With Key 8 we begin the second row of the Tarot Tableau. The second row of Keys represents the agencies whereby the principles symbolized by the Keys in the first row are carried into operation. The Strength Key number 8 represents the agency that is the means for expressing the principle of attention expressed by the Magician Key 1. That agency is “suggestion.”
In a previous post I mentioned that “the subconscious mind is always amenable to control by suggestion.” Key 8 illustrates this law and how to use it so that you may take advantage of its operation. The force concentrated by acts of attention, see The Magician Key 1, is carried into manifestation by means of suggestion and used for the modification of external conditions – in your life!
Let’s define the three terms amenable, control, and suggestion so that we’re on the same page as to their meanings. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines amenable as 1. answerable-subject to taking responsibility; 2. compliant-a disposition to yield, submissive. So, according to this definition, whenever the subconscious falls short in its work you can call it into account. It’s subject to your authority willingly and is easily led. This is not a tricky business, once you know how to do it. Whatever you can think up it immediately creates for you.
To control any force is to exercise a directing or restraining influence over it. Suppose we want health. Sub-consciousness carries on all the body-building work. Our concern is not with the processes, but with the outcome. Therefore your “conscious” work ends when you have formulated a clear, distinct image of the result that you desire and have turned it over to the subconscious mind in such a way that it will be acted upon. Be careful to not have any doubt, or anxious thoughts or feelings, about the results because the subconscious will immediately begin to create the fear pattern it has now received. Emotion is as vital as the image you initially created.
The dictionary defines suggestion as 1. an act of suggesting, so I went further to the word “suggest.” It is defined as 1. to put (as a thought, plan or desire) into a person’s mind; 2. to remind or evoke by association of ideas. A suggestion is a hint, which connotes subtlety. An effective suggestion is indirect. Sub-consciousness more readily responds to what is implied than to what is explicitly affirmed, stated, or commanded. This is because subconscious reasoning is deductive. You don’t have to coerce sub-consciousness. You do have to acquire the art of gently intimating what you want done. The responsibility for right direction rests on you.
Even a perfectly conceived suggestion of health will fail if it is contradicted by hundreds of fear-thoughts, by persistent carelessness in the selection of food, or by refusal to give your body its necessary supplies of water, air, light, and rest. What you do and think all day long is recorded in your sub-consciousness. Remember the Empress Key 3. If your deeds give the lie to your words, the suggestion that reaches and affects your inner consciousness is the suggestion of your actions, not that of the statements you have learned from some book or teacher.
Sub-consciousness is controlled from the level of self-conscious awareness. What we think, say, and do throughout the day furnishes the bulk of the impressions received by your sub-consciousness.
So let’s see how the above is expressed in Key 8 Strength through color and symbol. The woman in Key 8 is the High Priestess Key 2 (memory), the Empress Key 3 (duplication) and the woman in Key 6 the Lovers (right discrimination). She represents the human aspect of sub-consciousness, which controls the functions of every organ in the body, and directs the currents of Prana, the vital energy or Life-Breath.
The Hebrew letter Teth, T or Th, means snake, as referring to the coiled serpent power. Note the small picture of a coiled snake in the lower right hand corner of the Key. So here we are dealing with sovereignty having to do with intelligent control of that aspect of the Serpent Power (the Kundalini).
Over the head of the woman is a horizontal figure 8, like that of the Magician. She is subject to his influence and represents subconscious reaction to the principle that he personifies – attention. This Key 8 appears to be a development of the lilies and roses in the garden of the Magician Key 1.
The yellow color of the background indicates mental equilibrium and intellect. The green earth upon which the woman and the lion stand is indicative of growth, the harmony of nature and the planet Venus. Green, as we may remember, is the color of love. So the foundation in the picture is love. We see the two purple mountains behind representing Wisdom and Understanding. Violet is an indicator of spiritual power and truth. Their presence intimates some attainment has been achieved.
The woman stands and is shown controlling all the forces of nature below the human level. Her pure white garment represents the purified aspect of sub-consciousness, which it assumes as a result of intelligent application of the law that it is at all times amenable to control by suggestion. White also stands for divine Unity, and is an emblem of purity and innocence, a personal realization that All is One.
The chain of roses that surrounds both the woman and the lion represents a figure 8 – a symbol of eternity. Roses represent desire. So the chain of red roses represents desires woven together, rightly cultivated and combined, and thus the most potent forms of suggestion. These suggestions, in harmony with the real nature of things, enable us to dominate the mighty forces of nature below the human level.
The red lion, king of beasts, is a symbol of the highest forms of development in the kingdoms of nature below the level of man. The situation in Key 8 shows positive and constructive application of the law of suggestion in the work of personal regeneration. This only occurs, though, with the introduction of an impulse proceeding from what is symbolized by the Magician. The beginning steps in the Great Work require the exercise of a very definite personal will on your part – without apparent immediate result. Do not be discouraged!
Much later, as you progress in your efforts, you will build up the realization that the Great Work is not accomplished by personal effort at all! Please note how relaxed the woman is. The Great Magical Agent is already set in motion and established. It’s just that the greater number of human beings experience the consequences of its negative operation because they do not know how to reap the benefits of its positive use.
The most valuable lesson that you can learn is seeing through appearances, and the consequent discovery of the One Reality veiled by them. Don’t make the mistake of being sentimental or emotional – this is a mental suggestion. Look deliberately for the good and the beautiful in every one. It is there if you have eyes to see. Thus you will help yourself by telling yourself the truth about all men and women, and the power of your thought will be of great benefit to those on whom you turn it.