-Personally Self-Awareness when all is remembered and therefore, a Perpetual Intelligence!
(To me, the words, Universal Unconscious leave a dull thud rather than a light chiming awareness in my consciousness. So. I like to call it the Universal Conscious or Mind, because it is the Whole of Mind which is a God to many and not that of a Un-God.)
When Universal Consciousness joins with self-consciousness, we have then successfully become the Horus, the 22nd century human evolution (Crowley); the Divine Child in manifestation. The Birthing of Horus in the Group Soul of Mankind, 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 Arch-Angel controlled "Redeeming Fire"; a process that is physical as the higher vibratory Passion of the Will To Be (a combination of Will to Force and Will to Form) 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. This really is the beginning of experiencing unconditional love, which is muddled with conditional thinking. This Passion dynamic is the Fire of Spirit and with proper guidance the Student will go into the Fire, instead of trying to control it with conditions, be they environmental or personal. That is the lesson of Hod, love/passion is not a peacocks splendor, rather it is the Foundation of all Creation, but to know this is a perpetual process of "burning off the unworthy", so that progress can continue. Thus the "Splendor of the Material World" is burned away in a kind of physical resurrection, a rebirth of body and personality sending us perpetually towards the Great Mother.
Thus, this 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 Energies of both Shin-Aeon and Qoph-the Moon, stimulate the rebirth of our bodies in a psychosomatic paradigm. This psychosomatic process is a physiological rebuild, necessary to handle the higher vibratory states of the Higher Consciousness and the One Emotion that is Love without conditions; the Mother of Emotions. 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, with out emotionally adverse effects, also known as the "adorable Fire" to those who burn with it.
Therefore, 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. The opposite path is that of THE MOON, a dark watery probationary path of emotions and illusions. The balanced union 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 in incarnation, are usually extremely difficult to travel, because these Elemental Paths of which The Aeon, The Fool, 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) as stated in the Qabalistic book, 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 Golden Crucible of Spiritual Alchemy.
On the Path of Shin, the Consciousness (Water) is activated by the Dynamic Principle (Fire) in the presence of equilibrating Spirit (Air) with in the physical vehicle (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.
The Ryder-Waite, key 20 JUDGMENT. depicts this balance as Air above with Water below between two sections of Earth. Here, it is understood that Air, Water and Earth are being heated by Fire. The reason there are no flames shown, is that the process is a perpetual, slow and steady process brought about by the above depicted Archangel-Michael, the Ruler of Solar Fire, who sports both fiery hair and wings, and who is blowing the trumpet that summons the influence of Binah, a symbol of summoning the souls of the dead to their Judgement. The Red equal armed cross on the white flag, also refers to the Supernal by featuring the "Four Rivers of paradise" that also stands for the four letters of the Divine Name, YHVH. The effect of the Angelic frequency of heating is on the component dualities of the individual human being, which are symbolized by Fire and Water. Water is the Mind-Consciousness that is activated by the Fiery paradigm of equilibrating Spirit (Air) within the physical vehicle (Earth). Therefore, the Path of Shin-JUDGMENT, is aimed at producing in the personality, a total understanding of the personality structure and its relationship to the Universe. As mentioned, the Aeon-key 20, is known as the Path of Shin (tooth) on the Tree of Life. Tooth representing that which kills, for as fire, it "bites" away the dysfunctions of a indoctrinated personality.
Many Qabalists know the Middle Pillar, the straight alignment of Malkuth, Yesod, Tiphareth and Kether, is the pillar of balance, and mildness. Yet the Path of Shin, is the Left hand Path, or the left side Pillar of Severity and is usually subject to imbalance, so how can this be a path of balance? The answer to this 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. The Ryder-Waite-Smith JUDGMENT card shows this application of opposites as naked male and female figures in the foreground of the card.
There are so many concepts to grasp in any one of 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 by meditating on them. These Qabalistic Images have been carefully assembled over the centuries by the experienced mind-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. This is because, the Mind communicates by image and not words, as does a self-conscious. It is the short coming 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 or Judgment Card. Diligent skrying, will soon project our consciousness beyond the visual construct into a 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 Spirit (kundalini) permeates the Personality of the individual, in the descent of Energy into Matter. Thus, the last illusions of personality separateness from Spirit, is 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, cane all the complexity that is the Cosmos. In the Big Bang theory, a singularity, which came from nothing (Dark energy and Dark Matter), was a point that exploded outward, and became many particles of the Point (Kether). 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 ultimately ending up as a complex human body and yet is still the product of one cell and its many clones. 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. Therefore, in all the cards in-between the Fool-0 and the Universe-21 we find the balance between what is unexpressed and expressed.
The Aeon, The Universe and The Moon are aspects of our individual waking consciousness that comprises a sensual personality while also representing 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 is 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. Every Qabalistic symbol represents to a specific part of the Whole Self.
Further understanding of The Aeon , Judgment 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 kills the divided personality, by dealing a final blow to the perception of a separate and individual Personality, leaving the original Personality which is Child of the Divine Creative and/or Soul.
As I have mentioned, Crowley's Aeon card departs completely from the traditional Cards of the Ryder-Waite-Smith 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". The Ryder-Waite-Sm,ith deck illustrates this "Great Angel" set over the individuals down below.
Constantly, Qabalistic doctrine is a system of Gnosis (Knowledge) that evolves with the races of human kind, We have passed into the predicted 500 year period of extreme darkness and trial, preparatory to a new Aeon of Light. Thus, on the Thoth Aeon card, we have the letter Shin below the Standing Horus, in a flowery form and the the Three Yods, each have a 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.
There is also the understanding of the Hebrew symbolism of numbers to further facilitate the knowledge of the Major Arcana. The principle being that the numbers of the Hebrew letters are reduced and manipulated relative to the Ten Sephiroth, while the numbers from O-20, of the cards, are reduced relative to the other cards: For instance, the number 300 assigned to Shin, reduces to the number of the Great Mother Binah, 3. The key number of the card is 20, which reduces to 2, the number of the HIGH PRIESTESS. I would recommend that the interested person get the books 777 by Aliester Crowley or THE QABALISTIC TAROT by Robert Wang to further their study of the Hebrew numbers called gematria. However, the connection with other cards is also made on more than numerical protocol. For instance, the fact that Shin is Fire, implies the Aeon or Judgment card relates in two other Major Arcana cards, THE TOWER (Aries-Mars) and THE SUN.
However, enough knowledge has been presented in this blog of the Aeon-key 20, to know that when the key 20-JUDGMENT or AEON card is thrown during a reading, it states that:
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