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Ross G Caldwell  Ross G Caldwell is offline
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Join Date: 07 Jul 2003
Location: Béziers, France
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Ross G Caldwell 

I'm not sure I understand what problems you're seeing, Lore. You might actually be looking right at it (you have all pieces of puzzle) but the three systems (astrological, alphabetic, tarot) don't combine seamlessly. But Crowley thought that the elegance of the pairings in one (the astrological) proved the correctness of the transposition in a second (the Tarot). He was looking for some kind of confirmation for his attempts to figure out what card Tzaddi should be. It seems that his emphasis on this "double loop in the Zodiac" attributions of the cards indicates that his discovery of it is what convinced him that the Emperor and Star positions on the Tree was the correct solution.

Crowley's term "double loop" (illustrated on page 11 of BoT) refers only to the fact that the two pairs of card transpositions are attributed to zodiacal signs that are on each side of one sign (Pisces and Virgo). Because they are transposed, he sees each pair as "looping" around Pisces and Virgo respectively. Emperor and Star/Aries and Aquarius rotate around Pisces, and Justice and Strength/Libra and Leo rotate around Virgo. Pisces and Virgo are 180° apart, directly opposite one another, which gives complete balance to the pairs of rotations.

I'm not aware that anybody in the GD ever thought that the switch of positions of Justice and Strength was a "loop" around Virgo. The switch in the first place was due to the authority of a single document which the founders claimed to have come from the Secret Chiefs, and the document's reasoning was historical and iconographical - primarily, Leo should go with a card that has a Lion, and Justice with the sign of the Balance, Libra.

In order to keep the Zodiac order of the Trumps straight, (Leo, Virgo, Libra, etc.) Strength, traditionally numbered 11, had to be moved to the position of Justice, numbered 8, and vice versa. Waite's deck, you'll note, does this, and he writes in PKT that he does not feel the need to explain his reasoning to the public for the change.

Crowley's Tarot restores the numbering of the old Tarot de Marseille, but changes the Hebrew letters to reflect the GD teaching. Additionally, he adds his own switch, so that Tzaddi, in the Thoth Tarot order, now comes between Daleth and Vav. But neither he nor the GD ever suggested that the Hebrew Alphabet was in need of revision! Only that the secret Tarot attributions were in need of revision. Crowley keeps the Roman Numerals of the cards in their traditional order for this latter revision as well, so that the Star is still number XVII, and the Emperor IV.

I think I understand your chart demonstrating the different orders according to the three schemes. But this is the point, that the three schemes, taken independently, can't be combined. One system, the Tarot attributions to Hebrew letters, and thus paths on the Tree of Life, is changed; but neither the order of the Zodiac as Zodiac, nor the Hebrew letters as Hebrew letters, is. However, the elegance of having two perfectly symmetrical pairings of these attributions on the circle of the Zodiac seemed like a major proof to Crowley of the rightness of his already intuited switch.

BTW, there doesn't have to be a pair of "loops" as Crowley illustrated it - just draw the Zodiac circle, and then draw a circle from Aries to Aquarius and back around (Pisces will be in the middle), and on the other side draw a circle from Leo to Libra and back (Virgo will be in the middle). This is the "symmetrical elegance" that convinced Crowley. Additionally, you might want to put or imagine the Tarot trumps associated with their respective Zodiac signs.

I'm sure all this rambling hasn't clarified it... hopefully maybe. But it is just this, two pairs of switches seen as revolving around two opposing signs. Those are the "loops".

I think Crowley must have thought of the symbolism of the change of Aeons from Pisces to Aquarius involved in this switch too, but I can't recall him ever mentioning it explicitly.

Ross
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