Download Paul Foster Case - The Secret Doctrine of the Tarot PDF

TitlePaul Foster Case - The Secret Doctrine of the Tarot
File Size13.1 MB
Total Pages172
Document Text Contents
Page 1


-we are, and what is going to
,1 Eyes' ?"

put to the Good Lady because I
.o; in fact, I forgot to speak to

see the latter for weeks at a
r several months. But before
would come and tell me of her
locality, where the Good Lady
new lessons. She never seemed
)ing away, and did not under-
ret. She had been told it was
e she would accept the sugges-

'ant marvel to me, for its com-
I t o my nature. I always re-
jonal liberty: found fault with
and uttered vehement protests
in cases where I preferred to

.eatly enjoyed making myself
x is t upon asking me to "see"
to question me about my "sec-
s t what to say, I would often
~iling, would descend to down-
'\ *
~ d , the "Small Person" was a
olent, untrained emotions; no
emed to be trying to manifest
1 having my companionship.
d the greatest amount of dis-
ere I could fully fathom the
' two natures. She intuitively
in truth," as she was taught

: I, with all the advantages of
3n of so many blessings asso-
rship God at all. My position
r I was not conscious of any
ny failure to do so.


By Paul F. Case.


HE Tarot is a pack of cards of unknown origin,
which has been in circulation throughout Europe
for a t least five centuries, and perhaps much longer.
In the tap-rooms of village inns here and there on

the Continent it is still shuffled and dealt in quaint old games
long since forgotten by the rest of the world. Fortune-
tellers also hold it in high esteem, from Gypsies who read the
cards for a shilling, to professors of occult arts whose fees
are in keeping with their elaborate establishments and ex-
pensive advertising.

Gambling and cartomancy, however, are but husks hid-
ing the kernel of the Tarot's true meaning. What makes it
so interesting and valuable to occultists is the fact that it
is a book, written in the language of numerical and pictorial
symbolism. I t teaches the principles of that hidden wis-
dom, older than history, which the sages of each generation
have handed down to those coming after them who were
duly and truly prepared to receive it. This doctrine was
taught in the temple-schools of India, Persia, and Egypt;
has been dramatized in the mysteries of Greece, in the
Roman Catholic Mass, and in the rituals of Freemasonry;
is veiled by innumerable sacred allegories and parables, con-
cealed in creeds, and obscured by the dogmas of theologians ;
and it will always be, through all changes in its manner of
preseritation, the living spirit of truth behind the letter of
exoteric religion and philosophy.

The particular version given in the Tarot is of Jewish
origin, though some of the designs reflect the influence of ,

A Collection of Sacred-Magick.Com < The Esoteric Library

Page 2


Christian ideas. The whole pack is constructed according to
a ~ l a n derived from the Kabbalah, and each card represellts
a definite proposition of this ancient Hebrew theosophical
system, which tradition traces to,'Abraham.

The pack is divided into two 'main groups of cards. The
larger portion comprises fifty-six Keys, arranged in four
suits. In each suit are ten spot-cards, numbered from Ace
to Ten, and four court-cards: a King, a Queen, a Knight, and
a Page. These are the minor trumps, or lesser arcana. The
other keys, termed greater arcana, or major trumps, form a
sequence of twenty-two emblematic pictures, each having
its own special title, which are numbered froin Zero to

As their name suggests, the minor trumps represent ele-
mentary doctrines more or less openly stated in various Kab-
balistic books. To the greater mysteries of Hebrew occult-
ism these teachings bear a relation similar to that borne by
the comparatively simple principles of arithmetic to the
abstruse calculations of higher mathematics.

The names of the four suits are as follows: wands,
staves, or sceptres (clubs); cups, or chalices (hearts);
swords, or pikes (spades) ; coins, or pentacles (diamonds).
Each suit represents one of the four ideal worlds, or planes
of manifestation, into which, according to the Kabbalah,
the universe is divided. Each also corresponds to one of the
four elements of ancient physics, is related to one of the four
living creatures mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation, and
symbolizes the occult meaning of a letter of the sacred name,
Yahveh (Jehovah), commonly known as the Tetragram-
maton, because in Hebrew it is spelled with four letters-
Yod, Heh, Vau, Heh.

According to the Zohar, the first letter of this name sig-
nifies divine royalty. Eliphas Levi says it represents the
rod of Moses, and Papus tells us it is the sign of the active
principle of all things. This divine essence is air, the breath
of life, termed Prana in Sanskrit, Pneuma in Greek, Ruach
in Hebrew, and Spiritus in Latin. The highest terrestrial
manifestation of this principle is man, the ruler of the earth,


and among 1
emblem. Ai
pure Spirit.
impulses ori:
planes. Tht
Yod, by air,
authority a
whether it

From t
tion of the
some definit
took place
numerical v
times callec.
universal SI
note the sin
doctrine of
is termed u
or air. On1
semble gre.
the recepta
st ance-B r
ceive and ci
typal worlc
behind the
name, mea
affinity, be
between e
active forc
world, Yel
universal r
fire is wha
it is repre:
by the swc

The f i r
sis of the (
similar to '

Page 86


only this Akasha; a t the end of the cycle the solids, the liquids
and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, and the next
creation similarly proceeds out of this Akasha."-(Vive-
kananda, "Raja Yoga," pa&e 29.)

As the all-pervading Tattva, Akasha is the link between
all forms. I t connects all the bodies in the universe, as nails
hold together the planks in a building. This uniting principle,
remember, is the source of the sense of hearing. Thus the
Hindu, as well as the Hebrew, conception of that sense is
adequately symbolized by Vau.

Astronomically Vau corresponds to Taurus, the ox or
bull. This reminds us that Vau is probably the "yoke."
Taurus rules the neck and throat. The neck implies both
union and support, because it joins the head, containing the
higher centres of the cosn~ic energy, to the body, wherein
thought is transformed into action. Thought, morever, is
muttered speech; the words that embody it are formed in
the throat; and their proper formation depends almost
wholly upon hearing.

The Sephirotic path assigned to Vau is Triumphant and
Eternal Intelligence, "the delight of g!ory, and the paradise
of pleasure prepared for the just." It IS the third emanation
from the Illuminating Intelligence of Chokinah, which it
joins to the Measuring, Cohesive, or Receptaculal- Intelli-
gence of Chesed. (See diagram in Chapter I.)

"Triumphant" and "Eternal," in very truth, is the men-
tal state which is the goal of yoga. The perfect yogi tri-
umphs over the illusions of personal existence, and conquers
the limitations of environn~ent which restrict the freedom of
ordinary men. His knowledge of truth liberates him from
the shackles of circun~stance. His knowledge is eternal, for
it is identical with the self-consciousness of Purusha, the
changeless and everlasting. Hindus call this knowledge
"Bliss Absolute,'' and Kabbalists merely expand the Hindu
definition when they say this path is "the delight of glory and
the paradise of pleasure."

This experimental knowledge of the Supreme Reality


hy PO
is n11

this r
it to
and r
a tali
the j

toge t
the hi

Page 87

! )
':,-.xycle the solids, the liquids
: Akasha again, and the next ' .
~t of this Akasha."--(Vive-
a, Akasha is the link between
odies in the universe, as nails
ilding. This uniting principle,
: sense of hearing. Thus the
-, conception of that sense is

sponds to Taurus, the ox or
Jau is probably the "yoke."
ioat. The neck implies both
oins the head, containing the
mergy, to the body, wherein
.ction. Thought, morever, is
hat embody it are formed in
- formation depends almost

led to Vau is Triumphant and
;ht of glory, and the paradise
st." I t is the third emanation , -.
- 're of Chokmah, which it
?& or Receptacular Intelli-
n in Chapter I.)
al," in very truth, is the men-
yoga. The perfect yogi tri-

-sonal existence, and conquers
which restrict the freedom of

e of truth liberates him from
His knowledge is eternal, for

onsciousness of Purusha, the
Hindus call this knowledge
sts merely expand the Hindu
~ t h is "the delight of glory and

edge of the Supreme Reality


bears fruit in accurate and comprehensive knowledge of
nature. Kabbalists term this understanding of natural
laws "Measuring" or "Cohesive" Intelligence, because it
literally takes the measure of all things, and embraces the
whole scheme of creation within its transcendent compre-
hension. As Vivekananda puts it, "If a man goes- into Sam-
adhi, if he goes into it a fool, he comes out a sage."

He learns his identity with the Supreme Spirit, and
perceives that Spirit as being identical with the Ego in every
human heart. For a yog-i this perception is not merely the
assent of his intellect to a reasonable inference from the
hypothesis that Spirit is omnipresent. I t is a living exper-
ience. Never can he forget it. I t makes him a saint, and
inspires him with love toward all creatures. Hence its fruit
is mercy. Kabbalists therefore say that the path corres-
ponding to Vau completes itself in the Sephirah of Divine

The Tarot card symbolizing the implicits of the letter
Vau is numbered Five. The mathematical properties of
this number, and its many correspondences in nature, caused
it to be regarded with especial veneration by the ancients.
Hindu teachers give it prominence in their philosophical
and magical treatises.. The Greeks and Romans used it as
a talisman to ward off evil spirits. In Gothic ar t it was a
symbol of sacrifice, having a significance similar to that of
the yoke. Western occultism, as interpreted by Eliphas
Levi, explains it as follows:

"By the addition of unity to the quaternary, we obtain
together and separately, the idea of divine synthesis and
analysis and attain the number Five, which is that of the
soul, represented by the quintessence resulting from the
equilibrium of the four magical elements, and by the sub-
lime and mysterious pentagram. The quinary is the re-
ligious number, for it is that of the Deity joined to that of
the woman. In the Tarot this number is represented by
the high priest or spiritual autocrat."

As the combination of unity with the quaternary, Five

A Collection of Sacred-Magick.Com < The Esoteric Library

Page 171

378 . THE WORD

Purusha-the Onlooker represented in the Tarot by the
Magician, the Emperor, and the Charioteer.

In the tenth trump Purusha is the sphinx. He is here
depicted with the breasts of a woman, because the Supreme
Self, though we think of it as He, is really the Father-
Mother. The sphinx, as I have said, is drawn within an
imaginary equilateral triangle. This corresponds to the
number three, and the Empress. At first this may confuse
us a little, but if we remember that the generative function
of the Empress is the reflection and response to the initiative
of the Emperor, the difficulty should disappear. I t is the
power of Purusha that manifests itself in the manifold
activities of Prakriti. The latter, indeed, is but a name for
the Supreme Spirit's power of self-projection, and we err
if we suppose that Prakriti is truly distinct from, or inde-
pendent of, Purusha.

The triad of Sphinx, Typhon, and Hermanubis cor-
responds to the alchemical Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, and
these "elements," in turn, are identical with the three
"qualities" of the Hindu philosophers-Sattva, Tamas, and
Rajas. The Sattva quality is the pure white light of divine
wisdom, in eternal equilibrium, like the Sphinx. The Tamas
quality is that of darkness and ignorance, forever, descend-
ing, like Typhon. Rajas, on the contrary, is eternally ascend-
ing, like Hermanubis. Wisdom remains balanced in the flux
of the universal cyclic manifestation. Ignorance is forevel-
on the wane, and forever receding from wisdom. Action
and desire, a t their best, approach closely to wisdom, and it .
is because of this that the Bhagavad-Gita declares the path
of action to be preferable to any other.

That the Wheel of Fortune stands for all the ideas of
destiny, Providence, and the like, which are associated with
the belief that the palm of the hand is a map of life, will
be clear to any one who has even the most elementary
knowledge of the meaning of symbols. That i t corresponds
to the idea of comprehension, in that it rep~esents the perfect
balance of Wisdom between the forces of Ignorance and
Passion, is not more difficult to perceive. These however,

are but the nzc
any further e l
-partly becat
and also becau
to work out i t :

Let the I
himself to thl
space to elabc
all those t h a
and trouble.


Translated from

CCUL 0 me.
to tl

camphor, sal .
magnetised 2
faith. The e
almost infini
symbols of tl

What i s
of real succe:
is sufficient13
circle of fait1

There a.

A Collection of Sacred-Magick.Com < The Esoteric Library

Page 172


I the Tarot by the
sphinx. He is here

Iecause the Supreme
; really the Father-
is drawn within an
corresponds to the

rst this may confuse
generative function

lonse to the initiative
disappear. I t is the
elf in the manifold
3d, is but a name for
3jection, and we err
stinct from, or inde-

id Hermanubis cor-
It, and Mercury, and
ical with the three
-Sattva, Tamas, and
white light of divine
.C -9nx. The Tamas
c t , forever, descend-
?, is eternally ascend-
s balanced in the flux
Ignorance is forever
3n1 wisdom. Action
:ly to wisdom, and it
ita declares the path

; for all the ideas of
I a re associated with
s a map of life, will
he most elementary
That it corresponds

'epresents the perfect
es of Ignorance and
ve. These however,

are but the most obvious meanings. Yet I shall not attempt
any further elucidation of the mysteries of the tenth trump
-partly because to do so would make this chapter too long,
and also because the student of the Tarot needs, in a measure,
to work out its meaning for himself.

Let the reader, then, if he seeks more light, address
himself to the development of the suggestions I have no
space to elaborate. Let him compare the tenth trump with
all those that are connected with it by numerical cor-
respondences. He will find the results well worth his time
and trouble.

T o be continued.


B y Eliphas Levi

Translated from the French by Major-General Abner Doubleday. Annotated
by Alexander Wilder, M. D.



CCULT therapeutics excludes accordingly all vulgar

medication. It specially employs words, inspira-
tions and communicates by the will a varied virtue
to the most simple substances-water, oil, wine,

camphor, salt. The water of the homeopathists is really a
magnetised and enchanted water which operates through
faith. The energizing substances which they add to i t in
almost infinitesimal quantities, are consecrations and like
symbols of the will of the physician.

What is vulgarly called charlatanism is a great means
of real success in medicine, provided that this charlatanism
is sufficiently able to inspire a great confidence, and form a
circle of faith. In medicine it is faith especially that cures.

There are few villages which have not their male or

Similer Documents