The Spirit of the Primal Fire

“The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; and why is it so
called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their
proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it.” (Sepher Yetzirah)

This card is based on the 3=8 ritual of the Golden Dawn, in which the candidate encounters the Samothracian mysteries and the element of Fire.  All the components of the Tarot Key that are described in the ritual are included in this card.

The Angel, encircled by the rainbow whence leap coruscations of fire, and crowned by the sun, represents Michael, the great Archangel, the ruler of Solar Fire; the serpents that leap in the rainbow are symbols of the fiery Seraphim.  The trumpet represents the influence of spirit descending from Binah, while the banner with the cross refers to the four rivers of paradise and the Holy Name.  He is also Axieros, Zeus and Osiris.

The left hand figure below, rising from the earth, is Samael, the ruler of volcanic fire.  He is also Axiokersos, Pluto and Typhon.

The right hand figure below is Anael, the ruler of Astral Light.  She is also Axiokersa, Ceres and Persephone, Isis and Nepthys.  She is therefore represented in duplicate form and rising from the waters.  Around both these figures dart flashes of lightning.  These three form the Fire triangle and represent the other three elements of Earth, Air and Water.

The central, lower figure, with his back turned and his arms in the sign of the 2=9, is Arel, the ruler of latent heat.  He is rising from the Earth as if to receive the properties of the other three.  He is Kasmillos, the candidate, and Horus of Egypt.  He rises from a rock-hewn, cubical tomb.  The three lower figures represent the letter Shin and the seven Hebrew Yods refer to the Sephiroth operating in each of the planets, and to the Schemhamphoresh.

The Golden Dawn Temple Tarot emphasises the Egyptian nature and Golden Dawn aspect of this Key.  The Archangel Michael is shown as Hierophant.  Instead of a traditional trumpet, he blows a priestly ram’s horn which was used to call the Jews to the Temple. He has the traditional Nemyss to indicate that he is not the actual initiating officer, but an archetype of him or her.

Horus, who is also the candidate in 3=8 rite, is shown in his Harpocrates form with an Egyptian youth’s side plait.  On his back is the Kerux’s caduceus.  This indicates that the candidate has absorbed those powers represented by the Kerux in the 2=9 grade.  Further, it shows the spiritual fire, that force that rises in the candidate’s sphere of sensation as part of the Outer Order work.  The flames on the stone coffin emphasize the idea that he represents fire latent within matter.


Awakening.  Spiritual Fire.  Hearing the Voice of the Spirit.   A birth.  Spiritual rebirth.  Opening of the third eye, revealing the hidden.  Crossroads.   Important decision to be made.  Judgement.

For updated information regarding this key, click on the image to the right and scroll down:

Updated Judgement Key

Updated Judgement Key