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Tarot of Vampyres - The Devil

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Tarot of Vampyres - The Devil


Three figures dominate the card of The Devil. Most predominant is the raging werewolf, topped with elaborately decorated curving horns. He is standing tall, leaning slightly back, hands clenched into fists, face to the sky, mouth open and roaring! His physique is toned, albeit hairy. His eyes glow with an amber fire. Is he pleased, or is he pissed?
The only item he wears is a golden/bronze necklace, beaded with light blue/grey/purple beads. From the necklace hangs the pendant of Capricorn.

Floating in front of him is a female angel. She is topless, with her back to us, and has her right hand with pointy black nails resting upon the werewolf's chest, directly over his heart. She too faces the sky; her body curved with her knees bent, pointing out and back. Her back curves up and out as well, as her grey/black wings bend with it.
She has long dark hair, wears a grey/green veil-like skirt, fastened to her waist by a golden beaded belt. She has a ribbon/bandage like choker necklace around the center of her neck, which matches the wrapped bracelet around her right hand. Atop the wrap-like bracelet sits a broach/pin made of beads the same colour as the werewolf's necklace. Her right upper arm has a swirling, curving tattoo; matching the decorations on the werewolf's horns.

Just below the levitating angel is a cauldron, supported by vines from the Earth. It's bloody contents bubble and glow red-hot. The Fire is contained by these vines, glowing embers barred from view. Upon this cauldron is an inverted Pentagram.

To the right of the boiling cauldron sits another angel, resting at the feet of the werewolf. She stares directly at us with grey/glowing/dead eyes. Her face is blank, void of expression. She has markings around her eyes, reminiscent of running mascara, but the colour is more muted brown. Her hair bellows back, pushed against the werewolf, as she is positioned towards him. Her right hand, too, rests upon the werewolf. She wears the same jewelry and clothing as her companion angel, with the exception that it is her left arm with the bracelet, broach, and tattoo. Her wings point back and to the right.

The landscape is all vines. They have taken over everything, from the cauldron, to the ground to the roof. There is no growth here, only deadened crawling vines, grasping and sucking the life out of anything once present...

The werewolf is presumably The Devil.
The floating angel could be explicitly interacting with The Devil, and they could both be twisted in extacy of the moment. After all, his groin is shielded in part by her knees, and the other by the head and hair of the seated angel. Or perhaps she is begging for forgiveness; has she done wrong? -Is she twisted in torment and writhing away from his anger? Her right arm is decorated; a nod to the active, the masculine.
The seated companion angel has the decoration upon her left arm; a nod to the passive, the feminine. She is limited in her interaction with the other two, looking beyond whatever is happening here.
The choker necklaces the angels wear is a reminder of chains and being bound. Their matching tattoos are linked to the decoration upon The Devil's horns. He rules over their minds, controlling the actions of the levitating angel and the emotions of the sitting angel.
The inverted Pentagram reminds us that Spirit is being over-ruled by the physical, the tangible, the Elements. It's placement upon the cauldron suggests that trouble and lack of balance is brewing; the order of Nature is over-turned.
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The Tarot of Vampyres is based on the Thoth and in the Thoth the Devil is not a bad card at all.

This card represents creative energy in its most material form; in the Zodiac, Capricornus occupies the Zenith. It is the most exalted of the signs; it is the goat leaping with lust upon the summits of earth. The sign is ruled by Saturn, who makes for selfhood and perpetuity. In this sign, Mars is exalted, showing in its best form the fiery, material energy of creation. The card represents Pan Pangenetor, the All-Begetter. It is the Tree of Life as seen against a background of the exquisitely tenuous, complex, and fantastic forms of madness, the divine madness of spring, already foreseen in the meditative madness of winter; for the Sun turns northwards on entering this sign. The roots of the Tree are made transparent, in order to show the innumerable leapings of the sap; before it stands the Himalayan goat, with an eye in the centre of his forehead, representing the god Pan upon the highest and most secret mountains of the earth. His creative energy is veiled in the symbol of the Wand of the Chief Adept, crowned with the winged globe and the twin serpents of Horus and Osiris.

[...]

The sign of Capricornus is rough, harsh, dark, even blind; the impulse to create takes no account of reason, custom, or foresight. It is divinely unscrupulous, sublimely careless of result. "thou hast no right but to do thy will. Do that, and no other shall say nay. For pure will, unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect." AL. I, 42-4.
Book of Thoth by Crowley

I see this one, and the boiling cauldron, more like a seed beneath the earth that grows in the dark and that will flourish soon because Life, Nature, is strong. It does not follow any pre-determined plan, it just is, it lives, it grows, it survives... Nature doesn't really care about us.
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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The Tarot of Vampyres is based on the Thoth and in the Thoth the Devil is not a bad card at all.
[...]
I see this one, and the boiling cauldron, more like a seed beneath the earth that grows in the dark and that will flourish soon because Life, Nature, is strong. It does not follow any pre-determined plan, it just is, it lives, it grows, it survives... Nature doesn't really care about us.
Where did you get this information regarding that the Tarot of the Vampyres is based on the Thoth? I've seen no mention of it in the parts of the companion book Phantasmagoria that I've read... And under the information sections provided on Amazon (US - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/073...=ATVPDKIKX0DER), Book Depository (http://www.bookdepository.com/Tarot-.../9780738711911) and Llewellyn (The Publisher - http://www.llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738711911) state that it is "Inspired by the Rider-Waite structure" in every single source provided. None make mention of the Thoth, though I would agree that it has some (okay, maybe even a lot) of influence. Just because it has Strength as XI and Justice as VIII (even though they are not numbered and as such specifically DEFINED as this) does not make it a 'Thoth Deck'. Nor does the change of Court Titles to Daughters, Princes, Queens and Lords define it as such.

Regardless, as my puppy has ate my copy of Phantasmagoria, I cannot look for further clues. I merely described this (and other) cards 'reading' them without help of outside information.

I do not see The Devil as a 'bad card' regardless of RWS or Thoth based decks.

As a Pagan, the inverted Pentacle/Pentagram is a (subjectively) "bad" (more accurately, not so good) thing. To a lot of Pagans it means that the Physical rules over the Spiritual (not just the Divine, but your Higher Self/True Will/HGA, etc). It means that something is out of balance, and therefore something is excessive or needed to create a harmonious state. -Think of Crowley's belief that at the end of a suit the cards start to degrade; they need to break down in order to be re-absorbed into the All; Checks and Balances, the ebb and flow, give and take... Crowley continually stresses the need for appropriate balance in all that we do in order to live a Spiritual life. Regardless of how he lived his life, there is much to ponder over his words of wisdom.

Also, as a Pagan, we believe that everything is interconnected and contains it's own spark of the Divine. We view Nature as Mother Nature/Mother Earth. To say that Nature does not care, is against everything I and others believe. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine. ;]
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I'm aware it says on the box of the Tarot of Vampyres that the deck is based on the RWS but the deck is much more based on the Thoth.

First the quaballah of the deck follows the Thoth and not the RWS one because Crowley switched some of them, like the Star and the Emperor.

Second, the Thoth cards' meanings are a bit different than the RWS, like the Devil which is in short the "Untamed Impulse of Life" in the Thoth (an awesome card to get), while in the RWS the Devil is a bad card.

Third the RWS is a Christian deck and the Thoth deck is a Pagan one.

Fourth the court cards are different in the RWS and the Thoth, and the Tarot of Vampyres follows the Thoth one. There is no King court card in the Thoth, Crowley replaced it with the Prince. Crowley changed their attributes. In the Golden Dawn decks. and RWS too, the Pages are earth, the Knights air, the Queens water and the Kings are fire. In the Thoth deck the Princesses are earth, the Princes are air, the Queens are water and the Knights are fire, only the Knights are on horses. If you check the Tarot of Vampyres the court cards on horses, the Lords, are fire too, the Queens water, Princes are air too and the Princesses are earth.

As for the whole Pagan stuff, I'm Wiccan so I know plenty. I also acknowledge that the Mother Goddess that gives life also takes it away. The Mother Goddess has a dark side, the Crone, Death. And like I said, when there is a Tsunami, it's definitevely the Crone doing some reaping, and I doubt she cares about who she hurts at that moment. But when I was talking about the Devil (the God Pan), I was talking about that untamed impulse of life, it shows the God Pan after all, who put his seeds all over the place to give life. Don't confuse the end of the suits with the Devil.

Fifth, I mentionned the difference in meanings between the Thoth and RWS, it concerns the minors as swell. Like the Six of Knives, which means Science in the Thoth and the card does not show someone travelling in some boat, but some really smart vampire using the knife to focus his active mind.
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By the way this is a part of the book Phantasmagoria about this card:

The Devil portrayed here is not the evil figure as characterized by some interpretation of the Bible, but rather an image of fiery creative energy. As the trump card of Capricorn, his nature is that of a wild mountain goat, representing cosmic creative energy in its most material and masculine aspect. He embodies our instinctive lust for life and the burst of energy that brings new life into existence. The powerful arching horns represent divine spiral energy, materialized in earthly form - Capricorn being the most impulsive and initiative of the earth signs. The Devil has an insatiable animalistic passion that reaches up into heaven and down into the centre of the earth, connecting earth energy with divine inspiration. This creative union allows the indigo earth energy to rise and melt with the gold cosmic energy above itself. The Devil can represent a spiritual awakening if we gain control over our unbalanced animal instincts by reuniting them with our higher self, where they are transformed into a more natural, sensual bliss. This illustrates that the Devil card is both our animalist lusts exalted to a higher spiritual plane, as well as the anchoring of our divine creative inspiration in the deep earth. The two angels embody our higher self enthralled and impassioned within our physical being, enraptured in their sensuality and passion,as represented by the bubbling cauldron of blood. This cauldron contains all the potency of life seething into new possibilities. As the zenith of midwinter (Saturn), the Devil also illustrates the heedless driving force of life reaching from the dark earth into light, much like the fermenting forms of nature such as insects and ivy craving for life. The reversed pentagram is a symbol of the earth element exalted above spirit, to which it has gained control via physical manifestation and willful action. The two upturned points are symbolic of the rampant horns of the goat, further enhanced by the fact that the card is exalted in Mars (creative energy and willpower).
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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
Third the RWS is a Christian deck and the Thoth deck is a Pagan one.
Indeed. The Thoth depiction of The Devil is of the Pagan (Greek) God Pan. He is depicted as a Goat. He is often understood to be the ultimate represent of the Pagan God The Horned One. This further links his association to the Astrological Sign of Capricorn (The Goat, also, the charm on The Devil in Tarot of the Vampyres).

The name Pan means "all, or everything" in Greek. (The Witches God, Farrar & Farrar, p. 75). It is thought to be the derriviative of the word "panic" (which also hails from the Greek language); "Pan causes irration wild fear in the noonday silence of a deserted mountainside" (Pinsent, p. 76).

Linked to the Roman God Faunus, Pan was a lady's man who often lusted after feminine creatures who frequently met their demise due to his obsession. After his successful seducing Moon Goddess Selene, she was killed for allowing herself to be seduced by him at the hands of Boreas (the North Wind). A mountain nymph named Echo refused Pan, and he had her killed personally. Chasing after a nymph known as Syrinx; she had her father turn her into reeds. In his anger, Pan cut them down and turned the reeds into his famous pan-pipes and named them "Syrinx after her" (p. 77).

Ergo, despite his "positive" qualities of being the God of Nature, often he would allow drive and will to over-rule common sense. His determination would become an obsession and would end in tragedy for himself (and most notably, for others).

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Fourth the court cards are different in the RWS and the Thoth, and the Tarot of Vampyres follows the Thoth one. There is no King court card in the Thoth, Crowley replaced it with the Prince. Crowley changed their attributes. In the Golden Dawn decks. and RWS too, the Pages are earth, the Knights air, the Queens water and the Kings are fire. In the Thoth deck the Princesses are earth, the Princes are air, the Queens are water and the Knights are fire, only the Knights are on horses. If you check the Tarot of Vampyres the court cards on horses, the Lords, are fire too, the Queens water, Princes are air too and the Princesses are earth.
I've already acknowledged his, and will not waste time or space by addressing it again...

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The Mother Goddess has a dark side, the Crone, Death. And like I said, when there is a Tsunami, it's definitevely the Crone doing some reaping, and I doubt she cares about who she hurts at that moment.
I beg to differ. A Tsunami does not just occur out of a vacuum, there is a reason for it. There are weather patterns that create the Tsunami because said patterns must be followed through. The Tsunami is not a vengeance tactic, it is simply an natural phenomena that occurs for a reason. Mother Nature's Crone aspect may rule the destructive weather force, but I do not believe that the wise old crone does not care whom she hurts or that said Tsunami has occurred for a negative reason; I believe that there is a lesson to be learnt. I'm not saying that said victims 'deserved' this natural disaster, but rather that the Crone saw reason for an enlightenment of world-view due to said disaster. Ex. Be prepared, heed the warnings, take out insurance, value your loved ones, etc.

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But when I was talking about the Devil (the God Pan), I was talking about that untamed impulse of life, it shows the God Pan after all, who put his seeds all over the place to give life. Don't confuse the end of the suits with the Devil.
I am not confused, I was simply demonstrating how Crowley realized and depicted negative to positive, and how too much positive can lead to the negative. Like I said, checks and balances, ebb and flow, etc. I was exemplifying how Crowley's ideals supported my interpretation of the card. [See above for the more negative connotations of the God Pan.]

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Like the Six of Knives, which means Science in the Thoth and the card does not show someone travelling in some boat, but some really smart vampire using the knife to focus his active mind.
They are not meanings so much as they are a single "Keyword". They were created from Qabalastic and Astrological associations to each card in question, combined in a reasonable form which was derived from a mathematical equation, hoping to summarize possible interpretations of the card. They are not definitive, and do often do not encompass all possible meanings. See DuQuette's Understanding the Aliester Crowley Thoth Tarot page 206 titled "Recipe for the Small Cards" for further understanding of the concept.
Science may be the Keyword presented on the card, but DuQuette includes the divinitory meanings of "Labour, work, journey by water. Success after anxiety and trouble; self-esteem, beauty, conceit, but sometimes modesty therewith; dominance, patience, labour, etc." (p.286) which he cites came from "A Description of the Cards, Equinox I(7), pp.143-210." (p.327).


Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
By the way this is a part of the book Phantasmagoria about this card:
Thanks much, for this!

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The Devil portrayed here is not the evil figure as characterized by some interpretation of the Bible, but rather an image of fiery creative energy.
This clearly defines the link to the God Pan...

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
As the trump card of Capricorn, his nature is that of a wild mountain goat, representing cosmic creative energy in its most material and masculine aspect. He embodies our instinctive lust for life and the burst of energy that brings new life into existence.
This supports my interpretation of the Material ruling over the Spiritual (which often leads to negative happenings). It also supports your more positive interpretation of the card as being that of creation. We each have our own interpretations of this card, one more positive (yours) one more negative (mine). Both of which are needed to achieve balance and the totality of possible meanings; the positive and negative aspects of the card.

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The powerful arching horns represent divine spiral energy, materialized in earthly form - Capricorn being the most impulsive and initiative of the earth signs.
On the topic of Capricorn and The Devil who "share an important trait: both understand all too well the trials and temptations of the material world" (Tarot and Astrology, Kenner, p. 63). Kenner goes on to state: "marny of [The Devil's] characteristics happen to be derived from Pan [...] Pan was a god of physical pleasures, including sexuality, food and drink [...] Because of his association with Pan, the Devil has come to symbolize erotic pleasure, wild behavior and unbridled desire" (Kenner, p. 64).

The Devil (the title Daniels gave to the card, further linking it's meaning to the Christian mythos) is "connected to sin and temptation [...] lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. [...] wealth and material success can liberate us - or enslave us" (Kenner, p. 63). This supports our opposing views on this card. The key between our interpretations lie in the task of balance.

Capricorns, likewise, "are keenly aware of their social status. [...] they are constantly climbing, and constantly seeking greener pastures" (Kenner, p. 63). Capricorn "rules the tenth house of career and social status - both of which often come at a great expense," they are "the sign of tangible property, material resources and physical existance" (Kenner, p. 64).

As Capricorn is ruled by Saturn "the planet of boundaries and limitations", the additive of The Devil makes for the association "with both the pleasures and pain of physical existance" (Kenner, p. 63). Kenner states that "both Saturn and the physical universe operate according to scientific law and principles of reason" (p. 30). This actually emphasizes my beliefs on your Tsunami/Crone/Nature scenario. She goes on to state that Saturn is the "planet of structure, boundaries, limitations, and restrictions" (p. 30). Saturn "serves as a reminder that reasonable people also recognize their limits, and make wise choices to make the most of the time and space they're allotted" (p. 30). -The warning of the Capricorn symbol upon The Devil's chest, "the sign of work and responsibility" (Kenner, p. 31).

Quote:
Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The Devil has an insatiable animalistic passion that reaches up into heaven and down into the centre of the earth, connecting earth energy with divine inspiration. [...] The Devil can represent a spiritual awakening if we gain control over our unbalanced animal instincts by reuniting them with our higher self, where they are transformed into a more natural, sensual bliss. This illustrates that the Devil card is both our animalist lusts exalted to a higher spiritual plane, as well as the anchoring of our divine creative inspiration in the deep earth.
This enforces the message of balance needed to bring forth the creative aspects of the card.

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The two angels embody our higher self enthralled and impassioned within our physical being, enraptured in their sensuality and passion[...]
Which enforces the idea behind Body being the prison of Spirit. The chains that the RWS uses to symbolize the connection to our desires and our position. Which I believe are represented in The Tarot of the Vampyres by the choker-like ribbon-wrap necklaces upon the angels necks.

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
This cauldron contains all the potency of life seething into new possibilities.
This supports your creative manifestation interpretation of the card.

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
As the zenith of midwinter (Saturn), the Devil also illustrates the heedless driving force of life reaching from the dark earth into light, much like the fermenting forms of nature such as insects and ivy craving for life.
See above for more references to Saturn.
The information presented on the ivy supports my theory of the "vines" choking out all life around it. -Daniels interpretation of the ivy is much more positive than mine, however! ;]

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Originally Posted by WolfyJames View Post
The reversed pentagram is a symbol of the earth element exalted above spirit, to which it has gained control via physical manifestation and willful action.
This is an interesting interpretation of the up-turned pentagram. I must admit I have never thought of it this way. Perhaps it is due to the negative connotation the over-turned pentagram of the Satanists has generated (due to the Christian's misunderstanding, of course). Note to self: read-up more on Satanism. ;]

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The two upturned points are symbolic of the rampant horns of the goat, further enhanced by the fact that the card is exalted in Mars (creative energy and willpower).
Linking The Devil, again to Capricorn.
The note on it being exalted in Mars is truly the only definitive Thoth like reference in this passage.

Regarding Mars, and presumably Daniels' phrase "most material and masculine aspect", it "is the warrior planet of energy, aggression, assertiveness, and self-defense" (Tarot and Astrology, Kenner, p. 25). Kenner goes on to say that Mars can "symbolize quick, sudden bursts of energy and power [...] intensity, potency, drive and desire [...] confidence and power [...] sexuality, stamina, and strength" (p. 25). Mars "governs ambition, aggression, assertiveness, and impulse" which must be checked by balance (Kenner, p. 25). Of course, Mars also rules over "sports and competitions [...] war [...and...] battle (Kenner, p. 25). There is nothing bad/evil about any of these aspects in moderation, but again, I suggest that balance is the key to their usage.

Looking to Crowley, now: He does associate his Devil with Pan (a given). He refers to Pan as "the All-Begetter" (The Book of Thoth, Crowley, p. 105). Crowley definitely stresses The Devil as "creative energy in it's most material form" (Crowley, p. 105). His depiction and explanation of the card holds rather positive undertones, but the divination means he provides interestingly enough lean more towards the negative (giving no positive/negative or light/shadow differentiation): "Blind impulse, irresistibly strong and unscrupulous, ambition, temptation, obsession, secret plan about to be executed; hard work, obstinacy, rigidity, aching discontent, endurance" (Crowley, p. 258).

Duquette provides The Devil's title as "The Lord of the Gates of Matter" (Understanding Aliester Crowley's Thoth Tarot, p. 137). He states that The Devil card "is the most universally misunderstood character of the entire deck"; to which we can both agree upon (p.137). What I found very interesting is "the Devil has truly been the scapegoat for all the perceived evils that could befall us, and the sinful temptations that are constantly luring us towards self-destruction" (p.137). -I've never made the connection between scapegoat and The Devil/Pan! Very appropriate, I think. Duquette ponders over the assumption that "the Devil is supposed to be the card that represents evil" (p. 137) and comes to the conclusion that it "is something other than the ultimate evil" (p. 138) which we also can both agree upon. The statement "the Devil is just God as misunderstood by the ignorant and wicked" -I believe this enforces Daniels interpretation for the over-turned pentacle (DuQuette, p. 138). Crowley's Devil "is the Devil the world has been taught to fear. He is life itself, unrestrained, in mad love and seeking to grow and unite with absolutely everything" (DuQuette, p. 138). -This enforces the creative aspect of the Thoth The Devil and Tarot of the Vampyres Devil's cauldron. DuQuette simply parrots Crowley's divination keywords on page 280.

While I am starting to see how your Thoth interpretation of this card can be seen in Daniels' Tarot of the Vampyres Devil, I still hold that this particular card has much more RWS symbolism and therefore RWS-based traditional meanings. -It should be noted that within the passage that you provide, Daniels does not refute my interpretation, but rather enforces it, as his passage also supports yours.
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Well, that does not change the fact that Ian Daniels also uses the Thoth quaballah as well for his deck.

I also want to point that in Wicca, the first degree symbol is the the Inverted Triangle representing the Goddess Aradia.

The symbol of the second degree is the Inverted Pentagram, the symbol of the Horned One, Kernunnos. It has the shape of an Goat’s Head. The second degree is the Inner Journey or the search within oneself, where we have to learn to let go and surrender ourselves to Kernunnos. The color of the second degree is black representing the journey to the Underworld.

The symbol of the third degree is the upright Triangle, symbol of Spirit and of Fire, the True Fire, the fire of Wisdom that consumes all dualities, representing the union of the Goddess and the God and the end of duality, it embodies their inseparability.

Well, I just want to say a Inverted Pentagram is not bad in any way and its presence on the Devil card makes perfect sense.

Considering there are some similarities between Thelema and Wicca, and Crowley has always viewed the Inverted Pentagram in a good way, unlike the Golden Dawn, I'm sure there must be something similar in Thelema about the Inverted Pentagram.
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I also want to point that in Wicca, the first degree symbol is [...etc...]
Though, much of Wicca does not contain such systems of hierarchy. Even with those that do, not all use the symbols you describe for their divisions and initiations.
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Though, much of Wicca does not contain such systems of hierarchy. Even with those that do, not all use the symbols you describe for their divisions and initiations.
You mean all the Wiccan eclectics who are not in covens don't use such degrees. But those in covens do have degrees, especially the Garderians and the Alexdrians.
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You mean all the Wiccan eclectics who are not in covens don't use such degrees. But those in covens do have degrees, especially the Garderians and the Alexdrians.
Not everyone who practices within a systematic study (or coven-format) is within a coven...
Regardless, this is all off topic. And shall be my last post on such! ;]
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