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Oliver St. John is the author of fifteen books covering Hermetic and Thelemic philosophy, Qabalah, operative magical Theurgy, the Tarot and astrology. He is a founding member of the Thelemic Magical Collegium, Ordo Astri, and has been a member of the Typhonian Order since 2000 e.v.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Scorpio: Lord of Death and Resurrection

The Tarot trump for Scorpio is Death XIII, which is placed on the 24th path of Nun on the Hermetic Tree of Life. The esoteric title of the key is Child of the Great Transformers: Lord of the Gates of Death. The dual nature of Scorpio is depicted in the design of the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot card: A skeletal figure is wielding a scythe. With the sweep of the scythe bubbles appear in which new forms are created.

Crowley Thoth Tarot Atu Death XIII

Crowley Thoth Tarot Trump Death XIII: Lord of Death and Resurrection

Death is shown as a dancing figure, destroying form and structure while simultaneously recreating it, for in nature life and death are two sides of one coin. The card is therefore a symbol of transformation and regeneration, very apt for the months of October and November in the northern hemisphere. In terms of magical alchemy, the figure sums up the chemical changes called putrefaction. It is said that the base metal iron can only be changed into gold during the month when the Sun traverses Scorpio. In astrology the fixed water sign Scorpio is ruled by fiery Mars, the energy that breaks down form into its elements so that new life can be created. Iron is the Hermetic correspondence of Mars, while gold is that of the Sun.

Scorpio has three symbols: the Scorpion, the Eagle and the Snake. The Hebrew letter nun, ascribed to the path of Scorpio, superseded the much older letter nahash—“a serpent”—that in later times became identified with evil. While the Scorpion symbolises the voluntary submission to inevitable change, the undulations of the Snake symbolise the dual dance of life and death. The Eagle is said to be the higher form of Scorpio, since it has always represented ascendancy over matter or material form. Putrefaction gives off gas or vapour, and this has its parallel in occultism with spirituous non-material substances that are nonetheless tangible to clairvoyance. Ectoplasm or etheric matter is known to act as a medium between the physical world and more tenuous planes of existence.

The head of the Eagle is used as a symbol for alchemical distillation—it therefore represents the sublimation of gross matter. Scorpio is the 8th house or area of influence in astrology. The 8th house governs matters of sex, death and legacies. It therefore sums up all of our memory and experience; at the same time the very nature of Scorpio urges us towards change and transformation.

Scorpio and The Flaming Sword

Here is the entry for path 24, Scorpio, from our Sepher Sephiroth and treatise on Gematria The Flaming Sword Sepher Sephiroth:

The 24th path is The Child of the Great Transformers: the Lord of the Gate of Death
The 24th path of Nun connects Tiphereth, the sphere of the Sun, with Netzach, the sphere of Venus, and is imaged forth by the Tarot key Death XIII; the 24th path is called (in the Sepher Yetzirah) the Intelligence of Resemblance or the Imaginative Intelligence; the root of the Hebrew word for “resemblance” or “imagination” (DMINVI) means “blood”; it is the self-replicating formula of all created beings personified by the ancient Egyptian God Besz; the Imaginative Intelligence of path 24 works from the centre of the self in Tiphereth towards the desire plane of Netzach in order to bring about new modes of expression, vehicles for the self; on the way of return such vehicles are transcended and broken down—thus the full title of the Tarot trump associated with the 24th path is Child of the Great Transformers: Lord of the Gates of Death; the activity of the 24th path comes through the power of projecting mental images; if in the attempt to fulfil desire on its own plane too much occult emphasis is placed on the action or ‘doing’ aspect of the human will then unwitting obsession is all too frequently the result; the magical power of the 24th path is that of Necromancy
According to The Law of Thelema—Quantum Yoga (Ordo Astri), the self-replicating formula is related to the creation of a magical ‘child’:
The Typhonian Mysteries related to the primordial vibration of the Mother lie at the root of the propagation of life and consciousness. This unfolds by means of self-replication. Self-replication, the very principle of wave patterns, is the core impulse of the Khabs represented by the dwarf god, Besz. The dwarf-self, Khabs or Ape of Thoth are symbols of the bindu seed placed within an organism for the purpose of self-replication. This takes place through emergence, the process by which a network of interactions between individuals becomes an entity in itself, forming a complex adaptive system transmitting a particular current, vibration or wave pattern.

The Khu is the environment, whether physical or non-physical, into which travels the Ophidian wave informing the self-replicating, self-evolving system. The complexity of an environment is related to the level of sentience or self-awareness of its individual components, as sentience allows the organism to define its status in relation to its environment. The formula of the conscious self-replication or ‘aping’ of the dwarf-self is that of the opening of the Eye of Set, the perineal chakra through which sentience extends backwards to the preconceptual energies of the star [Khabs]. It thus allows them to penetrate the self-replicating system in the form of a child from the belly of the individual organism, a child whom the Initiate may then follow to the end of time.
The creation of such a child is indicated in the Egyptian Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, I: 55–56:
The child of thy bowels, he shall behold them. Expect him not from the East, nor from the West; for from no expected house cometh that child.
Aleister Crowley nonetheless sought after a physical human son that would continue his lineage. For the work of Crowley’s magical ‘son’, see The Incoming of the Aeon of Maat by Charles Stansfeld Jones (Frater Achad), Starfire Publishing 

© Oliver St. John 2013, revised 2017