Eight of Alembics: Indolence
Historical: Lord of Abandoned Success
Ruling Pentagram: Pent #8 “Perfect” – Fire of 坤 (K’un) The Receptive, Earth
Berashith: “and Elohim made the raki’a”
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #12 (否 pǐ), Standstill
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Air (Middle), Water (Below)
Element/Planet: Water of Mercury (Hod, Splendor)
Planet/Sun Sign: Saturn in Pisces
Keywords: Poison, Disease, Addiction, Choices, Warning, Consequences, Bad Social Influence, Ideology, Religion, Politics, Ideas, Miserable People, Sadness Brought On by Chemicals, Imbalance, Judiciary Proceedings, Bad Medicine, Bad Science, Ill Reputation, Sadness, Denial
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Temptation, Ideas not Well Thought Out, Lack of Logic, Horniness, Poor Hygiene, Bad Diet, Intestinal Problems, Dehydration, Enabling
Golden Dawn: Called The Eight of Cups, Lord of Abandoned Success, the Eight of Cups card corresponds to the planetary Saturn and the zodiacal Pisces. It is associated with the angels Vavaliah and Yelahiah and places at Sephira #8 in the Golden Dawn system.
All of the cups are empty, save for two, which are only half filled by the nearly empty lotuses.
Thoth: Called the Eight of Cups, the scene is the badlands, but, not just a normal badlands, he tells us there is poison and disease here. Furthermore, he calls it “the German Measles of Christian Mysticism.” I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds gross and bad. The scene is grotesque. Black pools of water spread across the land, covered by a black sky, and worse yet, the cups are a nauseating flesh color. The water appears clear, and the lotuses have a terrifying black and hairy center. It’s all very unappealing. The cups are “shallow, old and broken” (The Tarot of the Egyptians, Aleister Crowley, 1944)
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The Hexagram here is #12, part of the reciprocal inverse pair that is seated at Hod. The lone Fire element at the top of the tiered Bigrams is approached by Air and Water. It is the image of a family here, in the Trigrams we have Heaven in the above, Earth in the below, an inauspicious sign, generally speaking, representing a stationary Earth, unable to easily reach the distant and departing Heaven. The image is one of immoveable stagnation, absolutely appropriate to the traditional attributes of the card called Indolence, or Lord of Abandoned Success. Superior persons must go into hiding, as if a great disaster has befallen humanity, such as a plague driven apocalypse, or an evil government ruled by small minded people. The Bigrams hint at finding solace in the family unit itself.
In Water of Mercury we have the Hermes planet’s more sinister intellectual qualities taking wing. It may be that these will be necessary in the trying times of the 8 of Alembics. Saturn in Pisces is deathly foreboding, and it indicates a time of purging and trial for all. The card is quite deserving of its reputation and may also indicate physical, literal, poison. This may be deliberate poisoning, or ambient accidental poisoning, such as pollution, or lead poisoning. It may merely be alcohol or cigarettes. The sky reflects the color scale of Queen 23, relating to Eris, sea-green.
Overall, this is a bad card, when it shows up, someone is being scolded for damaging one’s self through indolence. They are thwarting their True Will and it can lead to death. Sometimes, it is better that one dies than to drag on through life refusing to fulfill the reason for which they came here. This card is therefore a portent of Death, if one falls too far from the Way and lingers too close to the arcane.
The Scene: Like the Seven of Blades, Futility, this girl is part of an original painting which featured a pair of individuals burning down a city. They are naughty nagas. The serpent in the black liquid is part of her lover, who is a long, black, naga. The crystal cup is meant to represent the pure cup from which one may redeem one’s self from all the wretchedness of the poisonous substance, perhaps it is merely water, or it is a choice to leave a bad, toxic, situation. The interpretation is left for the reader to decide. She holds two purple flames in her hands, as if to indicate the volatility of the situation, at any minute, it could all go up in smoke, if that liquid is oil. Perhaps it isn’t, maybe it’s just blackberry pancake syrup…Everything will kill you these days right?