We’re entering the final chapters of our book. I know that I’ve thought about this, and I’m sure that you have, too. Why didn’t we get a set of directions when we were born? A little guide that pops out at the same time that we do! If you’ve read all of the cards up to this point, you may have begun to realize that there was a guide – it just got lost in the “delivery” room, aka planet earth. The story goes that God first taught the Cabala to the angels, before the world was created. We received it three times after that. The archangel Raziel gave it to Adam and Eve as they left the Garden of Eden. The Cabala was handed out so that we could find our way back to Paradise – the perfect GPS system. After awhile people lost interest in The Return and were far more interested and preoccupied with the mundane world. The directions were lost – nothing had been written down, no back up made!
The directions were next given to Abraham as part of God’s covenant with him. Abraham verbally passed them on, but they were lost again when the Jewish people lived in Egypt. After the Exodus, Moses went up the mountain twice. He returned with the Ten Commandments on his first trip. As the story goes, the second time he went up he received the inner teachings. One tradition says that he wrote them down (Moses was one smart cookie!), called it the Cabala and hid the text in a cave. Eventually, centuries later, it was found and published as the Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formation. There are also many other tales about the discovery, but in essence, the direct experience of God is central to the idea of the Cabala. The term gnosis would be applicable here, too. And this central idea is also the point of our little book called Tarot, aka the “set of directions.” As you may have noted by now, the cards also include all forms of spirituality as Paths of The Return.
So here we are at Key 19 The Sun. It symbolizes the fifth stage of spiritual unfoldment. This is the stage of the new birth from natural humanity to spiritual humanity. In the natural man, the powers of sub-consciousness are stifled and perverted by suggestions implanted as a result of erroneous conscious thinking. By applying the correct conscious self-direction to his efforts to grow, man experiences a “new birth.” This practical method may be summarized by: “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The new birth is a very real process, a deepening inner realization of the true status of man in the cosmic order.
It is also a stage wherein all material resources are under his control, and yet he still feels himself to be a separate, or at least distinct, entity. He has become an unobstructed vehicle for the power of the One Will, which has ruled those forces always, since the beginning. This is not full liberation, but it is a higher stage than any of those proceeding it. The number 19 stands for the expression of the power symbolized by 9 through that symbolized by 1. In Tarot this is the expression of the force represented by the Hermit through the activity typified by the Magician. The Hermit is a Tarot symbol of the Universal Will, or the single free will-power of the One Identity. The Magician represents the plane of personal self-consciousness, so thus it becomes evident that, in relation to Tarot, the number 19 must designate the expression of the One Will at the level of personal self-consciousness.
The Hebrew letter Resh associated with this Key means head and face of man. See the symbols in the lower right hand corner of Key 19. In the head are gathered together all the distinctive human powers. With the noun “head” we associate the ideas of that which comes first, or takes the lead, and therefore has precedence, priority, and superiority. Also, the head of any project is its organizer, director, guiding power, manager. Thus we may expect to find in the symbols of Key 19 plain intimations of authority and leadership.
The sun is the heavenly body assigned to the Hebrew letter Resh. In both Testaments, the Bible calls God the sun of life and lights and, in all other great scriptures, the sun is a principal emblem of Deity. In the alchemical writings the Great Work is the Operation of the Sun. The sun is also the symbol for alchemical gold. This living gold, in its primary manifestation, is the radiant energy of the sun, which is truly the First Matter of the Great Work. The Ageless Wisdom is an expression of direct experience, possible for all men, but known to relatively few. The spiritual, fluidic, golden water of the alchemist is a reality, and may be perceived as immediately and definitely as any other phenomenon in nature. Ageless Wisdom is a record of the experience of those who, looking in the right direction, have seen into something that the uninitiated only look at.
In the human body the point of entrance that admits this living radiance into the field of personality is a group of nerve cells forming the cardiac ganglion. It is in the sympathetic nervous system, just above and behind the heart, whose beat it controls. Through this center the undifferentiated Life-power enters the body, just as an electric current enters a building through the main switch. The nerve cells of the sun center charge the bloodstream, as it passes through the heart, with this current of radiant energy.
In astrology the Sun rules the sign Leo, which governs the heart. Key 19 is the dominant force manifested by the process depicted in Key 8 Strength (Leo). Leo also governs the back and the spinal cord, which is the main channel of the Serpent Power in the physical organism. The ability to control this force is not difficult to develop, once its nature is understood. In Key 8 we are told that the conditions under which it may be brought into activity safely are utmost purity of mind and desire, highest aspirations and ideals, utter unselfishness in action. Expressing these states of consciousness through right action will modify your bodily organism. When it is sufficiently altered, you will be brought automatically into the proper condition of awakening the Serpent Power.
The Sun is exalted in the sign Aries, represented in Tarot by Key 4 The Emperor. The key word of the number 4 is order – system, regulation, management, supervision. The number 4 relates to the classifying activity of self-consciousness. This classifying activity is reason. Mental imagery is useful to us chiefly after it has been systematized or put in order. Go back and take a look at Key 4 to understand more fully what is being indicated here.
Let’s look further at how the symbolism of Key 19 demonstrates this regeneration. The sun has eight pointed rays and eight curvy rays. On Key 17 The Star the wavy rays were not developed. Here there has been a development of power in the wavy rays. The wavy rays represent the feminine aspects of the Life Power. So in Key 19 we see the equal development of masculine (pointed) and feminine (wavy) forms of universal radiant energy. Further it is established that the pointed rays refer to the solar radiance itself, the alchemical sun, and that the wavy rays refer to the lunar current of the Life-Power, the moon.
In addition to these larger rays are shown 48 beams, in groups of three, each group placed between a pointed and a wavy ray. These refer to the expression of the One Force in works of integration, preservation and disintegration. The number 48 reduces to 12 and also is 4 x 12, so there is a suggestion of some connection to Key 12 Suspended Man and the operation of the law symbolized by that Key in the 4 phases of matter – fire, water, air and earth. Go back and take a look at Key 12. The number 48 is the value of the Hebrew noun Kokab, the name of the planet Mercury. So the three types of rays extending from the solar disk suggest a combination of sun (pointed), moon (wavy) and Mercury (the 48 beams).
Consider now the separate letters of the Hebrew noun Ehben (ABN), meaning “Stone.” The first is Aleph, symbol of the Life-Breath, typified by the Fool, Key 0. The second is Beth, representing Mercury and self-consciousness, The Magician Key 1. The third is Nun, corresponding to Scorpio and Key 13 Transition. Add the numbers together (0, 1 and 13) and their total is 14, the number of Temperance Key 14, which symbolizes the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. That is to say, when we establish communication with the Higher Self, we enter into a state of consciousness through the influx of the All Power (Key 0 The Fool) into the field of personal self-consciousness (Key 1 The Magician), whence it is directed to the subconscious levels so as to modify the serpent power or Scorpio force (Key 13 Transition).
As a result of the activities and practices of the practical occultist, the force known as libido is raised so that it awakens the brain centers which bring us the higher order of knowing in which the Father (AB – Aleph Beth), and the Son (BN – Beth Nun), are seen to be One Identity. That conscious realization is therefore not only the Stone (ABN), but also Medicine, for it truly heals all diseases of mind and body. Sometimes it is called the Medicine of Metals, for the alchemical metals are the seven interior stars, related to the nerve centers in the body. Remember, this is a physiological as well as a psychological transformation. The body chemistry is changed. The subtle structure of the cells is altered. Thus in very truth we are reborn or regenerated.
Together, with the sun having a human face, the sun symbol becomes a representation of the perfected Operation of the Sun. The alchemists say,”The Great Work is performed by the Sun and Moon, with the aid of Mercury.” Its perfection gives us the Stone (Ehben – ABN), which can never be made except by the grace of God. To attain the goal, something more than personal effort is required and that something more is an influx of power from the superconscious level of the Life-power’s self-expression.
The series of short lines around the disk number 125, as the cube of number 5 (5 x 5). This cube represents the power of that number exercised in a 3-fold manner, or throughout the entire 3-dimensional world. Remember number 5 represents the pentagram, symbol of the dominion of Spirit over the elements. Therefore 125 conveys symbolically the idea of the extension of that dominion over and through every part of nature. That dominion is the Stone and the Universal Medicine.
In addition to the Stone corresponding to Keys 0, 1 and 13, so that Key 14 Temperance sums up one aspect of the Stone, there is another aspect to it. If you add the digits of 14 (1 + 4) they equal 5, demonstrating a connection to Key 5 The Teacher. Therefore, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel is none other than continuous intuitive perception of realty, communicated through interior hearing. We not only enjoy knowledge, but also conversation. Number 14 is also the value of the Hebrew letter Zahab, which means alchemical gold. The sun is shown here as a living force. We have something in common with it. It enters intimately into our lives. And its solar energy constitutes a circuit. Thus the solar energy shines in us, and our energy shines in the sun.
The Hebrew letters Yod are shown falling from the sun. There are 6 on each side of the card and one in the center, totaling 13. The number 13 is the value of the Hebrew nouns for Unity and Love. Since they are Yods there is a connection to Key 9 The Hermit, and the Law of Response associated with that letter, and with the secret activity associated with the sign Virgo, which rules the small intestines. The number 13 also suggests Key 13 Transition and the sign Scorpio. As you may recall, it is the combination of the forces of Scorpio (13) and Virgo (Yods) that brings about the state of regeneration wherein Unity and Love are made manifest throughout the personality.
The sunflowers are 5 in number, with 4 open. The center of each is orange, a solar color. They are symbols of the five stages in the development of form: 1. The mineral kingdom; 2. The vegetable kingdom; 3. The animal kingdom; 4. The kingdom of the natural man. The fifth stage is just beginning to open, a bud, and represents the stage of development as yet unexperienced by most people. It is a symbol of the kingdom of spiritual humanity, composed of regenerated men and women. This kingdom goes as far beyond that of the natural man as that of the natural man goes beyond that of the animal.
The 4 sunflowers symbolize the kingdoms already perfected, so they face the children, as if the latter were their suns, to which they turn for life and light. They are dependent upon the children. The 5th sunflower turns toward the sun above, for it and the children symbolize the same thing. It is shown in bud; it is just beginning to develop. The natural man and the 3 kingdoms below him are dependent on the newborn spiritual humanity, and they receive their sustenance through that spiritualized flowering of the human race. Spiritual humanity itself turns only to that which is above for support.
The wall is made of stone, representing forms of truth. It is not the same as the bricks of Key 15 The Tower. It has 5 layers, to show that it is built of materials from sense-experience. Those materials are aspects of truth. The sense experience is not denied in the Ageless Wisdom, because even though our senses don’t give us a full report, the report is true as far as it goes. The downside to this is that there are some who believe that there are no reports beyond those given by the senses.
The children are nude, repeating the symbolism of Key 17 The Star where we see nature unveiling herself as truth. Here nothing is concealed, too. The veils that hide the truth from us are of our own making. Our ignorance is the veil. The Masters are the most childlike and transparent of human beings. Their lives are simple. Their words are simple. Their directness is simply misunderstood. Both children turn their backs to the wall and the sundial, which represents time. The two concentric circles, or fairy ring, upon which they dance are symbols of the fourth dimension. The way of the spiritual man is not the way of the natural man. The spiritual man centers himself in the inner circle of manifestation. By repeated practice, he has made habitual his inner identification with the One Spiritual Self!
The children are of equal stature. In the natural man the sub-conscious mind is subordinate. She is subject to the misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the masculine or conscious mind. Here sub-consciousness is released from the bondage of erroneous suggestion. Under correct application of the law of suggestion, subconscious habits have been established that repudiate utterly the notion that, because we cannot attain to certainty through sensation, we cannot attain to certainty at all.
This is why the first Tarot card is called the “Fool.” The certainty of freedom possessed by the spiritual man is knowledge gained by means which go beyond sensation. This is folly to the uninitiated and the world of sense-bound humanity derides it. The Way of Certainty is the Way of Non-Sense.This is not the same as the word “nonsense.”
The girl makes the gesture of repudiation toward the wall, indicating that sub-consciousness has been trained to accept the Other Way. The boy holds his palm away from the wall, a gesture of acceptance. These two figures represent the regenerated personality. In the 3 kingdoms below that of natural man there is an ever-increasing development of consciousness, approximating in the higher animals, something very like man’s self-consciousness. The Sun has risen above “the walled Garden of Truth to manifest its glory unto all who may receive.”
“Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of heaven like a child shall not enter it.”