Monday, October 26, 2015

Number 10

Number 10 - moving on

The general meaning of number 10 in Tarot is an expression of the need to release the old and move on to the new. We can think about the meaning of number 10 in the Minor Arcana cards as “mission accomplished;” the fulfillment of a job well done, everything is finished, now what? It’s time to plan the next steps to take. We are warned not to get too complacent about our accomplishments or accumulation of wealth.  We may be too satisfied with what we have achieved. 1 + 0 is like playing an octave on the piano. It’s the ending of a cycle and the beginning of a new cycle. When you get this card in a reading, now is the time to move on to the next higher octave of events in your life.

     Since we are in the season of Halloween (All Hallows Day - Celtic Samhain) I would like to take up various myths and stories related to number 10. This is a time for ghosts, goblins, and other assorted monsters, knocking at our doors, and watching old horror movies on TV. So let’s consider some of the earliest “horror” stories in literature, including some early biblical stories with the number 10, such as Moses arguing with the Pharaoh in Egypt and demanding to “Let my people go!” Moses and Aaron and their Hebrew followers were ready to break their bondage to the Pharaoh and move on to the “Promised Land.” But Pharaoh wasn’t interested in releasing them.  So Moses  brought forth (with the powers of the one God of the Hebrews) 10 plagues over Egypt to convince the Pharaoh that they needed to live their own life in freedom in their own land.  These horrible events brought great shock and fear to Pharaoh and his servants.
 Barbara Walker in The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, talks about Halloween being a time that:  
“…opened cracks in the fabric of space-time allowing contact between the ghost world and the mortal one.” 

So let’s look at the story of the 10 Plagues upon the Pharaoh of Egypt. (Exodus 7-12) I tend to see this story as a symbolic attack on Pharaonoic mythology, rather than history. It deals with magic and attacks against strange hybrid creatures in the form of the Egyptian gods. The story sounds like the destruction of ancient magical practices in order to bring about the new - through drastic change.  At first, it was a contest between Moses and the Pharaoh’s Magicians. Moses turned his “Rod” into a snake. The magicians were also able to perform some similar tricks for awhile and turn things into frogs, and the Nile into blood, but could go no further than that. It took 10 awful plagues before the Pharaoh finally stopped resisting and said "Be gone!"

The 10 plagues that Moses and Aaron imposed on the Pharaoh and his servants were as follows:
Heket with frog's head

1.  Turning the Nile into blood which seemed like a counterpoint to the Nile god, Hapi.

2.  Bringing on a plague of frogs that filled everyone’s houses - a counterpoint to the goddess of birth, Heket symbolized with a frog’s head on a human.

3.  Inducing a plague of gnats (or lice) a counterpoint to underworld god, Set, who murdered the god Osiris 

4.  Sending in a plague of flies that covered everything and everyone - counterpoint to Uachit, Baal (Beelzabub, Lord of the flies)

5.  Causing death to Egyptian’s cattle, which they worshipped - counterpoint to cow-headed Hathor, goddess of mothering
Hathor with cow ears

6.  A scourge of boils on everyone - counterpoint to Sekhmet, lion-headed goddess of healing 

7.  Thunder and lightning and tremendous hailstorms - counterpoint to Nut, sky goddess, and Baal, god of thunder, lightning

8.  A plague of locust hoards that ate up all their crops - counterpoint to Nephra, (Osiris)

Sekhmet with Lion's head
9.  A blanket of darkness and devastation - counterpoint to the sun-god Ra

10. Death to the firstborn including the Pharoah’s prince - counterpoint to Anubis, god of reproduction, death and mummification

Anubis, card XIII Death 
from The Tarots of the Sphynx 
by Silvana Alasia
Lo Scarabeo