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The Universe : ?


I am amazed at this unique Image, yet it has so much mysterious symbolism that eludes my limited understanding. The various commentators are befuddled, too. Here's my main question. What is the meaning-link between the Eye, the Snake, the Sickle , and the Lady ? Second question : Why the Mobius Strip behind the Snake/Lady ? Third question : Why are the creatures of the four corners spurting waters away from the mandorla surrounding the Snake/Lady ? Fourth question : Why is the Lady's head so inner-ear like ? Please consider these mysteries.
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Hello.
What an interesting question!

I wonder if you have read the remarks about the Universe card inthe Book of Thoth?
He recommends 'long-continued meditation' upon this of all cards.

That's something I love about this deck. The confusing blend of ambiquity & precision.
Just like this answer, in fact!

What do you think they all mean? I have that card in front of me now, & confess that I've never really thought so deeply upon it (I'll have to remedy that) but my initial thought was the 4 corner elemental figures were like gargoyles channeling rain from the guttering, but in this case channeling energy into the universe from its source.

Your other questions though, well, I'll really have to give them much more thought.
I like that though!
Top   #2
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The Universe:?


Thank you for your response to my questions. I do have Crowley's book, along with several other helpful ones . Still, this Image remains magnificently complex and puzzling , although it needs to keep alive with some mystery , and will continue so. Maybe I'm trying to fathom the unfathomable. But it's fun! And profound.
I like what you say about the four creatures, that they " channel energy into the universe from its source." They have a creative joy, a Dionysian rapture. And their water is life-giving. They are opposite to the empty masks of the Hierophant.
Thoughts about this and the other three questions would be appreciated.
Top   #3
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Hi Frank!
Have you read 'Snakes & Ladders' ? its by Alan Moore? I don't want to go on about it too much, but I've just dug it out as it seemed appropriate! To the Universe card, that is.
Top   #4
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You can get a good idea of the meaning of these symbols by studying other cards where they appear.
The snake, for instance appears on numerous cards.
It's meaning appears in the end to be a very simpleone really.
Crowley was a product of both his time and his upbringing, and this should be taken into account when wondering why he talked around the subject when today we would just speak it out loud.
All through the book of Thoth you find references to the serpent and time and again it relates to the union of the female and the male. Sex, the 'mystery' of the 9th degree. However, not just sex between man amd woman, but the whole union of male and female, yin and yang etc. The two combining into one. This is the alchemical marriage in the Lovers card. Here the serpent is entwined around the egg, and is called the 'result' of the marriage. In the Art card the serpent/egg does not appear. It has 'hatched', and the transformation is complete, the marriage is consumated and the elements have joined, the child is born. etc. ad infinitum. This is continued on card after card, the rose cross also means this, and the ankh and cadecus also, and it is the same when parsifal puts the holy lance into the holy grail.

The snake itself is not just the male half of the symbolism, but contains the female in itself too, there are references to this ffect, but I wont go on.

For the woman who dances with the snake, well, the snail shell effect connects to 'the oyster' The yoni. The fish hook to tzaddi, the emperor.

So, the woman dancing with the snake is the eternal union of male and female which leads to creation and destruction and creation again. The mother bears the daughter, who becomes a mother and bears a daughter. The father and son likewise.
The eternal circle, forever turning, like the circle of the stars.
And around them thefour kerubs, the four elements combine and recombine (as in the courtcards and the chariot) to form the structure of the universe, the elemental table, the house of matter.

One thing thing though, the eagle spurts water/energy only from it's mouth (beak). Why? birds have nostrils too!

I would say that Crowley was a little obsessed with sex, and tried to find great and deep meanings to justify it and lift it from the realm of mere physical satisfaction. But it's ture that sex and death are entwined compleatly, with out one there is no other, and thus we have the cycle of creation and destruction.

I could ramble on loads more, but I've bored you enough.
Forgive me.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie
I could ramble on loads more
please ramble on, this is fascinating, I'll be joining the Thoth study group, just a beginner, thank you
Top   #6
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The Universe: ?


A few excerpts from Lillie, with appreciation :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie
...not just sex between man amd woman, but the whole union of male and female, yin and yang etc. The two combining into one. This is the alchemical marriage in the Lovers card. Here the serpent is entwined around the egg, and is called the 'result' of the marriage. In the Art card the serpent/egg does not appear. It has 'hatched', and the transformation is complete, the marriage is consumated and the elements have joined, the child is born. etc. ad infinitum.

The snake itself is not just the male half of the symbolism, but contains the female in itself too, there are references to this ffect, but I wont go on.

For the woman who dances with the snake, well, the snail shell effect connects to 'the oyster' The yoni. The fish hook to tzaddi, the emperor.

So, the woman dancing with the snake is the eternal union of male and female which leads to creation and destruction and creation again. The mother bears the daughter, who becomes a mother and bears a daughter.

I would say that Crowley was a little obsessed with sex, and tried to find great and deep meanings to justify it and lift it from the realm of mere physical satisfaction. But it's ture that sex and death are entwined compleatly, with out one there is no other, and thus we have the cycle of creation and destruction.
Thank you for your direct dealing with the questions, which are sincere ones--- I'm trying to better understand the Image. I would make the distinction between Crowley/Harris' personal associations with snake and woman, and the Image now and what it speaks to you, me , everyone , humanity. We need original associations and meditations, but the Image has separated from its creators, at least somewhat so. It is its own Being .
The Yin and Yang of it makes sense, with sex and death, too.
But the snake and the lady seem to pour out of the Eye --- is this also matter and mind or form and life emanated out of the Spirit?
Top   #7
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Have I been invited to ramble more?

Well, ok, just a little bit.

First, I forgot to mention the eye. This is the eye of Shiva, it is the same eye that is on the Tower. The dance of Shiva maintains andcreates the universe, matter. When he stops dancing and opens his eye the world will end.
It is interesting however that on the Univers the woman seems to be blocking herself from the eye with the snake.
Using the afore mentioned theme of creation destruction it might be said that this again is a symbol of the union of male and female (the snake) being part of the cycle of destruction/ creation. Ie, the eye destroyes, but the snake creates.

I have to say this. I am not any kind of expert. If anyone doesn't agree with me, well, I won't be offended. I am always keen to hear what other people think.
Also it has been a long time since I really studied any of this stuff. I have been out of touch for many years.
And as you have said Frank, the images now are probablysomewhat divorced from theor creator. If therefore anyone wanted to do away with some or all of Crowleys intentions then that is well and good, as they say 'nothing is true, everything is permitted'. However, Crowley designed these cards, Harris painted them, the symbols used are very specific and relate directly to the time in which they lived, the education they had and the beliefs they held.
Therefore, what I am saying is, if it is a matter of what the card means to an individual, that is for the individual alone to say. But, if it is a a question of what Crowley/Harris was trying to say through that card then one is well paid by a study of that person and their personal symbolism.

I also think that it is also important to realise something that was said recently in the BOTA thread else where on these boards. That what was once secret and profound knowledge, treasured by adepts and handed out to students only after long years of study, are now common knowledge.
Who has not heard of 'sex magick'? Yet to Crowley this was the most secret of mysteries, allowed only to adepts of the 9th degree.
Now you can go to Waterstones and buy a book about it for a tenner.
There are programs on TV celebrating Tantra as the latest new age craze to 'spice up' your love life.

And yet all this has really done is to devalue that knowledge.
If you can buy it for cheap, if you can get it for free, then of course it is of little value to your subconcious mind, the place where magick works, the place where you touch the universe and create your own reality.

Gnosis through the sexual union of two people, the mingling of the red and the white of the alchemists, I doubt that this shocks, or even surprises anyone anymore, when you can see sex on the TV every night, buy it from every newsagents.
And therefore that tingling, daring sensation that our perdecessors would have felt when they read of things that defied all the moral conventions and certainties of their age is gone.
That excitement, that desperate, heart in the mouth feeling as you teeter on the very brink of damnation is lost. And that itself was gnosis, it was part of the power that fueled Crowleys workings.
Now, I'm afraid, it is just ordinary, a 'quick shag' (if I may be so crude). The magick and the mystery is lost.

Sad really
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lillie
That excitement, that desperate, heart in the mouth feeling as you teeter on the very brink of damnation is lost.... The magick and the mystery is lost
Cheer up, Lillie. We are still looking for the philosophers stone and the alchemical gold is still very rare, sex or not
Top   #9
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The Universe:?


Lillie, It's not my intention to "do away with" the original intended meanings, but to see more than one aspect of interpretation.--- Out of direct meditation on the complex weave of the symbols. I have Crowley's Book of Thoth and other guides to the deck and to this Image. They are of great benefit. Then there is the Eye over the lady/snake over the Sullivan chemical elements. The Painting itself, asking,"Who am I?" And maybe it's more than we think it is.
Top   #10




 


 


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