Friday, October 28, 2011

The number 5 in Tarot and the role of "Satan" in psychological growth

In the tarot, in each suit, five is the number which upsets the stability of the preceding card, four. Five is the number of "Satan": four is completion, but the first and partial completion. Five is the necessary upset to the partial and inadequate completion of four, which represents worldly success, or the success of the ego. Five is seen as evil for the same reason the monsters of our dreams are evil - to the ego anything that takes away from it what it thinks it wants is evil. Myths are the dreams of the collective, and in Christian mythology Satan represents the force which destroys what the ego wants. This destruction clears the way to true completion, but only through hard work. Five is the number of the serpent in the garden - it destroys the easy, unconscious, immature paradise, but in doing so, leads to the possibility of true growth, but only through hard work and pain. From Edinger's Ego and Archetype:
"Since Yahweh and Satan are working together, they can be considered as two aspects of the same thing, i.e., the Self. Satan provides the initiative and dynamism to set up Job's ordeal and hence represents the urge to individuation which must break up the psychological status quo in order to bring about a a new level of development. The serpent played the same role for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden."
(Ego and Archetype, page 80, on the myth of Job)

In Christianity, Yahweh represents the Self, but only the light half. Satan is the shadow half of the Self, the part which provides the impetus for growth. It is part of the Self but, since the immature ego can't see in shades of grey, the Self must be divided up into white and black, good and evil, or Yahweh and Satan. In the same way that to a young child their parent is Good (when they give them what they want) or Bad (when they deny the child what it wants), the Self is is split into the good Yahweh and the destroyer, Satan.


The son of chaos: Satan and the role of Mercurius/the intellect.

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