THE HANGED MAN AND THE MAGICIAN: Nonlinear Dynamics in Tarot, Metaphysics and Psychology By Sensei Erwin Rimban

Here’s a treat for all you Magdalena Tarot fans out there! It my first guest post by Sensei Erwin Rimba from the Philippines! Enjoy this fascinating article about the connection between the Hanged Man and the Magician! 


Nonlinear Dynamics in Tarot, Metaphysics and Psychology

By Sensei Erwin Rimban

The archetypes of the Hanged Man and the Magician represent two ways of knowing and learning. They represent two different spiritual curriculum systems, two different epistemologies and two different viewpoints about the essential foundations of the Cosmos.

The Hanged Man is the epitome of the nonlinear world; he is processing vast amounts of information at an incredibly fast rate. He travels the cosmos in a nonlinear fashion, and reincarnates simultaneously. He does not have past lives, in the classical way that term is understood. What he has is “other lives.” On the other hand, the Magician is the standard bearer of the sequential world; he is processing information in a linear pattern, and achieves his learning goals step by step, by following the laws of classical logic. He reincarnates sequentially, fully apprised of his past lives’ accomplishments at every step of the way. Their conversation or dialogue is an interaction of two radically different interactional and learning schemes. This conversation has defined earth history for the past millennia.

Their experiential dialogue begins in earnest when each decides to explore a universe in the depths of space and time. The Hanged Man is the exponent of the participant-observation method of research par excellence. He will immerse himself into the very nexus of events. This would allow him maximum participation and optimum learning experiences. On the other hand, the Magician is the exponent of the control-manipulation paradigm of research. He is the learner who examines every variable first and adjusts them for maximum control of the situation. The idea is to immerse himself in the experience only after the various variables have been manipulated. Control is his intention, for he possesses great fear. Fear of the experiment getting out of hand, fear of the variables receding into chaos. Fear of the presence of chaos itself. And fear of the nonlinear universe.

But the manifold universe is a dance consisting of both Chaos and Order. These are two opposites of a polar continuum. They are patterned into the fabric of the manifested universe itself, the one cannot exist without the other. The one may deny the existence of the other, but the other shall continue to exist nonetheless. Devotees of both may fill in the polarized spaces of existence and continue the crusade of “cleansing” the universe of the opposite, and yet such opposites will always remain in the dance. Order and Chaos have derivates in the local world of consciousness singularities. They are manifested as the Known and the Unknown. Dualistic thinking is rooted in the celebration of one facet, as well as the downplaying of the other aspect. But this is a metaphysical error, for the one cannot exist without the other aspect displaying equal potency. The Magician, being the epitome of Order, tries to reduce the limits of the unknown at every instance. He controls the starting variables of his experiments and experiences in order to minimize the occurrence of the unknown parameters. In this respect, he is configuring the status of his experiments at the very beginning. On the other hand, the Hanged Man possesses the supreme receptivity of the perfect learner. He does not assume and control for the outcome of his experiments. He enters each experience with his cup empty, for he is the perfect vessel of the “beginner’s mind.” His opposite, the Magician, has thrown the beginner’s mind out of the window.

Using archetypal symbolism further, the Hanged Man is really the Fool who is upright at the tarot spread, cheerful, innocent and excited to begin his adventure. But the Magician is the Fool reversed. He is devoid of cheerfulness; he approaches the experiment in total seriousness. He seeks to manipulate the variables to ensure “victory” at all costs. His game is dominion, and he knows no other technique. This conversation is not really a dialogue of worlds to him; it has become the “Clash of Epistemologies.” Join me in this mental voyage as we discover how the clash of the learning systems has defined the history of earth since the dawn of time.

The moment that the Magician encounters a living universe, he instantly apprehends the dual nature of that system and “divides” his mental map into two distinct schematic topologies. He bifurcates the living world into two realms, white and black. But the definitions should surprise you, dear reader, for they are not what you seem to think they are. For the sequential mind of the Magician, the white represents all the known and the black all the unknown. The sequential mind therefore, classifies as evil something which he does not know. And what is his approach to the unknown? What else but conquest. The Magician will try to do everything to reduce the unknown into the known, otherwise he shall eliminate the unknown from his ken, for the unknown drives him to incredible depths of fear! On the other hand, the Hanged Man, learner par excellence of the nonlinear world, approaches the problem of duality differently. He understands that the dualistic nature of the universe is a central characteristic. Therefore, he does not try to conquer the unknown, because he knows that the more one acquires knowledge, the more one shall recognize his ignorance of other facets of knowledge. The learning moment therefore consists of experiencing the particular flavour of that existential narrative, and reflecting on that existential pathway to savour the full gifts that it can bestow. In addition, the Hanged Man is fully aware of the transient nature of material existence. He realizes that all the external forms of the manifested universe are dances of Ultimate Reality, in the process of transforming from one pattern into another.

The motto of the Hanged Man is: “The more you know, the more you don’t know.” The motto of the Magician is: “Knowledge is power, therefore I must possess that power.” How different are their learning goals!

Knowing that the fruits of manifestation imply constant duality, the Magician’s sequential mind endeavours to discover, conquer and appropriate for himself the fruits of the labours of polarity. This gives him security as well as comfort. But he becomes attached to this material quest, and may be tempted to indulge in the passions of conquest during all the hours his physical life. He develops a temptation born out of fear that is too strong to resist. In the same vein, the Magician constructs elaborate patterns of domination strategies to subjugate the fruits of material existence. The presence and imposition of domination hierarchies reinforces his belief in the salvation offered by his sequential mind’s diversions. He then proceeds to catalogue neatly all the fruits of his conquests into orderly packages of logical comprehension. His cavern is the cave of logic. And he does not relent from his sequential pursuits.

From the other side of the fence, the Hanged Man’s soul is enjoying every moment of his adventures into material existence. But there is a caveat: his personality, consisting of the lower mind of his fractal soul and its animal vessel, is now deeply entrenched in the tortured paths of the planes of matter. By previous arrangement, his memory of the immersion process should now be in “sleeping mode” and he forgets his true nature. However his whole being still holds a memory of his spiritual origins, which is embedded in his attitude of not being content with the fruits of material existence alone. Nay, he longs for the beauties of the soul world, and seeks those beauties at every opportunity. Thus, he samples the beautiful products of art, music, and literature. And this gives him peace, for a time. But, this peace is not permanent, for he constantly longs for some kind of paradise, a paradise never found in any material realm. Still, he willingly enters the prison of the sacrificial chambers of material existence. Unfortunately, in this planet’s history, this prison has been reinforced by the deceptive matrix of the technosphere, which lures all travellers in its deadly embrace. In this planet, it appears that the adherents of the sequential paradigm have imposed a powerful hierarchy which effectively installs them and their minions on the top, while the suffering devotees of the nonlinear curriculum are pitifully enslaved at the bottom. Such is the façade of the prison world, which reveals its true nature to souls, step by step. A prison world of multiple masks.

Not content with the domination strategy, the sequential mind of the Magician has snatched the mentorship paradigms, and twisted them to serve its ultimate ends. Endeavouring to control the whole population of Earth, the technosphere, gauntlet of evil and control, has established various mental programming stations over the whole world. Some of them are easily comprehensive, because they exude exoteric paradigms. However, some of them reek of the occult and thus are mysterious even to their faithful adherents. Most of them cater to primary seekers of every known motivation and desire. Completing the gauntlet of control, the technosphere creates alternative operational schemes for all these mental programming stations. The idea is to confuse and deceive the slave race completely. Every kind of alternative scenario is thought up well in advance, from military to religious to economic. Alternative scenarios are realized, experimented upon, and implemented, thousands of years in advance if necessary. Such is the level of control desired by the sequential mind. At this point, the Magician has completely forgotten his spiritual heritage and fully embraces the temptations of fractal existence. This is his greatest weakness.

While his polar opposite is busy creating, erecting and fortifying edifices of control and deception, the Hanged Man is immersing himself deeper in the multifaceted dimensions of simultaneous reincarnation. While the Magician builds castles in this universe, it is the Hanged Man who lives in those castles and experiences all the myriad permutations and perturbations brought about by the periodic, dynamic nature of physical existence. Part of the experience of the nonlinear mind is the recognition of vectors of asymmetry, extremely powerful and potent engines of spiritual transformation. In fact, these two realities are the attractor states of these two learners! For the sequential learner, attractor states consist of the edification of his ego and its mental constructs. What began as an adventure of power, to gain security in the context of the unknown universe, has now evolved into deification of his fractal self’s egocentric personality. Amazing! For the nonlinear learner, attractor states consist of evolutionary thresholds that are born out of vectors of asymmetry, when the seas of time and the oceans of thought converge into the lattices of crystal space. What began as an immersion process continues as a learning experience, albeit colored by multiple theatres of apparent suffering. But suffering is a vector that leads to wisdom later on. The dramas of the two learners continue.

The sequential mind, for all its errors, still manages to learn. He discovers, from various sequential lifetimes, the presence of bifurcation points, thresholds in the continuum of spacetime, when evolutionary leaps are possible. He therefore endeavours to control those decision points. He does this by arranging all sets of events and alternative pathways in his favour, as well as mentally programming people to “create” worldspheres which are favourable to him and his sequential adherents. Even prophecy can fulfil this function and he partakes of it very well. The hierarchy of the technosphere is trapped in a series of bifurcating events, whose alternative streams are being controlled by multiple agents and scenarios. On the other side of the fence, the nonlinear devotees adapt by accessing knowledge from other realms of consciousness, to act as guiding beacons in the quest for self-discovery and soul growth. The dialogue of two epistemologies has now escalated into a veritable war of souls! The sequential mind adapts by coercing the esoteric realm into its maws. The nonlinear mind responds by accessing the Truth not from outside, by from inside. This is the key to success. If the nonlinear processor successfully transfers the gifts of the spirit from the soul realm into the material realm, then the Awakening process is guaranteed later on in the road to Truth.

Having been successful so far, the Magician now completely forgets the existence of the spiritual realm, and focuses completely on fortifying his home and his vehicles in this material realm which it calls paradise. The ego of his fractal self is now the sole locus of his being, and he adores the particular vehicle associated with his fractal self. His adoration and exaltation of his ego reaches such a limit that he does not realize that the inner struggle now occurring in his being are the warnings of his soul which is trying to be heard in the cacophony of the orchestra of the manifested universe. He is provided avenues of escape, representing the theatres of incubation, which he debases into alleys of decadence. These alleys are suffused with addictions of every kind, because the sequential mind would rather forget the spiritual truth than forgo his material desires. He is now held prisoner by the material realm and the deception of his egocentricity. This reality of the sequential mind continues in a periodic manner. The wheel of time turns and turns, and the sequential mind keeps repeating his errors, age after age. A deception of futility, born of fear, but catapulted into spiritual ignorance. A mess.

Meanwhile, our beloved nonlinear mind is about to find purchase in the depths of suffering. From the depths of his subconscious as well as the collective unconscious of mankind, he discovers the presence of the archetypes of humanity. These universal templates have been the engines of growth for mankind over the millennia. The discovery brings sweet inspiration to our nonlinear learner, who is delighted that universal experiences impress in our collective mind the necessity for growth. He brings these archetypal gifts into the light of consciousness, there to be shared by all, enriching and strengthening everyone. And now his final voyage begins, for immersion in the archetypes shall uncover a treasure trove of mysteries, and secrets and revelations which dazzle the mind and strengthen the soul. Accompanying the revelation of archetypal lore and the true history of mankind shall be the discovery of the methods of accessing Truth. These methods have been prepared by his Higher Self well in advance. They shall arrive at the most appropriate time. They shall connect him, the fractal soul, to his Higher Self,

And the Awakening shall occur……

How beautiful is this process, how incredible are the gifts of Truth, how fantastic are the revelations about the true nature of Ultimate Reality! And for the Hanged Man, paragon of the nonlinear world, these revelations are only the confirmations of his soul stirrings all along. What stirrings? That this material world is only a derivative of the real world. That this material existence is a poor copy of the true soul world. That magick is real, that power is born of the soul, and not of the body…..

And that we are immortal, loving and caring souls. That paradise is in the soul realm. And that true heaven is home. Home in the higher dimensions.

After the Awakening is complete, the souls of the nonlinear processor shall complete the union with their Higher or Deep Selves. And then, our beloved, completed, wise Deep Selves shall proceed into full Ascension. Victory at last shall be the crown of millennia of hard work.

Meanwhile, the sequential learner, is still trapped in the periodic realms of material reality. He shall remain there, until such time that he discovers the Truth…….

The Hanged Man and the Magician. Two worlds collide. Two fates intertwined. One Truth, many mirrors of that truth.

This has been the dialogue of the two worlds. This has been the conversation of two epistemologies. This is the contrast between the way of life of the nonlinear world and the sequential world. This is the voyage of the archetypes of the Hanged Man and his polar opposite, the Magician. This is the way of life in the Cosmos.

About the Author

Sensei Erwin Rimban was born in the Philippine Islands. Since a young age he has been fascinated by the esoteric realm and avidly read books on world history, philosophy, astrology, mythology, the social sciences and similar fields. Educated at the University of the Philippines, where he graduated Cum Laude, he added Evolutionary Biology to his plethora of interests. After graduating from college, he spent many years in the tourist destination of Baguio City where he pursued a career in writing and teaching, while at the same time finding time to be a meditation teacher. His hobbies include chess, poetry and Tarot counselling. Currently, he is active in organizational work, where he is promoting advocacies in educational philosophy, spiritual counselling, and environmental issues. He is also the founder and mentor of a learning organization and Wisdom Community, the ANAM CARA Philippines Learning Organization. He has written numerous essays on wisdom, metaphysics, mysticism, psychology, history, educational philosophy and psychotherapy.

Tarot card images from the Evolutionary Tarot by Richard Hartnett



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