Segmenting the Tree of Life


By isolating certain aspects of the Tree of Life for in-depth study, we’re better able to not only understand the parts that make up ourselves but also how they interact to influence the whole.

Horizontal Planes

  • Starting at the top, sephirots 1, 2, and 3 form the Supernal Triangle.
    • This can be seen as “The Head.” Our subconscious and unconscious minds (and the Ultimate Source beyond ourselves) are the spigot from which all else arises.
    • The dealings within the Supernal Triangle are all ways we may receive this Inspiration and Seed of All.
  • Sephirots 4, 5, and 6 make up the Ethical Triangle.
    • This can be seen as “The Hands.” The Ethical Triangle deals with all the ways we may choose to interact with others: either by way of cooperation and community, or by exploitation and selfishness.
  • Sephirots 7, 8, and 9 form the Astral Triangle (where all practical magick is achieved).
    • This can be seen as “The Feet.” This is the Triangle of Action. Here, we take what has come before and we either expound energy into it, to mold things to our liking and withstand or overcome obstacles… Or we withdraw our energy and wait and observe, forced to submit under that which is greater than ourselves and simply strive to gain a better understanding of that which we face.
  • We also find important horizontal planes at the Great Abyss and the Veil of Paroketh:
    • The Abyss marks the point at which subconscious interactions with the Source crosses into Intent — how we decide to use this knowledge in regard to our dealings with others. 
    • The Veil marks the point between Force and Form — below the Veil is Reality and the Physical Outcome of all that came from the upper portions of the Tree. 

Vertical Planes

  • The Tree is divided into three pillars:
    • The center is known as the Pillar of Mildness
    • On the right is the Pillar of Mercy
    • On the left is the Pillar of Severity

These three pillars, in conjunction with the Triangles, grant a greater sense of the flow of energies within a spread and/or within either a single card of, or series of, Major Arcana.

The Lovers (VI)


The Lovers Major Arcanum presents a fine example of how knowledge of its placement in the Tree’s branches can grant further illumination into the card’s meaning.

The Lovers branch from sephirot 3 to sephirot 6.

  • 3 is both within the Supernal Triangle (“the Head”) and at the top of the Pillar of Severity.
  • 6 is both within the Ethical Triangle (“the Hands”) and in the center of the Pillar of Mildness

From this we gather several points of interest:

  • The Lovers begin at: the point where we have “taken apart” the elements of the Source we received in order to better understand it. (davar mitoch davar — understanding one idea from another idea; deductive reasoning)
  • The card ends at: a point of total balance in regard to our intentions and interactions with others.
    • So, where there are two people in our imagery at the start of this branch, there winds up being a united couple at the end; a balanced whole emerging from the separate parts. Each person starts alone to try to understand the elements given to them, but they find balance in uniting together as one — a balance that further influences their interactions with others around them.
  • We get a sense of the move of energy on the vertical plane: moving from a sense of Severity (or, disciplined intellect) to Mildness (balance and emotional/conscious harmony) — this certainly creates a sense of release. 
  • We also see that The Lovers cross the Great Abyss: horizontally, they have moved from the realm of the Head (or subconscious) to the realm of what we might call the Heart — the Hands (the outer pillars of the Ethical Triangle which the 6th sephirot balances) do the work of our intentions created in this Triangle, but the Heart creates a harmony of consciousness.

Within this harmony we are at ease enough to make balanced decisions with regard to how we intend to interact with others in our lives — “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy”… and cast judgement on those I judge. From a place of disciplined intellect we move into a place where we are at home with the intentions we mete out to others. And in so doing, we feel like The Lovers; we move from isolated parts of ourselves into a united and balanced whole of consciousness. 

What Spread is Best for Me?

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy sharing the stories Tarot can tell with others and relating their customized symbols to the querent’s current path!

There are so many spreads out there, and more are constantly being created. But I thought it might be best to outline just a handful of my favorites that future querents might choose from.

  • “6-card Daily Oracle”: a general overview of your current self, influences, and obstacles.
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  • “Star Guide Spread”: Great for addressing a specific question or exploring a specific circumstance.
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  • 5-card “Spiritual Progress” Spread: Great for getting a clearer picture of what your current spiritual lesson might be, influences working in favor of and against spiritual progress, with suggestions of what path to take next.
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  • “Insecurity Spread”: A great spread to help figure out what is at the root of your current insecurity and suggestions for personal strengths you can rely on as well as what actions you might take to overcome your current situation.
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I’ve found these each to be very handy spreads for the first one or two readings, getting to know a querent. But, as needs are presented, we can certainly explore any number of more complex spreads, to get into the nitty-gritty of your subconscious leanings.

Community in the Mind

The fourth sephirot of the Tree of Life falls in the Triangle of Intention (with regard to how we intend to act toward and interact with others). Four represents the sense of Community–an intent to draw others into our circle with mercy and acceptance.

What makes Four an interesting sephirot for the Swords is that it represents fostering that same sense of mercy and community, but inside our own head.

Our Thoughts are like the wind: they can move swiftly or gently, they can stir up the other Elements… but they’re always on the move. And they’re not always, if ever, unified at any single point in our days.

Simply being aware aware of that fact can be immensely helpful in our daily walk with ourselves.

Today’s “Daily Oracle” brought up the realization that, if I can recognize and foster a merciful sense of community and togetherness in my own mind (4 of Swords), my Thoughts, then, can better direct and move my Emotions (Knight of Cups). And, undergirding this process as a safety net, is Prudence (8 of Pentacles): the active submitting under physical lessons learned in the material realm.

Elemental Guidance

I love exploring the power and wisdom of the tarot’s court cards!

To begin understanding their complexity and potential guidance, let’s break down each element and its corresponding suit…

Fire (Wands): Energy, Ambition, Passion

Air (Swords): Thought, Mental Activity

Water (Cups): Emotion, Feelings

Earth (Pentacles, Disks, Coins): The Material World (including career, or any other physical surroundings)

It helps one to recall that “We can’t know anything outside our mind. Everything we see is contained within our mind. Thus, I am not in the world. The world is in me.” (— Haemin Sunim [@haeminsunim] March 8, 2017)

Thus, 3 out of the 4 elements are found originating within ourselves, and the material world is the recipient of whatever way we act out in response to these inner elements.

Continue reading Elemental Guidance

Featured Arcana: The Wheel

On the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the Wheel of Fortune forms a bridge between the 4th and 7th sephirots, forming the bottom half of the Pillar of Mercy.

Chesed (4) is within the triangle of Intention (with regard to how we intend to deal with others). Netzach (7) falls within the triangle of Action. The 4th sephirot represents the spirit of (or Intent to create) community with others, to draw others into our personal circle. The 7th sephirot represents the Action of endurance against an obstacle.

Connected directly above the Wheel on the Pillar of Mercy is the Hierophant. They share the 4th sephirot of Intent to Draw Others into Community.

The Hierophant takes the pureness of the Source above and distills and disseminates that divine Source to the community below. The Wheel then is situated within this community and takes Action in courage to endure against obstacles.

But what is the deeper interpretation?

Naturally, a lot depends on where the Wheel falls in any specific tarot spread. But we can ascertain a basic understanding of this card’s implications based upon its placement on the Tree.

We can learn from the Wheel, then, that we come from the passed-down purity of the Divine Source, to a unifying of community and drawing others unto us — only to learn that our Action of Enduring (though we may feel empowered by the divine knowledge passed down to us and the community that surrounds us), is not solely in our hands.

The Universe has a “will” of its own (in a sense) and is not always lined up with our own personal will — because, we are only one cog in the giant machinery of the Universe….

In fact, the wills and actions of others that are brought into our Circle (4), have a correlation with the results around us– no matter what our Action to Endure is.

Whatever Action we take to Endure or Resist will affect the Community from which we stem; as well, the Community has an affect on our Actions.

We are all interconnected. Thus the Wheel of the Universe turns seemingly of its own accord at times. In these moments it may be best to step back from our own little corner of understanding to embrace a fuller view of the Community around us.

When Things Are Not As They Seem

I love the Tales that Tarot Cards can Tell!

“Yes, the cards are random. Yes, my mind by nature seeks out it’s own meaning from the cards I see before me. And, yes, that’s the point of it all. I look at what meaning my mind draws currently from the randomly drawn cards, and I am able to gain insight into my current state of mind. I am able to decide how I might chose to address my current state of mind; to encourage parts of it, or change other parts to better face my day ahead.”

One of the more intriguing aspects of tarot interpretation comes when the supposedly “bad” cards are found in “good” places, and vice-versa.

I’ve had a series of really powerful spreads to reflect upon since I did my Yuletide Sabbat Reading in December. It’s been a steady reminder to sometimes embrace my disappointments or mental defeats…

The above photo is the “quickey” Daily Oracle I drew for today. Side note: it impressed me doubly that the first card at the left was the same card I drew a couple days ago, as my “first step” toward resolving my inner issues; and, likewise, the third card, at the right, was the card in that same prior reading as one of my sources of inner strength I could draw from.

So, let me explain these cards and their basic meanings:

  • On the left, we have the 7 of Water (Emotion), or Debauchery.
  • On the right, we have the 5 of Water (Emotion), or Disappointment.
  • And in the center is the 7 of Fire (Energy/Action), or Valor.
  • The placement of these cards is as follows: Left = Where I am right now; Center = the Root of my obstacles today; Right = the recommended response to learning from or overcoming that obstacle.

So, we might say, then, that Valor is my problem and Disappointment is my answer. Say what?

This is where a deeper look into ourselves comes in handy. A Buddhist ideal is that “bad” and “good” have no intrinsic values on their own. They are simply labels that we humans attach to any given thing or event, depending on how we see it at the moment.

So, taking Debauchery (7 Cups): in this setting, it means I’m on the right track. I’ve taken the first step recommended in the prior spread; I’m in a good place. A deeper look at the concept of this card reveals that this state of Emotion doesn’t have to be “bad.”

Debauchery is defined as “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” So, there is a word of caution that comes with it: one shouldn’t wallow in stagnate emotions for too long, or the waters will rot. But, sometimes, it may be necessary to lie still in your Emotions and enjoy their sensual pleasures for a spell–just be aware that you will have to move on at some point.

Valor (7 Wands): it is a card of fiery Action! A pushing forward past obstacles using the sheer energy of your passion! And, weirdly enough, for today that is what is the Root of my difficulties I either face now or will face today. Valor is an honorable trait, to be sure. But often, our Fires of Passion can run over others and get us into trouble, burning up our surroundings that we have built with those same energies. Wouldn’t you agree?

Lastly, Disappointment (5 Cups): How can this possibly work as a “good” card–an answer to the “problem” of Valor??

One of the traits of water is to cool fire. Our Emotions can at times be the vehicle by which our passionate energies are cooled, allowing us to step back and think on things a little more. Deeper still, the principle of Emotional Disappointment is a state of non-equilibrium. We are, of course, not content to stay in Disappointment for long. The Waters of Disappointment seek to flow to calmer or more stable grounds.

When Disappointment is meant as a suggested response, it is wise to look straight into the face of your emotional upset and allow it to carry you along to a better emotional place.

Many times, we must not shrink from unpleasant emotions but embrace them and let them carry us forward.

Fire: In Relationship with Others and Ourselves

Fire, or the Wands suit of the tarot, represents energy and ambition. The raw force to get things done and make change happen. It is visceral, powerful, and forms often an uneasy and delicate balancing act with the other elements of our personalities.

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5 (Gevurah)  is “the essence of judgment…and limitation, and corresponds to awe and the element of fire“. In the Tree of Life it is found on the left Pillar of Severity in the Triangle of Intention–how we determine we will act toward others, and how this determination colors our actions to come next.

So, the 5 of Wands is known as “Strife.”

Here’s the thing about your fire in relation to others and the way you direct your fire toward them: They will respond in kind.

You send fire their way and they will defend themselves with fire. This is why 6 of Fire, or the balance of intentions toward others, is called VICTORY– it is Victory over others.

It’s the way to achieve a Balance of Intention with the Wands.

By contrast, the 6 of Earth (Pentacles) is known as SUCCESS– it is a celebration of the fruit of your own work; the personal victories over FullSizeRender 2.jpgyour own self.

And, in every situation, we find a need to embrace one or the other. The Tree of Life is a picture of us all in entirety, at all times.

But it helps to be aware of the effects of our Fire upon others, so we are prepared to stand and continue to flame if we must.

Sharing the Heart of Tarot

I figured it was high-time I officially post my offerings to you as a tarot interpreter. 🙂


The tarot deck has long fascinated me, but it wasn’t until the Spring of 2015 that I finally got up the courage (or perhaps was finally hungry enough for its Gnosis) to purchase my first deck and begin studying. These initial studies and personal readings helped me get through an intense period of spiritual transition and self-discovery, not to mention clinical therapy. 😉

What I discovered is that the tarot deck represents the potential of all that a person is. We are all things at various times, in the physical, mental, emotional, and ambitious aspects of our lives. Evolutionarily and habitually, we each tend toward certain responses (knee-jerk reactions) when faced with obstacles. But when we can see clearly what aspect of ourselves is ruling at a given time and why, we are better able to decide whether to allow our initial instincts full reign, or perhaps to seek out “better angels”.

This is what a “psychological” tarot interpretation offers — a glimpse into the depths of our subconscious and motivations, and the chance to ask ourselves if there is not perhaps a better response to what we face.

  • What can I expect from a tarot reading with you?
    I can offer a range of spreads (number of cards), depending on the depth of your questions. I will gladly read as few as a “Daily Oracle,” 3- or 6-card spread with you, or anything beyond the scope of a basic 6-card spread. We can also do a Sabbat Spread together, illuminating your present journey during one of the 8 important phases of the Earth throughout the year and offering suggestions on how you might better prepare as the year unfolds toward the next Sabbat.

    I will provide your personalized interpretation as a detailed pdf with a photo of your spread, emailed to the address you specify. Get your reading today!

  • What about fortune-telling, or love and career advice?
    You are in charge of your own destiny, and there is nothing “mysterious” or “metaphysical” about a card spread save for whatever meaning you give to that spread. All a tarot reading does is to point you in the direction of where your innermost thoughts and tendencies are currently leading you with respect to a given circumstance.A tarot reading will offer insight and clarity into your own patterns of thinking as well as suggest alternate ways of thinking you might choose to explore. Armed with this knowledge, you are free to chart your own future and enrich your own relationships.
    In this manner, I only serve as a knowledgeable interpreter of the in-depth symbolism the cards hold as they are laid out in front of you, and I can act as a guide to your application of this knowledge in your own personal situation.
  • What Tradition do you base your interpretations on?
    I rely on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life as a map of understanding the journey from a spark of Inspiration, filtered through Intention, and resulting in Action. The cards form both the Sephirot (Minor Arcana) and the branches (Major Arcana) of the Tree, offering a picture of where your current mind and heart currently lie — according to what your own subconscious says about the matter.When I do a reading, I am not at all “psychic” and much more “logical” or “studious” in my approach (what can I say? I’m a Sun and Moon Aquarius with Virgo Rising!) :p  So don’t expect magic and goosebumps, but do expect detailed accuracy and careful thoughtfulness. 🙂

Have any more questions? Drop me a line!

Be well.