The mystic way of self-realization requires the rediscovery of all levels of one’s own being, from Malkuth – the physical reality – up to Kether as the spiritual perfection. For the Tarot, the Tree of Life is much more, the universal basic on which the whole system resides. The 22 trump cards of the Major Arcana represent the 22 paths that connect the ten spheres of the Tree, the ten spheres themselfs are the basic for the number cards as they count (Kether for the Aces, Chokmah for the 4 Twos, Binah for the 4 Threes etc.). (from Raven’s Tarot site.)
I have thoroughly enjoyed becoming more familiar with the Major Arcana and the role they play as these Bridges between the ten Sephirot.
In short, there are 3 Triangles that represent a self-contained cycle that stands at a given point of Life’s development: (1) Divine (Collective) Consciousness, (2) Personal Consciousness/Awareness, and (3) Material Reality. Between each of these is veil, and a number of the Major Arcana act as Bridges across the veils, taking us from triangle to another…The Three Triangles
Each is a self-contained, never-ending cycle.
- The Supernal Triangle — or, our Subconscious Mind: that of which is a fundamental part of us that we do not acknowledge.
- 1 (Source), 2 (Creative Power), 3 (Understanding)
- Fool (1 to 2), Empress (2 to 3), Magician (1 to 3)
- The cycle of Divine Consciousness, expressing the fundamental cycle of creation.
- 2 & 3 present alternate ways of dealing with the information given by 1…
- The Ethical/Moral Triangle — or, our Unconscious Mind: the “auto-pilot” functions of our psychological being. We know it’s there, but we don’t consciously control it.
- 4 (Condensation), 5 (Chaos/Upheaval/Change), 6 (Harmony/Balance)
- Hermit (4 to 6), Justice (5 to 6), Strength (4 to 5)
- These are the INTENTION that motivates us to react to the world in the way we feel we ought to.
- The Astral/Magical Triangle — or, our Conscious Mind: here, we are Self-Aware and feel like we have the power to effect changes in ourselves and our lives.
- “It is here that much of the ‘magic’ work of our consciousness is done.”
- 7 (Creativity/Anarchy/Sensitivity), 8 (Intellect/Logic), 9 (Self-Reflection)–illuminated by 6 (Consciousness) above it.
- Emperor (7 to 9), Sun (8 to 9), Tower (7 to 8)
- These are the ACTIONS we take against an obstacle, either to resist and conquer it, or to submit ourselves under it.
Crossing between the triangles
Each Triangle is separated by a veil. The veil between the Supernal and Ethical Triangles is the Great Abyss, the transitional threshold between cosmic consciousness above and illuminated awareness below.
The veil between the Ethical and Magical Triangles is called the Veil of Paroketh and marks the transition of non-material force into material form. — And this what we would call magick.
- Everyone who bridges across to 4, 5, & 6 crosses that Great Abyss– these are the Arcana that reach from divine consciousness to personal consciousness:
- High Priestess (1 to 6 — She bridges straight from Source to our Personal Unconsciousness!),
- Hierophant (2 to 4, Pillar of Mercy),
- Chariot (3 to 5, Pillar of Severity),
- Star (2 to 6, from Mercy to Mildness),
- Lovers (3 to 6, from Severity to Mildness)
- Crossing the Veil of Paroketh, transitioning non-material FORCE into material FORM are:
- Temperance (6 to 9 — from Personal Unconsciousness to Conscious Self-Reflection),
- the Wheel (4 to 7, Pillar of Mercy),
- Hanged Man (5 to 8, Pillar of Severity),
- Death (6 to 7, from Mildness to Mercy),
- the Devil (6 to 8, from Mildness to Severity)
As you can probably tell, incorporating this level of gnosis into a spread will grant a whole new dimension and deeper understanding to a reading!
Pillar of Mildness (Center)
Pillar of Mercy (Right-Hand Side)
Pillar of Severity (Left-Hand Side)