The archetype of the Magician is not as easy to categorize as the Fool is, because as well as representing the will, self-conscious, and intellect, this archetype is also the source of the ego. What is interesting is that both card 0 - the Fool and card 1 - the Magician represent the element air and the color yellow, as well as the planet Mercury. This is because the Fool’s planet is Uranus, which is the higher octave of Mercury. Designating the color yellow, the planet Mercury and the element air as anything of the mind or mental plane, in esoteric teaching means the ego resides in the mind. Essentially this is because; the Will (the Magician) is dual, with one side being of the Divine and the other of the ego. Which side rules us is determined by the Intellect, which sits between the two and is the interface with the personality/body through the brain. On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, Mercury is traditionally assigned to Hod or Splendor, the eighth Sephirot. Interestingly, this is also the case in my Spiritual Evolution vision with card 1 - the Magician representing the eighth Sephirot on the Tree of Reason. However, in Daphna’s Emanations, the top Sephirot or Kether is designated as the Will, which is more indicative of the Magician than the Fool is. To me, this is clearly saying that on a higher level, the Magician is Divine Will. From this perspective, we can see the Magician is only Hod at its lower level or the human will, unpurified, meaning the goal of Spiritual Evolution is, as Daphna relates, to purify the will.
Ancient wisdom taught the archetypes in the cards 0, 1, 2 and 3 relate to the macrocosm (the Universe) as well as the microcosm (our body). Consequently, the Will represented by card 1 – the Magician, applies to the Creator’s Will as well as the personal will. Others have said that the Magician also symbolizes the Logos or Word, signifying that the divine aspect of the Magician also represents The Christ in us. Archetypally, this could be seen as when an individual brings his or her personal will into alignment with the Creator’s Will, he or she participates as a true co-creator, with the result of bringing to reality the paradise the world should be. Unfortunately, because a large number of individuals are using their personal wills for the lower self or ego, the result is chaos.
It is our job to integrate the ego by transforming our individual will into the Divine Will. We do this by giving up control to the true self, the Spirit within us. The Magician symbolically shows us how to do this through his stance, with his right arm raised above his head, while his left arm points down. Daphna tells us the Magician’sstance teaches us we evolve by controlling the self-conscious. To recap: “…the Magician’s rigid right arm …is consciously connecting to the Divine Realm… Alternatively, his relaxed left arm represents the subconscious effortlessly transferring spirit to the physical realm.”
Nevertheless, Spiritual Evolution is dynamic and the cards can carry more than one meaning. I discovered a different interpretation of the Magician’s stance that I believe could be just as valid. Let me explain, we could interpret his raised right arm as meaning the transformed self-conscious, or integrated ego, is instinctively connecting with the spiritual realm. On the other hand, his left arm reveals how our subconscious or transformed heart effortlessly demonstrates our ability to control our thoughts and actions. Accordingly, to use modern terminology, his stance could be demonstrating the new default mode that all human beings are destined to achieve through transformation.
Either way, the Magician’s card representing the Mysteries reveals how we integrate the ego and transform. We must constantly be in two worlds at the same time, so to speak. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Think of the characters in the Matrix. Every time they entered the Matrix, they knew they were in a computer-generated program, but were still able to move through the illusion to fulfill their mission. Another example would be to use our knowledge of quantum mechanics in that although our physical world appears solid, we know that it is essentially many individual atoms held together by electromagnetism.
Interestingly, discovering the Earth orbits the sun might not have benefited Humanity in the spiritual sense. We tend to think of discovering our place in the universe as progress and from the purely physical perspective, it was. Yet from the spiritual and energetic standpoint, understanding the “reality” of where we are in the universe is part of the problem. While people believed the Earth was at the center or heart of the universe, they connected to the fact of being a part of the spiritual realm.
An important message I received was that the Key to the Mysteries is hidden in the English Language. This would be evinced by using the same letters for both heart and earth, (heart is created by moving earth’s “h” from the end to the front). Removing the thought of a spiritual position for the Earth and reducing a human being to a blip in an unfathomably large universe removes the individual’s belief in their ability to affect our reality. Understanding this important truth is applying objectivity in a subjective way. In other words, we objectively observe that our reality is subjective.
To utilize this interpretation, we need to adopt the Magician’s stance and although acknowledging the world we live in, still recognize that it is an illusion that we can mold. Then when a critical mass number (777,000) of people are able to know this Truth, we will all, as Jesus said, be made free. Paul Foster Case in his The TAROT A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages says of the Magician’s left had pointing down that it indicates “concentration and control of the lower plane.”
As we know, the Magician starts not only the Tableau, but also the first row. Daphna relates later what this first row represents:
Through the first seven cards, we are shown the conscious evolution of the human race. Still, if we look at card 1 - the Magician and card 8 - Strength we can observe the symbol for infinity over both of the figures heads. According to Paul Foster Case the symbol means dominion and “It is the oldest symbol for matter.” This symbol is also associated with the axiom AS ABOVE SO BELOW, AS BELOW SO ABOVE. In the Cube of Space, we find the Magician representing the Above Face situated directly below the Fool.
Despite the Magician appearing as the card number 1 in the Tarot Tableau, in David Allen Hulse’s book, New Dimensions for the CUBE of SPACE: the Magician is situated towards the end of the journey around the cube representing the Path of Initiation. Mr. Hulse connects all five cards associated with the Cube face for Above, explaining, it “symbolizes the height of spiritual knowledge” that we can know while in this reality. Reaching this stage or “5th degree/grade” as he calls it denotes that you are the Magician or “teacher” transforming into the “master of light.” At this level, all secret knowledge is uncloaked. Because, as we can see below that four other cards are involved in this part of our journey around the Cube, we will forgo discussing those cards role in this stage until their commentary.
Due to Gnosticism providing another level of interpreting the archetypes in the Tarot, I feel it would be beneficial to provide an overview of the Gnostic teachings. Like the Kabbalists, the Gnostics believed the spiritual realm was governed by a number of divine entities. Only where the Kabbalists had 10 Sephirot below the Ain Soph or No-thing, the Gnostic Pleroma had 30 members in the Divine Realm. Irrespective of this, only the first 8 or the Ogdoad and 3 of the last 4 members represent the 10 Sephirot and the non-Sephirot Daath. The diagrams on the traditional Tree of Life in the commentary on the Fool showed how the Kabbalistic Sephirot or 10 emanations as Daphna calls them equate to the Gnostics. To recap: First Father = (1 – Will or Kether), Mind = (2 – Wisdom or Chokmah), Silence = (3 – Understanding or Binah), Truth = (4 – Substance or Chesed), Life = (5 – Law or Geburah), Humanity = (6 – Beauty or Tiphareth), Church = (7 – Victory or Netzach), Logos = (8 – Glory/Splendor or Hod), Sophia/Wisdom = (9 – Foundation/Basis or Yesod), and What has been Willed = (10 – Kingdom or Malkuth). Not surprisingly, the High Priestess represents an aspect of Sophia, or Wisdom.
Of course, again I must stress that none of the names should be taken as literal descriptions, they are rather to be seen as consciousnesses/concepts and or energies. It is best to see the Pleroma as a conglomerate of the attributes of the Supreme Being.
Without getting too deeply into this earliest form of Christianity, the Gnostic teachers used a myth to relate the purpose of life. After setting the scene and introducing all the players, as it were, the myth relates that it all started when Sophia or Wisdom went in search of her origins without her partner What has been Willed. The myth goes on to say that determined to learn of her origin, Sophia abandoned her male or active side and turned around. In other words, Sophia, or Wisdom acted in a willful and foolish way by becoming unbalanced and acting without her partner. She represented the subconscious divine part of us that is supposed to follow our spirit’s direction. Archetypally, her role is to balance the conscious willful part of us that often acts unwisely. Both sides are essential to our spiritual development.
The myth explains the meaning of life for us by relating that seeing the First Father, Sophia became overwhelmed and was as the Gnostics say, “in danger of being absorbed into his sweetness.” To stop this, steps were taken which caused Sophia to experience fear, grief, ignorance (today we would interpret ignorance as anger), and confusion, all emotions that could not be a part of her realm because they were denser. To save Sophia and prevent contamination of the rest of the Pleroma, these emotions were separated from her and expelled from the divine realm. This is where things became tricky. Due to the elements being outside the Pleroma and containing Sophia’s essence, they were of a dual nature, spiritual and material. They also contained elements from the Ogdoad, as in intelligence from Mind and the Life Principle from Life. Consequently, to redeem her residue (emotions), the First Father emanated another pair, the divine masculine, The Christ and the divine feminine, The Holy Spirit. Initially, Sophia joined with The Christ to turn her fear into water, her grief into air, her ignorance or anger into fire, and her confusion into earth. Then they brought forth the Creator or in gnostic terminology, the Demiurge to create the material plane or our universe out of these elements.
In esoteric terms the color blue, water and the Moon all denote emotion. Remembering that Sophia’s emotions of fear, grief, ignorance, and confusion became our four elements shows how the High Priestess can be an archetype for Sophia. I found confirmation of this in my Spiritual Evolution vision in assigning card 2 - the High Priestess on the Tree of Truth to the ninth Sephirot Yesod – Basis or Foundation. However, as the representation of Sophia, she is also associated with Daath, but as this incorporates both the macrocosm (universal) and the microcosm (individual), I will return to the High Priestess (universal subconscious) or Sophia as Daath below.
Kabbalistically, as an archetype the High Priestess has been thought to represent the third Sephirot Binah or Understanding. I found this is interesting because Binah or Understanding is neither masculine nor feminine, the Sephirot is androgynous, incorporating both masculine/active and feminine/passive elements into its makeup. I did not understand this aspect of the High Priestess (universal subconscious) until I was shown the role of Christ and Sophia.
Bringing in Gnosticism, we can apply the teachings to gain further understanding about the union of the Magician, who at this level is archetypally representing the Christ and the High Priestess (Sophia), after creation. Following the creation of the universe, the High Priestess (universal subconscious) from the microcosmic perspective represents our subconscious memory helplessly recording every hope and desire. At the macrocosmic level, the High Priestess represents Divine Wisdom or Sophia before her fall and redemption. As Daphna says, the High Priestess holds the potential that becomes realized in union with the Magician (self-conscious/Will) becoming blended into the Empress. We could also see this as Sophia rejoining her partner What has been Willed.
To return to the High Priestess as Daath, meaning Knowledge, as stated, this archetype appears as a vaguely defined broken-lined-circle on the Tree of Life and is not included as a Sephirot. Normally Daath is placed on the center Pillar ofMildness directly beneath Kether or Will. However, as an aspect of Daath/Knowledge it also represents Sophia before the creation of the universe. Accordingly, Sophia is also associated in the Archetypal plane on the left-hand Pillar of Severity with Binah or Understanding.
Whether or not the High Priestess or universal subconscious is Daath depends on whether we were talking about before creation or after. To reiterate, when Sophia left the Pleroma she joined with the Christ to turn her emotions into the elements. At this point, our universe was only a concept. Then Sophia separated from the Christ to become Daath. We could look on this as separating the masculine from the feminine or the active from the passive. Again, remember these are terms and descriptions only designed to help us. It is impossible for our human minds to grasp the complexities involved here. Whatever the reason for the separation, it resulted with the Christ and Sophia as Daath bringing forth the Creator. After the Big Bang Sophia reunited with the Christ again, guiding the Creator and creation. At this time Sophia archetypally becomes the High Priestess, or the universal subconscious in the form of Binah. However, Daath remains within Binah in a dormant state.
As stated, in my vision on the Tree of Truth, Yesod is assigned to card 2 - the High Priestess, which made sense as both the card and the Sephirot represent the Moon. Nevertheless, as I compared the disciplines of color, astrology numerology, direction and symbology I discovered a much deeper connection, which we will discuss in the Commentary on the Devil, the High Priestess’s counterpart in Yesod on the Tree of Reason. For now, I want to look at the Daath’s association with both The Holy Spirit and The Holy Ghost, because it reveals a profound meaning. In Spiritual Evolution, The Holy Spirit becomes The Holy Ghost when we begin to activate the Divine spark within, through the agency of the three levels of the Higher Self. We do this through Divine Wisdom or the purified High Priestess.
Daphna equating the High Priestess to the Holy Ghost gave me another way of looking at it and I gained a different perspective. Realizing that we are talking about different levels, I came to understand the High Priestess archetypally represented an aspect of three beings, Binah, Daath, and The Holy Ghost. Daath represents both aspects of the sub-conscious, universal and individual. Still, this conclusion concerns the next card. In respect to the archetype of the High Priestess, on the physical and ethereal plane, Daath represents the High Priestess as the Holy Ghost, which can be experienced in the physical world. Either way, Daath is connected to the Christ, Holy Spirit and Sophia, which are the spiritual forces guiding Creation, sometimes by incarnating. At the individual level, they are archetypes of the different levels lying dormant within every human being, with the potential to be activated.
Connecting Sophia to both the High Priestess and the Holy Ghost made even more sense when I learned that in the Cube of Space she sits at the end of the axis of the Fool from Above to Below. David Hulse refers to the veil that she sits behind as the veil “of hidden wisdom.” He believes this wisdom has been gradually unfolding with the initiate travelling through the previous five faces of the Cube. Interestingly, Mr. Hulse informs us that the illumination from the “darkness” in the High Priestess “is greater than the light” from the heavens above.
Paul Foster Case believed that the High Priestess represents Eve before she was united with Adam. He felt Eve represented the subconscious, which has, as Daphna says, no free will. For Mr. Foster Case, as the subconscious is the source of telepathic input, she is responsible for the majority “of the foolish notions which cause maladjustments.” Mr. Foster Case feels that this is probably where the Garden of Eden allegory originates. Unfortunately, the subconscious became the representative of womanhood that was collectively held responsible for the “fall” of Adam. Obviously, Adam was supposed to represent the self-conscious not the collective male population.
Binah is also believed by many Kabbalists to be the Creator of the universe. I can almost see the male Jewish High Priests pulling their hair out. Nevertheless, whenever we think of the creative forces in terms of gender as in gods and goddesses, a problem arises. If instead we adopt the Gnostic position of the active/masculine and passive/feminine for the creative forces, we do not run into so much trouble.
Evidently, in the Builder of the Adytum (B.O.T.A) deck, which Paul Foster Case created, the pillars the High Priestess sits between have the letters Yod and Beth on them. As we know in the Rider-Waite deck, they are the letters B and J for Boaz and Joachim. Mr. Foster Case interprets the pillars as representing the “three laws of the association of ideas and of memory.” He points out how we tend to connect opposites, such as black and white. Another interesting feature of the card he highlights concerns the cube the High Priestess sits on. He relates that it “corresponds to Tiphareth.” Interestingly, in the B.O.T.A deck, the white cross on her dress that Daphna identified as the White Cross of Spirit represents the letter Tau as “completion of the entire cycle.”
Earlier I mentioned Sophia as the High Priestess’s association with Binah. This is particularly interesting as traditionally Binah represented the planet Saturn. Many Kabbalists associate the Creator with the planet Saturn, which is supported by the Jewish Sabbath being held on Saturn’s Day or Saturday. Binah is also associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis as this Sephirot is also known as the Great Mother. However, this archetype is more appropriately represented by the next card.
There is no greater archetype than the figure depicted in the Empress. She is an archetype for all mother goddesses and was a revered symbol in all the earth and fertility-based religions. We have seen her represented in Madonna and Child, which came to be known as the Virgin Mary and Christ-child, but was originally Isis and Horus. Knowing this fact, I was surprised to see that Paul Foster Case believed the High Priestess represented Eve. The moon has always denoted the Roman goddess Diana, who was associated with virgins, while the planet and goddess, Venus were always seen to represent love and reproduction. Therefore, archetypally, the Empress would be a far better candidate for Eve. Nonetheless, if we look at what was discussed on the Gnostic Sophia, then either the High Priestess or the Empress could represent Eve. It depends on what level we are referencing. For example, from a macrocosmic (universal) level, both the High Priestess and the Empress represent Sophia before her redemption.
Some would say that adopting the mother and child archetype for the Virgin Mary and Jesus undermines the efficacy of the symbol, but this is not the case. As I wrote in my summation of the Mysteries being handed down through history, the Mysteries were first preserved in stone, not only in statues, but also in the Gothic cathedrals. The fact is, all archetypes are designed to work on our subconscious to help us remember our origins, so repurposing them for different religions and or beliefs do not detract from them. This is the beauty of the Tarot deck; it carries so many levels of teachings. For instance, the cards in my vision gave me connections and associations I might not have seen. To me, the most valuable was the connection to Daath and the three aspects of Sophia or Wisdom, which are disseminated throughout the Major Arcana.
As Daphna says, when we have united our High Priestess with our Empress, then we can materialize our Magician’s images. We could view this Gnostically as saying; in uniting the macrocosmic aspect of Sophia with the microcosmic aspect causes a third aspect in us to utilize our self-conscious’ images. This is where Daath comes in again.
In the previous commentary, I mentioned how Daphna helped me understand how the High Priestess could represent an aspect of Binah, Daath, and The Holy Ghost and that it all depended on which level or plane of reality we are referencing. I also said that the conclusion I was led to concerned this card. Daphna helped me to see that on the higher plane Daath would represent the Empress as the Holy Spirit, which of course was confirmed in my vision with the Empress’ placement in Daath on the Tree of Reason. Applying this to the Tarot reveals that The Holy Spiritis within each heart waiting to be activated.
Dion Fortune the author of The Mystical Qabalah was born during the Age of Enlightenment and died in 1946. Like H.P. Blavatsky, she saw that Christianity needed to be reunited with its mystical roots in the Qabalah. As you can see, there are three ways to write the title for Jewish Mysticism, Kabbalah, Cabala or Qabalah. Cabala refers to a form of Christian interest in Jewish mysticism. Ms. Fortune’s spelling denotes the Hermetic branch of Cabbalism, also associated with Christianity. I use Kabbalah because it represents the traditional mystical side of Judaism and acts as a comparison for Gnosticism.
In reading Dion Fortune’s masterpiece, The Mystical Qabalah, both Craig and I were surprised that we did not read anything written by her until the beginning of 2007. Still, neither Craig nor I determined what books we read, let alone the order they were read in. However, after reading Ms. Fortune’s book I understood why we had not read it until after I had written the outline for Spiritual Evolution Or From the Fool to the Hermit. More importantly, we read the new edition, which was not published until 2000. According to Ms. Fortune, each Sephirot conceals a miniaturized Tree of Life within it, which of course includes a Daath. She related “So by virtue of the great Wisdom and Realization that it holds, Daath embraces the Sphere of Justice: Justice at the supreme level, the absolute balancing point of the smallest atom in relationship with the furthest and largest sun…” This obviously brings in card - 11 Justice that is situated in the second row of the Tarot Tableau. However, as Justice is inextricably linked with the Empress, I feel it is essential to address the two cards connection here.
Initially, in reading Ms. Fortune’s connection of Daath and the sphere of justice, I was not sure whether the High Priestess (universal subconscious) or the Empress (individual subconscious) represented Daath. From Daphna we know that card 11 - Justice is the union of card 2 - the High Priestess and card 3 - the Empress. Yet both card - 11’s color, green, and its corresponding connection to the planet Venus through its sun-sign Libra, indicates the predominance of card 3 - the Empress. Then again, the number 11 reduces to 2, which then associates Justice with the High Priestess. I learned that the answer as to which card represented Daath is concealed in the Hebrew letters of the name Daath in respect to the Tarot. Daath is the combination of Daleth, Ayin, and Tau. As we know, in the Tarot, the Empress is assigned to Daleth, card 15 - the Devil is assigned to Ayin, and card 21 - the World is assigned to Tau. Both the Devil and the World contain the energy of Saturn and Saturn as I have said was thought to represent Binah, which is also associated with the goddess Isis. Nonetheless, the planet most associated with Isis is Venus. Therefore, the strongest planetary vibration for Daath is Venus. Supporting this conclusion is the Empress having Daleth meaning door as its Hebrew letter, and Venus ruling both Taurus and Libra, the latter sun-sign being assigned to card 11 - Justice. However, the Empress not Justice or the High Priestess best represents Daath, simply because of the positioning of card 4 - the Emperor, and consort of the Empress, on the Tree of Reason.
Venus is often associated with the Star of David, the Stargate or the six-pointed star. In this way, we could see the Tree of Reason’s Daath depicting the Stargate. In other words, Venus, the Empress or Daath represents the Stargate demarking the various levels of the spiritual development of the Human Race. Therefore, the Empress as the Holy Spirit in the human heart represents Daath in the Tree of Reason, but I would like to address another reason for the appropriateness of the placement.
We know the Empress is the union of the Magician (self-conscious) and the High Priestess (universal subconscious). Moreover, the Hebrew Letter for the Empress, Daleth means door. From this perspective, we can see Daath as the doorway or interface between the macrocosm (universal) and microcosm (individual). Daath as the link between the macrocosm and the microcosm acts as a doorway or stargate on a higher level. For you technically minded individuals, Daath could be seen as representing the internet, connecting each web site (heart) to the web (the kingdom within).
From this point on the High Priestess is never mentioned alone again. However, we spiritually evolve by uniting the self-conscious, as well as both sub-consciousnesses. This is mainly achieved through the development of both inductive and deductive reasoning, which leads me to the next card. First, let us consider the Empress’ placement in the Cube of Space.
David Allen Hulse connects the Empress with the path to sainthood, which he relates is the “most difficult” road to travel. Not surprisingly, individuals who have spent many lifetimes learning the Mysteries choose to return to help Humanity. Like the Buddha and all of us, their task is made that more difficult in that they have no memory of the lessons they have painstakingly learned. The Empress presides over the Eastern face and this path denotes supreme love and compassion.
Paul Foster Case has an interesting take on the meaning of deduction. He says it takes the “original” proposition and dissects it into numerous “consequences or applications.” Something else Mr. Foster Case points out is that practical occultists viewed the heart as subconscious. Voicing a truism most mothers would agree with, he relates that the Empress or Venus is “the mother of ideas.” Using her deductive powers she dissects the “seed ideas” arising from the Magician or self-conscious, employing both Creative Imagination and Cosmic memory.
According to Paul Foster Case, the Empress’s deductive powers are “practically perfect.” I found this particularly interesting because of her consort the Emperor representing both inductive and deductive reasoning, which leads us to the next card.
In the card, the figure of the Emperor conjures up images of a Creator Greek god like Zeus, but in the roman pantheon, Zeus was not Mars, he was Jupiter. It is in the element that Mars and Jupiter represent that this dilemma is solved. Both Jupiter and Mars are of the Fire element, but whereas Mars is on the Pillar of Severity, Jupiter is on the Pillar of Mercy. In this way, the Kabbalists were saying that the Creator incorporated both judgment and mercy. Also, because they both represent the element fire and as the scientific consensus is that creation began in fire, it seems appropriate to assign the active side of the Creator of the universe to the Emperor and both Jupiter and Mars.
Seeing Daphna relate that the two Heh’s in Yod Heh Vav Heh represent two types of reasoning, inductive and deductive, made me wonder what the difference was. In a nutshell, according to Webster’s Dictionary, inductive reasoning is taking in from observation of the exterior, whereas, deductive is dissecting that information within to ascertain a conclusion. In other words from an evolutionary perspective, the two aspects of Reason united is of both the self-conscious and subconscious.
At first, I had wondered why in my vision the Emperor was placed in Chesed on the Tree of Reason. After all, Chesed represents Jupiter in the traditional Tree of Life. Apart from its association with Reason, again Dion Fortune’s book provided a deeper answer, when she related that Chesed was linked to Geburah as both the 4th and 5th Sephirot represented two aspects of the Creator. She described Chesed as representing the “metabolism of the abstract elements into complex forms;” Whereas, Geburah is the destruction (a more appropriate term would be transmutation) or breakdown of forms to release the energy for a new creation. I realized that this was the reason why card 16 - The Tower, which represents the Sacred planet Mars was assigned to Geburah. Moreover, the symbol for Jupiter in Astrology is . In addition, The Emperor’s secret number is fourteen. Card fourteen is Temperance that represents the sun-sign Sagittarius, which is ruled by Jupiter. Remembering that the Vedic scriptures of the Hindus divided the Creator into three, Shiva (destroyer), Vishnu (preserver) and Brahma (creator) can also help explain the placement of the Emperor and the Tower on the Tree of Reason. Although these are rudimentary terms, from a Hindu perspective, the Emperor would represent Vishnu, the constructive force of the Universe and The Tower would represent Shiva, the destructive side of the Universe. Brahma would of course represent the overall Creator. For me, the Emperor’s position on the Tree of Reason in the fourth Sephirot Chesed or Mercy indicates he is both the Ancient of Days and the Supreme Nous or Reason. Still, the most important message was as both of these Sephirot fall in the Creative Plane on the Tree of Life, at the macrocosmic level, the Emperor represents two Sephirot, Geburah or Severity and Chesed or Mercy.
When I was given the name Tree of Reason, I had not thought much about it, but I realized I was supposed to understand a deeper message behind the title. However, it was not until watching The Day After Tomorrow on TV, while I was writing Spiritual Evolution that I was led to discover the deeper meaning. In the movie, the characters are gathering books in a library to burn to keep warm. When a librarian sits down clasping a large book to his chest, he is asked why he was holding on to the book. He replies that it is the Guttenberg Bible and that it represents the Age of Reason. To be honest, I did not have a clue when the Age of Reason was, so I researched it on the web and learned that although it is mostly associated from 1600 to 1699, it is also associated with the Renaissance – or from 1400 to 1599 and the Age of Enlightenment, which was from 1700 to 1799. Pondering on the Renaissance I saw a six-pointed star and was then reminded of the astrological phenomenon called a Grand Sextile. This is the technical term for when six planets align in such a way to form a six-pointed star or a Star of David. Although this happens regularly, and can be a visual confirmation of the existence of Divine forces, there are times when a Grand Sextile demarks a shift in consciousness. Such a time occurred during the Renaissance, which as well as a Grand Sextile, observed an extremely rare conjunction of seven planets.
In our role as the traveler, we encounter the Emperor twice on the path around the Cube of Space. First while traversing the Northern Face and then for a second time, not as novice, but as a teacher seeking students while navigating the Eastern Face.
The Emperor is one of the cards that Paul Foster Case’ B.O.T.A. deck’s version differs a great deal from the Rider-Waite deck. This is primarily because in Case’s deck the figure is not seated on a throne, but rather awkwardly perched on a stone cube. We only see two sides of the cube the Emperor perches on; one side has a ram’s head, which David Allen Hulse explains signifies the Western Face on the Cube, while the other side represents the Northern Face. Both the Eastern and the Southern Faces are obscured from view. He relates the reason is to show that the Emperor is there to bar the way from anyone slipping into the Eastern face until they have traversed all the lessons of the Northern and Southern Faces. We see this role symbolized by the golden rod in the form of an ankh in his right hand. Interestingly, as Daphna relates this symbol is also in the right hand of the Emperor in the Rider-Waite deck, only she calls it a scepter and says it represents the Empress. According to Mr. Hulse, the golden rod depicts the emperor’s careful search for that “one in ten million” advanced soul who with their tireless efforts through countless lives has intuitively, without the help of a teacher garnished the knowledge to bypass the Southern mystery school completely and pass onto the Eastern Face. In this first encounter with the Emperor, the Western Face is open to those who cannot continue in their present incarnation and need to return to spirit through Death.
As a teacher, we also gain perspective of the Emperor’s role from the globe in his left hand, which as we know is also featured in the Rider-Waite version. With respect to the Cube of Space, Mr. Hulse relates the cross on top of the globe signifies the “crossroads” where the traveler must choose the Empress’s path of a saint or the path to “Godhead.” We will discuss the latter later.
If we consider the position of the Emperor in the Tarot Tableau in relation to the Cube of Space, we can see how the two decks support one another. As we look at the Tableau, the Empress is on the Emperor’s right, as this is East, we know he is facing North, which would make West to his left. So this additional information adds another level to the symbol and shows how in both versions, the scepter is used to determine who is ready to jump ahead to discover the Emperor’s consort, the Empress’ Mysteries, while the globe or crystal sphere signifies the choice of which path to take.
Adding to the interpretation Paul Foster Case saw the Emperor’s symbol of the window as literally a “wind-door”, explaining that if we think of light as knowledge and air as spirit, then a wind-door could be viewed as allowing both knowledge and spirit into ourselves. Another interesting point Mr. Foster Case makes concerns the type of intelligence the Emperor represents. Evidently, Constituting Intelligence unites imagination and creative thought with the obliteration of error. I will return to this subject in the Mars card, but for now, we will move onto the Hierophant.
As stated, my Spiritual Evolution vision began with an overview of the traditional Kabbalistic Tree of Life, before it zoomed into the 10th Sephirot Malkuth or Kingdom at the base of the tree. This is the only Sephirot in the material or Earth plane, known as Assiah. To recap: in the first stage of my vision three trees appeared within Malkuth, one black, one white and one gray and as I watched, the three trees merged and then dissolved into a six-pointed star. Below is Craig’s depiction of what I saw to give you a visual.
Looking at the trees and star, I was given to understand that each of the three trees had a title, with the gray tree representing the Tree of Knowledge, while the one white represented the Tree of Life. With the latter’s designation, it was no surprise to learn the black tree represented the Tree of Death. Originally, it was natural to assign the black tree to the mysterious Qliphoth, a negative aspect of the Tree of Life, which Dion Fortune explains was only used by people engaged in ritual magic. Usually, this was black magic and generally not beneficial to all concerned. However, when I learned that both the black Tree of Death and the gray Tree of Knowledge represented the Qliphoth I knew it was not as cut and dried or black and white as I first thought.
It was my understanding that the white Tree of Life archetypally represented Humanity’s progress through history, while the Qliphoth simply represented something we are all struggling with, imbalance that revealed the most. Ms. Fortune advised thinking of the Qliphoth as merely “unbalanced and destructive stations of the Sephirot.” This reversed side of the Sephirot was the result of the extra energy generated by the Life-Principle, humans, as we moved down the tree. She gives the example of excess energy generated in Tiphareth causing unbalanced love, which could easily develop into fanaticism. The Qliphoth’s imbalance only became an issue in the active Plane of Assiah or the material Earth Plane, because of black magicians. However, like so many other things in this world, the polar opposites of good and evil in respect to the Sephirot and Qliphoth are not so clear. This is because even the unbalanced energy could be used for either beneficial or malevolent purposes. In every case, how these forces are used is subject to the intent of the user, which is why the Tarot and the Mysteries emphasize balance in all things.
Nevertheless, Spiritual Evolution is always dynamic and what was relevant in the early 20th century when Ms. Fortune was alive and what is relevant today in the 21st millennium are two completely different things. I will explain later how the change came about, but for now, I will discuss the deeper meaning for three trees in the first stage of my vision. Surprisingly, they represent several concepts. These are, the three Greek terms for Love: eros, philo, and agape, the Gnostic division of Humanity, and the archetypes of the Tarot.
With regard to the Gnostics, these early Christians divided the Human Race into three categories, the hylics, psychics, and pneumatics. As many of you may be unfamiliar with Gnostic teachings, let me try to make the terms more understandable. These expressions are taken from Greek words that best represented the nature of the three groups. Gnostic hylics were also known as somatics, which helps us to understand what the Gnostics meant by this group. Hylic, which is taken from the Greek hylē, translates directly as matter and somatic taken from the word sōma, is Greek for body. Therefore, hylics were the most materialistic members of the Human Race. The next group psychics should not be associated with its modern meaning “fortuneteller.” In Gnostic terminology psychic is taken from the word psychikos or psychē, which is Greek for the soul. It also refers to mental or intellectual, meaning these individuals were more often driven by mental impressions. Our last group, the pneumatics is sometimes referred to as “spirituals” because the name is derived from the word pneuma, which is Greek for spirit or breath.
Like many people, the Gnostics believed that the Life-Principle goes through three stages before becoming human: Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal. Therefore, the Gnostic concept of the Tripartition of Humanity was in terms of consciousness. This is best seen as a new soul incarnating in human form for the first time, before this, they only possessed an animal soul. When the animal soul is ready to evolve into a human soul, naturally it carries the lowest vibration, which the Gnostics termed as hylic. A good sign for evolution was that the Gnostics saw Humankind made up predominantly of psychics, which implied that the new Soul quickly advanced to the psychic level. They believed the remainder was divided between a small portion of pneumatics and a small portion of hylics. For the Gnostics, the hylics were those people who had no light or goodness within them. These individuals exhibited greed and selfishness in the extreme. However, they only appeared to have no light or divine spark within them because the light was dormant and these individuals being new souls were unevolved spiritually speaking. The Gnostics also believed some psychics degenerated into hylics by making a conscious choice to move towards the dark side. As for the small portion of pneumatics at the other end of the spectrum, they were wholly light and love. Today pneumatics would be referred to as saints in modern terminology.
To demonstrate the effects of the Gnostic Tripartition, I will use the scenario of an individual finding a wallet full of money on the sidewalk. The hylic would keep the wallet without a second thought; the psychic may or may not keep it, but would at least think about handing it in to the police, whereas the pneumatic would not hesitate to hand the wallet in.
As the population increases so do the number of new Souls, consequently, so does the ratio between each division change. The location these new Souls incarnate geographically can be identified by their effect on the energy consciousness of that area. For instance, large numbers of people demonstrating extreme cruelty such as genocide would indicate the presence of a large percentage of new Souls/hylics. Conversely, in places or times where individuals display acts of compassion and bravery, such as the brave individuals that risked their lives to help slaves escape is evidence of the pneumatic presence. It is important to remember there will always be a considerably larger percentage of psychics in any place or time than the other two divisions combined. As new Souls progress through life many of them will encounter pneumatics that may help them advance to the psychic level. This results in the collective consciousness changing and thereby increases the percentage of the psychic division even more.
Researching the difference between the three Greek forms of Love, I discovered eros represents physical desire or love, philo represents intellectual or mental love. An example would be philosophers, which means lovers (philo) of wisdom (sophiā). Finally, agape represents selfless love. Adding this definition to the three trees and three Gnostic divisions, they would array thus. Hylics and eros would align with the black Tree of Death. Pneumatics, agape and the white Tree of Life would also fit together. From this perspective, the psychics, philo and the gray Tree of Knowledge would appear to align perfectly together.
Irrespective of the connection between the aforementioned, it was reading Eliphas Levi’s The History of Magic barely a week after my vision that revealed the most. First, I should state that Levi is writing from the perspective of supporting Catholicism. Albeit, the title is deceiving, because rather than discussing the art of conjuring or incantations and spells, Levi endeavored to discuss the difference between sorcery or black magic and the Mysteries. As with everything else we have been led to, we read Levi’s book with an open mind. Both Craig and I were amazed to find that Levi related that the “Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden had become the Tree of Death.” He also connected the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, by saying that the two trees “incorporated together after such a manner that they formed but a single tree.” This he explained as the two trees signifying the “harmony of science and religion in the transcendental Kabbalah.”
It was reading Eliphas Levi’s History of Magic that made me realize the gray tree emerges from the balancing point between the two extremes of white and black. Archetypally, another way of looking at the three trees is as the first three aspects of consciousness. The psychic and philo tree can be seen to stand for the self-conscious, represented by the Magician. In this way, the pneumatic and agape tree embodies the universal subconscious, represented by the High Priestess and the hylic and eros tree symbolizes the individual subconscious, or the Empress. At first this information surprised me, as the ego is associated with the Magician. However, I came to understand that it has to do with the different levels of Sophia or Wisdom. Consequently, at this level, Sophia as Venus or the Empress represents the black or hylic tree.
Nonetheless, as the archetypes of the Tarot are multileveled, the Empress also represents the development of the entire conscious human being or the union of the self-conscious (Magician) and the universal subconscious (High Priestess). The deeper message is as history has shown us, at first the Human Race was driven purely by the physical world i.e., desire and physical gratification. That is why the Empress or individual subconscious, our creative imagination represents Venus and the element earth.
All this is well and good and helps us to understand another level of the archetypes and Gnosticism, but the Hierophant represents the Higher Self, so why connect my vision’s first stage with this card? The answer is because, as well as connecting the three trees to the Gnostic Tripartition and the three Greek terms for Love, I was also given to understand that the trees represented three different levels of the Higher Self.
Accordingly, the Hierophant, which Daphna identifies as the Higher Self is the first level and equates to eros. Interestingly, two cards represent the second level of the Higher Self, equating to philo, card 6 - the Lovers and card 19 - the Sun. Card 7 - the Chariot, and the charioteer symbolizing the mature Christ, represents the third level of the Higher Self, equating to the highest form of love, agape.
There is another message in the latter three cards, 6, 19, and 7 through two other archetypes, Osiris and Horus. Osiris could be seen as representing both the angel and charioteer, and we could see Horus as the child riding the horse. The message all three cards are relating is that Osiris, the disincarnate “angel” and man “charioteer” has united with Horus the “child.”
The Hierophant’s placement in Netzach on the Tree of Reason confirmed it was the first level of the Higher Self. Especially when combined with Daphna’s information that the Hierophant shows how the two aspects of the subconscious, the High Priestess and the Empress learn to listen to the Higher Self. Supporting this is the color, sun-sign and symbol assigned to the Hierophant. First, the sun-sign assigned is Taurus, whose symbol is the bull. Remember the meaning of the Hebrew letter Aleph assigned to the Fool (Spiritual Soul) is the ox. Daphna relates an ox is a domesticated bull that cooperates with humanity, whereas the bull epitomizes self-will or stubbornness. Therefore, as she says, humanity’s primary purpose is to tame the will.
In the Cube of Space the Hierophant’s direction Southeast is the first phase in the Eastern Face. Here the teacher advances to the master imparting to the students the Mysteries that we all seek. Illumination from the East is the prize every seeker pursues in initiation. An interesting detail in the symbology that is exact in both versions of the Hierophant are the crossed keys at the feet of the seated figure, only in the B. O. T. A. deck, one is silver and one is gold. Mr. Hulse describes the symbol as representing the keys to two doors; the “golden key” denotes the access to the Divine Realm or the Above, whereas the “silver key” leads back to the Western Face.
Paul Foster Case agrees with Daphna on the interpretation of the Hierophant. He equates the Hebrew letter Vav or Vau to the English word “and.” Interestingly, Mr. Foster Case connects the cards message to Jesus, by relating when Jesus used the phrase “Let him with ears to hear...,” he was referring to the inner voice the Hierophant represents. Returning to his mystical roots, Mr. Foster Case informed us that this inner voice is giving “verbal form to the vision of the Fool.” Another point he made was the card’s direction Southeast indicated a “blending of solar and Venusian qualities.” I was most interested to learn that the designation Hierophant means “revealer of sacred things.” Although I should not have been surprised as the Hierophant was the principal officiate in the Eleusinian Mysteries.
In the Lovers Daphna tells us it is the individual subconscious, or the Empress who is the one listening to the angel, while the self-conscious, or the Magician seems distracted by her. How can that be? Did she not say the Magician had become the Hierophant teaching the two aspects of the subconscious? So far I had deduced that the emergence of the Higher Self or the Hierophant is when a person unites both aspects of the subconscious, the universal and individual together with reason and the self-conscious. Still, even though the Higher Self has begun to emerge, the ego, the conscious aspect of the false self and the subconscious aspect, what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain-body are still present at this time. This is where the teachings on the Sacred Marriage or Union came in. It will take the union of the self-conscious, (the Magician) and the individual subconscious (the Empress) to deal with the ego/pain-body. However, the Magician, like the Higher Self has three aspects, or levels, Divine Will, lower will or ego and Intellect. The aspect of the Magician that joins with the universal subconscious or the High Priestess is the Intellect, which results in the development of Creative Imagination or the Empress. So as I said, Sophia has now become Venus immersed in the Soul Plane in order to transmute the elements. Nonetheless, the key to the importance of the Empress in this card for me is in that she represents Creative Imagination.
At the emergence of the first level of the Higher Self or the Hierophant we have the first opportunity to begin the transmutation of Sophia’s emotions. This is because the Higher Self is the source of all emotion. I know that sounds like a contradiction, but let me share with you how it was explained to me in a vision. The vision was in the form of an analogy. First I saw the Higher Self as the tiny spring at the head of a river. Then as the clear stream flowed down it divided into two streams, becoming a fork in the river. One stream remained clear flowing quickly. The other stream became polluted and cloudy and slowed down. I understand this to mean that the original spring is the Higher Self, which originates within the Spirit, which knows only Love, Joy and Compassion. As the stream (emotions) flows (grows) it becomes divided, dependent on what part or aspect of the consciousness is directing the emotions. The stream that becomes polluted and cloudy is depicting the emotions governed by the pain-body; whereas the stream that remains clear is demonstrating the emotions controlled by our spirits.
After that digression, let us return to my discussion on the Lovers as the second level of the Higher Self. The Kabbalists only recognize three elements, air, fire and water. Earth is considered a compound of the other three elements. Taurus, the sun-sign that represents the Hierophant, which is ruled by Venus, is an earth sign. As I said, the element of earth was made from Sophia’s confusion. However, it is not the Hierophant that begins the transmutation of the elements. The Lovers demonstrate how Sophia as Venus or the Empress, your creative imagination starts the process of transmuting the elements. As Daphna stated, “…it is the subconscious which raises us up to the superhuman level, but it cannot do it unless the self-conscious initiates the process…”
Therefore as Daphna says, the message of the Lovers is that spiritual progress is achieved by consistently using our discernment to choose the high road or narrow path. It is then the Hierophant becomes a more spiritual aspect, or second level of the Higher Self, portrayed by the Angel in the Lovers. The Angel/Hierophant now also represents a higher level of the Spiritual Soul, represented by the Fool. Moreover it is through the Angel/Hierophant who is teaching the creative imagination that we can become aware of the Spiritual Soul/Angel in us and choose to control our personal appetites, instincts and emotions and give reign to the highest aspect, or third level of the Higher Self represented by the Charioteer in card 7 - the Chariot.
What happens if the ego succeeds in diverting our attention to focusing on the physical? In examining the Tarot Tableau, I was struck by the similarity between card 6 - the Lovers and card 15 - the Devil. As Daphna said, it is through The Lovers that we learn to listen to the Angel, but if we do not hear the Angel then we are in danger of hearing the Devil instead. Of course, in both cases we are talking of archetypes.
I was shown this process through a vision of the board game, Snakes & Ladders that I played as a little girl. I understand that there is a similar game in America called Shoots & Ladders. If like Craig you are unfamiliar with either game, let me give you a brief description of Snakes & Ladders. Players take turns in throwing a dice then starting at the bottom far left, coincidentally, the position of the Devil card in the Tarot Tableau; move their piece along a path to the finish. Along the way the players encounter snakes and ladders. If a player lands on a square where the head of a snake is, they have to slide their piece down the snake’s body to its tail, losing ground on the path. On the other hand if a player lands on a square with the bottom of a ladder then they climb it to the top, advancing along the path. In my vision I saw the Tarot tableau with snakes and ladders being superimposed on it, only my “board” did not fit with my concept of the board game, Snakes & Ladders. There were several anomalies, such as ladders defying gravity by going downwards between cards 6 - the Lovers and 19 - the Sun, and cards 14 - Temperance and 21 - the World, and horizontal ladders running between cards 7 - the Chariot and 1 - the Magician, and between cards 15 - the Devil and 21 - the World. (If you are wondering how I knew which direction the ladder went, each ladder was wider at the bottom.) The apparent reversal of the ladders really baffled me, until I learned I was having a problem because I was looking at the Tarot Tableau from only two planes, vertical and horizontal, and evolution is always multi-planed. In other words what appears up and down in a two-dimensional world can appear to be from down to up, side to side or out to in from another perspective.
Daphna gives us a deeper message by connecting the Lovers with the High Priestess. She tells us the secret value of the Hebrew letter Zain, assigned to the Lovers is sixteen is the same as the secret value for the letter Gimel, or the High Priestess. In other words although the figures in the Lovers are the Magician and the Empress, because of the secret value of Zain, the High Priestess is also represented. On the macrocosmic level (universal) this detail connecting the High Priestess and the Lovers is alluding to the angel in the Lovers as the Holy Ghost.
However, it is on the microcosmic level (individual) that we see the Lovers’ true value, because they literally hold the secret of the beginning of Spiritual Evolution. The message began in the previous card, the Hierophant, (Level one of the Higher Self) which Daphna equates to the Higher Self and intuition. As she says, the Lovers represent Disposing Intelligence and some of the synonyms for dispose are arrange, order, assemble etc. Alternatively, the Devil represents Renewing Intelligence, which she explains is a form of temptation, “that which tempts you to use your body wrongly opens the door, when you use it rightly to True Wisdom.”
I see the above information as saying, with the emergence of the first level of the Higher Self; we have access to all the emotions and must choose to listen to the angel or the devil. If we avoid pain and choose pleasure then we fall under the control of what Daphna refers to as Saint Paul’s “natural man.” On the other hand if we face our demons, so to speak, then we spiritually evolve. It is then that the angel joins its twin the infant Christ consciousness to awaken the Spark of God.
However, the above is only one of the secrets of the Lovers. We can discover an even deeper secret in the Lovers or the 2nd level of the Higher Self through the Hebrew letter Zain and the sun-sign assigned to the card, Gemini. Zain means sword and the sun-sign Gemini is ruled by Mercury, which represents the Magician. Both cards represent the mental plane. Interestingly, in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot the suit of Swords stands for the element air. This is the key to the start of Spiritual Evolution and the most valuable secret of the Lovers. Looking at the suit of Swords, I was struck by the imagery of the cards. Most of the suit depicts mental anguish and emotional pain and this is vital information. It is through the color of the cards that we can understand the importance. In general the suit consists of yellow and blue, which means that the cards predominantly represent both emotions and the mind. As I said, one of the most important things I learned was that the key to the Mysteries is hidden in the English language. It is interesting that we associate the intellect to sharpness and describe a critical person as sharp-tongued. We even say that we have been “cut to the quick.” when we are emotionally wounded.
As for placing the Lovers in Tiphareth on the Tree of Reason in my Spiritual Evolution vision, initially it did not make sense. I thought that following traditional thought, the sixth Sephirot should be allocated to the sixth Hebrew letter - Vav assigned to the Hierophant, which is the 1st level of the Higher Self. Nonetheless, as we can see it was card 6 - the Lovers. It was through the disciplines of astrology, color and musical note that I saw the reason for placing the Lovers in Tiphareth. The Lovers or 2nd level of Higher Self is strongly connected to card 19 - the Sun, representing the Christ Consciousness, through its color, orange and the note D-natural. As the Sun is the traditional planet assigned to Tiphareth, the Lovers do fit. Another curious coincidence is that we get vitamin D from the Sun.
In our journey around the Cube of Space, we encounter the Lovers when we choose the “Path to Godhead.” Since the Lovers’ direction is East Above it connects the Eastern Face with the Above Face. Paul Foster Case says that this indicates our creative imagination, or the individual subconscious cooperates with our self-conscious employing the Lovers acumen “acute discrimination.” As disposing intelligence, literally means “to place apart, to arrange,” He believes a person’s nature can be “modified by the right discrimination.” According to Mr. Foster Case in old exoteric versions of the Tarot there were three archetypes in the card, a young man and woman standing before a regal woman wearing a crown. “Qabalists” viewed these archetypes as the “Son” and his “Bride” united with the “Mother or Queen.” Another interesting point he made was that the Ancient teachings conveyed that as well as deriving our life force from the Sun, the solar body could also provide our “potential consciousness.” He also agreed with Daphna designating the angel in the card as Raphael, representing the super-consciousness, only he also believed it represented the Fool.
In a previous commentary I mentioned how I was moved to connect the Higher Self with the three Greek terms, eros, philo, and agape for Love, the three Gnostic terms for the division of Humanity, hylics, psychics, and pneumatics, and four Cards. To reiterate, these connected thus: card 5 – the Hierophant, equating to the first level of the Higher Self, representing eros and hylics. Card 6 - the Lovers, (together with card 19 - the Sun, to be discussed later) equating to the second level, and representing philo and the Gnostic psychics. However, it is the third level of the Higher Self that interests us here, because it equates to the charioteer in the Chariot. Not surprising this third level, as I said represents the mature Christ, not to mention the highest form of Love, agape and the purest Gnostic group, pneumatics.
In The Holistic Tarot, Benebell Wen has some interesting snippets concerning the Chariot. Keeping in mind that the author is writing from the perspective of using the Tarot cards in readings, some of her insights are remarkable. For instance, she says the willpower that the card represents “comes from the divine” and that these influences are not only “positive” and “spiritual in nature”, but they are the “momentum” for the person seeking answers in the reading. In addition, the author sees an affinity with the Knights Templar in the imagery of the charioteer. She suggests that he carries with him “the Holy Grail” or some “divine secret or mystical knowledge.”
Considering what the Chariot symbolically represents, I was very hopeful when I learned that America has astrological connections with the card’s sun sign, Cancer. In my thesis on tracking the influence of the positive and negative forces through the last 2000 years, I came across an inspired author, David Ovason whose book Secret Architecture of Our Nation’s Capital explained why the Chariot and third level of the Higher Self, or the Christ is connected with this beautiful, but conflicted country.
It was not a stretch for me in connecting the astrological energies of Cancer with the US. After all, the longest day or Midsummers Day is the first day of this sign. However, what did surprise me was that Mr. Ovason was able to answer a question that had puzzled me for some time. Before I came to the US, I was often confused by the two Washingtons in America. At the time I was not clear that one Washington was a state. Nonetheless, learning that it concerned the sun-sign Cancer revealed the spiritual plan behind it. Enlarging the sigil for the sun-sign Cancer and laying it over a map of the US, the bottom circle on the right could represent Washington D.C., and then the upper circle on the left would represent Washington State. If you join the two tails, so to speak then they form a circle, linking both Washingtons and uniting them.
David Ovason relates that hermeticists viewed Cancer as representing “a sort of gateway between higher and lower worlds.” In this way Cancer facilitates a soul’s descent into the physical plane. He believes the concept of Cancer as a midway “point between two worlds” has always held water with esotericists and has been maintained in the “symbolism of art.” As the Tarot is the quintessential example of this, his insights were very interesting to me. Mr. Ovason tells us the sigil for Cancer in itself depicts the idea of the macrocosm (universal) mirroring the microcosm (individual), only he points out that there is a “space between” the two elements of the sun sign which dates back two millennia.
In view of Cancer acting as a midway “point”, it is interesting to read a comment in E. Valentia Straiton’s book The Celestial Ship of the North. Evidently, Berosos (an ancient historian) “taught that when all the planets should coincide in the constellation Cancer, the planets being so placed that a straight line could pass directly through their orbs, all earthly things would be consumed.” Berosos believed that the “Great cycle” would end in Cancer by ﬁre.
In respect to my vision, as I said card 6 - the Lovers placement in Tiphareth on the Tree of Reason presented a dilemma to my understanding. This was repeated in the card assigned to Tiphareth in the Tree of Truth, because assigning it to card 7 - the Chariot did not make sense to me either. However, as always once I examined it through other disciplines, comparing the two cards I understood. To recap Tiphareth in the Tree of Reason first, the Lovers represent the number 6, the planet Mercury, sun-sign Gemini, color orange, Hebrew letter Zain, direction East-Above, note D-natural, the two symbols sword and twins, and the element Air. On the other hand, the Chariot in the Tree of Truth represents the number 7, the planet Moon, sun-sign Cancer, color orange-yellow, Hebrew letter Cheth, direction East-Below, note D- sharp, the two symbols crab and fence, and the element Water. At first the only connection I could see in the cards was that they were next to each other in the Tarot Tableau. Nonetheless, when I looked deeper, I saw that the note D connected them both to the color orange; only the Chariot was orange-yellow. This was the clue, yellow represents the element air and the planet Mercury (Magician) and orange represents both Gemini or card 6 - the Lovers and card 19 - the Sun. As stated, the Sun is the planet traditionally assigned to Tiphareth. Therefore, on a spiritual level, placing the Chariot in Tiphareth on the Tree of Truth signified the balancing of the Sun and the Moon, or the masculine and feminine.
Considering the connection of card 7 - the Chariot to card 5 - the Hierophant through the three levels of the Higher Self; it was interesting to see the traveler encounter the Chariot immediately after the Hierophant, but before the Lovers in the Cube of Space. Even more poignant was what David Allen Hulse has to say about what the charioteer represents. This archetype represents the traveler’s progression to a “fully self-realized” educator connected to the Higher Self. Agreeing with Daphna he also relates the charioteer/traveler is in “control of the lower self.” Again, the differences in the two decks can end up supporting different interpretations. In Mr. Foster Case’s B.O.T.A. deck the charioteer has a crown of three five-pointed stars on his head. Mr. Hulse comments on the relevance of the symbology saying that the three five-pointed stars represent “three stages” in the spiritual growth of the teacher. For me this was reminiscent of the three levels of the Higher Self, but it could be just a coincidence of course.
Paul Foster Case, offers an interesting explanation on card 7 - the Chariot’s form of intelligence, the house of influence, saying it is “literally, consciousness of that which is the abode of inflowing power.” He also saw the Chariot’s position on the Cube, East Below as joining the Moon or High Priestess with Venus or the Empress. Adding that this connection intimated the “mental activities” denoted by the symbols in the Chariot occur within our subconscious. In other words, thoughts and speech originate from the subconscious.
Jupiter is exalted in Cancer, which is portrayed by the Canopy of stars that appears in both versions. Mr. Foster Case sums up the importance of the Chariot by asserting the archetype represents our authentic self. I cannot think of a better way to describe the super or Christ-consciousness in us.
Evidently, Eliphas Levi suggested replacing the horses with sphinxes. Mr. Foster Case felt this was to intimate the connection of energy between human beings and the animal kingdom. Regardless, the white sphinx equates to Mercy, while the black sphinx equates to Severity. As both of these are the names of the pillars on the Tree of Life, we are once again confronted with how the different archetypes and images complement one another. Explaining the consciousness behind the card of Receptivity-Will, Mr. Foster Case says, “Complete receptivity is the secret of the most powerful manifestations of will. Receptivity may be increased by the use of (specific) language.” Perhaps this is why the Chariot represents speech.
Having completed the first row of the tarot Tableau, with the 7 Principles of Consciousness, it is time to move onto the second row.