I thought I would have a look at some of Aleister Crowley’s birth cards, to celebrate his 146th birthday today.
For his Major Arcana card we have The Chariot. On the Tree of Life, the Chariot connects the 3rd Sephira with the 5th (there’s a Tree of Life image below for reference). It is placed on the Pillar of Severity where it balances the Hierophant on the opposite Pillar of Mercy, so the Chariot’s messenger is more forceful and less forgiving, but also more blindingly beautiful (and I say this as a big fan of the Hierophant).
The Chariot touches the 3rd Sephira, where the Queens reside. Crowley’s birth Court Card for his sun sign is the Queen of Swords: focus, decision-making, intellectual rigor. His rising sign Leo gives him the Prince of Wands, which he identified with more strongly than the Queen of Swords – the powerhouse Prince standing on a different kind of chariot, so confident and forceful he doesn’t even need to hang onto the reins.
Checking through Crowley’s chart to see if any of his placements match the Thoth Minor Arcana, there is only one: his Mars in Capricorn gives us the 3 of Disks, Work. No surprises there. All you have to do is look at the sheer number of books and magazines he wrote and publishes to see his Queen of Swords and Prince of Wands both manifesting through Work.
Then I thought I might ask Mr Crowley some questions. I’ve done a short interview before and felt that there was a very meaningful result, so I asked a couple of questions … and then a couple different questions … and then others … and none of them really made me feel that this was something productive to do. But one thing did happen: The Knight of Cups kept appearing.
Looking at the Court Card Wheel, the Knight of Cups covers January 20 – March 10, one decan of Aquarius and two decans of Pisces. Crowley has Saturn in Aquarius, but just one degree or so before the Knight of Cups’s section, and he has his Moon in Pisces, which is a few degrees on the other side.
But there is one symbol on Crowley’s chart that falls in the part of the Wheel that the Knight of Cups rules: his Part of Fortune.
Now, I’m not an astrologer and I have only looked into the Part of Fortune recently (*cough* this morning *cough*) but it is what it sounds like: where your success in life lies. When in Pisces, the Part of Fortune brings ‘your success [is] in the healing arts and spirituality. You may find yourself with a heightened psychic ability that when you tap into in some way brings in work and success for you.’
Before I figured that out, though, I decided to draw some cards and see where the Knight of Cups might lead me. So I asked, “Okay, what about the Knight of Cups, then?” I drew the Hierophant, which connects to the Knight of Cups and that made me think maybe there was a message in the Tree of Life. So I drew some more cards – I drew several cards because I was looking for how the energy was moving around the Tree of Life. Was there a pattern, e.g. a dominant direction? I stopped with the 10 of Disks because it’s in Malkuth, and also because it is one of the Minor Arcana cards that the Queen of Swords rules:
Knight of Cups
6 of Disks
7 of Swords
8 of Disks
Prince of Wands
Ace of Swords
4 of Cups
Ace of Disks
6 of Wands
9 of Cups
Queen of Swords
10 of Disks
So what’s happening there? The energy moves downward until it gets to the 8 of Disks and then it moves up to the Prince of Wands, Crowley’s Ascendant. Maybe that part of the reading relates to the early part of his life, as he was realising what his true role was going to be. It would be an Ace of Swords kind of revelation for sure! And then the energy crosses Da’ath to the 4 of Cups and then back again to the Ace of Disks. What can we say about that? Perhaps … an idea, taking some time to work through the idea and to choose to accept this is the way life is going forward, and then to start building.
From there, it’s back to the Sweet Spot on the Middle Pillar and the 6 of Wands, and then to the 9 of Cups. All looking good! One the way to Malkuth and the 10 of Disks, with one quick check-in with Crowley’s sun sign birth card, the Queen of Swords.
So … I don’t know. Does that make sense? It feels coherent to me, and that’s what I look for when I’m drawing cards and placing them on the Tree of Life. I look for a sensible pattern and there is one here.
One question I had asked earlier was, “What would you want to tell us?” This was part of a three-card reading that made sense, but didn’t feel especially urgent so I’m not reproducing it here. This part of it, though, really struck me. The answer to that question was the 5 of Cups, Disappointment. What to be disappointed in, after a life like that? Ace of Disks, Ace of Swords (see above). I would say, “My one regret … not having enough time to finish what I started”, remembering that in the Aces we have all the Minor Arcana to follow. Each one is the seed for its suit, but it’s also the full suit, from Ace to Ten and back.
I wonder what he would have done next!