SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON STRENGTH — 8
The RT group relates, card 8 - Strength starts the Second Row of the Tarot Tableau. In evolution these cards archetypally represent the next level in our spiritual development, hence the title:
Identifying the woman in card 8 - Strength as the transformed Empress, the RT group’s interpretation of Strength at the macrocosmic level revealed the Empress’ connection to Daath at the microcosmic or individual level. Archetypally, this was portrayed in my Snakes & Ladders board game that was superimposed over the Tarot Tableau.
As stated, in my vision, the ladder running horizontally between card 7 – the Chariot and card 1 – the Magician was depicting the integration of the consciousness. This means we need to unite our self-conscious (Magician), universal sub-conscious (High Priestess), individual sub-conscious (Empress), and our Reason (Emperor). It also means incorporating all 3 levels of the Higher Self (1st-Hierophant), (2nd-Lovers & Sun) and (3rd-Chariot). To this we need to add the Spiritual Soul (Fool). When all eight elements of the human consciousness are integrated, the human will transforms into the Divine Will, or the Magician at the highest level. The process of transforming the human will into the Divine Will, as well as integrating the ego, also dissolves or annihilates the pain-body, which is key to Spiritual Evolution
Card 1 - the Magician, as the Divine Will, is what transforms the heart, before activating the neutral feminine/passive aspect of The Holy Spirit within it. However, as the RT group says, when the heart is transformed it becomes a volitional organ, i.e., masculine, or active. What all this is revealing is when the human being fully integrates the ego and transforms the heart, the axiom “As above so below” becomes the reality. Another level is revealed through the Gnostic archetypes. It concerns The Christ being the neutral masculine/active side, while The Holy Spirit is the neutral feminine/passive side, both represent the Divine Spirit. This is the “above” or the macrocosm, whereas The “below” or microcosm is reflected in the human being when he or she activates The Holy Spirit through transforming their heart.
In my Spiritual Evolution vision, card 8 - Strength appears as the eighth Sephirot, Hod on the Tree of Truth. As stated, card 1 - the Magician held that position in the Tree of Reason. Comparing the details for both cards, it took a while to see the connection. This is because Strength represents the number 8 - our Sun, sun-sign Leo, color yellow, Hebrew letter Teth, direction North-Above, note E-natural, the symbols Serpent and lion, and the element Fire. The biggest obstacle in seeing the connection was the fact Strength represents the element Fire and Hod represents Mercury, which is clearly associated with the element Air. To reiterate, the Magician’s details, the number 1, Mercury, color yellow, Hebrew letter Beth, direction Above, note E-natural, the symbol house, and the element Air. Forgetting the contradiction with the element the two cards represent, I focused on the fact there were three obvious connections musical note, color and direction. Even so, the greatest resemblance between the cards was the symbol of infinity over the heads of the figures. As this confirmed what I had already determined through the RT group’s insights, this meant that archetypally these two cards represent Divine Will or the highest aspect of the Magician and the highest aspect of the Empress as the Transformed Heart.
Benebell Wen’s book, The Holistic Tarot, has some fascinating insights into the imagery in card 8 - Strength. In card 7 - the Chariot she identified the charioteer as in possession of some secret knowledge. Acknowledging that the roses in the Magician’s garden concern “divine knowledge of the world around him”, she relates that the archetype in Strength reflects divine knowledge of the self. Despite the obvious feminine characteristics of the card, the author thought that it was dominated with “Yang” or masculine/active energy.
Ms. Wen’s comments became even more interesting when I examined card 8 concerning our spiritual journey around the Cube of Space. Like many of the cards, the traveler encounters the Strength card on more than one occasion. The first time it is on the second phase of our journey in the North Face. Card 8 - Strength is the destination for the rest of the ten million who the Emperor did not permit to pass through him to the Eastern Face. This phase involves the same kind of personal transformation as the RT group depicted. At this time in the journey all the work done by the traveler is accomplished through self-discipline and determination without the aid of a spiritual teacher.
Our second encounter with Strength on our journey around the Cube occurs after we have chosen the Path to Godhead. I was curious to discover from David Allen Hulse that at this phase in the journey Strength represents the “element earth.” Nonetheless, mirroring the RT group’s designation of the Transformed Heart, not to mention my vision’s interpretation of the Holy Spirit, at this level Strength is all about the power of Love.
To sum up then, the key is in the Holy Spirit being within the heart. Naturally unconditional love would play a big part in the transformation. What was not so clear until my journey was that unconditional love leads to a very deep understanding of the self in how we think. This occurs when the human will transforms into the Divine Will and as I said the complete integration of all parts of the consciousness in the human being takes place.
The importance of the above revelation was revealed to me while watching Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles. In the dialogue, the writer has a character refer to the famous words that were inscribed on the front of the Temple of Apollo, “Know Thyself”. I was aware of “Know Thyself” but the character relates that the complete inscription was “Know Thyself and Thou Shall Know All The Mysteries of the Gods and the Universe.” Consequently, the Ancient Wisdom was saying that when the human being becomes aware of how he or she thinks, The Mysteries are revealed.
Nonetheless, we cannot understand the transformation of our self-conscious without the help of the next card, the Hermit.
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE HERMIT — 9
With card 9 - the Hermit representing the destination in both my Spiritual Evolution vision, and the Cube of Space, I knew the card held important knowledge of our spiritual development. However, that knowledge came from understanding that the astrological connection had changed. In every version of the Tarot, the Hermit is assigned to Mercury, making the archetype connect to the Magician. Yet throughout my 20 some year’s investigation the one constant has been the dynamic nature of evolution, both physical and spiritual. In this way, I discovered that the minor planet Chiron now played a huge part in our spiritual development. I wrote about my discovery in our recent book FOR THE CHILDREN. In the book, we touched on the various influences affecting and changing the Human Race throughout history, such as the sexual revolution of the 1970s. It was during this time that the influence of Chiron entered our world. As a result I will use relevant excerpts from the book here:
During the autumn of 1977, an astronomer discovered Chiron, a minor planet or as astronomers designated it, centaur, orbiting between Saturn and Uranus. As it involved our Solar System, its discovery affected astrology. Before the discovery of Chiron, Mercury ruled the two sun-signs Gemini and Virgo. Today Mercury only rules Gemini, but is exalted (reaches its highest point) in Virgo, which is now ruled by Chiron.
In Greek Mythology, Mercury is Hermes and is associated with Aphrodite (Venus). The word hermaphrodite meaning both male and female, reflects this association. This is significant because it brings in the Mystery of Washington D.C. Still, in this case, hermaphrodite refers to the uniting of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine through Chiron and Virgo. Let us explain why we can make such a statement.
We mentioned in the previous chapter that David Ovason’s book THE SECRET ARCHITECTURE OF OUR NATION’S CAPITAL explains how despite the Federal Triangle representing three constellations, Virgo plays the dominant role. Many attribute the inspiration for the Founding Fathers predilection to associating Washington D.C. with the constellation Virgo to the Virgin Mary. However, it is important to note in essence all virgin and mother goddesses represent the same consciousness, the Divine Feminine. As a result, the supreme archetype for the Divine Feminine is the virgin goddess representing the constellation Virgo. Essentially then, by the Founding Fathers putting the nation’s capital under the influence of Virgo and Mercury they were creating a perfect balance of astrological energy between the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine, or the hermaphrodite. Only, this would be unfulfilled until 1977 and the emergence of Chiron.
Interestingly, the decade that Chiron entered our consciousness saw an increase in the popularity of the Tarot. In general, we saw this in an increase of psychics using Tarot cards for readings and fortune telling. Yet, because the original purpose for the 22 cards of the Major Arcana was to conceal the Mysteries of spiritual transformation, the coincidence of the timing of Chiron’s discovery is very telling...
As Mercury ruled two sun-signs, it seemed reasonable to assign Chiron one of them. Therefore, Virgo was the sign most astrologers favored for the minor planet to rule. Nevertheless, as Chiron was designated a centaur, some astrologers wanted to place Chiron as the ruler of Sagittarius, citing it seemed the most appropriate due to Sagittarius’s symbol, the archer, or centaur. Our question was why would ancient astrologers give the sun-sign Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter/Zeus, the king of the gods, the symbol of a centaur? The answer lies in what archetype this particular centaur represents. In Greek mythology, Chiron was a teacher and wounded healer. As an archetype, he signifies the Universal Christ. Accordingly, the ancients portrayed the constellation ruled by Jupiter/Zeus as a centaur because they wanted to say that the true king of the gods was the archetype of the centaur, the Christ. Then one would think the astrologers would assign Chiron to rule Sagittarius, but that was not the case. Instead, as we know Chiron rules the sun-sign Virgo…
The minor planet’s connection to card 9, the Hermit is in the etymology (origin of the word) of Yod and Chiron, meaning hand. As stated, ancient wisdom considered Chiron, as the wounded healer an archetype for the Christ. It is interesting to see the constellation Centaurus, which means the despised or pierced in the second decan for Virgo. (Note: a decan is a third of a sun-sign, approximately ten days.) Reference to “the pierced one” also connects Chiron and Jesus. Jesus was “pierced” by Longinus’ spear and Chiron by an arrow shot by Hercules. Macrocosmically this connects Chiron and therefore the Hermit to the Universal Christ. Nonetheless, its microcosmic connection is the most important, because it links Chiron to the Spirit or divine spark inside a human being. In reference to the Universal Christ, we are not speaking in religious terms but in reference to the consciousness and energy, representing all our hopes and aspirations. In addition, we use the masculine gender only in association to the energy being active.
The Mystery of Washington D.C. and Chiron concern the archetype’s connection to Venus or the Universal Mother, with the caveat that all goddesses represent the Divine Feminine. Curiously, though none of the usual goddesses is able to reveal Chiron’s connection to Virgo. Rather we discover the connection through an entirely obscure female deity featured in a sculpture by Carlo Franzoni, entitled the Car of History. This sculpture is on the Capitol doors leading to the center of the building. What is interesting is that Franzoni created this sculpture in 1819 long before Karl Benz patented the first recognized automobile, “car” in 1886. Another interesting point is that this sculpture sheds light on how informed the Founding Fathers were in the ancient Mysteries when they associated Washington D.C. to Virgo. Still, we are most interested in the artist’s symbology, which brings in the nature of time. So let us review what David Ovason has to say on this amazing sculpture. We used excerpts from his aforementioned book on the Car of History statue in our thesis:
“...It is interesting to note that although Washington D.C. was carefully aligned to Virgo according to David Ovason the first outward evidence of astrology does not appear until 1819. This was in the form of a sculpture by Carlo Franzoni entitled the Car of History featuring the “Muse of History,” Clio. He describes the statue in detail. Apparently, Clio is “standing in a winged chariot being drawn along spiritually; perhaps by its own wings, or perhaps by some invisible agency… Clio rests her left foot on the edge of the chariot, and looks down into the world.” She is “calmly recording in a large book what she sees…The chariot wheel, designed to hold the face of a clock, rests upon a segment of the zodiac, as though to suggest that the Car of History stands outside the ordinary stream of time. This is marked by the “passage of the Sun through the zodiacal signs.”
David Ovason’s connecting Franzoni’s sculpture to a nearby engraving of the Universal Mother Goddess reveals the spiritual relevance, determining the deeper message. The author writes as we addressed in our thesis:
“The woman in the engraving,” also represents Virgo. Reminiscent of the figure Clio in the Car of History, the female figure is situated on the rim of a zodiac. Both figures are representing Virgo in her role of “detaching herself from eternity to descend to the earthly plane.” In Clio’s case in the Car of History, this action involves “turning herself inside out.” Mr. Ovason explains that Clio’s “feet” are positioned on the segment of the zodiac in which Virgo’s opposite sign Pisces is located. Interestingly, Clio’s association with Pisces shows that she engages in a polarity shift in order “to emerge into time from eternity.” Mr. Ovason reveals we see the purpose behind the Car of History through the symbology in the sculpture. The “zodiacal circle represents eternity—that which (like Clio) is free of time: the Virgin herself, along with a number of associated zodiacal signs, has wrenched herself free, and has emerged from the Archetypal world into the material realm.” Ultimately then Mr. Ovason relates that Franzoni’s Clio lives between the two worlds of spirit and matter. She is compelled to observe as objectively as possible all that happens on the earth plane. The “doorway in the Capitol leading towards its center” symbolically reflects all of this information. This doorway symbolically represents “the notion of the center doorway, which penetrates the two worlds and permits ingress from the heavenly into the earthly. It is therefore equated with a door of life.”
Even though the above information may appear convoluted and difficult to follow, the basic premise is that the statue Car of History involves a change in time. What is more, the reference to the doorway or door of life connects to Chiron, because one of the primary symbols for Chiron is door. With the association of Mercury and Virgo, in the discovery of Chiron we have the supreme catalyst for the cause of the shift occurring during the ’70s. Virgo’s association to the Divine Masculine, Chiron, and the Divine Feminine, the virgin changes everything. This is because it concerns the shift in the influence of the Mental Plane. Mercury has always represented the mind, but the mind in terms of logic and rational thinking. With Mercury ruling both Gemini and Virgo, the subliminal message was our thought process was in an irrevocably fixed mode. However, with the emergence of Chiron that changed. Chiron’s orbit dissects both the visible plane of Saturn and the invisible plane of Uranus. Ancient wisdom has it that Uranus represents the higher octave of Mercury, meaning mind-expansion. When we remember that we are in the energy and consciousness of the Age of Aquarius, and Uranus rules Aquarius, we can see how Chiron’s discovery heralded a change in the way we think.
Nevertheless, spiritually Chiron’s manifestation into our reality heralded something else too. Due to it being an archetype for the Universal Christ. Essentially, the discovery of Chiron signaled the descent of the Christ into the lower planes. However, it was not the Christ’s final destination. As once the Christ established a connection in the Astral Plane with the “body of people,” throughout the world destined to assist in the Divine plan, He refined His Being into pure energy and consciousness. This was because He needed to enter the mass consciousness and to do this The Christ required not only a portal, but also a realm to hold His consciousness. The invention of a literal consciousness connection provided that realm. Operating in the background of the mass consciousness this connection permitted the Christ to interact with awakening individuals. We are of course referring to the Internet, which had become a crystalized possibility during the 1970s.
Although I knew that the Internet was a super communication network, until writing the thesis, we did not realize that it was also the earthly representation of the mass consciousness. The Web is literally the manifestation of the Mind-Stuff or mass consciousness and reflects the thoughts and emotions of the Earth’s population.
The invention and development of the Internet, is a perfect example of how the Light patiently works towards its goal. Although the Light inspires and guides individuals, it never coerces or pressures anyone. This has appeared to be a disadvantage, often reflected in the multiple films and TV shows that depict a good force fighting an evil one. However, the Light only appears to be at a disadvantage, because of its goal to empower the Human Race and not manipulate us. As we have repeatedly said, to the Light, freewill is sacrosanct.
In examining the emergence of Chiron into the mass consciousness, we may have a possible reason for why the Baby Boomers seemed to go wild. Chiron’s extremely erratic orbit between Saturn and Uranus energetically reflects what was happening in the world. Saturn signifies limitation, as depicted by the image of Father Time. If we recall, Uranus as the higher octave of Mercury represents expansion, especially on the mental level. When we couple the fact of Chiron dissecting the different planes of Saturn (visible, linear-time) and Uranus (invisible, timelessness) through its orbit, then we can see a potential cause for the distinct shift from the traditional way of thinking. Human beings are stimulated subconsciously through astrology, which we see in horoscopes. Therefore, with an extremely powerful astral influence entering the world, then perhaps people’s impulse during this time of mental transition may not have always been of their instigation. Maybe, the sudden desire to interact with so many partners is an indication of an imperative to find our true spiritual partners…
From David Ovason’s observations of the architecture on the Capitol doors representing moving from eternity to linear time, it would appear that the artist was aware there was to be a shift. Was this evidence of the Light inspiring the sculptor, like the Founding Fathers to leave us clues to find? That is, when we had evolved enough to get “out of the box” of conventional thinking? Chiron represents a door into our future and the Light timed its discovery exactly to our readiness as a species to evolve to the next level.
Concerning my Spiritual Evolution vision, linking card 0 - the Fool to card 9 - the Hermit at first appeared challenging. The only connection I could see was color and direction. Clearly I needed to dig deeper. Eliphas Levi referred to the number nine as “the absolute number.” Furthermore, in the Kabbalistic system the number nine is associated to regeneration. It also indicates a new birth, going forth and voyaging. I cannot see a finer description of the Fool becoming the Hermit. At first, the association of the number nine with the planet Neptune surprised me, however, when I remembered the association of the Spirit with the Hermit, and Sophia or the Holy Spirit/Ghost with the High Priestess and the Empress, I saw the light so to speak. Nonetheless, first I needed to connect the Hermit to both the Fool and Kether. The Hebrew Letter assigned to the Hermit, Yod turned out to be the key.
As we know, the RT group relates that Yod is the nucleus of the Sacred Flame Alphabet. I found it interesting that in a note on Eliphas Levi’s The History of Magic, A.E. Waite said, “In the Sephirotic system one of the allocations makes Chokmah, or Supernal Wisdom, to correspond with the Yod or Tetragrammaton.” (Note: Tetragrammaton comes from the Greek meaning 4 letters and refers to the four letters IHVH, most commonly transliterated as Yahweh.) In the note Waite later related, “However, the apex of Yod does in a sense intimate concerning Kether.”
Levi describes Yod as, “that unique letter from which all other letters were formed.” He also said the Kabbalists believed there were many names for the Supreme Being, with one being AGLA. Evidently, AGLA appeared with Jehovah and Adonai on the sides of a reversed equilateral triangle. Levi equated Jehovah with the Father and formation, Adonai with the Son, and reformation and AGLA with the Holy Spirit and transformation or rather transmutation. As the Holy Spirit is within us, this is key and fully explains Jesus’ statement that the “Kingdom of God is within” us.
Essentially Eliphas Levi said that the word AGLA signified unity. However, he equates the word AGLA as “…comprising hieroglyphically all the mysteries of the Kabbalah.” I will let Levi’s interpretation of AGLA explain its relevance for me. Levi began by relating that Aleph “hieroglyphically” represents the “dogma of Hermes: that which is above analogous to that which is below.” He explains this as being in the makeup of the letter Aleph with “two arms” one pointing to heaven and the other pointing to earth. Levi says the Hebrew letter Gimel, “expresses the triad numerically, and hieroglyphically”, Gimel also “signifies child-birth” and “fruitfulness.” Lamed according to Levi is an “expression of the perfect cycle.” Considered as a hieroglyphic sign, it represents the “circulation of the perpetual movement and the relation of the radius to the circumference.” The second Aleph according to Levi “represents the synthesis.” He summed up the importance of the word AGLA for me by saying, “To pronounce the word AGLA” Kabbalistically is to “pass all tests of initiation and accomplish all works.”
Apparently, in AGLA is the synthesis of all creation, the beginning and end, or the Alpha and Omega. We see this confirmed by associating the word AGLA with both the Hebrew letters and corresponding Tarot cards. Dealing with the Hebrew first AGLA, is composed of an Aleph, Gimel, Lamed and another Aleph. On the surface it represents three cards, 0, 2, and 11, or the Fool, High Priestess, and Justice. Nonetheless, remembering that the Fool becomes the Hermit with the merging of the Tree of Truth and the Tree of Reason into the Tree of Wisdom and Understanding reveals that the Hermit is also connected. Considering card 9 - the Hermit’s Hebrew letter Yod’s importance in the Sacred Flame Alphabet, it is no surprise to see the Hermit representing Spiritual Evolution. As we shall see later, this was also confirmed using color.
Initially, we only knew the Gnostic concept of humanity divided into three or the Tripartition of Humankind. Nevertheless, during the process Craig and I read THE JESUS MYSTERIES: Was The Original Jesus A PAGAN GOD? We first heard of the book while watching a documentary on decoding The DaVinci Code, and in early 2007 we obtained a copy. Both Craig and I found the book well researched and very informative. The authors Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy hypothesize over the historicity of Jesus, because of the great similarities of the Pagan God/Man myth Osiris/Dionysus. As I have already been shown the similarities of all the Christ-like teachers of history, I could relate to the information, however, neither Craig nor I agreed with the authors’ conclusions. Yet, their book did make me realize a great truth. That truth was how the Divine has been guiding humanity throughout time. Even so, the most valuable piece of the puzzle the authors gave me concerned learning that there are four Gnostic levels, not three. This fourth level was for “Those who completely ceased to identify with any level of their separate identity…” Appropriately these “initiates…transformed…into a true ‘Gnostic’ or ‘Knower’.” We will return to this a little later.
Paul Foster Case agreed with the RT group that the Hebrew letter Yod refers to an “open hand.” Alternatively, the Hebrew letter Kaph, assigned to the next card the Wheel of Fortune refers to a “closed hand”
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE — 10
In my Spiritual Evolution vision the last Sephirot on the Tree of Reason was represented by card 10 - the Wheel of Fortune. Due to one of the meanings for Malkuth or Kingdom being Omega or the end of time, this seemed appropriate. The RT group states the primary message from the Wheel of Fortune concerns Evolution and Involution or unfolding and infolding. Therefore the imagery of the wheel is archetypally saying that evolution proceeds in cycles of time. However, the ancient wisdom was that the cycles of Life consist of an unimaginable number of years.
Beneath the Veil everything exists in linear time, but on the Spiritual Planes there is no such thing as past, present, and future, there is only now. For a human being whose life span extends to, at the most a little over a century, it is impossible to conceive of the vast eons of time involved in evolution. To put this in perspective, a manvantara (Hindu term) which translates to a “life of Brahmâ” or the life of the universe, consists of 4,320,000,000 multiplied by 72,000 years.
All over the world there are references to one cycle or another. The eastern civilizations called the cycles “ages” or “yugas” beginning with the Golden or Satya-yuga through the last Black or Kali-yuga. Graham Hancock relates in his brilliant Fingerprints of the Gods that the Indian sacred text, known as the Puranas, have Yugas or four “ages of the earth.” They are Krita Yuga, (48,000 years); Treta Yuga, (36,000 years); Davpara, (24,000 years); and ﬁnally Kali Yuga, (12,000 years). I should state that these are “divine,” not linear years. Another thing that had struck me was, that each age was 12,000 “divine years” less than the previous age, which indicated that the cycles are speeding up.
The last age, or Kali Yuga purportedly began after the death of Krishna around 3,102 B.C.E. I learned that this date was just 12 years before the start of the Mayan Great Cycle, or Long Count in 3,114 B.C.E. With all the hype leading up to 2012, most people were aware of the Mayan’s assertion that the third millennium marked the end of the Mayan Great Cycle. From our excursions to Mexico and South America in 2000, Craig and I became interested in the Mayan teachings. Yet, until meeting our dear friend, Evolutionary Biologist and Mayan expert, Dr. Carl Johan Calleman, we had no idea of the true value of those teachings.
Reading Dr. Calleman’s books introduced us to spirituality in science from the Mayan perspective. His seminal work, The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness was invaluable as he shows how the calendar reveals that evolution has progressed in a sequence of Nine Waves. We were interested to see that instead of the infamous December 21st, 2012, his careful calculations determined the Great Cycle ended a little over a year earlier on October 26th, 2011. This led to me reexamining the 2012 date and contemplating that perhaps identifying this date was the ancient’s way to pinpoint the strongest time in the shift. Anyway, reading the aforementioned book was just the beginning, as it were. Due to our finding this book so enlightening, we were eager to read Carl’s next book in the series, released in 2009. Its provocative title, The Purposeful Universe: How Quantum Theory and Mayan Cosmology Explain the Origin and Evolution of Life lived up to its name. It was mind-blowing. largely because the book provided a scientific interpretation for the Maya’s description of the consummate archetype, the Tree of Life.
Dr. Calleman’s next book, The GLOBAL MIND AND THE RISE OF CIVILIZATION A NOVEL THEORY OF OUR ORIGINS examined the subtle influences on the Human Race throughout our development. Interestingly, one of the primary influences came through symbols, which civilizations have reflected in their buildings. For instance, the eight-sided Great Pyramid of Giza. In the book, Carl scientifically points out our connection through a collective Global Mind and shows how the two hemispheres of the planet, like the two hemispheres of the brain differ completely in their thinking process. Tracking the development of consciousness through each of the Mayan Nine Waves, Carl shows how art and symbols change accordingly. As I have said, the Mysteries have taken several different forms throughout history. All these forms or archetypes are designed to help us wake up from the illusion that everything is real and there is nothing we can do about it. Nonetheless, I am digressing from the topic we are discussing, evolution and involution and in that respect the quintessential form of cycles; The Secret Doctrinewas introduced by Helena Petrova Blavatsky at the end of the 19th century.
(Note: as demonstrated in Cycles of Evolution, we have revised our opinion of the accuracy in The Secret Doctrine due to the scientific data available in the 1800s. Nonetheless, we reprint my original commentary on Madame Blavatsky’s theory, because it reveals my process of discovery over the years.)
The Secret Doctrine presents the ancient belief of the evolution of spirit into matter and back to spirit. Mirroring the RT group’s interpretation of the Wheel of Fortune, this ancient doctrine taught that the Life Principle evolved from spirit through mineral, plant, animal, human, superhuman, angel and back to spirit. Obviously, this process takes a considerable amount of time, but what surprised me the most was where it takes place. Rather than evolving on the Earth, in the Secret Doctrine, Life evolves not only on the Earth, but also on six other planets in our Solar System. Mme. Blavatsky proposed that Life as we know it began on Saturn, before moving onto Jupiter, Mars, the Moon and then the Earth. Even more indicative of cycles, she related that instead of just one each of the seven planets, each planet had 7 versions varying in density, which she called Globes.
In my understanding of this complex doctrine, at each level of evolution the divine spark within the life-form, be it mineral, plant, animal, or human has evolved through 7 Rounds on 7 Globes in each of the previous 4 planets, or as Mme. Blavatsky referred to them, the Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and the Moon’s Planetary Chains. Individually, or at the microcosmic level, Mme. Blavatsky taught that within each Globe there are 7 Root-races and within each Root-race there are 7 sub-races. Uniting the macrocosmic/planetary with the microcosmic/Root-race she believed that the Human Race was halfway through the 5th Root-Race and that we are living on the 4th Globe and in the 4th Round of the Earth Planetary Chain. It helped me to imagine 7 Globes or earths assigned A to G in an imaginary circle. In this way, the “Life Principle,” or that essence that constitutes Life, starts its evolution, by incarnating into the ﬁrst Root-Race with its 7 sub-races on Globe A and overtime has progressed to Globe D, our home.
According to Mme. Blavatsky, within each Planetary Chain, after incarnating in all 7 sub-races of the 7 Root-races on Globe A, the life principle moves on to Globe B, where exactly the same process starts all over. This is repeated on Globes C, D, E, F, and G. When the Life Principle has completed all 7 Root-Races on all 7 Globes a Planetary Round is complete. After all 7 Root-races have been completed on the last Globe, G; Life experiences a kind of rest or (Nirvana). Then the whole process starts over, only in “a more advanced degree of evolution than was the ﬁrst round.” This process continues until 7 rounds have been completed, which constitutes a Planetary Chain.
Following the RT group’s infolding, the first three versions of the Earth Planetary Chain consisted of the spirit developing a body/brain to facilitate the development of the mind and spiritual transformation. Our Earth, which as I said, Mme. Blavatsky designates as the 4th Globe is the densest and from this point on, our minds become the means to further our evolution. I should qualify this statement by saying I do not necessarily mean technologically, although some advances do help in our understanding. Nonetheless, the main requirement for spiritual advancement is spiritual transformation.
Madame Blavatsky believed the 7 Root-races with their 7 sub-races explained our spiritual development. Using the terms Root-race and sub-race in today’s climate can be problematic, but I learned that these terms should not be associated with what we think of as the diﬀerent ethnicities on Earth. We are speaking about our Spiritual Evolution and Madame Blavatsky believed the 7 Root-races with their 7 sub-races explained our spiritual development. As such, the sub-races could be viewed as the development of civilized or rational thinking. I think it is important to say that ancient wisdom did not necessarily associate intellectual progress with advancement of the sub root-races. It was more a case of learning selflessness and compassion that constituted advancement.
Something I found interesting was that cosmologists today are looking to Mars as a possible “new” home for Humanity. It seems they believe in the not-too-distant future, the Sun’s expansion will make the Earth uninhabitable. This is curious because according to ancient teaching, before the “life principle” began experiencing the 7 Root-races in the Earth Planetary Chain, and the previous Planetary Chain of the Moon, it had “experienced” all 7 Root-races and sub-races in the Planetary Chain of Mars!
“Our” next destination, according to ancient teaching, also contradicts the cosmologists. Instead of moving away from our expanding Sun, we will be moving closer, as the next Planetary Chain will take place on the seven Globes of Venus!
If anyone is thinking, what does this have to do with spiritual development, I do not blame them. It was pretty much what I had asked when first led to the information. I came to understand that it was not about assimilating all the complex parts of the doctrine, but allowing my mind to consider that my concept of time and evolution was greatly inadequate. As we will see and the RT group points out continually, our understanding is more about changing the way we think about our evolution. The main point in the Secret Doctrine is that together with the Gnostic teachings, it reveals the purpose of Life. Like ,theTarot, these teachings emphasize the role of evolution is to individualize and develop the mind to become co-creators and transmute the elements back to spirit. Ultimately, all the teachings reveal Spirit’s interminably long journey of self-discovery using free will and intellect to achieve individuality. Then through enlightenment and spiritual understanding we learn to freely choose selflessness and reunification with the All.
In my commentary on card 9 - the Hermit, I said that spiritual evolution is dynamic and subject to change. When I wrote about the Secret Doctrine more than 15 years ago, much of the structure for Spiritual Evolution was still in place. However, one can immediately spot a red flag by observing that in the Secret Doctrine, Madame Blavatsky displays the individual globes side by side. At the time she wrote her masterpiece, Humanity could not conceive of worlds within worlds. This is why although the Truth is absolute; our ability to understand it is dynamic, simply because, as we evolve and develop the intellect we can understand deeper and more complicated concepts of the Truth. For instance, with the discovery of the subatomic world and the Mandelbrot set, we now understand that there is as large a universe inside as there is outside. With this in mind, I saw the Globes as within each other rather than side by side. Interestingly, the Mayan Nine Waves also depict this, with an ever-ascending staircase narrowing as it reaches the top. Dr. Calleman explains that this archetypal image was to portray that the Mayan Days and Nights in each of the Nine Waves run concurrently, meaning as the new wave is activated; the old one continues to run. The narrowing of the steps is to show that each wave gets progressively shorter. So much so that there were over fifteen billion years between the activation of the First and Second Waves, whereas there was only a little over seven years between the activation of the Eighth and Ninth Waves.
Most scientists agree that the universe began with the Big Bang. In spiritual terms this is described as Brahma exhaling or the Creator of Genesis saying, “Let there be Light.” The first chapter of Genesis covers a vast period, in fact several billion years. Root-races one and two experience the beginning of duality, i.e., night and day, dark and light and male and female. At this point, I need to state that duality is not limited to humanity, but all carbon-based life forms.
Over the years I have learned that science and ancient teachings go hand-in-hand. This was never more evident for me than figuring out exactly when Globe D came into existence, as it were. When I first wrote about this doctrine, I believed it completely explained evolution from a spiritual perspective. Although on one level it does, it was in discovering that the different Globes are not physical planets per say, but instead levels of consciousness that showed me how Humanity spiritually and consciously evolves throughout history. My mistake was in believing that our earth or Globe D came into existence at the same time as the scientists state the planet Earth did, i.e. approximately four and a half billion years ago. Now I understand that it was Globe A that did. It took a while for me to understand, as I then assumed Globe D came into existence at the same time as the first hominid species between eight and five million years ago. However, when I connected it to the Divine Plan, I realized Globe D has only been our home, as it were, since the start of the Common Era.
So the Wheel of Fortune clearly represents cycles of evolution and involution. Yet one of the most important things I have learned is that one image can have many meanings. The main topic of my commentaries has been how the ancients passed the Mysteries down in different forms of archetypes. In discussing cycles we see a common theme and if we bring in Gnostic thought, then the first four stages of mineral, plant, animal and human could be seen to equate to the four elements of earth, water, fire and air, which is what the four figures in the corners of the Wheel of Fortune card are depicting. Therefore, these figures represent the four elements of Bull-earth, Angel-air, Lion-fire and Eagle-water. As the RT group relates they are also associated with the four fixed signs of Taurus, Aquarius, Leo, and Scorpio. However, as the Wheel primarily represents the “wheel” of evolution and involution, for me the figures also pointed to cycles of time.
Associating signs of the zodiac to cycles of time immediately calls to mind the Precession of the Equinoxes. We addressed this theory that was “discovered” by Hipparchus during the second century C.E. in the commentary on why Paul Foster Case associated the Fool to the Age of Taurus. Despite the theory being renamed “General Precession”; I felt it had some value. As I discussed in my commentary on the Fool, the traditional assignment to the different ages is questionable. Still, due to the persistent use of symbols and precessional numbers, obviously the ancients wanted us to know something. Some writers have suggested the doctrine was to act as a warning. In that at the end of an age, approximately 2,160 years there would be a great catastrophe. As there have indeed been terrible catastrophes associated with these time periods, I feel that this interpretation has some merit. Yet, I do not think it is the only message because I believe it may also involve the Mysteries and our Spiritual Evolution.
Earlier, I mentioned how the dates assigned to the Age of Taurus did not add up, because it did not allow any time for the Age of Aries. Even moving the age back 2,000 years is problematic, because the Age of Pisces is attributed to the Common Era, but what if the ages were not just about time periods. What if they were also about the development of the Mysteries and our Spiritual Evolution? An even more pertinent question is what if the images and figures associated with the ages were to archetypally act as triggers to our subconscious memory.
To reiterate, for several years I tracked the influence of the positive and negative forces throughout human history in my treatise America’s Hijacked Destiny... As a result, I had ascertained approximate dates where both the “Light” (positive) and “Shadow” (negative) forces interacted with Humanity, often resulting in changing our spiritual course. Naturally because my sources included Gnostic and Kabbalistic teachings, I identified the “Light” forces as The Christ and Sophia. In tracking the influence of Sophia and The Christ throughout history, two time-periods had jumped out, 10,500, and 4,000 B.C.E., which coincided approximately with the accepted dates for the Age of Leo and the Age of Taurus respectively. On both occasions, the two divine beings had interacted with Humanity to guide them. If we look at this from the archetypal perspective, Leo and Taurus could be pointing to archetypal images designed to subliminally wake us up to our true purpose. If this is a possibility, and I am inclined to think it is, then the archetypal images in the Tarot could predate human history and be something the divine spark within the human heart subliminally carries to help us evolve.
Even if the above hypothesis is too much of a stretch, there is no doubt that the Wheel of Fortune’s message is about more than our accepted view of evolution. It was time to consider the cards role in the Cube of Space. First, I ascertained that in regard to the Secret Doctrine, the Cube of Space would only apply to humans, as it is designed to guide each of us to the next level in our evolution, the superhuman. With that in mind, let us take a look at the card from the Cube’s perspective.
In the Cube, card 10 - the Wheel of Fortune forms the Western Face. The traveler’s journey around this first Face is the very definition of reincarnation. For countless incarnations, the traveler incarnates to learn the lessons of transformation only to fall short and be unable to move to the next face. Card 10’s imagery of a jackal-headed man affixed to the bottom of the wheel conveys this reality. Round and round we go until at last we stop repeating the same mistakes and wake up to rise above as it were, which leads us to move onto the next Face.
Interestingly, Ms. Wen confirmed this assessment in her insightful comments on the Wheel of Fortune. She says the card could signify a “foreshadowing that history will repeat itself.” She believes the golden serpent could be “suggesting the moral choice humanity faces time and time again.” In Buddhism and Hinduism, the teaching centered on the perpetual wheel of necessity, Ms. Wen also mentions this teaching, insightfully adding that humanity’s pain “can only be ended by divine knowledge or spiritual ascension.”
Surprisingly, color is also a way we demonstrate cycles. Consider how scientists allocate the signals they receive from space by the colors red and blue. The red end of the spectrum is seen as evidence of the universe expanding, whereas the blue end would indicate that the universe was contracting. We could see this as Evolution (red) followed by Involution (blue). Another example is that the political parties have chosen to be represented by either end of the color spectrum. Using the Major Arcana, we could learn that the extreme of the red spectrum could indicate fanaticism and selfishness. Conversely, the extreme blue end could denote sentimentality, which could lead to the disempowerment of individuals. By blending both the red and blue we achieve violet, which is the color assigned to the Wheel of Fortune. In this way, at the macrocosmic level, this card represents cycles of evolution, but on the microcosmic level it could also connote the cycle of the political arena, through Republican/Conservative (red) to Democratic/Liberal (blue). However, as we know this can evolve into a sort of vicious circle, where there is continual change, but no progress; this is not the goal of Spiritual Evolution. As the RT group continually tells us, all spiritual teachings focus on the need for balance, which brings us to the next card, Justice.
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE JUSTICE — 11
In the discussion on Daath, I said that Dion Fortune associated Daath to the “Sphere of Justice” meaning that it represented the “balancing point” for everything. With this imagery, one would naturally associate the card 11 - Justice as the perfect representation for Daath. However, I had determined that it was card 3 - the Empress that fitted the bill. Still, as the RT group says of card 11 “this card is probably the most important of the Tarot.” As the woman in Justice is merely another form of the Empress, archetypally this card must also associate to the Divine Feminine, specifically Sophia.
Gnostic teachings were always centered on our transmuting the elements through our emotions. Like the RT group relates, to progress requires perfect balance, which is portrayed by the scales. However, if we were to place a blindfold over her eyes, then she would become the immediately recognizable Justitia or “Lady Justice” atop many courthouses. This archetype has come to be seen as representing a fair and equitable justice system, but many would say our justice system is far from fair. Interestingly, it was through the Gnostics that I learned that the concept of Justice was not so cut and dried.
Generally, Gnosticism was associated to the Manicheans and or the later Cathars who were consummate dualists. We see this in their teaching that as all matter is evil, so is the Creator. Nevertheless, there were many different Gnostic sects in existence during the 2nd Century of the Common Era. For us the Gnostic sect that most closely gelled with Jesus’ teachings was known as the Valentinians. Yet it was not from the sect’s founder Valentinus that we understood the Valentinian position on justice, but one of his famous successors Ptolemaeus. Below are excerpts from a letter to one of his followers explaining the Valentinian position that I recorded in the chapter Gnosis versus Orthodoxy in LOVE The Common Denominator My Journey to the Truth:
“The Law ordained through Moses, my dear sister Flora has not been understood by many persons, who have accurate knowledge neither of him who ordained it nor of its commandments. — Some say that it is legislation given by God the Father; others, — maintain stubbornly that it was ordained by the opposite, the Devil. — As they (also) attribute the fashioning of the world to him. — Both are completely in error. — For it is evident that the Law was not ordained by the perfect God the Father, for it is secondary, being imperfect and in need of completion by another, containing commandments alien to the nature and thought of such a God.”
Ptolemaeus explains this by the doctrine of ‘an eye for an eye.’ Reminding Flora and us that Jesus addressed the Law, he continues:
“It is obvious that the whole Law is divided into three parts; we find in it legislations of Moses, of the Elders, and of God Himself. The Law of God Himself, is in turn divided into three parts; The pure legislation not mixed with evil, — which the Savior came not to destroy but to complete; — next the legislation interwoven with inferiority and injustice, which the Savior destroyed because it was alien to His nature; and finally, the legislation which is exemplary and symbolic. — The Law of God, pure and not mixed with inferiority, is the Decalogue, (The ten commandments). — These contain pure but imperfect legislation and required completion by the Savior.
“There is also the Law interwoven with injustice, laid down for vengeance and the requital of previous injuries. Ordaining that an eye should be cut out for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, and that a murder should be avenged by a murder. The person who is the second one to be unjust is no less unjust than the first; he simply changes the order of events while performing the same action. — This is why, when His son came, He destroyed this part of the Law while admitting that it came from God.
“Finally there is the exemplary part, ordained in the image of spiritual and transcendent matters. I mean the part dealing with offerings, circumcision, the Sabbath, fasting, Passover, unleavened bread and other similar matters. Since all these things are images and symbols, when the truth was made manifest they were translated to another meaning. — He (The Savior) wanted us to be circumcised, not in regard to our physical foreskin but in regard to our spiritual heart; to keep the Sabbath, for He wishes us to be idle in regard to evil works; to fast, not in physical fasting but in spiritual, in which there is abstinence from everything evil. Among us external fasting is also observed, since it can be advantageous to the soul. — Similarly Paul the apostle shows that the Passover and the unleavened bread are images when he says, ‘Christ our Passover has been sacrificed, in order that you may be unleavened bread, not containing leaven.’ (By leaven he here means evil) ‘But may be a new lump’ (I Corinthians 5:7).
“Thus the Law of God itself is obviously divided into three parts. The first was completed by the Savior, for the commandments, ‘You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not swear falsely’, are included in the forbidding of anger, desire, and swearing. The second part was entirely destroyed. For ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, interwoven with injustice and itself a work of injustice, was destroyed by the Savior through its opposite. — ‘For I say to you, do not resist the evil man, but if anyone strikes you, turn the other cheek to him.’ Finally, there is the part translated and changed from the literal to the spiritual. — Paul showed that this theory is true. — He says, ‘The Law of commandments in ordinances was destroyed.’ (Ephesians 2:15); and of that not mixed with anything inferior when he says that, ‘The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good’ (Romans 7:12).
“It remains for us to say who this god is who ordained the Law. — For if the Law was not ordained by the perfect God Himself. — Nor by the Devil, a statement one cannot possibly make, the Legislator must be someone other than these two. In fact, he is the Demiurge and maker of this Universe and everything in it. — If the perfect God is good by nature, — and if the one who is of the opposite nature evil and wicked, characterized by injustice; then the one situated between the two, neither good nor evil and unjust, can properly be called just. Since he is the arbitrator of the justice, which depends on him. On the one hand, this god will be inferior to God and lower than His justice, since he is generated and not ungenerated — there is only one ungenerated Father, from whom are all things (I Corinthians 8:6). On the other hand, he will be greater and more powerful than the adversary, by nature, since he has a substance and nature different from either of them. The substance of the adversary is corruption and darkness, for he is material and complex, while the substance of the ungenerated Father of all is incorruption and self-existent light...”
Reading the Valentinian interpretation of Divine justice gave me a clear understanding that this Gnostic sect did not see either the Creator or what was created as evil, which, as I said, was the position of many of the Gnostic sects, such as the Manicheans. Moreover, it also allowed me to consider the Gnostic teachings from an Archetypal and allegorical perspective.
If the world’s definition of justice is badly flawed, why use such a provocative figure as an archetype in the Tarot. As Ptolemaeus observed many times revenge is mistaken for addressing an injustice. We will examine why a little later, but for now we need to consider card 11 - Justice from my vision in Spiritual Evolution’s perspective. This powerful archetype appears on the Tree of Truth in the position of Netzach or Victory. On the Tree of Reason Netzach was assigned to card 5 - the Hierophant. On the face of it the pairing made logical sense as both cards represent sun-signs ruled by the planet Venus. Nonetheless, examining and comparing the details of each card, I set out to see if there was a deeper reason. According the RT group, apart from representing Venus, Justice represents the number 11, sun-sign Libra, color green, Hebrew letter Lamed, note F-sharp, direction Southwest, the symbols scales and ox-goad, and the element Air. Alternatively, the Hierophant represents the number 5, sun-sign Taurus, color red-orange, Hebrew letter Vav, note C-sharp, direction Southeast, the symbols nail and bull, and the element Earth. At first glance the only match is the planet, but on deeper examination there is a connection through their directions. The direction of the Sun card is South, which represents the Christ-consciousness. Therefore, by pairing card 11 - Justice with card 5 - the Hierophant in Netzach or Victory the message is that our Higher Self becomes victorious in the quest to transform into the Christ-consciousness through balance and equilibrium.
You may have noticed that in the Cube of Space direction, card 11 Justice’s direction is listed as Northwest, rather than Southwest. Paul Foster Case admitted that the correction was made later, which is why many decks still carry the old direction. Yet, the “old” direction also had validity in my vision, as such then I think both versions are applicable. Regardless of this, examining Justice’s position in the Cube reveals that “she” has been weighing each traveler’s lives in the balance determining who is ready to pass from the Western Face to learn the Mysteries in the North. We know that in the Northern face, the Emperor’s scepter blocks the way to the Eastern face and the Empress to all but the one in ten million. Card 11 - Justice’s sword bars the way to the second level or Northern Face in the journey for all who have not found balance in their present lives and are therefore not ready to move on.
I found what Paul Foster Case had to say about card 11 - Justice very interesting. First he explained that when viewed as a verb, the Hebrew letter Lamed means “to teach, to instruct.” Explaining the reason for “correcting” Justice’s direction, from Southwest to Northwest he says the latter connects Mars, Jupiter, and Venus together. Mr. Foster Case saw a permanent pairing of Venus with Mars in the Tarot denoting “action” and “imagination.” Bringing the High Priestess’ connection to the Empress, he added that imagination is based on memory. Having laid the groundwork for Justice’s role, he thought Justice’s symbol of an ox-goad reveals the card represents “education” with “equilibration for its aim…” He also believed that it was not sufficient for the student to just “theorize”, the student must apply what he or she has learned in the material world in a tangible way.
Something else I found interesting was that Mr. Foster Case linked Justice to the number 22, which made sense, as both the number 11 and 22 are master numbers. Even so, he related that the number 22 is “the conventional arithmetical symbol for any circle…” I found it interesting because of what Eliphas Levi said about the Hebrew letter Lamed assigned to card 11 - Justice. To recap: Lamed according to Levi “…is an expression of the perfect cycle. Considered as a hieroglyphic sign it represents the “circulation of the perpetual movement and the relation of the radius to the circumference.”
Justice’s lesson is that to evolve we need balance. However, in every case, what the traveler or student discovers is that personal and spiritual transformation requires sacrifice. This leads me to the next card the Hanged Man.
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON THE HANGED MAN — 12
Card 12 - the Hanged Man represents self-sacrifice. Even so, the Hebrew letter Mem assigned to the card reveals a deeper secret to Spiritual Evolution, which we learned of in reading Robert Wang’s The Qabalistic Tarot. In covering path twenty-three on the traditional Tree of Life, Mr. Wang noticed a connection between Mem, and Tau, the Hebrew letter assigned to card 21 - the World, in that the latter ת is a reverse of the former מ . We also see this reflected numerically in the 12 being the reverse of 21. I was not sure of the relevance of the connection to reversal in the Hanged Man, until Craig reminded me that in my vision the Tree of Truth appears to not only hang upside down, it reverses the active/masculine Descent of Power line.
Mr. Wang cites a Greek ritual in which participants “hanged” an “effigy” of the Greek Moon goddess Artemis (Roman Diana) each year. He says these ritual hangings do not symbolize “…a final death. These are merely reversals where the feet of the god are planted in the Anima Mundi and not the earth.” (Note: Anima Mundi is a term which refers to the World Soul, not to be confused with the “Shadow’s” predecessor World-Soul.)
This World Soul was seen as a kind of ethereal force that animated matter. To me this is the same as the Life Principle. What had jumped out at me in Mr. Wang’s interpretation was the fact the Greeks “hanged” an “effigy” of a “female” goddess and not a “male” god. I had often wondered why the planet Neptune, supposedly the god of the Sea was considered to be the higher octave of the planet Venus, the goddess of Love. Part of the answer came from the Hanged Man’s position in my vision on the Tree of Reason, in the 3rd Sephirot Binah or Understanding.
Reiterating what was said earlier, the process for understanding the placement of all 22 cards on the two trees in my vision necessitated applying the disciplines of numerology, astrology, Tarot, Hebrew letters, colors, elements, musical notes, directions, and symbols. The first thing I discovered was on the Tree of Reason, the three Supernals (Kabbalistic term for the first 3 Sephirot in the Archetypal Plane) represented the three Hebrew Mother Letters, which in turn represent the three Kabbalistic elements of Fire, Air, and Water. Consequently, Neptune, or the Hanged Man with the mother letter Mem for “Water” represents Binah.
Using the disciplines of numerology, elements, and symbols also confirmed assigning the Hanged Man to Binah, as 12 reduces to three 1+2=3, which is the number of the third Sephirot - Binah. In addition, one of the designations for Binah is the Great Sea and the Hanged Man’s symbol is seas or water.
Having made sense of why Binah is represented by the Hanged Man on the Tree of Reason, I turned to Binah in the Tree of Truth to see it represented by card 18 - the Moon. At first this was hard to reconcile, until I realized that the Moon represented the sun-sign Pisces and Neptune rules Pisces. First we need to compare the two cards. The Moon, represents 18, sun-sign Pisces, color violet-red, Hebrew letter Qoph, note B-natural, direction South - Below, symbol back of head, and element Water. Alternatively, the Hanged Man as stated represents 12, Neptune, color blue, Hebrew letter Mem, note G-sharp, direction East to West, symbol seas, and element Water. The two cards are connected by only two disciplines, astrology and element, but this connection is more than enough, as we shall see.
Essentially, the RT group says the Hanged Man indicates we access the energies of our spiritual potential through sacrifice, meaning that in sacrificing the lower appetites and desires of the body, we access our spiritual core. Speaking of sacrifice, Dion Fortune had a very interesting comment on the word. Explaining that the meaning of the word sacrifice has been obscured, she assures us that “Sacrifice is the translation of force from one form to another.” This statement did not make sense until I considered the Gnostic teaching on transmuting the elements back to spirit through emotions. On a deeper level, the Hanged Man or Neptune representing the Element Water reveals why Neptune is the higher octave of Venus, or Love. In this instance, we could look on Neptune as the god of Emotion, the active partner to the traditional astrological archetype for emotion, the Moon, or the High Priestess. For me this is saying that although emotion originates in the subconscious, we transmute the emotion through actively sacrificing the lower through our Spirits.
In Gnosticism, the three emotions representing the three Kabbalistic elements were the key to spiritual evolution, with water playing the greatest part because it represents Sophia’s Fear. So the question is, if Fear is a natural part of our evolution, then is it healthy or destructive? In our book, FOR THE CHILDREN, I addressed this issue, therefore I have selected the relevant excerpts below. I start with an overview of Valentinianism introduced earlier in my commentary on card 11 - Justice:
I replaced the original quote, with the text in red below. However, you can leave it in the Gateways, just indent the text and double indent Guy’s book excerpt with correct title.
…Craig and I have spent a lot of time investigating the Gnostic teachings of Valentinus. It was here we learned that fear was a powerful force in our evolution. Consequently we need to briefly review the Gnostic teachings; in particular Valentinianism.
A teacher of the second Century C.E, Valentinus’ form of Gnosticism originated from his teacher Theudas, a disciple of St. Paul. Evidently, Valentinus’ almost became Bishop of Rome (the Pope). Unlike the more famous sect of Gnosticism, the Manicheans that proposed all matter and therefore every human being was evil. Moreover, we could only achieve salvation by renouncing life and Creation itself. Valentinus was less dualistic. Instead he advocated a type of Tripartition where there was spiritual, evil, and mixed. If we view this as describing the make-up of society, then a small percentage is virtually selfless (spiritual) and dedicated to helping their fellow human beings. On the other side, an equally small percentage is completely selfish (evil), ruthless, greedy, and power hungry. The rest of society, the majority are mixed and would fall somewhere in between. Remarkably, Valentinus had some highly respected Christian philosophers as followers, including Heracleon, Ptolemaeus (who we mentioned earlier), Florinus, Marcus, and Axionicus…
According to Valentinus, the purpose of life was to transmute the four Elements of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth back into Spirit. This is because the divine spark became trapped within each element through the actions of a divine being. We fulfill our purpose by working through our emotions, which represent these four elements. Fire represents Ignorance or as we can interpret it today rage or intense anger, hatred, and resentment. Envy and jealousy also falls into this category. Air predominantly represents Grief, but it can also include despair. We assign Water to any degree of Fear. As for the element Earth, the Gnostics considered it a condensation of the other three. We could view this as confusion or being overwhelmed with emotion rather than just one.
We are sure you have noticed that Water represents Fear, which brings us back to our statement that Fear is both healthy and destructive. To put this into perspective, it is worth remembering that our bodies alone contain at least 70 percent Water. Then is it any surprise that the element’s emotion, Fear is so predominant in our lives? Consistently, we hear how we need to overcome fear so how can it be healthy. Before the advent of the false self or ego, the Life-Principle was evolving and naturally transmuting the elements. In this way, Fear is healthy. Natural fear of predators, as we evolved developed into not only fear of death or being hurt, but also fear of losing our loved ones. This fear would also bring the natural emotions of Grief and Ignorance/Anger.
Fear becomes destructive when it is not about survival or the loss of something tangible such as a loved one. The ego uses fear in very effective ways. One way is in the form of irrational fears, such as phobias. To do this, the ego elicits the aid of the pain-body to bring memories, often from previous lives to cause paralyzing fear…
It is a shame how we have to instill fear of strangers, because it can lead to a more serious level of fear. Xenophobia or the fear of strangers is definitely destructive to our spiritual growth. This level of fear feeds the pain-body and creates separateness. Clearly, we need to teach our children to be vigilant for their protection…
As strange as it may seem phobias, such as fear of heights, can be the most beneficial to spiritual evolution. This is because transmuting these fears not only opens a person’s eyes to the truth of the illusion of death, it also affects the mass consciousness of humanity as a whole.
Now we come to the most destructive use of fear there is, the fear attached to the self’s position in society. In this there is no equal as to how the ego can manipulate us with fear. Fear of losing status is by far the most devastating for the development of humanity. History has shown how this ego-based fear has stopped so many innovative thinkers from bringing new and often beneficial new discoveries to light, simply because they challenge conventional thinking. The ego craves prestige and fame, which we can witness in some of the outrageous ways people behave in public and on YouTube to gain notoriety. It does not seem to matter if the public laughs at them. Their only concern is being visible. Taken to the extreme, the egos insatiable need for attention can drive the most heinous actions…
The role of card 12 - the Hanged Man in the Cube of Space is to connect the Eastern and Western Faces. Nonetheless, the first time the traveler encounters him is in his two roles as the umbilical cord, as it were, to the Higher Self initially hidden beneath the personality, and the path to our birth mother. In the first encounter the traveler passes along one-half of the blue line of sacrifice, into card 10 - the Wheel of Fortune, but on the second encounter, as David Allen Hulse relates, the traveler navigates the entire length of the cord. This makes sense as in the second encounter, the Hanged Man guides the traveler who has chosen to sacrifice the quest for mastery out of compassion for his or her fellow travelers trapped in the perpetual cycle of the Wheel of Fortune.
Paul Foster Case summed up the Hanged man’s message to us on surrender by explaining that surrender starts with submitting our will or personality, what we know as the self-conscious to the guidance “of the Universal Mind.” He reminds us, as the RT group points out the Magician’s stance in card 1 demonstrate that the Magician receives all his power from above.
As stated, in every case, the traveler must first choose to sacrifice his or her life, which brings us to the next card with its ominous symbology of a mounted skeleton about to trample several individuals. Although as the RT group relates, card 13 - Death represents transformation, viewed from the Gnostic perspective this archetype carries an important message involving a lesson in transmutation.
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON DEATH — 13
Snce the fifth Sephirot Geburah represents the planet Mars, I was not surprised to see card 13 - Death in that position on one of the trees, because the card’s sun-sign Scorpio is ruled by Pluto, the higher octave of Mars. However, what did surprise me was to see Death on the Tree of Truth instead of the Tree of Reason. I expected to see card 16 - the Tower, Death’s counterpart to represent Geburah, but I thought the cards would have switched places. The RT group was instrumental in helping me to see the deeper issues through the Hebrew letter Nun, but first let us compare the two cards. The Tower represents 16, Mars, color red, Hebrew letter Peh, direction North, note C-natural, symbol mouth, and element Fire. Death on the other hand represents 13, Pluto, sun-sign Scorpio, color blue-green, Hebrew letter Nun, direction Northwest, note G-natural, the symbols fish and scorpion, and the element Water. Despite the cards literally being fire and water, because Pluto is the higher octave of Mars the two astrological bodies are connected.
Death means transformation, which as the RT group says means transforming the sex-force and raising it to the mental level, but as I said it was what they have to say about Nun that unlocked the deeper meaning. To reiterate, the RT group relates that it is the Hebrew letters NVN that “reveals how we spiritualize matter.” If we bring in card 5 - the Hierophant or the Higher Self, it shows that we “submit to the influence of the Higher Self by changing or dissolving the old self. In other words transmuting the sex force in the heart into a nerve force,” which is none other than transmutation.
Interestingly, although Death represents the element water, it is a valuable archetype to use in understanding transmuting the Kabbalistic Element of Air, or the Gnostic emotion of Grief. Consequently, we need to consider our approach to this touchy subject. Westerners’ attitude towards death is very different to Eastern belief, and in many cases is as destructive to spiritual growth as any other factor. Often quality of life is not even considered, and most people cling to existence at all costs. Evidently and unfortunately, many not only apply this criterion to themselves, but also to their loved ones.
Putting the Westerners’ need to preserve life at all costs aside for now, from a purely spiritual perspective the ancient teaching was that no one left the planet from natural causes unless they were ready to do so. If this were true, then it would imply that we have some control over our deaths. The truth is that it depends on the situation, in that the underlying causes of death are relevant. Where the individual does not facilitate his or her death, such as in accidents, or death at the hands of another person, the soul and spirit of the person is purely a victim of circumstance, then in this case the individual has no control over their death.
In respect to individuals having some say in their deaths, the teaching was that the person determines any form of natural death. This means that when they are ready to leave this world, individuals often engineer a fatal illness. Another way individuals orchestrate their death is in natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tsunamis. On some level natural disasters serve a higher purpose, by acting as a pressure valve to dissipate a buildup of emotions.
If this seems confusing, try thinking of Floods and Tsunamis, representing the Element Water releasing the build-up of fear in the world. Volcanic eruptions and wild fires which obviously represent the Element Fire, would thenreduce anger and hatred. Windstorms and Tornados that naturally represent the Element Air help dissipate grief and despair. Earth is a little more difficult, but when we remember that in this case Earth represents Confusion, it makes sense that Landslides and Earthquakes reflect the Element Earth to help bring clarity, reducing confusion. After all, what better way to describe these disasters than as an upheaval or upsetting “Confusion” of the ground?
Consider the Dust Bowl as an example of nature reflecting the mass consciousness of the American people during the Great Depression. The first thing we need to do is identify which elements and emotions were involved in the phenomenon. The “dust” of the earth represents confusion; the winds that created the dust clouds represent grief/despair and the drought caused from heat or fire represents ignorance/hatred. The ignorance or fire (drought) originated before the catastrophe, with the farmers attitude to their land. In the twenties, the Great Plains were so fertile that the farmers became intoxicated with their success and forgot (became ignorant) of what they were taught in taking care of the land; rotating the crops and leaving a field to lie fallow for a season. There is also another aspect of the farmers of the American Heartland that caused Nature to reflect the element of fire through drought and that was their attitude to the original owners of the land, the Native Americans. In other words their farms originated from the indigenous tribes that were seized by the settlers that claimed the land in the late 19th century.
I must however emphasize that the catastrophe of the Dust Bowl was not a punishment, but merely the consciousness of Nature reflecting the consciousness of its Life-Principle. There are several reasons the mass consciousness engineers a natural disaster where hundreds if not thousands die and there is great suffering by the survivors. As stated, primarily, it is to relieve the pressure from an emotion that has become overwhelming. Another important reason is to facilitate the exit of large numbers of individuals, but it is the third that is most beneficial spiritually. This is because the third is to create a wave of compassion, which is then used to shift the consciousness from separation and selfishness to unity and altruism.
I addressed earlier that in the Cube of Space card 13 – Death’s direction Northwest is reassigned to card 11 - Justice, making Death’s direction in the Cube Southwest. As expected, the traveler encounters the Death card on several occasions. The first times are as novices or new souls who as David Allen Hulse relates become entrapped in the illusion of West Below. Unable to rise above the temptation, with Justice’s sword barring the way to the North, they have no other choice but to go through the gate of Death to try again. Fortunately, this cycle eventually ends with the traveler waking up by finding balance and moving into the Northern Face. After traversing the Northern Face, the traveler moves onto the Southern Face. Here Death becomes a friend, no longer feared, but seen as a rest-period in between incarnations. Gnostically, this would mean the traveler has completely transmuted their Fear or the element Water. Mr. Allen Hulse relates that when we encounter Death in the Southern Face, “he” reveals everything we have learned in our past lives and from this moment on, we will remember this knowledge in each subsequent incarnation.
Paul Foster Case informed us that when seen as a verb, the Hebrew Letter Nun means “to sprout, to grow.” Something that interested me was that whether Death’s direction is Northwest or Southwest, the direction connects it to the planet Jupiter. However, Mr. Foster Case pointed out that if we use Southwest then it also connects Death with card 19 - the Sun.
I mentioned that until the traveler can wake up and rise above the temptation of West Below they are forced to go through the gate of Death, but when they do they can move on. This advancement is first facilitated by what many see as the representation of our guardian angel. We discover his or her role in the next card.
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SUZZAN’S COMMENTARY ON TEMPERANCE — 14
In my Spiritual Evolution vision, card 14 - Temperance represents the Sephirot Chesed or Mercy on the Tree of Truth, whereas its counterpart on the Tree of Reason is represented by card 4 - the Emperor. As this Sephirot represented the planet Jupiter, I was not surprised by the placement of Temperance. I have already covered the Emperor being linked to both Geburah and Chesed denoting the two aspects of the Creator as explaining why the Emperor was placed in Chesed. Even so, I wondered if Temperance representing Sagittarius ruled by Jupiter was the only reason the two cards were connected, so using the disciplines I dug a little deeper.
Taking the Emperor first, this card represents 4, Mars, sun-sign Aries, color red, Hebrew letter Heh, direction Northeast, note C-natural, the three symbols of window, sight and ram, and the element Fire. Alternatively, Temperance represents 14, Jupiter, sun-sign Sagittarius, color blue, Hebrew letter Samekh, direction West-Above, note G-sharp, the two symbols prop and archer, and element Fire. Once again both cards appear to have little in common, other than they are both Fire cards and they both have affiliations with the number 14. Still, I discovered that the reason for placing Temperance on the Tree of Truth was because of a secret path between Chesed and Daath, which appeared after the Tree of Reason and the Tree of Truth merged to become the Tree of Wisdom and Understanding.
To recap: After the emergence of the Tree of Wisdom and Understanding, both the masculine and the feminine power line disappear. Gradually the Life Principle emerges from within Tiphareth, but as I said instead of continuing up to Kether, it appeared to divide, with a small portion moving to Chesed, while the rest moved to Geburah. I was given to understand that those who move to Chesed have not only transformed their heart and integrated the ego, they have also surrendered all sense of individuality. As I mentioned in the commentary on card 9 - the Hermit, these individuals had become a true “Gnostic” or “Knower.”
On the Tree of Truth, all three Serpent letters are represented; Teth as card 8 - Strength in Hod; Lamed as card 11 - Justice in Netzach, and Samekh as card 14 - Temperance in Chesed. In my vision, the serpent only reached the level of Chesed. At first this had perplexed me, but when a saw a shining path leading to a golden archway within Daath, I realized that I was being shown something of great importance. Talking of the serpent, Eliphas Levi made a strange statement about the serpent in the Garden of Eden. “…beneath its shadow are the man and woman, active and passive, intelligence and love.” Levi believed that “all science is represented by this admirable scene.” Although conceding this as correct, in a note, A.E. Waite qualifies that when the Kabbalists referred to Daath, it was “really the supernal knowledge…arising from the union of Chokmah and Binah, or Wisdom and Understanding.” I found this very interesting as a little further on Levi equates the separation of love and understanding as the first sin. In a nutshell, Levi saw the allegory of the Garden of Eden story as symbolizing the misuse of the sex-force, which leads me back to the secret path between Chesed and Daath.
It is the smaller portion of the Life principle, which is manifested in a relatively small group of individuals that travel from Tiphareth to Chesed who are the “True Gnostics or Knowers.” Again it is card 9 - the Hermit that leads the way.
Considering the rest of the title of Spiritual Evolution is Or From The Fool to The Hermit, I found it more than interesting that Dion Fortune reported the adepts used to represent the letter Aleph by a serpent pierced with an arrow. However, it is Chesed being represented by card 14 - Temperance that provides another level to the importance of card 9 - the Hermit. This is because Temperance, which is represented by the Hebrew letter Samekh, is the last of three cards assigned Hebrew letters referred to as Serpent letters. As stated, the other two cards are card 8 - Strength or Teth, representing the transformed heart, and card 11 - Justice or Lamed, which is an expression of the perfect cycle. When we remember that the ancient Christ-like teachers were known as Serpents of Wisdom, we can see that the Serpent letters of Teth, Lamed and Samekh are relating to these exalted teachers.
With card 14 - Temperance being connected to the entrance to a short cut in spiritual evolution, so to speak, I was surprised to see its direction West Above representing the first Face in the Cube of Space. Then a friend asked what temperance meant. Initially, I considered the spiritual definition that the RT group relates. Namely, that it indicated balance as in the balance of the self-conscious and subconscious, but then I was moved to look at the synonyms for temperance. Although, I knew the terms, I was a little surprised to see abstinence as the first synonym. As I have repeatedly said, one of my guiding mantras through my journey has been, “The key to the Mysteries is hidden in the English Language.” Applying this criterion, I knew there was something important to our evolution in the synonym abstinence and my vision.
David Allen Hulse sees the angel in card 14 - Temperance as representing our guardian angel hovering over us until we are ready to start seeking our spiritual natures. Benebell Wen in her Holistic Tarot describes Temperance as our encounter with the “greater external or universal forces.” Like the RT group, she believes the angel in the card is tempering “our lives for balanced, harmonious health.” However, for me the placement of the card in the Western Face was extremely telling. As I mentioned, Mr. Hulse relates that most of Humanity has been caught in the endless cycle of card 10 - the Wheel of Fortune, card 15 - the Devil, and card 13 - Death. From my vision I knew that each placement on the two trees had great relevance. Therefore pairing card 4 - the Emperor with card 14 - Temperance as the energy behind the Life Principle, specifically the “Knowers” moving along the secret path through Daath, said to me that Temperance was placed in the Western Face as part of the Divine Plan. The RT group identified the angel as a higher aspect of card 5 - the Hierophant, so if this is the first instance of our spiritual awakening, why not place our Higher Self here?
The reason we see card 14 - Temperance and not card 5 - the Hierophant guiding us out of the Western Face is because there is a deeper reason concerning this time. Just recently, the Supreme Court ruled that marriage was the legal right for all citizens, including gay and lesbian couples. This phenomenal shift is indicative of what is happening at the spiritual level. As we evolve, we become more aware of the energy from both sexes within us. Initially, this manifests sexually, but eventually we will understand that we are becoming androgynous.
Nevertheless, it is the meaning society has attributed to temperance, abstinence that holds the key to card 14’s placement on the Tree of Truth in my vision. Daphna relates the Kabbalists believed that to progress spiritually a person needed to change the use of the sex force from the physical into the mental. This was achieved through celibacy, fasting and meditation. However, very few ever achieved their goal, simply because it was not time; Humanity had not evolved enough. At this time more of us are ready to realize that if we use our life-force mentally, rather than to procreate then we can bring in a new world. Today we are witnessing a huge shift in sexuality, with many men and women feeling they are in the wrong bodies. Amazingly, this indicates our evolution, but now those who recognize the ancient teachings can literally help pull the Human Race into the next stage. Unfortunately, we still have to contend with the influence of the pain body that is desperately trying to keep us asleep by tantalizing our physical desires on every level. Not surprisingly, this is represented by the next card, which also starts the last row in the Tarot Tableau.