Ace of Alembics
Historical Title: Root of the Powers of Water
Pent #1 – Fire of 乾 (Ch’ien) The Creative, Heaven
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #2 (坤 kūn), The Receptive
Tiered Bigrams: Water (Above), Water (Middle), Water (Below)
Element/Planet: Water of Neptune (Kether, Crown)
Tantric Root/Aspiration: Yin Descending / Widdershins
Keywords: Love, The Abyss, Fertility, Change, Intimacy, Emotion, Creativity, Peace, Calm, Receptivity
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Loss, Sorrow, Despair, Hopelessness, Death, Entropy, Fixation, Trapped
Golden Dawn: Called The Ace of Cups, Lord of the Root of the Powers of Water, The Ace of Cups card corresponds to Sephira #1 (Kether) in the Golden Dawn system. It does not have any angelic correspondences, but could perhaps be associated to Godhead.
Water lilies and other flowers grow at the bottom of the card, and a single white angelic hand holding an overflowing cup is depicted.
Thoth: Crowley states that the card’s painting represents “the element of Water in its most secret and original form”. Plainly we can see it’s a uterus, or the “Holy Grail” Around it is an elegant faux “French curl” marbled paper pattern. This seems to emit from The Rose. Crowley would like us to think of wine or blood when we think of the Ace of Cups. Then he ruins it all by telling us the Holy Ghost is diving into the mix, so the whole idea is off putting.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: Like the Ace of Pentacles, the Hexagram is Kun instead of Qian, and its Trigrams and Tiered Bigrams reveal this in their descending triangles and squares.
Water of Neptune signifies hominess, for the God of the planet is of course lord of the Ocean. The descending nature of the lightning bolt betrays the Mother’s gentler nature, and alludes to her Heavenly nature as well as Hydrogen and Nuit.
The Scene: The element of Water holds and protects everything within it, like the Great Mother. It also represents Memory and preserves the good while purifying the bad. The cleansing nature of water is well known amongst Indian sages, as the water of the Ganges, even though it is the most polluted river in the world, is considered sacred and able to purify evil. The Ace of Alembics can do this, and more. It carries the power of infinite possibility and brings out the best in all of the other elements. The ammonite and the goldfish represent Air and Earth, the two children of Water and Fire, represented by the Dragon on the grail. This symbolism reminds us that Water, the Mother is reborn through Earth, the Daughter. As Nuit said, “I am divided for Love’s sake for the chance of Union.”