Archive | Tarot and Kabbalah

The Sephiroth

The SephirothKETHER, the Crown, as stated previously, relates to the number one, and was the command to become manifest, then by a series of projections, the other qualities followed.

Number two, called CHOKMAH or Wisdom is the number of polarity, the number of duality, the positive and negative principle, for instance of the biblical good and evil. Number two refers to those religions that regard God as something separate from themselves.

Number three, BINAH, meaning Understanding, contains the original idea of begetting; ie in man and woman, who in unification, beget the third, the child. It is often called the Heavenly Mother or Holy Spirit as the third aspect of Deity; Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In the personality, it is representative of body, soul and spirit.

We then come to the hidden Sephiroth, Daath, meaning Knowledge.  As Chokmah is force and Binah is form, their conjunction produces a Sephira which is hidden, which has no number and is not shown on the Tree of Life. The Zepher Yetzirah states, “Ten is the number of the ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven.” Daath is the first hidden union of Chokmah and Binah, of Wisdom and Understanding, or of Yin and Yang. Daath is hidden by the Abyss, but an experience of knowledge or Daath is required to cross the Abyss, the gulf between the Supernal Triangle, symbolising the mysteries of the Immortal Spirit and all that is beneath, the mental, the astral and the physical worlds. It is the area of demarcation between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm.

CHESED, called Mercy is number four. In Chesed is found the beginning of manifestation; four is the number by which everything was realized and created in both the invisible and the visible worlds. It is the externalization of the combined powers of the Supernals. Therefore number four is the highest number as far as the practicing Kabbalist is concerned as it is the perfect representation of the tetragrammatonic principle. It represents all four basic elements—fire, air, water and earth and the four fundamental qualities of God, will, wisdom, love and immortality.

Number five, GEBURAH, means Severity leading to Strength. Geburah is the perfect balance of Chesed (Mercy). As Chesed is loving and compassionate, Geburah is severe and demanding of due. Sometimes the lessons of Geburah can be shattering. It tears away all that is useless and ineffective. It is the most radical tool of the spirit, and can be equated with the Planet Mars as well as the Roman God of War.

Number six, is called TIPHARETH, which means Beauty. From a certain point of view, number six in its symbolical form, the six pointed star, relates to the Hermes tablet which starts with the words, “That which is above, is also that which is below.” The lower triangle symbolizes man in his three aspects of body, soul and spirit, while the upper triangle symbolizes the divine powers and virtues.

NETZACH is the name of Number seven, and it means Victory. It is not only the number of harmony and fertility, but also the number of love in all its facets, regardless of whether it is the shallowest or the most elevated form of spiritual love. The qualities of compassion, mercy, purity, happiness and chasteness are also aspects of love, and therefore resonate with number seven.

Number Eight is called HOD and means Glory or Splendour. Hod is the number of the concrete, rational mind, and thus the number of knowledge. It is also the number of the mental body. All theoretical knowledge, besides any knowledge of Magic, Kabbalah, literature and science falls under the influence of Hod. Hod and Netzach like Geburah and Chesed are effective only when their energies are merged in a third Sephira, and in this case we see the merging of Hod and Netzach giving rise to Yesod (Moon).

As we approach the Ninth Sephira YESOD, which means Foundation, what has previously been considered as theoretical may well become very practical. Yesod represents the original idea of the astral world and all its analogies. At the same time, nine is the number of rhythm and life in its most subtle form.

In the order of the ten Kabbalistic Keys which correspond to the numbers one to ten, Number ten is the last number and is called MALKUTH and means the Kingdom. It is the reflection of number one in its roughest form. Ten is the number of physical matter, ie it is the number of the realization of the earthy element in its most cohesive form.

If you have an understanding of the meanings of the Sephiroth, it will make for an easier understanding of the meaning of the numbers of the Tarot.

The fundamentals of the numerical Kabalistic ideas on creation are laid down in the treatise, the “Sepher Yetzirah,” also called the Book of Formation.


Tarot and Kabbalah

In the middle of the nineteenth century, an Abbe of the Roman church called Alphonse Louis Constant translated his name into the Hebrew form of Eliphas Levi Zahed. Today he is known simply as Eliphas Levi. This man was a great mystical scholar, a great Kabbalist, as well as a philosopher and an artist. Levi attempted to produce a complete treatise on Magic, dividing his subject into two parts dealing with theory and practice. He came to the conclusion that the Tarot was actually a pictorial form of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, which is the basis for the whole Kabbalah. So Tarot could be seen as a form of Initiation into the mysteries.


The Kabbalah teaches that our universe evolved organically and sequentially from the formless void or the Great Unknowable Source into matter. The information contained in the Kabbalah deals with the nature of God; the Sephiroth, or divine emanations deal with angels and man. God is known as Ain Soph and fills the entire universe. As He is infinite, the mind of man cannot conceive Him. Mind cannot perceive something that created it, because mind is only part of it, not the whole. In a certain sense, God is perceived as being non-existent. To validate His existence, God became active and creative, gathered primal energy around Himself and projected the ten Sephiroth or divine ideas. The numbers one to ten are Kabbalistic cardinal numbers corresponding to the original divine ideas by which the invisible and visible world was created.


This is a simple diagram composed of the ten spheres known as the Sephiroth and 22 connecting lines called Paths. The Sephiroth and the Paths together are commonly called “The thirty two Paths of Wisdom.” At this point, we will only touch briefly on some of this information, and will be expanded at a later date.  For this particular study of the Tarot, we will look at the information in a slightly different way to give a better understanding.

Kether, Chokmah and Binah are abstract concepts beyond our human comprehension and relate to the Supreme Mysteries of the Spirit or the Archetypal World. Chesed, Geburah and Tiphareth pertain to the Higher Self or the structure of the individuality, and relate to the Greater Mysteries or the Creative World. Netzach, Hod and Yesod pertain to the structure of the personality or the Lesser Mysteries or the Formative World. Malkuth relates to the physical body or the Active World.

From the unmanifest, the Ain Soph, which is symbolized by a closed eye, emerged number one, called KETHER, the Crown, which is symbolized by an open eye. Symbolically, as long as this eye remains open, the universe is preserved, when it shuts, it returns into a state of non-being or pralaya.

Number one represents the highest form and everything that is made of it, that is God, the manifested Light, divine white brilliance, the light which lighteth the universe and beside which the light of mortals is but darkness. According to the Bible, number one is identified with the first day of creation when God said “Let there be Light”. The colour relating to Kether is Pure White Brilliance. It is androgynous; microcosmically it is the Monad or the Atman. In ancient times, in the Hebrew Kabbalah, whenever God was to be identified, this was done by number one. Number one has been symbolized by a point or a dot, which represents the symbol of divine unification, ie becoming one with God. It should always be borne in mind that number one means the highest unity, the highest wisdom. While Kether is symbolised by the point or tree of life, Bible, God, the Source highest wisdomdot, it is not static. In the material world it represents the first swirling around the point, self contained but in motion. As we move through various explanations, you will begin to see the correspondence between Tarot and Kabbalah.


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