I draw a card from an Albano-Waite Tarot deck and am immediately unhappy with this picture. The poor devil has no cock. It's clear that it is missing. While his wings are a vivid plum color, he himself is stuck with the color of a turd. He wears the white beard of a department store Santa Claus and his eyes are contorted by an emotion that must be sorrow or anger.
I cannot blame him. He is being made a mockery of in this picture.
The man, who does at least sport a Ken doll man bump, seems to be gesturing towards the absence of the devil’s penis. The devil sits on a perch with a five pointed star being driven point down into his crown as if it were insisting that he acknowledge the power of the one flowing from above to below. He is not holding the people in bondage as one would initially guess, but rather it is they who are keeping him. The chain around their necks symbolizes their wish to be separate from their bodies and keep everything below the neck imprisoned.
Despite this, the truth of the situation is discernible, the sly devil can accept his debasement and somehow use it to tell his own story. That star being driven into his head mimics the horns visible on his head. We do not come from one, it says, we come from two.
The man and the woman also don horns, and tails. The woman's tail is made of fruit and the mans tail is made of fire. He will bring the fire and she will bear the fruit, enough said.
Behind them the devil waits patiently for them to loose the binds that are strangling the life dwelling within them. With the Vulcan hand gesture he bids them to live long (perhaps eternally) and prosper.
He is not a prisoner after all, he is patient and kind and refuses to abandon them, suffering along with them. He waits for them to set themselves free. His knees form the shape of a heart between the man and the woman, urging them to embrace their nature and love one another without fear or guilt or shame.
The following day I draw another card. It is Strength. I see this card as the perfect follow up to the devil. This is the alchemical marriage, beauty and the beast, the unification of the eternal and the temporal.
The woman with the eternity symbol over her head and rose garland belt represents the eternal being, the holy guardian angel. The red lion is the animal, the biological machine, the temporary creation. This is strength; the two united, the rose and the lion.
The lion is powerful, strong, and regal submitting to her touch. His tongue lolls, his eyes roll back in his head as the fierce beast relinquishes all control to his eternal beloved.
This is strength: the willingness to submit to stillness, to overcome fear and desire, repulsion and compulsion, to cease to roar and gnash teeth and instead open the heart and allow the passion of the immaterial other to course through the material.
The lion is the Christ, the anointed one. The old kings were anointed with the menstrual blood of the goddess, a substance of awakening. The woman is the goddess, the eternal beloved, the devil. By adoring her, the anointed one redeems her and himself. They become something unimaginable, something more than they could have been separately.
I see the woman in this card as representing the same being embodied by the devil in yesterday’s card. Where in that card the eternal and the temporal struggle and are disconnected, here they are united. That patient waiting devil is the same as this patient gentle bride. In this card pure love flows through the two and this is what rules, not abstracts.
In this light I also understand that the man and the woman in the devil card are in fact chained to the fears and desires of the biological machine and its attempt to usurp power. The one jealous God that rules from above is the personification of these fears and desires.
The devil in the background waits for them to awaken to the knowledge that one is death and stagnation and two are life and creation. The biological machine must cease to struggle for control and open to the strange affection of the eternal in order to leave the dead end it made for itself behind.
A few days later I shuffle the deck and draw a card again. I am not surprised to see that it is the devil. It seems that my old friend and teacher and father has something more to communicate. Look again he says, but not with your eyes, which were made for the surface world where the light plays its tricks. Search with the feeling senses employed by those blind things which explore the subterranean world and make it their home.
Then guess what I am. Dark and warm and fruitful. Feminine.
The cock is not missing, it is there. The two human beings are the devils genitalia, his procreative tools, extensions of self with which he can probe the mysteries accessible through a voyage in the human bio-mechanical spaceship. This is also beauty and the beast. But we are the beast, and the devil is the beauty. So loving is beauty, so inquisitive, fearless, enduringly calm and optimistic, and, of course, giving.
The ideal components for building the inter-dimensional biological space craft named “Beast” is revealed to me in the following days.
First, the High Priestess. Her calm strikes me like a wave from the sea, shocking, invigorating in its placidity. Her intellectual center is awakened and at the service of her work for the benefit of the eternal. She encompasses the knowledge of life that bleeds forth from a cellular level and the knowledge of worlds constructed of concepts hinged on words. The depths of the subconscious work in symphony with the illuminated surface.
Her headdress is made of the horns and of the full moon, symbolic of her comfort with both masculine and feminine forces and with the seed and its fulfillment. It is also representative of the necessary relationship between two and one, that two become one in sexual unification and then, after the conception, one becomes two at the moment of birth.
The cross burns under the Priestess’s breast. Ripened flowers and fruits open like vulvas behind her and the horned moon is caught in the robes at her feet. She is calm and cool and well collected. She holds the written word in her hands. She can create with words, she can organize new structures and utilize existing ones to mysterious ends, in the service of the eternal silence, the guardian at the center of labyrinth, the watcher within.
Where some could be lost in the symbolic order, she is aware of its nature and utilizes it as the steps of the pyramid to the moon. She is poised between the two columns of the God of the Earth and the God of the Sky, a crossing of streams supported with grace and detachment.
She is as disciplined and focused on herself as Audrey Hepburn’s character in a Nun’s story, who realizes that while she may hide her faults from the church and her sisters, she cannot hide them from herself and God. So she struggles to do the real thing, whether anyone else is or not, whether anyone else can perceive her efforts or not.
After the Priestess comes the Magician. He stands with one hand raised towards the heavens and the other pointing to the earth. In his raised hand he holds a double terminated rod so that each end is both sending and receiving, circulating the energy from the heavens to the earth and from earth to heavens.
Over his head the figure eight, symbol of eternity, hangs suspended, representing the eternal being voyaging continually through material existence, like a rider in a train passing through a tunnel. The placement of his arms combined with this symbol forms a subtle cross.
He is young and full of adventurous fire. He is fearless and surrounded by roses and lilies, the goddess and death and the mystery of the flower which blooms and withers while the vine lives on and on to support new blooms again and again.
On the table stands the cup, the sword, the baton, the pentacle. He has the building blocks to create a new symbolic order, a new world. He is a storyteller, imaginative, ready to create a rich inner world through which the various aspects of self can be expressed and slowly/subtly become known to him.
He is a professor with his puppets at the ready. He will put something of himself into them, igniting them into a dance that he will both be inside of and apart from.
He is a point of connection between worlds, he is worlds within worlds within worlds. He is the creator and the explorer journeying to discover the breadth and depth of himself and establish lines of communication that reach from one shadowy pocket to the next, unifying the self.
The man and the woman in chains at the devil’s feet have the potential to become these two, the High Priestess and the Magician. As long as they cling to their individualism and their habitual behaviors they are the slaves of the symbolic order. They are not aware of their circumstance or their latent potential. They live and breed and die never having escaped the bondage of their own mechanical nature.
It is only through an effort to know themselves and the Other that they may cast away their chains and become something more than their biological nature dictates. They must surrender, despite the fear of death. Then they may begin the work of building the vessel called “Beast” or Adam Kadmon, to become the instrument of the Eternal.
One more time I shuffle the cards and my old friend comes to say goodbye. This time we can relax and have a good conversation without me applying cerebral analyses to his every line.
It is painful to be the Devil. His trick is not to mind it, to relax into the pain.
Pain is caused by resistance, by clutching to forms that cannot be in the OTHER spaces, the places I want to travel through. Relaxing into hot pulverized jelly is the only way to go. I cannot take my baggage; linguistic structures and thought forms. The software of the machine does not function in the OTHER spaces, the software dies with the hardware, then only the otherware works and the only way to develop otherware is to start now with little treks into the OTHER spaces.
But it’s a dead man’s party, so leave your body and persona at the door.
Labels: alchemy, death, devil, dimensions, machine, magician, magick, sleeping state, tarot, transformation