The HANGED MAN- key 12, is a curious image of Severity and its implications are very different from the previous paths that connect the Personality and the Higher Self; Severity, because this is the Path of Mem (meaning-Water) that connects Hod (Splendor) and Geburah (Severity) on the Pillar of Severity.
The Hebrew word-MEM, (Water) is a one of the three Maternals,and implies a Baptism in Maternal Waters, as the other two : The Path of Shin (Art) is a baptism in Fire, and The Path of Aleph-The Fool, is a baptism in Air. Of all these three Baptisms, the Baptism in Water (Consciousness) is the central and pivotal experience of the entire Qabalistic Tree of Life.
Consciousness, is the Alchemical First Principle, also called the Thinking Principle and is refereed to the physical image of Water because it is alike water in wave motion, and fluid flow. The lowest expression of the First Principle, is first found, by the upward traveling initiate, as the Astral Fluid that is drawn down the Path of the Universe into Yesod, the Foundation Sephiroth. This Thinking Principle, the Astral Fluid, is found as the Stable Intelligence, by virtue of consistency, in all Sephiroth and Paths as it underlies everything that is.
Pointing downward, the Spirit is drowned in the Maternal Waters where upon, perceiving itself as a Soul, as an intrinsic and inseparably part of the One Consciousness. Carl Jung, who coined the phrase. Collective Unconscious , describe this Water of Mem as a "...boundless expanse full of unprecedented uncertainty, with apparently no inside and no outside, no above and no below, no here and no there, no mine and no thine, no good and no bad." . To him the First Principle of the Alchemists was also described as Water, as he states, "It is the world of water, where all life floats in suspension: where the realm of the sympathetic system, the soul of everything living begins; where I am individually this and that; where I experience the other in myself and the other-than-myself experiences me.....the collective conscious is anything but an encapsulated personal system; it is sheer objectivity, as wide as the world and open to all the world." I would highly recommend that the initiate reads the works of Carl Jung, on the Collective Unconscious. thus gaining a modern understanding of the ancient wisdom. To put it another way, in the state of consciousness we are "always the subject that has an object", a reality that is totally turned around in the Collective Unconscious where, we are "the object of every subject", as stated by Carl Jung.
In other words, our subjective Self, I AM becomes objective Self, Me, when immersed in the Maternal Waters on the Path of Mem. THE HANGED MAN.; where the invisible becomes visible.
The initiate knows that we must move constantly upward on the Paths of the Tree of Life, For only through the hindsight gained by going to a higher Sephiroth, can we experience an understanding of the qualities of the lower Sephiroth., The Path of Mem, leads to Geburah (Severity) which is directly above Tiphareth (Beauty); Geburah is the Fiery or Active part of the Higher Self and is shown as Red in color; the color of Mars. This further illustrates the point that Geburah is the fiery energy on the Pillar of Water below Binah..In the Thoth Deck Tarot card of the HANGED MAN, the Womb of Binah is where the hanging figure's foot is held.; from the oval of the Egyptian Ankh, which is the cross like symbol ( also called the Tau cross) of both Divine Androgyny and Infinity.
To the one who has traveled the Paths to this point, it is to be noted that the Path of Mem, the HANGED MAN, must be approached very differently than the lower paths. Here, the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. The individual becomes the "other" which was previously the object of pursuit; the "other" now becomes the initiate.Thus it can be said, that the personality meditates in pursuit of the Higher Self, who then becomes or envelopes the Personality of the pursuer creating a Higher Sensual Self....A self often stated as having "Magick Abilities".
Hopefully, I have given you a lot to think about. I'll continue the process tomorrow in Part Two of the HANGED MAN.
Thank you for your interest and comments, May you live long and prosper.