The word indolence, means entropy, laziness and sloth. The Thoth Tarot 8 of Cups represents indolence in every symbol it is composed of. The number 8 is associated with Hod (splendor) on the Tree of Life and shows the influence of Mercury which would seem all well and good until we realize that the planet Saturn is in the house of Pisces. Pisces is calm but stagnant water/Emotion; and the heavy lead influence of Saturn poisons it completely. Thus the symbolism of dead water is everywhere on this card. Water, being represented as emotions in the cups, shows dead- stagnant emotional issues.
In the Thoth Card card of stagnation, water appears as pools rather than a florescence ocean, as in the 7 of cups, and the Lotus droop from lack of rain (lacking new fresh emotional perspectives). The shallow, broken cups imply living in the old worn out emotions of the past. With only two central cups "emoting" and unable to fill the two lower cups, the 8 of Cups systematically implies unfulfilled emotional function. The whole image of the card, with leaden-Saturn sky, extensive pools of dead water and a sickened yellow horizon, lends to the message of this card. That by living in past misery, we are merely dead to life today.
The bright side is: that all this isn't permanent and that once we acknowledge that we are being miserable because it may be a type of martyr's complex--that makes us feel special in a negative way, or a "survivor's complex", we can begin the process of emotional recovery. One finds out that being able to let things end, is a skill that must be practiced like any other.
Shows a monkish type person contemplating a used and unclean altar. Upon the altar is a symbol of the 8 pointed star with a sun symbol in the center. The Moon is in cycle in the twilight sky. The Moon represents emotion, introspection and illusion, while the sun represents rationale and self consciousness.
Hence, one seems to be contemplating a change after emotional drudgery and a seeks to fulfill a desire for solitude. Can also mean walking away from a romantic relationship.
I often find myself saying to that moody emotional child within who fears abandonment, and/or rejection, "Get over yourself and get on with you, impeccability is what we do"; "What we do", because there are 3 States of Conscious running this individual show we call "Life". The Original "I" that began our Soul, the "Am" that began our Force (emotion), and the "Me" who is our Form. Three of us, a ternary being, who talks or sends images to itself all the time. Yes, we 3 communicate to each other, and when the Me feels down and out in its survival- mind- world of simulated seriousness, the infinitely greater worlds of I AM can come to our rescue. It's not only "okay to be Me", it is okay to be 3 in balanced union, all focused on the goal of expanding and liberating the Alive from their own short- sighted-self-absorbed realities. By listening to the silence behind the screaming emotion of the frightened child, we can hear our Guardian Angel or Soul (our own individual God/Spirit identity--I AM.) say to us,"It's okay, I haven't abandoned you, you're still breathing."
In the Tarot 8 of Cups-Indolence, there is only the end of the 7 of Cups-Debauch. The gluttony of the 7 has succumbed to the putrefaction of the 8. Too much emotion, held in, stagnates and poisons the vessel.
Hod is the 8th Sephiroth, and means Splendor. The 8 of Cups, being in the Suit of Water and with the influence of Mercury (splendor), we would expect a "shimmering, dancing Water"; However, we have to understand the influence of Saturn in Pisces which rules this card. Pisces, is normally calm water but adding Saturn completely deadens it as if lead or sewage was added to the pool.
There is no sea, only pools, as shown on the Thoth Card or the spilled cup on the altar of the SpellCaster's tarot.
The fluorescence of putrefaction ( as shown in the Thoth 7 of cups), is long gone into complete, slimy, stagnation. To drink this water is to die today and have a faux life of only "yesterdays"... a simulation of being.
To reiterate: The completion of the stagnation is shown on the Thoth Tarot Card as drooping lotus bosoms, that lack both Sun and rain ( rain would be applying "new emotions") and the soil has become poison to them (a sickly foundation), growing only two sickly-blooms. The cups (vessels that the emotions fill) are old and broken. The 3 row arrangement of the cups (3 states of Manifested Mind), shows only the slow filling from two central cups, that spill into the lower cups (lowest emotions). The back ground of the card shows only "the bad lands" of a poisoned landscape.
This seeming over stressing of Indolent behavior should get the point across, that whom ever this card is about, is wallowing in self pity, making the conscious mind (Self-Conscious vessel) a poisoned morass of negative perspectives. Hence, emotionally, one is over extended, and cares very little about anything. Hopefully this card is not surrounded by negative cards, or suicide is a possibility!
Therefore the Thoth card makes us aware of suffering for the sense of self-importance, or over extending our emotions, by trying to "help" everyone else's suffering, forgetting that people also have a right to their own "disease"...Wisdom comes from correcting one's own mistakes, which validates the reason for Oriental concept of karma. One can only help those who help themselves, those who don't, leave them be. There is also over reaction to events, which can happen when we have a emotional shock, such as a loved one dying, and we are unconsciously quilt ridden with the inner thoughts of " I should have done or acted different". Soon enough "survivors quilt" drags us down into a morass of suffering, that becomes more important than our health. The martyrdom of such thinking, allows only emotional decay and everything or everyone, just adds to the misery of the self-absorbed.
The correction to this swamp of self-misery, is as the Buddha was quoted as saying to a beggar woman who lost her child to an ox-cart accident at a certain cross-roads, where she sat in misery, never leaving the place of suffering for 3 yrs; He said, as he picked her up off of the street," I greatly suggest that you go forth and find someone who has not lost a loved one". In other words he just gave her a purpose for movement and therefore, living.
To such a self-absorbed one, my great teacher, Yo Chen (323 BCE), also taught me a lesson in strength, and "tough love", when he looked down on a blubbering-suffering 12 year old and said," If you wish to speak to me, you must stand for I'll not kneel to your weakness". Just standing above my misery, assuaged my self-conscious. So when this card is thrown, it suggests to the querent it is time to stand up, and look above the swamp of your own emotional psychosomatic quagmire, and support yourself in-motion rather than seek support of your psychosomatic pain or fleeing your inner fears, by trying to be "there" for everyone else, ignoring your own needs. If you dare to understand, emotional pain is simulated pain, and has nothing to do with what is real.
[From the Qabalistic Tarot by Robert Wang: page 104]
"The beams of Geburah and Tiphareth meet in Hod and thence arises in Hod a brilliant pure and flashing orange tawny. And the Sphere of its Operation is that of Kochab, the stellar light, bestowing elegance, swiftness, scientific knowledge and art, and constancy of speech, and it ruleth the sphere of the action of the planet Mercury. And Elohim Tzabaoth is also a God of Hosts and Armies, of Mercy and Agreement, of Praise and Honor, ruling the Universe in Wisdom and Harmony. And its Archangel is Michael, the Prince of Splendor and of Wisdom, and the Name of its order of Angels is Beni Elohim, or Sons of the God, who are also called the Order of Archangels." [Illustration from the Qabalistic Tarot, by Robert Wang]
Basically, #8 - Hod is the concrete mind and is the sphere of Mercury. Thus, to Hod are attributed all that is intellectual and systematized, such as the magical arts, literature, science and commerce.
To a Qabalist, Hod is the Sphere of Conscious intellect, that one speaks and writes from.Words are most obviously, Splendor, as they are an art of "description", rather than the thing described.
The color orange, that is used to depict the Hodic Vibration, is also the Color of Mental ambition, passion mixed with intellect, sexual energy.This sexual energy, is always linked with Splendor, for is not the Display of a Pea Cock, one of splendor? He is only displaying his splendor to attract a mate but his display also makes him vulnerable to predation.
When considering Hod, we must also consider the 7th Sephiroth Netzach-Victory, for at the base of the Pillar of Form/Severity, beneath Binah, Hod (splendor) resides. And at the base of the Pillar of Force/Mercy, beneath Chokma, resides Netzach (Victory); both linked together by the Path of the Tower Card, key 16.
The Same balance of Force and Form that is seen in the Supernal Triangle (Kether-Chokmah-Binah), is seen between these 2 Sephiroth. But there is a difference, as this lower pattern of Force and Form is expressible in conceptualized forms and understood by our reasoning minds, whereas, the Supernal is so subjective that there is no objective rationale. There are no objects to examine in the Supernal. For Chokma, the 2nd Sephiroth, is the "idea of outpouring Force" and Binah, the 3rd Sephiroth, is "the idea of Form that restricts force", terms most subjective and displaying no object.
With the union of Hod and Netzach, we are now dealing with concepts that can immediately be understood in terms of individual Personality construction and architecture; in other words, objectively.
In the human personality the Fire of Netzach is animal intuition and the Water of Hod is the concrete personal and rational mind.
The Book of Thoth, is another name for the Tarot and is referred to Hod-the Splendor of Words, whose invention is attributed to the Egyptian Thoth/Hermes.
To reiterate: Thoth is an Egyptian Ibis headed god, who is Hermes in Greek and Mercury in Roman mythology. Each of these are presented in cultural mythology as messengers, a patron of teaching and learning and/or the teacher of the Mysteries. Since all language is the messenger of knowledge and a carrier of messages, words relate to Hod. Words of Power, are a Magus tool, and the well practice instrument of any practitioner of the Mysteries. The "movement with in the Motion" of words, is subjective, but that doesn't affect its power to transform the listening object!
Names and Vesicle relate to Hod, but without the fiery passion of Netzach, they are dull and empty. The effect of "feelings" (reaction) in a word are obvious, either by saying "I love you" or "I hate You", with focused passion, effects our inner world. Also, to say these same phrases with monotones of logic, makes them ineffectual, and dead.
The Inner Word is a World of Vibration that only the intense energy of Netzach can reach. So power speakers, know to bring the dynamic energy of Netzach to the environment through "living' words. Many fail at ritual, because they chant by wrote and not by the dynamics of Vital Force (Sexual/Lust energy). As Robert Wang states,"Those who approach the esoteric studies with great vitality and enthusiasm but lack the discipline of Hod are wasting their time. And those who fail to bring the intuition of Netzach to bear on the many words written about the inner sciences will quickly decide that the "Hermetic Mysteries" are pedantic and lifeless."
The Qaballah, names many attributes of the One Energy/Self, each of which requires a different learning experience (Paths) and a need to "pronounce" the Divine name. Thus, the names of the system are of Hod, but the beginning of the system of properly used words is in Netzach whose vibration of Venus frequency, encompasses the whole Tree of Life.
There is a reason why the Hermaphrodite, is the magical image of Hod.That reason comes from the fact that form requires force in restriction; force is symbolize as Phallic, and form is symbolized as Ovum, or Womb. Thus, in Hod are the dynamic qualities of the force of Netzach, which are limited in order that they can be dealt with through our normal process of thought. We know these limits as the form of both language and visual image. Both are comprehensible symbols agreed upon by societies for the transmission of messages. Sure, language and images are both artificial and have no intrinsic qualities of their own, they are merely carriers of idea, neutral in themselves but the "feelings" of Netzach, our inner-passion and/or emotion, makes them seem alive.
The symbol for Hod is not only Names and vesicles, but also the Apron, which also refers to the Moon, as does Thoth himself in one aspect. Being a traditional Masonic symbol, the Apron symbolizes the builder who is the craftsman of the Mysteries, and when worn, covers the sexual organs attributed to Yesod. Those who understand Yesod, see the extent to which the manipulation of "sexual energy" is the foundation of all practical work.
When in returning our consciousness to the One Self, from its material condition, Hod becomes the primary point of conceptual transfer. Here, in Hod, the Masters contact their chosen disciples, clothing themselves in forms comprehensible to the human mind; presenting to the student the formal tools of the Hermetic path. The Sephiroth Netzach is the presentation point of the Orphic Path, and the Middle Pillar is the Devotional Path.
Now the initiate knows that by projecting oneself into any Sephiroth, by meditative means, immerses the student in the Qualities of that Energy Consciousness. However, we use the forces of Hod, by approaching things intellectual or by just studying the Mysteries. All The Sephiroth, on the Tree of Life, are integral parts of Our Whole Self, in a constant state of dynamic activity. The Principle of Practical Qaballah is that we turn our conscious observation toward a particular aspect of ourselves, and thereby gain access to the corresponding part of the Universal Mind.
What is of note, the "god" Mercury is also known as the god of deceit and trickery and words are also vessels of these vices. With the image of Thoth, there is often a Monkey shown, who represents this trickery of words. This suggest the aspect of "adaptability" required for esoteric work which is conferred by the Hod intelligence. Now the student knows that the whole Astral realm seeks to deceive but this deception is because of our perceptual vulnerability when viewing astral images. Our human minds are particularly susceptible to perceptual folly, in the alternatively bright and murky Sephiroth of Yesod. And it is in Hod that we begin to understand the mechanisms of our perceptions, as perceptions make reality a simulation of our "feelings" and/or reactions to others, environment, words etc.
The eights are of Hod. Therefore the eights generally show solitary success in the matter for the time being, but not leading to much result-- apart from the thing itself. This is easily seen in the art of the SpellCaster'sTarot-8 of Cups. For one may have balance and therefore, neutralized their emotions, but as seen by the 7 stacked cups, one is locked into non-motion to keep the balance. Therefore, no new emotions, and therefore, no new day, as all is held captive to "yesterday" and the reality of today is just so much "dirty dishes".
When the 8 of Cups card is thrown during a reading:
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