Esoteric Feminism and The Phallic Fallacy, or The Problem with Ego Observation: Part 1 Occult Imagery

 Recently someone challenged my hypothesis regarding female spiritual superiority and I found myself unable to coherently address it. This was for a variety of reasons, but chief among them is that my understanding of female spiritual superiority has always been inherent and innate, and I have never taken the time to explore this concept with the aim of presenting it to others as an argument. 

 

Firstly, I am going to present some symbols that I have always found to be very useful at conveying the sentiments I wish to explain regarding this topic. As with any esoteric exercise or experience, willing suspension of disbelief is required to properly complete the thought exercise. By presenting these symbols, I am not attributing concrete responsibility or consequence regarding their accuracy in proving the ideas I will be presenting, I am simply presenting them because they have always, coincidentally, confirmed my intuitive biases regarding this topic, (and this goes for many people as well throughout time and the world). I only ask the reader to observe these symbols and consider what is being presented. I am going to be presenting some tarot imagery that directly reflects the spiritual duality and historical leadership roles of both men and women. I will not be discussing the cards in the order that they occur in the Major Arcana, but rather I will be analyzing them as the concepts peak in historical relevance… sort of chronologically, but not exactly. 

 

  • Tarot Symbolism for prehistoric Religion (predating the age of Taurus): 

fig. 1

 

The Sun

Representing the height of living achievement; something that is only possible with the light of the sun and electromagnetic nuances of the earth’s curious position. A child flying a flag on the back of a horse, all in front of a thriving sunflower garden, smiling and wearing a crown adorned with a red feather that nearly reflects the flag in the child’s hand. When you consider the sheer age of this imagery, timelessly triumphant happiness and contentedness is undoubtedly being depicted. However, the sun itself seems to be glaring down at the child, indifferent at the very most to this most charming scene. The sun is bigger and hotter than anything that we could ever achieve, powering our world with fervent regularity, though it’d surely destroy just as soon if we weren’t being protected by location and electromagnetism. When early humans finally made the scene, it only stands to reason that the sun was their first god. It was bright and constant, melted the snow off mountainsides, gave rise to everything that sustained life, including respite from the cold, and provided advanced life with the ability to empirically experience… the ability to see. Everything that could be achieved in nature is ultimately due to the sun. Within esoteric communities, the sun has always been inherently connected to masculine energies, and it certainly measures up… male energies control, aim to create, and mostly, rely on tangible, visible evidence to support their conclusions. While this is certainly a generalization on an individual level, it is an accurate assessment of occult imagery surrounding male energies. For our conceptual intents and purposes, the sun and the male side of duality are one in the same. 

fig 2

 

The Moon

On a personal note… I don’t trust the moon. I know how that makes me sound, and personally I don’t care. To me, the fear is well founded, as I fear revelation. In the scope of occult imagery, the moon represents hidden knowledge, secrets, and the pitfalls that might accompany anything of a clandestine or concealed nature. While the sun is the obvious and flamboyant creation force, representing the ultimate male energy, the moon is the covert side of creation which embodies the ultimate female energy. Astronomically speaking, the moon sits in a peculiar spot, absolutely proportional to the sun, allowing for the existence of eclipse phenomena. The moon acts as a nightlight to the earth’s hemispheres, poignantly reflecting a gentler iteration of the sun’s light onto the earth while the sun is away, saving them from the paranoia accompanying total darkness. Invoke caution regardless, because as this imagery illustrates, partial understanding could potentially even be more dangerous than none at all. Nothing holds more sway than secrets; nothing catalyzes both order and chaos quite like the threat of exposure. This imagery depicts various creatures, elements, manifestations of intelligence springing from the earth, drawn inexplicably to the moon; being affected with no apparent cause. A wolf and a dog howling with abandon, the lobster and the water he floats in, a stone monument erected below her exact position, and the mountain path all going in or at least acknowledging the direction of the moon. Even the face of the moon depicts a stoic female likeness, humbly fulfilling her purpose, raining down scant specks of understanding and revealing hidden variables while the sun looks away. The sun commands respect, but the moon commands awe, indulgence, and wonder. This circadian duality is the basis for the first and purest form of human religion. Early humans worshipped these two forces alone, as everything in sight could be obviously attributed to the sun, and anything else could be attributed to mystical knowledge of an esoteric nature, inherently represented by the moon proper, as well as the early occult imagery surrounding it. 

 

  • Tarot Symbolism for Religion in the Age of Taurus

fig. 3

 

The Magician

Observe the pure showmanship. Beautiful metal works and an old club atop an ornate table. A man in fine robes holding a phallic wand of sorts gestures to the beautiful flowers that grow around him and seemingly at his command. The directions of his arms signify an “as above so below” sentiment; as the sun powers the earth so may it always be curated to suit the needs of man. The infinity symbol over his head signifies the unavoidable reality of this relationship having been deciphered by humankind; it stands to announce that we’ll be eating our tails in this manner until the day we’ve all expired. The transformation of male ego energies that define the age are beautifully depicted by the imagery of the Magician. As the age of Taurus historically marks the beginning of human ego injection into religion, the Magician depicts a dazzling show of man dominating his environment with the help of powerful symbols represented by the items sitting on the surface in front of him. These items are also the props necessary for correctly performing contemporary Laveyan satanic (or otherwise satanic) rituals, which are also generally centered on the topic or goal of ego indulgence, though strictly Piscean. The solid and unforgiving yellow background of this card further ties it into the solar, male creation energies. The Magician illustrates man’s first steps successfully imposing on the earth, sustained by the sun’s unfaltering regularity. He attributes his success to the symbols presented in the illustration, and he seemingly brags “Look at what I’ve created, concentrated beauty, all for our convenience. I alone understand how to sustain this, so we all can enjoy the fruits of meaningful manifestation.” He is, essentially, taking credit for the work of the sun; infusing his ego with the most powerful creation source. Outside of simple ego injection, these types of sentiments are ultimately responsible for the trends that define the transformative phases of Taurus age religion. The age of Taurus consists of the latter part of the Neolithic period and the beginning of the Bronze age. Historically, these periods are categorized by unprecedented frequency of human innovation aimed at controlling the environment and establishing permanent, settled civilizations powered by food surplus. Although it may not seem so impressive to us in the modern day, the energetically male powers, kings, for lack of a better word, who established such impressive dominion over the natural world would be seen as nothing less than magick by infant populations in these areas who were fully used to being subject to the whims of nature with no respite, (whether real or imagined). While in hindsight, the precedents regarding classism and power imbalance established in these early times makes them seem like a mistake in the long run, and certainly has led to incredible devastation just as much as it has led to innovation, but at this time, I’m sure it felt like they were being offered a safety resource, or perhaps insurance, in the ongoing battle against natural entropy, and this in turn established some addictive semblance of collective control which had never before existed.

fig.4

The High Priestess 

Possibly the most symbol heavy card in the entire deck (and that’s really saying something), there is certainly a lot to unpack regarding the High Priestess imagery. A few things that we notice off the bat automatically tie this card into a female centric energetic meaning; her gown flowing like water signifying female passivity (or perhaps a deluge?), a tapestry behind her depicting the abundance of plant based nature, the crescent moon at her feet. The moon at her feet… and on her head? An Isis headdress which bears a strong resemblance to the horns of a bull, signifying some kind of occult connection, however arbitrary, to the age of Taurus or Taurean energies. In the historic age of Taurus, the model of civilization in all facets (political, economical, and religious), became inextricably linked to supporting both palaces and temples. Palaces of course were the residences of local kings (and later emperors), and building and maintaining these structures (not to mention the heavy task of supporting inter-regional “diplomacy”), were full time jobs that required the employment of countless slaves, farmers, artisans, and craftsmen. This is an extension of the phenomena explained by the imagery present on the Magician. Temples however, were a bit different. They were sacred structures which housed “city gods”, and required the same complex construction and upkeep as a palace, but were left in the charge of single women, the priestesses, rather than male monarchs. Just as the moon humbly reflects the rays of the sun, the priestesses humbly reflected the esoteric responsibilities of the ruling classes, effectively putting them in a class all their own. Just as the creatures and elements of the Moon are inextricably drawn to the sparse and enlightening glow of the moon, the remaining imagery surrounding the High Priestesses points to one very important revelation: monotheism. She holds a Torah scroll, her dress features a cross, and the letters on the pillars beside her stand for “Boaz” and “Jachin” (“beginning” and “mercy”, respectively), and these also allude to the Temple of Solomon. Just as the Magician (sun/male) has infused his ego with the creation power of the sun, the High Priestess (moon/female) is intrinsically required to reflect this change, and also infuse her ego with the esoteric knowledge encompassed by the moon. The monotheistic imagery so prevalent on this card stands to support my conclusion that female priestess figures were on par with patriarchal leaders, and either intentionally or unintentionally seduced them politically and therefore their respective civilizations in the direction that eventually allowed for the formation and later triumph of the monotheistic religions (first Judaism and later Christianity). The High Priestess, like the Moon, is largely inexplicable. These images convey highly esoteric and moon centric themes, and this coupled with the monotheistic symbolism  leads me to believe that this card is a direct reflection of sun/moon or male/female duality in the earlier stages of human ego development. Since these can be readily applied to age of Taurus, it is safe to say that the role of the Magician is to promote innovation and outwardly control his environment, while the role of the High Priestess is to support him in this role by silently and humbly revealing the answers to mysteries or other esoteric solutions that could prevent or circumvent the world’s natural state of chaos and therefore extend the Magician’s dominion. Additionally, when viewed in this light, the occult imagery is almost a direct reflection of the historical establishment of the “Palace-Temple” socioeconomic structure that we see emerge during the early Bronze Age. The imagery also perhaps serves as a silent warning to the larger and hidden consequences this model will later have, as the symbols hint at Aries age events where monotheism is challenged severely; mainly the destruction of the Temple of Solomon and the martyring of Christ, both of which are tragic for several reasons and ultimately lead to the rejection of the Aries model in favor for the Piscean one. However, as this is a moon and female centric card, the full meaning cannot be ascertained by just viewing, there is something to be intrinsically felt that will eventually permit full understanding. 

 

  • Tarot Symbolism for Religion in the Age of Aries

fig. 5 

 

The Emperor

They gave this one away with the Rams heads present on the arms of the Emperor’s throne. That, and the age of Aries is considered to be and historically is, the age of the Empire. After the Early Dynastic period in the Near East, empires of incredible size and unparalleled trade, cultural diaspora began to take shape, but also included new trends of horrible warfare and conflict. Human kind sees itself caught in a cycle of unsurpassed greatness and complete, humiliating destruction. It’s no wonder this Emperor looks so tired… or annoyed at the very least, or that the sky is red with blood or fire; either way it’s no good. The gold orb in his hand represents the realms or lands within his control, the ankh on the end of his staff (more phallic symbolism being introduced, which ostensibly means an ego increase within religious trends), represents life, and this man is obviously burdened by the responsibilities of his excessive dominion. One man, holding so much power, so much death and life directly in his hands, and finding it less and less endearing as time winds on around him. The novelty of civilization is wearing off, and the imperfections of the beta empire model are becoming glaringly apparent. However, he shoulders the responsibility regardless, working day in and day out to maintain order over and for his realm; his armor even signals that he has or is willing to risk his life defending the realm in battle. A single man, the Emperor, has assumed the role of God, though this symbolism was in bad taste at the time, so his religious responsibilities were essentially passed on to a cabinet of advisors (represented by the Hierophant), in order to keep up the pretenses of worship to more traditional nature or cosmological Gods which most laymen still feared just as before. Only the ruling classes were allowed the privilege of extreme ego development at this point, however the consequences of their growing pains echo and ripple all throughout the classes. In ages prior, a leader’s right to rule was subject to natural occurrences, such as catastrophic weather or plagues, but somewhere along the line, divine right became fully about bloodlines and abandoned the natural component altogether, establishing man (or the idea of men) as a force all their own, completely separate from an uninformed nature based existence. In return for this, the powers of entropy introduced an overall necessity for warfare that lasts today. Nomadic peoples invading settlements, resource draining border skirmishes, and provincial rebellions became unavoidable occurrences that were all just part of the job description. Hellenism would, ironically, be the saving grace of the empire structure and sustain the entire western world straight into Christianity and the age of Pisces. But until then, our Aries age Emperor must deal with the drudgery of his inherent pseudo-deification, and he surely doesn’t look happy about it. Perhaps he senses the horrors of or is still dealing with the aftershocks of the late Bronze Age Collapse. Perhaps he feels his predecessors are to blame, or perhaps he feels the blame falls on women who have always inexplicably understood and warned against the actions (and retrospective mistakes) he takes which only strengthen dissonance preventing a smooth rule. Either way, he is weary of what he cannot perceive and will go to the ends of the earth to maintain control, however cruel, convoluted, or counter intuitive those tactics may be in practice. 

fig. 6

 

The Empress

Like all good fruit, the balance of life is in the ripe and ruin. Once again, the female energy of the age necessarily reflects the agenda of their male counterparts.The river flowing behind her signifies the remnants of her innate passivity, but otherwise she is completely surrounded by products of the Emperors dominion.  While the Emperor holds life and death in the balance, his wife, the Empress is concerned with material affairs… not necessarily just gowns and treasures, but the welfare of her realm. The symbols on this card point to food surplus, the grains growing in the foreground and the fruits printed on her gown. She is concerned about keeping the realm safe and fed. She has likely been a pawn of diplomacy her whole life, traded to another land for one commodity or another, and she must choose her allegiances carefully; which is most important? The realm contractually acquired or the one which she is from? The crown of many stars on her head signifies that despite the burdens of her position, she maintains the elusive female energies of her forebears, and she allows this empathetic intuition to guide her choices and therefore focuses on supporting the masses, aiming for longevity, as opposed to the arbitrary life or death choices faced by the Emperor. The age of Aries was hallmarked by arrogant and personal conflicts, as well as slavery, loss, chaos and destruction as much as it was about expansion, innovative warfare and even enlightened political experimentation, and the Empress had no control over these, and benefited severely from them despite the intuitive dissonances that came as a result to the events of the age, despite the subconscious guilt. All she could do to sublimate was focus on domestic matters, and this became the primary female archetype lasting until modern day. The female symbol sits underneath her throne, seemingly directing her nurturing energy into the earth and subsequently to the people of her realm, as she attempts to appear as humble as one can while covered in fine fabrics and jewels that others in rags had toiled away to fashion for her. The yellow background signals the ever present imposition of male energies upon not only the earth, but upon the female collective, once again especially within the ruling classes. A constant reminder that women exist to reflect the light of the sun, and without the light of the sun to guide us, we would be utterly useless. Females were all around successfully conditioned to think this way because otherwise they would be able to access factions of their energy that denied the wants or egos of the already highly agitated Emperor. 

 

You’re probably asking yourself what any of this is meant to prove in regards to female spiritual superiority. 

 

Occult symbolism heavily supports the conclusion that female energies interfere with the male energies agenda of establishing dominion. The relationship works in nature, it works cosmologically despite the extreme coincidences regarding the placement of the moon. The moon will always reflect the light of the sun when the sun is unable to make an appearance.  The problem comes from extensive ego infusion, as these reflections are no longer strictly cosmological phenomena but highly personal experiences affecting large numbers of people. The sheer intensity of our collective prehistoric days of  worshiping the sun and the moon without the need for context has made a lasting impression on all subsequent gender norms and behaviors both conscious and subconscious. The historical facts and the parallel occult imagery overwhelmingly points to females being innately closer and connected to the source of esoteric knowledge since time immemorial. Moreover, the attempts made by men to stifle the intuitive experience of women in the name of dominion has only served to fuel an underground anger. Why would they do it if there were nothing to fear from women? Why silence someone unless they are privy to something compromising? I assume that since women are so close to the source of all esoteric knowledge, going far beyond what male energies can understand, this serves as reason. Anything else would be illogical, and that runs directly against the innate logical pedagogy behind male energies. I wish there were formulas to prove the spiritual superiority of females, but alas, “proof” is not in the nature of spiritual dogma.  At the end of the day, I’m just guessing too. 

 

I believe in the Trojan War more than I believe in anything else. 

 

The power of a relatively insignificant and clever child such as Pandora to cause the world to fall around her. All by telling a story and pitting an older generation against itself… two relative snaps of the fingers. Destruction of the known world always comes at the hands of a chaotic and undisciplined brat, and only when the timing is just right. All the ego evolution, phallic control and solar dominion in existence cannot evade chaos or the ones who bring it. Perhaps one day chaos and the ones who herald its arrival will meet their match. Seems rather unlikely though, given the trends. If dominion is not destroyed by itself, it will be destroyed by chaos. If nothing else, women have children who are malleable to her influence; children who can be convinced to murder their fathers to refresh the realms. The way I see it, chaos always wins.  Later (once the full near eastern Aries age background is published) I’ll continue the esoteric feminism series, with a full cosmological breakdown of the Trojan War to further the argument of esoteric feminism.

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