The Thoth Tarot-key 6 : THE LOVERS:
To the Gnostic or Hermetic Qabalist, The Lovers is a card that can hardly be understood by imagery let alone words, so the combination of both the imagery of the Unconscious and words of the self-consciousness, are recommended.
On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, The Lovers is The Path of Zain-meaning sword or armor and is the dual- cutting-edged Sword of Perspective that connects The Mother of Form-the 3rd Sephiroth- Binah-Understanding, with the central point of manifestation, the 6th Sephiroth Tiphareth-Beauty.
In the long past, the Lovers was just drawn as one individual and called The Lover. This obviously didn't suggest enough for more recent Tarot Readers and it has been redesigned to show the Two who are One. Since Gemini/The Twins is the astrological meaning of this card this duality should be depicted. The Lovers card represents the dualities of a single individual and is not appropriate as a symbol of human sexual love. In fact traditionally, it represents the "two brothers" who are the Kaberoi [The Twin Serpents of the Caduceus] and where known as the twin sons of the Primal Serpent Ptah.
Over time the Primal Serpent Force of the Universe has gained many names/titles from Skanda-Murugan, Ptah-Sokar-Osiris to Thoth-Hermes, Neptune-Vulcan, The Green man,Dionysus, Enki and so many more, but the understanding was still the same; it was the Primal Serpentine Force of microwave fiery- electric energy that began this Universe in a "Big Bang" scenario. Since we are attempting to describe a pure energy that both ejaculates (a serpentine flow) and gives birth (a receptive vessel), the male and female forms are used to show these aspects of "The One Primal Serpent Force". This serpentine energy is both a She in Hindu as Kundalini, in Greek as Sophia (Wisdom), as well as the above mentioned male descriptions.
Through out the Thoth card you will see serpent images, even the Spear of Dionysus or Thrysus known as the weapon with which he used to induce "the madness of Gnosis" (Knowledge). This "spear" represented the human spine and the third eye linked to one flowing Kundalini power. Thoth-Hermes was also known as the "Father of Alchemy" and many alchemical symbols exist in the Thoth imagery.
Before I entangle your self-conscious with deep alchemical explanations, it may be easier to understand that The Lovers, represents the dual aspect of the One energy as Divine creativity surged across the Abyss into manifestation, formed of the stable dualities of He-electric and She-magnetic. The Great Work is the marriage of these dualities of manifestation. A ritual of returning to the Primal state, or Serpent force.
The path of Zain, or the Lovers card of the Hermetic Qabalah, is called the Disposing Intelligence, which has often been considered an aspect of the Garden of Eden mythology, where human kind was made to leave it and must learn how to return to it, yet the serpent was the "good guy", before Christian revisionism, for He gave mankind the knowledge necessary for language and it was necessary to leave the "Place of Repose" for the Active World. Here the knowledge of the double helix of the DNA, becomes a story about a genetic modification that has become active, i.e. The "boot up" of the Inherited God Mind. The Word Hu (Mandarin word for "god") and Man ( From Manas- the Hindu word for Mind) and Man, mean we are the inheritors of Imagination, the Creative mind. The Hebrew word -ha-regesh- from which the English translation means-is arrived, and is called the Disposing Intelligence, by Dr. Paul Foster Case, in his text "The 32 paths to Wisdom". This Disposing Intelligence consists of , the Sun+ the Moon+ Fire (Spirit) =Disposing Intelligence.
In the Lover's Tarot card we have the Sun and the Moon uniting under Mercury (the planet ruling Gemini). On the Thoth Tarot Card, the man is representing the sun and the woman is representing the moon and the Divine Fire above the Abyss is the Kerub (cupid) which comes from the word Kaberoi. So when the Electric Force of the man and the Magnetic force of the woman are intertwine, a process that is rightly perceived, rightly discriminated, and when their operation is kept in proper order, the personality of the man engaged in this practice becomes a unobstructed channel for the outpouring of the Cosmic Life Force (Seen in the Card a the Orphic egg wrapped with a serpent). All this is mind boggling to the uninformed who know not their own Divinity nor its electromagnetic activity. So all I can say is, Google the mythological names listed in this essay-blog and see if you can understand the stories about the Great Story, that is out universe and our Selves. I Would recommend a magnificent book called, WORLD GNOSIS-The Coming Gnostic Civilization by Mark Amaru Pinkham who has done a inordinate amount of research that would take the interested student 20 years to assemble.
Thoth Tarot-Key 6-The Lovers, was at one time called "the Brothers" and is a significant arcana in that it implies the simultaneous creation of "equal and opposite reaction", as the biblical story of Cain and Able or the zodiacal twins of Gemini. Hence, when an action is created, it's opposite is simultaneously created as well. When She was Created so was He. When Able was created so was Cain. When light was created so was the dark, as there could be no darkness before light. This card supports that application.
There is no measurable time lag in the creation of opposites,, as the formulation of any idea creates its contradictory at almost the same moment. That is why wisdom is often described by me as the action, "to create, see error ,and correct that error." Wisdom is known as 50% ERROR.. This is the concept behind the Christian Sin (Which was the name of an ancient Moon God that Mount Sinai was named after), that over time, has become unrecognizable as the process of Wisdom; However, if one reads the Prodigal Son biblical parable, they will understand that the "Prodigal" who went forth and created error, was celebrated for correcting it, by the simple act of returning to his Father and receiving his wealth once again.
To know that the contradictory of any proposition is implicit in itself, is to know how Universal equilibrium is kept. Again, we have analysis followed by synthesis. To make this card even more confusing, remember that once error is corrected, we've made another creation.....with simultaneous error.
The Thoth Tarot Lovers Card, is a glyph of duality. Here, the Moorish King has a golden crown, while the white European Queen has a silver crown. This duality is further displayed by the Red Lion and the White Eagle; Lions and Eagles being alchemical symbols of the Male and Female Principles in Nature, appearing in equal and various stages of manifestation throughout creation. For instance, the Sun and Moon, Fire and Water (Electric and Magnetic), Air and Earth. They are the acid and alkali of chemistry, which are also metals and non-metals. Going even wider in this concept, they are Hydrogen and Oxygen which in this concept, the Hooded figure represents , the seed of all life as the Protean element of carbon. Astrophysicist know Red Suns as the producers of the carbon atom, so the symbols of this card are quite extensive. In tarot, the hooded figure is known as the Hermit.
The Thoth King bears his sacred Lance, while the Queen bears the Holy Grail---the Phallus and Womb symbols of this card are a constant reminder of Creation's formula of equal and opposites being combined in order to establish life. This theory is support by the Twin Children carry their weapons, whose positions are counter changed; the white child carries the cup and roses, while the dark child carries the lance and a club ( both an equivalent symbol). At the bottom of the card is the primitive Pantomorphic form of the Hermetic Marriage; the winged Orphic egg. The colors of the egg, gray, symbolize the cooperation of the Supernal ( upper triangle of Kether, Chokma, Binah) in the Creation of Life.
The Thoth Card also depicts a Purple serpent that represents Mercury in the scale of the Queen and represent God's influence in Nature; the crimson tinged wings of the Orphic egg represent the King which is on the scale of Binah the Great Mother. Therefore, the Thoth Deck key 6 -The Lovers is then the complete symbolic rendition of the equilibrium of the Great Work. However, we must never forget that what form life takes is after all, possibility, for the form life takes is dependent upon the influences attendant during gestation. This is a fact that Awake Souls (those who do not experience the sleep of death) make use of while influencing a fetus that is forming in a womb.
By putting the symbol of Cupid above the Hooded figure, seems to confuse the issues of this card; However, deep study of the Cupid legend will help one to see that cupid is the libido symbol used to express Zero as Two (o as 8). Please feel free to enjoy your investigations while remembering that only deep meditations on this card will reveal some of the many secrets it represents.
To reiterate: In the Text, THIRTY TWO PATHS OF WISDOM, Paul Foster Case called THE LOVERS, the Disposing Intelligence. The complexity of this card can barely be presented by the image on the card, and is even difficult to understand as a disposing intelligence.
THE LOVERS, is the Path of Zain, meaning Sword, and is also a simple letter, meaning smell. The Path of Zain is depicted on the Hermetic Qabalah's Tree of Life and runs between Sephiroth #3 Binah (understanding) and #6- Tiphareth (Beauty) and connects the Pure Conscious, from which all forms emerged (Binah) with the central point of Manifestation (Tiphareth- Pure Soul and/or Real Person).
The Term Lovers, seems simple enough, yet it is a complex and profound card, as it is not about the love of two humans, but rather the Twins or duality of the individual united in pursuit of Divine Love. Therefore the True meaning of Key 6, is embedded in the Astrological sign Gemini, The Twins and the psychology of Dr. Carl Jung, as the perfect union of Anima (feminine-Latin for Spirit) and Animus (Masculine-Latin for Soul)
The Dual intelligent Forces of Male-expressive and Female-receptive, (electric and magnetic, conscious and unconscious, Psyche and Animal mind, Animus and Anima), are what, Zain,
The Lovers Path proposes to unite. These are equal and opposite frequencies of Intelligence that must be united as a major step towards the Godhead on the Tree of Life. The surging of the Divine One Energy, across the Abyss into manifestation, formed stable dualities, for the Divine Creative is a O who became 2, "will to force" and "will to form", which we call male and female, respectively and/or the infinity symbol 8, usually laying on it's side.
This is nothing new to those who studied Matriarchal religions, God and Goddess were never seen separated and often they were depicted as one being with two faces. Only in the War/slave religions of Nomadic Tribes, "sword worshipers", did the Patriarch exist alone.
The Great Work, is a mental return to the primeval state (As above so below) by the communion or "marriage" of these dualities of manifestation within the Self-Conscious of the individual.
As Robert Wang wrote about the Path of Zain (meaning; sword or armor) in his book: THE QABALISTIC TAROT," Thus this path may be considered the aspect of the Garden of Eden, from which mankind was expelled, but to which it may earn re-entry by conscious dealing with what has been called the inner Sun and Moon. The whole key to the Great Work is uniting of the Sun and the Moon under Mercury (the planet ruling Gemini)."
Dr.Paul Foster Case, founder of the Builders of the Adytum, considered that these are both aspects of the One Life Breath, each working half of the body. Today we mundanely know them as the Male half and the Female half of the human brain or in parapsychology as the Anima and the Animus. As Case has stated, "When the Solar and Lunar currents of the Life-Power are rightly perceived, rightly discriminated, and when their operation is kept in proper order, the personality of the man engaged in this practice becomes a free, unobstructed channel for the outpouring of the cosmic life force." Case considered THE LOVERS card to represent one of the dualities united by the Spiritual Self, the Divine Anima (female) and the Divine Animus (Male), both aware, conscious and united in the individual as they are in the Divine Creative. Just as most Tantric, and Gnostic practitioner's do.
To the Qabalist, The Lovers, represents the union of manifested opposites under the Divine Love of the Supernal (Upper triangle of the Tree of Life) through Binah/Ishtar-The Great Mother. Thus, the Crowley Thoth Deck Card depicts the theme of union as and Alchemical "Hermetic Marriage" of the component parts of the seeker. Here, the Unconscious and Conscious preform as One.
The Path of Zain is an active path of Psyche, for the self control and will attributed to Mercury, which directs the movement and integration of opposites is not passive.
In fact, it is the fiery force or the Serpent Force known as the Kundalini which is masculine fiery force, united with the Feminine Watery force (flowing in waves as "serpentine:) both in equal measure and full of fiery dynamic, and inspirational qualities of intuition.
This is a red-hot marriage, complete with Honey Moon and resulting "little death" reminiscent of an individual "big bang", call the "ecstasy", where all that is not worthy of being "you" is burned away.
Hence, there is a type of death here, as the process of crossing the Abyss means the death of one's own Higher Self, a willful and total self-destruction and immersion into the Divine Self.
I'll leave you with a quote form the Gnostic Text, The Gospel of Didymos Judas Thomas where it is written by a Gnostic Nazarene known as Jesus, answered his disciples, when asked when they shall enter the kingdom of heaven: (22) " When you make the Two One, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female;and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then you will enter the kingdom."
Jesus, mythical or not, obviously knew of the Principles attributed to THE LOVERS card, but then he was purported to be a Nazarene Gnostic Master (A Zeus Christos) which is equivalent to a Qabalistic Magi. What few know is that the Word Christos is Greek and refers to the Sun and translates into English as "the semen that heals the anointed"! This could be a subtle description of Jesus and Mary Magdalene; A very apropos idea. Especially since the Hermit carries both the Lock and Key of a Hermetic marriage.
THE LOVERS and THE ART card of the Tarot are considered among the most difficult to understand. The Path of the Art Card is Samekh (Prop) and requires a complete integration of the Personality in its subordination to the Ego (whole-self) in Tiphareth. The Path of THE LOVERS is Zain (Sword or Armor) requires a complete integration of the total self, manifest in the Microcosm, returning the soul to the aspect of the "Garden" or Macrocosm of the Universal Collective Unconscious, from which it emerged. Thus, we can say that Art is the equilibrium of the Lower Self and THE LOVERS, is the balance of the Higher Self.
In Crowley's card, we have the Royal Marriage of opposites, presided over by the hooded figure that is both the Hermit and Mercury. Eve and Lilith, as stylized statues, are shown above the marriage couple, with cupid aiming an arrow, represents the Original Will.
TheBlack King wears a crown of gold, bears a lance, and is attended by the Red Lion, while the Kings black child holds the lance in one hand and a club in the other.
The White Queen, crown in silver, is attended by the White Eagle and her white child, that is interchanged with the black child, holds flowers in one hand and the bottom of the Grail (Graäl) in the other. The Product of this union, is the Orphic Egg, that is the very essence of Life itself. The white and black, is further depiction of the Union of Opposites.
The symbolism of the two children, has been noted by Crowley as Cain and Able, which may seem out of place in a card called THE LOVERS; However, the process of The Hermetic Marriage is both reciprocal and repeated over and over again as it is defined by the infinity sign of Mercury-Magus, as the Sun and the Moon unite under Mercury. First one "Brother" dies, being absorbed into the other than there is a return to a balance of opposites after which the second "Brother" is killed and absorbed into the first. The Swords forming an arch over the threesome, is reminiscing of a Royal Wedding, where the married couple must walk through and arch of Swords, at the end of there nuptial ceremony. It also represents the English translation of the Hebrew letter Zain.
Theoretically, return to the Godhead requires that we incarnate repeatedly, in the twelve signs of the Zodiac, reaching perfection in each of the types of incarnation.
THE LOVERS card also relates to the Hermetic Marriage, or "Chemical Wedding", as written in the 17th century in a text called,:The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenceutz which is one of the key documents of Hermetic-Qabalism. I've found this alchemical text very readable, much like a fairy tale, and yet one of the most profound piece of esoteric or Gnostic symbolism ever written. The fact that the word Sword or Armor (Zain) is the word meaning of this path and that blood is spilled on this path, are all reconciled and/or reinforced in this text. This understanding requires some meditation on the Alchemical text.
- There is the Tantric Philosophy here also (the meaning of Tantra is "to expand and liberate"), only through physical union with a female can either a man or god, achieve true reality and the power to deal with it; A Spiritual/sexual union, is required for shamans, priests, and holy men with the female is required before they gain full possession of their powers. This is also a process for Priestesses, who must be able to invoke the "Divine Phallus" through the Male before they can gain their Powers inherited from the Divine Hermetic Marriage, to manipulate time/space. Qabalah translates into the English word-receiving. Hence, receiving to expand and liberate, places Qabalah in the description of the Sanskrit word-Tantra.
When THE LOVERS is thrown during a reading, it is stating:
- A principle of Art and Craft of Relationship.
- What is also suggested is the magical image of the power of surrender in which one form is given up in order to attain another.
- Being involve in a process of cooperation.---combining energies for a common goal.
- Yin Yang attraction of polarities, or universal forces for one another.
- The power of sexual surrender to the Goddess within.
- This card can also mean a love affair with some sort of trial or choice involved... be it marriage or profane love.
- Time to make a choice of "one or the other", seen as two paths. The outcome of this choice is seen as vitally important.
- Passive and some cases, mediumistic inspiration.
- Motive power, and action, arising from inspiration and impulse.
- Becoming cooperative as two or more people or forces come together, combining energy for a common goal.
- Urge to unite and a choice of love.
- Joining together....it is easy to see the Principle of the Art and Craft of relationship here.
If ill defined by the accompanying cards:
- Indecision, confusion and uncertainty become the principles of this card.
- The querent is failing to see the sum of the Union of Opposites and is trying to separate them as "good and bad" . This causes only inaction.
- The agony of separation rather than the bliss of union.
- Wanting the best of both worlds, causing instability in all those concerned.
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!