The Tarot Tableau is one of the many arrangements of the 22 Major Arcana cards. At the top is The Fool and the remaining 21 cards are in seven columns of three cards each. Each of the three rows represents an attribute. The top row contains seven principles, or dominate mental states. The second row represents agencies, or activities. In the bottom row are the conditions or expressions of the principles of the upper row manifesting through the agencies of the middle row.
Each of the seven columns represents a level or stage of spiritual unfoldment; each stage a foundation or preparation for the next. From left to right the columns represent Bondage, Awakening, Revelation, Organization, Regeneration, Realization, and Cosmic Consciousness. So far we’ve covered the stage of Bondage, a concept not too difficult to wrap our minds around. In our discussion of that spiritual stage we begin to realize that there’s more than meets the eye. But how do we acquire the ability to experience more than what our senses tell us?
To begin to do that let’s now explore the second column called Awakening. Here we have the High Priestess as the active principle at the top. Below her is the Hermit Key, the agency through which the active principle represented by the High Priestess moves. And below the Hermit is the condition of Awakening, as represented by the Tower Key. Let’s see how these three Keys interact and how that interaction can change your life.
First of all, what do we mean by Awakening? You could define it as a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of something. So here we are, our entire life appearing to be based our sensory experiences. “What you see is what you get.” Pretty much what the Deceiver would have you believe. But there’s a part of us that wonders about that. We hear others talking about their “spiritual” experiences. How is it possible that others have had these experiences and you haven’t? Sometimes we have an inkling that there’s more, that some of our experiences are more than just coincidences or happenstance, or luck. How is that possible? How can we gain this experience of “more?” And what is this “more?”
The three Keys in this column will help you solve this riddle, will help you to begin to have the experiences that will be the beginning of your “knowing” that there’s more. Because no matter what someone else says, or you read in a book or online, until this is your experience, you are asleep. At this point you may wish to review the three Tarot cards on my web site before going on. I will also cover the meanings of the three letters corresponding to the Keys and the symbology of each Key here, but a review of the individual Keys, either now or at the end of this post, will help their message become more clear, and therefore become more of an active part of your life.
Gimel is the Hebrew letter attributed to Key 2 The High Priestess. It is a double letter and therefore has two meanings. They are the opposites Peace and Strife. As a noun Gimel means camel which relates to travel and communication. The Hebrew letter for the Hermit Key 9 is Yod. As a noun it means touch, or the hand of man. The top of the Yod symbolizes Primal Will and the lower part symbolizes Wisdom. The Yod is the foundation of all of the 22 Hebrew letters. Peh is the Hebrew letter for the Tower Key 16. It also is a double letter and has two meanings, Grace and Sin. Peh relates to Mars, which symbolizes war and rash action. But Mars is also the driving force behind all successful activity. As a noun Peh means “mouth as the organ of speech” and relates to the power of utterance, or speech.
The High Priestess is identified with what is variously labeled by modern psychologists as “subconscious”, “subliminal”, or “subjective” mind. It has also been called “transliminal consciousness”. Transliminal means “across the threshold,” which according to Paul Foster Case, seems to be a more accurate description of the consciousness symbolized by the High Priestess. It conveys no impression of inferiority, as do the terms subconscious and subliminal. This mode of consciousness is identified with what the Hindu philosophers call Prakriti. And they tell us that Prakriti and Purusha, who represents the Witness, the Magician, the objective consciousness, are co-existent, co-equal, and co-eternal.
Another attribute of the High Priestess is that psychologists have found out by experiment that the subjective mind seems to have perfect memory. Nothing that you have ever experienced has been forgotten. The scroll of the High Priestess symbolizes this cosmic memory, to which we all have access. Keep in mind the fact that the two aspects of the Life-Power (Purusha and Prakriti, objective and subjective; Magician and High Priestess) are co-existent. In a sense, we may say that the Life Power is both. It is the unity of which these are the poles. The two poles are present wherever the Life Power is present, and they are present in their entirety. What appears to us to be personal manifestations of objective or subjective consciousness are really manifestations of the one Life Power in either its objective or subjective modes.
The method that the Life Power uses to express Itself in existence results in the illusion of personal separateness, but we are able by the exercise of reason to find out that this is an illusion. After reason has taken us this far, we can go on and make experiments which forever free us from the delusions caused by that illusion. We have to remind ourselves continually that we are not separate beings, until we have established a subconscious habit of recognizing our essential identity with the Life Power.
Careful observation of nature enables us to discover the essential unity of Being behind the veil of manifold appearances. This discovery must then be transferred from the field of objective consciousness to the subjective mind. We make the discovery by closely watching what happens in the plane of existence that we contact through sensation. From that plane we get the facts which are utilized in the objective process of Inductive reasoning. At this point we don’t experience the unity of Being as we will later experience it as we become “riper”. We now perceive it intellectually, as a premise or hypothesis, which we then turn over to the subjective mind. This is the seed that the Magician plants in his garden.
Let’s remember from the post on the High Priestess that the subjective mind is continually amenable to suggestion, and that it controls all the vital functions in the body. It determines cell structure. Consequently, when the subjective mind is impressed with the premise of the unity of Being, every cell of the billions of cells in the body is modified by that impression. The cells are units of subjective consciousness, and the suggestion accepted by the subjective mind tinges the consciousness of all the cells.
From the moment the objective mind impresses the subjective mind with the premise of non-separateness, the mental state of all of the cells begins to be changed. Some cells do not adapt well to this new condition of personality and die off. Their places are taken by new cells, new “wine-skins”, to hold the new “wine” of the new idea. Thus a gradual change is made in the structure of your body, until a moment arrives when there is a sufficient number of new cells to make possible a flash of personal realization of the truth.
This may take weeks, or months, or years while these invisible and imperceptible changes to your cell structure take place. You have no idea that they are taking place, but all at once a flash of direct perception comes and seems to upset your whole house of life. This can be a sudden, catastrophic glimpse of reality such as shown in Key 16 the Tower. Sudden as this seems, it is the culmination of an orderly series of mental and physical changes, and it comes to nobody who is not prepared to stand the shock. It destroys forever the delusion of separateness, just as a lightening flash gives a traveler a momentary clear glimpse of the dark road upon which he travels. The darkness may close in at the very next moment, and some of the details may fade over time, but that flash of realization cannot be forgotten. The memory of it will spur on the traveler and will give the traveler the courage to complete his journey.
Peh is the letter assigned to the Tower Key. It is called the Exciting Intelligence and it joins Victory (7) to Splendor (8) on the Tree of Life. Paul Foster Case calls it the Tree of the Living Ones. Once you begin your journey on the Tree of Life you wake up to the fact that you are one with the Life Power. You are among the Living Ones. This Awakening experience is at once a realization that the I AM, by reason of its own nature, is already the conqueror of all limitation, and it is a flash of intuition which gives you a glimpse of the dazzling glory of the perfect expression of the limitless Light.
This flash of realization is a momentary sharing of the Life Power’s perfect self-knowledge. It seems to contradict everything in your previous experiences, because all of your previous experiences have been colored by the sense of separateness. “I am the Lord, and there is none else.” Prior to the experience, the human consciousness is “I am a poor mortal, surrounded by millions of other mortals who are all potential enemies, and by natural conditions even more hostile and unfriendly.” To suddenly see this as a lie, to suddenly see that you are immortal, to suddenly perceive that all other human beings and all conditions of personal existence are working together to bring about the perfect realization of a cosmic plan, which is in essence the outworking of the inmost reality of one’s own being, this is a total reversal of personal and race consciousness – this can knock you flat!
You don’t acquire this experience. It doesn’t come from outside. There comes a time in the evolution of the Life Power through your personality when the premise of the unity of Being is formulated in your objective mind. That premise becomes a starting point of a series of subjective operations which build your body cells that can give expression to the Life Power’s self-knowledge.
This flash is your participation in the Life Power’s perfect recollection of Itself. For a moment you remember who and what you really are. The lightening flash is a ray of light from the Hermit’s lantern. To us it seems to be something new, but in truth the Light-bearer is close at hand, right here with us, now and always.
I have presented the physiological changes that take place, but what takes place is far more than a physical phenomenon. This is an orderly manifestation of cosmic law. Let’s look at the Hermit Key, the agency of this change, and the Hebrew letter Yod. Consider the astrological attributions of the letter Yod. The zodiacal sign is Virgo and the small intestines are ruled by Virgo. The planetary ruler of Virgo is Mercury. The ruling planet of the Magician Key is Mercury. The second stage of unfoldment is experienced through a change of cell structure affected by the objective consciousness. These astrological correspondences point out the exact part of the body where the change takes place, and show under what specific influence it occurs.
Understanding this you will be able to make special applications of the law of suggestion which will accelerate the transformations of the cell structure that brings about the experience described above. If you have already passed through this stage of unfoldment, then this knowledge will be of assistance in helping to you to progress more rapidly through subsequent states.