By Kenny Klein
Words are magic. Words have power. Unlike the octopus, which can communicate by subtle changes in the colors of its skin, or the lightening bug, attracting mates with its glowing tail, our major means of conveying our needs, our thoughts and our feelings are words. We use these to convey our intentions and desires not only to each other, and to our animal companions and familiars, but also to the elementals we call upon to aid us, and to the Gods/Goddesses we worship and serve. If these entities do not understand our meaning when we speak, what we hope might be a miracle could easily become a disaster!
In the Tarot card of the Chariot, a magician (evidently a Ceremonial Magician by his masonic apron, imbued with occult symbols) guides his chariot, which is drawn by two sphinxes without the use of reigns or harness. The charioteer must use only words to guide the mythical beasts: a wrong word, and the magical creatures will pull his conveyance apart. In Paul Foster Case’s system of Tarot, based on Quaballah, the card is assigned to Cancer, the crab, a creature encased in a shell. The Hebrew letter assigned to the card, Cheth, means a fence. In essence, the figure, the fenced structure and the Zodiac sign embody the concept of words themselves: units of meaning encased in a shell, a unit of sound. Alter the meaning, and the shell of sound becomes useless. As much as I do not like to quote the Bible, you have the myth of the Tower Of Babel: words may have meaning to the speaker, but their meaning is lost to the listener.
This is an issue, for me at least, in the Pagan community.