Thoth- ATU 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 aone 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 ofAleph-The Fool, is a baptism in Air. Of all these three Baptisms, the Baptismin Water (Consciousness) is the central and pivotal experience of theentire 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 alike water in wave motion, and fluid flow. The lowest expression of the First Principle, is first found, by the upward 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, 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. Carl Jung, who coined the phrase, Universal Collective Unconscious, describe this Water of Mem as a"...boundless expanse full ofunprecedented 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 experiencesme.....the collective conscious is anything but an encapsulated personalsystem; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all theworld."
I would highly recommend that the initiate reads the works of Carl Jung, on the Collective Unconscious. Thus gaining a modern understanding of the ancient wisdom. To put it another way, in the state of consciousness we are "always the subject that has an object",a reality that is totally turned around in the Collective Unconscious where, weare "the object of every subject", as stated by Carl Jung. In other words, our subjective Self, I AM becoming objective Self, Me, when immersed in the Maternal Waters on thePath 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 theTau cross) of both Divine Androgyny and Infinity.
To the one who has traveled the 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 mediatorbecomes 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 ofthe pursuer creating a Higher Sensual self; A self often stated as having "Magick Abilities".
The Path of Mem, THE HANGED MAN- Key12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Higher Self imposing acomplete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individualconsciousness. Much like the reflected image in the mirror, looking atthe real non-reflected image that is the object of reflection.
This is however, a willing suspension, done by an initiate'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, the Thoth Deck HANGED MAN is shown in a suspected state of crucifixion that images the out-dated myth of the Dying God. (Dionysus. Osiris, Odin, Christ etc.), Some ofmy more observant students have asked why the Hanged Man is crucified on theLeft 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 theTriangle (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 tenth 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 theWHEEL 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.
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 ineternal 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) TheAnkh 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 ofthe Abyss below him."
Crowley, believed that the Hanged Man, as traditionally and historically understood, is an obsolete Tarot image in the New Aeon Deck. 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]
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.
Hindu cosmological view
Many Hindu philosophies mention that the
creation is cyclic.
:104 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. 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 ofAll Things. 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. None of us are "seeking" spirit, for Spirit is our First Identity, the body is our "10 th" dimensional 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 suggests. 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 person.
Haindl Tarot- Key 12-The Hanged Man
The Haindl Tarot interprest the Hanged Man as Odin of the Nordic myths. With the Hebrew letter Mem on the upper left, it links itself to Thoth and with the Rune Tyr or Tewaz- (a god of war or a god of law)- on the upper right this card links itself to Odin, a dying god of the Norse. On the lower right of the card is a symbol for Neptune, the god of the Seas. Thereby, linking this card with water. Interestingly, there is a rainbow, implying Water, but also the yogic points of energy/ color of chakras as they are in the human body.
Like the roots of Yggsadril, the Norse Tree of the Universe , Odin's hair is rooted in the ground. Below the letter Mem on the left side, is a cresent moon, representing the High Priestess on the right side are shown Odin's twin Ravens, Hugin and Munin (thought and memory, in that order). Ravens traditionally signify death and therefore, bring information from the "other world".
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 Principleof Surrender in order to break old patterns.
- A time when one must accept reversals.
- Deep spiritual awareness.
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 hangups.
- Lack of purpose.
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