The Kult tarot deck’s minor arcana is divided into five suits: Skulls, Eyes, Roses, Hourglasses and Crescents. Each of these are connected to one of the five schools of magic recognized in Kult’s mythos, but more than that they illustrate important concepts within each of those five schools and give the magic a more practical and digestible form. Each suit, from the ace to the nine, reveal a spiritual or metaphorical journey that explains something about the Kult mythos and the essence of magic. The exact interpretation is, of course, personal, but I hope that by presenting the suit of Crescents I can stir your thoughts to interpret all five suits in a similar manner. This is not always a straightforward process and I am still contemplating the details of it myself. If you have any insights into these mysteries, feel free to share them in the comments below or anywhere else I can read them.
The Suit of Crescents
Also aptly known as The Moon, the Crescents is the suit of cards in Kult’s tarot associated with dream magic. The card’s symbol is that of two blue crescents, one filled and one empty. The image may bring many things to mind. The passing of time through the lunar cycle, nighttime when sleep is common and most humans access the dreamworld Limbo, emptiness and fullness, and reflection of the known. All this and more might be leveraged by the student of dream magic to attune themselves to their dreams and the source behind them. By mastering techniques for lucid dreaming, dream wandering and manifestation, the dream magician might construct complex worlds of their own making and completely dominate the internal processes of another being. Limbo is a realm of pure creation, and through the consideration of the Suit of Crescents some knowledge might be gained of how to wield the power offered by that place.
We begin with the Ace of Crescents. This card symbolizes Vortex, the root of all creation, the source of chaos and power. It is raw and formless, an unthinking and unthinkable maelstrom. To interact with it is to see everything that can be. It exists at the center of ourselves and at the center of reality, the starting point of all that is.
Realizing the existence and purpose of Vortex may take time, and magicians fumbling through the dream may never come close to it. The magic of Limbo, however, is the magic of creation, and to excel at it one must understand the root of its power. There is nothing in the world of dreams or outside of it that has not had its origin in Vortex.
The Two of Crescents is the card named Creation. If we take a step back from Vortex, we can begin to understand its effects. From that chaos, things are born. If it has been thought, dreamt or shaped in any sense, it has been created from Vortex. This card represents that process, to bring forth, define and isolate a fragment of Vortex.
While many may think they grasp the concept of creation, only the skilled dream magician can claim any expertise on the subject. Within Elysium, creation is the matter of arranging building blocks, reshaping known materials and processing the raw into the refined. In the mysteries of the dream and the Crescents it rather represents the existence and creation of thought itself, for in Limbo thought is everything.
This wild creative process of turning chaos into thought is dangerous and unstable, as the Three of Crescents reminds us by representing Undoing. Most dreams die half-formed, a vastness of terrible ideas are doomed to failure, and those things we raise might well fall. Unless well tended, creation is ephemeral.
Within the dream, you must always be conscious of everything’s potential to be undone. What has been thought can be unthought, and what once was there may not be anymore. Even as we wield the chaos of Limbo to create, we must know that all of it will fade. Undoing is a sign to the student that focus and diligence is a must to fashion Vortex into our liking.
Another important concept must be discovered if we want to understand the power of creation. Transformation, the Four of Crescents, gives us a tool to distance our creation from the maelstrom and make it different. The card represents all forms of extreme change, but within the suit it reveals the transition from raw chaos to meaningful thought.
Where the Two of Crescents is the act itself, the Four of Crescents presents the full scope of the action, from beginning to end, a journey in itself. This is especially meaningful because this card is at the heart of the law of similarity, which dream wanderers must abide by when transforming their environments from one form to another.
At the suit’s midpoint we find the Five of Crescents. It symbolizes Connection, which must be our next step in the creative process. Through transforming Vortex, we have made something which can interact and connect to other things. Creation becomes iterative, more complex structures forged out of smaller pieces. Our creation grows.
More than simply understanding how constituent pieces might form a whole, the Five of Crescents invites the dreamer to consider the connection of all things. All around them is connected to their own will, and to Vortex. To see all as part of a whole, and to deconstruct that whole, is central to understanding Vortex and creation.
From the Six of Crescents and onward, we rapidly increase our scope. The card represents Merging, the natural extension and ultimate result of Connection. We have built complex structures out of smaller pieces, and when viewed from a distance we may no longer consider those pieces separate. They have merged, become one. As we expand our creative process, we conceal the chaos from which it originates.
Merging is the study of the process of connected pieces becoming one whole. Are our conflicting ideals truly disparate, or are they merely different expressions of the same mind? We know that all things originate in Vortex, and so all that which we might have viewed as distinct may not truly be so. When everything is held to be the same, the law of similarity becomes almost trivial, but the mental strain in doing so may overwhelm even the most enlightened.
We have now discovered how complex creation works, so what else to do but attempt it again? The Seven of Crescents, Reflection, the process of taking something and copying it. We place a mirror in front of what we have shaped from Vortex through the steps above, and recognize the image as the finished creation rather than its pieces. We have refined and redefined our once myriad of thoughts into something replicable.
More than reflecting on creation, the Seven of Crescents demands that the dream magician self-reflect. What has been created, and why? If it is borne of their thought and desire, plucked from the maelstrom, what does that say of their essential self? All the dreamer surrounds themselves with is an aspect of themselves, part of their whole.
If we can reflect an object, we can reflect a reflection. Through Repetition, the Eight of Crescents, we further expand our view and understand that what comes out of Vortex can and does repeat endlessly. These are not unique things we make, but reflections of reflections which propagate from the point of creation throughout time and space.
As we distance ourselves from Vortex, we also, in some ways, approach it. Learning the truth of that raging storm of energy, we cannot help but realize its infinite nature. Anything can be brought from Vortex endlessly, and has been. The knowledge to gain is endless, but it has already been discovered.
Finally, Stillness. The end of our journey, the Nine of Crescents. We are here so far removed from the violent maelstrom of Vortex that we can no longer sense it. The chaotic process of creation which brought us to this point has solidified, turned stagnant. All we see is the endless repetition of it all. Little boxes, made of ticky tacky, little boxes, all the same. The finished product of reality when viewed from this vantage point seems perfectly motionless.
Stillness is the absolute counterpoint to Vortex, but it is also its twin. We know from a distance that all creation is still and so Vortex, which is all creation, must also be. The stillness, to observe creation in peace and recognize its eternal patterns, might finally allow the dream magician to conclude their reflection and discover the divine essence within themselves.
To make a practical example of the process of creation and how it unravels, consider a crowd of people. As you observe them from a satellite picture, these people may appear as only a blob, nothing spectacular at all. It barely moves. You zoom in, and realize that the crowd is full of distinct, yet practically identical, humans. They are all created from the same template, and you cannot truly appreciate the distinct beauty of their parts until you single out just one of them. Skin, bone, brain, these many parts which come together and merge to form a whole. A step further, through a microscope, and chaos starts taking over. Cells live and die in the span of years or days, molecules seize one another and push each other away. The chaos, Vortex, is fully revealed only as we consider the erratic movements of electrons and unknowable quantum interactions within these cells, within this body, within this crowd, and the world that it inhabits. From the outside it looks like nothing is moving, but the churning Vortex is always there, somewhere deep within.
What do you think? Does this tell you anything you didn’t already know or consider about the Kult mythos, the suit of Crescents or dream magic? Perhaps I have simply gone mad. 🙂 For those wondering where Jessy’s Story has gone: it is still underway! My artist has been very sick and unable to finish the last art pieces, and since I am a sucker for art I won’t be posting the last 6 sessions until we are back on track. I hope the wait will be worth it, there’s a lot of good stuff left!