Tarot Card Comparisons: Thoth Tarot- 8 of Swords: Interference & The SpellCaster's Tarot- 8 of Swords.
The 8's of Tarot:
The Four 8's are attributed to Hod- eighth Sepiroth--Splendor, on the Tree of Life. Since Hod is in the same plane as the 7's (Netzach-victory) the same weaknesses and/or defects that are in the 7's will apply. Yet, in a sense, the alleviation of the 7's weakness is also being applied in the 8's. One might say that the mischief has been done and there is an action against it; much like white blood cells attacking a intruder in the blood stream. Not a total cure, but a beginning in that direction.
This minor arcana tarot card is attributed to Jupiter in Gemini, and Jupiter's natural expansiveness is in determent in the sign of Gemini, as the duality of Gemini affects Jupiter's positive energy scattering half one way and half the other. Also, Hod is in Yetzirah, the Astral-Formative World, the world noted for mental deception and phantoms of fantasy.
The angels of the Decan are, Vemibael and Yehohel.
Because of Gemini's desire to go first one way than the other, the shortened forces of Jupiter are scattered, erratic and unstable. This is indeed an unconscious interference when trying to focus one's consciousness on a goal. Yes it can be an intense and positive beginning, but it soon loses momentum in misdirection, as 90% of our operational thought is under the auspices of the unconscious and therefore, automatically done without conscious thought.
Crowley illustrates this in his 8 of Swords, as two strong and long main swords, being crossed ( as in Crossed-up) by six short swords of different designs representing scattered thoughts). The shorter swords also imply: shortened force, narrowness and restriction. There is a definite lack of persistence in intellectual matters and of contest. Jupiter's natural good fortune still attends even the weakest of efforts, yet the will is constantly thwarted by accidental interference.
Swords are traditionally the Suit of Air which is the suit of Mind, intellect, and conscious and traditionally the suit of death. As stated: The 8 of Swords, is of the 8th Sephira-Hod, which means splendor which is all about the cosmetics of pretense. This signifies a genuine lack of persistence in matters of intellect and contest. Yet, as stated, the 8 of Swords is also attributed to Jupiter in Gemini, so good fortune attends even the weakest effort; However. the Will is being constantly thwarted by accidental interference from the unconscious mind's automatic reactions.
The SpellCaster's 8 of Swords card, places the element of fire with the Swords. The tied up individual, surrounded by an enclosure of eight swords, implies a prison of one's own making. It is easily exited, as the front is open; However, one must open their eyes and/or change mental perspectives before they can see their way out. The significance of the Bull , is not clear for card is not of the sign of Taurus, nor is fertility a part of this card. The Bull of Earth, is a sacred animal and was often a sacrificial animal to the ancients. The Sacrificial Bull was named Apis by the Egyptians, and was considered the Son of Hathor. He was also latter considered to be an intermediary between mankind and higher deities. So my guess would be, that the bull implies that one is bound up and restricted by magic means. The eight pointed star on his tunic and the sigil of the sun on both hands, both seem to point to this conclusion of magic binding.
The Center of the Thoth Card is dominated by two downward pointing long swords. They are being crossed by six small swords , implying many small thoughts interfering with the larger issues. It is interesting to note that these small swords are peculiar to countries or cults, such as the Kris, the Kukri, the Scramasax, the Dagger, the Machete and the Yataghan; implying that outside interference, such as indoctrination, theology, and mental abuse, could be the cause of difficulties.
Since, mental interference is signified here, this is a sign of an active mind, that dashes about between thoughts and is unable to complete anything of significance. Projects lie about half done, confusion is rampant and it is unclear what is most important and what is not. In Eastern philosophy this is called the Neti-Neti mind (translates to ; Not this-Not that). This card represents the over analytical, non-trusting mind where survival thinking has become the foundation of creative thought brought on by feeling vulnerable and the self-doubt incubated by fear of discomfort. Therefore, the 8 of Swords card says,"Stop! Now is the time to wait, sort out priorities rather than act automatically."
Running from thought to thought not trusting your opinion of which is best or more certain of creating your survival dreams, accomplishes only creative mental interference, scattering one's ability to act. Hence, nothing can be completed. Now if the underlying cause of all this scattered thinking is in the "pursuit of happiness", one must stop and consider that mental happiness comes from a state of I AM Me----not from a state of "I Am not or I lack". It is time to stop seeking and focus on your inner self. Often, just by declaring," I Am the happiness I am seeking", stops the seeking of happiness that often interferes with our focused creative motion. I Am is everyone's inherited first name/identity, as it is the Identity of the The Divine Creative, whose presence in us is known as ratiocination and Imagination. As many of us find out, Imagination knows no boundaries and any idea will suffice as an act of creative splendor. The consciousness, must be in active communication with the unconsciousness, if imagination is to be focused on discerning thought. Hence, the practice of meditation, tarot skrying etc.. In our modern world of Media controlled identity, Peer pressure, and Pavlovian indoctrination, just knowing one's self is often hard to do, let alone what is life expanding and liberating thought. Hence, half the time, we don't even know what we are declaring into manifestation as our selves! Anything we start with "I AM" is a command to the image-maker (imagination) within, to build as our outer presence. One must be very careful about what they declare and must not react to the declaration of others!
"Happiness built me so it could be me." is a realization that has personally changed my life---it's time to focus on this fact as you are a simulation of the Greater Self, i.e., god and God doesn't build what God doesn't want!
The Thoth card helps us see that it is not what we do that makes us happy----it is the communication between our inner and outer-self that is important. Again the Tarot aids us in the spiritual axiom," Above all things, know thyself." The object of "the few who wish to rule the many", is to interfere with this inner and outer self communication. So that you can be a person of man made-splendor, a superficial material based persona, rather than the Real Persona of your Soul.
When the 8 of Swords card is thrown it points to the astrological aspect of Jupiter in Gemini; Jupiter being the planet of growth and expansion and when linked with Gemini this union requires us to weight different possibilities. Gemini is is the sign of the "twins" and is displayed, along with the sigil for Jupiter on the Thoth Tarot card.
To reiterate: To a Hermetic Qabalist, 8 of Swords is Hod (Splendor) in Yetzirah ( Astral World). Splendor, which is seen as a "egoistic showing off", a kind of ,"look how beautiful am I" . Splendor is the state of energy conscious that decorates creation with all it's beautiful colors and plumage. But in this case, the normal brief intense and positive influence of Jupiter is driven to chaotic twists and turns by the dual directions of Gemini. This Interferes with a type of order established by Jupiter, the resulting misdirection makes nothing complete.
The divinity meaning of the 8 of Swords card of both Thoth and SpellCaster's Tarot- is shortened force, narrowness, restriction as in a prison.
There is a desire here to expand any duality but all indications are over-analysis, doubt
or confusion, interfering with a choice being made. What can't be overstated is that because of the assignation of Jupiter to this card, one knows that good fortune attends even these weakened efforts, life will go on; However, the Will is thwarted by accidental interference proposed by Gemini. Crowley knew this to be so, and made sure that each sword in this card was of a different appearance, signifying "many choices with out decision".
The 8 of Swords is not all negative, for it also signifies that the desire and possibility for resolution with in the next eight weeks or 8 months, does exist.
When thrown in a tarot divination, the 8 of Swords card signifies:
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