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The Path of The Emperor


In the book of Thoth, Crowley states that the Emperor's power is derived from Chokmah and brought to Tipareth, yet on his diagram in the back of the very same book, he fills in the Star on this path. He gives the path from Sephiroth 7 to 9 as the path of the Emperor, which is in conformity with Crowley's switching of the star, and attributing of Tzaddi to the Emperor.
My question is why did Crowley make the statement about the power derived from Chokmah? Surely he is aware of the path he himself has given the Emperor, so what is his reasoning of writing this? Is there a mystery contained within, or is it to confuse readers, or possibly test them?? Any thoughts?
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Greetings hope you are well .

the use of qabalah in explaining where and how energies manifest thruout the tree is very useful in understanding tarot .

Crowley as most of us have found seems more than adept at manipulating these energies to suit some of his ideas .

I think to help in putting this in perspective the sefiroth of chockmah has a quality amongst others of the father and the infinte wisdom this implies ,the paternal power. the creative word.Now adding this to what you know about the nature of the emperor and you can see how the emporer (the king) has attributes of the father (chokmah).

Remember a force that emanates in one place higher up in the tree can show up elsewhere on a lower arc as it were .

these symbols have a way of contradicting themselves so its a matter of knowing how a SYMBOL can be positive on one level but the same symbol on another plane can alter becoming negative .
the confusion arrives in our view when trying to be in 2 places at once .
Also the emperor only changes some attributes when the TZaddi -HE riddle is applied (roman numerals)card numbers remain same but thelemic interprtation (letters-signs and values )move.

.At the point of Crowley, when he writes of the emperor in the book of thoth.He is talking i think about the function of the emperor .and not including his thelemic take at this time, merely expanding on what the card is, for us who want to know somthing of the nature of this aspect ,

He is talking about the characteristics of the emperor- fatherly ,patrnal, pahaps talking about the emperor in its most exalted sense hence refering to chockmah to expain what the emperors position iswhen exercising his benovelence upon his son etc.Even thou remember the card placement as you mentioned is between yesod and netzach.

so to conclude hope this makes sense the "old" fellow sitting cross legged is a male energy he is a ruler, fatherly (chkmh energies) but disguised .the energy is martian (aries ) of the spring the emperor path connects 7 venus netzach victory with 9 moon yesod foundation .he uses of the energy of spring and applies its energy to setting foundations establisng order

regards Bagheera
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Thank You


Thank you for your response. It opened up a few ideas in my mind that now have the card making a little more sense. I think it is interesting, how if the Emperor is placed in either path, he seems to fit. This was one of my initial confusions about the card, but after what you said, it seems as though my confusion about the card was the solution itself...
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Question Odd.


The whole subject of the attribution of The Emperor/Tzaddi and The Star/Heh is very confusing. From the evidence presented in The Book of Thoth it hard to figure out what is going on.

The source of the switch is one particular verse in The Book of the Law.

1:57... All these old letters of my Book are aright ; but (Tzaddi) is not the Star....

Ok, fine. But Crowley's explanation in The Book of Thoth muddies the water completely. On pages 8-11 & 38-40 Crowley gives his explanation of the switch. But then the problems start.

On p.78 in his description of The Emperor, Crowley describes the card as if it were in it's old place on the Tree of Life, between Chockmah and Tiphareth in complete contradiction to the diagrams in the book.

On p.255 Crowley gives the divinatory meanings for The Emperor but the little prose-poem above it corresponds to The Star. The divinatory meaning for The Star on p.259 is the exact opposite. The Emperor's prose poem is connected with The Star's divinatory meanings.

On p.278 there's a strange error in the correspondence table. The Emperor is given the astrological attribution of Aquarius and The Star is given as Aries. Huh ? The contradicts both the text of the book and the actual cards.

What was Crowley up to when he wrote this book ? I can think of three possible explanations but there may be more.

1) Crowley was unsure/confused about the Emperor/Tzaddi - Star/Heh switch.
2) The Book of Thoth was just badly edited/checked for mistakes before publishing.
3) Crowley is hinting at something completely different. The apparent confusion in the attributions is designed to draw our attention to it.
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There are a few examples in the Book of Thoth where card description etc. do not match the deck. That makes me think that perhaps much of his ideas were being developed as the book was being written/cards being painted, rather than the ideas had existed for a long time, before he got the chance/desire to make the project real.

Does anyone know off hand the timetime for the writting of the Book of Thoth, in comparison to the receiving of the Book of Law. I realise the creation took years, but still there could be plenty of opportunity for "seat of your pants" editing I guess. Perhaps he wrote certain parts of the book, and didn't edit them after deciding that exchanging Tzaddi and Heh was the solution.

I found this quote from "The Law Is for All" which I am assuming is a later publication than "The Book of Law" and so the confusion has been weeded out by then... (Or am I way off base here?)

Quote:
Tzaddi is the letter of the Emperor, the Trump IV, and He is the Star, the Trump XVII. Aquarius and Aries are therefore counterchanged, revolving on the pivot of Pisces, just as in the Trumps VIII and XI, Leo and Libra, do about Virgo. This last revelation makes our Tarot attributions sublimey, perfectly, flawlessly symmetrical.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by similia
Does anyone know off hand the timetime for the writting of the Book of Thoth, in comparison to the receiving of the Book of Law.
Crowley wrote the Book of Thoth much later in life - between the years of 1938-43. In contrast he received the Book of the Law in 1904, but it is widely reported that it took him some years to figure out which atu, if "tzaddi is not the star", should be in its place. I have no idea when he figured this out, though - maybe someone does?

Either way, I too am perplexed by the mix-up in the BOT. Given that this change was hailed as something of a revelation, as bringing a symmetry to the relation of the zodiac with the tarot, one cannot countenance the idea that it would have slipped his mind when writing the descriptions of these cards. Given the diligence which is evident in his other works it seems highly out of character. To my mind, then, there are only two possible explanations: either the mix-up is deliberate (but then I find this equally confusing), or there were amendments by the publisher, accidental or otherwise.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiral
Crowley wrote the Book of Thoth much later in life - between the years of 1938-43. In contrast he received the Book of the Law in 1904, but it is widely reported that it took him some years to figure out which atu, if "tzaddi is not the star", should be in its place. I have no idea when he figured this out, though - maybe someone does?
Well, Crowley was experimenting with the new attribution as early as 1923. In a diary entry for the 7th September 1923 Crowley tries to find a correspondence between the letters of his magical motto, TO MEGA THERION, and the Tarot trumps. Next to one of the letters he wrote 'IV or XVII', which suggests that he was uncertain about the attribution at that time and was using The Emperor and The Star on an either/or basis in his calculations.

I find this quote from one of Harris's letters quite interesting as well.
Quote:
Have you seen that all the Sephiroths in the Index are spelled wrong, at least nearly all--an awful bother if they get printed like that. Also I don't feel you have made it clear about Tzaddi--The Emperor. Can't you have a diagram? I have been reading your book to Ann Christie in the evenings & altho she is very interested she could not understand your book and I am not sure I did in the end. It will be a point about which there will be the most argument. Is there any reason for the 2 loops except secrecy? Surely! & if not why not undo the loop & is the Emperor to be numbered 17 or IV or 4 or 17 ditto Star also Strength XI and Justice VIII. I expect I have still got it all wrong but if I have, you must be clearer because I am only just below sub-normal intelligence. A bientot

Frieda Harris
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Random thoughts...


I have noticed that if you lay out the Tarot trumps as indicated in The Book of the Law, chp.3 verse 73, The Emperor and The Star pair up together. I don't know if that has any deeper significance or not.

The switch of the cards on the Tree of Life makes sense to me from a Thelemic perspective. In one way it symbolises the goddess Nuit taking the place of the patriarchal, authoritarian demiurge Jehovah, symbolised by The Emperor. And as Crowley points out (somewhere?) it brings together the 3 mothers on the Tree of Life. (It does disturb the Alchemical trinity though. But with the letter Heh being the feminine component of IHVH it seems to fit perfectly.)

Meanwhile The Emperor on the path between Yesod and Netzach is a symbol of self discipline and the powers of logic and reason needed to deal safely with the subconscious and the imagination. Quite apt when you consider how many people on the occult path fall into the pit of self delusion and fantasy.

I find this quote from Crowley's qabalistic fairy tale, The Wake World, printed (1907) in Konx Om Pax interesting. While the passage is attributed to the path of Tzaddi and The Star it seems to suggest that, even at this early date, Crowley thought The Star would be better placed somewhere on the Lightning Flash 777. And that's where it's ended up.
Quote:
Then there was another passage which was really too secret for anything; all I shall tell you is, there was the most beautiful Goddess that ever was, and she was washing herself in a river of dew. If you ask her what she is doing, she says: "I'm making thunderbolts." It was only starlight, and yet one could see quite clearly, so don't think I'm making a mistake.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418
Well, Crowley was experimenting with the new attribution as early as 1923. . . . Next to one of the letters he wrote 'IV or XVII', which suggests that he was uncertain about the attribution at that time and was using The Emperor and The Star on an either/or basis in his calculations.
I took part in a debate on TarotL concerning this whole topic. This is a summary of the material I found. At the end is a list of statements that contradict the majority of the findings.

CROWLEY’s EMPEROR-STAR COUNTERCHANGE
evidence gathered by Mary K. Greer

Here is all the evidence I have found in The Book of Thoth regarding Crowley’s intention for the Emperor-Star counterchange.

1) Under the heading: “The Roman Numbers of the Trumps,” p. 39-40. [IV=Emperor=Aries]

“The card called Adjustment is marked VIII. The card called Lust is marked XI. To maintain the natural sequence, Lust must be attributed to Libra, and Adjustment to Leo. This is evidently wrong, because the card called Adjustment actually shows a woman with sword and scales, while the card called Lust shows a woman and a lion.
“It was quite impossible to understand why this reversal should have taken place until the events of March and April, 1904, which are recounted in detail in “The Equinox of the Gods”. One need here give only one quotation; “All these old letters of my Book are aright; but [tzaddi] is not the Star”. (AL. I. 57.) . . . The card which must be exchanged for “The Star” is “The Emperor,” who bears the number IV, which signifies Power, Authority, Law, and is attributed to the sign Aries. This proves very satisfactory.”

2) Written on the mats framing the cards by Frieda Harris. [IV=Emperor=Tzaddi=Aries; XVII=Star=Hé=Aquarius]
Note letter from Frieda Harris to Crowley, September 18, 1939(?):
“I don't feel you have made it clear about Tzaddi--The Emperor. Can't you have a diagram? I have been reading your book to Ann Christie in the evenings & altho she is very interested she could not understand your book and I am not sure I did in the end. It will be a point about which there will be the most argument. Is there any reason for the 2 loops except secrecy? Surely! & if not why not undo the loop & is the Emperor to be numbered 17 or IV or 4 or 17 ditto Star also Strength XI and Justice VIII. I expect I have still got it all wrong but if I have, you must be clearer because I am only just below sub-normal intelligence.”

3) Crowley’s own words describing individual cards (see card descriptions) [IV=Emperor=Tzaddi=Aries; XVII=Star=Hé=Aquarius]

"IV. Emperor - This card is attributed to the letter Tzaddi, and it refers to the sign of Aries." p.77
"XVII. The Star - "This card is attributed to the letter Hé, as has been explained elsewhere. It refers to the Zodiacal sign of Aquarius." p. 109.

4) On the Tree of Life+Tarot diagram on page 268 where [Path 28=IV=Emperor=Tzaddi=Aries;
Path 15=XVII=Star=Hé=Aquarius]:

Path 15 (Chokmah to Tiphareth) is labeled “Hé-Aquarius-Star-XVII”
Path 28 (Netzach to Yesod) is labeled “Tzaddi-Aries-Emperor-IV”

5) Concerning the "Double Loop" on p. 10 [Text: Emperor=Aries; Star=Aquarius. Diagram: IV=Aries; XVII=Aquarius]

Crowley writes: “’The Star’ is referred to Aquarius in the Zodiac, and ‘The Emperor’ to Aries. Now Aries [Emperor] and Aquarius [Star] are on each side of Pisces, just as Leo and Libra are on each side of Virgo; that is to say, the correction in the _Book of the Law_ gives a perfect symmetry in the zodiacal attribution,” p. 11. [Note that he is ONLY talking about the zodiacal attributions and not about Hebrew letters or paths.]
The “Double Loop” diagram shows only IV-Aries; and XVII-Aquarius.

6) On “The Four Scales of Color” chart, p. 279 [Path 28=color scarlet (Aries); Path15=color violet (Aquarius)]

5th item = “28. – Scarlet – Red – Brilliant Flame – Glowing Red”
18th item = “15. – Violet – Sky Blue – Bluish Mauve – White,tinged Purple”

7) On “The Essential Dignities of the Planets” chart, p.284 [Path 28=Aries; Path 15=Aquarius]

[1st item in chart] Exaltation=Sun19° - Ruler=Mars – Sign=Aries – 28
[11th item in the chart] Exaltation=Neptune 19° - Ruler=Saturn – Sign=Aquarius - 15

8) “The Atu: Mnemonics,” p. 219 lists the cards by Hebrew letter, but follows the Tarot de Marseilles numerical order (the Fool is first). [5th item=Tzaddi=Emperor; 18th item)=Hé=Star]

The Emperor is in position IV (5th card): [Tzaddi] “Sire and inceptor, Emperor and King / Of all things mortal, hail Him lord of Spring” [Note: Spring = Aries]
The Star is in position XVII (18th card): [Hé] “Nuit, our Lady f the Stars! Event / is all Thy play, sublime Experiment!”
The Hebrew letters are NOT in the correct order. There is no listing in BoT that puts the letters&cards in “correct” Hebrew order.

9) In “The Vital Triads” list, p. 287 (IV=Emperor; XVII=Star)

The Three Goddesses: XVII = The Mother [Star] (along with: II=The Virgin; III=The Wife)
The Three Demiurges: IV = The Ruler [Emperor] (along with: X=The All Father 3 in 1; V=The Son (Priest))

10) We also have evidence in the catalog, written by Frieda Harris, dated July 1, 1942, for an exhibition of the paintings at the Berkeley Galleries, London:

“Item 5 IV. The Emperor. Aries. Tzaddi”
“Item 18 XVII. The Star. Aquarius. Daleth*”
*This is obviously an error and should read Hé– just as both Adjustment and Lust are given the Hebrew letter Teth, whereas Adjustment should read Lamed.

11) See item 4, under “Contradictions.”

Thus we have ten-and-a-half confirmations that Crowley meant some, if not all, of the following:

IV-Emperor-Aries-Tzaddi-Path 28
XVII-Star-Aquarius-Hé-Path 15

Thus, no recoloring or renumbering of the cards is required.

CONTRADICTIONS

1) We have ONE contradiction of the zodiacal attributions in the chart on page 278. which could be an easy mistake if one reads the chart from right-to-left. (What appears in the chart is the standard Hebrew letter to Zodiac correspondences found in the Sepher Yetzirah, which Crowley contradicts in all the places noted above.)

IV – Emperor – Tzaddi – 90,900 – Aquarius – Fish-hook – 28
XVII – Star – Hé – 5 –Aries – Window - 15


2) We have ONE contradiction of the path of the Emperor where it says on page 78 that the Emperor's "authority is derived from Chokmah . . . and exerted upon Tiphareth" (that is, Path 15). This is true is the GD system, which Crowley had used for many long years before his final "switch" and may have been an ingrained concept that just slipped out.
His text for The Star says nothing about the Paths directly, but does reference the Abyss - which Path 15 crosses (but Path 28 does not).

3) “The Key Scale” diagram, p. 266. This is a Tree of Life diagram that places “Hé-Window” on Path 15 (Chokmah to Tiphareth), and “Tzaddi-Fish-hook” on Path 28 (Netzach to Yesod). It does not show the astrological sign, nor the Tarot association. In his description of the diagram, p. 267, Crowley says: “This diagram illustrates the conventional theory of the structure of the Universe adopted as convenient for the purposes of calculation in the Book called The Tarot.” As the “conventional theory” it depicts the Tree as designed by Kirchner and used by the Golden Dawn.

These three contradictions are easily explained as being standard GD attributions with which Crowley worked for over thirty years before instituting his Emperor-Star counterchange, which appears for the first, and only, time in The Book of Thoth. Only the first of these contradictions seems to be an out-and-out error.

4) “General Characteristics of the Trumps as They Appear in Use,” p. 255 & 259. Item labeled IV consists of a verse that describes the Star and card meanings that describe the Emperor. Item labeled XVII consists of a verse that describes the Emperor and card meanings that describe the Star. Therefore this item is half “contradiction” and half “consistent” with what I see as Crowley’s intention (see top).
“IV: Pour water on thyself: thus shalt thou be / a Fountain to the Universe. / Find thou thyself in every Star. / Achieve thou every possibility. War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition, originality, overweening confidence and megalomania, quarrelsomeness, energy, vigour, stubbornness, impracticability, rashness, ill-temper.
“XVII: Use all thine energy to rule thy thought: burn/ up thy thought as the Phoenix. Hope, unexpected help, clearness of vision, realization of possibilities, spiritual insight, with bad aspects, error of judgment, dreaminess, disappointment.”
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Nice post Teheuti.

There's one point that I'm still not quite happy with though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Teheuti
2) We have ONE contradiction of the path of the Emperor where it says on page 78 that the Emperor's "authority is derived from Chokmah . . . and exerted upon Tiphareth" (that is, Path 15). This is true is the GD system, which Crowley had used for many long years before his final "switch" and may have been an ingrained concept that just slipped out.
If it's just a slip why did Crowley get Harris to paint the Emperor with the same incorrect symbolism, ie the ray of light showing the influence from Chokmah to Tiphareth. Even if Harris was working from a description of the Emperor containing the same error surely she would have noticed it. She asked enough questions about the Emperor - Star switch to know the answer.
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