Great Arcana – Tarot Interpretations
0 – The Fool I I – The Magus I II – The Priestess I III – The Empress I IV – The Emperor I V – The Hierophant I VI – The Lovers I VII – The Conqueror I VIII – The Witness I IX – The Hermit I X – The Wheel of Fortune I XI – Passion I XII – The Hanged Man I XIII – Death I XIV – Art I XV – The Devil I XVI – The Tower I XVII – The Star I XVIII – The Moon I IXX – The Sun I XX – The Aeon I XXI – The Universe
XI – Passion / Lust / Strength
“puissant energy and persuading charisma”
Symbol: Power, vitality, vibrancy and sexual transformation
Astrology: Venus in Leo
Path of Theth: Chesed – Geburah
Archetype: Isis, Ishtar/Inanna, Astarte, Aphrodite, Babalon
This card’s main motive is a strong and dominant woman, riding a lion. The lion breathes fire that inflames his rider without harming her. The chakras are ignited from below and the fire-serpent is wandering up to her crown. The crown bears the eight-pointed expanding star, the symbol of Ishtar (or chaos magic nowadays).
In older tarot decks the woman is taming the lion, which is very different from riding him. Instead of restraining the beast’s strength she is benefiting from it, resisting the destructive force of its flames and using the energy for her own purposes. While the beast has power, it can only use it in a destructive way. The rider is channelling the energy through her body to her mind. There she is able to use it in a creative and constructive manner.
The uni-corned beast represents the fertilizing sword. It is referred to the celestial son, the liberator or the alchemical „spiritus mercurius“ in context to the woman who eventually catches and bridles the beast. Depending on the myth this woman can be a virgin or a harlot. In Christianity she is represented by both – the Mother Mary and Mary Magdalena – let’s just say there is a reason they have the same name.
The rider’s mouth is covered by a mask, because she doesn’t reach her goals through conversion with words and ideas, but through action. She is naked and shows her sexual attributes with self-confidence, without being a victim or feeling objectified, instead rather enjoying her role and the moment without thinking about consequences or restrictions. This moment or phase can be marked by great works sparkling from inspiration, creativity and passion.The great cup symbolises the receiving principle, despite her rather male characteristics like control, activity and the narrative of „riding“ or taming. These ambivalent characteristics lead to the conclusion that this ride can’t last for long and often leads into chaos or cascadic reactions of disintegration. Sure, creation without reason, adventures and ecstasy can be positive characteristics of this card, but one must know when it’s time to dismount the beast again, otherwise the symbols quickly develop into a negative way leading to addictions, confusion and hysteria.
In a hermetic context the 7 serpents also refer to the 7 daughters, days of the week, chakras or planets and the formula of „Ararita“. This symbolism does correlate to the scarlet „woman riding the beast“ (Compare: Revelations 17:3) and to a new fitting archetype – Crowley’s Babalon, the newly invented great harlot and modern form of Inanna.
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