The Path of Mem; Thoth Tarot- Key 12- The Hanged Man.
Paul Foster Case wrote in his instructional missive, Thirty-Two Paths Of Wisdom:
Twenty-third Path is called the Stable of Intelligence, and it is so
called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations.
* Path Color: Deep Blue
*Musical Note: G#
*Maternal Letter: Water
*Esoteric Title: The Spirit of the Mighty Waters.
The Path of Mem
Hanged Man) connects Hod (8-Splender) and Geburah (5-Severity) on the
pillar of severity (your left). This card also connects Personality to
the Higher Self, but in a much different way than those previous three
that connect to Tiphareth (Beauty).
Often because of its curious imagery,
this card has only been understood and publicly revealed in the past
few decades. Key 12 has a complex meaning and is related to Kether
(1-Crown) as a motion. This is the Path of Water (consciousness) making the letter Mem one
of the three Maternals, and in some respects the Hebrew letter Mem represents the Path of baptism into Maternal Water; each experienced Maternal Path is a baptism;
- Shin is the baptism of Fire (Judgment).
- Mem is the baptism of Water (The Hanged Man).
- Aleph is the baptism of Air (The Fool).
The Water baptism is the central
and pivotal experience of the entire Tree of Life, as Water represents Consciousness
(1st Principle of Alchemy). Even though not wet, this
subtle substance is symbolized by Water because it has some of water's
qualities, particularly as energy wave movement. Spirit is a Spiral
Flow of Life, that causes the "breath of a body" and is a Soul when
experienced in an individual "Microwave" of conscious experience that is self-aware. Too make a
long evolution short, it is the Life that makes bodies alive.
Therefore, to get our identity straight, we must understand that I AM
the Life, and the body, not a body seeking a life!
The Intelligence of Spirit operates in every sphere (Sephiroth and Paths, i.e. "numerations") and in the same way on all.
The Astral Fluid (vitriol of the magician)
is the Watery flow of electromagnetic energy that underlies everything
and moves in waves (cycles), that are stimulated by active Psyche,
showing its similarity to physical water.
Think of a thought as a stone
thrown into a placid pool of water, and you can then visualize the
waves from the center of impact that spread outward towards the shore of
the now disturbed pool.This is similar to the consciousness as a thought is
"thrown" into it by the personality. The more power used to "throw" the
thought, (Emotion is the force) the greater the waves in the Pool of
Psyche. The Greater the disturbance, gets full concentration towards
construction and "made manifest".
When one is on the Twenty-Third Path
ones spirit is "drowned" in these waters and perceives himself/herself as an
intrinsic and inseparable part of the One Collective Consciousness: a Soul. Therefore, to
be on the Path of Mem- Key 12- The Hanged Man, we must become lost in our-self; the
unconscious no sooner touches us than we are it-we become unconscious of
ourselves and placing us in our "Higher Self". The Hindu mystics called this the state
, a condition where the physical processes are literally suspended ( Hung up side down) in trance, while the consciousness
affects a union with the Divine.
In practicing Tarot,
it is important to know that the Path of The Hanged Man is only the
first entry into a sequence of states of union with the Divine
Inheritance. Therefore the idea presented is that we must move
constantly upward on the Tree of Life by shedding what is more "condensed" identity.
experiencing the next higher Sephira are the qualities of the lower
Sephira completely understood and can be directed by willful intent.
The Path of Mem
leads directly to Geburah, the active/fiery part of the Pillar of Water
below Binah ( the dynamic motion of "will to form" of the Higher Self
). The Hanged Man is resting his feet on Binah (represented as the Ankh cross-which is also symbolized by the Tau Cross
made of a tree in the Connolly Tarot).
the reverse figure on the Thoth card represents the suspension of
personal consciousness (called ego by some, personal ego, by others)
while a greater reality imposes a complete reversal of perspective (the
"other side of the mirror"...mirror being another symbolism of water).
This "human spirit suspended by a single thread", seems to be a
sacrificed, but this is a willing suspension, a sacrificial baptism that
is also a crucifixion. Thus it is also the card representing the Dying God. Hence, this is essentially an intellectual experience.
When viewing the legs
the hanged man you see the number 4, the Four above the Three, i.e.the
imaginative qualities of Key-3 Empress subordinate to the rational
qualities of Key 4 The Emperor; the ultimate sacrifice of desire to
Behind The Thoth Hanged Man are the Emerald Tablets (summing up all of nature).
creator and destroyer who operates all change" is represented by the
coiled serpent/rope that the left foot hangs from. The lower serpent
represents the effect of the Divine Work. Crowley called this, " Through his Work a Child is begotten, as shown by the Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
It may behoove us to remember that serpents are the way to represent
the motion of spiraling forces that enliven all things, i.e. Microwaves of Cosmic Intelligence.
Through out our histories, the Dying God is
represented in mythology. Osiris, Prometheus, Odin, Christ, and even the
Greek Goddess Artemis was known as the "Hanged One"---none of these
are the final death. As always, these blogs are just short explanations
of long probabilities...so research is necessary.
The Thoth Path of Mem
, THE HANGED MAN- Key 12, has a reverse figure on the card that represents the Higher Self imposing a complete reversal of perspective which is a suspension of individual consciousness.
Much like the reflected image in the mirror, where one is looking at
the Real non-reflected image that is the object of reflection.
is however, a willing suspension, done by an initiate's conscious
effort, a type of sacrifice or baptism, where the perspective of "I Am"
is cleansed of the illusions of the material world, i.e. ME
of this sacrificing of one's individual perspectives to the Greater
Self perspective of the Universal Collective Unconscious, the Thoth Deck
HANGED MAN is shown in a suspected state of crucifixion that images the
myth of the Dying God. (Dionysus. Osiris, Odin, Christ etc.).
of my more observant students have asked why the Hanged Man is
crucified on the Left hand Path or one side of the Tree of Life as it
would seem logical to have him spanning the Tree. The reasoning behind
this one sided nonfiction, is because this is an intellectual
experience, as shown by the legs positioned into the upside down number 4
which is suspended above the Triangle (3) implied by the positioning of
As stated, 4
is the number of the Emperor
Key-4 of the Thoth Deck Tarot, and represents the Rational qualities of the Mind while 3 is the number of the Empress
the imaginative qualities of the mind ( also seen in the number
12,1+2=3). Thus, positioning the rational qualities of the mind over the
This suspension and or crucifixion in space,
is what happens when the spinning WHEEL OF FORTUNE, the tenth key and
the opposite Path of Caph ( the Path between Netzach and Chesed) is
willfully arrested by the initiate.
HANGED MAN is repose, while the WHEEL OF FORTUNE is activity both of
which form a balance that is known as the activity and passivity of the
Thus, one of the primary qualities of the HANGED MAN
is that it is a Path of eternal probabilities and/or eternal
unresolved possibilities. Therefor the HANGED MAN represents
openness without end, while THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, is the exact opposite,
as it encloses in eternal motion, i.e. making a limited thought pattern
and/or Form. When Mem (Water-consciousness) is closed, it becomes the
Ankh (a form of the Tau cross) The Ankh therefore represents Mem
reversed or "consciousness turned inward".
In Crowley's card of
the HANGED MAN, the figure emphasizes the cross-triangle, and is
suspended from the Ankh, being attached to this form of the Tau Cross,
by a coiled serpent that symbolizes " the creator and destroyer who
operates all change". There is also a lower coiled serpent that
represents the effect of the Work of God: As Crowley states in his book
of Thoth: : "Through his work a Child is begotten, as shown by the
Serpent stirring in the Darkness of the Abyss below him."
have stated before, this is the card that shows the reversal of
perspective, where the individual identity, reflected in the light of
consciousness (reflecting side of the Mirror of Self), becomes the Soul Identity (The Dark or non-reflective side of the Mirror of Higher
Self reflects "individual self"). Souls are
manifesting "selves" as individual identities of the Psyche, and after experiencing their own ideas as "being", become a carbon copy (mirror reflection) of the Universal Divine Collective: Macrocosm reflects on itself as microcosm.
Successful skrying of this card will reverse perspective,
so that the mediator becomes the object of one's own meditation. Which
could be stated as, where the Soul is observing the body, rather than
the body seeking its soul.
The Jungian Tarot; THE HANGED MAN- The Son Self Sacrificed, represents a state the Hindu's call Samahdi; a mental state that English has no equivalent word description for.
Samahdi, represents a condition where the center of consciousness is reversed and subject becomes object. It is a state of mind where we leave the Sephiroth/mental level we are meditating from, expanding to the next level and able to look "back" to where we "are".
Needless to say, this is a very esoteric state of identity, where one looks "down" from a state of Unconscious to the state of consciousness, rather than the "other way around". The Christian mystics called this the state of "Crucifixion in Space". Therefore, this is the logical consequence of "enlightenment" (releasing the dross) as what we "believed" ourselves to be is completely "lost"; sacrificed to a greater principle known as the "higher self".
The Son, is really one action of the Perfected Self, therefore, the Hanged Man is the Son who has resolved the dualities of masculine and feminine, thereby achieving the perfected balance of Mother and Father, giving up all vestiges of a personal self. This is not the whole of the Perfect Self's actions, as the Hanged Man is but one aspect of the Perfected Self; The Magician (Magus), The Lover('s) and the Sun, are the other active functions.
By showing the hanged man suspended between two spheres of light, Robert Wang is depicting his artistic interpretation of being rooted in the unconscious center, a condition of identity that results from interactive waves of thought and experience; between conscious and unconscious brought about by the use of the Kundalini force, represented as the coiled serpent. Suggesting that this experience may come from mental manipulation of sexual currents in the body; casual experimentation is not recommended here! Guided Tantra yoga practice is recommended here, by an appropriate yogi.
Otherwise, just begin the mental journey up the Tree of Life, skrying, as taught in Hermetic Qabalistic Tarot, and the process will gently unfold, without detriment to the initiate.
When THE HANGED MAN -key 12, is thrown during a reading, the querent will be or is:
- Experiencing moments of enforced sacrifice, maybe even punishment.
- If Ill defined: Loss that may not be voluntary and general suffering.
- This is the Principle of Surrender in order to break old patterns.
- A time when one must accept reversals.
on the dignity of the accompanying cards, THE HANGED MAN, represents a
state of mystical death in the form of a change of consciousness.
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