Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Jordan Tue, December 9, 2008 - 12:10 PM by Jordan

Same post, different day. Questions for anyone interested.

(Based on your research, experience, and opinion)

* * * What is the "correct" association of the each Tarot card to each Hebrew letter? * * *

"It may be well to add that I am not to be included among those who are satisfied that there is a valid correspondence between Hebrew letters and Tarot Trump symbols."
A.E. Waite

(Based on your research, experience, and opinion)

* * * What is the "correct" association of the Hebrew letters to the paths on the Tree of Life? * * *

This may be a much older debate, since the Tarot is a more modern adaptation, but the Tree and Hebrew itself are much older.

I understand the answers to these questions may be subjective. I am asking for your subjective opinion.
Thank you to everyone who contributed the last time I asked, I have not forgotten your answers. Just fishing for more opinions, thank you for your time and contributions.

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Wed, December 10, 2008 - 11:02 PM by Unsubsc...

"Correct" in this area of study is highly subjective indeed!

I use Crowley's system, which pans out as:

11, aleph, fool, kether to chokmah
12, beth, magus, kether to binah
13, gimel, priestess, kether to tiphereth
14, daleth, empress, chokmah to binah
15, he, star, chokmah to tiphereth
16, vau, hierophant, chokmah to chesed
17, zain, lovers, binah to tiphereth
18, cheth, chariot, binah to geburah
19, teth, lust, chesed to geburah
20, yod, hermit, chesed to tiphereth
21, kaph, fortune, chesed to netzach
22, lamed, adjustment, geburah to tiphereth
23, mem, hanged man, geburah to hod
24, nun, death, tiphereth to netzach
25, samekh, art, tiphereth to yesod
26, ayin, devil, tiphereth to hod
27, pe, tower, netzach to hod
28, tzaddi, emperor, netzach to yesod
29, qoph, moon, netzach to malkuth
30, resh, sun, hod to yesod
31, shin, aeon, hod to malkuth
32, tau, universe, yesod to malkuth

A more traditional rendering switches #s 28 and 15 so that the star is between netzach and yesod and the emperor between chokmah and tiphereth. A person working up the paths will have their own interpretations, but the bulk of the material in print about the matter seems to be focused on these two interpretations, and mainly the more traditional one.

I remained boggled by the comparing various systems for a long time, but now I figure that once enough work is done with one system I'll have a better perspective with which to investigate and experiment with different systems. I got a Salvador Dali Tarot deck once and the letters he has for each trump are very different than either of the systems above, but I haven't found anything about if and/or how Dali interpreted the paths of the tree of life.

After some time I may come up with my own system, but I doubt I'll want to add to the confusion by writing any books about it. It'll just be an inside joke, a very inside joke...

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Jordan Thu, December 11, 2008 - 9:26 PM by Jordan

Hey, thank you for making that list! I hope you didn't type that just for me! :) I appreciate you taking the time to post that.

Yes, I'm familiar with this basic pattern, both the Golden Dawn's version and the Crowley modifications. I think being boggled is definitely something I'm used to now, I guess it's part of the fun of it..... I have come up with my own associations, like everyone else. I have an associate that claims "oh no, no... you're goes much deeper than that!" yeah, I am not confident he is right, but I love getting knowledgeable opinions. It seems most agree that a system is "correct" only in how accurate it is to you personally. I tend to agree.

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Thu, December 11, 2008 - 10:49 PM by Unsubsc...

I suppose it was a good mental exercise to write that all out, but your questions seem to require thorough answers.

I'm reading the Kabbalistic Handbook For the Practicing Magician by Lisiewski right now - you may enjoy it based on the above. Seems to be a good deboggling mechanism so far...

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Jordan Mon, December 15, 2008 - 10:54 PM by Jordan

Thanks for the book recommendation... good read so far, lots of historical background information. Much appreciated!!!

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

freckly Fri, December 26, 2008 - 3:56 PM by freckly

nice glow here

Re: Tarot Correspondences

Yogi-Ogi Sat, October 31, 2009 - 6:35 AM by Yogi-Ogi

I thoroughly recommend Professor David Allen Hulse's compendium the 2nd volume lists the various correspondences to paths, letters, spheres, elements, chakras etc etc....far too many to mention..includes Sanskrit, Hebrew, Latin, Runes, English alphabet, Tibetan, etc etc.......simply the best guide to attributes around today:
Books galore on the subject clearly and eruditely researched.

Re: English Alphabet Correspondences

Yogi-Ogi Sat, October 31, 2009 - 6:41 AM by Yogi-Ogi

Letter No Keyword Gestalt Image
A 1 Emperor Pyramid
B 2 Wheel Breasts
C 3 Moon Crescent
D 4 Devil Door
E 5 Hierophant Window
F 6 Priestess Flag
G 7 *Justice Spiral
H 8 Hermit Ladder
I 9 Magician Spine
J 10 World Hook
K 11 King Salutation
L 12 Knight Foot
M 13 Death Water
N 14 Man Gateway
O 15 Sun Aperture
P 16 Page Profile
Q 17 Queen Egg & Sperm
R 18 Tower Sunbeam
S 19 Star Serpent
T 20 Temperance Tree
U 21 Fool Vessel
V 22 Lovers Vagina
W 23 Chariot Zig-Zag Path
X 24 Judgement Cross
Y 25 *Strength Penis & Vagina
Z 26 Empress Lightning Bolt

Re: Jewish Alphabet Gestalts

Yogi-Ogi Sat, October 31, 2009 - 6:44 AM by Yogi-Ogi

Appendix of Hieroglyphic Gestalts:

Aleph - an Ox, plough, the ox pulls, the horns of an ox, clan, one, first, one thousand, one million, to learn, to train oneself, tame, train animals, to become used to, to teach, to study.

Beth - A House, walled enclosure, the temple, universe, house of God, palace, storehouse, fortress, town, city, sepulchre, congregation, tent as a tabernacle, school, college, lodge, household, family, daughter, wife, pudenda, marital intercourse, body, limb, organ, cup, purse, sheath, receptacle, thorn, inner portion, to go within, to pass the night.

Gimel -a Camel, dromedary, transporter of loads, the camel's tracks, camel's hump, camel's throat/neck, crescent moon, talisman around neck, camel driver, couple, teaming, arrangement, caravan, walking forward and backward, a small bridge, to load, carry or deal with, to do good, charity.

Daleth - A Door, pages of a book, a hinge, folding door, a closed door, doorway, tent flap, porch, roof, gate, portico, the womb, vagina, delta, tablet, page of manuscript, scroll, column or spine of book, the first half of the ten commandments.

He - A window, lattice, opening, sighting of a star, astrology, desire, to be, to exist, to breathe, to long for, to become, here, lo, behold, woe, alas, a worm in a pomegranate.

Vau - A nail, or hook, that which joins, nail, peg, penis, that which holds open the curtain before the Ark of the Law.

Zain - A sword, weapon, blade, hilt of a sword, any implement of war, to equip, putting on armour, decoration.

Cheth - A fence, enclosure, hedge, wall, ladder, partition, room divider, screen, animal, beast, life-force, living, alive, distinctive.

Teth - A snake, coiled serpent, something rolled up or twisted together, crossroads, cross within a circle.

Yod -- The right hand or fist, index finger, handle, the hand of God, power and activity, seed, semen, penis.

Kaph - The palm of the left hand, arm, glove, to raise the hand in benediction or prayer, something arched or hollow, cave, cavity, vault, scale-pan of a balance, hub of a wheel, top of a palm tree, bundle, sheaf, mason's trowel, the crest of flesh over the genitalia.

Lamed - An ox goad, prod, staff, erect serpent, to lead, chastise, discipline, to be joined, fixed to, to learn, educate, student, scholar, teacher, argue in favour of, on account of, because, to plead.

Mem - Water, waves of the ocean, river, spring, rainwater, sea, fluid, secretion of blood or urine, juice of fruits, wine, liquid, to cleanse with water, what?, why?

Nun - A dead fish, tadpole, sea-creature, the body of a fish with head and tail cut away, fish of the genus anthias (gravefish), the prolific nature of fish, to sprout, generate, put forth, flourish, regeneration, to waste away, decay.

Samekh - Serpent biting its tail Oroborus, a prop, a cycle, circuit, orbit, the vagina, uterine channel, tent peg, foundation, base, support, uphold, sustain, ordination, laying of hands, the teacher, scholar.

Ayin - An eye, face, self, sight, perception, appearance, look at, ponder, weigh up, discern, bewitch, evil eye, abstraction, ring, hole, anus, collar, spring, well, fountain, source, secretion, enjoyment, delight, affliction, poverty.

Peh - a mouth, tongue, opening of a bag, orifice, by word of mouth, to speak, breathe, vibrate, blow, blast, scatter, disperse, split apart, partition, a spiral lock of hair, edge of a sword, cutting edge, teeth.

Tzaddi - a fish hook, to cast or ensnare, hunt, capture, buzzing of a cricket's wings, to bend, kneel, gaze upon, lie in wait, ambush, precious stone, fix eyes on third eye in meditation, side of a mountain, to turn to the left, pour out, excrement.

Qoph - back of head, an ear, the face veiled or concealed, a skull, hollow vessel, pouch, bag, anus, vulva, mushroom, vomit, monkey, tail of a monkey, the ape as demon.

Resh - A face, brain, perceive, countenance, top, apex, summit, crown, the sum, foremost, beginning, embryo, capstone, drug, intoxicant, head of poppy, to tremble in awe, a triangle, wedge, ox-head, succession, poverty.

Shin - A Tooth, fang, ivory, to sharpen, pierce, penetrate, cliff, mountain, midnight, duration, sleep, urine hated enemy, transformation, angel, second, duality, who, that, which, because.

Tau - - a cross, mark, brand, musical note, symbol, cross, lust, delight, cohabitation, chamber, cell, holy of holies.

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Yogi-Ogi Mon, November 2, 2009 - 8:44 AM by Yogi-Ogi

I think the Salvador Dali deck is primarily Gnostic and the numbering according to the Gnostic Aeons: The astrological and numerical attributions are very interesting for example aquarius which is normally attributed to #17 The Star is attributed to #14 Temperance but still numbered XIIII?
The Moon #XVIII to cancer.... not Pisces?

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Sat, November 14, 2009 - 8:33 PM by Unsubsc...

The funny thing I've noticed is that the letters are actually letters. They're words. This makes sense from the respect that they were originally pictograms, and also that they have multiple consonant sounds in them. A few, like Mem and Nun, are akin to (e)M and (e)N. Also, one can play with the gematric value of the "letters". Not that I do that much.

Re: Jewish Alphabet Gestalts

Sat, November 14, 2009 - 8:38 PM by Unsubsc...

This, if correct as to the veracity of ancient inscriptions, is telling:

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Adastra Sun, August 15, 2010 - 10:40 PM by Adastra

>>>I use Crowley's system<<<

Being a Thelemite, I can only agree. For Thelemic studies, Crowley's system must remain the "official" version, not least because using any other system makes it much trickier to understand the Beast's books and papers on the subject. And then, I find the Thoth deck the most meaningful to me. Even if I am out somewhere and am asked to do a Tarot reading without my cards with me, I simply borrow any deck available and lay out the spread, then visualize the Thoth cards where the cards from the other deck lay and read it as if it were the Thoth I were looking at.

I once had a student in a lecture I was giving at the local Lodge who asked why the books gave particular associations between Tarot cards, colors, Hebrew letters and such. "No reason," I told him. "We could make up our own correspondences. I believe that the occultists who gave us the ones we have had their own good reasons for making the associations they did, but there's nothing inevitable about them. We could easily make up our own system of correspondences. But do you really want to reinvent the wheel? And if you come up with a good private system, how will you be able to communicate effectively with someone using the traditional one? Sometimes, it's best to go with tradition simply because most people have already learned it that way. There is no particular reason why English refers to a four-legged mouse-hunting animal as a "cat;" the word is a convention as all languages are conventions, but if I were to make up a language of my own, no matter how well-constructed it might be, no one would be able to understand me unless they learned my new language. If we already share a "natural" language, why construct an artificial one and just make more work for ourselves?"

I stand by that answer, since it seems simple common sense and I hold to the Thelemic attributions so that I can communicate with the Brothers and Sisters of my Order. To do otherwise would be absurd.

With love under will,

Bob, Adastra,
The Wizzard of Jacksonville

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Adastra Sun, August 15, 2010 - 11:03 PM by Adastra

>>>one can play with the gematric value of the "letters". Not that I do that much.<<<

I tend to play with them a bit. It is possible to make truly amazing discoveries by such methods, especially if you listen to that quiet mental "voice" in your head that gives you good advice. Once I was working on a lesson to teach at my Lodge on QBL "Parts of the Soul." I was trying to get it ready for the next evening. Suddenly, that 'voice of God" or "HGA" or "intuition" spoke to me, "Bob, add up the numberical value of Gen.1:1 for me."

I replied that I was busy trying to work out a good way to wrap up my lecture for tomorrow night, but the voice insisted. Realizing that I wasn't going to get any peace until I complied, I hauled out my Hebrew-English Interlinear Old Testament and added up the value of the letters. Soon I was able to announce that it came to 2701 and ask, "So?"

"Factor it", I was told. Protests were futile. I complained that I really was busy with a task that must be finished soon. I pointed out that the number ended in "01" and might be a prime with no factors to find. But eventually I got out my calculator and started searching for factors. It turned out soon that there was only one pair of significant factors. It came out to 37 X 73. A bit palindromic, I thought, but, "So?"

Next I was directed to look the factors up in "777". 37 = "yechidah", the divine spark that resides in Kether. And 73 = Gimel spelled in full, Gimel, Mem, Lamed, the path by which the influence from Kether descends to Tiphareth to meet the Ruach Adam, the spirit of man, rising up from Malkuth to bring about the "birth from above" that Christianoids so completely misunderstand (and therefore, seldom receive, despite their pretenses). The Inner Voice next pointed out that:

1. The first verse of the Bible actually had very little to do with the creation of the physical universe at sometime in the dateless past and a lot more to do with the creation of the personal universe that is appears whenever any human experiences the birth from above and crystallizes a new, personal universe of consciousness.

2. This is part of the reason that Thelema teaches that each of us inhabits our own separate universe, that overlaps many of the others, but is never identical to anyone else's universe.

3. This is the source of that inspired Christian teaching that "God puts as much care, effort and attention into the creation of each born from above human spirit as He did into the creation of the physical universe in the beginning. Necessarily so, since from His perspective, it's the same event.

4. I now had the most effective close to tomorrow night's lecture that anyone could have come up with.

Now I don't know what to call that "Inner Voice" that has such great knowledge, but I have learned a lot from it's teachings, so I don't know whether it's God, or HGA or Intuition or if there is even any difference between all these ideas. I know only what I have experienced and that's enough to think about without worrying about questions that cannot be answered objectively since they deal with entirely subjective experiences. As a Gnostic, I'm satisfied with that. Pretty damn amazing ain't it?

With love under will,

Bob, Adastra,
The Wizzard of Jacksonville

Re: Tarot Cards - Hebrew Letters - Tree of Life Paths

Solve Omnis Fri, August 20, 2010 - 3:20 PM by Solve O...

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

I firmly take the point of view that the sole important quality of any system that functions as a map of the universe, such as the tree, is Internal Consistency.

It's perfectly acceptable to diddle around with the tree, tarot attributions and various alphabets so long as any changes are accounted for system-wide. This point, however, is where most of the diddlers get diddled themselves.

For example - to what end would 26 trumps be attributed to the english alphabet in the absence of a map with only 22 paths?

Consider, if you like, that the english system of measurement is base 12 as opposed to the base ten system found in middle eastern systems. 26 paths could require a base 12 tree with 12 sephiroth and 26 (or possibly 27, which draws quite elegantly) paths between them. An entirely new set of attributions, relationships, correspondences and so on would be required. It would likely take several centuries of research and exploration to determine whether such a system would even function on its own terms. That's saying nothing about whether it would be useful to non-english speakers.

The strength of Crowley's attributions (as described in the first reply to this thread, I think) is that they fit perfectly with the rest of his system. His system as a whole takes the overwhelming of the western hermetic tradition into account and harmonizes the whole mess in such a way that any part of it is accessible to anybody who has the keys to it.

It may be worth mentioning that those keys are merely a certain amount of basic magickal experience and the ability to understand liber 777 in such a way as to make sense of the rest of his work and to write any necessary hermetic ritual that runs off of the sort of "machine language" base of the sephiroth and paths. (That's a terrible metaphor but I think the point gets across.)

I firmly take the point of view that messing around with the attributions of the trumps and paths is a useless endeavor if the changes don't apply system-wide. Crowley's tarot is the pictoral key of his system, down to the very colors used in each card. It doesn't seem useful to change it around or even take the deck and apply it to another system entirely.

That said, if anybody has actually managed such a feat I'd cheerfully attempt to verify the results. That's the whole point, really - anything in any magickal system that can't be verified independantly is just so much cold fusion with robes on. It might have worked that One Time for that One Person, but for all practical purposes it's bullshit.

Love is the law, love under will.

Solve Omnis