Its Links with Tarot and the Western Tradition

by Richard and Iona Miller
(aka Philo Stone, 1981; revised and updated, 2002)

This article was originally prepared for Miller and Miller's Holistic Qabala, but ran in Volume I (Autumn 1985) of Tom Lyttle's (Ed.) Psychedelic Monographs and Essays.  It discloses a relationship between ancient Vedic meditation practices and mathematical anomolies in the Moon's orbit only discovered by NASA in the last century.

During Vedic and pre-Vedic periods, (according to sources such as Satapatha Brahmana and Taittireva Sanhita), there were certain times of each month when the priests would meditate on specific symbols.  The belief was that, if one meditated in synchronization with these phases, it could be compared to riding on a swing.  A kick at the right point could put more energy into the swing than at any other point in the cycle.  The ancient belief was that meditation on certain symbols at specific times related to phases of the moon would add 'soma' to the body more than at other times of the month.  Though the nature of soma has been hotly debated, most agree it produced optimal spiritual growth.

Farmers and gardeners have for centuries known the profound differences in weather, plant growth, and seed-timing associated with lunar phases.  Newer research shows the moon's effect on the electromagnetic fields of the earth, and their subsequent biological influence.  Specific examples can be found in the lunar sex cycle of the female, and the insomnia and emotional instability characteristic of the Full Moon phase.

Less well-known is that the moon may be used as a means of spiritual regeneration and accelerating the growth of the "diamond body," or spiritual vehicle.  There is a higher spiritual aspect to the Moon Goddess than that represented as Yesod in the Tree of Life, or psychologically as the "personal" anima, (one's projected feminine ideal).  Anima Mundi, or the Divine Inspiratrix, is represented on the Tree of Life and in Tarot by Trump II, the High Priestess, the crescent Moon.  This Goddess not only confers 'immortality,' but also wisdom and inspiration.  She is our medium, mediator or intercessor with the divine.

Soma and the Moon

Myth states that inspiration of the moon comes from the dark phases and from the soma drink which is brewed from the moon tree.  The biological basis of this intoxicating recipe has been debated, and proposed answers range from magick mushrooms to long-extinct herbs.  Nevertheless, this inspiration is described as the antithesis of rational thought, embodied in dark obscure movements, thoughts and impulses of darkness.  It manifests as an intoxicant, producing an enthusiasm which may even lead to madness.

Soma was considered a universal life power dispensed in great abundance during the waning moon.  It could be absorbed directly in meditative states without having to ingest any plant at all.  Certain plants were held to be particularly efficient in collecting and storing soma, this mysterious psychic energy.  Those eaten with the power to change consciousness were held sacred as embodiments of deities.

Psychologically, the ritual for absorbing soma is designed for relating oneself properly to the feminine principle -- what has become popularly known as the Goddess.  Then one gains access to the eternal, immovable aspect of psyche, the reality of Self, which transcends the duality of gender descriptions.  When drinking in soma (entheogen), the initiate becomes filled with the god (entheos).  The inner voice of the daemon speaks, uncensored, and takes control for a time.  In Magick this is called "assuming the god-form," an epiphany -- a miracle marriage, the merging of subject and object, figure and ground, profane and sacred.

Through communion in the meditative process, an individual becomes acquainted with his/her own limits, depths and ultimate reality.  The highest incarnation of the female form of the Holy Spirit confers the deepest revelation.  The goddess is a powerful wisdom-figure and psychological force having the power to mold destiny.  As well as High Priestess, she is Shekinah in Judaism, Sekina in Islam, Shakti in Hinduism, Sophia in Gnosticism, Virgin Mary in Christianity, Artemis in mythology.  These are common forms for women's experience of the higher Self.

There is a familiar passage from the Hermetic texts, called The Veil.  It emphatically states that the veil signifies the Veil of the Universe or Robe of Isis.  Magician Aleister Crowley said this Veiled Isis "is clothed only in the luminous veil of light.  It is important for the high initiation to regard Light not as the perfect manifestation of Eternal Spirit, but rather as the veil which hides that Spirit."

These passages might be read as an exhortation to penetrate beyond the brightly lit region of Tiphareth, the heart center and solar consciousness -- passed the region of the stars (The Universe), moon (Yesod) and sun (Tiphareth) of the astral world.  The higher arc of Lunar consciousness is a more diffuse awareness, a dark-adapted Third Eye, an ability to penetrate the Void by discerning the dimly lit regions or 'Dark Matter and Energy' of the deepest layers of the primordial unconscious to the Ground State of Being.

True initiation implies breaking through the Veil of the Virgin, first into self-realization then into God-realization.  The veil is part of our spiritual nature; it epitomizes the blocks to our enlightenment as embodied in our personalities and our souls' attachment to our minds, and to Universal Mind.  To raise it means to dis-identify and deconstruct ourselves until we find our fundamental unification with divinity.  It means to transcend the limits of individuality and become consciously immortal (or, conscious of our inherent immortal nature).  The soul is released from the constraints of time, space and ego-orientation.

Turning psychological energy inward, through meditation, is a characteristically feminine process.  This introversion and brooding produces a "psychic child" which corresponds to Jung's concept of individuation.  He wrote about this 'divine child' at length in The Secret of the Golden Flower in Taoist terms, but it also appears in Western metaphysics as the Diamond Body.  Individuation's greatest value is attached to an activity of the creative imagination known as "soul-making."  Careful aesthetic elaboration of an event is its significance.  There is NO separation, in soul-making, between an event and its meaning.  A sense of the sacred is, thereby, returned to daily activity and, in fact, seamlessly welded to it.

This inner marriage of intentionality and inwardness, of masculinity and feminine components gives birth to the inner child and release from the power of death.  In a sense, in meditation one learns to "die daily."  Death becomes a familiar guest, and brings Grace in its wake.  Ego-death is induced by withdrawing the external focus of the senses and focusing attention at the Eye Center.  Successful accomplishment of this process, this child, is the Self in embryonic form, ever renascent, the fruit of psychic development.

The "Inner Moon" Chakra

Soma is also associated in yogic practice with the "inner moon" chakra, analogous to the pituitary and pineal glands.  This "inner moon" is said to shower subtle secretions, or soma drops, which nourish the psychophysical organism.  These glands directly influence physiological processes.  The pituitary regulates, among other functions, sex hormones, metabolism, and growth and development of the individual.

The pineal develops from specialized tissues and is proximate to cerebrospinal fluid channels, and crucial emotional and sensory brain centers.  It is separated from the hypothalamus and visual and auditory relay stations only by a resonant cavity -- one of the brain's fluid-filled ambrosial 'lakes' or ventricles.  The pineal hangs from the roof of the ventricle.  Certain practices, such as intense fine-tuning of attention and awareness, can amplify or prolong its chemical effects, making us see, hear, feel and think differently.

The pineal produces the sleep drug melatonin and is alleged to produce endogenous or natural DMT, a psychedelic chemical, by psychiatrist Rick Strassman (2001, DMT: the Spirit Molecule).  A main characteristic of this chemical, the biological basis of spiritual experience, is the production of Light.  According to Strassman, the psychedelic pineal "is unique in its solitary status within the brain.  All other brain sites are paired, meaning that they have left and right counterparts... As the only unpaired organ deep within the brain, the pineal gland remained an anatomical curiosity for nearly two thousand years."

DMT is physically immobilizing and produces a flood of unexpected and overwhelming visual and emotional imagery.  Pineal DMT release may also mediate sexual ecstasy, resulting from strenuous exertion, hyperventilation, and intense emotions.  This may be the driver behind the psychedelic nature of the Tantric sexual experience.  High levels of natural DMT production are also implicated during heightened awareness during stress and in the clear light of Near-Death Experiences (NDEs).

"All spiritual disciplines describe quite psychedelic accounts of the transformative experiences, whose attainment motivate their practice.  Blinding white light, encounters with demonic and angelic entities, ecstatic emotions, timelessness, heavenly sounds, feelings of having died and been reborn, contacting a powerful and loving presence underlying all of reality -- these experiences cut across all denominations.  They also are characteristic of a fully psychedelic DMT experience," (Strassman, 2001).  And meditation can evoke the pineal DMT response.  The deeper the meditation, the slower and stronger the brainwaves become, like a standing wave in a river.  These waves create a unique note, or sound, a resonance effect.  "The pineal begins to "vibrate" at frequencies that weaken its multiple barriers to DMT formation ...the end result is a psychedelic surge of the pineal spirit molecule, resulting in the subjective states of mystical consciousness."

The Moon, Tantra and Hyperdimensional Numbers

More than 20 years ago, Richard Wurtman of M.I.T. stated that stress activates the pineal gland.  This then exerts an inhibitory influence on the body's stress mechanism (the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal axis).  In view of the pineal's sedative effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS), "the ancient mystics may have had something when they attributed effects of meditation to the pineal gland.  Plate 55 (page 88) of Tantra Asana (Edited and compiled by Ajit Mookerjee, pub. Ravi Kumar; Basel, Paris and New Delhi, 1971) shows a leaf from a seventeenth century Kashmiri tantric manuscript:

"A female figure illustrating (the 9 + 9) position of Amritakala [the times of immortality, literally], which have to be energized on respective dates of the white and dark halves of the month for successful tantric asanas.  The eighteen (9 + 9) focal centers in the female body mentioned in the Ratirahasva can be excited by the adept when harmonized with the exact location of the chandrakala on the respective days of the white as well as the dark halves of the month."

This quote shows the relationship between the pre-Vedic and Indo-Iranian immortality teachings and phases of the moon.  The planetary Moon and the "inner moon" are linked by the doctrine of signatures or sames; they share a common essence, exert a common influence.  The lunar month is specifically divided into 9 special days in both the waxing and waning halves, a cycle composed of 18 days in all.  There is a striking correspondence (first noticed by Dr. Charles Muses) between the two-fold cycle of lunar phases each month and the hypernumber w, a lunar elliptic orbit function developed by NASA for the space program.

This hypernumber w and its phases of the elliptical orbits provide the only available mathematical paradigm corresponding to the anomolies distinct to the waxing and waning lunar fortnights.  This striking relationship indicates that, during pre-Vedic periods, a system of highly developed sets of mathematical descriptions existed for the movement of the moon about the earth, or at least their psychic equivalent.

Hyperdimensional mathematics is a system or field developed to encompass a body of complex universes.  An example is the hyperdimensional number "i" which is the square root of -1.  The square root of -1 has several solutions, some of which are applicable to the physical world, some which are not.  These non-physical solutions relate to other universes.  These worlds are created primarily to solve problems not solvable in the physical world.

The hypernumber w has the remarkable property that, when multiplied successively by itself, all the resulting numbers lie on a certain ellipse.  The numbers resulting from multiplying the square root of w successively by itself also lie on the very same ellipse; exactly twelve distinct points are generated by these processes.

There are three principle irregularities in the lunar orbit that have been known since Ptolemy of Alexandria.  They were rediscovered by the famous 16th century astronomer, Tycho Brahe, a student of Kepler.  These irregularities together furnish a set of eight places in the lunar orbit where these reflecting configurations of force are maximum.  These places map on the eight points furnished by the integer powers of the hypernumber w.  W was conceived by 20th century mathematicians to describe these very irregularities of the lunar orbit.

This seems to indicate that the pre-Vedic periods had mathematics or intuitive observations which counter some of our most advanced concepts in mathematics today.  It is also known that the various phases of the moon affect a number of biological cycles.  Therefore, it is now possible to adapt these equations to the meditative process of the (9 + 9) phases of the moon.  This Tantric tradition for maximal absorption of soma, using these points in the lunar cycle, leads to the immortality of the soul.

There are fundamental points which are important in the lunar tradition.  First quarter to the Full Moon is generally related to unstable mental states.  The first quarter and the Full Moon are when most magical rituals are practiced, as energy is building and culminating.  Only very rarely does one use a waning moon, preferring a waxing moon for ceremony.  A waning moon generally symbolizes soma going into the body.  Waxing indicates energy coming out of the body, through some form of expression.  Waning periods, then, are generally when one meditates and absorbs energy.  Waxing periods use that energy as an expression, in Magick for invoking a given archetype, or god-form, such as the higher self.

Spiritual regeneration also occurs during certain phases of the moon.  Even today, the ascending and descending nodes of the lunar orbit are termed the Dragon's Head and the Dragon's Tail.  This dragon is a time-honored symbol for the goddess, the Great Mother.  The time intervals taken by the moon in returning to its given node is termed the Dragonic month even in modern astronomy.  The ancient Indo-Iranian lunar traditions ascribe the "holiest power" of the month to the dark of the moon.  In terms of this tradition, the soma (energy for spiritual regeneration) most fully saturates the earth during the waning moon, when the "invisible" (or higher) light is brightest.  The new moon is the period when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction.  This symbolizes the alchemical Coniunctio, or Divine Marriage.

At its dark phase, the moon is conjoined with the sun itself, even though we see only a dark moonless night.  This is possible because the relative distances of sun and moon make the size of their visible disks the same size; the light of the sun washes out the reflected moonlight.  At this point the moon psychophysically effects our central nervous system the most.  In both traditions, the pre-Vedic and Indo-Iranian, the dark of the moon is associated with maximum life elixer flow.  The waning or putrifying, fertilizing moon, culminated in the dark of the moon was associated with the male powers.  The waxing or gestating form of moon was associated with female powers.  In this model, waning moon is masculine; while waxing is feminine -- though in other systems the active is masculine while the passive phase is considered feminine.

Through this meditation and absorption of soma, the mystical or Diamond Body (created by harmonization of male and female principles), may be built up for consciousness to inhabit as a spiritual vehicle.  The soul becomes refined and finds unity with Spirit.  This occurs via the image.  In Tantra, this imagery was associated with the female partner, as representative of various forms of the goddess, Shakti.  Through correspondences with Tarot and the paths of the Tree of Life, we can incorporate western imagery into this meditation.

The pre-Vedic technique was designed as a system for achieving immortality.  This exercise is also known as Circulation of the Light.  The meditation exercise is designed with this circulation, or exchange between the masculine and feminine poles, as the central focus.  Indo-Iranian immortality teachings state that growth of the higher body during life allows full consciousness to remain even after phsycial death.   They divided the lunar month into nine special days in both waxing and waning halves.  These divisions are identical to the equation and solutions of the hypernumber "w": 9 + 9 going to 18.

As with everything, there are certain guidelines which must be practiced in order to obtain the maximum benefit.  These rules approximate amplification of hypernumber w solutions or lunar phase points.

RULE 1:  The first day after the full moon is session one.  The day after the full moon begins the cycle of this meditation exercise.

RULE 2:  The Outline


RULE 3:  Face west during waning meditation periods.

RULE 4:  Face east during waxing meditation periods.

RULE 5:  If a session is skipped, do not omit sessions 1, 4, 5, 8 and 9 each fortnight.  This holds for both the waning and waxing periods.

RULE 6:  If for some reason the cycle is interrupted for some time, resume Session One of each fortnight.

RULE 7:   Full Moons which occur between midnight and dawn are considered to occur one day earlier than the calendar date. (Example: if the full moon ocurs this morning at 3:00 a.m., then start Session 1 today).

RULE 8:  It is best to meditate at Sunrise.

RULE 9:  There is a special resonant peak which occurs after the 13th lunar cycle and six sessions (one year and three months after onset).

If one does these meditations correctly, as in the Indo-Iranian periods, one may theoretically achieve immortality with this soma that is pouring into the body.  This is the formula for immortality of the soul, according to the pre-Vedic traditions.

The table listing the sessions and the days is more or less self-explanatory.  You do not do this meditation every day, but only on the days indicated.  Returning the attribution of a deity via imagery is paramount to attaining full benefit from the sessions as outlined.  To incorporate this meditation practice into the tradition of QBL, we have corresponded the Session with appropriate paths of the Tarot.  This may be extended by employing the corresponding colors, incense, herbs, etc.

The key imagery for the nine sessions of the waning fortnight are as follows:

1.  Session One, XXI, THE UNIVERSE
The first session rekindles the flame of inspiration.  One chooses voluntary rededication to the work of the soul, the Great Work.  Rededication is returning attention to archetypal processes, attention is equivalent to worship.  This reorientation is attained through perseverance in the use of the creative imagination.  It produces synchronization of the body, mind and emotions.

2.  Session Two, XX JUDGMENT/AEON
This session is designed to develop access to the contents of the unconscious.  This resurrection or remembering of preconscious information is involved with one's modes of perception.  An access state involves a broadened field of perception, where one sees through the metaphorical presentation to the archetypal core of situations.

3.  Session Three, XVIII, THE MOON
This session provdides the power to remold or reprogram the emotions and beliefs in the subconscious mind.  The cerebellum has the power to initiate profound changes in the body, the organ-I-zation.  It can create a stabilized center or homeostasis.  This is an important time to record dreams.

4.  Session Four, XIII, DEATH
One prepares for freedom, for the time when the physical body is no longer an appropriate vehicle, by building the diamond body.  Entry into the subtle body is more easily achieved at this time each month.  Temporary separations between super-physical and the physical body are possible by the Magickal exercise known as "rising on the planes."  Death may be viewed as a profound change in one's old conception of personality.  The responsibility is to re-vision oneself able to move consciousness into the mystical body.  Kali is worshipped in the cremation grounds symbolizing burning away of the dross which inhibits spiritual progress.

5.  Session Five, XIX, THE SUN
This session is one of uncompromising self-analysis and inner honesty.  Through examining your innermost heart, you may align your physical, mental and spiritual goals.  Enlightenment or solar consciousness consists of perpetual conscious observation of the imaginal life: behavior fantasies, dreams, thoughts, emotions, etc.  This session, like the first, is linked with the two following ones, in an operation group of three.

6. Session Six, XV, THE DEVIL
The power that flows now enables us to bridge intellect and profound intuitive insight.  From this marriage, genius is born.  This path connects the logic of Hod with the intuition of Tiphareth.  It may be viewed as a test of one's personal integrity.

7.  Session Seven, XVII, THE STAR
This third session of the group of three confers the power of clairvoyance, clearness of vision.  Insight is possible through cultivation of the subtle senses.  Creative imagination (consciousness cooperating with subconscius) leads, via Netzach, or Aphrodite, to growth and artistic inspiration.

8.  Session Eight, XIV, ART/TEMPERANCE
This session pre-figures the victorious and fully-conscious trancending of physical death.  The keywords are immortality and liberation.  This is the climax session of the waning phase.  Climax, in Greek, means "ladder."  It is precisely use of sexual climaxes as a ladder for mystical attainment that  is fundamental to the practice of Tantra or sex magick.  There is value in the ascending and descending of the soul upon this ladder; building up and holding off are inherent in this sense of the word.  A "climax" does not prioritize the orgasm, per se.  As Crowley said, "Be strong; then canst thou bear more joy."  This day is superior for doing Middle Pillar Exercise, or invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel.  These forms of building the diamond body create a liberating paradigm for immortality.  Soma is distilled into the alchemical elixer vitae via sex magick, regenerate love.  The return of these sex magick proceedures to the QBL tradition has been responsible for the resurgence of vitality in the western tradition.

9.  Session Nine, IX, THE HERMIT
Mercury, as Logos and Phallus, preserves both the Light and Life.  As "messenger of the gods," Mercury fosters multiple perspectives.  The union of opposites of Session 8 necessitates tolerance.  Remember the virtues of silence and secrecy.  Persevere in the meditations without lust of result.  You may wish to observe a day of ritual silence.  This session consolidates the development gained so far.

This concludes the sessions of the waning, or male fortnight.  During the sessions of the waxing, or feminine fortnight, the priestess becomes the living representative of the lunar goddess.

1.  Session One, XVI, THE TOWER
The waxing moon has to do with physical expression, dynamic engagement.  It produces an influx of energy which yields increases in health, vitality and effectiveness.  Ares marshalls in discipline in the physical body.  Physical discipline, such as yoga or martial arts, improve breathing, tone, vitality, disposition, etc.  Dynamic engagement with life could be corresponded with Horus.  The keywords for this session are engaging light, or tuning in.  Since Pe, the Hebrew letter for this path, means "mouth," it is a good time to formulate and declare one's oath.  Speaking ability is enhanced at this time.

2.  Session Two, IX, THE HERMIT
This is a period to link the conscious functions with the unconscious (i.e. Tai Chi).  In the eastern traditions, monks were trained in martial arts to connect body movement with meditative awareness and control.  Every motion is motivated by archetypal patterns, producing a state of connection to power.  This type of total involvement develops patience and lends an increased ability to meditate.

3.  Session Three: XVIII, THE MOON
In this session the physiological benefits of meditation are incorporated into the body.  Unconscious processes have the power to effect change in such functions as the heart, digestion, kidneys, ductless glands, and the brain.  Circulation of the Light has a psychological healing effect which influences the cerebellum via symbolism.  The keyword is doing better than I know.

4.  Session Four: XIII, DEATH
This session represents the perpetual movement of creation, destruction and renewal.  It is the time for shedding unwanted or hindering desires, patterns, situations, or habits as old skin is shed.  For those who "die daily" every morning is a resurrection, awakening soul to new possibilities.  The beginnings of victory lie in proper revaluation.

5.  Session Five: XX, JUDGMENT/AEON
To facilitate transmutation, this session is aimed at outer and inner cleansing and purgation.  Medicines, herbs, and baths are most effective now.  Review your journal and conscientiously examine your thought processes and motivations.  Once the accumulation of body wastes are metabolized, there is a surplus of energy for living out spiritual principles.

6.  Session Six: XVII, THE STAR
The love power now enters and transfuses the body until it begins to literally shine.  The image of a beautiful naked woman is the shining vision which presages individuation.  Grace pervades all event formation.  The refining power of love is the key to eternal youth.  Refinement, or clarification is linked with discernment.

7.  Session Seven: X, WHEEL OF FORTUNE
Health, luck and power are absorbed during this period.  Beneficent Zeus bestows his gifts, enabling you to complete difficult tasks or overcome obstacles.  Be alert for opportunities.  The key word is extra power.

8.  Session Eight: XIV, ART/TEMPERANCE
This is the key session of the waxing phases and is used to help the body and outer life with "power for accomplishing."  This is not the power to fulfill desires, but to fulfill one's True Will.  This is the power that confers harmony with one's environment.  It is truly a blessing.  Grace descends, via the activated Middle Pillar, through the imagery of the Holy Guardian Angel.  Participate freely in an internal dialogue.  In this Knowledge and Conversation is equilibrium that is the consummation of the Royal Marriage of the Sun and Moon.  This fusion generates the internal union of subject and object; consciousness and being merged into bliss.  In alchemy, this state is known as the Unus Mundus, or One World, where there is no separation of an act from its significance.

9.  Session Nine: XXI, THE UNIVERSE
This final session of the waxing fortnight is a grounding session.  The position of the ego in the psychic economy is realized.  The ego realizes its subordinate position to the Self.  As the keyword is preservation of achievement, we might recall Vishnu, the Preserver.  The role of Saturn in the preservation of tradition is also fundamental.


The Banishing Ritual and Middle Pillar Exercise enhance any of the sessions.  They are useful in calming the mind and focusing attention.  They clear the confusion of psychic imagery away and prevent distraction.  Then one psychological state may be differentiated.

There are a few extra hints that might be of help:

a).  If you should find it necessary to interrupt this cycle, try to do it after a session #9, and preferrably after a session #9 of the waxing fortnight.

b).  The time used for these meditations is totally arbitrary.  Use as much time, or as little time, as you feel necessary.  On the average, 10 to 15 minutes a day is a realistic goal; focus attention on an image or god-form.

c).  No matter what the meditation time is, dedicate that same amount of time each special day specifically to this exercise.  Cultivate consistency to improve your ritual practice.

d).  The Spring Equinox is a fitting time to commence the resonance meditations.  There are certain harmonics which are struck with the Solar cycle.

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File Created: 5/28/02
Last Updated: 7/20/02