Three of Alembics: Abundance
Historical: Lord of Abundance
Ruling Pentagram: Pent #3 “ – Fire of 離 (Li) The Clinging, Fire
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #8 (比 bǐ), Holding Together (Union)
Tiered Bigrams: Earth (Above), Water (Middle), Water (Below)
Element/Planet: Water of Saturn (Binah, Understanding)
Planet/Sun Sign: Mercury in Cancer
Keywords: Timeliness, Auspiciousness, Conservation, Purity, Sublimity, Constancy, Perseverance, Fullness, Success, Good Luck, Gladness, Bounty, Problems Resolved
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Hesitation, Tardiness, Irresponsibility, Uncertainty, Decline, Waste, Excess Pleasure, Loss of Prestige
Golden Dawn: Called the Three of Cups Lord of Abundance, the Three of Cups card corresponds to the planetary Mercury and the zodiacal Cancer, as well as the angels Rahael and Yebomayah and places at Sephira #3 (Binah,) in the Golden Dawn system.
Three cups, with lotuses, growing right out of them are pictures, with water coming out of them into their own cups and dropping down into other empty cups, also with lotuses in them. These in turn pour water out into the lower part of the card.
Thoth: The card, according to Crowley has an especial connection to the guide of the souls of the dead, perhaps Anubis (Anpu.) Specifically he names it as Pluto, or Hades, whereby he uses the power of the pomegranate to hold Persephone in bondage. “The lesson seems to be that the good things of life, although enjoyed, should be distrusted.” This, is perhaps best encapsulated in the poem 23 Skidoo, in his Book of Lies. But the influence in Binah is said to be of Mercury, the Will of the All-Father. He leaves us with no more answers, only additional questions.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: It’s fine to infer some kind of conspiracy at work in the station, but for the primordials, which represent a kind of perfect universe, before the onset of time, we were free to depict a more idealized scene of Mercury acting upon the waters of The Great Black Ocean. Tiamat and Apsu are two of the most primordial gods given names by humans, still remembered.
The hexagram here is #8, called Pi, Holding Together. It is a fascinating one, that shares a trait with The Army. It only has a single yang line that holds everything else together. It is a friendly and auspicious image, hinting at the beginnings of greatness. The founding of The United States and the unification of Chung Kuo under The Dragon (whom they later betrayed) are good examples of this hexagam’s power. There is also the hint of timing here, and the parable of the little red hen, because the fortune is only bestowed upon those who are there at the beginning. “Whoever comes too late meets with misfortune” the sages say/ The endeavor must be a dangerous or risky one, for there are those who are uncertain, but the prize is desirable, since they “gradually join” despite this.
It may be that there is some “trickery” involved, just as in the American Revolution and in the unification of Chung Kuo. So enemies are inferred, from the outset. But the union of Mercury and Binah is unbeatable. Like Tiamat and Apsu, they are eternal, without end, and they play the long game. So any perceived opposition is an illusion and an annoyance at worst.
Mercury in the sign of Cancer indicates great romantic and patriotic feeling. The traditions held dear must be protected and upheld. It may indicate a special regard for women and children, chivalry in the true sense and not the brutish excuse for domestic slavery that passes for chivalry amongst the vulgar and terrestrial. There may be a love for old arts, cooking from scratch, old martial arts traditions, falconry, sailing; the artisan crafts that are bound to oral tradition.
The Scene: The Mother-Father water serpents, Abzu, lord of the sweet waters, underground, and Tiamat, lady of the bitter waters, the sea, join together to bask in their creation. Filled with promise of a shining and wondrous future, no shadow of forthcoming darkness is visible here, nor should it be. This is a highly auspicious station and no shadow covers it. Water is in Binah, The Ocean of the Great Mother, and perfect harmony abides. The brilliance of Mercury in Cancer is well suited to creativity and invention of the best kind.
Male, Female, Quintessential One, is the formula of this station, and has a special relationship to any ATU that signifies unity, such as The Lovers or Lust, but the pair also make an appearance specially on the Two of Cups.
Tiamat is often associated with sea dragons or serpents, in modern times, but there is no hard archaeological evidence for this in Sumer. It can be inferred from her association with Thalassa of the Greeks, who were quite fond of syncretism that she may indeed have had serpentine features, as there are many ancient Greek depictions of her as a serpentine lady.
Abzu is also obscured in the sands of time, but we do know that he embodied the underground waters, the Abzu was also a place, which he ruled. This was not the underworld, for there was another name for that – Irkalla. We know that Ningishzidda, The Magician and The Exorcist named in Sumerian religious texts, grows up in the Abzu, but is also guardian of Irkalla.