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 is 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 first Six stages of unfoldment called Bondage, Awakening, Revelation, Organization, Regeneration and Realization.
The “principle” of the three Tarot Keys that we’ll be covering in this seventh stage of spiritual unfoldment is The Chariot Key 7, representing man’s outer vehicle, within which is the Self. As we previously mentioned when covering this Key, The Chariot is also the summation of the six Keys from the Magician to the Lovers on the top row. The “agency” or activity in the second row is Temperance Key 14, representing knowledge of conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel, in this case Archangel Michael. Temperance is the embodiment of the Law of Verification. The “result” is expressed in The World Key 21, representing the seventh stage of spiritual unfoldment called Cosmic Consciousness.
So just what is “Cosmic Consciousness”? Or, in other words, what is consciousness beyond thought? Our language is created to express piece-meal experience. So how is it going to express “being everywhere, and all at once”? Herein lies the dilemma. Through this study of the Tarot Keys you have been given the Way to reach this final liberation. And as you apply these lessons in your everyday life, then will this consciousness be revealed to you from within. There is no vagueness in the experience of this consciousness. It is crystal clear, sharply defined, free from the least suspicion of haziness. But we have no words to convey its fullness of meaning.
The Way is an Art. The consciousness beyond thought is a gift of the Life Power, but we receive that gift through the working of another gift. We have been given the ability to take natural conditions as we find them and adapt them so as to produce novel results. You actually could say, as my dear friend Michael Maciel once told me, “that there’s one thing God doesn’t know, and that is what we’ll do next.” This ability is pictured in the Chariot Key. A city symbol always means human use of natural forces and materials. A city is a collection of houses. It represents the development of the “house” consciousness typified by the letter Beth and the Magician. This is the objective mode of the Life Power’s mental expression. It is the mode that puts existing conditions together in a new order. The chariot is the vehicle that carries us from thought to the consciousness beyond it.
By the slow process of evolution, the Life Power brings us to the point where , by thinking, we may discover the laws of hidden forces which are manifested in the conditions of our environment. To go beyond those conditions we must make a new combination. We have to begin where nature leaves off. Before we can see the Glory we must build a house for it! We build the inner temple. We build the Chariot.
The Way leads within. Where you are, there is the Chariot. You may travel “in strange countries” without ever leaving your house. Follow the advice of the Chinese teacher: “having emptied yourself, remain where you are.” To empty yourself is to be rid of the illusion of separate existence. Then, no matter where you are, you may enter the Inner School, and do the Work. We must do the Work. Art must complete what nature has begun.
This is primarily an art of speech. By words the body consciousness is controlled. Through language the patterns of the Temple are communicated to the subjective mind. Thus we study “sacred books”. The objective mind must grasp the intellectual statement of the law, and formulate the plans. The highest expression of occult speech is found in special exercises where thought, sound and color are united in words of power. Hindu occultists call this “mantra yoga.”
Its purpose is the modification of every cell of the human body. It progresses the transmutation of the body-consciousness from the illusive, race-consciousness of separateness to the true reflection of the Inner Light. With this change in consciousness comes change in function, and change in structure. Nerve centers that are clusters of cells assume specific forms. The completion of the Work is the transmutation of the corruptible body into one that is incorruptible. But long before this, connection is made with the Inner School.
And that brings us to the angelic figure Michael of Key 14. This Key shows plainly that the path of unfoldment begins on the physical plane. What you may not understand is that the path ends on the same plane. Our aim is not to get away from the physical plane. It is to know that through our experience, our trials and errors, that the Kingdom of Spirit is truly “embodied in our flesh.” We must remember that the “consciousness beyond thought” cannot be inherited by flesh and blood, and therefore cannot be transmitted from one generation to another. Paul says in First Corinthians that “the change will be a transmutation of a corruptible natural body into an incorruptible spiritual one”. But this spiritual body is one that we can use on the physical plane.
We need to learn that the physical expressions of the Life Force are as spiritual as the others. We must know that the separation of the ethereal from the gross is not permanent. When we are perfect we shall be able to take up our physical bodies and lay them down at will. The separation we use in following the directions within the Tarot are really tools of classification. It is getting things in their proper order. Where will you put the dividing line between the physical and the higher aspects of Spirit? It is all arbitrary, a convenience for the sake of classification.
Let’s take a look at Key 21, The World. Throughout this lesson I’ve been emphasizing the thought that the consciousness beyond thought is gained through Art. The symbolism of this picture tells the same story. The wreath is artificial. At the top it’s fastened with a horizontal figure 8, and at the bottom with the same. Both are red, to show the cyclic motion of the Kundalini, or Mars force. The 8 symbol is what we see over the heads of the Magician and the woman in the 8th Key, Strength. The Magician fastens the wreath at the top and the Woman fastens it at the bottom.
By further examination of the wreath, we realize that every leaf is a lingam symbol, while the oval shape of the whole wreath makes it a yoni symbol. Thus we have the union of the two modes of the Life Power. On the mental plane the lingam represents objective consciousness, and the yoni stands for subjective mind. The wreath is another aspect of the whirling motion symbolized by the Crown at the top of the Tree of Life. It also suggests the productive power of cosmic imagination, for it is green, the color of Venus. And just as it symbolizes the union of subject and object in a consciousness for which we have no words, so does the traditional interpretation of the dancing figure at its center indicate the same thing.
It appears that this is a woman, but tradition says that her scarf conceals masculine reproductive organs. The consciousness beyond thought transcends sex-differentiation. The personal mind, in union with the One, is swallowed up. If you are experiencing this consciousness you do not think, “I am a man”, or “I am a woman”. One does not think at all. One simply knows the full meaning of the I AM.
To enter the consciousness beyond thought is to be One with the Father of Lights, to be a conscious participator in His government of the universe, to see the Great Plan and share it its realization. This is the freedom within the Law of those who KNOW. Seek this first. Put this quest before every other consideration. Nothing else in Life is quite as important as to be a citizen of the Kingdom of the Life Power. There is no sacrifice. It is simply a question of relative values. The Way to Freedom is open to you. Do you want freedom hard enough to follow the Way? Are you merely interested in occultism? Only you can answer these questions. To forsake all is to gain ALL. For the forsaking is only an illusion. Nothing is really lost when ALL is gained. May my words encourage you to follow the Path of Liberation, and make this sure knowledge yours!