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Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
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Re: Beit and Lamed - The Magician and the Guardian Angel

Originally posted by kwaw
The prime experience in the initiation of the Baal Shem in their passage to becoming magicians and prophets is the 'encounter with the self.' The Baal Shem has to invoke his 'self made perfect', his higher self or guardian angel, which appears to them in their own image as his 'shadow' or 'reflection'. This personal guardian angel then teaches the Baal Shem all magical knowledge and enables them to prophesy.

As in astrology Aries in the natural order of the zodiac is associated with 'self', so its opposite, Libra, is associated with this 'perfect self' as 'other'. Libra in the SY is attributed to the letter Lamed, which among other things is said to symbolize the power to direct and control the animal instinct.

The guardian angel is symbolised by an angel closing the mouth of a lion, after the Angel who 'shut the mouths of the Lions' protecting Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, exorcists, Chaldeans and diviners [also known as Daniel] in the Lion's den. According to kabbalisitic texts, possibly influenced by neoplatonic doctrines, this Guardian Angel was Daniel's own 'self made perfect'.

These correlations suggest Lamed - Libra - Strength. In the GD however, this card is swapped with Teth - Leo, on the grounds that it contains a lion, and Justice contains a pair of scales. If we make an attribution of Lamed - Libra - Strength therefore, where does 'Justice' go?

Among other meanings the letter Teth means 'serpent' and is related thereby to the serpent in the Garden of Eden and is said to symbolise the power of judgement. However, as well as the Satanic serpent there is also the Holy Serpent, identified with the Messiah [Messiah and Serpent in Hebrew both have the same numerical value by Gematria]; and is a symbol of both good and evil, of knowledge and falsehood, and the power to Judge between the two.

Among the Ophites ['worshippers of the snake, a Jewish syncretic movement with Gnostic tendencies] the serpent was called 'Michael and Samael', reflecting the dual nature of the symbolism of the serpent. Michael and Samael are two angels of Judgement, advocate and adversary respectively in the court of the Holy King. Leo, ruled by the Sun the significator of royalty, is a symbol of the royal court of Judgement [the House of the Sun]. As Teth means serpent, the symbol for Leo is also said to represent a serpent, possibly a derivation of the royal Uraeus crown of the Pharoes.

Micheal in medieval iconography is portrayed frequently with sword and scales, and fits therefore very well with imagery of the Justice card. Samael in early traditions is called a 'blind angel' [SMY means 'blind' in Hebrew], though in later texts, such as the Zohar, he is merely described as 'cross-eyed'. Possibly this is related to the occasional image of Justice as being blind folded?

I think therefore the symbolism of Teth - serpent - and the attribution of Leo does have a correlation with the card Justice, which along with the correlations of Lamed - Libra to 'Strength' retains the Marseille ordering and one to one letter/astrological correspondence without having to swap them around as in the GD attributions.

Samael 'the wicked, head of all the Devils, chief of the tempters, serpent in the Garden of Eden and chief adversary/prosecutor' is identified with the office/personification 'Satan'. He is the angelic archon of the planet Mars and attributed to the fifth sephirah on the pillar of severity. Mars is exalted in Capricorn, attributed to the letter Ayin in the SY, and to the card 'The Devil' in the GD tradition. Capricorn is also ruled by Saturn [which again, like the serpent, is identified with both Satan and the Messiah in kabbalistic literature], and is thus associated with both the Greater and Lesser 'malefics' in traditional astrology. In another thread it was discussed how the Devil looks 'cross eyed' in one of the Marseille pattern decks, which is an interesting coincidence [there being no established historical relationship between the Marseille and the kabbalah] in light of the fact that Samael is described as 'cross eyed' in the Zohar.

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