The Thoth Tarot-Key 20- THE AEON .
Those who have seen the old Traditional Card--The Angel or Last Judgment--know that the Thoth Deck Card seems to stray from tradition; However, Crowley states otherwise and says, "...it was necessary to depart completely from the tradition of the cards, in order to carry on that tradition."[Book of Thoth]
On the old card art, an Angel was depicted as blowing a trumpet, as seen on the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot; The Golden Dawn and Rider Waite Tarot decks also showed the symbol of the Eon of Osiris (circle with inner cross), as a flag on the end of the Trumpet. While below the Angel, three graves were opening up. Of the three dead arising, one of them had his arms extended in right angles at elbows and shoulders, forming the Hebrew letter Shin-meaning fire. Thus, the card represented the destruction of the World by fire...the "world" being the Aeon of Osiris. Hence, the Thoth Tarot depicts a large golden letter of Shin, flora in its arrangement, with three human forms in it.
The Aeon of Osiris ended in 1904 when the Solar-Fiery god Horus took over the position of Hierophant in the East, from the Airy god Osiris. Therefore, Crowley rightly thought that the new card should be a representation of the "Steele of Revealing".
The artist of the Thoth Cards, Lady Freda Harris, produced a card of magnificent detail, showing the Star filled body of Goddess Nuit, the Egyptian night sky or Star Goddess, who is the category of unlimited possibility; her mate Hadit, whom Crowley called ," the ubiquitous point-of-view, the only philosophically tenable conception of Reality", is represented as a winged globe of fire, symbolizing the eternal energy with the Power of Going. The resulting marriage of these two produces the child Horus (Heru-ra-ha), shown in the images of a double god; his extroverted (standing) image represents Ra--hoor-khuit and his passive or introverted sitting image represents Honor-pa-kraat.(you'll have to look these up in Egyptian myth for further explanation). Horus, being a solar entity, is also shown coming forth in golden light. The whole of the explanation of the Aeon card is in Crowley's Book of Law.
At the bottom -right of the Aeon card and at the top-left of the Night Sun Tarot card, we see the Hebrew letter Shin , suggesting the form of a flower. As stated: On the Thoth Tarot- the three Yods (leaf or petal like ends) of the letter Shin are occupied by three human figures (the three arising from graves on the Old Card) arising to partake of the Essence of the new Aeon. Behind the letter Shin, is a symbolic representation of the zodiacal sign, Libra; Crowley called this "... the forth-shadowing of the Aeon which is to follow the present one, presumably in about 2000 years."
In the Book of Law, Crowley depicts Ra-hoor-khuit; as stating,"I am the Lord of the Double Wand of Power; the Wand of Force of Coph Nia; but my left hand is empty, for I have crushed a Universe;& naught remains." Not much more about the future Aeon is shown on this card, as Crowley felt the present Aeon is too young to show more. Crowley points out that Horus has another name which is Heru and that is synonymous with Hru which is "The Great Angel set over the Tarot."
The Aeon (Eon) of Horus has come in with a fiery roar, with two world wars, and "police actions" of great upheavals in political, moral, physical and spiritual events. All of which have marked the catastrophic transition from the Aeon of Osiris to the Aeon of Horus. Now we can manifest the fiery might of Solar fusion on the planet itself in the form of Hydrogen bombs, so this is a fiery era indeed. It is seems very instructive to study the Political massing of power, and the art of combustion with accompanying improvements in travel, and communication (all done by the harnessing of the male/female force called, electromagnetism) with great mental leaps in thermodynamic science and philosophy; However, also with a general need for the consolidation of religious thought. If we compare the five hundred years preceding the following crisis of the Patriarch of approximately 2000 years ago, with those of similar periods in 1904 of the old era, 500 years of Dark Ages are likely to be upon us as Theocracies, as shown in the past, murder each other to further their control over the minds of people. Fortunately, we have brighter minds bearing enlightened torches of thought to light our way our of the past darkness of superstition and the present Dark Age of Corporate enslavement or State Controlled identity. In the age of Horus, the Solar-Soul (The Real Person) is arising and reclaiming its bodies! There is a Horus, a hawk headed Sun-god in all of us, that can soar above the clouded minds of the many. Even, the many can feel its inner heat, thinking it an anomaly.
To further understanding, you might want to consider the fact that Horus is an androgynous figure, i.e. the combination of Nuit and Hadit. The new Aeon of Horus, is where the Matriarch and the Patriarch, unite in communion, to raise the Solar (Soul) Children who are the "Sons/Suns of the Divine Creative".
To reiterate: Crowley knew that the system of Tarot evolves to meet the spiritual needs of the races and of that the individual Personality or Self-Consciousness. Therefore he suggest that over time the Spiritual make-up; the Gnosis of mankind, will have so advanced that what was previously known as JUDGMENT, will be inadequate to describe the experience of The Aeon/ the Path of Shin . This meets with his assertion that we are now passing through a five hundred year period of extreme darkness and trial, preparatory to a New Aeon of Light. fortunately for all of us, there are many good "Light Bearers" both manifesting as teachers, Gnostic Soul-Personalities and Middle Path Hierophants on Earth and in the Pleroma (higher Astral known as the "Great White Brotherhood"--because of the White light state of Conscious energy they manifest) that we are assisted in our progress out of this Cultural Dark end of our Era and if aware, can be guided along the road to the New Aeon of Horus. Horus represents the Divine Child of God (Tiphareth) and/or the human body/brain who is becoming the receptacle of the Holy Spirit on Earth. Hence, reinstating our purpose as Spiritual vessels called Souls, to elevate the Survival Mind of Earth to a Higher level of Conscious Energy which we do through the "creating, seeing error, and correcting that error" experience provided by the human body. It is therefore not a far stretch of the imagination to see the human being-Spiritual Conscious combination as the New Horus.
In the Thoth Aeon card, the Sky Goddess Nuith is a Dark Goddess of Omega---End, signifying the End of the Aeon of Osiris (the Past Aeon) and as we know, energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed, which tells us that ends mean new beginnings.
The Hebrew letter Shin means Tooth which is descriptive of the Mastication paradigm that is involved with Transformation.
As stated and to aid in further study: The Tarot-Key 20,is known as the Path of Shin (tooth) on the Tree of Life. Many Qabalist know the Middle Pillar, the straight alignment of Malkuth, Yesod, Tiphareth and Kether, 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 is that every symbol, represented on these Path cards/Manor Arcana, represents 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. Hence, 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 concepts to grasp in the Major Arcana, that the student may feel overwhelmed, so I often repeat. 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 of the Psyche and then meticulously laid down, in image, the details to assist latter generations. It is the short coming of most students who begin these Astral/Psyche 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 mentally able to go beyond the lower Astral, can one touch 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 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 part of the Soul permeates the Personality of the individual, in the descent of Energy into Matter. Thus, the last illusions of personality as being separated form the Soul is burned away.
The Tree of Life and the human body is as the Universe. If we have learned any physics at all, we know that from the simplest concept, came all the complexity that is the Cosmos. In the Big Bang theory, a singularity, which came from nothing and/or Quanta ( a Boson of 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 ultimately ending up as a complex human body. In the Tarot, The Fool, is the ultimate simplicity and The Universe-key 21, is representative of the ultimate complexity and yet all the Cards are implicit, unexpressed in The Fool. Therefore, in all the cards in-between, Fool and Universe, we find the balance between what is expressed or unexpressed.
I am ending this Aeon/Judgment card explanation , with the understanding that 3 tarot cards, The Aeon, The Universe and The Moon, are aspects of our individual waking consciousness that comprises our self-conscious personality, also represent stages of Self -Awareness of the Soul.
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 masticates the divided personality and then deals a final blow to the perception of a separate and individual Personality; leaving behind the original Personality which is Child of God. The continuation of this Tarot card and process of "Above all things, Know thyself" will be in The Aeon-key 20- Part 3.
The maternal meaning of the letter Shin is Fire, both the meaning of the Path and the maternal meaning of Tooth, are a powerful combination.
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 Collective Unconscious (meaning Not like personal consciousness), which is the Mind of the Macrocosm; not like consciousness, simply because a self-consciousness is a microcosmic reality; However, if we release, by meditation and self-examination, our consciousness to the Universal Unconscious Energy, we have developed a Consciousness that bridges the Macrocosm and Microcosm, yet is still Personally Self-Aware! We have then successfully become the Horus, the 22nd century human evolution! .
Therefore, the Path of Shin joins the Earth Intelligence-Malkuth with that of Hod-the Splendor Intelligence (artistic), 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 Archangel controlled "Redeeming Fire"; a process that is physical as the higher vibratory Passion of the Divine Self as "I will be", "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. For the student, this is the beginning of experiencing unconditional love, which is often muddled with personal conditional thinking. This Passion dynamic is the Fire of Spirit and/ or the thymeides (Spiritual) aspect of the ternary soul and with proper guidance the Student will go into the Fire, instead of trying to control it with conditions. 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 of Intelligence.
Therefore, 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 and Qolph (the Moon) stimulate the rebirth of our bodies; that is 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 Paul Foster Case described, as building a "Master's Body". A body, where the Elder power of Kundalini is flowing, uncoiled and hot, with out emotionally adverse effects.
The Path of Shin, is the bright fiery probationary path of the Intellect where the components of the Personality first encountered in The Universe-Key 21- The 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. 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 three Qabalistic 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/metaphysical Alchemy.
On the Path of Shin, the Consciousness (Water) is activated by the Dynamic Principle (Fire) in the presence of equilibrating Spiritual Aspect of the Soul (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.
When the Aeon card is thrown during a reading:
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