The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot- Key 3-Ayizan, depicts the most ancient Voodoo Loa (Djinn, Spirit, Mystery) who is the patron to the ritual purity of the houndfor-the Voodoo place of worship. The symbol for purity, the palm branch, is also her symbol. Here purity are the qualities such as clearness of mission, and focus of devotion, not a simple holding back from experience. The new initiate is masked by the frayed palm (as shown on card), as a filter through which to perceive the world as each new initiation implies a new world vision, a new filter or mask. In Voodoo, there are 3 births:
- The birth into the Visible World.
- The birth provided by initiation.
- The birth that comes when one joins the ranks of the ancestors.
During the 2nd birth, Ayizan stands with the candidate. On the diagram of the Western Qabalistic Tree of Life and Voodoo Comparison, the roads (paths) of Marie Laveau and Ayizan intersect, blending their purities and opening the door to the most subtle of realms, Atziluth, the archetypal realm that underlies all creation.
On this Voodoo Tarot Card -Key 3, we see a woman walking through the marketplace, her face covered in a palm branch.This is an unusual view of the marketplace, as both the living and the dead are vending their wares. The Traditional power of Women, is the Marketplace, as agriculture is woman's invention and the stock, commodity, money, or fruit markets are but extension of the life-giving function of a woman's breast. Not very long ago, the newborn baby who lost its mother, soon died. It is considered a serious aberration that these markets are controlled by men, who use them for personal acquisition, and accumulation rather than life-sustaining functions. For in the Anglo-Saxon culture, the name Lady, meant-"Doler of Bread" and the word Lord, meant "Protector/Keeper of Bread". Women controlled the marketplace for the purpose of nurturing and taking care of the real needs of the people and the men protected the fields and grain warehouses. It is time for the Lady to return with her sword, the male, at her side. Therefor, Ayizan's attributes are preservation of the purity of initiation and the bounty of success, pleasure, and happiness provided by the true sight of initiation.
Linda Falorio, a sorceress and author of the Shadow Tarot, has a deep relationship with Ayizan, whose presence once came to her as the soul of the Earth. Ayizan was enraged by the destruction of earth and the fouling of the planet's surface by the greed of the Patriarchy. Here, Ayizan shows another attribute or road she can walk, that of Creatrix's wrath. The Earth is our Marketplace of Woman's Power, for the nurturing and welfare of all peoples, homo sapiens sapiens included but not above all others. Reconciliation is coming, but only after a great Tower-ATU 16 Moment.
In Divination, the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot- Key 3-Ayizan implies:
- Protection for women's affairs and the just in general.
- Concern for purity of devotion.
The Thoth-ATU 3-The Empress, Is the Path of Daleth-meaning-Door, and her planet is Venus. THE EMPRESS, is also called the "Gateway to Heaven", as She is the transitional state of energy between the above and the below. The effect of this transition is from one into many, so the key to this card is multiplicity.
If one looks at THE PRIESTESS card, they'll observe a simple diaphanous robe while that of THE EMPRESS is appropriately covered with all the jewels of creation. As a Qabalist, I am painfully aware of the inadequacy of anthropomorphic symbolism when describing the Supernal Triangle, the As Above, yet Tarot pictures unconsciously communicate a great deal of information, that words can only flail at. The images represented in THE EMPRESS card are an attempt to convey the concept of pure fruition. As an exercise towards this goal of understanding, the initiate must try to conceive of pure emotion., which is a feeling that has no subject or object, neither love nor hate, but which is the raw material of both; a kind of Lust without need of result. Armed with such an understanding, the initiate may begin to understand something of the Great Binah, The Great Mother, and THE EMPRESS, who is the Illuminating Intelligence or Birth Mother of formative ideas through a transitional state of Understanding-for data/ideas understood, becomes form. She is Mother Nature of the Universe. All that is Life on Earth is the providence of THE EMPRESS, as she builds life forms around the Spirit or Spiral Photon- Frequencies of Life, establishing the Laws of the Universe that have to do with restriction and formation. She is the Supernal Female Force. She is also Venus-Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love. Love is the Law. The Luminous Intelligence of Chokmah, becomes the Illuminating Intelligence of THE EMPRESS, inferring filling up and emitting Light, thus bestowing the title of Mother of Light on the Great Mother. We are all the Evolutionary children of Light as the True "You", is Photonic evolution from the Stars. We call that "Spirit" or Soul.
She is a Door, and one may pass through a door in any direction, to pass through her on the Return Path, is to pass into Supreme Darkness. Therefore, the ancients often depicted this door way as the exposed Vagina of the Great Mother, which is one-way birth and the other way the “Little death” or Petite Mort of the French. Here before her, the worn and often battle weary dead are ready to “pass over” as she commands power, sincerity, and fertility. The dual dynamic of the Door, has often been shown as Janua Coeli (meaning “gateway to heaven”) which is derived from the “Yoni gate” (vagina) of the Goddess Juno (later as the Roman Two-Faced god Janus) as a personification.
Juno had two faces, each face looking in opposite directions. One face looking in the direction of birth and the other in the direction of death. In fact the Latin word janua means door and this goddess was reinstated by the Roman Patriarchy, as male and to have presided over communications and the affairs of men. Here then, as THE EMPRESS, Janua/Janus presiding over the passage of ideas and affairs of a man. Originally, Janus was a Solar Entity, and THE EMPRESS is the Mother of the Sun/Soul, Her Vagina is the Priestess-the invisible Sephiroth called Daath (Knowledge), so the comparison is not only viable but pertinent as well. Thus, anything that can be said about Juno/Janua/Janus can be said about THE EMPRESS as well, even though she is often now anthropomorphized as Venus-Aphrodite the Womb of life and death.
The Luxurious Proliferation of Nature with each facet so compelling, being both beautiful and hypnotic, it is possible for the student to lose sight of the Overview of the Path of Daleth. This point was acknowledge by A. Crowley in his Book of Thoth, where he warned, and “the student who is dazzled by any given manifestation may be led astray. In no other card is it so necessary to disregard the parts and to concentrate upon the whole".
We know that the Venus-Aphrodite is the "Goddess of Love” but many forgot that She is also named the "Goddess of Desire". Desire, being born with the most abstract principle of Form, holds a very specific meaning for the Student of the Mysteries, as to feel is to desire, but to unite wholly with the Universe, requires the "want of nothing". Thus, the coming to or the leaving of desire is another aspect of the Doorway that is THE EMPRESS— the Path of Daleth.
THE EMPRESS as shown in the Thoth card, looks to be all nurturing and light; However, the darkened crescent of the Moon suggests transformation or change and to Qabalists She is known as the Mother of Life and Death. Growth and destruction are concurrent Empress Activities, just as old cells die and new cells are born in a daily cycle in your physical body.
The transparent bubbles shown in front of the Thoth Tarot- Empress image, represent the veil or mirror that we must pass through to realize the Path of Daleth (Door), to pass beyond the veil is to cross into a completely new level of conscious energy, where her laws no longer apply. The veil is a dramatic separation of imagined reality and what is real.
By now, the able initiate knows that God/Goddess is the Divine Creative Mind that created the Universe by Wisdom and Understanding . We do the same thing, as "images of god", we create reality by imagining it, but since we are free to choose belief in ignorance or performance of knowledge, we are often errant in our creation. Whatever we create in our personal minds, becomes us or our creation as Self. This is an often ridiculed concept or precept of both metaphysics and the mysteries. However, ridicule does not an understanding make, and as a Personality attains greater Self-Awareness, the implications of responsibility for what one thinks become most profound!
The Thoth Empress, is illustrated in the alchemical image of Salt, that is the inactive principle which is activated by the alchemical Sulfur (Emperor), maintaining the whirling (Spiral) balance of the Universe.
The design of the Alchemical symbol of Salt, is, a circle with a line bisecting it horizontally, as is shown in the positioning of her arms and if you put the Empress and the Emperor, side by side, her on the Left and Him on the right, the order of English writing, their faces are looking at each other a position in Tibetan Tantra called Yab Yum (Goddess/God face to face).The Venus Aphrodite depiction is carried on in the unashamed nudity of the Female Goddess in the Universe Card.
This is also Yab Yum, of the Polynesian volcano Goddess Pele’ and her paramour with a background of sea, the martial male form is offering subservient to the Female Womb as she invents both his life and death. the Tibetan word that means, Goddess God, face to face, as well as, the activating activity of the Empress Card.
The twisted blue shapes on the Thoth card represent flames and her birth from Water, which we know to represent the Universal Collective Unconsciousness and/or Great Sea of Mother Binah-3rd Sephiroth. The Living Holy Grail, is the Lotus like chalice in her hand. At her waist is the Zodiacal girdle Or belt. Above her head are the dove and sparrow, both are birds of Venus. At her feet is a white pelican that is feeding her own young with her own flesh which is a common symbol of the Great Mother, for even not so great mothers, build the young from their own flesh. The white eagle shield cor responds to that red eagle shield of the Emperor. To reiterate, the alchemical references for the Supernal Triangle are, THE MAGUS is Mercury, THE EMPRESS is Salt, THE EMPEROR, is Sulfur. Thus Kether is Mercury, Binah is Salt and Chokmah is Sulfur, the Sephiroth united on the Tree of Life that turn our leaden consciousness into the Golden Intelligence of the Son (Sun), i.e. the Divine Child. The only blocking veil to this end, is Desire consciousness. We must lose the reality of the” I Want's" known as "Wanna-Be's" and become the “I AM's” of our original inheritance.
As always, words make the reality of their meanings sound so simple, but in truth, the simplest words are the most subjective, such as IT, or I. One must cross the emptiness of want, of sense, of sight, before one can visit the Great Mother, who creates the “I Am” of us all.
When the Thoth Empress/Ayzan Card is thrown, the querent is experiencing:
- The principle of wise love.
- The power of owning your own inherited maternal and loving nature that resides within.
- There is an opening to all sensuality and delighting in luxury of the senses, as does a child, before they are taught to fear them.
- One finds comfort among the natural, having no need of control.
- A surge of Creative imagination, as imagination is everything in our reality, this promises achievement and success in our goals.
- The querent may experience a high dedication to healing and nurturing.
- All in all, THE EMPRESS, represents happy, stable, relationships, growth and fertility.
If ill defined:
- Motherhood issues.
- Step mother or destructive mother.
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