Above all things, know thyself!
Thoth- ATU XII-The Hanged Man
The Golden Tarot-Key 12-The Hanged Man
The Spirit of the Mighty Waters.
The Hanged man is a curious image of Severity and its implications are very 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.
The Hebrew word-MEM, (Water) is one of the three Maternals, 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 Water (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 lowest expression of the First Principle, is first found, by the upward/inward traveling initiate, as the Astral Fluid light that is drawn down the Path of the Universe into Yesod, (the Moon) the Foundation Sephiroth. 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.
With the image shown with head pointing downward, suggesting on both Thoth and Golden Tarot, that the Spirit is drowned in the Maternal Waters where upon, perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparably part of the One Collective Consciousness. 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 Self, reads the works of Carl Jung, on the Universal Collective (Un) Conscious. Thus 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; where the invisible becomes visible.
The initiate knows that we must move constantly upward on the Paths of the Tree of Life, for only through the hindsight gained by going to a higher Sephiroth, can we experience an understanding of the qualities of the lower Sephiroth. The Path of Mem, leads to Geburah (Severity) which is directly above Tiphareth (Beauty); Geburah is the Fiery or Active part of the Higher Self and is shown as Red in color; the color of Mars, the god of War. This further illustrates the point that Geburah is the fiery energy on the Pillar of Water below 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 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 "Magick Abilities". It surprises those on the Path of Mem, when they find that the Soul is meditating the personality into manifestation. This is the 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 a Mercury, who flies from soul to body and back, with messages from the Higher Self and is not "man-made", as the persona of a culture.
The Path of Mem, THE HANGED MAN- ATU/Key12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Higher Self imposing a complete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individual consciousness. 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 an Soul's conscious effort, a type of sacrifice or baptism, where the perspective of "I Am" is cleansed of the illusions of the material world, i.e. the ME. Because of this sacrificing of one’s individual perspectives to the Greater Self perspective of All, both the Thoth and Golden Tarot- 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 is 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.
thoth- atu 10- fortune
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 initiate. 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.
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 where upon perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparably 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 was a baby in the womb's amniotic fluid 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 one of compromise. 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. 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 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 (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). Successful skrying 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 that we can control. Therefore, the I AM is truth, but the Me is 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. 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, you are free to be whatever you think you are.
When THE HANGED MAN-key 12, is thrown during a reading,
- The querent will be or is, experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, maybe even punishment.
- Loss that is not voluntary and general suffering.
- This is the Principle of Surrender in order 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 (Thoth) or reversed (Haindl) 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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