Card 8 is Strength, and is in all systems of Tarot easy to interpret, as strength is an easy concept for human understanding. It is a primary part of our emotional identity. The Lovecraft Tarot is classically much more complex in terms of its interpretation, though, as this write up should point out. Lovecraft himself represented this concept of Necronomicon belief, in defining The Shoggoth as “eyes forming and unforming as pustules of greenish light all over the tunnel – filling the front that bore down upon us, crushing the frantic penguins* and slithering over the glistening floor [of the polar ice]” (At The Mountains of Madness). But strength is a disputed issue. To some it is violence and to some it is calm. This Card is, in the Lovecraft system, therefore, something quite beyond all other definitions of Tarot. The Positive and Negative Readings defined here, then, follow an idea of Strength along lines of more accepted Tarot interpretations, whilst the main statement here defines The Shoggoth in terms of the esoteric meaning that I feel is meant with the study of the Lovecraftian as the religious system as it is described in this book.
To describe The Shoggoth in terms of this interpretation, the chaos which is the natural force of life throughout the cosmos is an inherent spirit within us, which we can either acknowledge or unconsciously repress. If The Shoggoth, here, represents the Strength Card of the Major Arcana, then it is representative of the smallest constituent parts of the cosmos multiplying to themselves to create the strongest and most important constituent parts of creation. A virus that starts with a single cell can multiply to create an epidemic. So this force as defined, can therefore be compared to all people in terms of the inner power of our own spiritual self. Whilst it is often overlooked, this Card exists to point out that this inner power of self, once realized “is so strong that it [c]ould easily overpower the conscious mind.” The depiction of this Card, then, exists to make the point that, despite the fact that the brain itself is a mass of connected nerves and neurons, it is this force “which occurs in uncontrolled transformations into ‘higher’ human consciousness”. It would follow, then, that the power of psychick ability which all of us possess, is still only a minor part of the mind that can be nurtured in a number of ways, in order to create a force of strength. The power of a single mind can be structured to ascend to higher levels, and can ascend boundaries that seem to all of us, at first, to seen impossible.
This psychick ability is defined as the Strength Card, as something that should not be neglected. The Shoggoth states that all work in developing the psyche is scientific, and something that is important in our everyday lives. It is essential in being the complete person we are. A future book will discuss the Psychoanalytical theory of Jung, and how we (most of us) subconsciously fear this psychick part of ourselves which all of us possess. It is the current state of Western society, with TV and its constant conditioning, which makes us believe that we are all part of a system (like insects, if you like), whereas work to create communication with our Gods is something quite natural. It is something that, as a society of people, we would all be doing if it were not for technology as a means of control. This belief is expressed with Card 8, as the Lovecraft Tarot tells us that “[o]ur conditioning is artificial, and no longer a product of necessity.”
The Lovecraft Tarot continues with this dialogue, going on to say that “it [this conditioning] is a force which has its source in our most distant Roots, both biological and spiritual”; thereby making a statement to support all ancient forms of Shamanism. It directly concerns an issue of creating contact with The Gods and Goddesses of our religion; but again, the Tarot is wisdom, saying that this “is not a resource to be tapped casually”, thereby reinforcing the reality that the worship of the Necronomicon Gods is both dangerous and powerful. The Tarot continues that “neither is it [the inner power of the psyche, in this context] a resource to be controlled by rationality and logic.” We are here given a warning about the misuse of worship as part of the occult, whilst Card 8 – The Shoggoth – represents the “inner power inherent to every human being.”
Whilst the definition here may seem obscure in some senses, The Shoggoth (as part of the Tarot in this sense) goes on to point out that all of us “have rational control over our actions”. It would be appropriate, then, to point here to the motto and philosophy of the Golden Dawn that was established by Crowley, that ‘DO WHAT THOU WILT SHALL BE THE WHOLE OF THE LAW’. The Shoggoth, then, remarks to the entire philosophy of the Golden Dawn, that when this inner psyche is properly controlled, then anything is possible in the theory of the occult. This Card, then, relates this philosophy directly to the greater religious theory of The Gods who were revealed to humanity by The Necronomicon and Al Hazred. This is here fundamental to our philosophy of the occult as religious.
To end this statement, rather than being a God of any orthodox religion, portrayed with this Card is an insane, chaotic, and sprawling mass of occult confusion. This Card, rather than representing anything material, should be seen as representing the chaotic and unfathomable links of the neurons of the human brain, being able to create the organized thought of life, whilst being impossible to chart. This is astral chaos; it has no formal order. It is the matrix of the nerve endings in the brain; it cannot be reasoned in science, but it is the understanding of all order. It is the birth of viruses; it has no inception, but it can become any birth. This is the imagery of sprawling confusion. This is how The Shoggoth should be seen. Not as a God in itself, but in the chaos that underlies all life throughout cosmological understanding.
In this we can see The Gods and Goddesses of dimensions not understood, being directly in context with our theory of the understanding of the occult.
POSITIVE READING: With the above having properly described the meaning of this Card, the relevance of Card 8, The Shoggoth, as the Card of Strength in the Major Arcana of the Lovecraft Tarot, is more clearly defined when we see it in the actual context of what it should say as part of a Reading. If you are to read the Introductory Book to the Lovecraft Deck for yourself, you will find a full description of The Shoggoth, as the Strength Card, in relevance to the instinctive nature of the human mind. It is my project with this book, however, to put our religious interpretation to the Lovecraft Tarot Deck, and so the description of Card 8 here relates to the definition of the system within the context of our interpretation in this, and in a further book to be written.
With The Shoggoth being defined as the Strength Card, then, this definition here opens with a statement as to the integrity of the human mind, and the concept of the application of Will. “Will power [and] the Power of Anima / Animus” is defined, and this fits in with the context of the rest of this system of the Tarot.
With that said, it is my opinion that this statement relates to the power of human Will (defined as ‘Strength’) and the power of the mind as the first object when it comes to the use of magick as the first statement towards the worship of The God system as defined in The Necronomicon. The whole idea of magick, according to many Western magickal sects – including Crowley’s Cult of the Golden Dawn – is that the mind must be systematically focused in order to perform the acts of ritual magick; and with us the system is the same. When the Lovecraft Tarot then defines a Positive Reading as relating to “the Spritual Genius”, it is clearly making a statement that the ‘Higher Self’ is here coming into play, with this statement relating to the higher spiritual level attained through meditation and preparation for magickal acts of worship.
The spiritual statement to this as a meaning to be defined under the Positive Reading ends there, however, and the definition continues to predict more social aspects to the Card, going on to define situations relating to home or work. “Leadership” is defined, and “accepting a role in the shaping of the destinies of others”, is the next statement. And with The Shoggoth defined as Strength in these terms, it is not difficult to assume how this should relate to our current situation in life. A consideration of the hierarchical practice of some of the Cults of Dagon might be considered here, where status in certain systems of secular religion revolves around ascendance through level and according to a system of initiation into standing.
Strength as a part of human instinct is defined, and the Tarot continues directly to define “Animal Magnetism” as an inherent part of human nature that is a state of play when The Shoggoth is drawn in a Positive respect in a reading. And the same statement goes on to define a situation of “raw… spiritual power.” In this we see the Tarot reiterating its meaning with this Card in the context of Strength as being something within us that commands that which is external.
In our discussion of the Tarot and the magick of this as a system of the occult (the Necronomicon system of the occult is usually considered to be representative of forces of ‘evil’), a lot of what is described in this book could be considered as being ‘dark’. A transgression is made with the next statement, however, and a Tarot which makes some pessimistic reading at times, here defines possibly the most optimistic statement that is given in the study of this Deck. “Victory, triumph – especially without conflict” is defined. This should be considered, then, as being possibly the best Card that can be drawn. There could probably be nothing more positive to be considered in this study as belief and a form of religious understanding.
NEGATIVE READING: As the above discusses aspects of Will before defining itself as Strength, in terms of human understanding of each other, the Negative Reading concentrates mainly on the latter statement that “Loss of Will, capitulation, surrender to the domination & tyranny of others” is defined. Here it is our opinion of ourselves and our mental state that is coming into play. If this Card comes into a reading in a Negative sense, it could be seen as a warning to take some time away from the practice of magick, or that somebody involved in our everyday lives will, at some time in the coming future, step in and try to control our personal situation.
If we have been taking a pretty solid line in following the descriptions of Positive and Negative Readings, then, at this point our religious line takes a diversion. Defined as being Negative by the Lovecraft Tarot, is “Mob Rule; riots, social chaos”. In this we strongly disagree that these terms should be seen as being Negative. As the worshippers of the Necronomicon system of magick, chaos is a principal to be attained by our religion. The Gods of The Necronomicon are The Gods of disorder and madness, and social chaos is something to be respected in the understanding that all is disorder, and that reality is only subjective in terms of worship.
But the statement discussing our religious goals is to be left there. With “Abuse of power; misdirection of spiritual energy” being the next statement, an understanding of authority is now clear. Whilst abuse of authority is something that we, as religious, stand in total opposition to, the message given in this statement is that such an abuse of power can be the result of spiritual energy misdirected, and if this is to be the situation in hand, then it is possible that mis-comprehension of Will is coming back into the equation, and it is possible that such mis-direction of spiritual energy could be unintentional.
Further to that, “Tyranny [and] unlawful imposition of one’s Will” may be a different consideration. Whilst the above situation may not be intentional, this situation is. If somebody is imposing their Will in a manner suggested with this reading, then we must stick up for ourselves. The Card that is Strength has certain defined meanings. With the Lovecraft system, however – as is the case only with some certain other Decks – our system is quite unique. So here Strength is defined as part of the Necronomicon religious system, and has hereby been described in this context.
* I would like to here point out that this is not exactly expected or very considerate towards the population of Penguins here. Imagine yourself on the ice caps, just standing around freezing, and something like this takes place? Just a note for consideration…