Temple Knowledge

STAGE — UNDERSTANDING


STAGE — UNDERSTANDING

"I dedicate these works to all those who have contributed to our knowledge of the Tarot, by either creating decks or investigating what the cards mean. In joining the hundreds of investigators who have studied the mysterious Tarot and shared their understanding, I acknowledge that I am standing on the shoulders of some of the world’s greatest inspired scholars. As I am neither a Tarot reader nor a scholar, my contribution may appear out of place. However, I was called to this work by a series of events and encounters, which I will explain in the stage."
—Suzzan Babcock—

Back in 1999, I never dreamed when our friend Elizabeth handed me The Rabbi’s Tarot that it would have such a profound effect on understanding our mission. At that time, Elizabeth told me the reason we needed to read it was because it was vital to our work. As I understood the Tarot as a tool for divining the future, I wondered why she would want us to read a book on fortune telling, as she knew that neither Craig nor I had the slightest interest in studying divination. On the contrary, our focus was on discovering the secret to spiritual evolution. Yet, something told me to listen to our friend, which proved a wise decision as within reading the first few pages it was clear that Elizabeth was not exaggerating when she said it would be vital to our work, because it involved transformation. Nevertheless, the true value of the book and its author would not become apparent for several years…

Thank you all for taking the time to read this.

Namaste, Peace, Love & Compassion Always, - Suzzan and Craig

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BEYOND DIVINATION: MINOR ARCANA'S Role in SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION   &
BEYOND DIVINATION: SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION Through The MAJOR ARCANA


BEYOND DIVINATION: SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION Through The MAJOR ARCANA

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0 — THE FOOL — ALEPH

Not surprisingly, modern Tarot authors interpret The Fool as indicating beginnings. However, it is also associated with spirituality, demonstrated by Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth interpreting it as representing a pivotal point or choice in the seeker’s spiritual journey, which may or may not be successful. Jonathan Dee’s Tarot Mysteries: Rediscovering the Real Meaning of the Cards also associates The Fool with spirituality, only he sees him as devout and unworldly. For Johannes Fiebig & Evelin Bürger, authors of THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE RIDER WAITE TAROT, The Fool represents honesty and vagueness, in that he embodies the eager, trusting individual who has no expectancies. Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin SECRETS OF THE WAITE-SMITH TAROT: The True Story of The World’s Most Popular Tarot on the other hand, relate that The Fool can signify autonomy, indulgence, and fervor.

Notwithstanding the divinatory aspect of The Fool, here I am more interested in the hidden meaning behind the card. Consequently, although I will consider the above authors comments and opinions, I will focus on the deeper message in the Major Arcana.

In reviewing the various versions of card 0, it was apparent that it changed considerably from Marsilio Ficino’s Tarot de Marseille card to A.E. Waite and Paul Foster Case’s, which is a little surprising as both were inspired by Ficino’s deck. Therefore, before examining the former’s Fools, I will investigate the meaning behind the latter’s Le Fol or Le Mat version. In this endeavor, Samuel Aun Weor’s book, Alchemy and Kabbalah in the Tarot was of immense help. I am also very grateful for Wikimedia reproducing Jean Dodal 18th century rendition of the cards

Le MatInterestingly rather than numbering it zero, Mr. Weor numbers this card or arcanum twenty-one, placing it before The World, which he numbers twenty-two. However, in light of the author’s description of The Fool or Le Mat it is difficult to see The Fool’s position in the Tarot Tableau. Describing the character as “wretched”, Mr. Weor paints him as a lost vagabond with no direction or purpose. He believes this is demonstrated by the Fool’s tattered britches, which he says leaves his private parts “exposed” for the cat or tiger to claw and bite. For the author, The Fools’ bag suspended on a staff over his right shoulder represents every farce and mistaken deed he has perpetrated through desire.

In Mr. Weor’s eyes, The Fool represents the seeker or initiate who has failed. Another way to describe his vision is a the “psychological I” or ego. It is a cautionary tale for all of us seeking enlightenment to rid ourselves of all desire. Yet we first need to identify the root of the desire hidden within the five senses. Echoing Jesus’ admonition that a married man who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery, the author advises learning to control desires stimulated by the senses. To do this, he believes we must first use our intellect to understand them, before using the higher levels. Ultimately, Mr. Weor views The Fool as the individual ego, which needs our complete attention to understand how it operates on every level. That said, because this card represents Kether on the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah provides us with the means to turn the “fool’ into the spiritual I, transforming him into the “Dragon of Wisdom.” We do this by uniting Kether (Father), Chokmah (Son), and Binah (Holy Spirit), which lie within each incarnating soul, waiting for our awakening to annihilate or “dissolve” the ego in preparation to become the “Spirit of Wisdom.”

Before moving on to the 20th Century, I want to review Eliphas Levi’s comments on The Fool, which Wynn Westcott edited. Referring to the card as “The Unwise Man”, Levi’s comments are thought-provoking:

“Do not ally yourself either in affection or interest with anyone who is not an earnest student of the higher life, unless you can completely dominate him, and even then be sure that you either recompense or chastise him according to his deserts; for the profane person hears many truths, but understands none; his ears are large but have no discretion. The profane passes his life in giddy risks, deluded with vain desires, listening to imaginary promptings, and with his eyes fixed on fancied sights. You may think he is pleased with your aims, but the truth is that he is absorbed by his own follies; the profane has no appreciation of the truth, and feels no real affection. The profane is imprudent and shameless ; he discloses things which should be kept concealed, and attracts to himself brute forces which may devour him. That which he most neglects is himself; he wears his vices as a blazon, but they are an ever-present burdento him, yet he does not recognize that they are a constant source of weakness. Make it a definite rule of life always to avoid:-

  1. Such as are ever judging and condemning their parents, who despise their fathers and have no true affection for their mothers.
  2. All men who show no courage, and all women who have not modesty.
  3. Those who do not maintain their friendships.
  4. Those who ask for advice, and then do not take it.
  5. Those who are never in the wrong.
  6. Those who are always seeking the impossible, and who are obstinately unjust to others.
  7. Those who, when danger is present, seek only their own safety.

 

“All such persons are neither worthy of your confidence nor of your love. Fear contamination from them; avoid them. Yet even as you yourself must also avoid the follies of life, be careful not to put yourself in an attitude of superiority to the conditions of existence merely from a false pride, and never stoop to debase yourself to the level of the brute creation; rise above the common ways of life, and never become the slave of custom and conventionality. Treat the habits of ordinary life asothers treat the weaknesses of childhood. Amuse the crowd to prevent personal injury, but never address it except in parables and enigmas; such has been the mode of conduct of all the great Masters of Magic, and in such an attitude there is wisdom.”

Regarding the Fool, Mr. Wescott also notes: “Levi has written this chapter No. 21, following No. 20, the Judgment, without any notification that the card referred to is not that numbered 21, which is the Universe, but the sole unnumbered Trump of the set. Of other authors, some have numbered the Universe Moon or Fool as 0 or as the 22nd. The fact remains that in all packs the Universe is numbered 21, and it will in this tract be considered after the next chapter, which clearly refers to it. In this chapter, where an author refers so much to the profane, the Trump Le Fou is clearly indicated. It represents a wayfarer walking along a road and carrying a burden slung over bis shoulder; he has a staff in his right hand. Behind, he is attacked by a tiger which has already fastened on his clothing, while his face shows that he is as yet ignorant of its attack.”

Despite the modern authors interpreting the recognizable version of the youth gazing wistfully out over an abyss, with his faithful dog by his side. A.E. Waite viewed the youth as representing an unwise man. Regarding The Fool’s placement, in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot, he shared that although the card was often placed between card 20 Judgment and card 21 The World, the “real arrangement of the cards has never transpired.”

Turning to the lesser known book The General Book of the Tarot, by A.E. Thierens, which as stated was endorsed by the author’s namesake A.E. Waite, building on the latter’s interpretation of The Fool as an unwise man, he adds that The Fool denotes “the average stage of man in the present stage of Earth-evolution.” In this way, The Fool is an ignorant person oblivious to everything around him. Pointing to the axiom of “The wise man rules his stars, the fool obeys them”, he relates that “The planets give us the symbols or ideas of organs of consciousness, the zodiacal signs denote modes of substance, from which consciousness is derived. So the zero-principle is the symbol of unconsciousness.” Mr. Thierens suggests considering Dr. Papus interpretation in his Tarot of the Bohemians, (p. 235-237), where he attempts designating a specific decan of a zodiac sign to each card. Since Dr. Papus’ theory mirrors Mr. Thierens, he thinks “that this theory contains or is the very key.”

Moving onto A.E. Waite’s contemporary Paul Foster-Case, although both versions of The Fool appear identical, the latter assured us that his card is the most accurate in conveying the deeper message of Key or card 0 The Fool.

Mr. Foster Case’s Wisdom of the Tarot released by the Golden Dawn refers to card 0 The Fool as the Life-Power, explaining that it is beyond description. It is that indefinable essence behind everything, which cannot be defined. Describing The Fool as “Rootless” Mr. Foster Case related that the shape of the zero 0 reflects the Life-Power as the “Cosmic Egg”, containing all potentialities as well as the No-thing. For this reason I equate it to the Life-Principle in my writings, as the Divine essence and consciousness driving evolution on every level and in every possible form. Reflecting Dr. Carl Calleman’s theory in his book The Nine Waves of Creation: Quantum Physics, Holographic Evolution, and the Destiny of Humanity, Mr. Foster Case also saw this Life-Power directing the development of civilization, which he believed is demonstrated in the card’s Hebrew letter Aleph א denoting Ox. Agriculture was obviously evidence in the advancement of the Human Race from hunter-gatherers to farmers. Reiterating that this power is everywhere, he reminds us of the importance of the Sun in providing light and heat, which sustains Life. He saw this energy as electro-magnetic vibration, detectable and quantifiable with specific instruments. Likening this ability, Mr. Paul Foster Case believed our individual “personality” can employ and change this higher vibrational energy intellectually. For example, using Air properly.

On the other hand in his book, The Tarot: The Key to the Wisdom of the Ages first published in 1947 and republished in 2006, after relating that Aleph א alludes to the Age of Taurus, Mr. Foster Case appeared to focus on the meaning behind Air. In that he provided all forms of this essential Element. Starting with its Hebrew form Ruach, which effectively means breath, he explained that in English this would be seen as Spirit, which of course is from the Latin Spiritus, whereas In Greek, air or breath is referred to as Pneuma, clearly the origin of pneumatic and the Hindu religion sees air as Prana.

Despite the Mother-letter Aleph א and The Fool’s connection to Air, it is referred to as Fiery or Scintillating Intelligence. This made sense for me as The Fool is assigned to Kether in the Fire and Archetypal Plane on the Tree of Life. For Mr. Foster Case this is indicative of the Cosmic Consciousness, which he believed is beyond description. In respect to Aleph and The Fool’s association to Air, its assignment to the higher octave of Mercury, the planet Uranus seems appropriate as the word Uranus originates from a Greek word for sky.

With The Rabbi’s Tarot introducing me to a deeper meaning of the Major arcana in 1999, I felt it an important resource in my investigation. Since three people were involved in bringing the information to the world, I refer to them as the RT group.

AlephOne of the most important observation the RT group made was to describe Aleph representing a “synthesis” of all 22 Hebrew letters, and therefore The Fool is rightfully placed over the Tarot Tableau, as it is the “synthesis” of all 22 cards. Breaking down the elements of this important letter, they describe how the parallelogram depicts the superconsciousness pouring down from heaven into the material world, represented by our minds, bodies and spirit, while the subconscious reaches upwards. Qualifying this, the group stress that both the superconscious and subconscious are essentially the same and are only distinguished by the self-conscious. Alternatively from the esoteric perspective, everything is consciousness, or as the group describes it “Cosmic Mind-stuff.” In this way, the shaman elevates his or her vibration to attain connection with the superconscious, whereas esotericists, after raising their vibrations and connecting to the superconscious, choose to descend into the subconsciousness.

Agreeing with Paul Foster Case, the RT group attributes the letter Aleph א and card to ultimate source of creation. For them, the youth in the card represents the Spirit or great I AM, residing in us as a divine spark descending into the Material world in order to learn how to re-ascend back to Spirit. Apparently, he does this not by Fiery or Scintillating Intelligence but by what they call Cultural Intelligence, hence the need to develop civilizations. For the RT group, the purpose of Life is to ascend through “self-cultivation”, which is achieved through becoming civilized.

Creativity is inherent in human beings as it resonates at the deepest level, our spirits. Before incarnation we formulated a vision of our life’s purpose, which The Fool appears to be staring at. The RT’s group reminds us that many people focused on their mission, sacrificing creature comforts and enduring hardships, were often thought to be “fools.” However, should they succeed, like Gandhi and other selfless individuals, people are quick to exalt them. As the group points out, inventors are often deemed “mad scientists” until they invent something useful, then they transform from the dreamer into a useful member of society.

Lifting the Tarot out of a mere tool for divining the future, the RT group pointed out that used correctly, the cards assist us in realizing our aspirations. Quoting from a proverb, they wrote, “Unless Wisdom gets beyond this level, it is not Wisdom at all.” Most people have also heard the axiom, “The Wisdom of men is foolishness to the gods”, this is because human wisdom is based on the lower self, whereas higher wisdom arises from the Higher Self, depicted in card 0 – The Fool. The group believed that whatever aids the individual to achieve their ultimate goal, is contained in The Fool’s vision. Only this is wisdom, anything that detracts from this goal is designated as unwise. Consequently, fostering the highest or divine form of wisdom requires us raising ourselves up and connecting to different level of consciousness. Describing this level as “subjective”, the RT group reports this is what The Fool represents. While descending to the Physical Plane or existence, he nonetheless keeps his eye on the prize, namely, his preincarnate vision of achieving his, or her life’s purpose. The group informs us that we are given all the clues in how to accomplish this through the card’s symbols, which convey that we possess everything we need within us. Nature provides everything for us to operate and function without effort, as within us countless subconscious cells and systems effectively operate our spirit’s vehicle. Since this all occurs at the subconscious level, we have very little to do with it. However, although the subconscious takes care of every natural operation, it can be thwarted by our Self-conscious choices, such as poor eating habits and imbibing toxins. Helpless to stop this, the subconscious has to rely on our Creative Will directed by the Intellect. Reflecting the earlier versions of the card, with a dog/tiger-cat clawing and biting The Fool, the group warns that initially the Intellect needs taming as it promotes indulging in immediate pleasure, without considering the repercussions. Curbing this tendency is one of the goals of Tarot. According to the RT group, the cards expand our thinking of ourselves as helpless victims of our appetites and desires, instead its message encourages us to develop self-control, by convincing our subconscious we want to change through our Creative Wills exercising consistent self-control. The group believed it essential to begin this process by setting our minds to this goal, and keeping our preincarnate vision at the forefront of our minds, continually going inside for support.

Fool card

COLOR & SYMBOLISM

The Fool’s color and sound vibration is Yellow and E-Natural, which both Paul Foster Case and the RT group agreed represents Spirit and Air. Nonetheless, The Fool’s Yellow is Bright Yellow. Most radiant color of the spectrum, capturing our attention more than any other color. We see Yellow in sunflowers, daffodils, egg yolks, lemons, canaries, and bees. It’s the color of happiness, optimism, enlightenment, creativity, sunshine, and spring. On the other hand, Yellow also has a dark side, implying cowardice, betrayal, egoism, and madness. More than anything, Yellow is the color of caution. I saw this Yellow as reflecting the lower human ego, which came into being when the Human Race developed individuality in 3111 B.C.E., although the human ego was not fully active until around 500 B.C.E.

In reviewing the symbolism of both the Rider-Smith-Waite and Paul Foster Case versions of card or Key 0 The Fool, most details appear identical. However, upon closer examination, I saw there are distinct differences. As such, we need to examine the differences more thoroughly, as the latter version was supposedly created to correct the deliberate changes that A. E. Waite made to hide the deeper meaning. To help avoid confusion, I will bold the card in discussion, and italicize any other card mentioned.

(Note: I would have liked to have placed the BOTA version next to my colored RSW-Arcanas version in order to compare the differences between these accredited experts, but unfortunately I could not obtain permission by the Builders of The Adytum to use their cards. Still, I will do my best to convey the differences in my descriptions and interpretations.)

According to the RT group, the primary message of The Fool, is the importance of formulating an individual vision for life, as in, what do we desire “most.” They say that this is what the card portrays with The Fool gazing up to the northwest. Although we cannot see “his vision”, later we will see that this corner contains an image of an angel. Angels reside in heaven, which is where The Fool is descending from. Hinduism teaches there are Seven Planes but the Kabbalists blended these seven planes into three. Although the Tarot refers to the highest as the Golden Plane it was also known as the Great Spiritual Plane, while in descending order we have the Great Mental and Great Physical Planes. Therefore, The Fool’s life vision is to use his connection to the Higher Self, and what he learned in Heaven, to transform himself and become an evolved and perfected individual; a goal achieved solely by the individual themselves. We see how the individual achieves this through the white rose in The Fool’s left hand. Reminding us that red roses have always represented desire, the group observes that making this a white rose indicates “purified desire.” It seems we purify desire through using both the masculine and feminine aspects of our consciousness equally, depicted symbolically by the two leaves from which the white rose has emerged.

Regarding the leaves, the RT group observes that although there are only two stems from which the two leaves grow, each leaf comprises three points. Of course, this brings in every combination of three we can think of. Symbolizing Father, Mother, and Child, they point out that each human being contains three primary bodies, physical, astral, and mental. As such, the white rose emerging from the two three-pointed leaves symbolizes the need to address desire at all three levels. In the physical body, desire manifests as all forms of appetite that satisfies the five senses. Desire at the astral level reveals itself in our emotions, as in wallowing and yearning for something or someone. I am not speaking of genuine grief for the loss of a loved one, I am referring to pining over a heartthrob or unrequited love. At the mental level, desire shows up as ambition or determination. In all three levels, to achieve purification of desire requires equanimity, using both our self and subconscious. This combination also involves using our Higher Selves, which the group relates is the crux of the 22 archetypes in the Major arcana. When we judge a desire from the perspective of the Higher Self we consider all aspects, making it a wise choice. On the other hand, desires originating solely from the mind (ambition), body (appetite), or based on emotions are deemed unwise or foolish.

Notwithstanding The Fool’s goal of purifying our desires, evolution itself actually involves it, irrespective of whether it is a wise or foolish desire. Desire is how we learn to make the right choices. Like The Buddha taught life is suffering and we only escape this perpetual wheel of reincarnation through learning to curb craving of all kinds. To help explain, the RT group asks us to thoroughly examine each craving or ambition that arises, asking ourselves is it truly what our heart desires. Cautioning us, the group adds that if it is solely from our body, emotions, or mind then it may ultimately lead to pain and suffering. From childhood we are taught this lesson in fictional stories, such as characters making foolish wishes, which although appearing good initially, eventually causes the hero to end up regretting their choices. The group reminds us that the ancient wisdom teachers concocted these stories, consequently, we should view the fairy godmother as representing our subconscious, who constantly strives to “grant our wishes.” The only difference from the stories is that our subconscious requires that we convince her that we truly desire our wish. A perfect example is as they said, a man seeking to quit smoking will never have his wish granted until he stops craving a cigarette. Nonetheless, the group concludes that mistakes eventually lead to success, as like children we learn from our mistakes. Evidently, Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer to help with this. Consider the words, “Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Although most of us grew up believing this prayer is directed to “Our Father, who art in Heaven”, as the original King James’ version of the Bible reported. The group assures us that on a deeper level, which ancient wisdom understood, we are in fact directing this plea to our Higher Self.

Despite agreeing in principle with the RT group, Paul Foster Case went even further, describing The Fool’s fervent concentration, as conveying his present unreachable vision of our “future” self. In this way, The Fool represents a future self, who has succeeded in developing into a portion of the eternal, permanent Life-principle, which every form of Life stems from.

Although the Rider-Smith-Waite and BOTA Fool holds a white rose in his left hand, Mr. Foster Case believed the detail has more than one meaning, not only does it convey liberation from the  baser levels of desire and passion, it also represents a new more spiritual kind of desire suggested by the rose being “cultivated” and not wild. This reminded me that the RT group viewed The Fool’s Intelligence as Cultured as well as Fiery, and a synonym for cultured is cultivated. In this regard, Mr. Foster Case interpreted the White Rose, together with his clothing as revealing his cultured origins, reinforced by The Fool’s Hebrew letter Alephא symbolizing “cultural activities.”

Another symbol in both versions is the White Sun, which both authors agree symbolizes the Spiritual or highest plane The Fool originates from. For the RT group, the youth or Fool is a Divine being sent down from “God” or Great Spirit-Mind into the Mental, or Golden Plane where hypothetical thoughts become real. However, his journey does not stop there, as the card conveys he is poised to descend as an individual into the Great Physical Plane. Upon leaving the Golden Mental Plane, he holds the vision of his purpose from above as he descends into the densest level of matter, his new born body. The group reminds us that like someone retracing their steps to find their way home, the individual ascends back to spirit by remembering this vision.

Still, the White Sun has more to teach us as it has 14 rays, associating it to the faculty of Reason and card 4 – The Emperor , because the card’s letter Heh ה has a hidden value of 14. Reaffirming the Divine nature of The Fool, in Gematria (an alphanumeric code of assigning a numerical value to a name, word or phrase based on its letters), the 14 rays of the White Sun connects it to Great Spirit-Mind, because 14is the value of the Hebrew name for the Divine ID or Yod י (10) Daleth ד (4), and the Almighty Hand. Interestingly, the RT group provides us with an additional relevant name and value, AL, or Aleph א (1) Lamed ל (30), which they inform us means strength, and as we can see has a value of thirty-one. They feel this name is relevant because 31 x 14 is 434, which is also the value of Daleth DLTh, or Daleth ד (4) Lamed ל (30) Tau ת (400). The Hebrew letter Daleth is assigned to card 3 – The Empress or Creative Imagination, who is the consort of The Emperor or Reason. Explaining the importance of the connection between Heh ה and Daleth ד , the group relates it reveals that the Divine Spirit within us expresses itself imaginatively. Moreover, the number 14 also reminds us of the Minor Arcana, as there are 14 cards in each of the four suits, which means the White Sun tells us that each suit reveals how Spirit has descended, like the “Hand of God” (ID) to manifest Itself, as well as showing how Spirit operates on all four planes in the Tree of Life. According to the group, all of this denotes “passing down” an image from the Archetypal Plane through the Creative and Formative Planes into our Material Earth, which began with Heh ה or Reason, symbolized by the 14 rayed White Sun.

Paul Foster Case also had a lot to say about the White Sun. Observing The Fool’s apparent immaturity, he interpreted it as helping us to consider the Supreme Being from our own perspective. Rather than Spirit, Mr. Case asked us to look at The Fool as representing the “Life-Breath” encased in a human body. However, we need to remember that the White Sun indicates we contain so much more, something intangible, unending, and powerful, originating from our Solar system’s sun. This Universal Life-Breath is ageless, genderless, and eternally powerful. Moreover, It is pure potentiality in that It hovers at the edge of the void between materialization and potential. We see this message in the White Sun behind The Fool, which Mr. Foster Case related is at a 45 degree angle to the East. Taking inspiration from Christian theologian, scientist, philosopher, and mystic Swedenborg, he implied this White or spiritual Sun represents the pure untainted potential of limitless spiritual power, which can never be diminished. Supporting his conclusion, Mr. Case remarked that the Youth or Fool is facing North-West, which esoterically represented the “unknown.”

In card or Key 0 The Fool, on the same level as the Youth are White Peaks that appear to float above the mountain range below him. Since they are white, we know that like the White Sun they represent the highest plane, or the Great Spiritual Plane. Nonetheless, the RT group informs us that White always refers to abstract thought, as well as the Spiritual Plane, therefore, the message of the White Peaks is that it is our responsibility to bring the Spiritual plane down into us on every level. Mr. Foster Case implied that these White or as he called them “icy” Peaks concern the importance of remembering that “icy” or subjective “mathematic principles” are the source of everything.

Moving down we come to what the Youth in The Fool is standing on, namely a flaky Shelf in the form of a Crescent. Not surprisingly, the crescent shape is no accident as according to the RT group, crescents always mean the subconscious. Therefore, the crescent here is telling us that all matter comes from the subconscious, only it is not the individual subconscious, it is the many-named universal subconscious. We learn which name the Crescent Shelf refers to through its color. One of the most important lessons I learned in studying, creating the RSW Arcanas Tarot deck, and writing the commentary for The Rabbi’s Tarot, was the importance of color in the cards. Apparently, the Shelf is predominantly Red blending into Yellow, then Gray. Naturally Red is activity driven by desire, as without impetus nothing would happen. The group explains that Yellow always represents the mind, whereas here the color Gray symbolizes matter on the Physical plane. The way the colors blend portrays the message that we create matter through our subconscious, which is initiated by our conscious minds. Referred to as spiritual Alchemy, the group assures us that this is the real purpose of the Tarot, in that we “change” the baser material of our bodies for purer, more cultured matter, which results spiritually speaking as bringing in the colors White and Blue, representing the Spirit or Holy Ghost.

Even though the Youth appears oblivious to it, The Fool is poised to descend to the physical level or the Great Physical Plane. However, before he descends to the densest level, i.e. his/her earthly body, The Fool has to pass through what the RT group calls the Blue Middle Region. Sometimes referred to as the location of the Akashic records, this is where our dreams and insights during sleep come from, because this region represents the universal Memory,. From our perspective, it is the Astral Plane, which is also the Water Plane on the Tree of Life, hence the color blue.

In card or Key 0, the Blue Middle Region has Two Mountain Peaks, which the RT group calls Wisdom and Understanding, yet another reference to universal memory because card 2 – The High Priestess, symbolizes not only the Cosmic Subconscious Mind but also Universal memory. Relating that in the English language Wisdom and Understanding mean pretty much the same thing, the group informs us this is not the case in Hebrew. Quoting from Proverbs 4: 7, the Scripture: “get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding” seems to say that through wisdom comes understanding, which is surprising because the group says Wisdom refers to Memory and Understanding to Imagination.

An outstanding feature in card 0 – The Fool are his bright Yellow Boots. As stated, Yellow always refers to the mind, which means his/her feet are being directed by the mind. The RT group interpret this as implying that although the youth’s eyes are focused on his/her vision, he/she is unafraid. They believe this detail informs us that our vision of the perfect human being cannot be thwarted and despite appearances will always eventually be fulfilled. Obviously, from The Fool’s body language of exuberant optimism, the Youth knows this truth. Therefore, the Yellow Boots, along with The Fool’s attitude can help us remember what we already know, the power to fulfill our purpose is always available to us. This is apparently what Proverbs 4: 7 is saying, we need to have a clear vision of our future selves, in other words we need to imagine it, then we will understand. The primary message here for the group is the importance of having a vision.

Interestingly, Paul Foster Case had nothing to say about the Shelf or Blue Middle Region, with its Two Mountain Peaks. He did, however, have a comment concerning The Fool’s Yellow Boots. Reminding us that Yellow always refers to the element Air, he saw the color of the Boots, signifying that The Fool was the medium or “vehicle” for the Life-Breath or “power.”

Considering the Tarot de Marseille deck’s Fool, in respect to both the Rider-Smith-Waite and BOTA versions, the animal in the latter card or Key accompanying The Fool is not the biting and clawing tiger/cat of the former, because in their versions the tiger/cat has been replaced by a little white dog. According to the RT group, this dog exemplifies the purified Intellect, which has given up seeking material gain and stature in its pursuit of success and power. Instead, this ally assists its master, The Fool in manifesting his/her vision. Even though the little white dog is perilously close to falling into the abyss below, it appears unconcerned as its focus is on its master, who in turn is absorbed in his/her vision. This situation is alluding to the fact that the Intellect (dog) must always be subject to its master (Youth), the Spirit within a human being. Emphasizing this important distinction, the group relate that it is essential for the Intellect to know its place, and ally with its Spirit. They warn that if this is not clearly defined, then there is a danger of the Intellect thinking it is in control.

Agreeing with the RT group, Paul Foster Case commented that ancient Egyptians used the little white dog in Key or card 0 The Fool as a symbol for the Intellect, only he saw this dog or Intellect’s master as the Superconscious. All pet dogs have been domesticated from wolves and jackals, who were carefully bred to be “man’s best friend.” To him, dogs indicate how the Intellect has changed our world, representing the benefit to nature and wild animals, when human beings evolve.

Although Mr. Foster Case accused A.E. Waite of deliberately concealing the truth in his deck, he appears to have respected him because he observes that “Dr. Waite” saw The Fool as representing the condition of Kether. As such, we could view the archetype as the initial part of Cosmic Mind, or the individual superconsciousness. To reiterate, like the RT group, Mr. Foster Case believed The Fool epitomized the Life-Breath or Life-Power about to incarnate. However, he qualified this, by adding that this power is beyond reason, imagination, and feeling. Quoting from The Mystical Theology of Dionysius, he implies that “God” is beyond all human attributes. The author’s remarks reminded me that zero does not mean lacking, on the contrary, it means that “God” or Great Spirit-Mind far exceeds all concepts of human wisdom.

Concerning The Fool’s attire, the background color of his/her Robe reveals before incarnating into a body, the divine spark within the Life Power must have a memory wipe. Known as the Robe of Ignorance, the RT group relates that through its color, this detail contains two possible meanings because black has two levels of meaning. At the lowest level, the Robe of Ignorance means simply that the new life has no concept of his/her role. Nonetheless, the color of the Robe being black also indicates through secret wisdom, the person can obtain “superconscious perception.” Even so, this higher level requires an impetus, which is provided by the inner lining of the Robe. Obviously, like the Red part of the Shelf, the Red inner lining represents desire. The group explains that desire drives evolution, as without it a desire to improve, for whatever reason, Life and progress would stagnate. Although unrestrained desire for new experiences can be harmful, the color white of The Fool’s innermost clothing reminds us that at our innermost core, we are pure spirit and despite initial ignorance, eventually we will all remember our true self and follow our Higher Selves guidance to unite with our true source.

Reminding us all that whether we like it or not, we are all subject to the Universal Laws, the RT group relates we can see this truth through the pattern on The Fool’s Robe. This complex pattern, in the Rider-Smith-Waite card consists of 8 Yellow Wheels with eight Red spokes, amidst 7 Green Trefoils encircling each Wheel. Informing us that the Yellow Wheels represent our sun, while the Red spokes symbolize 8 “forms of energy”, the group interprets it to mean “conscious energy.” Then they connect this detail to the Sephiroth in the Tree of Life, or as they call them the Ten Emanations. Focusing in on the 7 Trefoils, the group tells us that this detail represents the 7 chakras or centers of the body, only they refer to them as the 7 “great phases of the LIFE Power’s activity.” Evidently, this symbolism encapsulates the purpose of the Tarot because meditating on the cards enhances the efficiency of the chakra system. Stressing the secrecy and importance of this practice, the group reveals that the 8 Wheels on The Fool’s Robe are there to help us in this work, as they remind us of the 8 phases of the Life Power, operating in 8 distinct ways within 7 energetic stages. Solving the discrepancy between there only being 8 Wheels, not 10, the group explains that two of them are represented by two Red and Yellowfigures” elsewhere on the Robe, one situated on The Fool’s chest and the other on the thigh. These 2 figures alchemically represent 2 profound modifications in the body, together with an equally profound shift within the head. Reminding us that all alchemy involves three components, the group says all three are performed at the subconscious level without the individual’s volition. Connecting this process to the 2 Leaves on the White Rose, which The Fool holds, they say this detail tells us that the changes are achieved through a balance between the conscious and subconscious depicted by the 2 Leaves. Apparently, esoterically this process is known as “lifting the sex force to the head.”

Notwithstanding the RT’s group interpretation of The Fool’s attire above, Paul Foster Case had a slightly different view. Probably because rather than having eight 8-spoked Wheels, his BOTA Fool apparently had ten 8-spoked Wheels, encircled by 7 Trefoils. Nevertheless, he began his interpretation of The Fool’s attire, by commenting that the youth’s dazzling White undergarment denoted the brilliance of “perfect wisdom.” In BOTA’s Fool, Mr. Foster Case added the Tetragrammaton, IHVH יהוה or Yod Heh Vau Heh along the neckline of this undergarment, which he believed Aleph א was connected to. Noting that the black Robe, or as he called it, coat of Ignorance all but covers this innermost garment, like the group Mr. Foster Case believed the Red lining indicates action and desire. Turning to the pattern on the outer coat or robe, rather than the Yellow Wheels representing the sun, he interpreted them as signifying the element Air and its physical manifestation breath. Regarding the 8-Red-spokes, he reminded us that the music scale has 8 notes. Therefore, we could interpret this detail as the “rhythmic” reaction of The Fool’s Scintillating Fire causing the element Air, representing the Life-Breath to spin, or wheel. In other words, become active.

Instead of connecting the 7 Trefoils to the 7 chakras, Mr. Foster Case saw them connected to Venus and plant life, in particular vegetables. On a higher level, he interpreted the 7 Trefoils on The Fool’s Robe as symbolizing the “Seven Spirits of God” or Seven Rays that constitutes all “creative energy” in the Cosmos. Explaining the threefold makeup of each Trefoil, Mr. Foster Case informed us they are 3 because each universal Ray expresses itself in three ways, through assimilation, balancing, and degeneration. As for why BOTA has 10 Wheels rather than the 8 Wheels of the Rider-Smith-Waite card, he reasoned that ancient wisdom taught that there are always 10 stages in creation. However, upon closer inspection of the BOTA card, I discovered that there are only nine Red-spoked Wheels, not 10. True, the 2 Figures mentioned by the RT group are encased in Yellow Wheels, but only one has Red spokes. Although the figures are clearer than in the Rider-Smith-Waite, it is still difficult to make out exactly what they are. Moreover, Mr. Foster Case only addressed one of the figures, describing it as the Hebrew letter Shin, he informed us that this red triple flame on The Fool’s chest shows the fiery link between Aleph א and Shin שּ , as the latter literally represents Fire, whereas Aleph represents Scintillating Fire. Still, for Mr. Foster Case ultimately both letters mean the same thing, namely, the Holy Spirit.

Examining the BOTA’s coat of ignorance, I noticed there was an 8-pointed star next to a silver crescent moon. Mr. Foster Case said of this detail that both were alchemical symbols denoting the “solar current.” Both represent the dual forms of the Life-Breath as masculine and active as well as feminine and passive, moreover, both are macrocosmic or universal and microcosmic or individual. Curiously, despite this both operate within the human body’s nervous system.

Moving up to The Fool’s head we encounter a Red Feather attached to a Wreath of plaited Green Leaves. Dealing with the Wreath first, the RT group relates that as it is Green it alludes to the Creative Imagination, represented by card 3 – The Empress. Observing that the Plaited Wreath creates two upright 8s, they inform us this signifies the transformed self-conscious (masculine/active) and subconscious (feminine/passive). Nonetheless, the self-conscious does not take the lead here. That role falls to the subconscious, who despite being passive transforms the active self-conscious. This is an important distinction because it indicates the heart superseding the head. We will come back to this important event in later cards but first let’s move on to the Red Feather.

Informing us that the Red Feather is from the Wing of an Eagle, the RT group says this indicates that The Fool’s perception is alive and well, as Red always represents action of some kind. In this case, the action connected to the Eagle feather is to access the contents of the Wallet or bag tied to the Wand the youth carries. According to the group, the contents symbolize the Universal Subconscious, which is reinforced by the Wallet or Bag being in the shape of an eagle. Personally speaking, I felt this statement was a bit of a stretch as there was no way that the wallet or bag tied to the wand could be described as eagle-shaped. Regardless of the questionable description, the group points out that this detail has an Open Eye on its Flap, which brings in multiple meanings from the Ancient Mysteries. In this case, the most important meaning for the Open Eye is it refers to a different kind-of vision because it uses the imagination, which they say opens the “treasures” of the Wallet. Since this “treasure” is access to the Universal Subconscious, obviously knowing how to open it, is of great value. Once again, The Fool provides the means to open it through its symbolism. In this case it is the Wand that reveals how, because the group tells us that the Wand was intended to be Black with a Red end, which conveys that we open this Wallet through the secret wisdom that focused imagination unlocks the power for us to transform.

Due to the Bag or Wallet on the Black Wand in The Fool of the BOTA card being the most different from the Rider-Smith-Waite version, I was most interested in what Paul Foster Case had to say about this detail. Rather than inferring the Wallet was “eagle-shaped”, in the BOTA version, he had his artist Jesse Burns Parke clearly place an eagle on the bag/wallet. He wrote that the eagle represented Scorpio, which along with the Wand symbolized the sex-force, or Life-Power that produces and endless stream of life-forms carrying all the amassed knowledge from age to age. Yet in this case, when combined with the symbols of the Wand inferring both will and attention, together with the Wallet, which as stated contains the universal subconscious or Akashic records, the eagle reminds us that we access our higher visions through the raised sex-force. Emphasizing that the Flap has ten stitches, which Mr. Foster Case believed means the same as the 10 Wheels on The Fool’s Robe, the addition of the Opened Eye on the Flap raises this symbol to a higher level. This is because ancient wisdom believed the Opened Eye symbolized among other things, the Eye of Horus, or higher vision. Therefore, I take from this that the highest message of The Fool’s bag/wallet is that we can access the Akashic Records of universal memory, which gives us a higher wisdom to see everything in 10 levels of awareness.

Lastly we come to card or Key 0’s The Fool’s Belt, which not surprisingly the group designated as the Belt of the Zodiac. For some reason, the RT group left the Belt to the end of their interpretation of The Fool’s details. Perhaps because they saw it as limiting the divine in us. I say this, because identifying this Belt with the 12 signs of the Zodiac, they add that in order to incarnate into a physical body, the spirit is required to connect with Linear time and the Astrological powers of the universe. Summing up the effect of the Belt, the group says the spirit requires a body to manifest but that the body limits the spirit.

Although reporting the Belt as representing the 12 signs of the Zodiac and Linear time, Paul Foster Case interpreted this detail’s message quite differently than the RT group. Associating the Belt to the Coat of Ignorance, he saw its message as saying that to overcome ignorance, we need to recognize the illusion of time. Therefore, a student of the ancient wisdom would first need to understand that time is a human construct, and accept the eternal nature of existence. Bringing in the detail of The Fools citrine or olive tights, he says they symbolize not only the element earth but also the 10th Sephirot Malkuth or Kingdom in the Tree of Life. So, we could see this as referring to the final manifestation of the Life- Power or Spirit.

Notwithstanding the A. E. Waite’s and Paul Foster Case’s near identical versions of card 0 – The Fool, as expected Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck Fool that he refers to as an “Atu” completely differs from both. Furthermore, he has a lot to say about this archetype, who is depicted with horns and a strange cone-like “crown”, while he is seemingly suspended in the element he represents, Air. Lady Harris’ version is packed with symbols, none of which resemble the Rider-Smith-Waite or BOTA versions, other than his yellow footwear that look like a Jester’s costume. Gone is the White Dog, replaced by the original tiger clawing and biting his thigh. Below The Fool lies a crocodile, poised between the figure’s outstretched feet. Highly subjective, apart from the tiger and crocodile, and a white dove, butterfly, flowers, heart, and yellow sun, most other features are not clearly defined. For example, we can just make out what looks like a fish below his right hand which clasps a diamond shaped crystal. It is unclear what The Fool holds in his left hand because it resembles fire. Then there is a mound of coins within a see-through bag with various astrological symbols. There are also a bunch of grapes, and a winged caduceus at the end of the rainbow colored spiral next to The Fool’s heart.

According to Lon Milo Duquette, The Fool is the only Tarot card that matters, as it contains the rest of the Major Arcana within it. In addition, the author associates The Fool with the path between Kether and Chokmah, which I found surprising. I say surprising because referencing the original Medieval title Le Mat, which derived from the Italian word Matto, meaning “fool”, Mr. Crowley informs us the title really referred to an Egyptian vulture goddess named Maut, who was an “earlier and more sublime modification” of the goddess Nut. Moreover, he says that there are two myths concerning a vulture, the vulture’s neck alluding to the belief that our universe was a spiral, and how a vulture procreates, which was apparently through the “wind.” Mr. Crowley interprets this to mean that Air creates everything, and that Life is androgynous. Describing this as representing both parents, he relates this union produces twins, which is depicted in Atu 0 on the inner spiral between The Fool’s legs. For both authors, the primary message of The Fool is the fact that Atu 0 that represents No-thing or Ain Soph, as well as the region above Kether in the Tree of Life that Kabbalists believed was the “source” for all Creation. Agreeing that prophets and spiritual mendicants are often viewed as fools, Mr. Crowley reminded us that there has always been a “connection between foolishness and holiness.” In the Middle East, people believe madness can be a sign of a prophet of holy man. Amazingly, he tells us this traditional belief is so deep-rooted that we carry it in the English word “silly”, which originated from the “German word Selig”, meaning holy or blessed, evolved in English to mean a “Vacuum of Air-Zero.” This interpretation caused Mr. Crowley to think The Fool represents innocence, which reminded me of Jesus’ admonition to the disciples to be as “innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16 KJV).” However, I felt that Jesus coupling this with “and as wise as serpents” was equally important.

I found it interesting that Mr. Duquette describes an earlier version of the Thoth Fool as a “bearded ancient” in profile clasping a “sphere”, which contained “illusion” in “his” left hand, and a long staff in “his” right hand. Instead of a tiger and crocodile, he is accompanied by a lion and dragon, which he appears oblivious of. Nevertheless, regardless of which Thoth card we use, both cards are obviously not youths about to step off into an unknown realm. These characters are large and in charge, consequently I find it difficult to see them representing the same as the Rider-Smith-Waite and BOTA Fools.

So what does the Thoth Fool represent?We are given a clue when Mr. Crowley associated the “Green Man, April Fool, and The Holy Ghost” to The Fool, relating that in order to determine its origin, we need to consider these archetypes. He also mentions the legend of King Arthur, Merlin, and the Knights Sir Percival or Parsifal, and Sir Galahad. Then turning to Bible times, he connects The Fool to the “fish god” Oannes, or Dagon of the Euphrates, and the Old Testament prophet Noah. Identifying the fish as a symbol of the “Redeemer”, he points out that this symbol is carried throughout the world under various names, such as Hoor-Pa-Kraat in the Yucatan. Moving on, Mr. Crowley zeroed in on The Fool being represented by Harpocrates as the god of Silence, describing him as a “simpler form” of Sir Parsifal. Bringing in Greek mythology, he also connects The Fool to the demigods Dionysus Zagreus, Bacchus, and Mithra.

In the end, Aleister Crowley concludes that The Fool is a conglomeration of all the gods and archetypes, which we see in his horns representing Dionysus Zagreus, while his green attire associates him to the Green Man, or spring. The strange cone-like crown is meant to symbolize the White light from Kether, while his situation, which Mr. Crowley informs us originates from space, is supposed to signify his imminent sudden entrance into the Physical plane. The Fool’s yellow, or as he calls it gold representing the sun, footwear is considered a phallic symbol. Surprisingly, he describes the item in The Fool’s right hand as a white pyramid on the end of a staff. As for his left hand, he apparently clasps a pinecone of flames. Mr. Crowley tells us both symbolize the same thing, abundant vegetation, emphasized by the grapes behind The Fool’s left shoulder that epitomize fertility and the ecstatic sweetness of life. Amazingly, it is the grapes that produces rainbow colored spirals, which represents the shape of the universe. The author believes it indicates the “Threefold Veil of the Negative”, which The Fool manifests through dividing the light. Noting other divine symbols, among others Mr. Crowley sites the dove and the multicolored butterfly representing the goddess Venus, Mary, or Isis. Describing the caduceus as a “winged globe” with entwined serpents, he relates its significance is mirrored and strengthened by the twin babies lying and cuddling one another on the inner spiral. Pointing out the flowers hanging over them, he says they symbolically allude to the trinity of three in one. Rather than attacking The Fool, Mr. Crowley saw the tiger fawning over him, while the crocodile with a sacred lotus cowers below. Not surprisingly, the author highlighted the brilliant golden sun radiating its light from The Fool’s reproductive organs, which he says is the center for the microcosm. Ultimately, the entire card symbolizes the Light of Creation.

According to Aleister Crowley’s 777 Liber, The Fool is assigned the four colors below, which are Bright paleYellow for the King/Knight, Sky blue for the Queen, Blue emerald green for the Knight/Prince or Emperor, and Emerald flecked with gold for the Page/Princess or Empress. It also represents the suit of Swords in the Minor arcana, and as a Mother Letter card, it represents the Knights, or as he calls them Emperors or Princes.

The thing I found most curious about the four colors above is that apart from the Bright pale Yellow, which agrees with the background of A.E. Waite and possibly Paul Foster Case’s Fools, none of the four reflect the colors of Lady Frieda Harris’ Thoth deck’s Fool. I guess we could consider the blue and green as representative of the blue background and the Fool’s “green” outfit. However, his outfit is more of an olive green or yellow green than green with a hint of blue in the colors above. Moreover, the Yellow is definitely on the golden side, which Aleister Crowley affirmed in his description, this would obviously favor the Rider-Smith-Waite and BOTA Fools, rather than Lady Frieda Harris’ Thoth deck’s version. Checking A.E. Waite’s Fool, as stated, the background is Bright pale Yellow and Sky blue could possibly be observed in the Blue Middle region. Still apart from this, none of the other colors were visible in Pamela Coleman Smith’s card. As for the BOTA version, apart from the Yellow background and Trefoils, Paul Foster Case does not specifically mention any of the four colors above.

NUMBERS AND THE I-CHING

Having covered colors and symbols, it was time to move onto numbers. Even though The Fool is considered as card 0 by A.E. Waite and Paul Foster Case, as well as Atu 0 by Aleister Crowley, Samael Aun Weor designated The Fool as “Arcanum 21.” Moreover, the Hebrew letter Aleph א assigned to card 0, confirmed by the first three authors, is number 1 in the Hebrew Alphabet. Considering that as I reported in the Minor Arcana’s Beyond Divination:

According to Wynn Westcott’s, Numbers: Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, numbers “referred every object, planet, man, idea and essence to some number or other, in a way, which to most moderns must seem curious and mystical in the highest degree.” The philosopher Porphyry wrote that Pythagoras taught numbers “were hieroglyphic symbols, by means whereof he explained all ideas concerning the nature of things.” Interestingly, Paul Foster Case tells us that our number system, generally attributed to Arabs, is in fact the brainchild of Hindu priests. Evidently, Arabian mathematicians adapted these numerals for their own use before presenting them to Europeans. Moving forward to the late 1800s, evidently, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, in her Secret Doctrine felt that “Numbers are a key to the ancient views of cosmogony—in its broad sense, spiritually as well as physically considered and to the evolution of the present human race; all systems of religious mysticism are based upon numerals.” As for the number 1, Pythagoras considered the monad or number 1 as representing “Intuitive knowledge.” Citing H.P. Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled Mr. Westcott wrote that “The sacredness of numbers begins with the Great First Cause, the One, and ends only with the naught or zero---symbol of the infinite and boundless universe.”

4 Knights

It is worth considering the Monad or number one in respect to The Fool. Of course, as Aleph א predominantly represents number one, it will then also have an affinity with the first hexagram of the I-Ching. In addition The Fool connects to the Minor Arcana suit of Swords and the four Knights, or as Aleister Crowley listed them in his 777 Liber the four Emperors or Princes. Therefore, we will not only review the highlights for hexagram number one, but also the highlights of the hexagrams for the four Knights.

As with my Minor Beyond Divination, I will be omitting the interpretation of the individual lines as these focus on divination, instead, my focus is on the hexagram’s overall interpretation and its Judgment and Image:

Above & below Heaven

  • Above - CH'IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

  • Below - CH'IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

Ch’ien - Ch’ien consists of six unbroken lines, which according to my copy of Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I-Ching or Book of Changes, represents the primordial power, the source of Light, the active principle, and strength, but above all it denotes Spirit. Since all six lines are unbroken, it is the epitome of endless energy, which is appropriate as it reflects heaven itself. This hexagram signifies perpetual motion as in timelessness. Wilhelm interpreted this double trigram as representing dual aspects of activity on both the universe (macrocosm) and human beings (microcosm). Macrocosmically, Ch’ien signifies Divine action in Creation, and microcosmically the action of a saint-like individual or wise leader, who through leadership inspires others to awaken their Higher selves.

  • Judgment - THE CREATIVE works sublime success, Furthering through perseverance.

Without going too deeply into the divinatory aspect of the interpretation, the initial implication of the Judgment consists of two pairs of attributes, (1) sublimity, potentiality of success, and (2) power to advance by perseverance. Basically, it means sublime success comes from the primordial power in the origins of the universe and only through patient perseverance and doing the right thing can anyone achieve contentment. According to Richard Wilhelm, in the beginning the Chinese words for the four attributes were far from clear. For instance, the word translated as “sublime” has three other meanings, which are head, origin, and great. He related that Confucius explained “Great indeed is the generating power of the Creative; all beings owe their beginning to it.” Evidently, the great philosopher also believed that this “power permeates all heaven.” Our translator believed that the attribute of sublimity encompasses all four attributes. Therefore, it denotes that the origin of everything exists in unmanifested mental images. Nonetheless, Ch’ien as the “Creative” perseveres and formulates actual forms from the archetypal realm, suggested by the addition of the word success in the first pair of attributes and reflected in natural phenomena. namely: “The clouds pass, and the rain does its work, and all individual beings flow into their forms.” Further on Mr. Wilhelm reports more Confucius comments on the first, Ch’ien, trigram’s Judgment. Apparently, he said that “The course of the Creative alters and shapes beings until each attains its true, specific nature, then it keeps them in conformity with the Great Harmony. Thus, does it show itself to further through perseverance.” Confucius felt that the message of the trigram was the way it elevated a person, as in “towering” over “the multitude of beings”, which results in uniting “all lands in peace.”

  • Image - The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus, the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.

Regarding the Image for the first hexagram, it relates that the movement of heaven is full of power. This is because the “superior man makes himself strong and untiring.” There is only one heaven, irrespective of what philosophy or religion we follow. Therefore, with the trigram Ch’ien – Ch’ien including above and below and in effect doubling heaven, it suggests to us activity or Creation. Mr. Wilhelm also saw the double trigram as referring to the cyclic never-ending nature of time, which is driven by the eternal enduring heaven. It represents the integral nature of the creative force in Creation. The reference to the “superior man” strengthening himself, apparently refers to the wise man using the imagery of the hexagram as an example to not only to persevere in his own improvement, but to also learn how to maintain his influence over others. Ultimately, Mr. Wilhelm interpreted the microcosmic message of the image, to mean that the wiseman must learn to strengthen himself in every respect, in order to achieve “indefatigability” through deliberate disciplined and restrained action.

Starting with the Knight or Emperor/Prince of  Wands, Aleister Crowley assigned this Prince to the 42nd hexagram in the I-Ching, which he called “YI”, but is listed as “I” and interpreted as meaning Increase.

Increase hex

  • Above SUN – THE GENTLE, WIND

  • Below CHEN - THE AROUSING, THUNDER

Richard Wilhelm informs us the concept of “Increase” is portrayed by the “strong” solid line of the upper trigram, as it sinks to the lower trigram. Moreover, this concept conveys the central idea behind the Book of Changes (I-Ching). He explained, “To rule truly is to serve. A sacrifice of the higher element that produces an increase of the lower is called an out-and-out increase: it indicates the spirit that alone has power to help the world.”

  • THE JUDGMENT - Increase. It furthers one to undertake something. It furthers one to cross the great water.

According to Mr. Wilhelm, the Judgment suggests that sacrificing the advantaged in favor of the disadvantaged, “fills the people with a sense of joy and gratitude that is extremely valuable for the flowering of the commonwealth.” Consequently, the people trust and admire their leaders, which ensure that “even difficult and dangerous enterprises will succeed.” Mr. Wilhelm stresses that this hexagram tells us that in order to progress and develop, “it is necessary to work and make the best use of time.” Therefore, it “resembles that of the marriage of heaven and earth, when the earth partakes of the creative power of heaven, forming and bringing forth living beings.” However, the “time of Increase” is temporary and as he says, “it must be utilized while it lasts.”

  • THE IMAGE - Wind and thunder: The image of Increase. Thus the superior man, if he sees good, he imitates it. If he has faults, he rids himself of them.

Regarding the image, Mr. Wilhelm tells us that “While observing how thunder and wind increase and strengthen each other, a man can find the way to self-increase and self-improvement. When he discovers good in others, he should imitate it and thus make everything on earth his own. If he perceives something bad in himself, let him rid himself of it. In this way he becomes free of evil. This ethical change represents the most important increase of personality.”

Mr. Crowley associated the Knight or Emperor/Prince of Cups to the 61st hexagram, which he called Kung Fu but is listed as CHUNG FU and interpreted as Inner Truth.

Inner Truth hex
  • Above SUN – THE GENTLE, WIND
  • Below TUI - THE JOYOUS, LAKE

Richard Wilhelm interpreted this hexagram in terms of the lines, which has two broken lines sandwiched between four solid ones. Describing it as the effect of wind on the surface of a lake, he explains that this configuration “indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to truth.” Moreover, each trigram’s solid middle line, “indicates the force of inner truth in the influences they present.” Apparently, this denotes the “attributes of the two trigrams”, as in SUN representing “gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors” and TUI, representing “joyousness in obeying superiors.” Mr. Wilhelm relates that “Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes achievements possible.” This is allegorically demonstrated the Chinese character for Truth being a “picture of a bird's foot over a fledgling” implying “the idea of brooding.” He believes as “an egg is hollow, the light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened. Far-reaching speculations can be linked with these ideas.”

  • THE JUDGMENT – INNER TRUTH. Pigs and fishes. Good fortune. It furthers one to cross the great water. Perseverance furthers.

According to Mr. Wilhelm, the Judgment alludes to lack of intelligence leading to misunderstanding. Using the analogy of pigs and fishes being the least intelligent, he says, “The force of inner truth must grow great indeed before its influence can extend to such creatures. In dealing with persons as intractable and as difficult to influence as a pig or a fish, the whole secret of success depends on finding the right way of approach.” He relates that is important to “rid oneself of all prejudice and, so to speak, let the psyche of the other person act on one without restraint. Then one will establish contact with him, understand and gain power over him.” Moreover, he believes “When a door has thus been opened, the force of one’s personality will influence him. If in this way one finds no obstacles insurmountable, one can undertake even the most dangerous things, such as crossing the great water, and succeed.” However, Mr. Wilhelm tells us that it is important to understand what the inner truth force depends on. This force is not identical with simple intimacy or a secret bond. Close ties may exist also among thieves; it is true that such a bond acts as a force but, since it is not invincible, it does not bring good fortune.” He asserts that “All association on the basis of common interests holds only up to a certain point. Where the community of interest ceases, the holding together ceases also, and the closest friendship often changes into hate. Only when the bond is based on what is right, on steadfastness, will it remain so firm that it triumphs over everything.”

  • THE IMAGE - Wind over lake: The image of INNER TRUTH. Thus the superior man discusses criminal cases in order to delay executions.

Regarding the image, Mr. Wilhelm tells us that “Wind stirs water by penetrating it. Thus the superior man, when obliged to judge the mistakes of men, tries to penetrate their minds with understanding, in order to gain a sympathetic appreciation of the circumstances. In ancient China, the entire administration of justice was guided by this principle. A deep understanding that knows how to pardon was considered the highest form of justice. This system was not without success, for its aim was to make so strong a moral impression that there was no reason to fear abuse of such mildness. For it sprang not from weakness but from a superior clarity.”

For the Knight, Emperor or Prince of Swords, Mr. Crowley assigned it to the 57th hexagram, known as SUN/The Gentle which is interpreted as “The Penetrating, Wind.”

The Penetrating Wind hex
  • Above SUN - THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD
  • Below SUN - THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD

Richard Wilhelm informs us that SUN is one of only eight hexagrams that are composed of the same trigrams for both Above and Below. He says, it represents the “eldest daughter” and denotes both gentleness and penetration through it representing “wind and wood.” This hexagram consists of four solid and two broken lines, which apparently, “penetrates like the wind or like growing wood with its roots.” Observing the dichotomy of gentleness and the wind and wood, Mr. Wilhelm explains, “The dark principle, in itself rigid and immovable, is dissolved by the penetrating light principle, to which it subordinates itself in gentleness. In nature, it is the wind that disperses the gathered clouds, leaving the sky clear and serene. In human life it is penetrating clarity of judgment that thwarts all dark hidden motives. In the life of the community it is the powerful influence of a great personality that uncovers and breaks up those intrigues which shun the light of day.”

  • THE JUDGMENT - The Gentle. Success through what is small. It furthers one to have somewhere to go. It furthers one to see the great man.

According to Mr. Wilhelm, the Judgment reveals that “Penetration produces gradual and inconspicuous effects.” He tells us that it should only be affected by a constant “influence that never lapses.” The effects of this kind of penetration are subtle and less obvious than say a “surprise attack.” Nonetheless, it is “more enduring and more complete.” Mr. Wilhelm explains that “If one would produce such effects, one must have a clearly defined goal, for only when the penetrating influence works always in the same direction can the object be attained. Small strength can achieve its purpose only by subordinating itself to an eminent man who is capable of creating order.”

  • THE IMAGE - Winds following one upon the other: The image of The Gently Penetrating. Thus, the superior man spreads his commands abroad and carries out his undertakings.

Regarding the image, Mr. Wilhelm tells us that “The penetrating quality of the wind depends upon its ceaselessness. This is what makes it so powerful; time is its instrument. In the same way the ruler’s thought should penetrate the soul of the people. This too requires a lasting influence brought about by enlightenment and command. Only when the command has been assimilated by the people is action in accordance with it possible. Action without preparation of the ground only frightens and repels.”

Finally, Mr. Crowley connected the Knight of Pentacles, which he calls the Emperor or Prince of Discs to the 53rd hexagram known as KIEN which he interprets as deliberate and firm actions that lead to eventual release from oppressive situations. However, the I-Ching refers to it CHIEN, although it is also interpreted as “Development (Gradual Progress).

Development hex
  • Above SUN – THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD
  • Below KEN - KEEPING STILL, MOUNTAIN

CHIEN is made up of three solid and three broken lines, which are not evenly distributed, with two solid lines assigned to SUN and only one to KEN. Nonetheless, because this hexagram consists of trigrams meaning “wood” and “penetration” (above), and “mountain” and “stillness” (below), Richard Wilhelm interpreted this hexagram symbolically. Therefore, we see it as “A tree on a mountain” which grows “slowly according to the law of its being and consequently stands firmly rooted.” He explained that “This gives the idea of a development that proceeds gradually, step by step. The attributes of the trigrams also point to this: within is tranquility, which guards against precipitate actions, and without is penetration, which makes development and progress possible.”


  • THE JUDGMENT - Development. The maiden is given in marriage. Good fortune. Perseverance furthers.

According to Mr. Wilhelm, the Judgment describes the gradual “development of events that leads to a girl’s following a man to his home.” This is because certain “formalities” must be conducted before the wedding. He believed we can apply the “principle of gradual development to other situations” and explains that “it is always applicable where it is a matter of correct relationships of co-operation, as for instance in the appointment of an official.” Mr. Wilhelm is convinced that “development must be allowed to take its proper course”, asserting any actions in haste is unwise. He related that in the end, any “effort to exert influence on others” is unwise, as it is important for a person to learn the correct way to cultivate their “own personality.” Therefore, “No influence such as that exerted by agitators has a lasting effect.” This is because the personality must develop in the same way, “if lasting results are to be achieved.” Ultimately, he felt that only “Gentleness that is adaptable, but at the same time penetrating, is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm. The very gradualness of the development makes it necessary to have perseverance, for perseverance alone prevents slow progress from dwindling to nothing.”


  • THE IMAGE - On the mountain, a tree: The image of Development. Thus the superior man abides in dignity and virtue in order to improve the mores.

Regarding the image, Mr. Wilhelm tells us that “The tree on the mountain is visible from afar, and its development influences the landscape of the entire region. It does not shoot up like a swamp plant; its growth proceeds gradually. Thus, also the work of influencing people can be only gradual. No sudden influence or awakening is of lasting effect. Progress must be quite gradual, and in order to obtain such progress in public opinion and in the mores of the people, it is necessary for the personality to acquire influence and weight. This comes about through careful and constant work on one’s own moral development.”




There is just one more aspect of The Fool that we need to address and that is its place in the Cube of Space. We can see from the graphic above that Paul Foster Case believed Key 0 held court over the Cube, ruling the direction Above to Below, as shown by the arrow dissecting card 1 – The Magician, card 21 – The World, and card 2 – The High Priestess.

David Allen Hulse in his book New Dimensions for the CUBE of SPACE The Path of Initiation Revealed by the Tarot upon the Qabalistic Cube, describes The Fool as being at the hub of the universe, in his/her role of keeping balance between the light and the darkness. He too believes The Fool represents our true self or Spirit that remains through each lifetime experienced. Obviously, championing reincarnation, Mr. Hulse calls this archetype the “cosmic traveler” venturing out repeatedly into the realm of physical existence in order to perfect his or herself in perfect wisdom. The Fool’s voyage is what the Cube of Space depicts. Apparently, his/her destination is the perfect union with the Higher Self, which is obtained through knowledge of his or her origin. This is the reason The Fool represents the direction Above to Below. Bringing in the vibration of color and light, the author reports that The Fool’s bright yellow light acts as axis for the remaining Major arcana to anchor to, thereby symbolizing each sun-sign and planet we encounter through our reincarnations. Even though The Fool representing our constant spirit is always pictured hovering over the Cube of Space, Mr. Hulse informs us that our spirit in fact starts its journey from the Center of the Cube. From here he/she sets out on the “Path of Initiation”, which will also be his or her “Path of Return” back to Spirit. Interestingly, it is in the Western Face that he or she begins this journey, controlled by the Wheel of Fortune. Evidently, the wheel attracts the spirit to incarnate, which then finds itself at the Center of the Cube in The World ruled by Saturn. Curiously, the unborn child is represented by The Hanged Man whose direction is East to West. Travelling along this path, the soul enters the womb, represented by the ultimate mother and ruler of the Eastern Face, The Empress. When the time for birth has arrived, the soul within the child travels along The Hanged Man’s path to the Western face and the Wheel of Fortune. Clearly, the Cube of Space does not follow the traditional sequence in the Tarot Tableau, so our discussion will obviously switch directions and Faces as we proceed.


Final Thoughts

In investigating the multiple versions and opinions of The Fool, I was struck by the abrupt change that occurred in the early 20th Century. Up until then, this archetype was depicted as a sorry character, crammed in between Judgment and The World. My first question was why did A.E. Waite, Paul Foster Case, and Aleister Crowley elevate The Fool from a disheveled vagabond, who is being attacked by his animal companion, to a jubilant youth focused on spiritual matters, in the case of Mr. Waite and Mr. Foster Case, and a Divine being or demigod in the case of Mr. Crowley.

Meditating on the question of The Fool’s elevation, I was reminded that card/Key 0’s connection to Uranus, is the higher octave of Mercury. As we know, this outer planet was not discovered until 1781 by William Herschel, and given the name Uranus in 1850. Eventually, Uranus replaces Saturn as ruler of Aquarius and it was this astrological connection which revealed a possible reason for why The Fool was elevated in the 20th Century. This century would be the last century of the second millennium and people were expecting it to be the last. Although at this time the Western world was not that familiar with the Mayan Long Count, which ended in October, 2011 there was a sense that the 20th Century would be pivotal to human development. At the turn of the century, the Industrial Revolution was well under way, with new innovations and inventions every day. People’s lives were changing and there were several End Times sects emerging. All in all, a card associated to the New age of Aquarius that promised so much, needed a face lift.

From the spiritual perspective, our development is never stagnant and is either moving toward enlightenment, or regressing toward ignorance. Therefore, Paul Foster Case’s development of the Cube of Space required a primary card representing our individual spirit and soul to oversee our spiritual journey. Of course, the fact that The Fool represented the Mother Letter Aleph א didn’t hurt either. Therefore, it is appropriate to view card 0 in this light.

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BEYOND DIVINATION: MINOR ARCANA'S Role in SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION   &
BEYOND DIVINATION: SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION Through The MAJOR ARCANA


BEYOND DIVINATION: MINOR ARCANA'S Role in SPIRITUAL TRANSFORMATION

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Rather than addressing the 14 cards of each suit in order, Suzzan chose to focus on their connections. As a result, she listed the 40 numbered or “pip” cards between 1 to 10, and each royal position for the 16 Court Cards. To give you an example, we include part of chapter 5.

Ace of WandsBefore I discuss the Ace of Wands, I want to address the suit of Wands in general. Most Tarot aficionados attribute the suit of clubs in the regular playing deck to the Tarot’s suit of Wands. The one exception I found was the creator of the Rider-Waite deck, A.E. Waite himself. In his Hidden Church of the Holy Grail: Its Legend and Symbols, linking Wands to the Spear of Destiny, which made sense, he assigned Wands to the suit of Diamonds. Mr. Waite’s reasoning was that Diamonds represented the diamond shaped point of the Holy Lance. Since most Tarot writers agree that Diamonds replaced the suit of Pentacles, it caused quite a problem for me. Yet, as the criteria for investigating the mystery of the Minor Arcana was to consider all views as valid, I needed to keep this in mind.

Causing even more confusion was the fact that another author, A. E. Thierens, who A.E. Waite appeared to support, disagreed with assigning the suit of Wands to diamonds. As I said previously, I say that the latter appeared to support his first namesake because Mr. Waite wrote the introduction for Thierens’ book The General Book of the Tarot. Presenting a thoroughly logical reason for assigning Wands to clubs, in his book Thierens explains that the trefoil, the symbol associated with clubs was a Masonic symbol and always signified the Triangle or Trinity. Notwithstanding that the Trinity in his time was wholly male, rather than the Holy Spirit being the Divine Feminine, he brings in another writer’s opinion, P.D. Ouspensky, who I mentioned in connection to the seven divisions of Christianity in my treatise. Thierens believed that as Ouspensky drew the three-part leaves on the wands in his graphics, it was to convey not only the Trinity, but also the Masonic emblem of the trefoil.

Greek Symbol for Christ Apparently, this trefoil was also a symbol for “the principle of activity”, depicted by the wands themselves. Like A.E. Waite, Thierens connected the suit of Wands to the Holy Spear of Destiny, but he added that when two staffs or wands were crossed, it symbolized the apex of Creation. A perfect example of this is seen in the Greek symbol for The Christ, with X represented by the two staffs crossing a capital P. (right)

Although Thierens concurred with the majority in assigning the suit of Wands to clubs in the deck of cards, he did not agree with designating either wands or clubs to the element Fire. He believed, as I reported that Air is the apex of Creation and movement. Therefore, in respect to the suit of Wands, he felt they must represent Air. As the Element Fire denoted the highest level or plane in every system I had investigated, I wondered how Thierens reached his conclusion. To reiterate, I found his reasoning sound, because of his use of the Secret Doctrine’s information on the dissolution of the universe at the end of each Manvantara. Another consideration for him, is the teaching that Earth’s atmosphere is the connection between Earth and outer space, which he calls the Ether. As such, he thinks it indicates that the suit of Wands connects the Major and Minor Arcana.

There is one more association Thierens makes in his argument to replace Fire with Air as the highest Element, which I must mention. It concerns the Roman Mercury or Greek Hermes, both of which rule the Element Air as well as knowledge and mental acuity. As the accredited Messenger of the gods Hermes symbol, the caduceus, is further evidence of assigning Wands to the Element Air. This is because there is little doubt that the two serpents are coiling around a staff or wand. In respect to this, Thierens points out that Hermes was also known as Trismegistus meaning threefold, which he translates as Great Trefoil, or the King of Wands. So, do either A.E. Waite or A.E. Thierens have a point in going against the norm, in deviating from others concerning the suit of Wands? To answer that I needed to see what other writers I was led to had to say about the subject, and without exception they all equate the suit of Wands to the Element Fire. Due to Mr. Waite being included in these writers, I questioned why he endorsed Thierens book by writing the Introduction? The simple answer is that he must have considered Thierens’ information of value. However, I think that Mr. Waite was saying something else here that involved his connecting Wands and the Element Fire to the suit of Diamonds.

Like Papus, Jonathan Dee in his Tarot Mysteries: Rediscovering the Real Meaning of the Cards, relates that the suit of Wands represents the masculine energy, as does Daphna Moore in our Ancient Teaching on the Ego…, and Benefield Wen in her Holistic Tarot: An integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth. This clearly makes Wands and Fire both masculine and active which is interesting, because the modern deck of cards is divided between masculine and feminine or active and passive, which is portrayed by the colors red and black respectively. Black, which represents the suits of clubs and spades, is energetically considered feminine and passive; whereas, Red, which represents the suits of diamonds and hearts, is energetically masculine and active. Now let us contemplate their respective counterparts in the Tarot. Traditionally, apart from the one variant of A.E. Waite equating wands to diamonds and pentacles to clubs, these are Wands = Clubs, Cups = Hearts, Swords = Spades, and Pentacles = Diamonds. By switching diamonds and clubs, Mr. Waite was exchanging the masculine/active for feminine/passive and vice versa, why? I believe it was to convey the message that each affects the other, as in Fire affects the Earth and that Earth contains the Fire. Obviously, I am not speaking literally here, but Gnostically, in that the Element Fire represents the emotions and passions, which need to be transmuted back to spirit.

ACES IN GENERAL

Regarding the color, in Crowley’s 777 Liber, because all Aces connect to the Sephirot Kether in the Plane of Atziluth, the King, Queen, and Emperor/Prince’s Scale are assigned the color of variations of brilliant white. Only in the Empress/Princess’ Scale does the description vary with white flecked with gold. The message here is that Kether, as the highest level in the Tree of Life reflects the brilliance of Spirit, which is confirmed with the Ace’s association with Yod and the Hermit, meaning the Hand of “God”, Divine Will, and Spirit according to Daphna’s group. Speaking of Kether, Dion Fortune had a lot to say on the ten Sephirot in the Tree of Life. Yet, it was the author stressing the importance of considering each of the ten Sephirot as a whole unit that I found most intriguing. This is because she related that each Sephirot comprises of associations, tensions, and likenesses, consequently, they have no relevance on their own.

Even so, for me to understand the Sephiroth’s connection to the Minor Arcana suits, I needed to also examine them individually. On its own according to the Sepher Yetzirah, Kether denotes the Hidden Intelligence, the unmanifested, the First Principle and the Concealed of the Concealed. It also describes Kether as the Abyss from whence everything originated. This made me think of the Gnostic Ogdoad, where the First Father produced from Silence (the Abyss) the six other members. Obviously, this creation myth is a variation of all the world’s attempts to explain Creation. Still, Ms. Fortune related the Sepher Yetzirah also referred to Kether as the Ancient of Days and Adam Kadmon, both of which allude to the Gnostic concept of the Demiurge/Creator. So, it would seem that Kether represents Spirit in general, because she wrote that Kether is not consciousness per say, but rather the essence and source of consciousness at the individual or microcosmic level, and the very source of Life itself at the universal or macrocosmic level.

Bringing in the concept of four individual Trees of Life in each Plane or World, Ms. Fortune wrote that Kether represents different spiritual aspects in the three upper Planes. Not surprisingly, in Atziluth, the Archetypal, or Fire/Spirit Plane, it represents pure Spirit, whereas, in Briah, Creative or Mental and Air Plane, it represents the Archetypal mind. Reflecting the imagination, in the Formative and Water Plane of Yetzirah, Kether represents the visual consciousness of the Astral Plane. We find Kether’s connection to the Minor Arcana in this Plane too, as Ms. Fortune explained in Yetzirah, Kether’s agents refer to Ezekiel’s vision of the four Holy Living Creatures. She believed the four Aces representing the roots of the Elements depict this association, as another designation for Kether is the primal essence behind all four Elements.

ACES/MONAD AND THE I-CHING

According to Wynn Westcott’s, Numbers: Their Occult Power and Mystic Virtues, numbers “referred every object, planet, man, idea and essence to some number or other, in a way, which to most moderns must seem curious and mystical in the highest degree.” The philosopher Porphyry wrote that Pythagoras taught numbers “were hieroglyphic symbols, by means whereof he explained all ideas concerning the nature of things.” Interestingly, Paul Foster Case tells us that our number system, generally attributed to Arabs, is in fact the brainchild of Hindu priests. Evidently, Arabian mathematicians adapted these numerals for their own use before presenting them to Europeans. Moving forward to the late 1800s, evidently, Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, in her Secret Doctrine felt that “Numbers are a key to the ancient views of cosmogony—in its broad sense, spiritually as well as physically considered and to the evolution of the present human race; all systems of religious mysticism are based upon numerals.” As for the number 1, Pythagoras considered the monad or number 1 as representing “Intuitive knowledge.” Citing H.P. Blavatsky’s Isis Unveiled Mr. Westcott wrote that “The sacredness of numbers begins with the Great First Cause, the One, and ends only with the naught or zero---symbol of the infinite and boundless universe.”

Due to Éliphas Lévi believing that the I-Ching was the Chinese Tarot, I wanted to see if and how the hexagrams connected to the Minor Arcana. As the four Aces are also numbered one, naturally they all correlate with the first hexagram, which in effect doubles heaven. I will be omitting the interpretation of the individual lines as these focus on divination, instead, my focus is on the hexagram’s connection to the Aces in the overall interpretation and its Judgment and Image:

Above & below Heaven

  • Above - CH'IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

  • Below - CH'IEN THE CREATIVE, HEAVEN

  • Judgment - THE CREATIVE works sublime success, Furthering through perseverance.
  • Image - The movement of heaven is full of power. Thus, the superior man makes himself strong and untiring.

Ch’ien - Ch’ien consists of six unbroken lines, which according to my copy of Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I-Ching or Book of Changes, represents the primordial power, the source of Light, the active principle, and strength, but above all it denotes Spirit. Since all six lines are unbroken, it is the epitome of endless energy, which is appropriate as it reflects heaven itself. This hexagram signifies perpetual motion as in timelessness. Wilhelm interpreted this double trigram as representing dual aspects of activity on both the universe (macrocosm) and human beings (microcosm). Macrocosmically, Ch’ien signifies Divine action in Creation, and microcosmically the action of a saint-like individual or wise leader, who through leadership inspires others to awaken their Higher selves.

We see the imagery of the four Aces reflected in Ch’ien’s Judgment. Without going to deeply into the divinatory aspect of the interpretation, the initial implication of the Judgment consists of two pairs of attributes, (1) sublimity, potentiality of success, and (2) power to further, and perseverance. Basically, it means sublime success comes from the primordial power in the origins of the universe and only through patient perseverance and doing the right thing can anyone achieve contentment.

According to Richard Wilhelm, in the beginning the Chinese words for the four attributes were far from clear. For instance, the word translated as “sublime” has three other meanings, which are head, origin, and great. He related that Confucius explained “Great indeed is the generating power of the Creative; all beings owe their beginning to it.” Evidently, the great philosopher also believed that this “power permeates all heaven.” Our translator believed that the attribute of sublimity encompasses all four attributes. Therefore, it denotes that the origin of everything exists in unmanifested mental images. Nonetheless, Ch’ien as the “Creative” perseveres and formulates actual forms from the archetypal realm, suggested by the addition of the word success in the first pair of attributes and reflected in natural phenomena. namely: “The clouds pass, and the rain does its work, and all individual beings flow into their forms.” Further on Mr. Wilhelm reports more Confucius comments on the first, Ch’ien, trigram’s Judgment. Apparently, he said that “The course of the Creative alters and shapes beings until each attains its true, specific nature, then it keeps them in conformity with the Great Harmony. Thus, does it show itself to further through perseverance.” Confucius felt that the message of the trigram was the way it elevated a person, as in “towering” over “the multitude of beings”, which results in uniting “all lands in peace.”

Regarding the Image for the first hexagram, we see that it also reflects the imagery of the four Aces, when it relates that the movement of heaven is full of power. This is because the “superior man makes himself strong and untiring.” There is only one heaven, irrespective of what philosophy or religion we follow. Therefore, with the trigram Ch’ien – Ch’ien including above and below and in effect doubling heaven, it suggests to us activity or Creation. Wilhelm also saw the double trigram as referring to the cyclic never-ending nature of time, which is driven by the eternal enduring heaven. It represents the integral nature of the creative force in Creation. The reference to the “superior man” strengthening himself, apparently, refers to the wise man using the imagery of the hexagram as an example to not only to persevere in his own improvement, but to also learn how to maintain his influence over others. Ultimately, Wilhelm interpreted the microcosmic message of the image, to mean that the wiseman must learn to strengthen himself in every respect, in order to achieve “indefatigability” through deliberate disciplined and restrained action.

There were so many instances in Richard Wilhelm’s translation that pointed to the four Aces connection to the first hexagram. Most notably was the reference to the wiseman or sage, alluding to card 9 - the Hermit in the Major Arcana. Although the Hermit card is a part of the Major Arcana, I say it is most notable because of the Hebrew Letter, Yod assigned to it. Like I said in chapter 4, Papus believed all the Aces represent the Yod of the Tetragrammaton Yod Heh Vau Heh. This is confirmed by the word Yod meaning the “Hand of God” in Hebrew. It is impossible to miss this association in the four Aces with their four “hands” appearing out of the clouds, which incidentally is also mentioned by Confucius in his interpretation of the trigram above. Then there is the four Aces representing the Roots of the Four Elements, as the hexagram also represents the “origin of everything.” Even more relevant is Dr. Papus belief that the Aces represent the first row of the Tarot Tableau, which means they are associated to the “Chief Principles of Consciousness.” As will be shown, this fact helped with interpreting the message in the cards.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this.

Namaste, Peace, Love & Compassion Always, - Suzzan and Craig