0 The Fool The first of the Tarot Trumps is the Fool.

It is an image of a harlequin or jack in the green dancing on the edge of a precipice whilst a dog nips at his heels. The Fool carries a staff, usually concealed as a pole with a knapsack tied to it, indicating that the nature of the card is uncaring of material matters whilst the path along the edge of the cliff indicates that his focus is at the fringe of the physical universe where it meets the abyss of the spiritual. The dog indicates the dangers of the material world that threaten The Fool yet his indifference belies their true irrelevance to him. The Fool is attributed to the path of Aleph on the Tree of Life which joins Kether (1) with Chokmah (2) thus it represents the initial movement from perfect unity towards material imperfection and so it correlates to the beginning of the creative process connecting the Fool to the green man of spring, the redeemer who brings life and light back to the world after the cold and dark of winter. This initial movement from Kether is as yet inarticulate and without design and so The Fool has an innocence that is often mistaken for folly. It is that purity that protects the Fool from any harm as his actions are all without the lust of a result and therefore expressions of his True Will. Well dignified The Fool indicates inspiration, enlightenment, renewal and innocence. When connected to material affairs it signifies folly, stupidity, waste, indulgence or, at best, mere playfulness. When poorly dignified by the surrounding cards The Fool presages madness, carelessness, self obsession, or even self destruction. In purely spiritual questions The Fool is nearly always a sign of inspiration.

I The Magician The second of the Tarot Trumps is the Magician. This card is an image of a Magus standing at his altar upon which are his four magick weapons that correspond to the four lesser suits of the Tarot; the Wand, the Cup, the Sword and the Pantacle. These weapons are the emblems of the powers of the magician, the Powers of the Sphinx; to know, to will, to dare and to keep silence, by which he controls the forces of the universe. The Magician corresponds to the path of Beth on the Tree of Life which connects Kether (1) with Binah (3) making this card the counterpoint to the Fool and the Magician thus represents intelligently articulated creation yet without material context. The Magician makes his changes on an essential, non-material level. This card corresponds to Mercury and so it is at base an image of Thoth creating the initial forms out of the primeval void and directing the order of the created universe. The Mercurial correspondence of this card gives the Magician the general interpretation of learning, science, language, commerce, academia, diplomacy, communication and of course magick. If it is well dignified it indicates intelligence intelligence and logic applied effectively and perhaps quickly. If it is poorly placed in a spread the Magician can indicate illusion, trickery and deceit. Commonly this card is a prediction of important messages or correspondence or, alternatively, it may indicate travel.

II The High Priestess The third card in the Trump suit of Tarot is II The High Priestess. The image of this card shows a veiled priestess enthroned on a dais between the two pillars of the temple, one white and one black after the fashion of Jacin and Boaz, the Pillars of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The High Priestess is veiled from our sight so that only the reflected solar light of Tiphareth allows us to perceive her at all as her path emanates across the abyss, beyond the twin pillars that are the gateway to the light of Kether into the temple of the Adept, her priest/priestess. The High Priestess corresponds to the path of Gimel on the Tree of Life that connects Kether with Tiphareth and which is attributed to Luna, making the High Priestess the representative of Moon goddesses such as Isis, Artemis and Diana. As an emanation from the Ideal Supernals on the Tree of Life she is the essence of virginal purity, all potential but without any material substance and even her light is a reflection of our awareness of her. The High Priestess is the indefinable yet appreciable awareness of the divine, the imperceptible touch of the gentle goddess that governs natural change in contrast to the sudden alterations of the Magician. The interpretation of the High Priestess is almost entirely dependant upon the cards around it as it indicates change itself and that change, natural and regular, is usually into its opposite, such as darkness into light. This card also often indicates intuition and inspiration by a higher force as well as an elusive yet undeniable sense of the truth.

III The Empress The fourth Trump card of the Tarot is The Empress. The image of this card portrays the Empress enthroned and holding a scepter in her right hand to symbolize her executive powers- she is the symbol of feminine power. As the last of the three trumps that are entirely above the abyss, the Empress represents an ideal form of femininity, a wise and benevolent ruler. The Empresscorresponds to the path of Daleth on the Tree of Life which is the highest horizontal path, connecting Chokmah: Wisdom with Binah: Understanding, indicating the balancing and harmonizing quality of the Empress, love. In contrast to the virginal High Priestess, the Empress has been consecrated to her office through her union with the Emperor and at once shares in and mitigates his influence. As this card corresponds to Venus, the Empress is also the patroness of the arts in counterpart with the Magician. The Venusian correspondences of this card give it an interpretation of pleasure, enjoyment, friendship and love but it is also indicative of artistic creativity and also of the magickal power of consecration. The Empress is very sensitive to the surrounding cards and is often the binding force in a spread of the cards. In material affairs it idicates enjoyment but not profit as its influence not only binds but overwhelms its environment.

IV The Emperor The fifth of the Tarot Trump cards is the Emperor. This card portrays the Emperor enthroned and holding a baton and an orb, the symbols of his power and right to rule as well as the totality of his material dominion. The Empress is the esoteric symbol of power, compelling yet unspoken, but in this instance the executive power is actively dominant and this is reflected in the card’s placement on the Tree of Life among the elemental Sephiroth. The Emperor corresponds to the path of Tzaddai which connects Netzach: Victory with Yesod: Foundation, linking the Sephiroth that have the passive elemental and feminine planetary correspondences. The fact that Tzaddai emanates from Netzach implies that the Emperor’s power lies in the generative powers of the Empress. The Emperor’s connection to Yesod indicates that the change made by the Emperor is transient or essential as well as temporal and passing. The Emperor is an emblem of Aries which is ruled by Mars making the Emperor’s power a belligerent, domineering one. As Sol is exalted in this sign success in conflicts or control over a domain is a reasonable interpretation. An almost totally active card, the Emperor always dominates the cards around it and is a symbol of rule through conquest.

V The Hierophant The sixth in the series of Tarot Trumps is the Hierophant. This card bears the image of a spiritual teacher or a pope enthroned between the pillars, holding the crooked staff of his office in his left hand while making the sign of beneficence, or blessing, with the other. The staff indicates his mastery over the elements and his power to do his will, while the sign indicates what that will is; the spiritual enlightenment and development of his dominion. The Hierophant is cloaked in scarlet and ermine and is crowned by a miter to indicate his domain which stretches from heaven to encompass the earth. The Hierophant corresponds to the path of Vau on the Tree of Life, connecting Chokmah: Wisdom with Chesed: Mercy, making the Hierophant the benevolent dispenser of the Word of wisdom. As Chesed is governed by Jupiter, the Hierophant’s power governs even kings and, in contrast to the ethereal nature of the High Priestess, is the office of contact between the Ideal and Actual Worlds. This card corresponds to Taurus and so the Hierophant indicates patience and endurance, perhaps even stubbornness. Most commonly the Hierophant can be interpreted as learning or instruction as well as benevolent patronage or the intelligent interpretation of a situation, perhaps even enlightenment.

VI The Lovers Seventh in the series of Tarot Trump cards is the Lovers. This card depicts a male and a female figure being joined in marriage by an angel. The pair are naked to imply the archetypal couple Adam and Eve and in the Rider-Waite set Eve stands in front of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil whilst Adam stands before the Tree of Life; implying that this card is about choices. The Lovers corresponds to Gemini and because of this it is sometimes entitled the Brothers. Gemini is ruled by Mercury and the origin of the path attributed to the Lovers in the Supernal Triad symbolizes communication from divine realms, an oracle. On a more esoteric level the Lovers is an image of the mystic marriage of active and passive elements that results in material creation. The Lovers corresponds to the Hebrew letter Zain, a sword, again implying division or an invoked decision and its path descends into Tiphareth to indicate inspiration or epiphany. The Lovers is traditionally interpreted as indicating a love affair or a marriage as well as the society of intimate friends but it also indicates a situation of great potential for either good or bad as the surrounding cards indicate.

VII The Chariot The eighth Trump card of the Tarot is the Chariot. This Atu shows an image of a warrior-prince riding in a war chariot that is being drawn by a pair of sphinxes, one black and one white. The rider is armored and bears a staff to indicate that the card represents an active, even belligerent force. The Chariot is decorated with the emblem of the winged disk implying that the Chariot carries all opposition put before it. The Chariot is attributed to the path that joins Tiphareth with Geburah making it a symbol of the conscious awareness of force or power. The card corresponds to Cancer which is ruled by Luna making the Chariot an essential expression, but Jupiter is exalted in Cancer so the essence is of a worldly nature. The car is the barque of millions of years that bears the sun in its daily traversal of the sky so the two sphinxes that draw the Chariot indicate that, good or bad, its influence is through the material or elemental world. The Chariot is interpreted in a spread of the cards as indicating a triumph or success, especially after a contest or a struggle. On a more esoteric level it indicates the influence of karma or True Will being materially manifest. It is generally a sign of power or influence, albeit often a transient one.

VIII Strength The ninth Trump card of the Tarot is Strength. This card shows a woman forcing a lion to close its jaws. This composite image represents the animal nature that is held in check by the consciousness or self awareness that overrides its influence. The lion represents the wild force of will and the woman is the enduring power of discipline that engenders real strength in action. Strength corresponds to Leo, depicted by the lion in the image, and so this card is very solar and self conscious in its influence. The solar nature and essential power of this card make it dominant over the other cards in a spread, especially if they relate mostly to material affairs. The interpretation of this card is dependent upon the cards that it dominates and may indicate the trappings of worldly power such as family, influence or wealth. It is an indicator of robust good health and of the joyful exercise of one’s strengths in a situation.

IX The Hermit Tenth in the series of Tarot Trumps is one of the most commonly recognized of the Tarot cards, IX The Hermit. This card shows a cloaked and bearded man standing upon a high peak holding a staff in one hand and a lamp of light in the other. The staff is that of the Hierophant and represents law and order that govern the Hermit’s actions, whilst the lamp is the repository of the Light of LVX, a single ray by which the Hermit enlightens those that seek him out. As the Hermit is attributed to Virgo which is ruled by Mercury, he is an agent of communication, his cloak concealing his true identity which is Adonai, the Holy Guardian Angel, whilst Virgo belies the pure, unsullied nature of his essence. The usual interpretation of this card is a withdrawal, or an isolation from the matter at hand, but depending upon the surrounding cards, it may also indicate a deep insight or wisdom won through contemplation and as the card corresponds to Yod, the Hand, it may indicate the essential influence of the divine in the situation.

X The Wheel of Fortune The eleventh card in the Trump suit of the Tarot is the Wheel of Fortune. This card is a complex image which combines several of the fundamental symbols of Qabalah and magick. At the center of the card is a wheel with eight spokes to mark the elements Earth, Air, Water and Fire as well as the name Tetragrammaton, indicating that they are interchangeable and interconnected in the eternal turning of the wheel. Around the rim of the wheel are written TARO and ROTA to symbolize the connection of the entire Tarot to this same unending revolution of the wheel of the heavens which this Trump card represents on an esoteric and occult level. Riding the rim of the wheel are three creatures, a sphinx on the top to indicate the dominance of order, a serpent descending to show that the dominance was won by knowledge and a typhoon or demon ascending to indicate the transience of the status quo. At the corners of the card are the four kerubic emblems to indicate that the influence of the Wheel of Fortune and Tetragrammaton that it represents is on the material level and subject to the changeable laws of the elements. As this card is attributed to Jupiter it represents the fixed laws that govern material existence as well as their earthly counterparts. Traditionally interpreted as a change of luck, if good the to bad and if bad then to good. The connection to Jupiter also indicates luck or good fortune as well as the influence of governing powers for which reason it may also indicate the influence of karma in the situation.

XI Justice The twelfth Trump card of the Tarot is called XI Justice. This Atu shows an enthroned regent holding a sword upright in his right hand and a pair of balances in the left. The prince wears a golden crown to show that his power is derived from the gods and the sword indicates that his decisions are backed by executive force, while the scales show that those decisions will only be made after weighing up all of the facts of the case. The position of the throne between the two pillars shows that Justice follows the middle path of moderation, a blend of severity and mercy, which truly restores balance and harmony to a situation. Justice is attributed to Libra and so it is ruled by Venus making it a compassionate force while the corresponding Hebrew letter Lamed means an ox goad and indicates that the nature of Law is to lead people in the righteous paths. The card occupies the path from Geburah, the motive forces of nature, to Tiphareth, the complete consciousness, indicating that the laws that are expressed by Justice are the natural laws of the created universe. Traditionally this card indicates legal affairs, law suits and official decisions but it may also indicate natural justice or a harmonious agreement and it often balances the cards on either side of it just as it is the point of balance in the series of the twenty-two Trumps. This card is most often interpreted as the suspension of action pending an integral decision, a point of weighing up the facts in a case.

XII The Hanged Man The thirteenth Tarot Atu is XII The Hanged Man. This Trump card shows a man who has been hung from a gallows upside down. He is tied by only one foot and so his legs cross to form the inverted triangle of the element Water to which this card corresponds. Similarly, the Hanged Man’s hands are tied behind his back to form a concealed upright triangle and so he is a representation of the hexagram, the universal solar glyph which is echoed in the Hanged Man’s halo. The Hanged Man is attributed to the path of the letter Mem, meaning Water, which joins Geburah, power, with Hod, splendor, and so it symbolizes the sacrifice that pure energy must make in order to become articulated into a specific form. The strong watery correspondence makes the sacrifice a passive one over which one has no control but which leads to a higher state or level of perception. Traditionally a symbol of enforced sacrifice, The Hanged Man is more esoterically an image of growth through a process of initiation and can indicate the initial stages of a period of rebirth or regeneration, but always at some cost. It can also be interpreted as having to give up something in order to make it possible for a new, improved state of affairs to emerge.

XIII Death The fourteenth Tarot Trump is perhaps the most infamous and the most widely misinterpreted card XIII Death. The Atu shows an armored skeleton mounted on a white horse bearing the standard of Death while he rides through the decaying temporal world bringing death to the living as he goes. A Hierophant stands before him and beseeches Death but even the Gnosis is powerless to impede Death’s progress. Death corresponds to Scorpio, the kerubic sign of Water, and to the Hebrew letter Nun, a fish, indicating that the watery nature of the card is an elusive and transformative one. The landscape of the card shows decay and putrefaction to indicate the transformative nature of the action of Death. The entire card is in the process of metamorphosis which is the nature of the path of Nun which joins the solar Tiphareth at six with the dark subconscious of the creative Netzach at seven on the Tree of Life. Although this card may indeed indicate deaths it more commonly predicts a period of transformative change, a metamorphosis in which new life emerges from the decay of the old, deceased existence into a new and more evolved form. The change indicated by Death can often be dark and traumatic but is also always marks a definite stage of personal growth.

XIV Temperance The fifteenth Atu of the Tarot is XIV Temperance. This Trump card depicts an angel pouring the Lustral Waters of Life from a cup held in his left hand into another cup held in his right. On his breast the angel wears the lamen of the element Fire and upon his forehead is the solar disk indicating that the angel represents the creator and that his actions are the mechanisms of manifesting those creations. The angel is standing upon the shore of the great sea and is flanked upon the right by the reeds and flowers of the element Air, whilst on the left are hills and mountains representing Earth. In this way the card represents the method by which the sphere of the elements, or Assiah, comes into being through the union of opposites. Temperance corresponds to Sagittarius which is ruled by Jupiter indicating that the action of this card is governed by the laws of nature while it is attributed to the Hebrew letter Samekh which means a prop or a pillow, indicating that the method of Temperance is found at the foundation of all creative action. Traditionally this card indicates the union of opposites but it is also a symbol of the method of alchemy, and so of science. It indicates the rapid, decisive and precise application of intelligently directed energy. It represents the path on the Tree of Life that connects the solar Tiphareth and the lunar Yesod and so it can often indicate the insights that are inspired by introspection or intuition. Temperance represents a synthesis of forces and its dignity is usually determined by the cards on either side of it in a spread.

XV The Devil The sixteenth Trump in the Tarot is XV The Devil, a commonly recognized and often misunderstood symbol. The card shows a classical devil, an image of the Knights Templar’s Baphomet, half man and half beast, enthroned in a kingdom of darkness, giving the sign of benediction with his right hand while holding a flaming torch in his left. Before his throne are a naked man and woman, chained in servitude and transformed by the addition of horns and tails to mark them as damned souls trapped in the darkness of the underworld. The Devil corresponds to the sign of Capricorn as is indicated by the goat’s hindquarters of the demon, making the card a symbol of the animal or carnal side of earthly life. The Hebrew letter attributed to this card is Ayin, an eye, and represents the path that joins the solar Tiphareth with the mercurial Hod, implying that the Devil’s power lies in creating an awareness of intelligence, hinting also at the original sin of becoming aware of good and evil. Although this card is often misinterpreted as indicating sin and evil, its true meaning indicates ambition, drive, passions and essential life forces. Poorly dignified in a spread it may also be interpreted as temptations, distraction in physical desires and even obsession or, in extreme instances, possession by adverse or harmful forces. Its most esoteric meaning indicates the influence of a secret or essential force in the question.

XVI The Tower The seventeenth Trump card of the Tarot is XVI The Tower. The image on this Trump shows a tower on top of a steep mountain that has been struck by lightning and has begun to fall. Two figures, one red for fire and the other blue for water, are falling from the Tower surrounded by ten flaming letter Yods, indicating that the descent of the creative force through the ten Sephiroth, or lights on the Tree of Life, is behind the destructive current. This Trump corresponds to Mars indicating the pure force of motion that is implicit in the action of the card and as the Hebrew letter Peh, a mouth, is attributed to it, the esoteric definition of the card is of a radical change from one state to another as this letter is the lowest horizontal path on the Tree of Life, joining Netzach at seven with Hod at eight and so transforming from fire to water or vice versa. Because this polar shift is the most material expression of the three horizontal paths the action of this card is almost totally material. Traditionally this card is interpreted as an escape from incarceration or bondage but more essentially The Tower indicates a time of preparation for change. The old arrangement is cleared away in order to make way for the new one and as this card most often indicates that change at its most pivotal moment the most practical interpretation is that this card indicates a breakthrough or turning point in a situation.

XVII The Star The eighteenth Atu of the Tarot, XVII The Star, is perhaps the most spiritually esoteric of all of the Trumps. The card depicts a naked woman that pours libations of the Lustral Waters on both the land and the sea, imbuing both with life. She is beneath the night sky where eight seven pointed stars are shining to identify the woman as the goddess night who is manifested in the earthly form of the All Mother that is visible in this card. The Star is attributed to the letter Heh, w window, and indicates that the Light of LVX enters the world via the goddess as the path to which this letter corresponds connects Chokmah, the Word of wisdom, with the self conscious Tiphareth at the center of the Tree of Life. Corresponding to Aquarius, she is the symbol of mystical enlightenment but as she is ruled by Saturn her influence on the material plane is bound by temporal restrictions. This card is so esoteric and spiritual that it is often difficult to interpret it accurately as it shopws the influence of the divine that may manifest unexpectedly in the situation. Serendipity, epiphany and apprehended enlightenment are all indicated in this card which always implies a spiritual current in the spread of the cards.

XVIII The Moon The nineteenth Trump card of the Tarot is XVIII The Moon. The image on this Atu shows the crescent moon hanging in the night sky between two pillars. Beneath it a river snakes its way through a barren landscape and, ending in a trickle, it seeps into the sea where a lobster is crawling onto the shore. Two dogs, one brown and one yellow for the dawn and the dusk, are seen to howl at the moon as fifteen flaming letter Yods descend from the crescent to indicate that the motive force of the action of the card is derived from the action of the male, solar force. The Moon corresponds to the Hebrew letter Qooph, the back of the head, and so it occupies the path that joins Netzach, the emotions, with Malkuth, the earth, indicating that it is a portal into the darkness of the subconscious mind. Attributed to the sign of Pisces, the action of The Moon is entirely watery and passive so it indicates being given over to a passage through the darkness into the light of a new dawn. The Moon generally indicates a situation on the verge of an important change, often the darkest or most difficult point before a renaissance or rebirth. Poorly dignified it can imply a descent into illusion, deception, madness or even death.

XIX The Sun The twentieth of the Tarot Trumps is XIX The Sun. The image on this card shows a radiant solar disk over an abundant garden of solar flowers that is surrounded by a wall. In the foreground is a small child riding upon a white horse, representing the enduring regenerative power of the earth that is indicated by the walled in garden. The child carries a red standard to symbolize the domineering nature of the force of life. The Sun corresponds to the Hebrew letter Resh, meaning the head, and occupies the path that joins the intelligence Hod with Yesod, the intuitive perceptions, and so it represents the enlightenment that comes from intellectualizing our inner voice. The Sun is a completely solar image and represents the most material form of the sun’s influence on the world. The interpretation of The Sun reflects its completely solar nature and so success, victory, enjoyment, pleasures and spiritual clarity are all indicated. As The Sun is a powerful symbol of rebirth this card can also mean recovery from illness or the enlightenment that comes after adversity. This card dominates all of the cards around it and is almost always a good omen.

XX Judgement The penultimate card in the series of Tarot Atus is XX Judgement. This card depicts the scene of the Last Judgement from the Revelation of St. John the Divine with an angel in the heavens blowing the trumpet that calls the dead back to life. Below, the resurrected bathed in the glory of their redemption, raise their hands in supplication as they are called to heaven. Judgement is attributed to the element Fire indicating that it is the beginning of a new current of energy in a situation while it corresponds to the letter Shin, a tooth, and lies on the path that joins Hod, the intellect, with Malkuth, the physical body, to indicate that its action is at once essential and conceptual. In this manner it represents a step from one plane onto another, either the intellectualization of a material situation or the manifestation of intelligence on the elemental plane. The interpretation of Judgement always indicates new beginnings or initial steps in the question at hand. While the effects of this card may be essential rather than material, Judgement always indicates a definite turning point in affairs.

XXI The World The final and twenty-second Trump in the Tarot deck is XXI The World. This card depicts a goddess floating in the heavens holding a flaming rod in each hand and clothed by a veil to represent the All Mother and the polarity of her created universe, which is only partially apprehensible to us. She is surrounded by a green wreath to indicate the temporal nature of material existence and in the four corners of the card are the four kerubic emblems; man, an eagle, a bull and a lion to indicate that the card shows the point of manifestation of energy into the sphere of the elements. The World is attributed to the Hebrew letter Tau, a cross, which is a symbol of the elements becoming manifest materially. It occupies the lowest path on the Tree of Life which connects Yesod, the essential world of formation, with Malkuth, the material world, which corresponds to Saturn and indicates that The World is bound by temporal restrictions. Traditionally, The World is interpreted as the end of a matter but it can also indicate the materialization of an outcome and even a material event like an inheritance. As the most material Trump card its influence materializes all of the cards associated with it in a spread and it should be interpreted as a physical effect.

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