Above all things, know thyself!
Thoth- ATU XII-The Hanged Man
The Declarative Tarot -Path 12- Suspended Reflection
The Spirit of the Mighty Waters.
The Thoth-Hanged man is a curious image of Medieval severity called "baffling" and its implications are quite different from the previous paths that connect the Personality and the Higher Self; Severity, because this is the Hebrew Letter-Mem; Path of Mem (Meaning-Water) that connects Hod (Splendor) and Geburah (Severity) on the Pillar of Severity (left side of Tree).
The Hebrew letter-MEM, (Water) is one of the three Maternal letters, and implies a Baptism in Maternal Waters), as the other two: The Path of Shin (Art) is a baptism in Fire, and The Path of Aleph-The Fool, is a baptism in Air. Of all these three Baptisms, the Baptism of Water (Intuitional emotional Consciousness) is the central and pivotal experience of the entire Qabalistic Tree of Life.
Consciousness is the Alchemical First Principle, also called the Thinking Principle and is referred to the physical image of Water because it is like water in wave motion, and fluid flow (The Astral Plane of Mind). The lowest expression of the First Principle is first found, by the upward/inward traveling aspirant, as the Astral Fluid- light that is drawn down the Path of the Universe into Yesod, (the Moon) the Foundation Sephiroth (Subconsciousness). This Thinking Principle, the Astral Fluid, is found as the Stable Intelligence, by virtue of consistency in all Sephiroth and Paths as it underlies everything that is.
The image shown with head pointing downward, suggesting on the Thoth card that the Soul/Solar-self is drowned in the Maternal Waters where upon, perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparably part of the One Collective Universal Consciousness and yet in need of self-awareness. Carl Jung, who coined the phrase, Universal Collective Unconscious, describe this Water of Mem as a"...boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad". To him the First Principle of the Alchemists was also described as Water, as he also states, "It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension: where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living begins; where I am individually this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me.....the collective conscious is anything but an encapsulated personal system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world."
I would highly recommend that anyone interested in understanding True Self, reads the works of Carl Jung, on the Universal Collective (Un) Conscious. Thereby gaining a modern understanding of the ancient wisdom. To put it another way, in the state of waking-consciousness we are "always the subject that has an object", a reality that is totally turned around in the Collective Unconscious where we are "the object of every subject", as stated by Carl Jung. In other words, our subjective Self, I AM, becoming objective Self, a "Me", when immersed in the Maternal Waters on the Path of Mem. THE HANGED MAN is where the invisible becomes visible.
The initiate or aspirant knows that we must move constantly upward (inward) on the Paths of the Tree of Life, for only through the hindsight gained by going to a higher Sephiroth/dimension of Mind, can we experience an understanding of the qualities of the lower Sephiroth. The Path of Mem leads to the 5th Sephiroth-Geburah (Severity) which is directly above the 6th Sephiroth- Tiphareth (Beauty); Geburah is the Fiery or Active part of the Higher Self and is shown as Red in color; the color of Mars/Aries, the god of War. This further illustrates the point that Geburah is the fiery energy on the Pillar of Water below the 3rd Sephiroth- Binah. In the Thoth Tarot card of the HANGED MAN, the Womb of Binah is where the hanging figure's foot is held.; from the oval (egg) of the Egyptian Ankh, which is the cross like symbol (also called the Tau cross) of both Divine Androgyny and Infinity.
To the one who has traveled the inner mental Paths to this point, it is to be noted that the Path of Mem, the HANGED MAN, must be approached very differently than the lower paths. Here, the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. The individual becomes the "other" which was previously the object of pursuit; the "other" now becomes the initiate. Thus, it can be said that the personality meditates in pursuit of the Higher Self, who then becomes or envelopes the Personality of the pursuer creating a Higher Sensual self; A self often stated as having "Magic Abilities". This is because the Anima and Animus of the Soul, are 2 polarities that provide the counter-sexual flow of energy, flowing from the source through multidimensional Time/Space. Hence, if one manifests as "male" (animus) then the Soul, acts as "female" (Anima). It surprises those on the Path of Mem, when they find that the Soul is meditating the personality into manifestation and that their Soul shows itself as the opposite sex and the most beloved. However, this is the hermaphrodite personality that belongs as a representative of the Soul on the Earth Plane and is not the personality you "think" you are. This personality is built to be a Mercury, who flies from soul to body and back, with messages from the Higher Self and is not "man-made" nor a product of the "false ego" mind virus seen as the persona of a culture or as a gender. Here one experiences a unique perspective, a perspective often sought by those who use a crystal pendulum to find inner answers.
The Declarative Tarot -Path 12- Suspended Reflection
The Declarative Tarot-Path 12-Suspended Reflection is the image of an Orb Weaver spider suspended over a pool of water. In this woven domain, the spider knows each anchored strand and the continuous spiral of the web that catches and gathers information. Dew like jewels of living water weave their own path of experience as they cling to this webbing. This imagery represents the spiritual and physical working together, each supporting the other on the path of experience.
Some believe that destiny is the pattern of life we have been born in; However, that is fate and not destiny. The facts are that we can change fate, as we weave our personal web of life experiences. This is called freedom of choice. Our destiny is "to be", and that is already achieved, but "what to be" is made of personal choice. As each spider weaves its own patterns in the life stream, so do we as the "I AM" who declares the "Me". However, we are not alone in our domain.
There is shown a damselfly dangling from a thread of web. This represents the corporeal image that hangs from the spiritual cord (silver cord) and that is guarded by the Eternal Guardian. The rising droplets of water represent the surprising offerings within the creative energy flow of Life, which arise to aid and assist when needed. The eel symbolizes the serpentine life force that flows around us and to not fear the surprises lifetimes may offer. "Surprise is the greatest gift of all!" (A quote from Rumi-a 12th Century Sufi master.). The background of this card is shadowed, reminding us that we live in a world of illusions, that our personal terrain is defined by our choice in perspectives. The observer defines what they observe. Hence, no 2 people live in the same "domain".
Here one is reminded that there are times on the path when it is necessary to change perspectives. There will be epiphanies, often called "Aw ha" moments, when reversals will bring re-birthing opportunities; being "born again", is simply a change of perspective. Therefore, sacrificing one's position on an issue and looking at it from a different direction may bring enlightenment.
When we encounter a new perspective, we become infused with strength, tenacity, prosperity, and intellectual clarity. This clarity comes from the Soul's ability to reveal to us how the elements of our affairs are connected and the end point where the exact answer to a given problem lies. However, all of this could be profaned by the "false ego" if the expectation of a profound change leads us to imprudent or irresponsible behavior and thereby, thwarting any sacrifice or change of direction and leading us to self-pity, boredom, or utter helplessness in the face of change.
Radiant: Rider-Waite-Smith-Key 12-The Hanged Man
As one can easily see, the Traditional Tarot- Key 12-The Hanged man is shown hanging from one leg and illustrates the Tau Cross as a tree from which the Hanged Man hangs. His/her pants are the Red of Geburah and his/her tunic is the Blue of Binah, continuing the comparison of active and passive energy in the Higher Self. The Male counter sexual component is hinted at in the crossing of the legs as a letter 4. which connects this card to the pip 4's (minor arcana). This also implies the benevolence of Jupiter who is the emperor-The Divine Animus to the Empress-The Divine Anima.
The hanged man is now considered to represent a state of mind that is known in yoga as Samadhi. It means conditions are reversed, and the subject becomes the object, as one looks down from the Unconscious to the consciousness. This is a psychological state where one believes they are lost, sacrificed to a greater principle. This is an action of the Perfect Self, a logical conclusion of "enlightenment". Here the Solar-Self (Soul) has resolved the dualities of male and female, thereby, achieving the perfect balance of the Mother (Binah) and Father (Chokmah) and/or "Will to Form" and "Will to Force", giving up the vestige of personal self.
The symbols of the 4 elements
Odin-Receiving the Runes
The Path of Mem, THE HANGED MAN- ATU/Key 12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Soul/Solar-Self imposing a complete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individual consciousness into material manifestation. Much like the reflected image in the mirror, looking at the real non-reflected image that is the object of reflection. This is, however, a willing suspension, done by a Soul's conscious effort, a type of sacrifice or baptism, where the perspective of "I Am" is suspended in the purity of Mem while its intelligence is suspended in the illusions of the material world, i.e. the ME. This is reversed if the Me meditates upon the inner soul/teacher of the "I AM", for then one is sacrificing one’s individual perspectives to the Greater Self- perspective of All. The Thoth and Hanged Man is shown in a suspected state of Baffling, a type of crucifixion that images the outdated myth of the Dying God. (Dionysus. Osiris, Odin, Christ etc.).
Some of my more observant students have asked why the Hanged Man, the 23rd Path of Mem, is crucified on the Left Hand Path or one side of the Tree of Life as it would seem logical to have him spanning the Tree. The reasoning behind this one-sided nonfiction, is because this image represents an intellectual experience, as shown by the legs positioned into the upside-down number 4 which is suspended above the Triangle (3) implied by the positioning of the arms. 4 is the number of the emperor- ATU/Key-4 of the Thoth Tarot and represents the rational qualities of the Mind while 3 is the number of the empress, the intuitive/imaginative qualities of the mind (also seen in the number 12, 1+2=3). Thus, positioning the rational qualities of the mind over the desire principle.
This suspension and or crucifixion in space, is what happens when the spinning WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the 10th ATU/Key, and the opposite Path of Caph (the Path between Netzach and Chesed) is willfully arrested by the aspirant. The HANGED MAN is repose, while the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is activity, both of which form a balance that is known as the activity and passivity and/or movement and repose of the ONE THING/MIND and/or the Universal Collective Unconscious.
Thoth- atu 12-the hanged man
Therefore, one of the primary qualities of the HANGED MAN is that it is a Path of eternal probabilities and/or eternal unresolved possibilities. Hence the HANGED MAN is openness without end while THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, is the exact opposite, as it encloses in eternal motion., i.e. making a limited thought pattern and/or Form. When Mem (Water-consciousness) is closed, it becomes the Ankh (a form of the Tau cross) The Ankh represents Mem reversed. In Crowley's card of the HANGED MAN, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, the figure emphasizes the cross-triangle, and is suspended from the Ankh, being attached to this form of the Tau Cross, by a coiled serpent that symbolizes “the creator and destroyer who operates all change". There is also a lower coiled serpent that represents the effect of the Work of God: As Crowley states in his book of Thoth: "Through his work a Child is begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
Crowley, believed that the Hanged Man, as traditionally and historically understood, is an obsolete Tarot image in the New Aeon Deck of Thoth. He implies that it is an evil legacy and even goes on to compare it to the appendix, an organ in the human body that serves no apparent purpose: This card is beautiful in a strange, immemorial, moribund manner. it is the card of the Dying God; its importance in the pack is merely that of the Cenotaph. [Book of Thoth-Pg. 97]
For those who don't know, a Cenotaph is a term describing a tomb or monument to honor a person whose body is buried somewhere else. Pointing downward, the Spirit is drowned in the Maternal Waters upon perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparable part of the One Consciousness. The arms and legs of the upside-down crucified figure make a figure of a cross surmounting a triangle, which according to Crowley signifies " the descent of the light into darkness in order to redeem it." [Book of Thoth, Pg. 96]. Therefore, it is also an image of the *cosmic sacrifice that creates, sustains, and destroys the universe, which is complimentary to the Hindu cosmological view.
*Hindu cosmological view:
Many Hindu philosophies mention that the creation is cyclic.
According to the Upanishads, the universe, and the Earth, along with humans and other creatures, undergo repeated cycles of creation and destruction (pralaya). A variety of myths exist regarding the specifics of the process, but in general the Hindu view of the cosmos is as eternal and cyclic. The later puranic view also asserts that the universe is created, destroyed, and re-created in an eternally repetitive series of cycles. In Hindu cosmology, age of earth is about 4,320,000,000 years (one day of Brahma that is 1000 times of sum of 4 yugas in years, the creator or kalpa) and is then destroyed by fire or water elements. At this point, Brahma rests for one night, just as long as the day. This process, called pralaya (cataclysm), repeats for 100 Brahma years (311 trillion, 40 billion human years) that represents Brahma's lifespan.
Crowley identified the Age of Isis with Elemental Water. In this ancient age, it was universally believed that woman gave birth to children, alone and her body became the altar of her sacrifice. Hence the image of the upside-down form, as if it were a baby in the womb's amniotic fluid that is being positioned for birth. The next Aeon of Osiris was identified with the Element of Air, which is sympathetic with both fire and water. Making the sacrifice in the Age of Osiris, the Age of compromises. This is the age of the Dying God, who wasn't a true Messiah or Savior unless he was first baptized and the compromised his own body by allowing it to be tortured, murdered then crucified or hung or nailed to a tree to redeem the lives of his people. This was the time of "Slave" religions, for only slaves needed Saviors. This includes slaves to the "false ego".
The New Age of Horus is identified with the Element of Fire. In this Aeon of Horus, the water of the Hanged Man and the fire of the Aeon aren't at first copacetic. Crowley writes:
"But now under a fiery Lord of the Aeon, the water element, so far as water is below the Abyss, is definitely hostile, unless the opposition is the right opposition implied in Marriage". [The Book of Thoth, Pg. 96}
The marriage he is talking about is the "annihilation of Self in the Beloved" [Book of Thoth, Pg. 96]. This is symbolized by the Ankh (the union of the Rose and Cross-Male and female.) As I have stated before, this is the card that shows the reversal of perspective, where the individual identity, reflected in the light of consciousness (reflecting side of the Mirror of Self), becomes the Universal Identity and/or The Divine Hermaphrodite (The Dark or non-reflective side of the Mirror of Self) that is manifested as the Universal Collective Unconscious, the Maker of All Things (Imagination+ Reason). Successful scrying of this card will reverse perspective, so that the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. Which could be stated as, where the Soul is observing the body, rather than the body seeking its soul. Here one realizes that we are imagined into being, and that all is Imagination; Hence, all is a fantasy and/or assumption that we can control. Therefore, the I AM is truth, but the Me is assumed and therefore, all fate is also "assumed".
None of us are "seeking" spirit, for Spirit is our First Identity, the body is our "10th" dimensional Identity and an experiment in Intimate/Manifested self-identity. For we started in the "Above" before we manifested our psyche in the "Below", as the Hanged Man with his head in the material world. Therefore, to seek spirit is to be as intelligent as a fish in the ocean looking for water. Religion is not "spiritual" it is man made to control the imagination of human subjects all based on the "Divide and Conquer" concept of the Military Industrial Complex of rulers. Rulers, "those who control definition", know that when you control the imagination, you control the personal self-identity. The Truth of Self is "I AM", what that I Am decides it is, is all assumption and therefore, an illusion/fantasy. Hence, by Divine Decree, you are free to be whatever you think you are and not the evil one, "the False Ego", that has been defined for you by "word hypnosis", to enslave your consciousness. This "live spelled backwards" and/or the one who is a "mind virus", although hiding in the subconscious, shows itself in the footprints of drug and/or alcohol addiction, smoking, depression, indolence, helplessness, scattered thinking, obsession with conspiracy theories etc.
When THE HANGED MAN-ATU 12 or SUSPENDED REFLECTION Path 12-, is thrown during a reading,
- The querent will be or is, experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, even punishment.
- Loss that is not voluntary and general suffering.
- This is the Principle of Surrender to break old patterns.
- A time when one must accept reversals.
- Deep spiritual awareness.
- Developing new perspectives
- A reversal of past perspective.
- Sacrifice and surrender.
If ill defined by surrounding cards it implies:
- Being overly influenced by outside ideas.
- Pressure to conform.
- Sacrificing something to get past hang-ups.
- Lack of purpose.
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