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 first five stages of unfoldment called Bondage, Awakening, Revelation, Organization and Regeneration.
The “principle” of the three Tarot Keys that we’ll be covering in this sixth stage of spiritual unfoldment is The Lovers Key 6, representing the power of choice and correct discrimination. The “agency” or activity in the second row is the Transition Key 13, representing locomotion. The “result” is expressed in the Judgement Key 20, representing the sixth stage of spiritual unfoldment called Realization.
Reviewing these three keys from this web site would be a good idea, either now or when you finish reading this. Take a close look at the meanings of the three letters associated with the keys and the Path of each Key on the Tree of Life, as mentioned in prior posts. This will help give you a more in depth picture of what is being presented here.
In the previous stage of spiritual unfoldment called Regeneration there were two children dancing beyond the walled garden of the sense-life. They were just beginning their journey into the fourth dimension of consciousness. Here in the Key called Judgement we find the a single child representing those two children, and this child has his father and mother with him. Observe that they are representative of the objective and subjective minds, and that they are rising our of their three dimensional coffins of senses because the child is rising.
At this point we are entering the stage immediately before cosmic consciousness. The scenery appears to be of the material world, but let’s take a closer look. We are actually having a look at what might be called the astral world. The figures, though nude, are colored pale grey. The mountains in the distance are made of ice, a crystallized form of the water below upon which the three coffins float. The whole suggestion is that this is the fluidic region beyond the range of physical sensation.
The rectangular coffins from which the figures rise suggest by their shape the limitations of three dimensional consciousness. Symbols are used to represent a larger concept. In this case a concept impossible to represent in a picture. The standing figures are at right angles to the coffins. This follows a mathematical doctrine which states that the fourth dimension is at right angles to all of the dimensions that we know. Therefore the child and his parents are liberated from the limitations of three dimensional consciousness.
And then there’s Archangel Gabriel setting them free with his trumpet blast. His flaming hair signifies that he is the personification of the cosmic Fire, attributed to the Hebrew letter Shin, the letter of this Key. This is to remind us that this stage is in no way reached by the personal efforts of the student. In fact it is never reached until the states of consciousness of the Hanged Man and the children of The Sun have been passed. The seeker for more light must understand that of himself he can do nothing, and only then is this liberation possible. Be clear, we do not set ourselves free. The Life-Power, working through us, confers the priceless gift of liberty.
Also, know that this angel is not some celestial being floating down from the sky to earth, but that his trumpet call comes from the Great Within. This whole scene is a representation on an interior experience.
The letter Shin is also the number 300, which corresponds to two Hebrew words which will reveal more information about this Key. One is Yetzir (ITzR), “formation”, the root of the word Yetsirah. The Yetsiratic World of the Kabalists is used to define the astral world. There is a very small book called The Book of Formation, or Sepher Yetzirah, attributed to Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph, and translated by Knut Stenring, which lays out the principles of kabalistic cosmology and the Tree of Life, and how humankind reflects the divine.
Another Hebrew word associated with the number 300 is Ruach Elohim (RVCh ALHIM) the “Life-Breath of the Gods”. We have previously described Ruach in great depth, so let’s look at Elohim, or ALHIM). It refers to what the Hindus call the “subtle principles of the senses”, named Tattvas. Each letter of the word ALHIM refers to one of these five senses. The letter A, attributed to Ruach or Spirit, stands for the principle of hearing, the Akasha Tattva. L, the letter of the airy sign Libra, represents Air, the Vayu Tattva, subtle principle of touch. H, the letter of the fiery sign Aires, is a symbol of Fire and the Tejas Tattva. I, attributed to the earth sign Virgo, represents Earth and the Prithivi Tattva. M is the letter of Water, called Apas Tattva, and is the principle of taste.
These five categories of the senses relate to the physical plane and its five senses. But when we get beyond the physical plane two more senses unfold for us. In the Bible the Elohim are the “Seven Spirits of God”. Madam Blavatsky says in the Secret Doctrine that there are two other Tattvas beyond the Akasha Tattva. One is the Adi Tattva, the divine flame, or primordial universal force corresponding to the Kabalistic AIN SVP AVR, the Limitless Light behind the Tree of Life. The other is the Anupadaka Tattva, whose name means parentless, corresponding to the Limitless Light in Kether. These two Tattvas are veiled by Akasha or Ruach. In the Hebrew word RVCh, the Adi Tattva is symbolized by the R, the letter of the Sun. The Anupadaka Tattva, the first concentration, is symbolized by Ch, because Kether is the specialized “field” for the primary manifestation of the Limitless Light.
To take this further, liberation is the result of the unfoldment of the latent potencies of the cosmic fire which is within us. In Key 20 the symbolism clearly shows that the special form assumed by the liberating agency is SOUND. Sound vibration is the liberating power. The practical occultist makes daily use of sound-vibration. Even if you have never heard of the greater mysteries of sound, if you repeat an affirmation you are using this power, whether silently or aloud. In the East the correlation of sound and thoughts is known as “Mantra Yoga”. You might begin by reading aloud the Pattern on the Trestleboard morning and evening.
Key 20 emphasizes the fiery Mars force. The Key attributed to Mars is the Tower and thus liberation has an aspect of destruction. The Hindus say that Shiva, the Destroyer, is the great Lord of Yoga. Every change in consciousness tears down cells. Human life is an invisible conflagration! The first character in the letter ShIN means tooth. Teeth break down the structure of what we eat so that the solar energy in food may be released further through digestion and assimilation. In the higher aspects of unfoldment, the fiery Life Breath breaks down cells in out bodies. The liberation of their finer essences is what makes us aware of states of consciousness beyond thought. Long before this can happen , the Mars force must burn up the cells that obstruct this process.
Let’s look at the letters of ShIN and Key 13. Sh stands for the cosmic Fire, or Yod, which represents the working of that Fire in the intestinal tract, which is ruled by the sign Virgo. N is the sign of that Fire after it has been extracted from food, water and air by the various assimilative processes, which is then converted into nerve force and stored in the sacral plexus. N refers to this because NVN is the letter of the sign Scorpio, ruled by Mars, which governs the reproductive organs.
This nerve force in the sacral plexus is raised from center to center until it energizes a center in the brain. Then we escape from the physical world of three dimensional consciousness into the astral world pictured in Key 20. But let’s be clear about this, we do not do the work ourselves. It is done in us. We do both mental and physical exercises, but even these are not our own doing, as we soon find out, as we get to be more or less proficient. And the object of these exercises is to deepen our understanding of the truth that of ourselves we do nothing. I do recommend certain kinds of breathing exercises, but the object of these spiritual exercises is not spiritual development, or the awakening of psychic powers. The aim is simply to let the Life Power exercise its control over the breathing function.
All practice of this kind is to get the inadequate personality out of the way, so that the true Self, which knows just what to do and how to do it, may find no resistance to the free expression of its perfect mastery of mind and body. It is the Angel that sets us free, not we ourselves. I direct your attention to the man on the right, in a passive posture, and the woman on the left is active. At this sixth stage of spiritual unfoldment your consciousness becomes a merging of the subjective and objective so that distinguishing between them becomes difficult. That is why the figures are grey, a mixture of black and white, which are the colors of the pillars of the High Priestess. In the astral plane thoughts are known as real things, and at the same time it, becomes evident that what appears to be solid things are as fluid, in reality, as ideas.
At this stage of unfoldment the last enemy, Death, is overcome, because the experience itself is a transmutation of the cell destroying power of death. It is an actual liberation of the higher vehicles of consciousness from the bondage of the physical body, effected by the very force which brings about the decay and destruction of that same body. The secret of sowing and reaping is hidden in the symbolism of the 13th Key Transition and of the letter Nun, which means not only “fish”, the symbol of resurrection, but also means “to grow, to put forth a shoot”.
In the Emerald Tablet we find, “Separate the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross, gently, and with great diligence. It ascends from earth to heaven, and descends to earth again, and receives the power of the superiors and the inferiors.” The principle involved is the gentle, gradual and careful separation of a finer vehicle of the Life Power from the grosser physical body. That separation is the phenomenal outcome of a state of equilibrium between the two modes of consciousness. This is depicted in Key 6 The Lovers, which is very similar to that of Key 20 Judgement.
The essential meaning of Key 6 is derived from the name of the Hebrew letter to which it is attributed. Zain signifies a sword. Look again at the quotation from the Emerald Tablet. The whole work of extricating the finer vehicle of fourth dimensional consciousness demands the right understanding and use of the two modes of consciousness as depicted on Key 6. Until this equilibrium is established, there is constant friction between the two modes of consciousness, and the very law of suggestion which brings about such seeming miracles when constructively applied, is responsible for all sorts of disharmony.
Please remember that the subjective mind governs the functions of all our bodies, and builds them all. When we finally grasp our true relationship to the Life Power, that its unfailing wisdom finds expression, however inadequate, through our thoughts and words, when we begin to rest our lives upon the foundation of Eternal Being, our perceptions of these truths and our endeavors to live by them begin to affect the structure of all our vehicles. For the subjective mind eagerly accepts the implications of these conceptions and perceptions, and immediately sets upon them.
The subjective mind then becomes, as shown in both Keys 6 and 20, the immediate recipient of the all-wise direction of the Life Power. The personal objective consciousness becomes the passive observer of daily experience. This does not mean that the subjective mind becomes the ruler of personality. Rather we must recognize that it the channel for guidance, to see that it is just what is suggested by the name of the 13th Path, to which the High Priestess is attributed, the Uniting Intelligence.
We are truly reborn. The story of the virgin birth told in so many versions of the Mysteries is re-enacted in us. The little child of regenerated personality, conceived by the Holy Spirit (the RVCh ALHIM), is born of the liberated woman. The direct action of the Life Power upon the subjective mind gradually builds up a new conception of human personality within us. As we read in the Bible prophecy, “the seed of the woman” now crushes the serpent’s head, by overcoming the illusion of separateness and the lie of death. For the new man is the little child of the 20th Key, and in this sixth stage of unfoldment, it is he who, through his ability to enter fourth dimensional consciousness, does truly lead the personal subjective and objective minds into a new world.