Nine of Blades: Cruelty
Historical: Lord of Despair & Cruelty
Ruling Pentagram: Pent #9 “Pure” – Air of 乾 (Ch’ien) The Creative, Heaven
Berashith: “And Elohim called to the ra’kai”
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #10 (履 lǚ), Treading (Conduct)
Tiered Bigrams: Fire (Above), Air (Middle), Fire (Below)
Element/Planet: Air of Luna (Yesod, Foundation)
Planet/Sun Sign: Mars in Gemini
Keywords: Great Advantage Over an Enemy, Will Overcoming Lower Self, Fighting With the Pen not the Sword, Truth is Heresy, Noncompliance, Internet, Internet Business, Libel, A Hacker, a Phreaker
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Gossip, Petty Name-calling, Slow Internet, Network Issues, a Lousy Web Admin
Golden Dawn: Called The Nine of Swords, Lord of Despair and Cruelty, the Nine of Swords card corresponds to the planetary Mars and zodiacal Gemini and places at Sephira #9, (Yesod,) in the Golden Dawn system.
A large curved blade criss-crossed with the rest of the swords is piercing through or across a flaming disc in the middle of the card.
Thoth: Called the Nine of Swords, Cruelty, The Thoth deck rides along on the theory that the Suite of Air is constantly degenerating on its descent, which is correct, but this is so that it can rectify error. There is no mistake here, but Crowley insists that it is somehow God’s mistake, revealing his persistent Gnostic background. We disagree on this, but it is no matter, as the suite’s names and nature at least are fairly spot on, even in Tantra.
Psychopaths, fanatics and the primitive, he says, are ruled by this card alone, and jagged rusty swords drip poison and blood on the scene. He encourages us to give up and resist passively, or die like a martyr, as the only successful way to deal with the card’s energy.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: Here, the suite has degenerated into lacking pleasantries, but it is still all Logos and all Business. The male principles cannot be diminished, if they are real. If they can be weakened they are not a standard of masculinity that we can uphold. Here, Air is feminized in the form of Bhagalamukhi, the Lady of Magick and Torture. Literally, “She Who Stops the Tongue,” the control over the fleshly bits which control intellect and speech are hers, and this is perfectly a match for the attributes of sinister Air. It is notable her name is lettered 11, like Abrahadabra and Ningishzidda. The demon is also hers, a worshipper.
In this scene, we have a very lofty and holy aspect of the goddess, as she is one of the Mahavidyas, and this is in correspondence with the tetractys as well, because there are ten Mahavidyas. The holy aspect paired with the sinister qualities of punishment and torture stand grossly in contrast with more traditional religious systems, which vilify all sinister aspects of the divine and emphasize only the most sentimental of the good qualities. The loss of liveliness in deity is tragic, and its loss in the tarot is felt doubly so.
This is the enemy of Tantra, and why Tantra has stood against the people now for hundreds and hundreds of years. There is no conflict between the axiom There is No God but Man and the view of deity which accepts dark and light aspects, as in Tantra. It is vehemently opposed to Gnostic and the more aggressive Right Hand Path ideologies.
In the bigrams we have two Fire elements with an Air element in the center. This is an frenetically active card, underneath the veneer of the hexagram Lu, Treading #10.
It is one of the judgements which refers to treading on the tail of the tiger: “TREADING. Treading upon the tail of the tiger. It does not bite the man. Success.” The image calls us to fortify the thinking of the people. Is this not the virtue of Air? In the Trigrams is Heaven over Lake. It describes a situation in which we should strive to ascend, but Heaven is far away and the Lake provides no foothold. The power of levity must be harnessed and mastered. This is the nature of Air. To let go of our petty concerns, our bleeding heart mental illness, our wrongheaded desire to help everything and everywhere in ways that actually make the situation in the universe worse – these are underlined by the virtues of the Air element. The Jen principle comes into play at the highest echelons of Air and Earth. What appears cruel to one, is deliverance for another, more advanced mind.
Air of Luna is eerie and alien. The powers of both are strange to the uninitiated, when taken to their extreme. There is no error in the ways of the elements however, and as magicians we ought not to be satisfied with the people’s opinion of the ethereal. To be more than human; to be a star – is our ultimate goal, after all.
Mars of Gemini symbolizes war in words and of language, specifically coded language of computers. This is the card relating to hackers and future cyber warriors. It has not yet been understood, or valued by humans. It will be. The other meaning is of a person who know how to use words to hurt, and they may do this for good or evil – the card isn’t merely one or the other, as most of the Gnostic sects insist. It is important to remember the Nine’s are all at Yesod, called Foundation. Foundation represents the future lofty goal of mankind.
The Scene: Bhagalamukhi has the ability to disable the speech centers and stun people. She is the primeval goddess and is said to reside within every female. It is therefore important not to offend a woman, thus risking offending Bhagalamukhi. As the lady of black magick and torture, she can be a formidable opponent and is called upon for vengeance magick, for this reason. However, her qualities also include transmutation of evil things into good things, for example, stupidity, into genius, poor language skills into eloquence, defeat into victory, and she is able to make the powerful, impotent.
The goddess represents change itself, and the power of alchemy. It would not be inaccurate to call her the goddess of alchemy, and this moreso as she shares the 11 letter name in English with Ningishzidda and Abrahadabra. The very idea of turning Cruelty into an auspicious card, is an act of evocation of this tantric goddess, she is the blessing within sorrow, failure within success and death hidden in life. All of the Mahavidyas have their influence shown throughout this pack, which is not surprising considering both of its creators are tantric alchemists.