The pattern of cards obtained for this reading is real. They were placed for a man named Lt. Weissmann, a.k.a Blicero. The interpretation of said cards follows the strictest principles of Aleister Crowley, although one might conclude he would possibly frown upon a sitting convened merely to judge the fate of a creature drawn from the work of another. Nevertheless, the patterns accrued thereof cannot be denied, nor would he be likely to attempt to do so.
In the woods, under the fine patterns of the spreading green boughs of the conifers, the squat, camouflaged steel box of the rocket control-car was almost invisible.
Inside it, he sat back at a metal table and looked at the cards. Blicker. Blicero. The White Man who had lost the sanguine heat of his blood a very long time ago. Outside, Die Rakete was his phallus, kept erect only by the infernal strength of his perversions, his Vorstuffe. It would rise up to Kether, or so he thought. Beyond the realm of Angels. Far more powerful than even the words of Rilke could ever hope to make it. But things had changed. Gottfried. Katje. What were they now, in the presence of these cards?! The images of Lady Freida Harris. Dire concatenations prescribed by the Master Therion himself. Aleister Crowley. Interpreter of 5000 years of Magick. Inscriber of the forbidden Unicursal Hexagram!
And who was this young airman? Sent by Them to place the portentous cards. Lean and rangy. His half-framed glasses and slightly greying hair insignificant compared to his eyes. Their blackness was the negation of all that Blicero was or could hope to be. Lance Durston. They had sent him to cross out the Rocket commander. To cast down his Angels below Malkuth, to crush his fiery Wand beneath the weight of a golden earthly Disk!
"We must read them."
The sonorousness of his voice made Weissmann shudder. Doom. And the portents of Hell itself? He could not think of it!
"Yes. I know. Proceed."
They contemplated a quincunx of triads. The Crowley pattern was the most powerful he had ever seen. No inverted cards or other tricks. All of the Trumps mapped onto the paths between the Sephiroths of the Kabbala. Only the wonderful patterns existed. The links from beyond Time itself!
"I invoke thee, IAO, that thou will send HRU, the great Angel that is set over the operation of this Secret Wisdom, to lay his hand invisibly on these consecrated cards of art, that thereby we may obtain true knowledge of hidden things, to the glory of thy ineffable name. Amen."
The key card, at the centre of the centremost triad, was the Seven of Disks. Of course! Failure. Despite the mystical number 7, a combination of the Trinity and the solid form of the Earth. The Disks were weighted. Down. The card was blue, and the withered vegetation on it was clearly the blighted forest in which he, Blicero, sat at that time.
It showed Netzach, in the suit of the Earth, Saturn in Taurus. The Disks were arranged in the geomantic figure of Rubeus, the most ugly and menacing of all the sixteen geomantic figures. The background and cultivation showed that everything was spoiled. The Disks were bad money, inscribed with the signs of Aries and Saturn. They signified the binding conditions of earthly life. He who had them for his referent would receive little gain from much labour. Any hope for the Transcendental flight of Weissmann's Rocket 00000 was, it seemed, annulled.
To the left of this card, Sinister, was the Seven of Swords. Another blue card. Seven. Again! This one was, also, Futility.
It showed Netzach again, this time in the suit of Air, the Moon in Aquarius. Six swords had their hilts in a crescent formation upon a much larger, upthrusting sword. Vacillation and compromise, a confused and undecided mind, were shown. There is a contrast between the many feeble and the one strong: he strives in vain!
The rightmost card of this central triad was what he had clearly hoped for, the Prince of Cups.
This card represents the airy part of Water, its elasticity and volatility, the energy of steam. The Prince is seated in a Chariot drawn by an Eagle surrounded by clouds. He carries a Lotus and a Cup, from which issues a spiral Serpent. In the Yi King, the airy part of water is represented by the 61st hexagram: Kung Fu, extremely good fortune! But not now. . . For the card was so ill-dignified by the other two sinister sevens that it could only show one thing: an intensely evil and merciless person with overweening ambition. That person was Weissmann, the Querent.
Above the central triad, to the right and left, were two potential futures. To the right, three cards. The first, a Trump. VIII Adjustment. She is Libra, Teth, even though the card showed Lamed. She was a bridge between Geburah, Strength, and Tiphareth,Beauty, in the Kabbala.
Balance against each thought its exact opposite For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.
A Harlequin with the ostrich plumes of Maat, she has the Uraeus serpent on her forehead, Lord of Life and Death. She is balancing from the headdress of Isis the scales in which are the bubbles of Maya, illusion, that which typifies the transitory quality of human justice. She is the female counterpart of the Fool, and she is the woman satisfied. This condition is symbolized by the scales in which she balances the Universe: Alpha, the first, exactly balances Omega. Her scales are witnesses, an authentic manifestation of Maya in which one fulfils the other by a process of contradiction, for nature is not justice! She is, rather, through her process of equilibrium, la Justesse.
Weissmann was the one to be judged in this cosmic process, and he knew he could only be found lacking!
The Four of Cups, Luxury, sat next to the Trump, and told more of the story of dissolution. Chesed was shown in the suit of Water, the Moon in Cancer. The four cups stand upon the sea, no longer stable, but ruffled. The Lotus on the card has a multiple stem. The energy of the element, although ordered, has lost the original purity of the conception. The rough sea shows that an element of excess has entered into love, and the card signifies weakness and abandonment of desire, the seeds of decay in the fruits of pleasure.
Then came the Eight of Wands, Swiftness. An incredible image of what Weissmann was attempting to do with his Rocket. The card showed Hod in the suit of Fire, Mercury in Sagittarius!! It depicted Light-Wands turned into electrical rays or vibrations constituting matter by their energy. And above this restored Universe is the Rainbow, representing interplay and correlation, the division of pure light. It is the acme of restless force, and the flames have been turned into rays by the Wands. The card signifies speech, light, electricity, the approach to a goal, and activity to that end. But here, so ill-dignified, it can only mean one is doomed to failure!
This future was closed to him forever. If he launched the Rocket it would be an act if decadence and, hence, it would fail. He could not choose that path, not ever.
The left future possibly offered a difference. Its triad began with another trump. II. The Priestess.
She is Isis, the Moon, Gimmel, leading along the path from Tiphareth directly to Kether. She is the eternal Virgin, and again, she is Artemis. It is for this reason that she is clothed in the luminous veil of light, light being viewed not as the manifestation, but as the veil, of the spirit. She is weaving the crystals and the fruits of the earth. Upon her knees is the Bow of Artemis, the Huntress. It is also a musical instrument, a sistrum, for she is the Huntress who hunts by enchantment, a virginal goddess who is also a goddess of fertility. The card signifies the way in which pure, exalted, and gracious influence can penetrate the world of matter.
This spectral card beckoned Blicero to purify the breath of his decay, to not consummate his acts of perversion with the flight of his monstrous steel phallus. He was to avoid his Zündung!!
Next to the Priestess, the metaphor was furthered in terms of femininity by the Queen of Wands. She was the watery part of Fire, its fluidity, receptivity, and colour. Her crown was a winged globe, and she was seated on a throne of flame ordered into geometrical light by her material power. She carried a wand topped with a fir cone, suggestive of the mysteries of Bacchus. In the Yi King, the watery part of Fire is represented by the 17th hexagram: Sui, fickle motivation. The card signifies someone of persistent energy, adaptability, with great power to attract, generous, but impatient of opposition.
Next to it, sat the unfortunate and fiery Knight of Wands, representing the fiery part of Fire. A warrior in complete armour on a black horse showed the purely male creative force in fire or spirit. In his hand the warrior bore a flaming torch; a flame is also in his mantle; and he rides upon flames. He is, in either case, ill-fitted to carry on his action; he has no means of modifying it according to circumstances. If he fails in his first effort, he has no recourse.
But here, in this future, there was hope. The cool waters of the female cards could be used to quench his Rilkean fires, if he chose correctly. . . .
Below, in the sinister bottom triad, lay the Seven of Wands, Valour, and two trumps: The Sun, XIX, and, amazingly, I, The Magus! These cards would tell the implications of the path Weissmann finally chose.
The Seven of Wands showed Netzach in the suit of Fire, Mars in Leo. It was encouraging in the sense that there would be a victory in some things if there was the courage to meet problems head on. The Adept's wands were relegated to the background in this card. In front was a crude, uneven club; the flames are dispersed. This shows degeneration of the initial Energy, and departure from equilibrium. Valour thus implies fear as well as courage.
But The Sun was more powerful still. The card was Sun, Resh. "The Sun, charged with a Rose, on a Mount Vert."
Give forth thy light to all without doubt; the clouds and the shadows are no matter for thee; Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of play.
The card represented the Lord of the New Aeon, Heru-ra-ha, the Lord of Light, and the complete emancipation of the human race. The green mound represented the fertile earth, but the surrounding wall showed that the New Aeon didn't mean the absence of control. It is a symbol of restraint. The twin children are represented as dancing with butterfly wings outside the wall because they typify the new stage in human history, the stage of complete freedom from the restrictions imposed by such ideas as sin and death. They are surrounded by the sign of the Zodiac, showing the different houses through which the Sun passes. Here is glory, gain, richness, triumph, and pleasure!
And then, The Magus. . . He is Mercury, Beth, who is Wisdom, Will, and the Word, by whom the world is created. As the messenger of God, he juggles with the four symbols of the elements, and the papyrus, or Word, the pen, or Will, and the wand, or Wisdom. He represents the creative force in action. Behind him is the Ape, Hanuman, which is a Hindu conception. As Thoth, in the Egyptian tradition, his attendant shadow is the Cynocephalus Ape. He bears the Phoenix wand-symbol of resurrection through generative process. The Ankh is a sandal-strap symbolizing progress through the worlds -- a mark of godhead. It is also the Crux Ansata, the rose and the cross. He is a messenger communicating through hieroglyphs.
The True Self is the meaning of True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way. Calculate well the Formula of Thy Way. Create freely; absorb joyously; divide intently; consolidate completely. Work thou, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, in and for Eternity.
Together, the three cards were clearly encouraging. Weissmann would be able to renew himself in the future! To re-build and recreate his path along more pure lines, more correct courses.
In the final triad, on the right side, lay his Destiny, or Karma.
First was the Trump card Fortune. X. Signifying a change of destiny, usually for the good! The path from Netzach, Victory, up to Chesed, Mercy. It represented the Universe in its continual aspect of change. The representation of all types of celestial phenomena attested to this. In the middle was the ten-spoked wheel --the accepted symbol of Fortune. The three figures attached to the wheel symbolize the three forms of energy expressed in the Hindu system of Guna. At the top sits the Sphinx, energy and balance (Sativas); Hermanubis, in the semblance of an ape, represents the brilliant, unstable reason (Rajas); and at the bottom, almost falling from the wheel, is the reptile-headed Typhon (Tamas), the symbol of destruction, sluggishness, and ignorance. The alchemical attributes of the Gunas are Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. Here we have the implication of regeneration, for Typhon holds the Ankh of salvation in one hand and in the other the hook which snatches the soul from the earthly plane of existence.
Then came the Eight of Swords, Interference. This suggested trouble. . . .
The card showed Hod in the suit of Air, Jupiter in Gemini. The centre of the card contained two long swords pointing down, while six smaller ones suggesting Eastern weapons or Indian swords crossed them, three on each side. This showed obstruction causing inability to concentrate the Mind. The card suggested lack of persistence in intellectual matters and accidental interference.
But, fortunately, it was bracketed by Fortune on one side, and the Ace of Wands on the other.
The Ace represented the root powers of Fire, at so early a stage that it was not definitely formulated as Will. This was the primal condition of the element of Fire. The flames on the card were the Hebrew letter Yod, arranged in the form of The Tree of Life. It was primordial energy manifesting itself in Matter. It was a solar-phallic outburst of flame and vigour, natural force as opposed to invoked force.
Clearly, Weissmann's Destiny was good, and in keeping with his general schemes for transcendence, but only if the Solar Phallus could be harnessed properly.
"You have difficult choices. A whole life of degradation and waste to relinquish."
"I do not know if it can be done."
The young airman laughed. His teeth were pure ivory white, so unlike the stained, cracked, yellow, and bright brown rotted stumps in Weissmann's mouth as to seem almost mystical in themselves.
"You must choose. The sacrificial Rocket, Darkness, or the true Transcendent Light. From the reading, it is clear that you can succeed -- if you wish to do so."
As Lance Durston packed away the cards in a black wooden box wrapped in a piece of sky-blue satin, Weissmann felt himself plunged into a filthy cesspool of despondency, fantasy, and speculation. The limbs (oh so downy and soft!) of his slaves within die Kinderofen!! The sweet and sometimes sour smells of their secretions, the cries of their pain, so gorgeous to his ears. . . Imipolex shrouds and skin-tight catsuits made of the same! How could he ever relinquish the tactile pleasure of that must utterly Decadent of substances?! As the door to the rocket control-car closed silently and once again left Weissmann alone in the perpetual spectral twilight of the Black Forest, he touched a firing button and fingered his whip idly.
In his mind, he saw the Seven of Disks, his Key Card. Trees weighted down with the baggage of material desire; and complicity in the formulation and maintenance of the charnel-house of the natural world. Failure!
With an anguished cry, he opened his copy of The Elegies and read whatever passage he could find.