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Maat Tarot Study Group - Strength

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Maat Tarot Study Group - Strength


The new lunar cycle proceeds under the eyes of the Gemini, the Twins, who like to manifest themselves at a line of division. This time it's the line marking the end of the Holly King's reign and the beginning of the Oak King’s, which is to say at the Winter Solstice. The Twins were present at the Summer solstice, too, but by day. This time they come by night. And nowhere does one see the night more beautifully interpreted than in the Maat tarot.

But Twins are not limited to the doorways of the year. According to ancient Egyptian mythology they also appear at dawn and dusk. In the Maat, we see the dark twin, a beautiful black man, drawing back the curtain of night. He seems to be standing with one foot in water and one on earth. The bright twin in the form of a lioness kneels down, perhaps to touch her brother's other form (the redder lion reflected in the water) so that he can take the sun from her mouth and place it up in the sky.

A long, lazy necklace of suns proceeds from her open mouth and loops around her brother creating an “8.” But the top loop of this "8" is much smaller than its bottom loop—which is the form of the analemma, the figure the sun traces upon the earth during the course of each year. Up above these Twins, the night sky has not yet disappeared. We see stars, bright and dim, singly and in drifts, some of which outline a woman’s form. She is Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the night sky and her face appears just above the dark twin’s left hand. Another “8,” one with equal loops, crowns her. We have twinned “8s.”

So what’s the deal with all these twins and how do they relate to strength?

In mythology are numerous divine or semi-divine twinsets, sometimes identical, more often not. They are frequently associated with animals and may take that form. They are almost always the offspring of an immortal father and a mortal mother. Perhaps for that reason they tend to be kind to human beings. The fraternal sets may be very unlike; in fact, dissimilarity seems to be the point. One twin could be animal, the other not; one could be mortal, the other not, one could be flesh and blood, the other a disembodied spirit. The only point at which these twins must match is this: between them they must account for the totality of whatever they represent—like day and night, heaven and earth, plants and animals. Body and soul. In the Maat’s “Strength” we also see a year and eternity, water and land, and “as above so below.”

That last phrase is important to pagans and means pretty much what it says: that everything in the cosmos will be mirrored on earth. For physical issues, that’s scarcely an article of faith. Rock dust on Mars is the same as rock dust on Earth. Our sun is one of many. The laws of physics seem to operate predictably on nearby objects at least, and one of these laws is that matter-energy is eternal. We were part of a star, once. We may be again. Yes, it’s material stuff. Easy. You can see it, touch it, do transformations on it. It’s the bright twin.

The dark twin, now—the beautiful one, so strong and so balanced. He may not be so easy. He may be transparent to our eyes and intangible on our skins. We may not be able to tell if he’s there. But he’s not unthinkable if we are strong enough.

“I think” is the key for this cycle (Maat, p. 53). And that's the Strength.
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MAAT Tarot Full Moon cycle of Gemini Nov 22 - Dec 21


Wednesday marked our entry into the full moon cycle of Gemini. Ruled by the planet Jupiter the planet of expansion, luck and even indulgence. The key phrase for Gemini is "I think". This is all very appropriete as we move into the darker shorter days before the Winter Solstice. Imagine for a moment how concerned our ancestors must have been as the daylight became shorter and shorter and in some latitudes disappeared entirely. This is when Strength would be essential as well as a good sense of how the cycles of nature progress. And here is where the twin symbolism comes into focus.

Early astronomers observed the heavens and watched as the morning stars would disappear into the sun and then a 'twin' star would appear in the early evening sky. The moon would also do this as day by day it became thinner and thinner in the early morning hours just before dawn and then would disappear into the sun in the eastern sky only for its 'twin' to appear in the early western sky during sunset. During the full moon cycle of Gemini it is the waning sun itself that disappears into the body of the Great Mother with the promise of a new waxing sun which would be born at Winter Solstice.

In the image of the Strength card we see the Egytian twins (usually twin lions) Shu and Tefnut with the sky goddess Nut. Shu (the Egyptian Atlas)
who often took the form of a man holds up the sky goddess Nut. The Sun was thought to have been devoured each night by Shu's twin sister Tefnut who took the form of a lion. In the image of Strength we see the sun being devoured by Tefnut as it heads toward point of Winter Solstice on the analemma (figure eight). In the story of Shu and Tefnut it is Shu that also takes the sun back from his sister each morning and places it back in the sky. This is really a beautiful metiphor for the relationship of these twins. the female twin in the darkest month takes the 'light' into her body (to protect it?)and her brother returns it to the sky(when the time is right?). I couldn't help but see images of the traditional images ofthe Herculean Strength in this Egytian myth. Coupling this image with full moon cycle of Gemini seemed to be good fit with the idea of twins. As well as the use of lucky,expanding and indulgent Jupiter energies to get us through the darkest month of the year by focusing on preparations for the pending celebration of the sun's return.

This card also explores the 'Oneness' of all things, eternity, and being a part of another, soulmates, twinsouls and relationships that continue beyond time and space. All very appropriate for a month full of many cross cultural holiday traditions. Remembering the source for all family traditions whether great or small begins with single couples in love who combined their family traditions into their own.

Julie
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I like this card, especially the sky. The effect of the night sky and the beginning of the day is pretty well done. The man seem to take action in the passing of time (from night to day) He even seem to salute the night sky. His feet are on some firm surface, so I guess he is grounded.
On the sky, there is a form that is floating. It makes me think of the dreams where I am floating above ground. It is a so nice sensation!
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Looking at the details of the Full Moon in Gemini cycle(Strength)


Now that we have looked at Strength and have gotten the idea behind the symbolism of Strength. Namely the relationship between the man and the lion, specifically that they are brother and sister, twins, she holds the light of the "sun" within her body and he takes that light from her and places it back in the sky. The twin phenomenon observed by ancient and modern astronomers in the behavior of stars(planets) as they pass behind the sun disappearing and reappearing in the sky.That symbolically this card speaks not just of the relationship between physical strength(typically male) and emotional strength(typically female) but of mental strength(something they have due to their reliance on each other). Strength is the ability to endure the darker times in life because of a sense of what will come next, that there will be healing, that light will be restored. Strength is also the ability to move that which is beyond human ablility to move...like the strength is would take to get the waning sun to return at winter solstice...

Now for the details found in the minor cards-

New Moon in Sagittarius-on reality, self policing and prisons of the mind
8 of Swords
This card seems to express how we zap our own strength out of fear of the unknown. Opportunity we pass up because we don't feel ready or safe enough to accept it. Knowledge or wisdom we don't see because we have been blinded by cultural bias or because we haven't got the tools to see a greater perspective. Think about your own world view/cultural bias how does this color your perceptions of the world around you? Trying to look at a situation from another point of view. How have you been unable to see a situation for what it was due to cultural beliefs which may even be false? Do we cling to some cherished misconception because we are have invested so much time in them?. How have you gained new perspective by seeing what really is there vs. what you have been told is there. How much of trusting others stems from trusting ourselves first? This card suggests endings and new beginnings of strength.
For MORE visit http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=70518

First Quarter in Pisces-Prophetic dreams, spirit contact and thngs that go bump in the night.
9 of Swords
This card represents the creative power of the waxing moon as it visits the realms the deepest subconscious. The dark month before the winter solstice is the month when we tap into the collective unconscious. Our days are filled with memories of holidays gone by...cultural traditions as well as old family traditions and the memories of loved ones who have passed away fill our minds. We prepare gatherings to celebrate life and the power and mercy of the mysteries of the universe. The power of the sun(conscious)continues to wane until the winter solstice all the while the moon's light (subconscious) remains the same and as the nights grow longer sleeping and dreaming become paramount. Become aware of your dreams if you keep a dream diary this will help you to record your dreams. Take note of long lost relations that pop into your head as well as your dreams as you prepare for the celebrations ahead. Listen for the wisdom of familiar voices as you continue the traditions they began... they are all gathered around you... the ones you know who have passed and the ones who you will know who are coming into being ...Contact with the the spirits that visit us at night in our dreams is the strength of love that is so strong that it can not be separated by death but will remain connected like the symbol of the two fish of Pisces, love is the string that ties the world of the living and the world of the dead..
For more visit:http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=70885

Full-The Full moon in Gemini-Stories of the dark queens of myth and legend, the widows, the whores, and the mysteries only she can reveal.
Queen of Swords
Imagine for a moment how the ancient people must have felt each year as the days became shorter. As the great sun stood still in the sky and in northern latitudes disappeared completely. Think about how dark it must have been when the world only had fire to light up the night. What was the world like before we had the knowledge of a heliocentric solar system and an understanding that the world was in fact round and not flat. How important would the light of this full moon have been? How comforting? What lessons of trust did it teach? The lessons of filling up and emptying out, the lessons of cycles. Imagine the comfort of the hearth of the ancient mothers and grandmothers who kept these fires. These powerful women who bled but did not die, whose bellies swelled like the moon herself and from these woman human beings sprang... both male and female. These woman were the great mothers who had and raised their children in ancient times, primitive times who comforted their tears through cold and hungry days and nights, women who where strong enough to survived and because they survived we exist. These women coupled with men some who stuck around and some who didn't, many times in the ancient past women would have raised their children alone within their own clans as the fathers of these children may have been long gone before their children were even born. Yet these strong women endured and it is because of their strength culture was created. It is the spirits of these ancient mothers who hold the secrets of civilization lost to us. They knew the ancient fathers and the stories and their secrets.

Last Quarter in Virgo-Darkness before the dawn, stories of historical betrayals.
10 of Swords
When someone finds him or herself in the position of the betrayed and heartbroken backstabbed by friends. Do a self-check to see if your dreams and aspirations have been expanding beyond your personal jurisdiction? Are you trying to control too much? Is there some outmoded habit or behavior that does not serve your life and is now just leaking energy from you and those you love? Have you crippled yourself and others by not being able to adjust to change? Have you expected others to do your bidding and been disappointed by their rebellion?‚The Roman Empire had begun as a few family farms that had prospered through cooperation. However by the time of its collapse The Roman Empire had turned into an oppressive imperial state with more slaves than citizens. Where can you find this modeled in your own life?

This is where I am coming from on Strength however all other interpretations, opinions and insights are needed and equally valid. This is just the framework or starting point. For MAAT Tarot to be alive and growing other points of view are necessary! Please add what you see.
thanks,
Julie
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Card/Number: Strength/14

Card Image: see attached

First Impression: Don't have a clue as to how it will turn out, meaning-wise, but I do love the look of this card. The colors are so vibrant, the scene almost ecstatic- more like the Thoth version of Strength/Lust, rather than the more washed out RWS version. The man and tiger are working in symphony, two halves of one whole, united in a common cause to bring balance between day and night. Their dance-like movements show the fluidity of their bond.

Card Description: A beautiful black man stands with his back facing the card, arms held high above his head and his right hand grasps the veil of dawn, pulling it into space and pushing back the night. A ring of luminated orbs swirl around him, the orbs coming from the the mouth of a great lioness who is standing beside him. They work together, fluidly, the lioness creating the light, her brother moving it through the sky. The top of the card is split- with the left side showing a beautiful starry night, the face of Nuit sitting above. To the right are the beautiful colors of the breaking dawn. The man and lioness stand side by side, the small suns encircling the man in a figure of 8 as they flow from the mouth of the lioness. On the ground there is water, with an orange cat looking out- the reflection of the man in his true form.

Masculine/Feminine/Neutral: neutral in that it is the perfect balance of male and female

Colors: black, tan, orange, pink, yellow and white

Senses: You hear a soft hum as the orbs circle around the man, the sound increasing with the speed of their movement. You feel the first rays of the sun gently caress your face. You smell and taste the dew in the air, the taste of first morning frost.

Symbols: night/day, man/animal, suns/stars

Story (intuitive): "Ugh", I think to myself, "another interpretation to have to wrap my brain around". I sigh, the card is so lovely- but I have seen so many variants of "Strength", how to work within this one, how to TRULY understand the commonality of all those variants- that seems to be my work for today. I sigh, yes, a hard task- not one to be taken lightly. "Any divine inspiration love?" I call out to my trickster consort. There is no response. Hmpft- where is He??? I hear a slight noise beside me and look over. Ah, well, there you have it. The other consort has come today. And there it is, the arched eyebrow, perfectly framing a brilliant blue eye, a part of the classic sardonic expression that I have come to know so well, belonging to a gorgeous masculine face that is attached to a killer body which today is covered in a nicely tailored, black silk suit- ah, yes, a Dior.

"Not a surprise", I think to myself with a snort. "You are picking up his bad habits." he replies, this intoned in a laconic drawl- think Alan Rickman, but without the nasal quality, and you should have it about right. "Well, hello darling!" my greeting may be a tad sarcastic. He just looks at me, sitting there with his well put-together self- hell, even his hair is perfect! I get an indescribable urge to reach over an mess it up with my hands. The eyebrow creeps up further, ah yes- he knows what I am thinking, giving me that Don't Even Think About It look. I arch my eyebrow in return, but it doesn't have the same effect- I lack the suaveness, and the eyepatch, to really pull it off as well as he does. So, I reach over and mess up his hair- grinning wildly! He sighs- yes, it is that long suffering sigh, poor baby- and rakes his hand through his hair, somehow looking even better now than before- damn him. I grumble, he chuckles. I slowly start to smile- I can't stay irritated for too long, he is my consort after all, even though he is a pain in the ass- similar to another consort that I know, my trickster. He sits back, gracefully crossing one leg over the other, the predator lion in a Dior silk suit----yummy. The glint in my eye is returned, the eyebrow lowers, the lips quirk in a Bruce Willis style grin.

He is very different from my other consort, the two of them opposites even though they are blood brothers. The Trickster and the Mage, the prankster and the serious one, the talker and the quiet one- but they both hold my heart and I cannot imagine life without either one of them. And that is when it hits me- the true meaning of the card. Diametric opposites that alone are powerful, but even more so when combined, the pieces less than the sum of their parts- yin and yang together as Tao. Summing it up---the equation of 2+2=5. That is the real meaning, that is the real mystery- shown so beautifully by the dichotomy of my two loves, the polar opposite brothers that are actually two sides of a whole. "You know, it is very annoying that you can do that without barely speaking"- I inform him, trying to act irritated- but failing miserably. "No dear," he responds softly, the soft smile playing on his lips, "I don't speak too little, it is that your other consort just never shuts up." I laugh joyously. This, this is the lust/joy that Crowley felt, this is the trust that artists have drawn, this is the art of being.

Astrologic: Full moon cycle of Gemini. The last lunar cycle before winter solstice. Planetary ruler: Jupiter

Element: ether

Keywords: surrender, faith, balance of opposites

Meanings: inner strength, lust for life/passion, a strong union of opposites meeting to create change

Quote: "I think." (from the Maat book), I personally feel it would be "2+2=5"
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Wow that is such an interesting take on this card.
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