Wotan (Woden, Wodin, Odin)
(From Witan, meaning the "Circle of Wisemen" who gave counsel in tribal affairs - root of the English Wisdom).
The central character of the Ring. The Ring cycle is a drama of the soul, and the soul the drama takes place in is Wotan's. Every character is a projection of his psyche. The Archetypal Initiate, the drama around him serving as initiator. Divine Will. The image of IHVH dispensing his power of office. I of IHVH, which I is symbolized by his emblem of office, the Spear. Adam Kadmon, the Archetypal Man. The archetype of God-Man. All the male Trumps - Keys 0, I, IV, V, VII, IX, XII, XV and XIX - several bearing images drawn directly from his mythos.
Key 0 The Fool, the Lord of the "Castle in the Air", Walhall. The Germanic Sky God, most often dressed in cloud-gray robes and sky-blue hood, bearing his Spear - exactly as depicted on Key IX. In myth, he had four magical creatures, two celestial and two terrestrial, representing the four Kerubim - two ravens (Hugin - Thought - Aquarius, and Munin - Memory - Scorpio), and either two wolves or two hunting dogs (Geri - Taurus, and Freki - Leo - pictured on Key XVIII as a wolf and a hunting dog). The terrestrials appear halfway-through the Ring, the celestials at the end. These four reduce to two symbols - the Dog or Wolf of Key 0, and the Eagle pictured on the Fool's purse in the Waite and Case decks. They both reduce down to a flying (eagle) quadraped (dog or Wolf), which are the horses he and his siblings ride. Wotan Crowned with the Eagle-winged Helmet when riding out to battle. Aleph, One, Number of the Sephira Kether, the Crowned King of All in the Heavens and the Earth.
Key I The Magician . The Great Magician of the Gods. He whose Spear-Tip rises as high over his head as The Magician's upraised wand (also see Wotan as The Wanderer). Winged-Cap Mercury, Crowned by Kether, assigned to Hod, the Sephira of the God of Armies. Wearer of the Winged Helmet on the battlefield of Cheth/Key VII, the next path to proceed down the Pillar of Severity after Key I. Intelligence. Mercury, ruling Key VI The Walsungen and Key IX Wotan The Wanderer, and exalted in Key IX Wotan and Key XVII Brunnhilde and Grane. Enlightened (Kether) Intellectual (Mercury) Understanding (Binah). Spiritual Praxis. Beth, two, number of Chokmah, Sephira of Wisdom. IH, Yah, The Magical Image of Chokmah, a Bearded Male Figure. Chokmah Sphere of the 12 Signs of the Zodiac. In myth, Wotan ruled over the Aesir, the twelve male Gods of the Nordic Pantheon. Chokmah, crowned with the Spirit of Aither. Divine Mind.
Key IV The Emperor of the Gods. Chief Among the Mighty. The Son of the Morning, Lord of the Castle Walhall that first appears at Dawn. The "Grand Architect of the Universe" depicted on Key IV. Wotan, the Chief Architect of the Building of Walhall, who first seeing it said it was just as he imagined. The God who gave up his eye for Wisdom, which in the Ring is his left eye, place of Chokmah, the left side of the face. His Crux Ansanta on both Waite's and Case's Key IV depicts a Ring surmounting a Tau-Cross before an unseen right eye. The Emperor depicted in profile, the Magical Image of Kether. Reason. Enlightenment.
Heh, Five, number of Geburah. Wotan the War God Mars. The Higher Mars of Geburah in just balance with Chesed, manifest as Key XVI Walhall, ruling Aries/Key IV The Emperor and Scorpio/Key XIII Death, and exalted in Capricorn/Key XV. Peh, the Mouth, which pronounces Divine Edict. Key IV Jupiter, the Crowned and Throned Magical Image of Chesed - especially Waite's Emperor, the Byzantium image of the statue of Zeus of Olympia, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Key IV Jupiter Lord of the Heavens, ruling from atop the Mountain rock of Olympus. Zeus throwing the Lightning Bolt of Key XVI.
Key V The Hierophant. Wotan the High-Priest King, to whom Gods, Riesen and Niblungen kneeled and swore obedience to his will (Spear) and word (Vav/Hearing) upon his ascension to the Throne. In Nordic mythology, a vow (a vav) sworn upon the metal Tip of Wotan's Spear was to sacred to break.. The Hierophant coronated by the Triple-Crown of Kether (K, Th & R). Thrice-Great Hermes, Magus of the Eternal, as Key I is Hermes, Magus of Power. Creed, symbolized by the Spear, and the treaties carved in magic Runes around it.
Key VII, Lord of the Battlefield, coming from the walled Walhall behind him, in front of the river which is the Rhine. His Winged Helmet is symbolized by the Winged Disk upon the Chariot. The conjoined Lingam and Yoni symbol represent the union of Wotan and Era and their Walkuren issue.
Key IX The Hermit, whereon is depicted his most traditional garb (see Wotan as The Wanderer). Key XII The Hanged Man, Wotan Self-Slain upon the World Ash Tree in quest of Wisdom. The mythical pool Wotan placed his eye in for the wisdom-giving waters it gave him. He hangs in the form of the sulphur symbol reversed, not erect as on Key IV.
Key XV The Devil, the Creature who strikes terror into the shadow of one's soul. Wotan bedeviled by the Ring curse. Evil's Nemesis. "Master of the Game". Key XIX The Sun, the innocence lost when Wotan's youthful indiscretion compromised himself. This innocence he plans to regain through the working of his master plan - exercising the Collecting Intelligence of Raish to bring humanity within the walls of Walhall which run as far as Key XIX. Key XX his Judgment to order Walhall set alight when all three Walsungen are dead, as depicted. Key XX the Phoenix who dies and resurrects from his pyre to fire the heart of Man with the divine. The Penis. The Phallus. The Lingam.
Wotan as The Wanderer
Key 0 The Fool, the Archetypal Wanderer. His yardstick represents his Spear. The Wayfarer, whose travels (travails, the lot of Fools) have made him wise. Motive force, depicted in the popular image of the traveler, whose persistant travel around the world has made him Key I The Magician. His floppy hat appears in many versions of Key I, in some as a Lemniscate over his head. Mercury, ruling and exalted in Virgo/Key IX. Key IX The Hermit garbed exactly as is The Wanderer. Key I The Magus of Power ruling and exalting in Key IX the Magus of the Voice of Power. He bears "a Spear as a Staff", dressed as the Germanic Sky God in cloud-gray robes and sky-blue hood. Mercurial cognition, traveling in-cognito, appearing as a guest in people's homes, aiding the helpless with the enlightening lamp of his counsel, and vanquishing villains. The Higher Mercury, proceeding from Kether the Crown, founded on Binah, Understanding, walking through the world of Saturn above (Key XXI) and below (roots) the Earth of Malkuth.
The Ace of Wands. Waite's Ace has a castle symbolic of Walhall in the background. Divine Will, ruling with and regulated by the order it creates. The Staff of The Fool, The Hierophant, The Chariot, The Hermit, Death (Waite's Flagpole and Case's Scythe) and The Sun (Waite's). The upraised wand of The Magician. The Crux Ansanta of the Emperor, around whose circumference ring Wotan's treaties, binding Spirit in adherence to convention. The upholding of the letter circumscribing the Spirit of Law. The Spear upon which the laws of creed, religion and faith are inscribed. The Torch of Key XIV (Case) and Key XV.