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Tarot and Kabbalah: Arcanum 8

Arcanum 8

We find the Eighth Key of Basil Valentine in the Eighth Arcanum. There is no doubt that he was a great Gnostic. The gospel of Valentine is admirable. The processes of life and death in the Philosophical Stone, which is chiselled with the hammer of intelligence and the chisel of willpower, are referred to in the Eighth Key.

basil 8

The Eighth Key is a perfect and clear alchemical allegory of the processes of death and resurrection that inevitably are occurring in the esoteric preparation of the Philosophical Stone, which is between the two columns of Jachin and Boaz. One has to polish the brute stone in order to make it cubic.

The stone is Peter and it refers to the blessed waters of Amrita. We see the human being that worked with Amrita in the sharp edges and perfect angles of the Stone. The brute stone and the chiselled stone are situated at the entrance of the temple, behind the columns. The chiselled stone is on the right-hand side; its particularity is that it has nine angles that form four crosses. Those who build the temple upon the sand fail. One must build it upon the living boulder, upon the stone. All human material employed in this work dies, decays, corrupts, and blackens in the Philosopher’s Egg; then, it is marvellously whitened.

Meaning, the blackened material dies within us; then the whitened material appears, which is what makes us Masters. Let us remember for an instant the work in the Ninth Sphere, the dissolution of the “I.” Let us remember the work in the Purgatorial region. There, the initiates resemble putrefactive corpses, because all of the larvae which are inside each one of us flourish, giving the bodies of the initiate the appearance of a decomposed corpse.

The Eighth Key, an illustration of the Viridarium Chymicum, shows death represented as a corpse, putrefaction represented by the crows, the sowing as a humble agriculturalist, the growth as a wheat stalk, and the resurrection by a deceased person who rises from the grave and by an Angel that plays the trumpet of the Final Judgment.

All of this represents that the “ego,” the “myself,” must die within us until we remain whitened, pure, clean, and perfect. The putrefaction is when one is within the Purgatorial region which is represented by the crows. There, a putrefying corpse appears with repulsive animal forms which resemble reptiles, spiders, filthy slugs, and horrible larvae. These animal forms are reduced to cosmic dust with the help of the Divine Mother Kundalini.

After having incinerated the seeds of the “ego” through the purification of our corruption in Purgatory, the initiate then bathes in the rivers Lethe and Eunoe. Thus, the bodies shine marvellously. Afterwards the initiate must have the confirmation of the Sex-Light; then the Initiatic Resurrection comes, which is represented by an Angel who plays the trumpet. Jesus instructed his disciples during the many years after his Resurrection.

It is important to notice that all of this putrefaction happens within the Philosopher’s Egg (sex). One is confirmed by the Light in the Eighth Key of Basil Valentine. The sexual act remains prohibited after achieving the Second Birth and the Master is warned, “You cannot return to work in the Ninth Sphere because then the “I” will resurrect, and you have remained free from it. Your esoteric ordeals have been fulfilled and sex remains prohibited to you for all of eternity.” Sex is the lowest part of the initiation. If we want to reach illumination, realization of the Self, we must lift the veil of Isis, which is the Adamic Sexual Veil.

The whole Great Work is found contained in the Philosopher’s Egg (sex), that represents the germ of all life. The masculine and feminine sexual principles are found contained in the egg. As the fledgling emerges from the egg, as the universe emerges from the Golden Egg of Brahma, so as well from the Philosopher’s Egg the Master emerges. Thus, it is stated that the Masters are Children of the Stones, and for this reason there is the surrendering of worship to the stones.

We the Gnostics know that the corpse, death in the Eighth Key, represents the Two Witnesses of the Apocalypse (Revelation 11:3-6) that are now dead. By means of alchemical putrefaction, by means of the works of Alchemy, represented by the crows, the Two Witnesses resurrect. This whole power is found enclosed within the wheat stalk. The sacred Angel that we carry within plays his trumpet, and the Two Witnesses rise from the grave.

The Two Witnesses are a pair of sympathetic cords, semi-ethereal, semi-physical, that are entwined along the spinal medulla forming the Caduceus of Mercury, the sacred eight, the sign of the infinite. They are known in the Orient as Ida and Pingala.

Eight is the number of Job, the man of holy patience. This number represents the life and sacrifice of Job, which is the path that takes the initiate to the Second Birth. The ordeals are very difficult, and we need the patience of Saint Job. Without patience, it is impossible for the work to be performed. A very grave sickness afflicted Job (Book of Job 2:9). Lazarus’ sores were rotten (Luke 16:19-31). The friends of Job—Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar (the three traitors of the internal Christ)—told him that if he is a friend of God, why doesn’t he complain? Job answered, “The Lord has given, and the Lord has taken away.” Job 1:21 The number of Job is patience and meekness. Behold the way in order to “rot” ourselves. This is testified by the original Bible that included the books of The Aeneid, The Odyssey, and The Macabeus. Examples of such a Bible are found in the Museum of London, in the Vatican, and in the Museum of Washington. The modern Bible is a corpse. The Bible is an arcanum. In the Book of Psalms, chapter XIX, the Tarot is discussed.

In the Eighth Arcanum, the initiatic ordeals are enclosed. Each initiation, each degree, has its ordeals. These initiatic ordeals are each time more strict, in accordance with the initiatic degree. The number eight is the degree of Job. This sign, this number, signifies ordeals and pain. The initiatic ordeals are performed in the superior worlds and in the physical world. The ordeals of initiation are very terrible. A great deal of patience is needed in order not to fall into the abyss. We are tested many times.


- When our disciples want to ask for help from the Lords of Karma, they need to trace a six-pointed star on the ground. They then open their arms in the form of a scale, which they move from above to below, while concentrating their minds on Anubis.

- Then we can mentally ask the Lords of Karma for the desired service. Whilst moving the arms in the form of a scale, we must vocalize the syllables: Ni, Ne, No, Nu, Na.

- This is how we can ask for help from the Lords of Karma in moments of necessity and danger. But remember, every credit must be paid.