The Path of the Tarot

If the Tarot were looked at as a book, the main character would be the Fool. The Fool is usually associated with the “number” zero, and is the first card of the deck. This is a reminder that we only know what we know, and can only see what we can see from where we are standing. The Fool is usually depicted standing on the edge of a cliff, all their possessions in a bag with them, a dog accompanying them, warning them of the dangers afoot. Here we are, at the present moment, the unformed ocean of the future ahead, the receding landscape of the past behind, wouldn’t it be great to have a bit of a map?

In my own search for a map, my first glimpses into the esoteric came through numbers. When I was in high school (early 80’s), I lived pretty remotely and had a lot of time to read, think, draw and write. One of the books I was given by a friend was Zolar’s Encyclopedia of Ancient and Forbidden Knowledge. The approach was quite practical viewing the occult sciences as basic tools for self-awareness and actualization. The part that found my focus was the section on numerology. At the time I was really getting into math, algebra was something that just came naturally to me. Somehow, the two clicked together in my head, the seed that was planted by those initial insights has grown into a Tree. It was also in Zolar’s Encyclopedia that I was first exposed to the Kabbalah. At the time, I had no idea as to the effect it had on me, but in recent years I have come to realize that it has been the underpinning to most of my spiritual growth.

Numbers have become the underpinning of our modern world. Electronics and digital technologies emerged from the world of mathematics. It’s easy to forget that numbers had a very spiritual origin, and a lot of people don’t realize that the formulas we learn in school were, at one time, sacred knowledge. For example, the Pythagorean Theorem (a2 + b2 = c2) was only revealed to high level initiates. The reason for this was that the formula was applied not just to the physical world, but to the inner spiritual world as well. So building a house is a physical representation of building your own ‘inner temple’. This link is not always easy to see in our modern world. As an exercise in reminding ourselves of the spiritual path of numbers, I would like to take you on a superslide through the numbers:

Zero, everything in before it’s something, a space before it’s filled, the egg before it is fertilized, giving way (birth) to the One, fertilization, this split of the cell of Zero. One is the beginning, the spark before the flame, the singularity before it meets its other, Two, which is where you find duality, a duality that is hinted at in the 0/1 proceeding it. But here becomes manifest, the sides are drawn, ideas become plans, moving into the Three, where plan become actions, self and other becomes a negotiation, both sides are considered in order to find understanding, the stool has legs to stand on its own. And the action of Three establishes the stability of the Four, standing on the earth at the center of the four directions, holding ground, feeling place of inner/outer/above/below gives a sense of substance, solidity. A stability that the Five challenges, the bumps in the road that show the seams are not so tightly sealed. The weather shows just how weatherproof the house is. The conflict shows just how sound the reasoning is. If this storm is weathered, the insights of Six are reached, the fluid understanding derived from trial and error, a humble wisdom that avoids absolutes, but it is, in itself, an absolute that tries to balance instinct, the Seven, and education, the Eight. In the Seven is the tribal/territorial, fight/flight impulses that are “controlled” by the learned behavior of the Eight. And the Six is mirrored through the Seven and Eight to the Nine, the “steersperson” just behind your eyes, through and around which all the energy is finally manifested into the actual physical world, the Ten, the end before the beginning, the Zero of the next level…

Now, the way this relates to the Tarot is this, go find that Tarot deck you were given as a birthday present years ago but never knew what to do with, and pull out the “pip” or numbered cards. Now sort the cards into their natural order from ace through ten and lay them out in front of you, four lines of ten. From this you can see how each of the elements moves through the numbers.

The elements are:

Wands -Fire -Will/Passion

Cups -Water -Emotion

Swords -Air -Intellect

Pentacles (or Coins) -Earth -Physical being

I’m hoping from this that at least one person out there is inspired to dust off an old neglected deck and starts a relationship with it. Let the light of awareness turn your lead into gold…

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