The Scarlet Letter
With the arrival of March 20, it’s time for me to wish everyone a happy new year. The peculiar base-22 Anno Legis reckoning advances to year IVx, the year of the Wheel.
The Wheel is one of the most ancient symbols. Associated as it is with change and fate, it might easily be the sign of every new year. In ancient Egypt, the potter’s wheel—shown as a circle with a point in its center—was a special glyph of creativity, identified with the artificer god Ptah. This same glyph was later taken to represent the Sun and its creative power, as indeed were all sorts of wheel images. It was also the original form of the Greek letter Q, the initial of Thelema.
In Hebrew scripture, the Wheel is a preeminent figure of epiphany and revelation; the “wheel in a wheel” is the central image of the divine vision of Ezekiel. And we are each full of wheels or chakras, the Sanskrit denomination for the centers of vital force and spiritual power in the human system.
In early Buddhism, there were no visual representations of the Buddha, and his place was often supplied by the image of a wheel, representing the wheel of the Law (dharma), much as the early Christians used fish to supply the place of their Christ. Perhaps these symbols were not meant to reference the religious founders as individual personalities, but rather to indicate the initiatory experiences associated with their religions: the Buddhist realization of the cyclic mechanisms of manifestation, and the Christian baptism by water and spirit.
The Wheel is most conspicuously represented for us in the tenth Key of the Tarot. In the Crowley-Harris deck, the Wheel is shown with ten spokes, to allude to the ten Emanations of the Hebrew qabalah. And this year of the Wheel will be the tenth year of our O.T.O. body in Austin, originally chartered as Scarlet Woman Camp in IVi. This decade has seen a lot of growth and change in the Order, both here in Austin, and throughout the U.S. and the world.
As we continue to exercise our creative powers to develop our Lodge and our Order, may we each ever draw closer to the center: the open place within each of us, about which revolve the wheels of the self and the community and the world. And may those wheels turn freely and without fear.
Love is the law, love under will.
In service to Our Lady and her work of wickedness,