Paul Joseph Rovelli



Initiation & the Major Atus
(as They Appear on the Tree-of-Life)

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The Court Cards

In ancient Greece, everything was considered to be composed of some combination of the four elements:

• Fire Suit of Wands
• Water Suit of Cups
• Air Suit of Swords
• Earth Suit of Disks

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Minor Arcana - Wands

Ace of Wands

Primal Will or Drive

This card is an overt phallic image and represents the undeveloped or seeded potential of this energy. Seed is an apt pun for sperm as the sexual drive is one of the strongest in the human organism.

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Minor Arcana - Cups

Ace of Cups

Primal Emotional Source

As the Ace of Wands is primarily Phallic, so the Ace of Cups is primarily Vaginal. These two suits of course, are complementary in nature. While the Ace of Wands produces the seed and is actively forthcoming in nature, this card is receptive and passive.

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Minor Arcana - Swords

Ace of Swords

Primal Intellect

The seed source of the intellect is a sword; again, phallic in design. at this level of consciousness, we are not as close to the life source as with the Ace of Wands. And get with this energy, we interpret what comes from there. We then organize this created data into a viable system.

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Minor Arcana - Disks

Ace of Disks

Primal Manifested Energy

The Disk correlates to the Cup (Vagina) in like manner as the Sword to the Phallus. The suit is the crystallization of all the energy of the preceding three suits; and yet is more like the first suit of Wands but in a different manner that’s unique to the material plane.

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Tarot - Universe (XXI)

The Universe: Essence of Being

This Atu comes at the end of all and as life is cyclic, so we find an intimation of renewing the cycle again.

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Tarot - Aeon (XX)

The Aeon: Purification

This Atu has attributed to it the Hebrew letter Shin (which translates as tooth) and the Greek element of Fire (which has a double duty in representing the Hermetic element of Spirit).

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Tarot - Sun (XIX)

The Sun: Soul of Life

The light of the Sun removes the doubt of the Moon (previous Atu) and brings with it freedom.

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Tarot - Moon (XVIII)

The Moon: Guardian of Secrets

Atu XVIII has the Hebrew letter Qoph attributed to it. Qoph represents the back of the head; particularly the cerebellum which functions to maintain the body’s equilibrium.

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Tarot - Star (XVII)

The Star: Dancing Goddess

This Atu in the Thelemic schemata has attributed to it the Hebrew letter Heh as opposed to Tzaddi which is traditional.

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Tarot - Tower (XVI)

The Tower: Herald of Dharma, Harbinger of Truth

Connecting Netzach with Hod, this Atu represents the spiral energy of the universe in its' material form.

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Tarot - Devil (XV)

The Devil: The Leaping Goat

Atu XV connects Hod with Tiphareth on the Tree-of-Life and has attributed to it, Capricorn and the Hebrew letter Ayin which translates as 'Eye'.

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Tarot - Art (XIV)

Art: Consummation of the Royal Marriage

Atu XIV represents the path on the Tree-of-Life which leads from Yesod to Tiphareth, and has Sagittarius and the Hebrew letter Sameck attributed to it.

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Tarot - Death (XIII)

Death: The Dance of Initiation

The Zodiacal sign of Scorpio is attributed to this card. And Scorpio has three aspects attributed to it.

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Tarot - Hanged Man (XII)

The Hanged Man: The Way of Love

In the old aeon and for those last two thousand some odd years, we have been asked to place our faith in one god or another.

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Tarot – Lust (XI)

Lust: The True Power of Command

As Adjustment (the complementary counterpart with this Atu) deals with the equilibration of opposites, so does the position of this path on the Tree of Life. The influence of Chesed on Geburah (Mercy and Severity respectively) add to this dynamic. In alchemy this is shown as a naturally occurring marriage of elements which is both creative and chaotic. It is up to the will of individual stars to add form and force to this.

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Tarot – Fortune (X)

Fortune: The Wheel in Perennial Motion

The incalculable factor known by those whom study Thelemic Gnosticism as ‘ordeal x’ is the one single factor that makes forecasting with Tarot cards (or even the weather) an inexact science. We can think about this as that element that occurs in the course of the events of our lives that is simply unforeseeable and happenstance. Or even this can be considered as the chaotic collisions resulting from the constant (and often mindless) movement of all things.

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Tarot – The Hermit (IX)

The Hermit: The Hermaphroditic Source

The first and natural inclination in contemplating this Atus is to say that the Hermit is one who moves within. Of course, if you ruminate even further and have a mystical bend to your thoughts, you would recognize that the source of being is a movement from within to without. For this alone would you have obtained a rudimentary understanding of this Major Arcana card.

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Tarot – Adjustment (VIII)

Adjustment: The Equilibration of Opposites

The court cards describe the process of Tetragrammaton and this card refers to a specific moment in that process. The final adjustment of this formula is when the daughter (Heh final) is redeemed by her marriage with the son (Vau) and set up on the throne of the mother (Heh) to awaken the eld of the All Father (Yod). This is the completion of this formula of Hebrew letters: IHVH (the four lettered name of God).

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Tarot – The Chariot (VII)

The Chariot: The Adepts Sacrifice

Cancer as attributed to the Chariot (ATU VII), calls in the Priestess (ATU II) as the moon which rules Cancer is attributed to her. It also calls in Fortune (ATU X) as Jupiter which is exalted in Cancer is attributed to it. Study of these two cards is a good prelude to understanding the Chariot.

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Tarot - The Lovers (VI)

The Lovers: Virtue of the One Becoming the All

What is immediately apparent in this card (Atu VI) is the attribution of Gemini which is ruled by Mercury. Both the astrological sign and its planetary ruler are of an intellectual or mental plane denomination (at least on certain levels). Further, to enhance this angle for interpretation is the attribution of the Hebrew letter Zain, which means Sword and is suggesting the mental plane as the suit of Swords does in the Minor Arcana.

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Tarot – The Hierophant (V)

The Hierophant: Mother of Initiation or The Vestal Virgin Returns

The main business of the Hierophant and of all Magick is the uniting of the microcosm with the macrocosm. This results in the initiation of the adept. The magickal formula by which this is achieved in the present stage of human evolution is ‘love under will’ as suggested in our analysis of the Empress.

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Tarot – The Emperor (IV)

The Emperor: The Authority of the Initiate

In the world of Tarot deck publication we are besieged with a potpourri of designer decks from non-initiates with one fetish or another. At best, they popularize the medium and at their worst, they promulgate ignorance. Either way, they are an abomination that confuses the Western Mystery Tradition with the profane world of consumer culture.

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Tarot - The Empress (III)

Empress: Goddess of Love

The path of the Priestess (last issue) carries us over the abyss and crosses the path of the Empress on its way to Kether (actually to Binah as the serious student of Magick will learn). The Empress is then the door leading us into the Supernal Triad. For this, the Hebrew letter Daleth, meaning ‘door’, is assigned. Her path connects Chokmah with Binah — or the Father with the Mother.

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Tarot – The Priestess (II)

The Priestess of the Silver Star: Midwife of Initiation

The universe as we understand it, is dual in nature (i.e. black and white; good and bad; etc.). It manifests archetypally in the masculine and the feminine with transcendence being the result of their union. This concept is triune in form and represents the totality of existence which itself emerges from naught. If you are familiar with the Qabalah, this should be quite clear.

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Tarot – The Magus (I)

The Logos and its Creation

Mercury is the bearer of the Wand and is attributed to the Magus. That is, Mercury or the Magus is the director of energy. This energy is the Logos or the Will of God. As it has been written, “In the beginning was the Logos” or the word. This word is the word of creation and it is silence. It is the manifestation of the idea of the All-Father.

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Tarot - The Fool (0)

The Fool: Namesake of the Master

Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the first of the three mother letters. It is written in such a manner as to represent a plowshare and is translated as Ox. Aleister Crowley says the significance of this is primarily phallic in that it represents the initial impulse of the universe.

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