King of Alembics


King of Alembics

Planetary: Uranus (Above) / Earth (Below)

Diamond Path: Chokmah, Wisdom (Above) / Malkuth, Kingdom (Below)

Geomantic Figure: Fortuna Minor

Tetragram: Fire (Above) / Water (Below)

Keywords: Wisdom, Caution, Balance, Lifeforms, Understanding, Detachment, Change, Warmth, Rhythm, Serenity, Healing, Nurturing

Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Weak, Fading, Corrosive, Decaying, Depression, Reckless, Emotional


Historical: Called the King of Cups or King of Hearts, in the old packs, he’s shown in the Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo Visconti-Sforza in profile, on a square seat with lozenge in diamond patterns, reminiscent of the patterns of the European Adder. The short, draping, poncho he is wearing is trimmed in fur and he holds an urn, with a pointed lid.
     The historical association is to King and Emperor Charlemagne, who ruled over France and later Italy. He removed the Lombards from power, in the North of Italy and repelled the Muslims, from Spain. His rule began the first of three enlightenments in Medieval Europe and he is known today, as the Father of Europe.

Golden Dawn: Called The Knight of Cups, Lord of the Waves and Waters, The Knight of Cups card corresponds to the zodiacals Aquarius and Pisces and places at Sephira #2 (Chokmah,) in the Golden Dawn system.
     A crowned man, with a swan, or albatross is depicted, and the Knight himself is winged, holding a lotus and a cup. A serpent is always present, sometimes in the cup itself. A black scorpion is present, on some decks.The Waite deck reduces most of the imagery, it’s just a knight with a winged helm and fish on his armor.

Thoth: Crowley removes the serpent entirely and places him in green armor. There is no explanation for the removal of the serpent and lotus, instead, his other hand grasps the horse’s reigns. He then adds a crab to the cup, and a peacock to the background, amongst the waves. His excuse for the peacock is that it represents the stigmata of brilliance in water, and fluorescence. But we know where the peacock came from – it’s from the Brera-Brambilla Visconti-Sforza pack, which features a Knight of Cups with a pair of peacock plumes in his cap. To his credit, Crowley recognizes this isn’t aggressive enough to represent the King or Knight of Cups, but he gives him a crab as a symbol for this aggression. Pfft.

Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: Moving from Kether to Geburah, the King of Alembics is really a lot more aggressive than his previous witnesses have presumed, and tried to pass off on us. We chose sharks. Things have really become completely degraded over time.  His elemental nature is Fire of Water, illuminating his true nature as The Lord of Life. In any situation, his powers will be used to guard life, everywhere. The tetragram and geomantic character reveal the image of water, being dumped out – Fortuna Minor looks like an upset chalice, and the tetragram Heaven over Earth is also dangerous and sinister. This is a wealthy and generous King, overflowing with riches, especially in knowledge and wisdom. He is very serious when it comes to attending to his economic duties, and the needs of the land and the environment.
     Neptune and Mercury together are lightning quick and quite abstract. The shark makes for a suitable symbol of this kind of intellect.

The Scene: Fire of Water, Kauhuhu, the powerful and fearsome shark god of the island of Molokai, and one of his consorts, Lanilani, swims beside an underwater volcanic vent, denoting the essence of life on earth. Kauhuhu commands all of the sharks in the ocean and the weather. His underwater abode is guarded by two sea serpents, or dragons. He is pictured with Lanilani, a former mortal, who was turned into an immortal shark and taken as a wife by Kauhuhu, as a payment for demolishing an entire village with his hurricane. Lanilani is the daughter of a kahuna (priest,) with a tragic story. All three of his sons are executed by the village chief for the frivolous, yet innocently childlike act, of playing on the chief’s sacred drums, covered in tiger shark skin. He goes to all of the gods and asks them for revenge, but they are all afraid of the chieftain, Kupa. He finally resorts to the shrine of the shark god, Kauhuhu, and asks either for death, or revenge. The gatekeepers of the realm take pity on him, promising him an audience with Kauhuhu, who nearly devours him on sight when he returns to his home, but for a hasty prayer made to him by the kahuna.
     Sharks have evolved to be very powerful and efficient animals, yet, they rely on the ocean for their strength. Water is often associated to emotions, but sharks show us none of that externally, save for lust, hunger and impatience. The story of Kauhuhu shows the god as being moved by the tragedy of the kahuna’s plight, because it is a just cause. We might quickly assume Kauhuhu, in his ferocity, and dangerous aspects, is a threatening and isolated character, but, this is not true. From a human perspective, this may be true, yet, Kauhuhu has far more responsibilities than taking care of humans – there is the ocean and the balance of life to watch over. He is the king of all of the sharks, and keeps many wives. Kauhuhu is moved for a human, only by the event of the unjust murder of the kahuna’s three, healthy, young boys. He is the enemy against all oppressors and tyrants, the unpredictable wildness and supreme authority and justice of the natural world. This connection between survival and justice, recognizes the supreme economical mastery nature exhibits, in not wasting resources. Yet all of this efficiency evokes beauty and terrible splendor, unlike the often ugly business “efficiency,” of humans, which often also destroys the natural world upon which all humans are a part of and come from. Kauhuhu remarks to us, by way of example, to value life, not empty rituals and objects, and not to shed blood needlessly.


Significant Revisions/Additions:

Geomantic: Called Fortuna Minor (Latin for *the Lesser Fortune,*) in its medieval interpretation, the correct elemental association should define it as a (Mature) Masculine/Emotional character, corresponding to the qabbalistic Briah (Creation) in the Four Celestial, (or Elemental,) Worlds.

Jungian Type:  Artisans Class / ESFP (Performer) Type. The Performer enjoys crowds and values people. Optimistic and nurturing in a crisis, by being warm and peacemaking, the Performer takes a hands-on approach to solving problems. Adaptive and socially intuitive, the Performer is a master of leading people, through use of charisma and spontaneous action. This type is generally very likeable, by others, since a huge amount of its energy is expended pleasing as many people at once as he or she can.