12: Deep One;

the Hanged Man.


“We come from the water. The great… seas are the… Mother Earth. From them, all life has emerged… In them are… found the… protozoa which have engendered all… species. There is also a… sea of Spirit, from which… consciousness has emerged and evolved – although many might say that… this process has been the opposite of evolution… [W]e could say that, as the biological vehicle became more complex, the more the spiritual passenger lost awareness of its… source.” (The HP Lovecraft Tarot)

The equivalent to be made here, is of Card 12 as the Hanged Man in other systems of the Tarot, and with the Deep One as a grotesque creature who is submerged beneath the Ocean. The Deep One is very much a Card of the water, but at the same time with the expanse of the psychick ability of the mind*. Following from the above, the HP Lovecraft Tarot continues, “As the Primal Spark of life is… bound by the limitations of our… egos, so, in turn, are… our physical bodies.” It is the ‘inner person’ that is important with this Card, as we are bound into our bodies, and the only limitation to what we can do as our psychick self is defined by our belief in ourselves and what we can mentally achieve in terms of self-belief. We can, with certain restraints, do what we believe we can do with only limited possibilities coming into play. And our physical bodies are only exterior shells which carry our psychick potential. Our interpretation of this Deck continues that “none of these levels of our being are inherently negative… they must just be recognised as a vessel for… a secondary state relative to, that which they contain.” This continues the statement that our bodies are an exterior issue to that which is important. The personality, which is an exterior issue to that of the body, is the thing which is actually important. “The body is a vehicle for the mind… [and] the mind is a vehicle for the soul.”
        However, “every phase is… a fluid state more material than itself”, states the Tarot. It is difficult to interpret this statement in the Lovecraft Deck, and it would be wrong to say that the meaning here was obvious. It could be read, though, that the material body, mind and soul are each in progressive cycles that are ever more material, which could bring us back to the issue of the importance of material values. This statement continues (but without clarifying the issue too much), by saying that “each level [of the psyche] requires navigational tools to guard against losing its origins and source.” This could be interpreted by saying that all three need something to be guided by in order to be focused. “Classically, the Tarot has always served as such a tool, and as an aid to meditation and contemplation of the Source.” In this statement the issue is at least clarified to a degree. If we need such ‘navigation’ to keep track of our purpose, then this Card is representative of this, with the last statement suggesting that the Card of the Deep One represents the meditative contemplation that we need for ourselves to be focused on whatever course of life that we should choose to follow.
        If the Deep One is representative of That which crawls from the murky darkness of the Sea, then this Card is representative of ideas of the subconscious now made aware.

The Deep One is the Lovecraft Tarot equivalent of the Hanged Man. Therefore this correlation will be to some extent similar with definitions of different systems. With this being Card 12, everything with “metaphysical roots [will] bear physical fruit*”; and this can be read as meaning that anything involved with the occult will be productive. Sometimes the things we have evoked through use of magick come to nothing, but with this Card, projects involving magick will be successful; whether this means projects involving magickal visualisation, to full blown rituals of ceremonial magick. This also means that the practice of magick on other levels will be successful, as the Card of the Deep One represents “meditation [and] contemplation.” Maybe the tranquillity of the deep would be a situation that would here come into play? “Matter as a natural medium for Mind and Spirit” is suggested, although it could be said that exactly what this means is not well defined, as some of the Cards in this Tarot do have some obscure definitions. “Practical material expression of spiritual principals” is a positive definition with this Card, stating that the actual expression of religious principals is an issue; and that the principals of worship will come into play as an aspect of esoteric truth (maybe as a manifestation of ‘metaphysical roots’?)
        The combined religious principals of “Spirit, Mind and Body” are referred to, and in this respect the Introductory Book supports what is written here. According to the Lovecraft Tarot, they will act “as a single, holistic organism.” This also supports the definition of the Deep One, as it represents the power of the subconscious mind.

A “Conflict of Spiritual & Material Will & desire” is forecast. With this definition we are again defining the opposite of what is written with the Positive definition. This could represent a conflict of personal values and says that personal inner balance is out of sync. The Negative Reading represents a “sacrifice of one for the sake of gains in the other.”
        “Matter as a spiritual burden” is defined. The continuum of the World is becoming too much. Whilst this is another vague statement from the Lovecraft Tarot, I think this statement is representative of the material objects that we have around us becoming too much, or of a loss of metaphysical value in our immediate lives. “Mind as an obstacle to spiritual expression” is defined.
        Our minds are preoccupied and concerned with the material world, and we cannot tune in our psyche to the metaphysical acknowledgement of that which we worship. The “Mind [is] drowned by sensory input”; the most direct meaning of this here suggesting primarily that issues such as TV are gaining control of our lives – although there are other possibilities as to why this may be. But this sensory input is most likely to be in the manifest world. However, the spirit may also be “overwhelmed by unfocused thought.” Whatever is said in a Negative Reading, this Card here states that we should focus our minds to clear out negative energies, and to be in tune with the Cosmos and ourselves. This can be of relevance to all approaches to the occult, including our own form of devotion to the worship of the strange Gods of The Necronomicon.

* Some interpretations of the Deep Ones consider Them as representative of ideas suppressed into the subconscious mind. Those who have a knowledge of psychology may want to use this idea when constructing their own ritual and ceremonial magick. A study of Chaos Magick Theory may be useful.

* As a note, the Positive Reading as defined in the Introductory Book refers specifically to the word “Merkaba”. This is the Hebrew word for ‘Chariot’, and the Lovecraft Tarot uses this word in the context of the ‘Vision of Ezekial’, and refers to the Quabbalah. In this context it is said to represent the “Body as a vehicle for the Mind… the Mind as… the soul, and so on.” This idea does not equate in any way with the ‘Chariot’ as the Card of the Tarot, or in any way in which Crowley may have used the term in his writing. Such ideas are discussed in Part II of this Book of Shadows.