Hebrew letter Mem
  Yang                 OCCULT CODE                GENETIC CODE
A Yang  Hebrew Letter: MEM                        STOP Codon
  Yang  Letter Class : MOTHER                     PUNCTUATION 
U Yin

The Hanged Man Crowley: Let not the waters whereon thou journeyest wet thee. And, being come to shore, plant thou the vine and rejoice without shame. Enforced sacrifice, punishment, loss, fatal or voluntary, suffering, defeat, failure, death. (BT p. 257)

Crowley's references are to the Biblical tale of the flood. Compare the following selections from kua 12 of the I Ching and the Genesis account of Noah.


Wilhelm: (Kua 12) Heaven and earth are out of communion and all things are benumbed. It is a time of standstill and decline. The dark power is within, the light power is without. The way of inferior people is in ascent; the way of superior people is on the decline. But the superior people do not allow themselves to be turned from their principles...and withdraw into seclusion. (p. 52)

Genesis 6:5 "And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." ... Genesis 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."


Wilhelm: (Kua 12) ... since he (the superior man) cannot assent to the meanness of the others. He therefore hides his worth and withdraws into seclusion. (p. 53)

Genesis 7:1 "And the Lord said unto Noah: 'Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation."

Kua 12, Commentary on the decision: UPPER AND LOWER DO NOT UNITE, AND IN THE WORLD, STATES GO DOWN TO RUIN. (p. 447)

Wilhelm: (Kua 12) Although we are dealing with cosmic conditions, the cause is nevertheless to be sought in the wrong course taken by man. It is man who spoils conditions - aside, naturally, from the regular phenomena of decline occurring in the normal course of life as well as of the year. (p. 447)

Genesis 6:12 "And God saw the earth, and, behold it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 6:13 And God said unto Noah: 'The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth."

Both Crowley's tarot and Wilhelm's I Ching remind us that even the worst of times must end.

Crowley: In this inferior darkness of death, the serpent of new life begins to stir. (BT p. 96)

Genesis 9:1 "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and he said unto them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth." ... 9:20 "And Noah the husbandman began, and planted a vineyard."

Crowley: (I Ching kua 12 line 2) Patience, obedience, fitness, build anew.

Crowley: ...a baptism which is also a death. ...the descent of the light into the darkness in order to reedeem it. (BT p. 96)

Crowley: (I Ching kua 12 line 6) The darkness passes; light breaks forth from under.

In general, this trump says: "...if ever things get bad like that again, in the new dark ages which appear to threaten, this is the way to put things right." The superior person will seek to transform the suffering and chaos into peace; internally and externally.


Wilhelm: (kua 12 line 5) The time undergoes a change. The right man, able to restore order, has arrived. Someone who transforms standstill into peace. (p. 55)

The hanging man is upside down. Kua 12, upside down, is kua 11, "PEACE."

Wilhelm: (kua 11, "PEACE") This hexagram denotes a time in nature when heaven seems to be on earth. Heaven has placed itself beneath the earth, and so their powers unite in deep harmony. Then peace and blessing descend upon all living things. ... 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. (p. 48)

Examine Crowley's visual interpretation of the hanged man. You will notice that the background is extremely geometric. The man is completely enclosed in a rectilinear matrix composed of squares within squares. Above this there is a circular motif with rays emanating therefrom. The upper trigram of kua 12 is CHIEN, which symbolizes heaven and the geometric figure of heaven, in the I Ching, is the circle. The geometric symbol for KUN, the lower trigram of kua 12, is a square. So the background design of Crowley's trump is cognate with kua 12; it thus denotes the background of stagnation and corruption upon which the righteous man hangs, and because of which the deity brought ruin to the world. Note also that the hanged man's head is in contact with another, darker circle containing the baptismal waters and the serpent of new life. If we read the background imagery from top to bottom, noting that the lattice of squares contains a smaller, darker lattice; we get CHIEN - KUN = kua 12 and KUN - CHIEN = kua 11, "PEACE."

Many interpreters of this card note that the hanging man is not suffering as one enduring punishment should. Therefore they interpret his suffering as voluntary or at least accepted as somehow necessary; perhaps as one accepts martyrdom or as a temporary period of meditative withdrawal from active, involvement.

During times characterized by kua 12 and/or trump 12 the superior man trades his upright public stance for an upside down stance in his private inner world. This is symbolic imagery for an attempt to attain an inner state of peace - thus compensating the lack of balance in the outer world with balance in his inner world. He saves himself for the time when he can play a role in bringing about peace in the outer world.

Wilhelm: (kua 12) By his willingness to suffer personally he insures the success of his fundamental principles. (p. 54)

Crowley: the attitude of the figure is a ritual posture in the practice called "The Sleep of Shiloam." (BT p. 98)

Shiloam, or Shiloh, is the proper name of a place in Palestine; it means "tranquil" and stems from a primitive root word which means "to be tranquil." It is related to the Hebrew word shalom which means "peace."

The events leading up to the biblical deluge pose one of the most difficult problems for theologians. The corruption that prompted the Hebrew deity to "cleanse" the earth was related to the unwholesome physical intercourse between the "daughters of man" and "the sons of God." The existence of the "sons of God" or "Nephilim" needed to be explained since they threw a monkey-wrench into the neat monotheistic pattern imposed on biblical interpretation by generations of priests.

One such explanation can be found in the "Bereshit Rabbati" a rabbinic interpretation of Genesis from the 11th century. I found the following story in "Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis" by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai. It seems that two angels, Shemhazai and Azael, convinced God that they could do a better job of caring for the earth than could man. God sent them to earth but they became enamoured of the human females and sired upon them, monsters. God then decided to destroy the earth and all living things. Then follows the official flood story. Azael somehow manages to remain on earth and takes on the job of teaching woman how to tempt man into sin by use of ornaments and fine clothes but: "afterwards Shemhazai repented, and set himself in the southern sky, between Heaven and Earth - head down, feet up, and hangs there to this day: the constellation named Orion by the Greeks." (p. 107)

Between Heaven (CHIEN, a circle) and Earth (KUN, a square) there hangs,(as the constellation of Orion) upside down, one of the Nephilim (sons of God), in repentance for his misdeeds which brought about the deluge.

Since Crowley's vision of this trump is derived from the flood story of the Old Testament and Wilhelm's interpretation of this kua reads as though it describes the world of Noah's time; to what extent can we find actual flood symbolism in the congruence of this trump and kua?

The Hebrew word for the letter MEM is also the Hebrew word for water. The two trigrams composing the kua "STANDSTILL" are: KUN below, designating earth, and CHIEN above, designating heaven. To make a fascinating association with the symbol of water I now include some recent research by another authority on the I Ching.

Greg Whincup is a Canadian scholar who holds a degree in Chinese from the university of Toronto. He has written a translation and interpretation of the I Ching which incorporates the most recent archeological and philological discoveries. His book is entitled "Rediscovering the I Ching". He interprets the trigram KUN as being symbolic of water. His argument is contained in a footnote to chapter 2 "THE RECEPTIVE", which is composed of the trigram KUN doubled. He names kua 2, "ACQUIESCENCE" and explains why in footnote 1 on page 28.

1. KUN - This hexagram is like water, which acquiescently follows the lay of the land. During the Han Dynasty (circa 200 B.C.-200 A.D.), the name of the hexagram was sometimes written with the character or , which means "flowing water." The character has been standard since at least the Han period. It contains the element "earth" and the hexagram has therefore traditionally been associated with earth rather than water. I prefer because line one refers indirectly to water, because forms of this character are used in the earliest surviving manuscripts, and because the figure ("666" in ancient script) is the most ancient way of drawing the trigram (KUN) .

So, if we accept Mr. Whincup's analysis that the trigram KUN is a symbol of water, it becomes possible to interpret kua 12 as representing the earth covered in water; the image of a "great flood" and therefore cognate with trump XII.

To continue the set of congruences I will refer to that book which I have selected as the western complement to the I Ching. The earliest written document of the Hebrew qabalistic tradition is the "Sefer Yetzirah" or "Book of Creation." This book describes the means whereby the Hebrew deity created the world and all living things through the medium of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. I have written about this book and its meanings in previous chapters and so I will be brief here.

Three letters of the Hebrew alphabet are designated "Mothers." They are; ALEPH, MEM, and SHIN. In chapter 2 Mishna 1 of the Sefer Yetzirah it says: "... Three Mothers ALEPH, MEM, SHIN: MEM stands still, SHIN hisses, ALEPH is Air which tips the balance between them." (UJM p. 21) (emphasis added)

So, to summarize: the 12th trump is cognate with the 12th kua through its imagery, symbolism, and conceptual content. Both describe the conditions prevailing at the time of the deluge. Trump 12 has the letter MEM assigned to it, and MEM means water. kua 12 has the trigram KUN as its lower component and this trigram symbolizes water and/or earth (a flooded earth?). The Sefer Yetzirah says: "MEM stands still" and kua 12 is named "STANDSTILL."

Considering the limitations imposed by the structural isomorphism between the kua and the codons of the genetic code and the Hebrew alphabet with the amino acids of that code; it is amazing that so much of the content of these disparate symbolic systems can be mutually reinforcing and explanatory.

Since both the card and the kua give every indication of being related to the deluge legend of Noah, it may be instructive to examine the meaning of his name. All of the definitions are from "Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible"; the numbers in parenthesis refer to the sequence of the word within the Hebrew dictionary in Strong's.

Noah (5146), means, "rest" and is derived from a primitive root word (5117), which means, "to rest, i.e. settle down.". While gleaning this information I was surprised to find that there is another Noah mentioned in the Old Testament. In the book of Numbers 26:33, 27:1, 36:11; mention is made of an Israelite woman whose name is Noah. Her name in Hebrew is spelled and pronounced differently but for some reason it is translated into English as Noah. Checking on the meaning of this name of a female Noah I was delighted to find that, just as there is a polarity of sexes, so too is there a polarity of meaning. Noah (5270), means, "movement" and is derived from a primitive root word (5128), which means (among other things), "to waver, fugitive, be vagabond, make wander."

So Noah (male) = rest, to settle down; while Noah (female) = movement, to make wander! The trump of THE HANGED MAN is assigned to the Hebrew letter MEM, which is one of the three "mother letters." Another "mother letter" is ALEPH, which is assigned to the trump of "THE FOOL." The kua which is assigned to the stop codon UGA is chapter 12, "STANDSTILL" and the tale told therein is that of Noah (male) = rest, settle down. The kua assigned to the stop codons UAA and UAG are chapters 33 and 56, "RETREAT" and "THE WANDERER", while Noah (female) = movement, make wander.

In the chapter which analyzed the relationship between the kua of "THE WANDERER" and the trump of "THE FOOL" it was noted that the assigned letter ALEPH means "ox." The legendary creator of the I Ching is named Fu Hsi and his name means "OX TAMER." The observation was made that, as a culture- bearer god, Fu Hsi designed the I Ching as a manual for the civilizing of man. The book contains information for the efficient and just administration of a nation state. It was intended to facilitate the transition from a wandering, nomadic way of life to a settled urban existence.

In the legends and myths of ancient China. Fu Hsi was assisted in his work as a culture-bearer god by his sister/wife/ successor Nu Wa. Among her legendary deeds is one which relates to a flood. Here is what E.T.C. Werner says of her in his book "Myths and Legends of China":

... the legend - first mentioned by Lieh Tzu ... Nu Kua Shih (also called Nu Wa and Nu Hsi) ... She (or he, for the sex seems uncertain), who had the "body of a serpent and head of an ox" (or a human head and the horns of an ox, according to some writers), ... Toward the end of her reign ... The pillars of Heaven were broken and the corners of the earth gave way. Hereupon Nu Kua melted stones of the five colours to repair the heavens, ... Gathering the ashes of reeds she stopped the flooding waters, and rescued the land ... (p. 84-85).

There is a curious and fascinating constellation of images and concepts associated with the stories told by the tarot, the I Ching, and the myths and legends of the Hebrews and Chinese. That they can all be collated and given coherence when arranged in a pattern that simulates the pattern of the genetic code, is cause for considerable wonderment and thought. As I continued in the work of comparing the content of the kua and trumps, it became increasingly difficult to maintain the opinion that I was involved in a process of "creating" associations. An alternative hypothesis grew into a real possibility that: the two distinct occult systems of the tarot and the I Ching were derived from a common source, and that source was motivated to arrange these systems in a pattern isomorphic with the pattern of the genetic code.

In my synthesis of the genetic code with the occult codes of the Tarot and the I Ching, the three "mother letters" are assigned to the three punctuation codon groups of the genetic code. In deciding which letters "belong" with which punctuation codons I had to compare the contents of the kua with the contents of the trumps. It must be understood that the options available, in the case of the "mothers," were limited to the three trumps and the four kua (in three groups) dictated by the structural classifications of the Hebrew language and the equivalent structures of the genetic language. I could not look outside of these restricted groups of three for similarities in meaning. If there was to be an isomorphism between the kua and the trumps it would have to be found within a very restricted set of possibilities.

That the contents of the kua and the trumps so easily match, in terms of their symbols, images, and concepts indicates to me that they are naturally related at a deep level. That the concepts associated with the occult symbol systems also relate to the functions of the genetic code system indicates that the deep level at which all of these systems relate is that of life itself.

Trump XI "Lust"

Trump XIII "Death"

Occult Genetic Code Table


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