Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-4 of Cups: Luxury & The Barbara Walker Tarot-4 of Cups: Decline.
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Thoth Tarot & comparisons

Tarot Card Comparisons: The Thoth Tarot-4 of Cups: Luxury & The Barbara Walker Tarot-4 of Cups: Decline.

The Tarot of EliThe Thoth Tarot Four of Cups-Luxury, & The Barbara Walker Tarot-4 of Cups: Decline.

The Thoth Tarot-Luxury sounds very good. In fact it is Chesed (mercy) in the Realm of Water... mercy in the self-conscious sounds comfortable; However, to require mercy, the self conscious must be in some sort of discomfort. Chesed, the 4th Sephiroth on the Qabalistic Tree of Life, being Fiery in nature, means the Luxury of Warm Water, impassioned bright emotions etc. but as we know, warm water cools eventually and that luxury declines. This is shown by the crescent Moon, showing us that the tides will change soon.

Chokma (Wisdom), the second Sephiroth on the Tree of Life
, is really the energy flowing down into of Chesed, called
but as Chesed is below the Abyss, this makes
unbalance, and short in duration.  

Four, contrary to its pattern, is an unstable number for even in the Naples Arrangement* it is impossible to construct a "Magic Square" using four cells.

From The Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley (The Equinox Vol III No. 5) *The Naples Arrangement:

61+146=0 as Undefined (Space).
1. The Point: Positive yet indefinable
2. " " Distinguishable from 1 other.
3. " " Defined by relation to 2 others.
The Abyss-between Ideal and Actual.
4. The Point: Defined by 3 co-ordinates: Matter.
5. Motion (Time) - He (Hebrew letter He), the Womb; for only through Motion and Time can events occur.
6. The Point: now self-conscious, because able to define itself in
terms of above.
7. The Point's Idea of Bliss (Ananda).
8. " " " " Thought (Chit).
9. " " " " Being (Sat).
10. " " " " Itself fulfilled in its complement, as determined
by 7, 8 and 9.

The Four of Cups-Luxury refers to the Moon in Cancer which is the Moon's own House; but Cancer is so placed that it implies a certain weakness known as abandonment to desire. Here there is a definite decline in activity. This is probably why Barbara Walker choose to name her 4 of Cups-Decline.

In the Thoth Deck Four of Cups, the sea of Binah (Great Mother) is still being shown, but it is ruffled with waves and thus the Four cups standing upon it are unstable. The single Lotus bloom has multiple stems, emphasizing individuality---which weakens the whole flow of power. This instability is shown on the Barbara Walker Tarot as one of the 4 cups is laying on its side.

FOUR OF CUPS: Luxury/Decline.
Moon in Cancer, which is the influence of Chessed (Mercy) in the unconscious mental realm. There is a certain self-satisfaction with this card as an emotional luxury that is often felt as pleasure flowing from an unconscious source, and as we all know, egoistic satisfaction is short lived.  How short lived is shown on the Barbara Walker Tarot by the dancing Salome, tossing aside her 7 veils, an old sacred drama of the "dying god".
 As depicted on the Barbara Walker-4 of Cups:
In the Ancient Myths, during the period following consummation and fertilization, began the death cycle of the "Dying god". Again, the symbol for cyclic change is the crescent moon, which is adorning the Crown of the Sun king and the Dancing Goddess Salma (Salome)who was a Crone aspect of the Mari-Ishtar (Mari-Easter). The dance begins as the first Trimester (The One-Two-Threes in Tarot) is fulfilled and a new cycle must begin, initiated by a decline from grace and a regression of happiness. This regression is shown on the Thoth Tarot 4 of cups as the outpouring of emotional luxury from above, is not overflowing in the lower cups, symbolizing that this pleasure will soon end but for now, the feeling of you having everything you need in your life is luxuriant and you are not now open for suggestions. One is "resting on their laurels", as a cycle ends.

 On both Tarot Cards, there is Promise depicted here; a promise of  mercy, healing, empathy, trans-personal love, forgiveness and taking away of soul burdens. This removal of burdens is depicted in the Dance of The Seven Veils, as the Goddess Salma pronounced the ceremonial word of farewell, Shalom/Salaam, to the admiring Sun King. On the Barbara Walker Tarot 4 of Cups, the traditional "dance of the seven veils", before Biblical bastardization, portrays the Goddess removing her magical garments at each of the seven underworld gates; Gates, she had to enter as she descended to bring the dead god's spirit back to his next rebirth. (click on text to link you to the Babylonian Tarot of Ishtar)
These magical gossamer-garments, seven veils, or stoles, adorned many versions of the descending goddess: Inanna, Ishtar, Maya, Venus, and Isis wore them, including the revised biblical Salome. Traditionally, these veils represented the seven spheres of earthly or heavenly appearances (the original 7 magical planets), hiding her true nature behind the seven colors of the rainbow. Therefore, it was believed that neither god nor man, could be properly reborn until he had penetrated the veils and beheld the Naked Goddess face to face, which in the magic of Tibetan Tantra is called Yab Yum, meaning "goddess-god face to face". Sounds like every young man's dream, intercourse with the Perfect Goddess, however, this means that the conscious self as he knows it, is to die before he can see past the veils.  For it is the Animus (Soul) that mates with this Anima (Spirit) and no a "man-made" personality.  Therefore, there is a decline into the Dark night of the Soul, before the bright cleansing and release into a new life is initiated by the Goddess.
However, all is not forfeit, for as this cycle of the heart (cups) begins, one may feel an easy compassion and are forgiving of those who trespass against them. There is a luxuriant feeling that we all belong to each other: a larger sense of emotional-family than is normal.

To reiterate: The Thoth Tarot 4 of Cups-Luxury, refers to the Sephiroth Chesed-Mercy in the suit of Water (conscious). 

Here the Pure Water of the Supernal Triangle has passed through the Abyss to Chesed (Mercy)  and although ordered, balanced, or stabilized, it has lost the purity of its conception. You might say, that instead of pure energy in motion, it is now an emotional idea held in conceptional confinement.
Being that the Moon is in her own house in  Cancer one would think it was well placed. However,  Cancer is so placed that this implies a certain weakness, a abandonment to desire. Which reminds me of the statement made by the boxing champ Mike Tyson:" Everybody has a plan until they get hit".

The calm Sea of the 3 of cups is still present in the 4, but slightly ruffled, implying a disturbance is building, making the 4 Cups standing on it less stable. The Spirit of the Lotus, the Dryad, has gathered strength, growing multiple stems, supporting one Lotus Blossom, spewing forth water. The Four stems, are the number of manifestation of the Dryad, it is also secretly preparing catastrophe by emphasizing individuality. 

By understanding that the number 4 is an "awkward" number; alone among the natural numbers, as it is impossible to construct a "Magic Square" of four cells. 4 being a "dead stop" number, a different idea of Order is necessary to carry on the series as the only motion now is towards decline. Thus, for now everything is seemingly luxurious in stability, but the Changing of the Moon, its waxing and waning, is such that this won't last, i.e., the "hit" as foretold by Tyson, is on its way.

Since the element-water represents emotion (Energy in Motion) and since energy is kept pure by constantly moving of idea in the self-conscious, the damning effort of the number four, will fail. Change is the formula for motion.  (Change=Stability). Four is the number of restriction, as in "Four walls" etc, and as a cage, it shows a certain amount of stability, until the energy gets tired of confinement.  We all know the weakness of putrefaction in stable  water; it must keep moving to stay pure or become a stagnant swamp.
 when the 4 of Cups Tarot card is thrown during a reading,

  • The querent will be or is experiencing pleasure, but with some slight discomfort and anxieties. 
  • They are experiencing a blending of pleasure and success but approaching their end. 
  • The querent is experiencing a stationary period in happiness which may or may not continue as long as desired. 
  • It is too passive a symbol to represent complete happiness and some drawbacks to pleasure are implied. 
  • There is both acquisition and contention in this card. It is not wrong to enjoy the luxury of your labors, but labor will soon have to begin  again  or you will lose it. 
  • This card warns us not to get lost in desire.
  • Here is blended pleasure and success, receiving pleasure but with some slight discomfort and anxieties. This is because this pleasure radiates from our unconscious mental realm and our consciousness is still feeling its normal uncertainty, as it is still bound in survival thinking; "It's too good to be True".
  • A moment of emotional stagnation, discontent with ones environment, and weariness will manifest before the true Pleasure of the Six of Cups, where both the unconscious and conscious flow in pleasurable communion becomes apparent. 
  • There is a certain inner warmth experienced here, so enjoy the moment and relax in the luxury of the emotional pleasure.

  • Slight discomfort and anxieties over receiving pleasure.
  • Blended pleasure and success approaching their end.
  • Yet this is a stationary period of happiness that may not continue as it is too passive of a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness. Nor does it suggest love and marriage as powerfully as the Three of Cups-Love.
  • Some drawbacks to pleasure are implied, such as contention with acquisition and sometimes injustice.
  • It is a gentle passive card like warm water, Feels good for the moment, but that moment soon cools.
  • This card cautions us not to "sit long on our laurels" ; take a brief respite from your impassioned labors but be ready to gear up the Power of Change soon  to keep luxury in the future.
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