|Occult Code||Genetic Code|
|Letter Class:||SIMPLE||POLAR Amino Acid|
|I Ching Kua:||05 WAITING (NOURISHMENT)||ACC|
|09 THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL||ACA|
|26 THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT||ACG|
Crowley: Mitigate energy with love; but let love devour all things. Courage, strength, energy and action, une grande passion. (BT p. 257)
Trump XI is another one of those cards that Aleister Crowley felt compelled to remake in his own image. What is particularly fascinating about the hypothesis that both the Tarot and the I Ching are derived from a common source is that even with Crowley's re-interpretation and the coloring that the traditional symbolism acquired when filtered through his nervous system, there is still an amazing amount of agreement among the images of the I Ching and Crowley's Tarot.
Crowley: ... formerly called Strength. But it implies far more than strength in the ordinary sense of the word. ... better to change the traditional title. Lust implies not only strength, but the joy of strength exercised. It is vigour, and the rapture of vigour. (BT p. 91-92)
In traditional decks a woman is seen to be either exercising a degree of control over or interacting peacefully with a lion. In Crowley's rendering the lion becomes a multi-faced beast and the woman, naked, is seen to be riding it with some pleasure. In correlating these kua with Crowley's trump I was pleased and somewhat shocked to find that both the traditional concepts of strength and Crowley's more idiosyncratic concept of lust are both represented in the kua. Let us first examine the traditional meaning.
The woman in the card is a particularization of the general concept of the feminine. She is shown dominating or taming a lion which is symbolic of the masculine, animal, and solar forces. The concept of strength is thus applied through the yin; over-ruling the yang. Whatever concepts one attaches to the yin or feminine, they are seen to predominate over their yang or masculine complement.
Wilhelm: (kua 9) This hexagram means the force of the small - the power of the shadowy - that restrains, tames, impedes. This hexagram presents a configuration of circumstances in which a strong element is temporarily held in leash by a weak element. (p. 40)
Kua 9, line 6: PERSEVERANCE BRINGS THE WOMAN INTO DANGER.
Wilhelm: (kua 9) The female principle, the weak element that has won the victory, should never persist in vaunting it - that would lead to danger. (p. 43)
Wilhelm:(kua 26) The CREATIVE is tamed by KEN KEEPING STILL. This produces great power, a situation in contrast to that of the ninth hexagram, HSIAO CH'U, THE TAMING POWER OF THE SMALL, in which the CREATIVE is tamed by the gentle alone. (p. 103-104)
Crowley: (the) energy (described in the card) is of the primitive, creative order; ... (BT p. 95)
Some of the attributes of this card listed by Crowley are: strength and courage (implying danger) and action. The I Ching includes the concepts of gentleness and patience as part of the repetoire necessary for the process of taming the creative energies.
Wilhelm: (kua 5) The idea of waiting is further suggested by the attributes of the two trigrams - strength within, danger in front. Strength in the face of danger does not plunge ahead but bides its time, whereas weakness in the face of danger grows agitated and has not the patience to wait. (p. 24)
The I Ching says all that Crowley says and more. A more complete set of options is made available in the I Ching; including a complete reversal of the masculine - feminine roles, demonstrating the need to control the feminine energies when the time demands.
Wilhelm: (kua 11) Inside, at the center, in the key position, is the light principle; the dark principle is outside. Thus the light has a powerful influence, while the dark is submissive. (But the effect is the same, i.e.) When the spirit of heaven rules in man, his animal nature also comes under its influence and takes its appropriate place. (p. 48-49)
Crowley says that the magical power of this trump is: Power of training animals. In "THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT" three lines speak of animals that have been tamed in one way or another.
line 3: A GOOD HORSE THAT FOLLOWS OTHERS. line 4: THE HEAD BOARD OF A YOUNG BULL.
Wilhelm: Before a bull's horns grow out, a head board is fastened to its forehead, so that later when the horns appear they can do no harm.
line 5: THE TUSK OF A GELDED BOAR.
Wilhelm: A boar's tusk is in itself dangerous, but if the boar's nature is altered, the tusk is no longer a menace. (p. 106)
There is one more animal to add to this symbolic menagerie. The Hebrew letter assigned to this card is TETH, which means "a snake." The snake is a powerful symbol and it has many associations with a number of concepts. As a reptile the snake is cognate with the dragon. In the symbolism of the I Ching, the kua of "THE CREATIVE" has as its associated animal, the dragon. Crowley describes the energy of trump XI as being of "the primitive, creative order." All of the kua in this group have the trigram of THE CREATIVE as the lower trigram. Here is how Wilhelm describes the relationship of the dragon with the kua of "THE CREATIVE."
Wilhelm: (kua 1 "THE CREATIVE" line 1) In china the dragon has a meaning altogether different from that given it in the Western world. The dragon is a symbol of the electrically charged, dynamic, arousing force that manifests itself in the thunderstorm. In winter this energy withdraws into the earth; in the early summer it becomes active again, appearing in the sky as thunder and lightning. As a result the creative forces on earth begin to stir again. (p. 7)
Now that we have the creative forces stirring again, it is time to analyse Crowley's very personal vision of this card. Kua 26, "THE TAMING POWER OF THE GREAT," follows kua 25, "INNOCENCE."
Kua 26, The sequence: WHEN INNOCENCE IS PRESENT IT IS POSSIBLE TO TAME. (p. 515)
Wilhelm: (kua 26) Holding fast to heavenly virtue is the prerequisite for innocence. On the other hand, innocence is the indispensable condition for being able to hold fast to pristine heavenly virtue. (p. 515)
Of course, this combination of Confucian and Christian moralism would probably disgust Crowley; (I concede that the point is badly overstated) but the writers and compilers of the I Ching were worldly men and fully conversant with the potent powers that come under the rubric of lust. Much of the imagery in the I Ching centers about the "sexual" union of powers and forces of nature. And, as we will see, their understanding of how these energies manifest in man enabled them to deal with these energies in a practical way.
The full meaning of an I Ching kua requires an analysis of the interplay amongst the full set of the six lines which compose it. In addition to the two trigrams which form the external structure of the kua, and which provide the basis for its major theme, there is an "internal" kua which adds a new component to the kua's meaning. This "nuclear" kua is composed of lines 2, 3, and 4; making a new lower trigram, and lines 3, 4, and 5; which become a new upper trigram. The nuclear kua adds another level to the full meaning of the original kua by describing an internal tendency which colors the main thrust of meaning derived from the interplay of the external trigrams.
To examine the way in which the group of kua associated with trump XI illuminate Crowley's interpretation of "LUST" as the major theme; we need to include in our analysis the nuclear kua of kua 11 and 26. Both of these kua contain kua 54, "THE MARRYING MAIDEN," as their nuclear kua. The meanings attached to kua 54 will serve to delineate an inner tendency for the primary kua.
"THE MARRYING MAIDEN" is the image of young girl who is married to an older man, not as his primary wife but as his concubine. In a footnote to this kua, Wilhelm explains the Chinese concept of concubinage within the institution of marriage.
Wilhelm: (kua 54 footnote) ... the husband retains the right to indulge his more personal inclinations. ... of course it is a most difficult and delicate matter, requiring tact on the part of all concerned. But under favorable circumstances this represents the solution of a problem for which European culture has failed to find an answer. (p. 209)
Crowley: (this trump) ... represents the most critical of all the operations of magick and alchemy. It represents the original marriage as it occurs in nature, ... (BT p. 92-93)
Wilhelm: (kua 54, THE MARRYING MAIDEN) has also so to speak a cosmic meaning ... The whole cycle of life is contained in this hexagram. Thus the present hexagram indicates the cosmic order of the relations of the sexes and the cycle of life. (p. 664)
So we can see that what Crowley deemed to be the primary concept in his reinterpretation of trump XI, "LUST"; is, in the fuller context of the I Ching, only one theme. And a somewhat hidden one at that. It is in kua 11, "PEACE," that we get the clearest parallel with Crowley's metaphysical meaning.
Crowley: It's meaning (kua 11) is identical with the following description of the 3 of wands. This card (Virtue) ... represents the establishment of primeval Energy. The Will has been transmitted to the Mother, who conceives, prepares, and gives birth to, its manifestation. (BT p. 190)
Kua 11 is perhaps the best kua of all to illustrate the image of "the original marriage as it occurs in nature." As we have seen, its nuclear kua is "THE MARRYING MAIDEN," with its metaphysical implications to the relations of the sexes, the cycle of life, and the cosmic order. The structural trigrams of kua 11, "Peace" are: KUN above CH'IEN below.
CH'IEN is the trigram of heaven. KUN is the trigram of the earth. It would seem then, that the trigrams of kua 11 are in the wrong places. In the Western traditions, if God's in his heaven then all's right with the world. But to the sages of the I Ching, God's place is here on earth and in the hearts of its people. Only then, when spirit immerses itself in matter, can the processes of nature follow the will of heaven. When heaven is receptive to the needs of earth and earth is imbued with the creative power of heaven: peace, harmony and tranquility prevail.
It is through humanity, as a co-equal partner with heaven and earth, that spirit seeks to perfect itself in the processes of life. The role of human-kind, in the mystical traditions, is to lend aid to this process of building heaven on earth. The marriage of heaven and earth, spirit and matter, is mediated by mind, which partakes of both realms.