Arrangement:


Double loop in the Zodiac


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Tarot Arrangements according to:

Tarot de Marseilles Eliphas Levi Golden Dawn Aleister Crowley Frater Achad

Aleister Crowley's Arrangement of Tarot Trumps

OrderPathLetterSignTitleNum.
111א (aleph)(Air)The Fool0
212ב (beth)(Mercury)The MagicianI.
313ג (gimel)(Luna)The High PriestessII.
414ד (daleth)(Venus)The EmpressIII.
515ה (he)(Aquarius)The StarXVII.
616ו (vau)(Taurus)The HeirophantV.
717ז (zayin)(Gemini)The LoversVI.
818ח (cheth)(Cancer)The ChariotVII.
919ט (teth)(Leo)Lust (Strength)XI.
1020י (yod)(Virgo)The HermitIX.
1121כ (kaph)(Jupiter)Wheel of FortuneX.
1222ל (lamed)(Libra)Adjustment (Justice)VIII.
1323ם (mem)(Water)The Hanged ManXII.
1424נ (nun)(Scorpio)DeathXIII.
1525ס (samech)(Sagittarius)TemperenceXIV.
1626ע (ayin)(Capricorn)The DevilXV.
1727פ (peh)(Mars)The Blasted TowerXVI.
1828צ (tzaddi)(Aries)The EmperorIV.
1929ק (qoph)(Pisces)The MoonXVIII.
2030ר (resh)(Sol)The SunXIX.
2131ש (shin)(Fire)The AeonXX.
2232ת (tau)(Saturn)The UniverseXXI.



צ is not the Star...


All these old letters of my Book are aright; but [Tzaddi] is not the Star. This also is secret: my prophet shall reveal it to the wise.
--Liber AL vel Legis, I:57

"It was clear that the attribution of 'The Star' to the letter tzaddi was unsatisfactory; and the question arose, how to find another card which would take its place.
An incredible amount of work was done on this; in vain. After nearly twenty years the solution appeared."

IV

ה The Emperor
XVII

צ The Star


"I see no harm in revealing the mystery of Tzaddi to 'the wise'; others will hardly understand my explanations.
Tzaddi is the letter of The Emperor, the Trump IV, and He is the Star, the Trump XVII. Aquarius and Aries are therefore counterchanged, revolving on the pivot of Pisces, just as, in the Trumps VIII and XI, Leo and Libra do about Virgo. This last revelation makes our Tarot attributions sublimely, perfectly, flawlessly symmetrical.

The fact of its so doing is a most convincing proof of the superhuman Wisdom of the author of this Book to those who have laboured for years, in vain, to elucidate the problems of the Tarot."

Given the apparent weight Crowley seems to have assigned to it, it is an important point of study for the earnest student. But when one looks into the details of the 'double loop', some difficulties become apparent. There are even conflicting attributions to be found in the Book of Thoth, leading some to suspect one of Crowley's somewhat dubious 'blinds' concealing the true attributions, in much the same way it is said Eliphas Levi and Arthur Waite had known the correct attributions of their time, but were under oath not to reveal in full.
Needless to say, there has, historically, been much confusion over this matter:

"Dear Aleister....Also, I don't feel you have made it clear about Tzaddi = the Emperor. Can't you have a diagram? I have been reading your book to Ann Christie in the evenings and although she is very interested, she could not understand your book, and I'm not sure I did in the end. It will be a point about which there will be the most argument. Is there any reason for the two loops except secrecy? Surely! And if not, why not undo the loop, and is the Emperor to be numbered 17 or 4 or 17 or IV, ditto the Star, also Strength XI and Justice VIII. I expect I have got it all wrong, but if I have, you must make it clearer because I am only just below sub-normal intelligence."

--Lady Frieda Harris, artist of The Book of Thoth

It seems likely that Frieda Harris was also the one to draw up the loop diagram in the Book of Thoth, as she states in a later letter: "I have a diagram of the Twist in the Zodiac. Would you like me to make a conventional diagram of your rough?" - to which Crowley responded, "Yes, please, make a conventional diagram."

Unfortunately, when closely examined, this image is not technically correct.

Can you spot the error?


As Crowley has said, "the Tarot illustrates, first of all, the Tree of Life in its universal aspect.", so we must see the 'big picture' of the Tarot as a depiction of the Tree of life (see diagram left).
"This figure must be studied very carefully, for it is the basis of the whole system on which the Tarot is based."

The Tree of Life is a visual representation of the keyscale numbers (0-32).
In this system, the Sephiroths encompass the numbers 1-10, and the paths 11-32.
The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are each assigned to one of these 22 connecting paths.

The 22 Tarot trump cards are also assigned to these paths by connection to the associated Hebrew letter.
To these letters, are associated:

1: an element, planet, or zodiac sign, as given in the Sepher Yetzirah
2: an ATU or 'card image'
3: a descriptive name or title for the ATU
4: a Roman numeral to represent both the card's natural order in the sequence, and Qabalistic value.

These are the five key variables to be considered when trying to fully understand the relevant attributions of the Tarot.
With this in mind, let's examine all of the essential factors at play in Crowley's Emperor/Star switch:

Before:
Path 15HEH Ariesthe EmperorIV
Path 28TZADDI Aquariusthe StarXVII

After:
Path 15HEH Aquariusthe StarXVII
Path 28TZADDI Ariesthe EmperorIV

As can be seen, Crowley did not move any hebrew letters upon the paths, as their order is fixed by alphabetic sequence down the tree;
Heh remains on path 15 between Chokmah and Tiphareth, and Tzaddi on path 28 between Netzach and Yesod.
Instead, he swapped the paths for the ATU images, titles, numerals, and zodiac signs.

Crowley also 'restored' the original Roman numerals of the Trumps altered in the Golden Dawn switch, restoring Justice as VIII and Lust as XI. This was the original numbering of these two cards as found in older decks such as the Tarot de Marseilles, and the attributions given in the Golden Dawn's foundational cypher manuscripts. Some uninformed modern commentators mistakenly believed that when Crowley made “Balance” the eighth trump and “Lust” the eleventh, he was changing their order: in fact he was restoring the original numbering of these two cards. The decision to keep these numbers bound to their Atu was ultimatley reinforced by his Qabalistic interpetations of the numerals involved.

The counterchange pivot of IV & XVII around Pisces gives rise to a certain symmetry with the Golden Dawn switch - when the original numbering is preserved - of VIII & XI around Virgo.
Interestingly, it is in Virgo and Pisces where the spring and vernal Equinoxes occur.
(Note how the Emperor IV is again paired against Lust XI, and the Star XVII against Balance VIII - a pairing that was 'broken' by the Golden Dawn's change of ATUs.)

(Figure A): The full arrangement of the Zodiac Trumps
  • XIV
  • XIII
  • VIII
  • IX
  • XI
  • VII
  • VI
  • V
  • XVII
  • XVIII
  • IV
  • XV
              • ס
              • נ
              • ל
              • י
              • ט
              • ח
              • ז
              • ו
              • ה
              • ק
              • צ
              • ע
                  • 25
                  • 24
                  • 22
                  • 20
                  • 19
                  • 18
                  • 17
                  • 16
                  • 15
                  • 29
                  • 28
                  • 26
 Switched by the Golden Dawn
 Restored by Aleister Crowley
 Switched by Aleister Crowley


OrderPathLetterSignTitleNum.
111א (aleph)(Air)The Fool0
212ב (beth)(Mercury)The MagicianI.
313ג (gimel)(Luna)The High PriestessII.
414ד (daleth)(Venus)The EmpressIII.
515ה (he)(Aquarius)The StarXVII.
616ו (vau)(Taurus)The HeirophantV.
717ז (zayin)(Gemini)The LoversVI.
818ח (cheth)(Cancer)The ChariotVII.
919ט (teth)(Leo)Lust (Strength)XI.
1020י (yod)(Virgo)The HermitIX.
1121כ (kaph)(Jupiter)Wheel of FortuneX.
1222ל (lamed)(Libra)Adjustment (Justice)VIII.
1323ם (mem)(Water)The Hanged ManXII.
1424נ (nun)(Scorpio)DeathXIII.
1525ס (samech)(Sagittarius)TemperenceXIV.
1626ע (ayin)(Capricorn)The DevilXV.
1727פ (peh)(Mars)The Blasted TowerXVI.
1828צ (tzaddi)(Aries)The EmperorIV.
1929ק (qoph)(Pisces)The MoonXVIII.
2030ר (resh)(Sol)The SunXIX.
2131ש (shin)(Fire)The AeonXX.
2232ת (tau)(Saturn)The UniverseXXI.



Now re-examine the B.o.T image:


Note the posisitioning of XI, and VIII; compare to Figure A.
There is no 'loop in the zodiac' around Virgo created by the Golden Dawn switch - where only the ATU images were changed.

The zodiac loop is entirely one-sided with Crowley's switch; by maintaining the Zodiac attributions for ATUs IV & XVII (keeping Aries with the Emperor, and Aquarius with 'the Star'), this change effectively puts these signs 'out of order'. This does break with the traditional Sepher Yetzirah assignments, where Tzaddi is assigned to Aquarius, and Heh to Aries. This has the end effect of creating a single, one-sided 'loop' in the zodiac attributions, making it rather difficult for the armchair investigator to find any such 'double loop'.

It is this arrangement of the 'original' Roman numerals which gives rise to the notorious 'double loop':
- not in the zodiac, but in the roman numerals - when they are ordered by their Hebrew letters (or path number) as considered upon the tree of life. See Figure A.

Only adding to the confusion, near the very end of the Book of Thoth, page 278, there is a table depicting zodiac assignments for The Emperor and The Star that maintain the natural sequence.
Was this just a mistaken switchup, or a hint at the correct arrangement?

PathLetterSignTitleNum.
11א (aleph)(Air)The Fool0
12ב (beth)(Mercury)The MagicianI.
13ג (gimel)(Luna)The High PriestessII.
14ד (daleth)(Venus)The EmpressIII.
15ה (he)(Aries)The StarXVII.
16ו (vau)(Taurus)The HeirophantV.
17ז (zayin)(Gemini)The LoversVI.
18ח (cheth)(Cancer)The ChariotVII.
19ט (teth)(Leo)Lust (Strength)XI.
20י (yod)(Virgo)The HermitIX.
21כ (kaph)(Jupiter)Wheel of FortuneX.
22ל (lamed)(Libra)Adjustment (Justice)VIII.
23ם (mem)(Water)The Hanged ManXII.
24נ (nun)(Scorpio)DeathXIII.
25ס (samech)(Sagittarius)TemperenceXIV.
26ע (ayin)(Capricorn)The DevilXV.
27פ (peh)(Mars)The Blasted TowerXVI.
28צ (tzaddi)(Aquarius)The EmperorIV.
29ק (qoph)(Pisces)The MoonXVIII.
30ר (resh)(Sol)The SunXIX.
31ש (shin)(Fire)The AeonXX.
32ת (tau)(Saturn)The UniverseXXI.



Now it is worth mentioning that 'the Zohar' makes specific mention of a mystery surrounding Tzaddi:
"צ then went before him, saying: 'Because I mark the Zaddikim (the righteous), and thou thyself nearest me in thy name, Zaddik (righteous), and also it is written "The righteous Lord loveth righteousness,"Ps. 9:8 it will become thee to create the world by me.' Then said the Holy One: "Zaddi, Zaddi, thou art truly righteous, but thou must keep thyself concealed, and thy occult meaning must not be made known or become revealed; and therefore thou must not be used in the creation of the world. Thy original form was a rod, symbol of the female principle, surmounted by Yod, a letter of the holy Name, and also of the Holy Covenant, and emblem of the male principle. (By this, reference is made to the first man, who was androgynous, with faces turning one to the right, the other to the left, as symbolized in the figure of Zaddi in the Hebrew alphabet). But the time will come that thou shall be divided, and thy faces shall then be turned to each other."

--The Zohar


It is very interesteting then, that when the ordering of the zodiac is depicted correctly (with a counter-clockwise sequence), the faces in the ATU images, one male + one female, do in fact, 'turn to face each other' in the Crowley switch:
XVII

צ The Star
IV

ה The Emperor



Tarot Arrangements according to:

Tarot de Marseilles Eliphas Levi Golden Dawn Aleister Crowley Frater Achad