Four of Alembics: Luxury
Historical: Lord of Blended Pleasure
Pent #4 “Overflowing” – Fire of 艮(Kên) Keeping Still, Mountain
Berashith: “And Elohim saw the Dawn”
Element/Planet: Water of Jupiter (Chesed, Benevolence)
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Water (Middle), Water (Below)
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #20 (觀 guān) Contemplation (View)
Planet/Sun Sign: Luna in Cancer
Keywords: Teaching, Mild Pleasure, Some Relaxation, Society, Culture, Instruction, Contemplation, Influence, Stationary happiness, Hunting, Games, Injustice, Occasional World-Weariness or Ennui
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Ignorance, Paranoia, Gaudiness, Tackiness, Waste, New Events, New Approaches, Noveau Riche
Golden Dawn: Called The Four of Cups Lord of Blended Pleasure, the Four of Cups card corresponds to the planetary Luna and the zodiacal Cancer and places at Sephira #4 (Chesed) in the Golden Dawn system. The angels Hayayel and Mevamayah are associated.
A single lotus or other flower is filling two cups, which in turn fill the lower cups through overflow, but these second cups are not overflowing. Leaves are present, depicting the end of the flowering phase thus an end to the pleasure phase. A cross is depicted on this card with the stems or leaves and an inverted quarter moon, probably associated with the planetary Luna.
Thoth: Crowley describes it as a station that is giving in to weak Cancerian tendencies of decay and abandonment. As the “manifestation and consolidation of the Dyad” it emphasizes individuality, but Crowley insists this is catastrophic, and he agrees with the East in assessing Four as an unwholesome “dead” and “awkward” number. But he also points out the Tetractys (1+2+3+4=10) then reasserts that it is bad, “Tetragrammaton in his fatal aspect of finality as the Qabalists knew him before the discovery of the Revolving Formula whereby the Daughter, seated upon the Throne of the Mother, “Awakens the Eld of the All-Father”” Much ado is made about the Mother renewing the Father, but not enough is to be said about the Father renewing the Mother, which is more to what this card is actually about. After all it is on the masculine pillar, in the Sephiroth of Merciful-Benevolence or Chesed, across from Geburah.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: A fiery triangle sets about two symbols for Water in the tiered bigrams, emphasizing a pair of strong Yang lines being followed by four apparently placid Yins, according to the I Ching in which Confucius states “Contemplation. The ablution has been made, But not yet the offering. Full of trust they look up to him.” and the sages leave us with “The wind blows over the earth: The image of CONTEMPLATION. Thus the kings of old visited the regions of the world, Contemplated the people,And gave them instruction.”
Here we have a man representing Chesed and the two Yang lines who is being looked up to for instruction and the offering rites of Thelema or whatever else you might like.
In the trigrams the top part depicts what looks like an arrow pushing up to a horizon line. This is Li, the Clinging, Fire. The square of Kun, the Receptive, Earth, is below. Everyone knows what happens to earth when it is set on fire – it becomes fertile and productive. From sunlight to wildfires, Fire as an element is beneficial to earth in a very direct way, increasing productivity and wealth.
Water of Jupiter signifies a person that is not a miser. They are comfortably well off or even rich as hell, and they enjoy it, spending their money on things they enjoy and maybe sharing it with others. Mostly though, they’ll spend it on things directly connected to their enjoyment. This can be a curse or a blessing – they won’t spend money on stupid things, but they will lavish their loved ones with gifts and perhaps donate heavily to charity or on things which tug at them emotionally in some way. This is all perfectly fine, but it’s hopeful they don’t become an alcoholic or smoker. Fire has its destructive qualities and as we might infer from the hexagram there is a hidden fire very strong and present in this card.
Luna in Cancer will lead to a definate looniness which should be enjoyed by all present who happen to catch the benefactor of this card in a good mood. This should be connected to the earlier levity principle of the male principle in acting upon the degraded or weak female principle, renewing it. Levity is very important, and the card could have easily been called that, too.
The Scene: This is a picture of a friend’s characters and girlfriend’s characters from a game I used to play. They are in a secret temple to a goddess of all things debauch, indulgence, pleasure, sex and disease, who likes to manifest as a flame or a tentacled lady with shark’s teeth. She was very similar to Two-Faced Tlazoteotl from the Aztec pantheon, also known as Two-Faced Woman in the Lakota pantheon. The painting has had a lot of interest and it seemed like a natural pairing with the station. In the background we find a tentacle legged man, a hint of the monotheistic divinity Abrasax, four cups plainly shown, since the meaning is fairly apparent, and a very dark lady representing the goddess herself. The man is either telling a joke or giving a lecture, he’s surrounded by hundreds of beautiful acolytes in this old abandoned temple in the middle of the jungle. The party is well funded and attendees want for nothing. There is little to fear here, and much to be desired.