Oracles are never what they seem. For oracles to be oracles they have to contain something hidden. The more you think you understand them, the less you probably do. That’s where the danger lies. As the ancient Greeks said, the words spoken by oracles are like seeds.~ Peter Kingsley, In the Dark Places of Wisdom
You might remember the Fibonacci series from your arithmetic education in School.
It is far older than the eponymous Italian mathematician that history has chosen to bear its legacy, dating back at least to ancient Babylon, where it appears in the Tablet of Shamash (c. 888–855 BC).
The Ark of the Covenant, described in the biblical book of Exodus (c. 600-400 BC) also alludes to the so called ‘Golden Mean’ that emerges from mathematical study of the famous nominal sequence that has adopted Fibonacci’s name.
It appears in Indian Mathematics as a part of the study of Sanskrit prosody, the study of poetic metre and rhythm in the Vedas.
So, the pedigree of this mathematical curiosity has very, very old roots in human culture, often tied to ancient aesthetics.
In mathematics, the Fibonacci numbers, commonly denoted Fn form a sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, such that each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, starting from 0 and 1.
So F0 = 0, F1 = 1 and Fn = Fn-1 + Fn-2 for n>1
The sequence therefore looks like this:
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 etc.
Start at 0, proceed to 1, then add the last two values to get the next one; rinse; repeat.
It is intriguing for many reasons, but not least because of the facility with which one can use it to obtain an approximation of the famous ‘Fibonacci Spiral’ or ‘Golden Spiral’ – a logarithmic spiral whose growth factor is φ, the golden ratio. That is, a golden spiral gets wider (or further from its origin) by a factor of φ for every quarter turn it makes. This appears to be a vital structural component of the physics of Life in our Universe, appearing in the shape of galaxies, and especially phyllotaxis, the arrangement of leaves in growing plants – which involves successive growths of leaves or petals being separated by the ‘Golden Angle’ – an angle that results from sectioning the circumference of a circle into two arcs defined by the Golden Ratio, φ Here is a demonstration of how this is calculated and drawn:
So what? I hear you cry! What is all this boring mathematics? So living processes are based around very simple mathematics, God is a geometer, angles are angels and φ, the Golden Ratio, appears to be deeply coded into the basis of our living Reality much as it’s transcendental cousin π (Pi) is deeply coded into the basis of Circles, all circles everywhere and anywhen… What about the Tarot?
Let’s play cards
Well, if we grab the Fibonacci numbers and look at their relation to gematria, Tarot and the Mysteries it represents, there is indeed an intriguing story to be told.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 and 21
The first 9 (oh ho! 9 – Yesod, ‘Foundation’, ‘the Vision of the Machinery of the Universe’, the Muladhara bhanda) digits in the Fibonacci Sequence are a fascinating exploration in Tarot terms.
We have the Alpha and Omega book-ending our sequence – 0 to 21, the Hero’s Journey, the Fool’s Quest – all the way from Aleph (the Fool, 0) to Tau (The Universe / World, 21) – from limitless potential and the undecided possibility of All, from the Realm of the Three Negative Veils and Atziluth “the Mind of God”, from Idea, Spontaneous Eruption, Inspiration, to the concrete, manifest and extant World of ‘the Ten Thousand Things’ that we take as ‘ordinary Reality’, the World of Assiah, the World of form and substance, space and time – and Limitation. From Pure Spirit, No-Thing, from a complete absence of quality or quantity, yet teeming with Unborn Undying Life, to the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World, and the complete clothing (and hiding) of Spirit in the dirt that we’re made of, and oh-so-afraid of, the Limits of Time, Space, Life and Death, and of course, the seductive illusion of the Material.
Within the Fibonacci sequence as a Tarot sequence, this Journey is ‘contained’ or at least apparently defined, by 9 definite stations – an odd number, meaning we have a definite ‘ centre’ (the 5th term, which has 4 prior and 4 subsequent – this is Atu III, The Empress – ‘Love’, Daleth ‘Door’) and that the Mystery herein is discreetly alluded to or related with The Hermit, Atu IX – The Perennial Wisdom, the Divine Seed of All Things, Alone (All-One) in Solitude, the Religious function – but without trappings or structures or tradition as expressed in the Hierophant – hence Yod, ‘Hand’ also ‘Work, Make, Praise’ as a verb. A manifestation of Thoth-Hermes (The Magus, Atu I), but fully manifest in a physical vehicle, a bearded Ancient walketh, bearing a Lamp and Staff, the Lord of Magick, the Inner Wisdom that Illuminates, and ventures forth – the Sacred 9.
9 is itself a fascinating number, a visual spiral as an
Arabic numeral, and not a million miles away from the Golden Spiral as a glyph (depending
on your font, of course) – 9 endlessly ‘returns’ to itself – multiply 9 by any
whole number and the resulting number can be further summed from its own digits
to reduce back to…9! It lurks within itself, whatever the multiple (try it! 9 x
12345 = 111105; 1+1+1+1+0+5 = 9!) You can read more about the fascinating
nature of 9 over at the infallible (ahem) digital Akashic Records. It’s a Zero
with a tail, don’t you know? It’s an upside-down 6, I tell you! We’ll come back
to that, as is the nature of 9, looping and returning, “never ceasing from
exploration, with the end of all exploring being to arrive where we started,
and know the place for the first time.” 9 is truly fractal.
So, let’s consider the steps of the sequence in our Fibonacci Hero’s Journey, and see what emerges from the Tarot as a lens through which to consider this fundamental aspect of Nature, specifically how it arranges itself for growth and Life, for development within the cosmic order, predicated around the magic 3 and its square, 9 (the first ‘even’ odd-number – 1,3,5 and 7 all being primes).
0 – The Fool (Pure Potential, Innocence, Silence)
Aethyr, Uranus, the Life Force, Rebellious Freedom, the Original Face, the Madman and the Trickster, amoral adventurer, sainted and sinned, springing forth from the Void in order to crack the Cosmic Joke (humour being in the Eye of the Beholder far more than Beauty, though this also has a most Divine Role). Cracking Wise. We have to start somewhere, so it may as well be Nowhere, and have no Beginning nor End, nor be Anywhen. No-Thing, an absence of Boundary for the manifestation of any Quality, Quantity or Consistency – which thus includes the potential of All, by Be-ing None. Anything could happen, anytime, and probably Will (pun intended). The eternal sum of perfectly cancelled contrary forces, +ve and -ve, yin and yang, divine and mundane, sacred and profane, demonic and angelic, Self-Cancelling, unchanged and unchanging Eternity. Der reine Thor, the Pure Fool, from Wagner’s Parsifal – the initial and final reconciliation of all Cosmic Opposites. Follis, “bag of wind”, or “bellows”, the Ultimate Razzberry. The Absolute. THAT, about which Nothing can be said, for the Tao that can be Named is not the Eternal Tao. The Rootless Root, the Causeless Cause. Look at it – it’s an Egg, containing all Potencies and Developments, but as yet not cracked (wise or otherwise) and spilling forth its yolk (or, indeed, yoke).
As I was going up the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there…
1 – The Magus (The Will, Self-Consciousness, The Point, Initiation, The Active)
Quicksilver, Mercury, the Magician: mercurius duplex, utriusque capax – Mercury Double, and capable of Either or Both – a sublime entity that is both the Transformer and the Substance Transformed. Note the intriguing fact that this old Alchemists’ title of Mercury sits very comfortably with the fact that 1 appears TWICE in the Fibonacci Sequence. Double – and capable of Either or Both. The Monad is the Monad, and Unity cannot know another, for – obviously – there isn’t another (Nisargdatta Maharaj, the Hindu Advaita (non-dual) Guru, on being asked “How should we treat Others?” replied “There are no Others”…)
Mercury’s Nature is, indeed, Always Dual – both the Agent of Transformation AND The Thing Transformed, able to adopt the Rajas-like creative fire of Alchemical Sulfur, the Tamas-like spiritual balance of Alchemical Salt but at the same time never losing it’s essential mutable and adaptive power to cause them to mingle and recombine in novel, completely unique ways, maintaining an essential balance between Yang (Action) and Yin (Reception), harmonising and reconciling all these Opposites into a new Sattva-like Synthesis. The Cogito which, ergo, Sum. I AM, the invisible point (Hadit) from which all manifestation must eventually issue, and eventually circumscribe (Nuith).
The only option for the Monad, the Absolute, the One, the Lord of Science, the Messenger of the Gods, having emerged from No-Thingness, is to reflect. There is no ‘out there’, but, dual as Mercury is, there Will Be ‘in here’. Consciousness recognises its own nature, and can consider itself AS IF it were Other – an act of Imagination. So, in order to kick-start Creation, the One must consider All That Is – Itself – and begin to Dream. The Hebrew letter-intelligence is Beyt ‘House, Family’ or, indeed ‘With, Within, Inside’ – relating to ‘House’. The Dual Nature of Mercury (a hermaphrodite – Hermes-Aphrodite, the Magus-Empress) must be explored within the Singularity that the Magus represents – so s/he prepares a conscious avatar, an Idea about Hirself that is not Hirself but merely the Idea of Hirself, a reflection of What Is (The Self) into its conscious representation (A projection of the Self within Self-Substance). Here, then, is the Pioneer, “He Who Goes Forth”.
2 – The High Priestess (The Reflection, the Dyad, Adaptation, The Receptive)
Well, what did you expect from a Magician’s reflection…? Of COURSE it’s alive. Mercury combines Life Power with the Essential Self, reflects, and creates the Mirror, the component of Thought which is not Mental…that which feels, gestates, incubates, participates in regular, rhythmic and cyclical, change and adaptation to the needs of the Original Source, but which is veiled and hidden from that Source (the reflection is not known, by default, to that which ‘casts’ it – note that shadows, reflections and, indeed, ‘spells’ (Mercury is the ‘Logos’ or ‘Word of Creation’) are all ‘cast’…by Magicians). Here, then, are Opposites, Polarities.
The Holy 2, the High Priestess is the feminine Yin to the ultimately masculine Yang/Duality of the Holy One – which contains both/either/neither. The One reflects itself and creates an essential tension, a dynamism held in perfect tautology – On/Off, Dark/Light, Manifest/Unmanifest, Macro/Micro, and essentially, brings the power of adaptation and change to that which was Changeless. As a new dimension of Self – Not-Self, Imaginal Projection of Self, that which is veiled from the Self (The essential Unity that pervades All) – begins to interact with and help develop the Urge to Being. An oscillation is now possible, the basis of vibration is here established, the 2 can circumscribe the 1. Hadit and Nuith prior to manifestation, the infinitesimal Point, and the Infinite Space. This tension is unbearable, a vacuum which must be filled. In this way, is the High Priestess a soil in which every seed planted by the Magician will gestate and burst forth it’s flowers. The Hebrew letter intelligence is Gimel and there is much disagreement over its exact meaning (The High Priestess is behind the Veil, very tricky to apperceive, to pin down, to not be blinded by the Light in which She dwells, and behind which she reigns). ‘Walk, Gather, Deal, Give to’ are all worthy translations.
3 – The Empress (The Birth, Creation)
Fertilized and pregnant with the Urge or Will of the Magus, the Empress bursts forth – the Aphrodite of the Magus’ Herm(es)-Aphroditism – the Seducer, the bursting forth of Creative Will with its origin in Mercury, 1, it’s growth, nurturing, history and development in the bloodline-karma of the High Priestess’ Moon, and finally its explosive emergence as the Great Seduction – Maya, sensory experience, Mother Nature, Mamma Mia, the rush of colours, tastes, sounds, and tactile experiences that Creation, by way of Her ever-birthing glory and Mystery, convinces us of the World of ‘the Ten Thousand Things’. We now have our essential first 4 ‘stations’ of the Tarot Fibonacci – and reference to the Qabalistic Tree of Life reveals that these four Major Arcana complete the pathways of the ‘Supernal Triangle’ leading from Godhead to Manifestation in Form – the ‘pathways of the letter intelligences’ that connect, respectively, Kether (the Crown) with Chockmah (Wisdom – via the Fool) and Binah (Understanding – via the Magus), Kether (the Crown) with Tiphereth (Beauty – and the World of Formation – via the High priestess) and finally, the path that connects Chockmah (Wisdom) and Binah (Understanding) through the pathway of Love, the Empress, Venus, Aphrodite, the Great Seducer from which all Form proceeds – the Union that creates Da’ath (Knowledge – in the most ‘Biblical’ sense imaginable (eg ‘And Adam knew Eve, his wife; and she conceived’ – clearly a little ‘knowledge’ is, as the saying goes, a dangerous thing…). Da’ath is The 11th, or hidden Sphere of the Tree of Life – The Abyss, as it is affectionately known, where reason must retire, for beyond is only the Ideal, and completely inscrutable to a manifest Mind. This Hebrew letter-intelligence is Dalet, ‘Door’ and means ‘Entrance’ or ‘A back and forth movement’ – indeed, the Grand Entrance of every human being, through Aphrodite’s sacred ‘Door’, a short ‘Walk’ from ‘Inside’ the ‘House’, via a ‘back and forth movement’, and over and over again, rinse, repeat…
5 – The Hierophant (Culture/Religion)
When we reflect upon (The High Priestess, 2) our own lineage, bloodline, the crest of the wave of the ocean of Being that preceded us, and consider, Spiritually, with the guidance of intuition as well as reason, the seductive union with all this intermingling and sensual experience, if we can draw our gaze from the evolving resplendence and endless creativity of The Empress (3) and somehow, as with the High Priestess, see *through the Veil* without being distracted by a near irresistible instinct to peep up either of their celestial skirts, if we can embrace these matriarchs of the Astral World as the teachers and Mothers they are, then through our instruction in Nature’s Ways we will, inevitably, produce the expansive, turbulent and entirely new, novel and dynamic condition of the 5 – The Hierophant, literally the ‘One Who Reveals the Sacred’, the Union of the Higher Self (“that which is Above”) with the Lower Self (“that which is Below”) and the complete transformation of both through this yoking, this yoga, this Union. Thus we have the Hierophant attributed to the zodiac sign of Taurus – which is ruled by Venus (The Empress) and in which the Moon exalts (The High Priestess), and in which the raw materials of Creation, the dirt and dust and blood and toil, are volcanically (Vulcan is the esoteric ruler of Taurus, following Alice Bailey) and tempestuously re-configured in ever more complex geometries, anarchies, hierarchies and blends until, after Aeons of Time, such every-day, utterly sublime structures as sparkling emeralds, sea cucumbers, and the human eye have emerged from the churning chthonic processes, unravellings, recombinings, fusings and high pressure molten eruptions and irruptions. The human eye and its connection to the central nervous system is simply the least ‘substantial’ and most ‘spiritual’ form of matter yet discovered which can evolve before physicality and the material must, presumably, be abandoned entirely…
A new order of evolution is instantiated by the Hierophant, a blueprint for logarithmic development. Religious orders, closely guarded occult (hidden) knowledge, the structures which will eventually produce Logic, and the entire foundation of Western Civilization are the result of yoking (The Hierophant, Vav – ‘Nail’ or ‘Hook’, ‘to Yoke’ or ‘Secure’) the powers of The High Priestess and the Empress to the service of the duality that the Magus has tricked us all with, to re-veal the Unity behind the Duality – that Above and Below are ‘as’ each other, that Within and Without share qualitative Reality, despite quantitative or apparent difference. Taurean qualities – strength, fortitude, patience, the inner labour, as well as reference to the myth of the Minotaur – the labyrinth, man-made, in which some essential part of us is entombed, lost, seduced (‘lead away from’) the encounter with the numinous Reality behind all appearances… The Hierophant demands obedience to a structure in order to undo all structure, requires methodical Work in order to arrive in the realm of Eternal Play, and hides a smirk because He, and only He, Truly Gets The Joke : G(ee!) -U – R – U…
8 – Adjustment (Law & The Balance of Opposites)
Another Cardinal sign, like Taurus: here is Libra – the scales of cosmic justesse (‘accuracy’ or ‘precision’), the inevitable and inexorable tides of karma (‘action’) – in a by now completely dynamic and perfectly equilibrated Universe in which Absolute Laws can be deduced from the Individual encounter with the Other – a vital aspect of the exaltation of Saturn in Libra (where, once again, Venus, The Empress, rules – here Venus Hesperides, sophisticated, tasteful, aesthetic, concerned with harmony and essential recognition of the Principles of the Other, in contrast to the Hierophant (Taurean) Venus Lucifer, concerned with acquisition and desire of Beauty, and recognition of the Actuality of Other (always, with the Empress, there are Two).
From the mystical, spiritual, and initiatory rites of the Hierophant emerge the secular Laws, customs and contracts of Adjustment. From the new ideal of the transformative and dynamic 5, the rhythmic equilibrium and pulse of the fallen-lemniscate 8, the sum of all that has come before and the intimation of Eternity-As-Rhythm, the tempo and groove of Inifinity – now full, now empty, now active, now passive, now directed, now chosen. We arrive at the great horizon of Self, where the Sun of our unique consciousness sets, and darkness encroaches.
Now the Self is confronted with the result of this process of division, insemination, reflection, gestation, pregnancy, birth, motion and structure – an inscrutable and definite ‘horizon’ (Libra) beyond which the Sun (Self) ‘falls’ and the terrifying, Mysterious Other begins. The Self has dimension, age and is subject to the Limits (Saturn) and frustrations of the ‘Hell of other people’ – the natural Descendant of astrology.
Furthermore, we have Ma’aat, in her Harlequin robes, the Hand-maiden of Thoth-Hermes, and female-complement to the Fool – Lamed (‘cattle prod’, and also, as a verb, ‘learning’) to the Fool’s Aleph (‘ox’ or ‘cow’, the absolute engine of the earliest agricultural societies).
“Why me?”, cries the Fool, not Understanding.
“Because You”, answers Adjustment, with the Love of a Mother (Venus, the Empress) and the severity of an Old Man (Saturn, the Aeon/Judgment).
Now our Self- Conscious, Unconscious, Creative and Cultured Self must learn the responsibility of Being created “in the Image of God” – karma is a blind machine, and we are subject to the blind Justice of this Universal Goddess, as are all, but our uniqueness defines how it will affect us.
The answer to the Question can never come too late, You’re somewhere on the Spectrum, you’re free to Love or Hate, Created in God’s Image, Now, What will you Create? As you navigate, equilibrate, and trade in Love or Hate.
Equilibrium and poise are required if the Veil is to penetrated and Reality to be apprehended precisely, accurately – the only Way to possibly Work (the Hierophant) with it (Adjustment). Everything must be brought into Right Relationship, nothing excluded for squeamish or fearful or excited or selfish reasons, everything given it’s true and proper measure in context and essential dynamic balance with Everything Else – that which lives, grows and thrives ‘beyond the horizon of Self’. Individual sovereignty and Spiritual balance requires, systematically and with the precision of a clockwork, collective dissolution and rhythm (8) between the extremes (Saturn exalted in Libra) of Self and Other, Inner and Outer, Sacred and Profane, Autumn and Spring (Adjustment/The Fool/Empress). Truly, the road of Excess can lead to the Palace of Wisdom – just be careful to not get waylaid by the Saloon of False Prophets, the Motel of Hedonism or the Bordello of New Age Bullshit – all of which *appear* no different to the now Infamous Palace…and yet the stucco is faker, the smiles more contrived, the tips far more generous, and the Wisdom therein really nothing of the sort. To mention nothing of the bill on checking out…
The Fool, and his Harlequin, are Tricksters, mountebanks, and Mercury is the patron Saint of Thieves and Liars.
Beware, Aspirant, Beware – justesse, precision, accuracy, the line separating pure Folly and simple madness from Divine Inspiration and Spiritual Emergency is a tightrope so slender you often have no idea you were precariously balanced upon it until you have already fallen off and unceremoniously broken your etheric Chariot on the cold, hard floor of a Reality you were blissfully, ignorantly blind to. Optimism is no solution, pessimism no comfort – hope is a carrot dangled before the Donkey (Fool, Ox, Hierophant, Bull) to keep it plodding mindlessly forward. Remove the carrot and walk on with clear vision!Justesse. Adjustment. Obeying the Cosmic Law is the only true freedom in the whole Universe.
13 – Death (Death & Rebirth, Resurrection, Transformation, the inseparability of Light and Darkness)
And so, from the gestatory nurturing Love of the High Priestess / Moon (Ruler of Cancer, our bloodline, our Family Tree), via the Cosmic Door (Dalet) of the Womb of Venus-Aphrodite (The Empress, ruler of Taurus, our physical efforts, and Libra, our discernment), hitching a ride with the Hierophant to the sacred marriage in Libra, the Woman Satisfied, girt with a Sword clenched between her thighs, taking karma into her own, serious, truthful and perfectly equilibrated hands, aware of Her Divine Power as consort of the ineffable and unpredictable Fool, comes the encounter with Persephone – the journey to Hades, to the Underworld, the irrational, a deep incubation in the waters of the Holy Nile, where Osiris was slain and dismembered – and resurrected. Just as the Empress gave birth to the Journey, so must Persephone conclude this cycle – all that is Born must Die, to be Reborn. Be still and know that Day and Night, be still and know that Death and Life are One, Holy, Circle.
Seduce – from Latin seducere, ‘to lead (astray)’ – and consider the 7 of Cups (Venus in Scorpio / Empress in Death) ‘Debauch’ – from the French debauchere, ‘to lead (astray)’… seduction and debauchery are the same thing – a leading away from…from what? From Truth, dear Aspirant. From the Cold Hard Facts.
Death is Truth. Persephone was worshipped, alongside her mother Gaia (or Demeter) in the Eleusinian Mysteries of Ancient Greece – the secret rites which promised initiates entry to Eternal Life and almost certainly involved the consumption of entheogenic/psychedelic medicines – and the revelations of the Underworld, and its connection to this sensual World of experience. Hers were the rites of Spring – the joyous return of Abundance after the fallow Winter. All Nature rejoiced when Persephone was re-united with her mother, Gaia (Demeter). The Queen of Darkness, bride of Pluto – is the Source of Life. How funny. How perfect.
But it is Venus, the Empress – Life Itself! Mother Nature! – who is the Seducer, here. It is She who ‘leads us astray’, She who deceives us. It is our vehicle of Desire that keeps us from immediate Spiritual Enlightenment, that winds, riverine, a circuitous and wending route back to the Great Sea (Binah, Saturn) through the myriad lightshows and carnival-esque World of the Ten Thousand Things. It is Aphrodite, not Persephone, who prefers the simulacrum, the surface, the superficial, to the real Meat’n’Bones, the inner marrow, which is Persephone’s domain.
13: the 3 as properly understood through the lens of the 1, together intimating the 4 – the structure and Law of All. It is our first double-digits, re-iterating earlier stages of development in combination, correspondence and cooperation (Adjustment). A new vision of the actual basis of Life and Perception/Cognition (3 and 1, Empress and Magus, Venus and Mercury), and how they combine and inter-relate to create Structure and Form (4 – The Emperor).
In the older Tarot tradition, the 13th Atu is nameless. Just as the Fool had no number, the Atu now commonly called ‘Death’ had no name. In antiquity, it was rare to speak of Persephone, or call Her by name – more commonly, She was referred to as Kore – ‘the Maiden’, or simply ‘the Goddess’. That was sufficient. Everybody knew what that meant.
She was an essential part of the true ancient meaning of
philosophy – the love of wisdom – which had little to do with what we conceive
of as philosophy today. Philosophy was not an endless discussion – it was a
revolution of your life, something which changed you forever, due in no small
part to your encounter with the Goddess, the Maiden, with Death. The great
initiation was as relevant then as it is today – you had to die before you
died. You had to encounter, visit, and return from Tartarus, the Underworld –
not as abstraction, not as vision-quest, not in some intellectual or sophistic
fashion, but really, through a process of stillness and incubation in the
bowels of the Earth, in caves tended by special priests who could guide you to
your own Death, and yet keep you alive in the process. You died, and yet did
not expire. You encountered a state that was not sleep, not wakefulness, not
Life, not Death, but rather…something else; and on your return, you were
Changed – forever. A philosopher. Now properly in touch with the true Source,
now able to see through the Great Deception, now capable of truly Living, for the
first time, aware of Reality, which is Still, Eternal, Unchanging, Forever,
unlike the deception, which is temporal, ephemeral, endlessly re-configuring
and re-designing new forms and distractions and beauties and diversions. A
proper grounding in the Essential Truth of the Mack Daddy himself – the Nameless
Arcana. Ole Bonesy.
Death – the Source of all Life. The Darkness that begets the Light. The Hebrew letter intelligence assigned is Nun ‘Sprouting seed’ – meaning ‘Continue’, ‘Perpetuate’, ‘Heir’ or ‘Offspring’ – worthy indeed of much meditation, for it is the incubation of the seed that leads it to sprout and perpetuate, and it is Death that is our inheritor, that we in turn inherited.
21 – The Universe (The Soul of the World, Everything, The Totality of All)
And so, finally, the End. The capitulation. The individuated climax of the descent of Spirit into Matter and its redintegration (sic) back into Spirit – The Anima Mundi, the World Soul. Leela – the Cosmic Dance. Indra’s Net. The Divine Choreography hidden in the deepest recesses of the Profane Chaos.
Here’s a fascinating etymology (let the student of Tarot remember: study deep and well the etymology of words!): ‘The World’, which Crowley, aptly, retitled ‘The Universe’ – since it always meant exactly this, the totality of everything known and unknown, all that could or would ever be known – derives it’s title from the Greek kosmos, the etymological root of which was kosmeo – from which the word ‘cosmetics’ is derived, since it means ‘decoration, adornment, ordered ornamentation’. Meditate thoroughly on why the entire Universe presented to the senses (and how else have you ever experienced it?) is, at root, ‘a decoration, an ornamentation, a pretty mask applied for the purpose of Beauty’!
Is it any wonder that Venus/Aphrodite (the Empress) has
her planetary detriment in Scorpio (Death, the Nameless Arcana)? The ruler of
Beauty, adornment, vanity and Love in the sign of dissolution, putrefaction,
raw sexuality and the Underworld…
The Universe is the joy of the Element Earth, the recipient and benefactor of all the combination and re-combination of the purer Elements that have created Her – The Fool (Air), the Hanged Man (Water), The Aeon/Judgment (Fire) – the absolute concretization of all the potentials, the performed Dance of the Music of the Spheres, unique among Her brethren for containing a little bit of absolutely everything – just as the Fool ‘contains’ and represents the potential for absolutely anything.
The Universe is ‘the collapse of a quantum superposition’ into a ‘component state’ – it is the Observation, the Observer and the Observed – that creates Everything and is thereby Created. Cosmic Consciousness.
21 is also the sum of the digits 0-6 – remember that the sum of our Fibonacci sequence was 54, the 6th order of 9, the total number of entries in the Fibonacci sequence contained in the Major Arcana? 6 is the first ‘Perfect Number’ of the Greeks – its factors sum to it (1+2+3 = 6, and 1x2x3 = 6).
The Fool (Aleph) and the Universe (Tav) combined spell ‘Ath’ – which means ‘Essence’. Tav itself means ‘Cross’ – the Sign thereof – and thus expansion/extension. The Atu refers to the Completion of the Great Work, just as the Fool refers to its commencement – and all the in-betweens are agents and modes of it’s fulfilment. The Daughter, Malkuth, dancing in the centre ‘manipulates the radiant spiral force’ – and what a beautiful description of the Fibonacci sequence made geometry that is!
To explore Crowley’s own words and visions more thoroughly “This is the Daughter of the King. This is the Virgin of Eternity. This is she that the Holy One hath wrested from the Giant Time, and the prize of them that have overcome Space. This is she that is set upon the Throne of Understanding. Holy, Holy, Holy is her name, not to be spoken among men. For Kore they have called her, and Malkah, and Betulah, and Persephone.”
The Universe is the celebration and completion of the impulse of the Fool, the negative issuing forth into manifestation.
Look deeply into the face of a flower, look beyond it’s beauteous deception, and you will surely see for yourself.
As the great American poet Walt Whitman said of his own illumination “An intuition of the absolute balance, in time and space, of the whole of this multifariousness, this revel of fools, and incredible make-believe and general unsettledness we call The World; a soul-sight of that divine clue and unseen thread which holds the whole congeries of things, all history and time, and all events, however trivial, however momentous, like a leashed dog in the hand of a hunter.”
Go forth, student of the Book of Tahuti, fellow Tarot reader: and hunt!
The Paths of the Sepher Yetzirah
0 Scintillating Intelligence
1 Intelligence of Transparency
1 Intelligence of Transparency
2 Uniting Intelligence
3 Illuminating Intelligence
5 Triumphal/Eternal One
8 Faithful Intelligence
13 Imaginative Intelligence
21 Administrative Intelligence