The Sun Card and the Chaldean Oracles


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The Sun Card and the Chaldean Oracles


Whilst researching theurgy for my MA I came across an article called "Riders in the Sky - Cavalier Gods and Theurgic Salvation in the Second Century AD"by Sarah Iles Johnston, in which she says:

Quote:
The epiphany in question is that of a divinity who will manifest himself to the theurgist as a child on a horse, according to the Chaldean Oracles frag. 146.
The Chaldean Oracles fragment in question reads:

Quote:
Having spoken these things, you will behold
either a fire leaping skittishly like a child over the aery waves;
or an unformed fire from which a voice emerges;
or a rich light that whirs around the field in a spiral.
But [it is also possible] that you will see a horse flashing more brightly than light,
either also a fiery child mounted on the swift back of the horse,
covered with gold or naked;
or even a child shooting arrows, upright upon the horse's back.
We know that Hermetic magicians and members of the Golden Dawn, as well as other similar occultists were interested in the Chaldean Oracles - many of them studied them. Could it be that Arthur Edward Waite studied them, and placed the imagery of a theurgic epiphany in the Sun card?

Thuergy during this time was heavily based in Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism, in which the sun ruled over the noetic or celestial realm, (which the magician aimed to have his soul move into) whilst the moon rules over the earth. This, linked with the imagery of a theurgic epiphany, seems apt for the Sun card in the Tarot - the naked child riding a horse which is white (shining more brightly than light). Is this an explanation for what I previously considered to be rather strange imagery in the Sun card?

For those of you who wish to read the full article, you can find it in Classical Philology vol. 87, no. 4, October 1992, pp. 303-321.

Blessings,

Kiama
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Waite was familiar with it as were most students of the GD. Crowley paraphrased many parts of it in several of his poems such as 'AHA'. The Taylor translation was published by Golden Dawn founder Westcott, and is available on-line here:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/coz/index.htm

It is 198 in the Taylor/Westcotte version:

198. A similar Fire flashingly extending through the rushings of Air, or a Fire formless whence cometh the Image of a Voice, or even a flashing Light abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud. Also there is the vision of the fire-flashing Courser of Light, or also a Child, borne aloft on the shoulders of the Celestial Steed, fiery, or clothed with gold, or naked, or shooting with the bow shafts of Light, and standing on the shoulders of the horse; then if thy meditation prolongeth itself, thou shalt unite all these Symbols into the Form of a Lion.

Proc. in Pl. Polit., 380; Stanley Hist. Philos. Z. or T.

199. When thou shalt behold that holy and formless Fire shining flashingly through the depths of the Universe: Hear thou the Voice of Fire.

Psell., 14; Pletho, 25. Z


The child on a white horse is not unique to Waite/Smith, it is mentioned by Levi as one of the images for this card and appears in the Vieville.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaw

198. A similar Fire flashingly extending through the rushings of Air, or a Fire formless whence cometh the Image of a Voice, or even a flashing Light abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud. Also there is the vision of the fire-flashing Courser of Light, or also a Child, borne aloft on the shoulders of the Celestial Steed, fiery, or clothed with gold, or naked, or shooting with the bow shafts of Light, and standing on the shoulders of the horse; then if thy meditation prolongeth itself, thou shalt unite all these Symbols into the Form of a Lion.

Proc. in Pl. Polit., 380; Stanley Hist. Philos. Z. or T.

199. When thou shalt behold that holy and formless Fire shining flashingly through the depths of the Universe: Hear thou the Voice of Fire.

Psell., 14; Pletho, 25. Z
Following is a quote from the rubric of Liber Samekh, published as appendix IV in 'Magick' published Routledge and Kegan Paul 1973 [pirst published by crowley in three parts in 1911,1912 and 1929]:

The Oracles of Zoroaster utter this:
"And when, by often invoking, all the phantasms are vanished, thou shalt see that Holy and Formless Fire, that Fire which darts and flashes through all the Depths of the Universe; hear thou the Voice of the Fire!
"A similar Fire flashingly extending through the rushings of Air, or a Fire formless whence cometh the Image of a voice, or even a flashing Light abounding, revolving, whirling forth, crying aloud. Also there is the vision of the fire-flashing Courser of Light, or also a Child, borne aloft on the shoulders of the Celestial Steed, fiery, or clothed with gold, or naked, or shooting with the bow shafts or light, and standing on the shoulders of the horse, then if thy meditation prolongeth itself, thou shalt unite all these symbols into the form of a Lion."

This passage - combined with several others - is paraphased in poetry by Aleister Crowley in his "Tannhauser".

"And when, invoking often, thou shalt see
That formless Fire; when all the earth is shaken,
The Stars abide not, and the moon is gone,
All Time crushed back into Eternity,
The Universe by earthquake overtaken; Light is not, and the thunders roll,
The World is done:
When in the darkness Chaos rolls again
In the excited brain:
Then, O then call not to thy view that visible
Image of Nature; fatal is her name!
It fitteth not thy Body to behold
That living light of Hell,
The unluminous, dead flame,
Until that body from the crucible
Hath passed, pure gold!
For, from the confines of material space,
The twilight-moving place,
The gates of matter, and the dark threshold,
Before the faces of the Things that dwell
In the Abodes of Night,
Spring into sight
Demons, dog-faced, that show no mortal sign
Of Truth, but desecrate the Light Divine,
Seducing from the sacred mysteries.
But, after all these Folk of Fear are driven
Before the avenging levin
That rives the opening skies,
Behold that formless and that Holy Flame
That hath no name;
The Fire that darts and flashes, writhes and creeps
Snake-wise in royal robe
Wound round that vanished glory of the globe,
Unto that sky beyond the starry deeps,
Beyond the Toils of Time, - then formulate
In thine own mind, luminous, concentrate,
The Lion of the Light, a child that stands
On the vast shoulders of the Steed of God:
Or winged, or shooting flying shafts, or shod
With the flame-sandals.
Then, lift up thine hands!
Centre thee in thine heart one scarlet thought
Limpid with brilliance of the Light above!
Drawn into naught
All life, death, hatred, love:
All self concentred in the sole desire -
Hear thou the Voice of Fire!"

end quote from notes to rubric of Liber Samekh.

Crowley wrote Tannhausser while in Mexico in 1901.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiama

This, linked with the imagery of a theurgic epiphany, seems apt for the Sun card in the Tarot - the naked child riding a horse which is white (shining more brightly than light). Is this an explanation for what I previously considered to be rather strange imagery in the Sun card?

Kiama
Quote:
"In contrast to it, the nineteenth Key shows the direct, steady radiance of the Sun. Mr. Waite's version of this trump is a variant given by Eliphas Levi, who interprets it as "the will of the adept," and connects it with the following passage in the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster:
"Let us go further, and affirm the existence of a Fire which abounds in images and reflections. Term it, if you will, a superabundant light which radiates, which speaks, which goes back into itself. It is the flaming courser of light, or rather it is the stalwart child who overcomes and breaks in that heavenly steed. Picture him as vested in flame and emblazoned with gold, or think of him naked as love, and bearing the arrows of Eros."
Because 19=10=1, the Sun corresponds to the Magician, or Kether; and since Kether is the goal of the Path in the Moon, the child of the nineteenth Key represents the realization of personal identity with the Primal Will which is the end of conscious development. It is in this sense that the child is "the will of the adept." His horse, a domesticated animal, symbolizes the solar force, after it has been specialized and adapted to the realization of purposes determined by the selective power of the adept's will.
Because he is Kether, and Kether is identical with Ain Soph (the Fool) in all but name, the child has the same fair hair as the Fool; and from a wreath on his head rises the Fool's red feather. The wreath is of flowers, to represent the perfection of the Great Work, to accomplish which the Fool descends; even as the metal Gold, symbolized by the Sun, is the alchemical emblem of the perfection of that same work. Because the operation is accomplished through a cycle of time, the flowers of the wreath are twelve in number, to correspond to the jewels of the Fool's girdle. Here also is an allusion to the symbolism of the Wheel of Fortune, which is also analogous to the Sun. In contrast to the Fool, the child is naked; for, if "the Spirit clothes itself to come down," as Qabalists declare, it must unclothe itself to go up.
The child is the Ego, set free from the limitations of matter and circumstance, which are symbolized by the wall behind him. He is master of the solar light (the horse), and the terrestrial fire (the red banner). He is the personification of the power of the Sun which shines above him, hence the sunflowers on the wall turn toward the child. The rays of the Sun, alternately waved and salient, symbolize the alternation of the two natures, Purusha and Prakriti, male and female, objective and subjective."

End quote from An introduction to the study of Tarot by Paul Foster Case, available online here:

http://altreligion.about.com/library...asetarot24.htm

Kwaw
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