Rohit Arya_Sacred India Tarot#Creating the Moon card

 

This has a “sub-plot”.  Gautam Sachdeva (the publisher) on his return from a pilgrimage to the Cathars in southern France, requested some information on Archangel Michael, which Jane provided (see below).

As Rohit calls card 18 “the bad boy of Indian mythology” it seems highly appropriate to match Chandra with the Guardian Angel!

In the western Tarot, the Moon card rules embodiment, cycles of cell renewal and repair through sleep;  and cycles also of our past lives.  It has a wave pattern, because the path of evolution proceeds in waves.   But the Moon is also associated to the personal ego.   Archangel Michael guards this domain and “the path of honesty” to the transpersonal Self.  So it is timely to insert an article about Michael, in the process.  As the correspondence following it shows, Gautam was getting some awakenings from his soul’s history.

Energetically speaking, our cross cultural enterprise is particularly rich, under the aura of Soma Chandra (nectar of the Moon).  Guides and archetypes of our journey unveil themselves, as the story goes on.

Chandra-soma, Jyotish – an early and more classic version of this deity.  He carries a lily and a mace, and the chariot wheels are Yantras or visual mantras.  The horses are the nectar from his lotus throne.

Arcanum 18, from Jane’s Hermetic deck

Rohit Arya’s Notes:

“The available myths are sparse and few in number.  They seem to have been written by people who did not like this particular godform very much.  It would seem the ancient observers of the skies did not like this waxing and waning, regarding it as something sneaky in a celestial, and well worth watching with a wary eye.

“The important intervention of the Moon was noticing Rahu and Ketu (North and South Nodes/ecliptic) attempting to steal Amrita, the gods’ nectar of immortality, and warning Vishnu about it.  In return, he and the Sun got the unrelenting hostility of those malevolent beings who periodically attempt to swallow them whole – but they always emerge from the eclipse, because the attackers have only immortal heads, the bodies beneath them having been cut off.

 

Rahu Jyotish, the Moon’s North Node – his left hand holds Smar-hara Yantra, the remover of desire

 

Ketu Jyotish, the Moon’s South Node:  letting go.  The moon’s Nodes are the antipodeal points where Moon’s orbit around the earth crosses Earth’s orbit around the Sun.  When these are aligned, earth, sun, moon, as happens twice a year, there is during that fortnight, a lunar (full moon) eclipse and a solar (new moon) eclipse.

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Rohit continues: 

“The most unpleasant myth about Chandra is when he forced himself upon Mamata(or Tara), the wife of his elder brother and guru Brihaspati (Jupiter), and made her pregnant.  The son so born from this rape was the planet Budha (Mercury).  It would seem that he used a mixture of charm and psychological dominance to keep the poor woman quiet, and only broke his silence when the child proved to be one of exceptional good fortune, which he was not going to miss out on, being the father.

“To make matters worse, he assembled an armada of allies to back his claim, mostly sages with jealous spite against Brihaspati, and all the denizens of the Dark side of hindu mythology  – Asuras, Danavas and so on.  An infuriated Siva attacked all of them, and even temporarily slew Chandra before restoring him to life, and having the crescent Moon a permanent ornament on his own forehead.  Chandra’s luck as always, saw him through, and he even got the child.

“This myth is a subconscious acknowledgement of the dark side of the moon in psychological terms – charm and beauty mixed up with deceit and willfulness, and a heedless disregard for consequences or the feelings of others.  Chandra was punished by being permanently excluded from heaven, and having to reside amongst the stars.

“However, the old texts say that ‘if a person is born under Soma or Chandra, he will have many friends, will possess elephants, horses and palanquins;  be honourable and powerful;  will live on excellent food, and rest on superb couches.’  Being in some versions born from the ocean, he is regarded as the brother of Lakshmi, goddess of fortune;  but she too is famously capricious and fickle in doling out good luck.  The Chandravanshi Rajputs claim to be a lunar race directly descended from the Moon.

“I would just suggest making the face not too pleasant, for the Moon is an ambivalent card as well as character, exceedingly charming but also capable of great misbehaviour and trouble making, as the myths are only too clear in informing us.  The misunderstandings, strife, confusions and doubts that assail us under the Moon card’s influence – it is not a totally positive card.

“..We have a paradox basically.  High honours and luck, as well as lechery and lunacy.  I had thought to avoid this by stressing the old Vedic god Soma aspect of the Moon, but even he had a problem in preferring his wife Rohini above the rest of his 33 wives, all sisters, and incurring the curse of his father-in-law – which explains the waxing and waning of the Moon.

“So it would seem that he is a deeply attractive and elegant form of god, riding the gazelle, but albeit dangerous and capable of springing a nasty surprise or two.  He is more like an old Sumerian god, capable of blessing and blighting – and both actions are driven by caprice alone.”

**

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Jane’s Notes:

This analysis suggests the Moon’s paradoxical character, as masque of appearances, healing light, romance, persona and – in the cultural context – the leading entity in Indian astrology.

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Correspondence:  Gautam – 11 October 2002

“Hi Jane, greetings from a really hot Bombay.  The weather is now 5 degrees over the usual.  Hopefully, things should start cooling down from November.

“Out of personal interest, I’m looking for any input on Archangel Michael.  Rohit was explaining to me how the Ace of Swords was a symbol of Michael.  Did you ever cover this subject, or do a related painting or the like?

“Yes, it’s amazing the Major Arcana are moving towards completion.  Do you suggest we do our corrections now, or wait till we proceed with the full deck?  I have printed out the cards to an actual size forma, and will mail you a set.  A long road ahead, but it’s been a great journey so far, thanks to yourself and Rohit.  It’s a miracle how the universe orchestrates things.   Have a good weekend – warm regards, Gautam.

“PS – do you have msn messenger?  This way we can chat real time, or get a webcam – even better!”

Archangel Michael ’92  “– after a reproduction of St Michael by Memlink, on a record sleeve of organ music by Messiaen

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Correspondence:  Jane – October 2002

Dear Gautam and Rohit – Archangel Michael, in Kabbalah, is Captain of the Hosts between cosmic evil and cosmic good.  Behind and above him is the Lord’s Name, Adonai.  Under him is Sandalphon, Archangel of planet Earth.  Michael holds a central position in the Tree of Life – he is its consciousness or beauty – and is in touch with every other part of it.  In the western Tarot, he is depicted as the angel in Temperance, balancing the essences of alchemic fire and water.  He has one foot on the ground of his own world, and the other is dipped into a pool which is the ‘watery’ human psyche, or astral plane.

Michael rules the region to the south, the fire.  He carries a lance of flame.  His face like the sun, is too bright to behold.  He has a winged aura of gold and salmon pink.  He looks after musicians and all forms of music – this means the gandharvas too – and is especially benevolent to cats from tigers to tabbies, in the animal kingdom.

Here is my understanding:

Michael is also, in western iconography, the arch slayer of dragons.  This means the dragon or ley-line of earth – the subtle current through the meridians of body and psyche.  He is probably the patron of acupuncturists.  Everywhere at power spots or dolmens in southern England, are old shrines to Michael and Mary.  These are outcrops of the secret dragon fire, and they now have churches built on them, or old towers.

The mythological Michael slew dragons that pestered humanity;  but there is also a deeper meaning.  He represents the capacity to look directly into one’s own Shadow, or unresolved Serpent powers, to  tap their source and release them creatively – in other words, to master the inner daemons through awareness or Self-enquiry. The Knights of the Temple when building cathedrals of the Gothic Art, used this alchemic knowledge along ancient ‘dragon’ meridians in earth, to raise up mass (stone) into Light (the winged arch).  They harnessed Baphomet, the creative aspect of the Devil (Tarot card 15) to transform densities, and to temper the ascending and descending force:  evolution/involution.  Baphomet is a code word whose latin, read backwards, becomes Templi Omnium Hominum Pacis Abbas – Priest of the Temple of Peace for all Humanity.  They looked Baphomet in the eye.  They were Initiates and knew what they were doing, but their Order became wealthy and a threat to the Church, which accused them of worshipping Satan.  The Church witch-hunted and burned them all.

The Templars were an enigmatic order.  Many historians link them to the Crusades:  their vow to guard the routes of pilgrimage was variously interpreted.  After the Templars were destroyed, the Black Death ravaged Europe.  The Cathedrals – not all of which had been completed –  were regarded as sanctuaries.  The black death couldn’t enter – it flowed around them.  From the human compost of the black death was seeded and grew the flower which became the Renaissance.

The Cathedrals in France are each a star in the Virgo constellation as reflected in the ground.  Their positions on the map suggest this.  That is the link of Michael and Maria.   Michael is the guardian of the initiate – the celestial sky –  and Maria is the purity of the receiving ground.

The whole thing is much older than Christianity.  It was alive in ancient Egypt, with Osiris/Isis.  As the elder Egyptian and Vedic civilizations corresponded, it has Indian roots also.  In the new Cathedrals, in the Middle Ages, the Mysteries were celebrated;  the bishops led the sacred dances.  There were no statues or depictions of crucifixion inside them, because they stood for the Living or Resurrected Christ.   The magnificent carvings of the guardians are on the porches and exterior walls, like the crusted stone of a geode.   The interior space and sacred proportion raised the entering soul to a higher, deeper level.  The root is the shoot, both ways – deep foundations were needed to support the mass of stone in flight.  Thus we stand tall;  thus we turn within.   Such is Michael Archangel.   Light entered through a prism of specially prepared alchemic glass windows, illumining the interior with a rainbow colour spectrum.

(Research, The Mysteries of Chartres Cathedral by Louis Charpentier, published by Research Into Lost Knowledge Organization – RILKO – a fascinating book.)

Michael in the western Tarot Temperance, has a rainbow over him, to depict – like the Templars’ alchemic glass – the refracting of the One into seven tones of light.  In the Rider-Waite decks, this is a partially concealed secret; the rainbow is substituted by iris flowers; Iris was the goddess of the rainbow.   In my Hermetic deck illustration (see Mother Ganga in the Sacred India Tarot, and Anandaymayi Ma)  the rainbow materializes to irises by the Archangel’s feet, and a radiance around his crown.

In general, we see that Michael holds the balance of forces back and forth over long historical periods.  He is the guiding power behind humanity’s better nature, and is its greatest warrior.  But the faculty I associate with him is Patience.  Like a real warrior, he strikes us rightly at the right time.  He oversees excess and the aesthetic control of his fiery realm – as you can see, with his vessels of equilibrium.   This archetype in our lives, gives us long cycles to balance and hold in check.  Where this comes together with Mother Ganga in our present work, is the sense of always backing upstream to Source.   The holy river carries all destinies in her current from the sky.

(And in the present context, accompanying SITA 18, The Moon, this essay on Michael is another view on the embodiment process, which The Moon regulates.)

**

And re the Ace of Swords/your question:  Michael is often depicted carrying Sword and Scales.  In my understanding, the Ace of Swords refers to Destiny.  In my cultural context, and in Alfred Douglas’s interpretation, the Ace of Swords means ‘faculty of thought’.   This is a destructive card if reversed.  Power abused or mis-used, results in “restriction imposed by force or fear;  injustice;  the usurping of Divine authority by human willfulness.”

The Sword is in the deep past, for resolution.  Perhaps it is transpersonal, and means “destiny” … “Victory, the operation of irresistible force – the symbol of Divine justice and authority, the forging of strength in adversity – the faculty of thought.  This card indicates that all enterprises will succeed, despite apparently overwhelming odds.  The start of progress which cannot be halted or diverted.  Necessary change:  a breaking down in order that something better might be built.  Freedom resulting from the removal of restraints.” (Alfred Douglas)

It suggests the Executive of Divine authority, which Great Michael is.  He looks like the sun.  No power of darkness can withstand his gaze.  So your Ace of Swords may symbolize his way of action:  a single Sword held in stillness.

I did some work inspired by this in the past, and wrote a sort of book about it, still waiting to be typed – (now competed:  The Masters’ Eye 2011).   Interestingly, your email about Michael and Ace arrived just when I was writing again about Michael in my journal, as he came up in our Kabbalah group discussion.

I shall be resuming Moon, Sun etc, tomorrow.  Yes I think it a good idea to do all the detail adjustments when the Major Arcana are completed, and before we start the Minor.   SELF ENQUIRY got printed a fortnight ago – I don’t think I sent you a copy yet.  It contains Rohit’s article on Yama and David Frawley’s article on Kali, but not the illustrations!

Warm regards, Jane

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Correspondence, Gautam Sachdeva -17 October 2002

“Hi Jane – well received.  Was almost like a thesis on the same – will absorb it all at the weekend.  Thanks a ton!   Gautam.”

Correspondence: Jane – 21 October 2002

“Dear Gautam, I’ve been a bit delayed last week, so I’m starting Moon this week instead.  I shall proceed as per my earlier drawing of Chandra, and Rohit’s instructions, but I’d also like a little of Rohit’s mythology.  How long is your website closed for?  Is it possible to send me a page on Chandra? Glad you got the Michael – did it come in the attachment?  I don’t know yet if the attachment is working on this address, as they’ve messed about with it recently.”

 

Chandra, Jyotish drawing  (in “Astrology of the Seers” by Vamadeva Shastri/ Frawley

Correspondence: Gautam – 21 October 2002

“Hi Jane – will send u an article.  I spoke with Rohit on the same.  I don’t think there is anything on indiayogi.com on Chandra, though the site should be up by tomorrow.   Michael came through your private address.” 

“Rohit and I are brainstorming on a book about Krishna, in a very modern context – in the sense of how we can apply it to today’s man and living – he will prepare a concept note for the same – I will send it to you – I want it to be a small format book, something the size of ‘who moved my cheese’ – so it’s fast to read, easy to pick up, and good to gift.

“Want to be in on the same?  Could be a fun cross-cultural exercise, and may turn out to be really unique.  I guess you can decide once you see the concept note.  The closes I can think of is ‘Jesus CEO’, but of course we won’t follow that format.  Hope all else is well.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

 

Correspondence:  Gautam – 29 October 2002

Your article was fascinating.  I also shared it with my friend who recently traveled to Mont St Michel in France, dedicated to Michael.  The Ace of Swords is a card I regularly pull out in Tarot readings done by my mom or Rohit … and that is what prompted Rohit to mention to me that he felt there was some sort of connection.

“I also feel strongly connected with the Joan of Arc energy for some reason, and she too was guided by the Archangel.   So strange, all this … especially for one sitting in India!

“Thanks for the Self Enquiry received yesterday – Rohit is coming over today, and will show it to him.  Warm regards, Gautam.”

 

SITA 18:  Chandra Soma

Jane’s Notes (2010)

Acknowledging the suggested sibling link of Chandra and Lakshmi, in both these cards – 18 and 3 – a landscaped Sri Chakra Yantra represents the fortunate and wish fulfilling jewel which they capriciously bestow.

The Sri Chakra Yantra interweaves 5 descending female triangles (Shakti) with 4 ascending male triangles (Siva).  Their nuptial union sustains a centrifugal ripple-mandala pattern of 42 triangles, like the rings across a tree’s stem.  This map of the cosmos – a spider’s web of time – is invisibly projected from the central point or bindhu, and is what we handle and perceive.   The immortality of the exhaustless treasure is in the Now, around which all mythologies spin their histories.

In SITA card 3, Lakshmi the Empress gives birth to the creation.

In SITA card 18, Chandra seems to both invite and guard access to the creation.

SITA 3:  Lakshmi, the Empress

Arcanum Eighteen – an early interior journey looking up the Sefiroth of the Tree of Life.  In the Moon’s crescent are the enigmatic faces of our guides.   The path takes us through the gate of the body (two towers, the ends of a fence) into the landscape of our dreams at night.  Beyond yet from within it, rises the sun, our Self.

The pool here, is as the same as the one which the woman in the Star, card 17, gazes into.  We see with her the evolution of Life in all its forms.

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Jane

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

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Rohit

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga

 

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