Belial 12: Principle of Rhythm

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There are fortune-tellers who don't give much attention to the pips because they think they're less important than the trumps, but nothing could be further from the truth: the 22 trumps show the broad strokes, and it's the 40 pips who provide the details. The 16 face cards are also important, but for reasons which will be made clear we can't meet them until after we've met the 40 pips. Beyond that, how can 40 cards which form 51% of the Tarot deck really be considered less important than the 22 cards which form only 28% of the deck? The majority of almost every arrangement you ever lay will be composed of either pip cards or the face cards which depend on them, so you owe it to yourself to really understand how to use the pips.

And for other reasons that will also be made clear we can't jump into the 40 pips until we've talked about the next three Hermetic principles: rhythm, correspondence, and vibration as expressed in astrological modality, the 12 houses of the Zodiac, and the numerology of the 9 Satanic statements. I'm not going to demand that you cast a natal chart or calculate your pinnacles, but I am going to show you how we can apply select principles from those practices to fortune-telling.

The principle of rhythm states that there is ever an in-flow and an out-flow, a back and a forth. Or if you want to quote the Satanic sins, don't forget past orthodoxies: what has happened before will surely happen again. I'm not saying that each and every one of us are stuck in an infinite cycle of reincarnation, but I am saying that in the passage of recorded history you'll find people who are leaders, participants, or followers. Over and over again, you'll find agents of the right-hand path who bind and solidify; agents of the left-hand path who liberate and destroy; and free agents who attempt to stand in the middle. The interplay between them reflects the eternal push-and-pull of interested parties and what emerges from that tension.

Remember the chapter we just finished where we talked about "as above, so below," and how that informs the grand tableau of the 22 trumps? Well, guess what: it applies to the pips, too. As above in the trumps, so below in the pips, but with some new names from astrology. Look at this pattern:

Thesis - Synthesis - Antithesis
Cardinal - Fixed - Mutable

Cardinal means people, situations, or things that exercise initiative and leadership. They stand up and call for people, situations, and things to follow them. Cardinal agents affect their world through direct involvement and reaching directly into other people's, situations', and things' affairs. It's easy enough to say that if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself—and that's true enough for cardinal agents—but it's also correct to say that some agents are more naturally capable of commanding others to LOOK and directing the flow of action around them. That being said, cardinal agents lack the endurance of fixed agents, as well as the caution of mutable agents.

Fixed means people, situations, or things that stand still. They are resolute in their fundamental properties, and radiate this outward. Fixed agents affect their world by forcing other people, situations, and things to navigate around them. Consider the argument between Brain and Heart who argued which was more important. Brain said it was more important because it did all the thinking. Heart said it was more important because it gave the body energy. Meanwhile, Anus laughed at them. Brain and Heart challenged Anus to speak up, but Anus just closed its mouth and said nothing. For three days, Anus stayed shut and allowed nothing to pass. In short time, Brain was fogged and Heart was sluggish, which just goes to show: never underestimate the power of a stubborn asshole. That being said, fixed agents lack the leadership of cardinal agents, but also the curiosity of mutable agents.

Mutable means people, situations, and things that follow and are more naturally inclined respond to other people, situations, and events. Their influence may be supportive, but more often it brings doubt, uncertainty, and cause for leaders to pause in their judgments and choose another direction. Mutable agents affect their world by introducing critical, destabilizing, and novel perspectives that cardinal agents overlook in their confidence. That being said, mutable agents lack the initiative of cardinal agents as well as the stamina of fixed agents.

The interplay of cardinal, fixed, and mutable elements is critical to the performance of Satanic Tarot. Remember this as you digest the coming chapters.