Key 18 – The Moon

The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so called because it forms every body which is formed in all the worlds, and the reproduction of them. – W. Wynn Westcott, The Sepher Yetzirah

According to “Book T” – Dissatisfaction, voluntary change. Error, lying, falsity, deception. This card is very sensitive to dignity.

There is a branch of scientific investigations called “Artificial Life.” In this line of study scientists study the behavior of automata – small machines that do nothing more than interact with their environment. Each automaton has a set of instructions embedded within it that define its behavior pattern. The instruction sets are simple, and mostly mechanical – in other words they utilized the actual structure of the machine. Such a behavior could be, “Go forward. When you hit something reverse and turn 30 degrees to your left for 3 seconds then go forward again.” In software we would abstract out such a behavior pattern into a structure known as a “loop.” In the course of investigations it was discovered that an additional implicit set of behaviors would emerge for an automaton based on the environment in which it was placed.

When many identical automata were placed in the same environment something incredible happened. A group pattern of behaviour emerged. This pattern became more complex in relation to the number of automata.

The experience of The Moon places you within the realm of simple intelligences based on the body. Not jut our human body, but all bodies. These intelligences are basic primal and seem alien to our rational minds. Instincts. Reflexes.

Our physical bodies are made up of many interdependent systems that are not dependent upon conscious control. Consider the mere act of bleeding. If we had to consciously tell our body to repair itself of every minor cut then we would bleed to death. The nature of our blood allows for clotting to take place allowing other automatic systems to kick in and our wounds heal.

The Moon governs our behaviour patterns, from the basic four “F’s” (fight, flee, feed and fornicate) to the neurotic way we treat our spouses. From the limp caused by a congenital shape of a femur all the way to the strange eye “tick” that develops when a neural episode messes up some of the axons in our cranial nerves.

The lesson of The Moon is acceptance of ourselves as natural bodies with natural behaviour patterns.  Like the scientists, we cannot tell our bodies what patterns will emerge from ourselves. We can only let go of the illusion of control and observe the patterns as they emerge. The Adept then learns how to control his or her own body by changing the environment around the body.

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