Book of Thoth: Page I
A reading of page 1 from the Book of Thoth (Waite Smith Deck)
Man dressed in red & white gown in front yellow sky.
In his right hand holding a white staff (with two ends) up high and the left hand pointing towards earth.
A lying eight hovering overhead, a white headband, a belt has the form of a serpent biting its own tail.
A thick flower garden at feet with red roses and white lilies, a massive wooden table in front and four objects on it: a sword a disk with a pentagram, a cup and wand.
infinite light, pure potential, Kether (1st Sephiroth on Tree of Life)
air, clarity, conviction, control, power, optimism
fire, blood, vitality, sex. creation, energy, life force; instinctual drives
symbolises sun, life giver, representing ambition and self awareness
the Feminine, fertility, physical realm of the heart and emotions. Alludes to the Adonis myth that is portraying the transformation from dark to light (death & resurrection) and vice versa; round / rota
Symbol of light, pistils alluding to phallus (the Masculine power of staff and sword combined in lily) Broader application than just sexuality; so the rose resembles fem reproductive organs (cup and disc)
as above so below; if divine upper realm is to be reached it must match the inner (below) = both masculine and feminine in balance
Mission of the the magician, to heave hidden forces into light of consciousness; Law of polarity, there's always two paths it can go
Showing the circumference and quality in which the human experience can act freely. Remember here that all is mind and meditate on that thought while (be)holding The Magician.
A white belt in the form of an Ouroboros (snake biting its own tail) symbolising the infinite becoming and unbecoming (construction and collapse) of the material world. The Ouroboros will be revisited on page X - Wheel of Fortune.
Symbol for new beginning; perpetual renewal; cosmic pattern; mathematical symbol for infinity
A table rising from a thick flower garden. In it's reduced form resembling a cube which symbolises the material realm. Sort of the foundation on which to stand on. The four (magical) tools are placed on top of the table. The symbolism behind this image is the following: the forces embodied within the tools are to be employed within & based upon this material world.
The Material world is not "bad" itself, it is necessary for life to be lived. Only too much focus (imbalance) on the material can have "negative" effects, in as such that balance will be "forced" by the natural forces. Symptoms of such a re balance can be depression and other neurotic or psychosomatic diseases.
Material comes from Mater which means mother! Humans are born as material into the material. This is the way of evolution of human experience, starting on the material plane (as a fertilised cell). Here s*he has to start work with the four magical tools. Once mastered, the ascend into the spiritual realm (up the tree of life) can commence. All the while not losing the connection to the material realm. The danger of severing the connection and focusing too much on the spiritual is as real as being drawn back down into a solely material existence.
As Lead Zeppelin put it so eloquently in Stairway to Heaven
"Yes, there are two paths you can go by But in the long run And there's still time to change the road you're on"
Thick and wild are representative of the unconscious, raw, chaotic, unordered potential. Excavating consciously and ordering those forces can have a positive / constructive impact (Simulacrum/Fractal of the whole Card). The four magical tools are an enormous help for the human experience to order and process the environment. The tools are as follows: Sword - thoughts; Disc: senses; Cup: emotions; Wand: intuition.
The wand enhances strength of the hand or the arm, one can lean on it or it can be used as a weapon or baton. Take a branch for example, no one is straight in nature all are bent and have buds sprouting - not just giving strength but having it inherent. If it’s a creative or destructive strength/force depends on the hand holding/wielding the wand.
The wand is a symbol for the idea of strength like the phallus or the ship mast or tree trunk. What forces best communicate the image of the wand? The fire and the sexual forces. The magician is also holding up a white staff, with two pointy ends (see the high priestess for further reference!).
Not dynamic expansive and extroverted but containing, sheltering, safeguarding and introverted. Positioned almost opposite to the wand.
THOUGHT EXPERIMENT_ Imagine holding a cup in the hand and feeling what it feels like handling it. When filled to the rim and further it flows over pushes outwards, the cup gives what was contained for a while. Meditate on that experience.
Like giving birth, it’s purely feminine. The force best describing it is the element water.
Function and form is similar to the staff, both are weapons that enhance strength of the arms. While the staff is very close to nature and every branch from any tree can be fashioned into a wand, the sword has a more complex refinement process. It’s fashioned from iron respectively raw iron in nature. This requires knowledge and skills of resource extraction. The staff is a living growth process, the sword is a product of forces and energy that where working from outside on to raw iron. The sword becomes a symbol for a force working the effects from outside into an object and change the position or form of it. But the sword is also used to cut and divide not just take and conquer. from the smith comes both tools, and the magical mechanism is to separate the wheat from the grain, divide and order the matter. The sword points to the intellectual and mental force of the human thinking functions, like analysing, ordering and dividing.
The corresponding element is air, the sword converts to the mind what is not bodily, one can’t see neither only their impact or their working: music, architecture, texts, the wind rustling in the trees, dunes in the desert.
MEDITATION EXERCISE_ in German "Geist" (engl.: ghost) means mind. Think about how a ghost is like air or mind.
Corresponding element is earth, palpable, "thick" material; take a coin in your hand feel its weight squeeze it, you can feel the hardness.
The five point star on the disk is the symbol of unity of elements with each point representing one element, the upward tip symbolises aether or theosophical speaking Akasha.
More on the pentagram in later publications.
The posture of the magician is upright like the staff in this hand signalling force of creation - the fire or phallic force. The image of a man just after realising in his self and that he can accomplish anything with the tools provided a very male human aspect of life. Recognise how the I (also known as “the creative word”) looks like a staff itself. The two endpoints of the staff in his hand and the two colours of his garment show that the force is available can be both positive or negative, corresponding to the law of polarity both are in and around you just two forms of existence of the same force. For example one day is half light and half night.
Magus as a symbol of the human experience in its masculine form, further emphasised by his pose as well as the staff and sword on the table lying closest to him. The table signifying the material realm to be acted in. By using the magical tools the primordial forces within are channelled to order and create. Thus the Lemniskate (infinity symbol, lying 8) plastered all over the page, expressing the notion that every want is a new beginning. This experience is not exclusive to humans of the male gender, masculine and feminine energies are a common denominator of the human experience and reside in each and every one of us. Balancing them is the art of living.
The four elements are magical tools given to the magician for him to work with. Not periodic, chemical elements, those are the primordial parts of matter. What is meant by elements are primordial parts of our complete world, the Cosmos, the whole cosmic experience.
The esoteric experiences the universe and all cosmic events as an interplay of force(s) and her manifestations. The four elements are an expression of said force(s).
Also true for the element earth, take a stone for example think about what makes it a stone, feel the weight and hardness, what keeps it from dissolving into parts? There is apparently a force contained that makes it into what it is.
To understand Tarot is to learn to see the world one is living in as an expression of an interplay of forces, maybe different expressions or forms of the same force?
Meditation Exercise_ Go outside and see, experience the forces, search for water, fire, air and earth in nature. Afterwards see how these elements are working within you!
The earth - a body the shelter the mask, the flesh. Water - the nerves the arteries. Air - The brain or the mind and fire the urge to grow. But they are never clearly distinguishable and possibly different for each individual. There’s no exact plan or blueprint of nature only similes to show the unified force coming into play with elements to conjure myriads of forms.