Ace of Staves
Historical Title: Root of the Powers of Fire
Pent #1 – Fire of 乾 (Ch’ien) The Creative, Heaven
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #1 (乾 qián), The Creative
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Fire (Middle), Fire (Below)
Element/Planet: Fire of Neptune (Kether, Crown)
Tantric Root/Aspiration: Yang Descending / Deiseil
Keywords: Primordial Fire, Creative Inspiration, Spiritual Cognition, Material Ignition New ideas, Birth, Creativity, Virility, Power, Masculinity, Heat, Passion
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Aborted, Repression, Stillness, Danger, Drudgery, Menace, Indignation, Horror, Ending, Torture, Lack of Energy
Golden Dawn: Called The Ace of Wands Lord of the Root of the Power of Fire, the Ace of Wands card corresponds to Sephira #1 (Kether) in the Golden Dawn system.
A large phallic wand is on fire. The hand holding it emerges from a cloud of fire. Rays of light descend from above.
Thoth: Crowley sticks closely to the Golden Dawn tradition in all of his imagery, but adds his own vital panache to the scenes. The Ace of wands is no exception. Here we find ten fox tails emerging from a rod charged with red and green lightning. Green is the universal alchemical symbol of life and red of fire. Gold represents the solar fire. Green and Gold together are the traditional colors of Alchemy. The geometry of the torch itself is distorted but interesting, almost inferring the shape of the Hidden Diamond! Alas, it would be another hundred years at least before The Abrahadabra Institute gave it its due recognition and so we’ll never know what Aleister might have thought of the similarity.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The colors of the Thoth Ace are here, but the geometry is far less murky and actually has significant meaning in The Hidden Diamond Sutra. Since life is most recognizable when it is presented in a representable way, at least for humans, Izi and I have elected to use plants and animals.
Here in the small cards the hexagram signifiers have changed. This was done for two reasons: chiefly to get people outside of the thought box that the hexagrams are always signified by line stacks, which was never true even in ancient China, and secondly to provide an quick way of analyzing a card to determine if it was a small or ATU, since they are all illustrated with scenes instead of repetitive symbols. These sorts of packs are terribly lazy, since even The Golden Dawn managed to give the dry stacks of numbered suite elements signifying quirks and activities within their otherwise bland composition.
The ruling Hexagram of the Ace of Staves is Qian, Heaven, the first Hexagram. The triangle and the circle, Man’s most primeval geometry, are found as the signifiers of the Trigrams and Bigrams composing the Hexagram. The triangles point up represent the bigram Fire or Li, while the circles of the Trigrams represent Heaven above and Heaven below, as in the Taoist system.
Fire’s inclination is to descend, and so the lightning bolt of the Three Worlds is directed down. The placement on the Tree of Life for the Aces is at Kether, thus this is Fire of Neptune. In Qabbalah it may seem curious, but Zeus is not the ruler of the Gods, rather he is more of an active Father principle at work in the world, where Neptune or Poseidon is the Secret Emperor in Heaven above. This may take some getting used to but it is accurate and often overlooked, and it doesn’t diminish Zeus-Jupiter in the slightest.
The Scene: Life is the dominion of Fire, and often through its destructive characteristics, its burning characteristics seem prominent, it is through life that Fire reveals its purest and most intimate nature. So it is that the auspicious Aces reveal a depiction of fire as the progenitor of life and the owner of the domain of the lightning worlds, the highest heavens. Hardy and predatory species were chosen to outline Fire’s special influence in life. The red and black beetle is a symbol of Kephri the Morning Sun and the scorpion is the feminine counterbalance, the goddess Ishhara. The great Hidden Diamond is the underlying order of entire universe, its mysterious and sharp angles support the Da’ath coordinate, to which many strange and unexplainable attributes have been pointed out by countless mages over hundreds of years. It is most especially tuned to fire, as it is the generating element of the entire physical universe including all three of the remaining elements of Water, Air, and Earth. Therefore the serpent is assigned to the Ace of Pentacles as there is traditionally always a serpent in the tree of life, who represents the supreme ultimate godhead that permeates all universes and realities.