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 four stages of unfoldment called Bondage, Awakening, Revelation and Organization.
The principle of the three Tarot Keys that we’ll be covering in this fifth stage of spiritual unfoldment is The Teacher Key 5 representing the Self or Inner Voice and hearing. The agency is the Suspended Man Key 12 representing reversal and silence. The result is The Sun Key 19 representing regeneration and Ruach, or Spirit.
Let’s begin by defining the term “regeneration”. In The Merriam-Webster Dictionary “regeneration” is the noun form of the verb “regenerate”. As a verb it is defined as 1. to subject to spiritual renewal, 2. to reform completely, 3. to replace (a body part) by a new growth of tissue, and 4. to give new life to – revive. So this is the task that lies before us in the fifth stage of spiritual unfoldment. Let’s see how the three Tarot cards express this.
In St. Mark 10:20-21, when the rich man told Jesus that he had lived by the Ten Commandments all of his life, Jesus, loving him, told him that he was lacking one thing, and to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, and he would have his treasure in heaven, and then to come, take up the cross, and follow him. The rich man walked away grieved for he’d placed all of his trust in his riches. Where have you placed your trust in this life? In your spouse, or family and friends, or co-workers, or the job you have, or wish that you had, in your expectations when you left school and started out in the world, or in your 401(k) plan as you near retirement?
At some point in your life you begin to realize that this isn’t all there is. You begin to ask yourself the eternal questions why am I here, what is the point of being here, where am I going, where did I come from? The Tarot was created to answer these questions, but not from an intellectual point of view, but rather from a spiritual point of view. It shows you a way to place yourself in your day-to-day life that will reveal to you the answers to these questions from within yourself.
The Tarot explains to you how you must include both your body and mind together in order to realize the truth within yourself. You are about to transform yourself into a new spiritual being, and the most important thing to remember is to keep at it. It comes because you seek it. Sitting down and waiting for it will never bring it. Persistence in study and practice will effect a change in your consciousness. At first you think your efforts seem to be your own personal undertaking, but then you will begin to perceive that the Life Power is the real Artist, accomplishing the Great Work in you.
The root meaning of “spirit” is Breath. This is the active phase of the Limitless Light, the energy which projects a universe by its “out-breathing”, and by its “in-breathing” draws that universe back again into itself. In the Tarot and the Kabbalah “Spirit” means just what is meant by the Hebrew noun “Ruach”.
Resh (R), the first letter of Ruach, means head or face and represents a synthesis of the elements of objective consciousness. The head contains the most highly specialized instruments of sensation, with the exception of touch. It houses the brain, with its complex mechanism for transforming light into consciousness, including two organs just beginning to function in more advanced human beings. In the head is the mechanism of speech. Resh is truly a symbol of the ruling powers of human personality.
Resh is the Hebrew letter corresponding to The Sun Key 19. Inductive reasoning is the method of operation of the self-conscious mind. It is the kind of consciousness which observes facts, classifies them, discerns hidden links of relation and order, formulates laws. The consciousness that reasons inductively from particulars to generals. This is objective consciousness. You look at the kaleidoscope of nature so that its Source will reveal Itself to you. You will not figure it out intellectually. We discussed this when we covered Key 17 The Star, the card of meditation.
Resh is a Hebrew double letter and therefore stands for a pair of opposites, Fruitfulness and Sterility. Fruitfulness because the universal objective consciousness incites the activity of the universal subjective consciousness, thus bringing about all that we see, the world of names and forms. Sterility, because the same objective consciousness, in personal centers of expression, in other words you and me, at last penetrates by induction through the veil of names and forms, and prepares the way for the return to the formless and nameless Source of all. Through objective consciousness the Life Power involves itself in relativity and existence; by the same power it extricates itself from the bondage of existence, and returns to the seeming sterility of the No-Thing.
The number 19 of this Key also indicates this double letter meaning. Fruitfulness intimated by the word “beginning” connects with the number 1, and sterility of “ending” is implied by the number 9. So also the Magician , numbered 1, is a youth at the height of his virility, while the Hermit, numbered 9, is a sterile sage, at the close of his life journey. Ruach sees through appearance to reality, discerns the laws behind phenomena, applies those laws to set itself free.
The second letter of Ruach is Vau. It means nail or hook and is the Hebrew equivalent of the English word “and”. Vau is the Hebrew letter of Key 5 The Teacher. Thus, the Life-Breath is not only the beginning and ending, but is the middle, too. It is the link which holds all together. Kabalists associate Vau with hearing, or the subtle principle of sound-vibration, termed “Akasha” by Hindu philosophers. It is a latent force prior to the Life Power’s self expression. It is a symbol of the universal subjective consciousness. It acts as an intermediary, binding all the seemingly separate manifestations of the Life Power into one continuous whole.
The final letter of Ruach is Cheth, the fence, which suggests limitation, or field of activity. Cheth is the Hebrew letter of Key 7 The Chariot. So the two aspects of the Life Power’s objective mode of universal consciousness (the letter R), and the integrating and disintegrating power of sound vibration, Akasha, (the letter V) find completion in the selection of a definite field of specialized activity (the letter Ch). The attribution of the letter Cheth is speech, and in this case speech includes all things. Thus the manifested universe is the verbal expression of the Life Power. That is why in practical occultism so much attention is given to right speech. In essence, this is our ability to unite consciousness and sound in speech.
As we remain within the limits of third-dimensional consciousness, we must continually remind ourselves to work in harmony with the law of the Life Breath. We must remember that Ruach works primarily through our objective consciousness. Our liberation demands trained use of the senses, accurate and logical inductive reasoning, and intelligent application of the law of suggestion. Next we must remember that our subjective minds are not our personal possessions. Subjective consciousness is universal, and each of us is but a center of it. And finally, we must make our speech truly representative of our consciousness. We must have the ability to express thought in clear, precise, definite terms.
Look at the Sun Key and the two children. In past ages the Life Power that we are now discussing was used for thousands of incarnations in perpetuating the race. At this stage the power that was utilized only for reproduction is now directed into other and higher creative channels. The wall is behind the two children and now they represent the transmutation of creative energy from a lower rate of vibration to a faster or higher rate. Paul Foster Case calls this fourth-dimensional consciousness. He says that this is a name, but far from being a definition.
As a result of concentration and logical reasoning, one grasps intellectually that he is really and truly a child of the Life Power. We have to learn to be little children. Look at the 12th Key called the Suspended Man. By diligent study of the Tarot Keys your habits will begin to change, your body will begin to change, your mind will begin to evolve, and you will reach a tipping point that allows you to enter this fourth-dimensional consciousness. The Suspended Man Key 12 is the agency whereby this takes place.
Those who are the most open channels for the Life Power’s working, those whose childlike confidence in guidance is the strongest, are nearest to freedom. There is no surrender of freedom in obedience. The Life Power’s methods are the fruit of its perfect wisdom. Obedience is therefore our assurance of success. Nature is our adversary so long as we disagree with her. Obedience soon brings us to understand that the law is not imposed upon us from outside. It comes from within. We are personal expressions of the law. Every human being is a fruit of the Tree of Life.
Here is the principle of the necessity of the student’s strict obedience to his teacher. When you are obeying your teacher, you are actually obeying the I AM. The Life Power leads us to the personal centers of its wisdom who are qualified to help us. But, to be sure, we are not to worship personalities, but we must be ready to accept the guidance of the ONE behind the personal teacher. And you should accept nothing until your own inner Teacher confirms what you hear. There is no surrender of freedom in obedience.
Kneeling before the Teacher in this Key are two students representing your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. We have discussed over and over again in the Keys that to create anything in your life, good events, bad events, boring events, no matter what, that you have to get a grip on what you are thinking about. Learn to quiet your mind. Then learn to meditate. Learn how to ask questions when you mediate and how to receive an answer.
The Teacher is your own real Self, and the ministers kneeling before him are the personal modes of objective and subjective consciousness. See yourself as His child, as possessing, as your birthright, all the potencies of divinity, all its powers of control over sub-human forms of being, organic and inorganic. Submit yourself wholly to the guidance which comes, not from above or without, but from within, at the very center of your being.