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A New Year

Let me riff for a moment on the concept of the Thelemic New Year.

For those not familiar with the Thelemic calendaring system, it runs in cycles of 22 years, and the new year starts on the vernal equinox. The year is represented by two numbers, the number of cycles and the number within the cycle. The year that finished yesterday was IV:xv; the fifteenthsixteenth year of the fourth cycle of 22 years since 1904 (since both cycles start with 0).

Each of those two numbers can be attributed to a tarot card. IV is the Emperor: "the influence of wisdom upon the organized man." The voice of authority. XV is the Devil. Worldliness, blindness, imprisonment, debauchery, disillusionment. Losing your way or your vision. The two together: the Emperor seen through the lens, or under the influence of the Devil.

So this last year, simply looking at the Thelemic correspondences, could be said to be a year of patriarchy gone bad; leaders charging blindly into chaos and dragging the rest of us behind them; all of the wisdom and guidance of the Emperor corrupted and tainted by the lost sight of his path.


The year that has just begun is IV:xvi. The Emperor as seen through the lens of the Tower: destruction, disaster, violent change, but also the clearing and fertilizing of ground so that new growth can occur. My favorite image of the Tower anywhere is from the New Vision tarot, which shows the standard Rider-Waite images from a different perspective, adding new details and depth to the scene. In this version of the card, the lightning-struck tower is seen from behind, where a young apple tree is growing from the fire-scorched ground.

In conjunction with the Emperor and following the Devil, it could be the bitter consequences of blinded leadership, or the revolution from underneath it; a change in dynasty, a new aeon in miniature. But it will not be a peaceful change.

The Tower is when all truly seems lost. But it is not until the tower is destroyed and the fire in the ruins dies that it is dark enough to see the light of the Star beyond it.

Hang in there, everyone. And Happy New Year.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
Happy New Year--and we'll keep looking for the Star!
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC)
For Christ's sake! Don't look at that damned star!
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Damn. I shot my eye out.
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Very interesting analysis! One small quibble: You say "IV:xv; the fifteenth year of the fourth cycle of 22 years since 1904." It's actually the sixteenth year of the fifth cycle, since both of the sequences start with 0 rather than 1. Programmers are very, very sensitive to this kind of issue. :)
Mar. 20th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC)
I was an engineer for long enough that I should've caught that. Time for a refresher course :)
Mar. 21st, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
IV:xv is so fucking fired.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


firesea: self-portrait
Heather Keith Freeman
Fire Sea Studios

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