The Thoth Tarot-Key 18-The Moon: The Qabalistic Path of Qoph.
- Primary path color: Crimson (ultra-violet)
- Musical note: B natural
- Astrological sign: Pisces (Mutable water)
- Symbol of meaning: Back of head, ear.
- Simple letter: Sleep
Qabalistic esoteric title: The Ruler of Flux and Re-flux. The Child of the Sons of the Mighty.
From the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom (Dr.Paul Foster Case):
The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so-called because it forms every body which is formed beneath the whole set of worlds and the increment of them.
The Path of Qoph or Qof, of the Hermetic Qabalah connects the 7th Sephiroth-Netzach/ Victory with The Kingdom -the 10th Sephiroth-Malkuth and is described as the "Victory of the Material World" but also as the"deceptive effect of the apparent power of Material Forces". This is spiritual rebirth and/or resurrection. As we incarnate, it is the first stage of the Soul's organization of the physical body that it will inhabit (often done in the womb). It is a form of "sleep", a pre-consciousness (that precedes the waking consciousness) differentiating into physical matter from the collective elemental unconscious of Netzach.
The Moon Tarot card is represented in "every form Sinister" because of the limited sight of the Survival mind who can't see into the Dark unconscious, a well-spring of deception, illusion, and in the extreme, lunacy. On the Thoth card, we see a sinister landscape above the Water of the Unconscious; watered by a stream (or path) of serum(semen) tinged with blood, which flows between the gaps of two barren mountains. Nine drops of impure blood or menstrual blood shaped like Yods (meaning-hand) represent self-sustaining primal points of matter formation and/or sexual energy or sexual love, fall on the Moon below.
Also, in terms of the spiritually developing individual self conscious, it is the conquest of the phantoms reflected from the material world of the Self-Conscious Survival Mind into the Unconscious Mind of Imagination. The Qabalistic lodge of the Golden Dawn, described these phantoms as, "The Child of the Sons of the Mighty" which simply means the "creations of the Created". This is a watery path of probation, where the student must face and conquer the phantoms of their own deep unconscious as well as those of the race in which he is born. It can be a terrible and frightening Path, not only of stunning illusions but of real dangers to the emotional stability of those who have not built up enough inner strength (inner virtue--often called "Character") to handle this experience. However, when we slay the "monsters within" the deep recesses of our sleep-consciousness (sub-conscious), and understand their mechanisms, we gain the capacity to manipulate those qualities in ourselves as well as in others. This ability is often called "Witch craft", however, it is also the ability of a good therapist.
The Path of Qoph or Qof, is an inner primitive path of raw animal nature; of instincts (survival mind), uncontrolled passions, and emotions of nature that are both "red in tooth and claw" and which are not subject to intellectual, moral or ethical considerations. This Path shows us predatory survival aspects of ourselves which society forces us to repress but which are an integral and undeniable part of our human being. To be whole, we must approach this Path with our Whole Being, applying reason, rather than fear, to that which we encounter, as we apply feeling to that which is encountered on this Path of Discernment.
In the Thoth Tarot, Key 18-THE MOON, there are two images of the Guardians of the Gate who are the Ra kings of ancient Egypt. These are the Sun gods who protect our life force and energy as we change and reclaim our authentic selves.
The Jackals (represent the Egyptian deity Anubis) remind us that we must let go of the old in order to go through the gates into new experiences. The Moon card also shows Anubis in both forms, of the Dark nether realms of Death and the light realms of resurrection and is a very complex deity of lunar opposites. However, one way or the other, birth, death and resurrection are pivotal concepts on the Path of the Moon. These are biological processes and they occur in the dark Unconscious and light of consciousness, championed by our sensual perceptions of good and bad.
The Egyptian scarab, represents Khepri, the Egyptian God of Transformation, i.e. "He who becomes". This dung beetle and/or scarab, rolls the ball of the sun, pushing it into the Other World in the evening and over the horizon into the morning. For the ancient Egyptian, the scarab-beetle-god represented the rising sun and symbolized the renewal of life and the idea of eternal existence. Not unlike our own knowledge of eternal existence in the first law of thermodynamics ( There is only one energy that can't be created nor destroyed; only transformed).
The Moon is not only the astrological representative of the water-sign Pisces but is also the universal feminine principle of magnetism, the Vesica Pisces. The magnetic influence of flux and re-flux help us to see the inherent power of our receptive nature; to open, expand, yield, and totally express our full power and nature, like the Moon. The Moon reflects back to us the mystery of who we are and of our changing phases of our happy light side and our fearful dark side. The Reclamation of our Authentic Self or Real Person requires that we open, receive and go-inward. Moon like, it is essential to reveal ourselves without holding back or censoring ourselves in anyway ( Of this I am profoundly accused of!). The Moon card in representing the water sign Pisces. The traditional two fish of Pisces are symbolized here as the Anubi gate guardians, and represent the Piscean commitment to evolutionary transformation. To me as a practicing Magus, this is the gateway to the "other side of the Mirror".....The non- Son/Sun-reflected-subjective side of my Dark Quantum Psyche where my dark- warrior champion exists, basking in the fact he has destroyed his enemies...For are we not all, Shakti the Lover of Life and Shiva the Destroyer? Nevertheless, because the Soul of me fears him not, he of magnificent darkness and I of the Bright Sun, have had long and meaningful talks and have become friends who listen to and are bound to the Great She, together, as one who is both of light and darkness. Hence the Dark Warrior has donned Golden Armor, and become Shepard of Her forms and worlds.
The Moon- of the Tarot, is the 18th Key of the Major Arcana or Trump and as stated:
is called the Path of Qoph--meaning, back of head or ear. Connecting Netzach (Victory) with Malkuth (Kingdom), the Path of Qoph is described as the "Victory of the Material World" and/or the "deceptive effect of the apparent power of the Material World". This path, is also known as the "Threshold to life", a spiritual birth that may be considered on two levels.
- On one level, it is the course of incarnation where the soul organizes the physical body of which it will inhabit. It is a kind of sleep (physical consciousness not yet formed), a kind of pre-consciousness, that differentiates into mater from the collective unconscious of Netzach.
- On another level, where the student is advancing spiritual awareness up the Tree of Life, it is a path of conquest of the phantoms of their self-conscious or "man-made" personality which are creations of the created. Therefore the path of Qoph, is a probationary path, where the student must face the emotional phantoms hid in the dark recesses of their own mind, as well as those of the race.
Hence, this probationary path of emotional phantoms, can be disturbing to those of weak moral fiber who lack discernment and serve superstitions. The Moon, can pose real dangers to one's emotional stability. On the other hand, those of discerning minds are strong enough to tread this Path and slay the monsters "within" our sleep-consciousness and understand their mechanisms, therefore gaining the capacity to manipulate those qualities in ourselves and those of others. Mastery of Illusion is a product of this path.
Since the meaning of the Hebrew word-Qoph or Qof, is the back of the head, behind the head itself, it also represents the Sun- or Resh in Hebrew. The Moon symbolizes the anterior to the bright intellect of the Sun. The Moon, the Path of Qoph, only reflects the light of the Sun. Thus, the central path of the Thoth Moon card goes from the dark side of the Moon, towards the light side that reflects direct Sun-light.
The rising act of direct Sun-light is show as the Egyptian Scarab symbol of the God Kephera (kheprera), pushing the Sun towards the Moon. Basically, the Moon -Key-18, symbolizes the rebirth of light out of hideous darkness; bright intellect overcoming the dark denizens of our sub-conscious, i.e. the illusions of emotional fears.
The Moon card is veiled by illusion and those illusions must be understood in order for the Prodigal Soul to claim its Rich Universal Inheritance.
The simple Hebrew letter of Qoph, also translates into the English word, sleep. Thus, we have a conscious relationship with the Moon, The bright Sun reflecting side, our waking consciousness and the dark sunless side of the "sleeping" subconsciousness. As the Moon has cycles, so does our Psyche , as during the cyclic phase of conscious withdrawal from the physical (Sleep) many of us still act upon the fantasies and information closely related to the bodies survival based experiences. Their dreaming is filled with phantoms produced by the bodies fear of pain and/or death which once consciously transcended, is the successful completion of the Path of The Moon. Therefore this is often a card of impure horror and hidden darkness that our self-conscious must pass through before our conscious-light can be reborn.
In Thoth Tarot of the Hermetic Qabalah, THE HIGH PRIESTESS-Key 2, is a source of pure, crystal clear waters (consciousness) emerging from the God Head-The Father, to God the Son/Sun. The Same waters of consciousness are seen here on The Moon card, but they are polluted with the dark subconscious fears of mortality, that self-conscious physical manifestation bestows on consciousness in a world where "life eats itself to stay alive". However, as I have stated before, the traveling up the Path of Qoph, towards the "Son/Sun Consciousness" of Tiphareth, notably changes the body physiology, as the Bright Beautiful Light Intellect of the Sun (Tiphareth) descends into it. Hence, when traveling up the inner Path of Qoph, the Personality becomes increasing aware of the Higher Self and less controlled by the dark survival fears of the body. This traveling conscious- energy process is shown on the Thoth Deck Moon Card as cyclic wave motion, as a pattern of both above and below, linked by the Beetle of the Sun. In the simplest of terms, this is a Path of natural energy from which our bodies develop in the Womb and is continual process throughout our lives as cells live, die and resurrect-replace in daily life. The work of the Path of Qoph ends with the dissolution of energy back to its source, which is Netzach (victory).
As before stated: Paul Foster Case called The Moon, the "Corporeal Intelligence" which means the "body consciousness". Also in Hebrew the word "corporeal" means "to rain upon", which is why we see the symbols of Yods raining down from the central orb of the Thoth Tarot Moon- card (Down from Tiphareth). Since this is a Watery Card, some of a more poetic bent, say that these Yod symbols are "tears of the Moon-Goddess" raining down and filling the Nile. However, what most Qabalistic Scholars agree on is that something descends from the Moon to the Earth on the Path of Qoph, which is represented as raining Yods on the Thoth Tarot or ripples in the water/space-time fabric .
Since The path of Qoph is that of primitive instincts, of nature red in "both tooth and claw" which emerges uncontrolled by moral or ethical reasoning, "Moon Dogs" are often presented to represent this controlling fact of Instinctual mind. The traveler of this Path will face aspects of themselves that our culture forces them to repress but are indeed integral and undeniable parts of our Master predator human form. This is the Survival Mind, where the "law of the jungle" resides in the dark pools of violence and conquest. This can be a very cruel path to endure, until the student is able to fear not these internal demons which removes the veils of darkness, allowing in the Bright Intellect of the Son who applies beautiful reason to our consciousness.
This has been called one of the Karma Cards ( work that needs to be done).
Ultimately, we have a daily choice between supporting our authentic or Real Self or our dutiful man-made self. There is the Real which is the Spiritual Being or Soul and then there is reality, the "self-reflection and/or indoctrinated identity that we call our ego or personality or self-conscious. This one is choked full of "negative emotional self identities" as well as, fears of being preyed on by "others". These fears of being "preyed on" are also well represented as violent dogs of the Moon.
The Tarot Moon, therefore reminds us of the illusions of the survival mind. If you as an individual knows that everyone you see is another way of being you; you are basking in the Real Sun/Son light of divine self-awareness. If you see everyone as enemy or friend, you suffer from reality blindness brought on by the survival mind of the animal that you should own but now owns you because of your fears of the blindfold imposed darkness and of sensuality: fear of pain, fear of discomfort, fear of vulnerability, fear of rejection; All of which come from the animal thought of "fear of being eaten", which is also called fear of death.
The Moon is a card representing illusion and reminds us that the illusion imposed on our consciousness by the senses. For senses are all psychosomatic, meaning that not everyone has imagined the same sensual experience from the same environments; in other words they are not scientific proof. As a Soul (meaning Psyche), the body is only 1% of us, and its purpose is to define thought . In other words to aid our creative psyche in discernment so that Self-Awareness becomes a ever expansive and liberating motion in life rather than a Faustian fantasy of death.
Dreams are another attribute of the Moon.
In the Qabalah, Reality is defined as trans-formative, the Real is the One who Transforms but is not the transformation itself. You may also see the Scarab beetle on the bottom of the Thoth card. This is the symbol of the Egyptian god Khepri, the god of transformations. Successful understanding of this path, is to understand the relationship of our personality-consciousness to the physical power-tool built for each incarnation, that facilitates an awake Soul, who walks in the light; rather than a Soul who sleeps in the dark and doesn't operate the sensor bound Power-Tool it was given by giving it's operation to the faux authority of cultural dogma through the auspices of fear. The Moon Card is a reminder that most people/souls, during the cyclic phase of withdrawal of consciousness from the physical Power-Tool, continue to act on information and phantasmagorical fantasies related to survival subconscious, or "group animal Soul" of body existence. If not released, the sleeping soul-consciousness becomes a phantom of its own fantasies that are so close to the fabric of material manifestation that they are often seen as phantasms or as ghosts.
The Moon in astrology is considered a Planet most Universal as She is partaking of both the highest and lowest, as well as filling the space between. In other words, the Moon waxes and wanes. In her highest point (Elaine the Moon Goddess) the Moon acts as a link between the human and the Divine. In her lowest avatar (the goddess Tabu) where she is waning, she joins the earthly spheres of Netzack (victory) with Malkuth (kingdom) culminating in the matter of all superior forms.
Many of us know that a Waning moon is attributed to witchcraft, sorcery and abominable deeds which is a superstitious way of defining the poisoned darkness of Winter, that is the condition before the rebirth of light in the spring. However, there is also a poisoned darkness in our deep subconscious. Here thoughts of fear, loathing and hate putrefy without the light of conscious observation.
Looking back at the Thoth Moon Tarot Card, we see two dark towers, representing the "unknown" that so disturbs the unconscious. As stated:Guarding these towers are the images of the jackal god of Kem, Anubis who is the watcher in the twilight. Thus both the threshold of Life and the threshold of Death, are depicted here. Hence, to some, this Path of Qoph, is all a journey of great fear, that demands monumental courage from the adept-traveler; a "dark night of the soul" where all is doubtful, all is mysterious and intoxicating. Not the intoxication of Ecstatic Dionysus, but that of dreadful madness caused by pernicious drugs.The Venom of the Moon has placed a drunkenness on the mind; a lunacy that seems endless.
However, the adepts of the Hermetic Qabalah, do not fear this night, no matter what horrors may afflict the soul,whatever abominations may excite heart loathing, whatever terrors may gibber in the mind, the answer is the same at every stage:"How splendid is the Adventure!"
To me, the Dark Goddess is the Real Lady, while the Light Goddess, is "The Real Lady, dressed in veils". True love does not balk at darkness.
We would all best remember, that the Moon reflects the Light of the Sun as the unconscious reflects the thoughts of the conscious. The seemingly harmless self-absorbed thoughts of the conscious, become reflected in the dark emotions of the unconscious and the body becomes "insane" with destructive perversions.....not a great scenario for enlightenment... unless you begin to understand that survival thinking must be replaced by the Knowledge of the Immortal Soul.
Often, to know pain, is to know pleasure. Darkness cannot be seen without the knowledge of light. Knowing this, the student doesn't fear their inner darkness of shadowy emotions, they just bring in the light, as the Hermit strides through the Night with his lantern glowing and as the Moon spins through darkness, ever growing closer to the Sun. The Moon card reminds us to face our inner demons with the Divine Daemon (God-man) of the Soul, since all shadows disappear in the light. It is through the gates of fearful but voluntary personality- death, that we find our "True Identity".
When the Qabalistic Tarot- Moon card is thrown:
- The querent is reminded that they are functioning in the realm of the unconscious where they become aware that reality is a dream, that time/space and physical bodies are merely conceptions, and therefore deep cellular change is possible.
- Often this is the Shamanic call to enter into the darkness of unconscious desires and fears so that you may transform them into functional motion rather than dysfunctional illusion.
- Dissatisfaction, voluntary change ( involuntary change is usually death).
- There are issues in the life of the querent that are of error, lying, falsity, deception; it is a time to watch motives.
- The querent must drop denial, self-deception, delusions in order to claim their own authenticity.
- Represented here is the waxing and waning of phases where one begins the process of self-examination that will eventually arise as authoritative states of being.
- The Greeks called this Mental path, "the Path of Childbirth", a time of renewal.
- Dissatisfaction and voluntary change is on the horizon.
- The querent is experiencing choice and authenticity over old illusions and delusions.
- A call to enter into the darkness of the unconscious and to come to grips with one's fantasy made demons.
- Within 18 weeks or 18 months the querent must take control of the survival mind and expand it beyond its fear based perspectives.
- They must remember, that they are a Spirit who owns a body, not a body who owns a spirit; an Immortal Conscious that owns a mortal consciousness.
The Moon is about the Illusion of life and death, so there will be moments of lying, falsity, deception, if the card is ill dignified.
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