Victorian science, flushed with its victory over Supernaturalism, was quite right to declare the Immeasurable "Out of Bounds". It had a right to do so on technical grounds, and it was a strategical necessity of its offensive; but it hampered itself by limiting its scope. It laid itself open to the deadliest attacks from Philosophy. Then, especially from the angle of Mathematical Physics, its own generals betrayed its dogmatism. The essence of Science to-day is far more mysterious than the cloudiest speculations of Leibnitz, Spinoza or Hegel; the modern definition of Matter reminds one irresistibly of the definition of Spirit given by such mystics as Ruysbroek, Boehme and Molinos. The idea of the Universe in the mind of a modern mathematician is singularly reminiscent of the ravings of William Blake.
But the mystics were all wrong when they were pious, and held that their mysteries were too sacred to analyse. They ought to have brought in the idea of Measure. This is exactly what was done by the magicians and Qabalists. The difficulty has been that the units of measurement have themselves been somewhat elastic; they even tend to be literary. Their definitions were as circular as, but not more fugitive than, the definitions of the physicists of to-day. Their methods were empirical, though they strove to make them accurate, as well as lack of precise measures and standard apparatus permitted, because they had not yet formulated any true scientific theory. But their successes were numerous. All depended on individual p.47
skill. One would rather trust oneself in illness to the born physician than to the laboratory experts of Battle Creek.
One of the great differences between ancient and modern Chemistry is the idea of the Alchemists that substance in its natural state is, in some way or other, a living thing. The modern tendency is to insist on the measurable. One can go into a museum and see rows of glass globes and bottles which contain the chemical substances which go to make up the human body; but the collection is very far from being a man. Still less does it explain the difference between Lord Tomnoddy and Bill Sykes. Nineteenth century chemists were at great pains. to analyse opium and isolate its alkaloids, rather like a child pulling a watch to pieces to see what makes it go. They succeeded, but the results were not altogether wholesome. Morphine has much more direct hypnotic effect than opium; its action is speedier and more violent; but it is also a very dangerous drug, and its effects are often disastrous. The action of morphine is sensibly modified by the other twenty odd alkaloids which exist in opium. The intoxicating effect of alcohol differs according to whether one absorbs it in Richebourg '29 or in synthetic gin. An even more startling example comes from Venezuela, where running messengers chew coco leaves, cover their hundred miles a day, and sleep till they are rested. They have no bad reaction, and they do not acquire the habit. Cocaine is a different story. The adepts of the Tarot would say, quite simply, "We are alive and the plant is alive, so we can make friends. If you kill the plant first, you are asking for trouble."
All this is here written in defence of the system of the makers and users of the Tarot, of their methods of dealing with Nature, of making -experiments without undue attention to the wish to get things done quickly. They would expose a mixture to the rays of the sun or moon for weeks or months, thinking that everything would be spoilt if they boiled it up violently. The processes of Nature (they would say) are slow and temperate; let us copy them! There may have been good grounds for these views. Experience leads to that conclusion. This is by way of Introduction to a thesis most necessary to the understanding of the Tarot. Each card is, in a sense, a living being;
and its relations with its neighbours are what one might call diplomatic. It is for the student to build these living stones into his living Temple.
PART TWO THE ATU (KEYS or TRUMPS) Contents
PART TWO: THE ATU (KEYS OR TRUMPS) 53-144 p.53
0. The Fool. The Formula of Tetragrammaton; The "Green Man" of the Spring Festival. "April Fool"; The Holy Ghost; The "Great Fool" of the Celts (Dalua); "The Rich Fisherman"; Percivale; The Crocodile (Mako, Son of Set, or Sebek); Hoor-Pa-Kraat; Zeus Arrhenotheleus; Dionysus Zagreus; Bacchus Diphues; Baphomet; Summary.
1. to XXI. The Juggler; The High Priestess; The Empress; The Emperor; The Hierophant; The Lovers (or, The Brothers); The Chariot; Adjustment; The Hermit; Fortune; Lust; The Hanged Man; Death; Art; The Devil; The Tower (or, War); The Star; The Moon; The Sun; The Aeon; The Universe.
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