Three of Blades: Sorrow
Historical: Lord of Sorrow
Pent #3 “Sanctifying” – Fire of 離 (Li) The Clinging, Fire
Berashith: “And Elohim said let there be Dawn.”
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #14 (大有 dà yǒu), Possession in Great Measure
Tiered Bigrams: Air (Above), Fire (Middle), Fire (Below)
Element/Planet: Air of Saturn (Binah, Understanding)
Planet/Sun Sign: Saturn in Libra
Keywords: Strength, Stoicity, Clarity, Culture, Grace, Control, Good, Sincerity, Dignity, Sacrifice, The Balance
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Evil, Arrogance, Waste, Pettiness, Envy, Insolence
Golden Dawn: Called the Three of Swords Lord of Sorrow, the Three of Swords card corresponds to the planetary Saturn and the zodiacal Libra as well as the angels Harayel and Hoqmiah and places at Sephira #3 (Binah) in the Golden Dawn system.
Two hands hold opposing curved swords which seem to draw back the curtain on a single center sword with a lunar tsuba, tearing apart The Rose. The sword in the center is also held by a hand emerging from a cloud.
Thoth: Crowley advises us that the suite governs all intellectual manifestations, and that the Mother in this station is not benevolent, she is the darkness of the Great Sea. So the painting is dark and forboding, like a horror show. The sword is attacking a white rose, and the ripples in the darkness are dotted with angular shards like glass. “Secrecy is here, and Perversion” (The Tarot of the Egyptians, Aleister Crowley 1944)
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The pent of the 3’s is “Sanctifying” and it signifies the new dawn, or Nuit’s vagina giving birth to Ra as mentioned before. The ruling hexagram # 14 “Posession in Great Measure” signifying the dawn of both good and evil with the dawning of the sun. Lilith is the personification of evil, which is viewed as the process of evolution at The Abrahadabra Institute. It isn’t a bogeyman, although it can be. Lilith is a fairly spooky character, no less Nuit than any other goddess, but she is driven by a sinister force. The world is in a terrible place and she is rightfully indignant about it all. She is equitable to Inanna-Ishtar, the dual goddess who may be synonymous with Ereshkigal the Queen of the Dead, and of Irkalla. These facts have been lost to history and we can only infer her attributes by speculating on existing documents and symbols. Eris is a suitable archetype here, as the personification of Chaos, as the womb of chaos. But this aspect of goddess has little to do with our day to day sorrows, instead she is the sum of all of the sorrow of Binah. Binah is also called “Sorrow” and the goddess is the source of all emotions which serves a dual purpose: to make life brighter (without sorrow we have no contrast) and to improve the conditions on Earth and indeed all over this universe.
What could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing, and yet we have hysteria playing all over the place over Lilith’s supposed deadly nature. She is equitable to Lamashtu the lion headed winged goddess married to Pazuzu. Lamashtu is a daughter of An, Heaven, and so she is very high ranking. There is no possible way to dismiss her easily without fooling ourselves. She is an essential part of the picture and must be granted the stature she deserves.
Enough defending of Lilith – she can stand up for herself after all these centuries, but she will deal harshly with those who reject her and the misery is endless for all who fail to pay her proper respect.
Back to Fire in Heaven. The I Ching does little to explain the importance of the hex in my opinion. Lamashtu was chosen for the card because she is a fiery daughter of An who signifies the power of natural selection and chastisement of evil. The Lilith imagery is more recognizable and more irritating to Christian onlookers, so it was used instead of the purely Sumerian form. Strength, Culture and Clarity are all the powers of this hexagram, so that one gets an image of a splendid civilization which must focus on matters above and beyond mere survival. Here the doctrine of stars must be studied and pursued. There is hell to pay without its graceful presence. As one should see.
Lilith is not a benevolent figure to all in this place, she is an enemy of those graceless, and of enemies to life, and the promoters of suffering – the Catholics and Muslims of the world. “We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit – let them die in their misery.” says The Book of the Law. Here too, chaos reigns. she is loosed upon the unfit and squealing masses like lions amongst lambs. There is sorrow paid in spades for her sorrow. She is wrathful, Vengeance personified. The scion of Fire in Heaven, Sekhmet. Here she is shown pacified in the rainforest with her weird owls.
The Scene: Lilith, a latter day Hebrew term for the two part sister goddess Ereskigala-Inanna of the ancient Sumerians, is known well by both her power, majesty and terrible force as much as by her penchant for vengeance. She is depicted here as she is on the so-called Burney relief, an artifact at rest in the British Museum, also known as the Lady of the Night. Some may call her treacherous, others ingenious. What is true about this card is that it is primarily concerned with balance and justice. The realm of sorrow is of the mother, Binah, and this sorrow is born of emotional attachment, a necessary input for life to survive. While any goddess could stand in for Binah, Lilith was most appropriate due to her connection with all kinds of misery and torment, as well as the tendency of other religions to malign her as the Father Sky God ideal rose in humanity’s consciousness. However, she was always closely associated to the Underworld Father figures, Ereshkigal starts by marrying Nergal, etcetera. Then Lilith into modern times has for at least a century been known as the wife of Satan. In the Tarot, the Father god is both Emperor and Devil, as can be revealed in the progression of the ATU, where the terrifying work of The Tower is at the behest of the Emperor in his hidden underworld form, The Devil (in this Tarot depicted as Lord Balarama, the original Krsna).
Either Victory or Defeat can be signified by this card, but as Saturn in Libra it is most certainly a card of Justice. The ruling Hexagram signifies the close association with Fire, the Father, obviously.