THE ELEMENTAL TAROT OF THE KABALLAH
This is an outline and synopsis of the course and audio files for the Elemental Tarot of the Kaballah developed by Dr. John Gilbert from the Zohar and other ancient texts of the Kaballah. What we present here is the first part of five parts of the Elemental Tarot of the Kaballah.
According to ancient tradition, the Element of Air is the first element. The Element of Air is assigned to the World of the Mind, the world of the life spirit within each of us. Life spirit is the same thing as mind according to the ancient teachings.
According to this ancient teaching as expressed in the Kaballah, in the beginning there was nothing and out of this nothingness, a thought arose. The very first thing that ever happened was a thought. That original thought gave birth to other thoughts; and the sum total of all these thoughs we call the Mind of the Divine or the Universal Mind. Our mind is a part of that Universal Mind.
The World of Mind is where we do all of our thinking, imagining, remembering, paying attention, becoming aware, cogitating, contemplating and possibly meditating. We pay attention to and become aware of the present. We remember the past and we imagine the future. Thus time is a part of the World of Air, the World of the Mind.
We think, cogitate, contemplate, form intentions and believe things in the ever-present now of our mind. We create new thoughts and ideas in the ever-present now of our mind. We exhibit various attitudes based on our thoughts and ideas in the ever-present now of our mind.
We communicate with our own conscious, subconscious, unconscious and superconscious minds. That is to say, we talk with our own ego, soul, spiritual being or Highest Self and our false masks or personae. All this we do in our own mind. We even commmunicate with the Divine in our mind.
Most tarot decks and authors assign the suit of swords to the World of Air. This is not a requirement. Way back when, somebody (some authors claim it was Aristotle), decided the mind could cut and slash like a sword. Crowley assigned the World of Air to the suit of wands. Reportedly this was done to infuriate fellow members of the Golden Dawn, but its more probable Crowley was sending the message he could do what he wanted to do because we all have that birthright. Other authors follow his lead but most assign Air to Swords.
Whatever reason we want to use, we all have the right to assign the World of Air to the tarot suit of our choice. We can even create new suits for this purpose. I think the World of Air should be represented by clouds because Air people tend to have their head in the clouds, they (we) tend to be dreamers and day-dreamers.
Decide what suit you want to use for the World of Air, the World of the Mind with your tarot deck. Then choose one key word for both the upright and inverted position of these cards. You can start by choosing one of the following words for upright and another for the inverted cards in the suit you assign to Air: attitude, awareness, belief, idea, imagine, intention, pay attention, remember, think or thought.
These are not the only words you can use. You have my permission, even though you dont need it, to assign any words you want to use as the key words for the suit you assign to the World of Air. And, by the way, you dont need to call it the World of Air. You can call it anything you want. But to keep us all on the same page, please choose something that communicates this is the suit assigned to the mind of our client.
According to ancient tradition, the Element of Air gave birth to the Element of Water. This birth itself is something we will discuss in a few weeks. The World of Air begot the World of Water. The World of Mind birthed the World of Emotions.
The Element of Water is assigned to the World of the Heart, also known as the World of Emotions. According to this ancient teaching as expressed in the Kaballah, the World of Water is the result of our thinking. First we have a thought and then we have a feeling about that thought. The thought is in our mind. The feeling that arises out of our thought is in our heart.
The World of Water is where we do all our feeling. Its where we feel the result of our thinking. This is where we feel compassion, acceptance, forgiveness, love, power, anger, fear, sorrow, harmony, peace, inner strength, happiness and joy. This is where we feel the combinations of these emotions such as resentments, guilt, blame, shame and mercy. Our feelings can be grouped in three spheres or centers of influence.
Our sphere of compassion expresses our feelings of mercy, compassion, kindness, remorse, kind-heartedness, benevolence, tenderness, gentleness, graciousness, acceptance, forgiveness, love and all the negative variations of these emotions.
Our sphere of power expresses our feelings of anger, rage, wrath, fury, irritation, igdignation, annoyance, resentment, vexation, exasperation, fear, anxiety, apprehension, worry, concern, forboding, misgiving, dread, sorrow, sadness, grief, distress, woe, misery, anguish, melancholy, depression, heartbreak and all the positive variations of these emotions.
Our sphere of harmony is where we emotionally balance our blame, shame, guilt, conflicts, discords, dissentions, dissonance, arguements and disagreements. It is here we find ways to emotionally reach agreement, accord, conformity, empathy, sympathy, conguity. It is here we feel the equality, fairness, equity, equilibribrium and symmetry of life, humanity and the whole of creation.
We feel all of these things and more in our heart, in our own personal World of Water. We empathize with others and feel all of their emotions and we tune into life and feel all of the feelings of life imaginable. More than this, we tune into the Divine and feel more than we ever thought possible.
Most tarot decks and authors assign the suit of cups to the World of Water. But we can assign any suit of our choice to the World of Water, the World of our Emotions. We need not be tied to tradition, nor to believe everything we read or hear about.
Decide what suit you want to use for the World of Water, the World of Emotions. Then choose one key word for both the upright and inverted positions of the cards in this suit. You can start by using one key word for upright and another for inverted cards from any of the words already given above or any others you add to this list.
Remember our admonitions from the World of Air: You can assign any words you want to any suit for any reason and call it anything you want to call it. You are creating your own tarot system and theres no reason you cant be creative or borrow what you want or change anything you want to create, borrow or change.
Just for the record, in the present system Im using, I assign thoughts and ideas to upright swords and attitudes to inverted swords. For Water, I assign compassion to the upright cards and power to the inverted. Here I use all of the words assigned to these two centers of influence according to my inner knowledge or intuitive insights.
According to ancient tradition, the Element of Air (male)impregnated the Element of Water (female) and brought forth a child of their passion known as the Element of Fire. Another way of saying this is the the World of Mind was passionately seduced by the World of Water and the result of this passion is the World of Fire. Yet another way is that Eve seduced Adam and the result was a passionate son Cain who murdered his brother Able.
The Element of Fire is assigned to the World of our Belly. Thoughts are a product of the World of Mind assigned to our head. Emotions are a product of the World of Emotions assigned to our heart. Passions are a product of the World of Fire assigned to our belly.
According to the ancient teachings of the Kaballah, passions are a result of continually thinking about something that creates strong emotions within us, emotions that become a passion. First we have a thought and then we have feelings about that thought. This gives rise to other thoughts and emotions about the same thing. Its this churning of thoughts and emotions that create passions. Its the constant interation of the World of Air with the World of Water than manifests the World of Fire.
The World of Fire is expressed through three spheres of influence. The first sphere of expression is created when thoughts and emotions combine and churn violently thus creating passions, needs, wants, cravings, desires and addictions.
The second sphere of expression in the World of Fire is created when thoughts impact emotions and those emotions grow in power to become fears, anger, grief, sorrow, guilt, shame and blame.
The third sphere of expression in the World of Fire is created when our thoughts continue to impact our emotions and those thought-charged emotions grow in power to become our way of judging, comparing, blaming and building expections and prejudices.
Most tarot decks and authors assign the suit of wands to the World of Fire. But we can assign any suit of our choice to the World of Fire, the World of our Passions. Tarot will always work no matter how we define the suits or what we decide the cards will mean.
It works like this: We decide what suits we want to assign to what Elements, Worlds or whatever. We consciously decide what meaning we want to assign to each card. Our subconscious mind knows everything our conscious mind is doing. When we get ready to do a reading, our subconscious mind will select exactly the right cards to tell youexactly what you need to know.
So, decide what suit you want to assign to the World of Fire and define what the upright and inverted cards will mean for that suit. Thats what the suit will mean for you. (Your subconscious mind knows that.)
THE WORLD OF EARTH
There are some ancient stories about women birthing children fathered by their own male child. In the animal kingdom this happens frequently. However it happened, the World of Fire matured and impregnated the World of Water to birth the World of Earth. Fire and Water are the parents of Earth and Air is the grandfather. Therefore we should be able to see a family resemblance in Earth.
We do. Part of the Element of Earth is all about money, health and possessions, that have no meaning for Air, Water or Fire. But, Earth has three spheres of expression that are more familiar to them. One sphere of expression is the feelings Earth has about its material things and money. Another is the thoughts Earth has about its things and money. And, the third is all about the needs, wants, desires and passion Earth has concerning its money, things and health.
We could say the Element of Earth is very complex and appears to be divided into four segments: 1) Earth that has nothing to do with Air, Water or Fire, 2) Earth that has everything to do with Air, 3) Earth that is all about Water, and 4) Earth that is all about Fire. In other words, the four expressions of the Element of Earth are 1) material things, possessions, our body, health and finances, 2) our thoughts about those things, 3) our feelings about those things, and 4) our passions for them.
In the teachings of the Golden Dawn and the Kaballah, the bottom-most sphere on the Tree of Life is divided into four parts. Each part represents one of these four expressions of the World of Earth. That is the four parts are pure Earth, Air of Earth, Water of Earth and Fire of Earth. Spiritual Alchemy teaches the same thing in a different way.
Most authors attribute the suit of coins or pentacles to the Element of Earth. But we already know we can make any assignment we want. And no matter what assignment we do make, that system will always work for us.
We also know we can define the suit of Earth to match our own reading style. I usually use upright Earth for financial affairs and inverted Earth for health. But what I do is for me and it may not work for you at all. Conversely, what works for you may very well not work for me at all. We each get to decide for ourselves what works for us. And nobody has the right to tell us that what we decide is wrong. It may be wrong for them; but if it works for me, then its right for me. If it works for you, then its right for you.
This concludes the first part of the Elemental Tarot of the Kaballah. It's important to understand the concepts presented here before proceeding further. When you know what words and Elements you are going to assign to the suits of your Tarot deck, you're ready to proceed to Part Two. But it will help you if you have a clear understanding of the meaning of the four Elements presented here.
Elemental Tarot of the Kaballah - Part Two
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