Atu XX: The Aeon
Letter: ש Shin (Sh)
Proximity: Sephira #8 (Hod) to Sephira #10 (Malkuth)
Pent #31 “Perpetual” – Water of 震 (Chên) The Arousing, Thunder (Above/Below)
Earth of 坤 (K’un) The Receptive, Earth (Without/Within)
Berashith: “Elohim said behold I have given you”
(Upper right) Fire: Hex #27: 頤 (I) Corners of the Mouth / Providing Nourishment
(Lower left) Air: Hex #27: 頤 (I) Corners of the Mouth / Providing Nourishment
(Upper left) Water: Hex #28: 大過 (Ta Kuo) Preponderance of the Great
(Lower right) Earth: Hex #28: 大過 (Ta Kuo) Preponderance of the Great
Keywords (Dignified): Era, Time, Epoch, Age, Procession, Continuity, Mechanism, Adjudication, Adjustment, Judgment, Recurrence, Revolution, Reincarnation, Scrutiny, Accountability, Current, Tenor, Spirit, Collective Consciousness
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Outdatedness, Ignorance, Karmic Issues, Reparations, Consequences
Historical: Traditionally referred to as The Last Judgement, the old decks show the dead rising from their graves to answer the call of God in Heaven. Some decks show an angel instead of God. Because of its overt Christian connotations, a lot of weird meanings have been attached to the card over the years, including the idea that there is a council of elders waiting in the sky to judge all of us after death, or that it represents a guardian angel or something. The whole thing is creepy and must be discarded.
Golden Dawn: Called The Last Judgement, The Spirit of the Primal Fire, The Last Judgement card corresponds to the planetary Saturn and the zodiacals Taurus, Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio and places between Sephira #9 (Yesod) and Sephira #10 (Malkuth) in the Golden Dawn system.
Thoth: Crowley names the card the Aeon, and this is the standard we have adopted as well. He himself states that it “has been necessary to depart completely from the tradition of the cards, in order to carry on that tradition.” He explains the shape of the elbows of the messengers as forming the letter Shin, meaning apocalypse by fire. It is interesting what he says next: “This (apocalypse by fire) was accomplished in the year of the vulgar era 1904, when the fiery god Horus took the place of the airy god Osiris in the East as Hierophant.” Nuit as the vault of heaven, Hadit as a fiery globe, and Heru-ra-ha the introverted form of Ra Hoor Khut is shown. He advises us to study the events around the world 2,100 years ago, the onset of the Age of Osiris.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: It did not seem necessary to stay bound to any earth centric ideology, so the Aeon is represented in a more universal form, that of Abrahadabra with the Secret Chiefs highlighted, and Ptah, the grand architect standing behind it all, smiling. Here is also Ra Hoor Khut and Heru Ra Ha. But it is free from all earthly conflict and stripped of any connection to Christian ideology.
We have a set of reciprocal inverse hexagrams on this card, #27 Corners of the Mouth with the male elements, and #28 Preponderence of the Great with the female Elements.
The first hexagram warns against one’s misuse of words. It is perhaps a commentary on the fickleness and treachery of words themselves, which in mankind rarely transcend human boundaries to reach unversal truth. Instead we are best off using genuine feeling and geometry than to try to repair a conflict or problem with mere words.
Preponderance of the Great shows us a scenario where things have passed their breaking point, in the lines attributed to Confucius. The sages (the older text) are more concerned with showing us an example of a superior man who is unconcerned with standing alone or renouncing the world. He is like Ptah, in the sense that he can find a place in his or her being where no ties, attachments and worldly distractions can influence him enough so that he forsakes his True Will.
The Aeons are all about the Will of Heaven as it pertains to the economics of Life in general. This is a priority to superior people, for inferior people they don’t care about it. This is injustice, or I should say, it is the source of injustice.
The Scene: The Aeon is thought of in terms of a set amount of years, anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 as with the astrological ages. This concept may be incorrect taken at face value. While stronger currents of one aeon or another may indeed exist, time at the level of the tree of life may be more of a Euclidean concept. While we may be living in say the year 1997 with another human, we are actually “looking back at them” in time from the Aeon of Ra Hoor Khut into the Aeon of some other ruler. We see hints of this all the time in stories and cultural phenomenon. Avalon was one such example, said to be a place of timelessness dedicated to the mother goddess of what is now Western Europe, destroyed by the shadow of Christianity – a manifestation of the Aeon of Pisces or Osiris as Crowley refers to it.
As an individual can learn to navigate the tree, so too can one participate in future or prior aeons. The idea that the aeon is a genetic timeline is also feasible – where one unlocks certain doors only with the right genetic markers in place. Everything that makes us who we are is affected by DNA structure so it is not difficult to imagine this also being affected by the Aeonic trends.
In many cultures, the idea of the divine “culling” certain humans while leaving others behind to live (or die, alternately) is a religious theme, complete with its own art, rituals, dogma and stories.
The journey of the shamanic involves casting off old shells as frequently as needed – failure to let go of attachments can lead to distorted and stunted growth. Movement through the aeons may be indicated by a child not being able to comply with its parent’s wishes. The parents may see it as defiance, the child may see it as rejection, when it is only really an example of aeonic divergence.