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Abrac  Abrac is offline
Join Date: 13 Aug 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,466

I switched paths 16 & 17 back to how they were before and updated the Tree diagram. After a careful review and rereading of the Adeptus Major and Adaeptus Exemptus rituals, I believe they were correct they way they were, despite appearances. I'll forgo all the technical details and just say the meanings of Zain and Vau work a lot better this way.

Traditionally, the Hierophant is Vau; what Waite appears to have done is made the Hierophant Lamed (one meaning of which is "teach") and moved Vau to the path above. In this arrangement, the Magician is seen as a "hierophant" on a higher plane—a priest and interpreter of higher mysteries; the Hierophant below is a teacher of morality on the lower planes to humanity at large. In the FRC, Adepts reaching the grade of Chesed automatically became Priests and Authorized Teachers. Another strong clue is in the number of the Chesed grade: "The Pass-Word of the Grade is Ahav, signifying Love, and thence is derived the Mystical Number, which is 8, being that of Christ the Spirit." 8, it will be remembered, is the number Waite associates with the RWS Magician. There's also the issue of the "Great Symbol of the Rose-Cross" on the front of the Magician's garment—only Adepts reaching the grade of Chesed were allowed to wear it.

The Pentagram above the Magician's head appears to be a dead giveaway that would associate him with Geburah, but things are not always as they seem. I believe it's carried over from Geburah and the previous ritual. Geburah symbolizes mystic death and an inner experience. The Great Symbol shows a naked soul clothed in the brilliant light of a Pentagram which symbolizes the Holy Spirit from Binah. Chesed symbolizes bodily resurrection and a return to the outward manifest state. To me it appears the Pentagram above the Magician's head, while in some respects does symbolize Geburah, in this case symbolizes the Spirit with which the Magician is now empowered. It's similar in meaning to the lemniscate above the Magician in the RWS, which Waite calls "the sign of the Holy Spirit." The Adeptus Exemptus (Chesed) initiation says: "The priesthood is of the inward spirit in Geburah, but of the body also in Chesed."

The Tree is also more balanced with this arrangement. Waite follows a consistent numbering pattern all the way down which a person can see in the Tree diagram; if paths 16 and 17 are switched, it throws it off. There are many other factors, but listing them all would be tedious and would probably be information overload anyway.

Sorry to flip-flop; I know that can be confusing. If anyone wants additional clarification or has comments just let me know.
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