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**Qaballah and Tarot: A Basic Course in Nine Lessons
**

Lesson I

by Yael Dragwyla © 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1997 by Yael R. Dragwyla A. What is the Qaballah? Qaballah is the quantum mechanics of the Inner Planes, the realms of mind, emotion, memory, and Will, that is, of intellect, soul, and spirit, and of the physical body insofar as it mediates and mirrors these. It is the spiritual expression and reflection of physics, the science of physical reality at its most basic and essential levels. As will be seen, it even entails its own version of the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements, Mendeleev’s lovely brain-child, which gives essential mathematical descriptions not only of the known chemical elements, but also of all that ever might be, and, in addition, something of the sub-atomic particles of which atoms are composed. In particular, Qaballah is a system of bijective associations1 between an alphabet of some kind and a set of distinct numerical values. An alphabet, in this case, is any ordered set2 of distinct symbols,3 which may include any of the following: the digits (counting numbers 1-9); astrological entities, such as Planets, Signs, or Stars; Gods; Tarot cards; a scale of musical notes; a discontinuous spectrum of electromagnetic wavelengths (i.e., colors, visible or otherwise); perfumes and incenses’ drugs; plants; animals; gemstones; Magickal tools or Powers; or just about any other set of distinct entities of a given kind one could possibly think of. The set of numbers with which the elements of that alphabet are associated may be any numbers that can be operated upon mathematically, including integers, fractions, irrational numbers, complex numbers, and so on. In every case, for each character of the given alphabet, whatever it may be, one and only one member of any of the sets of numbers associated with it (of which there may be more than one, none exactly identical with any other) is associated with it. 4 For this course, the original (lexical or indexing) alphabet we shall use in the beginning will be the set of distinct counting numbers 1 through 32. These are called Key Numbers, partly because they provide keys to the Greater Mysteries, and partly because they can be used as a mnemonic keying system to index data more efficiently and quickly, like key-memory accessing modes in cybernetic systems. This Key Number indexing system is traditional in the Western Tradition of esoteric Arts and Sciences. Later on, for philosophical reasons we will add Zero, ℵ0 (Aleph-sub-Null, the first Cantorian transfinite number, the Number of All Numbers, the order of the Real Line ℜ), ℵ1 (Aleph-sub-One, the second Cantorian transfinite number, the Number of All Mathematical Curves), ℵ2 (Aleph-sub-Two, the third Cantorian transfinite number, the Number of All Mathematical Structures), 5 i = √-1,* and the Null or Empty Set to this indexing system, as well as a number of other mathematical entities. For now, however, we will stick to the traditional 32-two symbol lexical system. 6 *The square root of minus one, the basis of the system of imaginary numbers. This entity is distinct from all real numbers, of any value; for the result of squaring any real number (i.e., multiplying it by itself) always produces a positive number, one greater than zero. Obviously, then, -1 (minus one)

cannot be the resultant of squaring any real number. Its square root is thus other than real -- hence it is called “imaginary,” and symbolized as i, the initial letter of “imaginary.”

We will also discuss, very briefly, the general way in which a Qaballah is used in its associated numerology, and how the Hebrew alphabet, in particular, is used in Gematria, the numerology of the Hebrew Qaballah. Finally, there will be a brief discussion of the concept of the Qlippoth. These are the distorted reflections of the Sephiroth. Each of the ten Sephiroth of the Tree of Life are realms of Divine Guidance, ruled by a God or Archangel Who directs the affairs of that aspect of Creation according to the Will of the Great Spirit, and populated by benign or at least spiritually neutral spirits who all are part of the natural and divine order as it is expressed in that Sephirah. The Qlippoth are poor, distorted copies of the Sephiroth, each ruled by its Arch-Demon, and populated by malefic spirits whose natures are according to that of the Qlippoth in which they dwell. The Sephiroth can be thought of as psychospiritual states, states of spirit, soul, and intellect, as well as aspects of physical reality; the Qlippoth, then, are comparable to illness of spirit, soul, and body, or disharmonies in the physical and social universes. In this section, we will discuss the Qlippoth, their denizens, and their impact upon both the spiritual and the material life of humanity and other beings. B. What is the relationship of Qaballah to Tarot? By comparing Tarot packs differing in design but all sharing the same traditional infrastructure of 40 Minor Arcana, 16 Court Cards, and 22 Greater Trumps, described above, we see certain other basic similarities among them. These in turn all refer to the Qaballah. The Qaballah has grown out of a Jewish metaphysical system which has existed in a coherent, written form for many centuries; the original elements out of which its current form has evolved go back much father still. 7 In turn, all of the traditional Hebrew Qaballah refers to the Tree of Life, a diagrammatic pictorial scheme that looks a little like a tree bearing ten fruits interconnected by twenty-two branches. The “fruits” are the Sephiroth* and the “branches” are the Atua.** In the Tarot, the Sephiroth are represented by means of the forty numbered “small” cards, the Lower Arcana, while the Atua are represented by the twenty-two Greater Trumps, numbered by 0 and the Roman numerals I-XXI. *A Hebrew word meaning “sapphires” or “brilliants” (i.e., brilliant-appearing things, such as gemstones). The singular form is Sephirah. **An Egyptian word meaning “Paths.” The singular form is Atu.

All true Tarot packs, then, are based upon Qaballah, and specifically refer to the Tree of Life. We will cover the relationship between Tarot and the Hebrew Qaballah in lessons to come in small detail, because understanding this relationship not only will help increase your skill in reading Tarot, but is also absolutely necessary to creating a new Tarot pack of any real psychological and Magickal potency, if you ever desire to do so.

Endnotes

1 Bijectivity: A bijective map or bijective relation is a mathematical relation between two sets of things such that each set contains exactly the same number of elements as the other; for a given element in either set, there is exactly one -- i.e., one and only one -- element associated with it under this relation. Furthermore, the first element in this pair is related to the second, and only to the second member of the pair, through the inverse of the original map, which, like the original map, is also bijective. Thus this mapping is a one-to-one/onto relationship. That it is one-to-one means that each element of the first set, the domain, is matched uniquely with (i.e., with exactly one of) one element of the second set, the range. That it is onto means that every element in the second set or range is matched with at least one element of the first set, the domain.

A one-to-one mapping is sometimes called an into mapping, or injection; an onto mapping is sometimes called a surjection. Thus a bijection is a mapping that is both an injection and a surjection. As an example of a bijective relation, suppose we have two bags, one containing ten black marbles, the other ten green marbles. Therefore every black marble in the first bag can be paired with exactly one, distinct green marble from the second, and vice-versa, such that there are no green and no black marbles left over after all the marbles in either bag have been paired up with marbles from the other bag. The relationship between the marbles in the two bags is thus a bijective one. For more on mappings in general, and injective and surjective functions in particular, the following are especially useful: Donald R. Barr and Floyd E. Willmore, College and University Mathematics: A Functional Approach (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1968), pp. 7-102 (Chapter 1); Howard Eves and Carroll V. Newsom, An Introduction to the Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1958), pp. 226-259 (Chapter 8); and John G. Kemeny, Hazleton Mirkil, J. Laurie Snell, and Gerald L. Thompson, Finite Mathematical Structures (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1959), pp. 70-90. Ordered set: More rigorous definitions of such a set may be found in various works on set theory. For now, we will call any ordered set any set S = {s1,s2,. . .,si,. . .,sn}, where n is some positive integer (i.e., a counting-number greater than zero), such that s comprises an array of the n elements s1, s2, . . . , si, . . . , sn fixed in order, such that for any element si of s, where i is a positive integer that may have a value from 1 through n, then si is the ith component of the array. For example, suppose s is the set of positive integers {1,2,3,4}. Given that in addition, these four elements of s are fixed in order such that 1 is always the first in order of the listing of the elements of s, 2 is always the second, 3 is always the third, and 4 is always the fourth, then s is an ordered set. From another point of view, if s = {s1,. . .,si,. . .,sn} is an ordered set, then it is also the vector (s1,. . .,si,. . .,sn), whose ith component is si. The English/Roman written-language alphabet is a perfect example of an ordered set. A, its first letter, is the first element or component of that set; B is its second component; and so on, down to Z. Another example of an ordered set is the subset of eight dominant notes of the 12-tone musical scale we use in the West, in order, do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do. For more on ordered sets and vectors, see Barr and Willmore, op. cit., pp. 118-119 and 542; Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers (Philip E. B. Jourdain, translator. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955), pp. 32, 38 ff., 47, 50 ff., 52, 62, 75, 79 ff., 81, 110 ff., 113, 122 ff., 151 ff., 158, 159, 202, 208; Eves and Newsom, op. cit., p. 118-153 (Chapter Five); Ellis Horowitz and Sartaj Sahni, Fundamentals of Data Structures (Potomac, MD: Computer Science Press, Inc., 1977), pp. 40-201; and Kemeny, Mirkil, Snell, and Thompson, op. cit., pp. 205-330 (Chapter Four).

2

Not only do the alphabets of the world’s written human languages qualify as alphabets under this definition of the term, but so also does the set of digits 0-9, when used as symbols; a set comprising any number of distinct numbers or other mathematical entities, when used as symbols; a set of distinct punctuation symbols; a set of distinct computer reserved words, when represented in the form of ideographs or as holistic representations in other sensory modes; and so on.

3 4 And vice-versa. That is, we can have p alphabets and q sets of numbers, where none of the alphabets exactly resembles any other, and no two sets of numbers are identical, such that every set of numbers and each alphabet has the same number of elements in it.* Then each alphabet or set of numbers can be bijectively associated with all the others, which can make for a very interesting set of crossassociations among these sets. This could be of particular interest in comparing two or more cultures, each of which has a written language and an alphabet to go with it, using Qaballistic analysis.

*Thus all the alphabets and sets of numbers can be put into bijective correspondence with the set of consecutive positive integers 1-n, where n is the number of elements in each of these alphabets and sets of numbers, i.e., the order of each such set.

An actual example of such cross-indexing by means of one common reference or indexing set of integers is, of course, Aleister Crowley’s Liber 777, op. cit.. In that work, the alphabets and numerical sets are Columns I-CXCIV; in particular, Columns I, X, LI-LIII, CLXXV, and CLXXV comprise the sets of numbers, Columns LI-LIII and CLXXV being the standard alphabets of written languages (Coptic, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew) each letter of which also has a numerical value. The transfinite numbers are actually the orders of sets of indefinitely large size, that is, the quantities of things which each of them contains. Because these sets each contain an infinite number of elements, the transfinite numbers are themselves effectively infinitely large, and behave in ways that are very different than ordinary numbers of finite size. Historically, ℵ0 was the first transfinite number to be discovered and analyzed, by the mathematician Georg Cantor. This is the Number of All Numbers, that is, the infinitely large set of numbers which together make up the Real Line, all of which can be manipulated according to the standard operations of arithmetic. ℵ1, the Number of All Possible Geometric Curves, was the second transfinite number to be discovered, also by Cantor. These are geometric entities whose shapes and characteristics are specified by n-th order equations, for example, x3 + 1, 45y4 - p2 + 13, and so on. ℵ2 is the Number of All Possible Mathematical Structures, including such entities as algebras, groups, rings, rays, fields, and so forth, in all their infinite variety. For more on transfinite sets, see Georg Cantor, Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers (Philip E. B. Jourdain, translator. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955).

5 6

According to Moishe Baudelaire (or was it Shmuel de Sade?),

Once, it’s adventure; Twice, it’s perversion; Three times -Q “It’s tradition . . .” b 7In fact, Tree-of-Life designs are immemorially old. They are found in paintings and bas-relief designs scattered all over the Middle East, dating back millennia. Interestingly, with respect to the final part of this course, Chaldean and Babylonian versions of this motif generally have twelve rather than ten Sephiroth.

Bibliography

In addition to the bibliography given in the syllabus, the following resources will be of especial use for this lesson: Barr, Donald R. and Willmore, Floyd E. College and University Mathematics: A Functional Approach. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc., 1968. Cantor, Georg. Contributions to the Founding of the Theory of Transfinite Numbers. Philip E. B. Jourdain, translator. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1955. Eves, Howard and Newsom, Carroll V. An Introduction to the Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1958. Horowitz, Ellis and Sahni, Sartaj. Fundamentals of Data Structures. Potomac, MD: Computer Science Press, Inc., 1977. Kemeny, John G.; Mirkil, Hazleton; Snell, J. Laurie; and Thompson, Gerald L. Finite Mathematical Structures. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1959

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UsefulNot usefulQaballah and Tarot: A Basic Course on the relationship between Tarot and Qaballah in Nine Lessons. An introduction. Keywords: Qaballah, Tarot, divination, mathematics, anthropology, mytholgy

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