|Occult Code||Genetic Code|
|Letter Class:||DOUBLE||NON-POLAR Amino Acid|
|I Ching Kua:||03 DIFFICULTY IN THE BEGINNING||CUC|
|20 CONTEMPLATION (VIEW)||UUA|
|23 SPLITTING APART||UUG|
|24 RETURN (THE TURNING POINT)||CUU|
|27 THE CORNERS OF THE MOUTH|
Crowley: Break down the fortress of thine individual self, that thy truth may spring free from the ruins. Quarrel, combat, danger, ruin, destruction of plans, sudden death, escape from prison. (BT p. 259)
The congruence of imagery and conceptual content between this tarot card and this grouping of kua is startling in its clarity. The summary of 6 kua in 1 tarot trump speaks well for the idea that both systems derive their content from a common source.
A short description of the card image: A tall tower, its roof shattered by lightning, its foundation assaulted by the mouth of Dis (a god of chaos), splits apart and falls to ruins.
We will first examine the kua for similarity of imagery and later compare the conceptual content to determine if the symbols stand for or illustrate the same set of concepts.
Wilhelm: (kua 20) The hexagram can be understood as picturing a type of tower characteristic of ancient China. (p. 82)
Wilhelm: (kua 23) The lines of the hexagram present the image of a house, the top line being the roof, and because the roof is being shattered the house collapses. (p. 94)
Kua 23, line 6: THE HOUSE OF THE INFERIOR MAN IS SPLIT APART. (p. 96)
Wilhelm: (kua 3) The hexagram indicates the way in which heaven and earth bring forth individual beings. ... The situation points to teeming, chaotic profusion; ... But the chaos clears up. A thunderstorm brings release from tension, ... (p. 16)
In Crowley's card, the tower, attacked by lightning from above, is also assaulted from below by what he calls the mouth of Dis - a god of chaos. The Hebrew letter PE has as its meaning, "a mouth."
Wilhelm: (kua 27) This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; above and below are the firm lines of the lips, and between them the opening. (p. 107)
So, in these 4 kua we have all of the salient images and symbols incorporated in the tarot trump, "THE TOWER." We now turn our attention to the concepts associated with these symbols.
Crowley: ruin, destruction, danger, sudden death
Kua 23, The sequence: SPLITTING APART MEANS RUIN. (p. 500)
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 23) "Overthrow" Falling; overturning; when things quake, to agitate them more is a mistake. ... Destroy, when needed is - will not wisdom show? ... They'll bear thee brave; the small man digs his grave.
Crowley names kua 3, "Danger and obscurity."
Wilhelm: (kua 3) Everything is in motion: therefore if one perseveres, there is a prospect of great success, in spite of the existing danger. (p. 16)
What is the meaning of all this danger, destruction and ruin? What significance can this imagery have for an individual and for society?
Crowley: Breakdown the fortress of thine individual self, that the truth may spring free from the ruins.
Kua 24, The sequence: THINGS CANNOT BE DESTROYED ONCE AND FOR ALL. WHEN WHAT IS ABOVE IS COMPLETELY SPLIT APART, IT RETURNS BELOW. (p. 504)
Kua 23, Miscellaneous notes: SPLITTING APART MEANS DECAY.
Wilhelm: (kua 23) The thought, here taken together with that in the next hexagram (24), shows the connection between decay and resurrection. (p. 500)
Wilhelm: (kua 24) ... the hexagram counsels turning away from the confusion of external things, turning back to one's inner light. (p. 505)
Kua 24, Appended judgements: RETURN LEADS TO SELF- KNOWLEDGE. (p. 504)
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 24) Coming back; thou'rt free to come and go. Friends help; now move with confidence aglow.
Crowley: ... escape from prison.
On page 199 of "The Book of Thoth", Crowley says of kua 20: "It is one of the master-keys to the gate of initiation." All of kua 20 deals with the viewing or contemplation of one's life and times. It counsels self-knowledge, self-examination and the overcoming of naive egotism.
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 20 lines 5-6) Consider thy life's course, lest action err, and criticize thy soul's true character.
To summarize; both systems use the same imagery to illustrate the same set of concepts; i.e. thunder and lightning shattering a man-made edifice. This is symbolic of the destruction of base egoism preparatory to the construction of a new broader based conception of self more suited to the times about to come.
The same symbols and concepts used on the personal level also have application on the social and historical levels. The "tower syndrome" leads to the death of naive egotism and the subsequent resurrection, from its ruins, of a more fully functional self. Crowley also interprets this card as symbolizing the death or destruction of an era and its subsequent resurrection in a new civilization more in tune with the will of heaven. The persons who have experienced their own "tower syndrome," and learned the necessary lessons, will be in a position to understand and deal with, in an appropriate way, the simultaneous dissolution of one world view and its replacement with a new and more functional world view. The kua give advice for ameliorating the worst effects of such a transition.
Wilhelm: (kua 42) To rule truly is to serve. This conception also expresses the fundamental idea on which the book of changes is based. (p. 162)
Kua 42, Miscellaneous notes: THE HEXAGRAMS OF DECREASE AND INCREASE ARE THE BEGINNING OF FLOWERING AND OF DECLINE . (p. 595)
Crowley: (I Ching, kua 42) Increase; now's no time to sit and shiver; but to move on, even to cross the river. ... Let all men share in thine improved estate! By soul's disorders realms disintegrate.
It is widely accepted by students of the Tarot that the trump of "THE TOWER" is based on the Biblical tower of Babel. The mouth symbol representing the confusion of languages that was the biblical deity's response to man's supposed arrogance. Crowley associated kua 42 with the "Prince of Wands." Here is what Crowley says regarding the nature of and goals of this prince.
Crowley: (p. 154) Full of virtue, and confident therein, he contemplates work of stupendous scope, often with the idea expressed in line 5 (of kua 42): "With sincere heart seeking to benefit all below." In this way he may achieve great success. But the course is frought with commensurate danger .
The prince of wands in the Tarot and the superior ruler of the I Ching, full of virtue, seek to perform some work of tremendous value for the benefit of their subjects. They are able to plan and execute their plans because their realms have experienced a cycle of prosperity and increase. The material and intellectual storehouses are full and the people are comfortable and cooperative. Together with their ruler they engage in great projects. Then the god of the Old Testament, in a fit of jealousy and fear not only undoes all their work but scatters them and compels them to begin all over again, from scratch. What a guy.
The philosophers of the I Ching didn't require a vengeful deity to punish prosperous peoples. They understood, from their observations of the cycles of nature, that times of relative abundance are invariably followed by times of relative scarcity, and so they warned those in positions of authority to prepare for this eventuality. If the leadership does not heed this advice, the punishment is swift and all encompassing. The fall from the heights of prosperity can wipe out generations of progress and compel all concerned to start from scratch.
Kua 42, "INCREASE" is the beginning of decline. To soften the worst effects of the time to come one should work on broadening the base of participation in the relative abundance occurring in the time of increase. Not to do so leads to the "tower syndrome" for the entire society. To continue the material growth of society, for the benefit of only those at the top of the economic and social pyramid, at the expense of those composing its base, is to persist in a process which will bring inevitable and irrevocable destruction to that society. With the powers now available to us, this destruction (fire is the agent predicted) will, with high probability, end the human experiment on this planet.