The Babylonian Tarot, has the 78 cards of Tarot, which includes the King, Queen, Princess and Prince cards with an addition of one extra trump (Genesis) and an extra court card per suit, the Kerub card. Whereas, pure spirit is considered the force of Fire, in The Thoth Tarot, it is the Kerub of Wands, that Babylonian Tarot calls "pure spirit".
Even thought there is no Thoth Counterpart for this card, it still may be appropriate, as the concept of the Pythagorean "Four Elements of the Universe", wasn't invented during the Neo-Assyrian or Neo-Babylonian eras.
Traditionally, the Babylonian culture, was an agricultural one, and the people worshiped the natural forces of the Universe that ruled the skies, and the fertility of earth. These forces were seen as very personal as the relationships between the people and these anthropomorphized forces, was considered the same as the one between Parents and Children.
There were, cosmic gods, underworld gods, gods of nature and city gods. Even some specific individuals had the care of personal gods. Often the functions of these different classes of the divine, overlapped and certain gods were thought to be in charge of both cosmic forces and there earthly counterparts; which were the cities of Mesopotamia.
Great temples were built, great poems or stories, great incantations, and invocations were written, hoping to get the will of the gods clarified so that mankind could carry them out. Carrying out the will of the god's was deemed the purpose of mankind, and was the bases of their entire civilization.
These gods were disposed on "levels" and/or multidimensional; the cultures of Mesopotamia believed that below the celestial gods, was the realm of Spirits, both good and evil. Therefore their clay tablets are often records of many magical incantations developed to appease friendly spirits and drive off the "nasties".
Therefore, the common people of Mesopotamia, employed the services of Astrologers, Magi (hereditary-priest-magicians) for divination; healing, the blessing of amulets and talismans. Purification of a place and person as well as, the cursing that was necessary to ward off the evil spirits. Each home had shrines to the personal god of the house, along with shrines and altars.
It is to these ancient deities and spirits of "the land between the rivers" that are the subject of Babylonian Tarot .
The Kerub of Wands, Lion Headed Spirit, depicts a spirit known as a ugallu ("Big weather creature") that was often illustrated in the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian periods. A Ugallu, was seen as a lion-headed creature, with the torso of a man and wings and legs of a bird. He often wore a kilt and carried a club.
This "big weather creature" was regarded as a fierce but beneficent spirit who guarded against evil spirits and illness.
Like other Kerubic spirits, statues of Ugallu, were often buried in building foundations and placed in houses for protection. Much like religious iconography is placed in homes of the faithful today.
When thrown during a divination, The Kerub of Wands, Lion-Headed Spirit, implies:
- Divine aid and protection.
- Divine intervention.
- Inspiration and innovation.
Unlike the Qabalistic Thoth Tarot, the Babylonian tarot believes in a reversed cards as ill defined. This is often true for most tarot decks; However, Crowley understood that an "upside down" card is just the random mechanics of human handling and therefore not an act of spirit. In the Thoth tarot, the surrounding cards show ill or positive definition of a card. However, honoring the Babylonian Tarot, I shall show the reversed
meaning of a card.
If the Kerub of Wands, Lion-Headed Spirit card is reversed:
- Divine intervention is not forthcoming.
- Lack of inspiration.
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