Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lust For Life Is More Than A Song

Before we get to the meat of today's card, let's first look at it from the position of Astrology, Kabbalah, and Numerology.

Venus in Leo – Creative development of passion leads to enjoyment and satisfaction
Element: Fire
Number: 11 as the perfect combination of 1 and 2 (the cross sum of 11 is 2)
Tree of Life: The connection between Chesed and Geburah*
*Chesed: Condensation, the power of growth and stability. Geburah: Movement and changing, the power of destruction

If you ask me, Aleister Crowley had it right when he redesigned the Lust card. Other incarnations, the Rider-Waite deck in particular, call this card “Strength” and depict its meaning with the image of a woman peacefully prying open the mouth of a lion. Regardless of the imagery, the message remains the same, meet life head on but be aware of the consequences.

Here we see a nude woman, reclining upon the back of a seven-headed lion, wielding the ace of cups in her outstretched palm. Her expression is one of languorous repose, yet even in this seemingly relaxed state she still commands the beast beneath her. In the most basic of terms, the lion represents man, and man's insatiable craving for the red meat of action. And the woman?  Well that's a little more straight-forward, she represents the passion and creativity of the feminine Archetype. Put the two together and you're bound to create sparks. There's a lot of chemistry present in this card, evident by the wielding of the ace of cups, which is depicted here as the inverted astrological symbol of Leo, stylized as an egg-nurturing womb. Quite simply, it's the Lust for life which yields new, invigorating experiences, it's necessary to personal development. But let's look at a couple of symbols in closer detail.

Seven-Headed Lion – According to Aleister Crowley, these seven heads represent the archetypes of the Angel, the Saint, the Poet, the Bacchanalian Woman, the Warrior, the Satyr, and the Lion-Serpent seen upon the tail. Seven is significant here, not just from a numerology standpoint, but also because of the seven chakras – the powerful spiritual centers we carry. Some claim these seven heads represent the forms of Sins we must face from one day to the next. In truth, these archetypes are a part of all of us, their various facets make up our personality and our psyche, they should be experienced, examined, and then integrated as part of our path of personal development. In short, the lion is the beast within ourselves which we all struggle to understand. Not something to be shut out or suppressed, but definitely something to enjoy as part of the life experience.

The Lusty Lady – Some folks have called this gal the Whore of Babylon, even going so far as to say the lion she rides is the ten-horned beast, as if this card is something to condemn. I don't think that's all together fair, or even accurate. Besides, we see this naked lass again in the deck, and we positively celebrate her passions when we see her depicted as the Princess of Wands, so why not afford her the same respect when we see her here again, doing what she loves the most- living life to the fullest and encouraging others to do the same.

What's this mean from a personal growth perspective? In one word: Balance. Okay, okay, you caught me, all the cards are about balance in one way or another. This card in particular stresses the importance of striking a balance between chasing after your desires and succumbing to them completely. It's important to experience life to the fullest, to truly live it, and be present in the moment. What's the point of having a string of thrilling adventures if you can't remember them, or simply fail to grow as a result? Likewise, can you really say you've lived if you spend all your time against the wall, observing the passage of life? At the end of the day, you decide what's best for you, you tame your own inner animal, and you use a degree of Lust to make it happen.