I. The Monad - The Aces

Active Monad

The first principle is the Monad or Unit. It is the self-generating principle, the self-generated generator of everything else.

Passive Monad

The Monad contains everything potentially, Protean. It is prima materia (first matter), an undifferentiated unity, an unstructured wholeness, the seed of all. The Monad corresponds to the first stage of many cosmologies, the Primeval Waters, the Confused Mass (Massa confusa), Chaos, Tiamat, etc. The Sun. Both odd and even, male and female, matter and form.

Wands: Inspiration

The urge to create, the upwelling of creative energy, sudden illumination, enthusiasm, inspiration, spiritual aspiration, creativity, spiritual hunger. The Power of the Spirit.

Image: Zeus's blazing keraunos (thunderbolt), in yellows, oranges and reds, stands vertically; its golden colors show that fire is a hot, active element. Crescent flames curl from the central disk and a ray descends from it, thus approximating a flaming sign of Mercury.

Commentary: The keraunos, of course, is a symbol of Zeus's will and power, but also of the flash of inspiration and creative energy. It suggests a caduceus (the wand of Mercury, the Spirit Guide) to represent spiritual aspirations and illumination.

Swords: Idea

The seed or hint of a new idea, intellectual aspiration, intellectual excitement, intellect, critical thinking, intellectual dissatisfaction. The Power of the Mind.

Image: An upright sword with a golden hilt floating among white clouds in a bright blue sky.

Commentary: The sword is upright to show that it is ready for action; it also points upward to suggest aspiration. It is golden because air is a hot, active element. The background suggests "the sky's the limit."

Cups: Longing

The beginning of a relationship, the urge for relationship, an upwelling of feeling, an indefinite feeling, emotional capacity, loneliness, emotional dissatisfaction, ennui. The Power of the Heart.

Image: A silver kantharos (two-handled wine cup) overflowing with the bluish-green waters of Ocean.

Commentary: The kantharos overflowing with Oceanic waters represents the subconscious overflowing with feeling. It is silver because water is a cold, passive element.

Pentacles: Ambition

The beginning of a material project (handicraft, business), the urge to material creation, material resources, hunger, dissatisfaction with material circumstances. The Power of the Body.

Image: Image: A silver disk inscribed with a bright red Pythagorean Pentacle. The points are labeled, clockwise from the lower left, with the archaic Greek letters U, G I, EI, A. Golden-brown background.

Commentary: The Pythagorean Pentacle, the sacred symbol of the Pythhagoreans, is described elsewhere. The disk is silver because earth is a cold, passive element, and the pentacle is bright red to suggest action. (See the Five of Pentacles for the explanation of the Greek letters.) The background is golden-brown to suggest material resources.

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Last update: Sat Jul 3 18:15:10 EDT 1999