SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CARDS
THE GREATER ARCANA
HE significance of the cards--Greater as well as Lesser Arcana--as it has been delivered through the ages, is often remarkably accurate, as far as can be verified. In what way, however, it has come down to us, and what reasonable
ground there may be for the given meanings, remain mysteries, not to be elucidated by the present author. By
verification we mean theoretical consideration on the basis both of astrological systematics and of the practice of divination. The fact is, that the traditional significance is generally in accordance with the astrological explanation of the cards as we have given it here, though this explanation has not yet been offered by any author before, as far as we know. So we may conclude, that this key has been lost or has been hidden from those who kept the practice alive and left the system to us.
In the following pages we shall give the meaning of both Greater and Lesser Arcana after the astrological theory expounded by us, together with a short résumé of the traditional significance, the latter taken chiefly from Papus and from the renderings of Mr. Waite. For the sake of shortness and simplicity we shall mark our quotations with P for Papus, W for A. E. Waite, M for S. L. MacGregor Mathers.
I. The Magician. Aries.
The first sign or house in the Zodiac is the first step in the direction of Manifestation, and Aries is the High Priest as well as Avidya or Ignorance, standing before, c.q. above cognition. Potency and power are its attributes, because all and everything is immanent in this stage of Beginning. Power abstract, undeveloped, simple, but for that reason mightier than every detail or phenomenon, and the master of Nature. The ultra-positive, the very superior, and in the lower human sense the ultraegotistical. Like the first note of a composition in music, it determines the tone and gives the key. From the First spring the Four, and so the symbols of the Four Elements appear on the table of the Magician, though his action, as far as action goes in this card and principle, exists in potency only and is indicated consequently in the wand in his right hand. In his superior abstractness he is eternal in relation to the phenomenal world, which is indicated by the symbols of Eternity above his head, the lemnescate, and around his waist, the serpent.
W.: "This card signifies the divine motive in man, reflecting God, the will in the liberation of its union with that which is above."
M.: "He symbolises Will."--This is exactly Aries.
P.: "The Unity principle, the origin of which is impenetrable to human conceptions, is placed at the beginning of all things." His upright attitude indicates "the will that is going to proceed into action." The First house or Ascendant gives the key-note of the physical self, reflection of the Higher Self, and thus in the practice of divination the Magician denotes the consultant, personally. In every figuration of cards it is further the 'beginning' and initiative.
As far as we may ascribe siderial meanings to the cards of the Greater Arcana, the Magician should rule the month of Aries, i.e. from the 21 March to 20 April. It appears gravely doubtful, however, if this may be considered to determinate incidental occurrences in time. It will certainly relate to properties of the sign Aries in general and in particular and
consequently owned by people born between those dates. But for the rest definition of time, date or hour must be sought in the cards of the Lesser Arcana, as far as we know.
II. The High Priestess. Taurus.
The second stage in macrocosmic evolution is the polarity of the omnipotent might of Self, omnipotent possibility of the field of manifestation, universal passive richness, the Kamaduk or Most Beloved Wish-Cow of the Hindus. This macrocosmic field is the Temple of the Great Magician or Architect, in potency at least. It is the Bull, Taurus, of
astrology, the house of sound, art, faith and richness. To speak truly, it is not so much sound as the principle of the soundbox, sound itself having its origin in the next step. Therefore Papus may well compare this card with the hieroglyphic meaning of the Hebrew letter Beth, which relates to "the mouth of man as the organ of speech." But it is not "God the Son" as he says elsewhere. It might be called 'God the Woman,' the Divine Mother, the 'Eternal Feminine.' As the passive richness of the Universe awaiting him that will be able to see it and appreciate it, this
principle may well be symbolised by the image of the High Priestess, sitting in an attitude of waiting, between the pillars of the Temple, B and J, standing for the Two, from which will spring the worlds of spirit and of matter. Being Supreme Objectivity, it is the symbol of receiving, of possessing, of cult and adoration. It symbolises womanhood in general, as the first card symbolised manhood.
Mr. Waite has restored in his images the original picture of Isis, reposing on the crescent moon, which indeed I should say must be regarded as the best representative of the goddess of Taurus, in which sign the moon is 'exalted,' as astrology teaches. But Isis is not so much to be regarded as representing "Science, Wisdom, Knowledge" (M.)--as the goddess "of Nature, whose veil must not be raised before the profane." (P.) and of supreme consciousness, because 'consciousness' is the faculty committed by Earth.
W. calls her "Second Marriage of the Prince" and says, that in divination she stands for the querent if female. Now I should say, this cannot be altogether true, as in the horoscope the first house indicates the personal temperament, etc., for a man as well as for a female querent. So in cards the Magician must always bear the meaning of the querent personally, but if a female she will be largely influenced by the High Priestess, as this is the representative of the feminine in general and female properties. It may be true, more or less, that for a man this card represents "the woman who interests the querent" (W.), just as on the other hand the Magician represents the man who interests the querent if
this happens to be a woman.
The High Priestess symbolises constancy, fidelity, repose, stability, but also dumbness, laziness, resistance, endurance as well as passive opposition. It rules everything in connection with art and the artistic abilities, with wealth and with the masonic lodge.
III. The Empress. Gemini.
If the Hebrew letter Gimel means the throat (as a canal for sound) and also "the hand of man half closed in the act of prehension" (P.), then it
may indeed well stand for the house of Gemini as for no one else; because Gemini is the macrocosmic 'relation between the two' which is potential vibration, symbolised by 'sound,' and this sign rules the hands of man, with which he grips this relation actually. It rules the 'Word, which was with God in the beginning' and words, speech and correspondence in this world below, as above. It means cognisance, from which science may spring later, but it is not science itself. Nor is it
'action' (M.), though it is the origin of, sometimes the pretext for, activity. But it includes indecision, uncertainty, doubt, change, intercourse, reflection, appearance and everything that the sign Gemini may further communicate.
This Empress is indeed "a daughter of Heaven and Earth" (W.), for she represents the sphere of Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, and so this card always bears the meaning of messages and writing, and of news to be heard, instructions to be received.
Twelve (in older pictures nine) stars are placed around her head and this certainly means that down here on earth the messages come to us from the stars, a gentle hint at astrology. We regret that in the picture of W., the wings, with which the figure is gifted, and the shield with eagle in her right hand, as shown in older editions of this card have been omitted, for both hold a due indication of the element Air. Gemini is the first house of Air, and sound uses the air as its medium. The use of the sign of Venus is not very clear in the picture given by W. because it is not Venus but Mercury that rules the house of the Empress. One of the older editions shows the Empress holding in her left hand a wand with a heraldic lily, a sort of trefoil on its top, very suggestive of the origin of the colour or suit of Wands, which of course has a close relation with the card of Gemini.
Why this idea of the messenger is drawn as a woman, and given the name of the 'Empress' is very well explained by Mr. W. in these words: "because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman." Woman rules the world. As a mother she is the 'canal' by which the human being is conducted from another world into this one, and as a female she attracts the man, in order to 'double' herself and to impart a double value to life on earth. This is indicated in the image of the Twins, originally Adam-Eve destined to be united by Knowledge. This is the card of Knowledge. Also of 'universal fecundity' as W. has it.
IV. The Emperor. Cancer.
There is much more mystery buried in every symbol than words spoken can tell. Superficial consideration might make astrologers wonder at this image, which assimilates worldly power with the sign Cancer instead of with Leo, to which they are accustomed. Still there remains this to be taken into account, that originally 'emperors' got their power from the people,--China, Rome--long before they began to claim God as their private protector against eventual aggression from outside. The people are ruled by the sign of Cancer, says the astrologer. And thus originally the chosen emperor accepted vox populi as vox Dei. This chosen dignitary was nothing of a tyrant, originally, nor did he have anything to do with rulership or warfare: he was simply the highest and most pure expression of the soul of the people or nation. In China sometimes a poor but extremely virtuous old man without any other antecedents was elected to be emperor. All later usurpations of power and succession were deviations from the old and pure institution. The present position of
the president in a republic comes very near to that of the original emperor.
The sign of the soul indeed is . . . Cancer. At the same time this is the sign of the breast (P.) and of the womb, as W. translates this passage about the card, which P. says is connected with the Hebrew letter Daleth. In the older pictures we see the effort to let the man make a figure 4 or something like the symbol for Jupiter with his crossed legs. There may be some meaning in it, but this seems futile with regard to the general significance of the Emperor as the representative of the past, of memory, tradition in the people and in family life, dharma and the real motives of the soul in the background of life, which actually rule life. It relates ..to every inner power of the soul from which outer activity (karma) will arise.
In different editions of the cards we find different sorts of sceptres in the hand of the Emperor. In some there appears also an eagle. We prefer the sceptre which Mr. W. puts into his hands: the crux ansata, symbol of the might of inner life, which rules matter. The planet Jupiter has only to do with this card, in so far as it is exalted in the sign Cancer, which means, that virtually hopes and expectations as well as ideals for the future take their origin in the deep-rooted attachments of the soul, which themselves are the expression of dharma or cosmic memory.
Still in a personal way the Emperor indicates the father of the querent, because it is from his father that his soul derives its elements. Compare in the horoscope the IVth house. Therefore this seemingly very feminine sign was symbolised by a male figure, while the seemingly male messenger was represented by a woman. The Empress indicates the spiritual parentage, the Emperor the physical one. The latter finds its counterpart (physical mother) in the Xth house, as is well known.
Some authors say this card means 'realisation.' That is correct so far as this word means an inner realising of the significance of outer facts: the gathering of the harvest of experience, which will become the store of memory.
V. The Hierophant. Leo.
The fifth step on the cosmic ladder is that of the Atma, the Spark in macrocosmos and that of childbirth and of the heart in particular on the physical plane. The latter is sanctified by the former and this fact is symbolised in the image of the Hierophant. It may also be interpreted in its turn as the sanctifying of the profane (man) by the holy (man) in general, and this fact gave the reason for the other nomination of this
card: the pope. Of course it may equally well be called the patriarch. In the masonic lodge it is the R.W.M., the sun in the solar system and the heart in every living body, as also the solar plexus in the etheric body. And as the teaching of St. Paul--and others--has it: from the heart are the issues into life. It is the dynamic centre of every living existence.
The Hierophant "is seated between the two pillars of Hermes and of Solomon" . . . "He is symbol of mercy and beneficence." (M.) This is exact. P. says he is the principle "which attaches the material body to the divine spirit." Which is precisely that of the heart. So there remains little doubt with regard to identity. The same author identifies further the principle of the Hierophant with the Hebrew letter He, which means aspiration or breath. In fact the heart is the cause of this periodical movement, which we find in pulsation and respiration, in analogy with the Law of Periodicity in Cosmos.
In the different versions given by authors there is very little of value. The Hierophant is, in short; the heart and herein resides the motoric force for good or for evil, according to the more or less sanctifying force that comes through. In case of affliction there may be lack of courage, selfconfidence, honesty, sometimes certain evil or bad character.
It is rightly asserted, that this card may denote "the man to whom the querent has recourse" (W.), also some authority or official having power to sanctify or gratify demands. Leo is the 'king,' it is said by astrologers. And in mundane evolution the king derived his power from the emperor, as in the zodiac. He was invested by the latter with a power to wield and rule a definite and concrete organisation, for which he became individually responsible. So where the emperor was chosen and came forth from the soul of the people and apparently from below, the king is appointed from above, and seems more spiritual because more actually known. There ought to be no kings, however, without an emperor over
them. The king is and remains the central official, as the heart is the central organ of the organism.
The triple crown of the Hierophant and his triple crossed staff both indicate his rulership in the three worlds, which I should like to name the spiritual, the psychical and the physical.
Some say the card means marriage. This may be, but only in the inner sense of true revelation to the heart, and consequently in the same sense as Jesus meant when He said: "Marriages are contracted in Heaven."
In another way, in practical divination, the card means of course 'sanction,' be it of marriage or of something else, but always in the way of inner consent, not of outer law, which is ruled by another house.
Self-centredness and some sort of natural authority are the chief characteristics of Leo and the Hierophant.
VI. The Lovers. Virgo.
From the original meaning of the sign Virgo, the virgin matter of the cosmos or world-ether, to that principle which makes 'lovers' is rather a long step, but we will observe that all these Tarot symbols relate to human points of view and human life in particular, i.e. cosmic principles seen from this particular standpoint which gives more of a practical image than of abstract reasoning, the abstract cosmic significance, however, being imbedded fairly accurately in them. So in the human constitution the sign Virgo means the nervous system and everything acting as an organ as well as the relatively 'virginal matter' which is extracted from the food and will serve to build up the body. So this house is known to rule health and sickness. It is further known to relate to the principles and materials of our work. And so the card of the Lovers must in the first place symbolise these things. It does indeed. P. says it is connected with the Hebrew letter Vau in its significance of "the eye, and all that relates to light and brilliancy. The eye establishes the link between the external world and ourselves; by it light and form are revealed to us." In fact 'the eye' is a very ancient symbol for the idea of 'organ'; the Neoplatonists repeatedly used it. When saying it "establishes the link," we must be aware, however, that it is not yet this link itself but offers the elements for it. And again this card does not say 'love' but 'lovers' (in the French edition of the cards the singular is used: l’amoureux). Evidently the meaning is this: what makes man feel
'amorous' is his sensuousness, the word used in the strictly philosophical and biological meaning of receptivity of the senses for agreeable, caressing, benefic, gratifying vibrations. The same receptivity,
however, exists on the other hand for disagreeable, painful, disturbing, malific vibrations. The receptivity and the condition of an organic centre in its double possibility of experience is only the phenomenal expression of the same in organic existence in general, consequently stamping the whole of manifestation with the law of duality of 'good' and 'evil.' The latter is well illustrated by the picture on the older cards where a youth is represented standing between two women, the one appearing to be benefic, the other malific. This sensuousness indeed can lead to a lower sensuality or can be the means of demonstrating love. A sort of angelic figure (Cupid?) is seen shooting an arrow: symbol of the ray of light. The card which was drawn on the authority of Mr. W. shows a man and a woman in a state of paradisical nudity, and over the two hovers the figure of an angel. It confers much the same meaning, of course. "This is
in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life." (W.) And we shall find, that the same force which makes us love, physically, is at the back of all the work we do. Because it is the material response to the fiery and central pushing power and includes actual possibility on the basis of practical knowledge,
experimental knowing. W. did well to show the Tree of Knowledge in the drawing, it being the symbol of Nature in general and of the seed or seminal elements.
VII. The Chariot. Libra.
In the Seventh house of the evolutionary cycle the relation of the Self with the Not-self or outer world is contracted and completed and the 'organism' arises as the systematic whole of organs, a lawful microcosm, which in every instance is a phenomenon of the Cosmic Law, first significance of Libra. This idea is very well illustrated by the picture of the Chariot, drawn by the White and the Black Sphinx and governed by
the Magician incarnate. It is the Self embodied. This card consequently means marriage, contract, body and bodily existence, organisation, achievement, co-operation.
P. says this card has to do with the Hebrew letter Zain, which "represents an arrow." Now it is very curious to see, that in Hindu astrology the sign Libra is symbolised by an arrow touching an eye, evidently meaning the principles of the organism or systematic complex of organs, and at the same time the understanding, or knowing, which is the result of the eye seeing the light.
The Magician has become the 'Conqueror'; the forces of good and of evil both drawing his chariot symbolise the fact that good and evil, agreeable as well as painful experiences, make us wiser and contain the elements of Existence, spirit and matter both.
As a matter of fact the card may have to do with our adversaries.
On the front "we see the Indian lingam," says P. we should like to add: in connection with the Indian (!) yoni, i.e. the union of the sexes, or the two in one (bond). Here the 'Fall' into matter has been completed. The sphinxes are female entities, the driver of the Chariot is a man. This not only symbolises the subjugation of Nature by will-power, but also the fact that, while inwardly 'woman rules the world' (the Empress), rulership in the outer world lies with man, and it is his duty to keep within due bonds the 'attractive' forces of woman, who, however, appears to be the personification of motoric force to him and his 'chariot.' That woman practically gives the inspirational lead and motive to man in this world is being openly recognised by psychologists in our time.
VIII. Justice. Scorpio.
Whosoever might hesitate before the emblems of this card and think it might as well stand in relation with Libra on account of the idea of 'justice,' generally ascribed to the latter sign, and the balance which the woman holds in her left hand, will do well to consider the systematic relationship existing between all signs of the zodiac or evolutionary cycle.
The left hand derives from, while the right hand is instrumental in giving out. Scorpio derives from Libra the balance and the idea of justice, but the sword in the right hand shows, that we have not justice pure and simple, platonic so to speak, but that which has often been called 'avenging justice.' Au fond it is more vengeance than justice and Scorpio
is famous for its tendency to vengeance, in every way and every form. After Libra, the stage of total manifestation, this stage is the taking-back, the first step on the way home, which explains the well-known feature of desire, thirst for experience in this sign, because it wishes to bring home something from the voyage 'westward.' So the card of justice means above all the faculty of desire, higher as well as lower, from the most spiritual or religious longing down to the most crude lust. Sexual experience is one of the most important expressions of it, and we may safely say, that one of the principal significances of the card is sex. Another, principally where sex is sublimated, is occult experience, and
the psychical side of earth-life in general. Naturally it stands in close relation to the sign Virgo, on the other hand of the Balance, in which sensation was born; the faculty (or possibility) of the sensation bringing the desire to realise it. It is the sign of transmutation, which is the change of the inner composition by the experience won. The sensation realised makes one feel, actually, bodily, psychically or morally, the meaning of good and evil, and therefore the 'sword of discrimination' is the emblem in the right hand of this figure. Every mistake in the process of life will avenge itself with geometrical certainty. This house is the school of life and it is remarkable how it is concerned with 'school' in every respect. In this house the Self takes from life and from the cosmos surrounding what it wants, consequently what it does not yet possess,
and the card of Justice becomes the index for our debts or the possessions of other people.
Meanwhile the balance in the left hand of the figure denotes, without the slightest doubt, that since Libra is on the left hand Justice must be the VIIIth card, not the XIth as some authors have it.
P. identifies this principle with that of the Hebrew letter Heth, which "expresses a field, from it springs the idea of anything that requires labour, trouble, effort." The sexual union has taken place and Adam-Eve are condemned to "earn their bread in the sweat of their face" on the field. To say it less tragically the divine gift of the senses obliges us to work with them and to suffer by them as well as to benefit by the enjoyment of their impressions.
It is the card of sorrow as well as of deeper satisfaction. In the man under this card there is always something of the 'avenger of wrongs,' and very often it has to do with the proceedings of justitia in the world. It is also the card of the secret, or hidden. Most authors are not very famous for their interpretation of this card, but P. says a very good thing about it: "The sword here is a sign of protection for the good, as well as a menace for the bad."
IX. The Hermit. Sagittarius.
P.: "Humanity fulfilling the function of God the Holy Spirit. The human creative force." Indeed this is clearly Sagittarius for every astrologer. The author might have mentioned in the same line that the Hierophant (Leo) represents God the Son.
The Hebrew letter "Thet represents a roof and suggests the idea of safety and protection . . . protection ensured by wisdom." The astrologer says: the Ninth house is the house of the Master--idea of wisdom and protection in one; the Master in fact shields his disciples like a roof . . . in some way.
The sign is that of thought-power, creative mind, idealism, which throw their own light on the things below, and consequently the Sagittarian is remarkable for always seeing things in his own light and trying to throw light on things in order to instruct other people. He is the eternal traveller, the indefatigable walker. And mentally he is always more or less lonely. All this is very distinctly symbolised in the card of the Hermit, which stands for ideas, perspectives, spiritual or moral influences and for light thrown upon the objects of this earth-life. In divination it stands for teachers, legal authorities, advisers and guides, and with the guiding principles in everything and questions, in relation to the querent. But above all it is his own idealism, etc. The direction in which his thoughts are running.
In the older cards the Hermit is shielding his light on one side with his mantle. This may be indicative of the habit of Sagittarians to evade and disarm contradiction beforehand, knowing by intuition the power of darkness. He is leaning on the staff of knowledge with regard to earthy matters.
W. is perfectly right in saying, that "Prudence is the least of its meanings and the most negligible." Some authors (M.) held this card to be the symbol of 'prudence,' but indeed the Sagittarian is not very famous for this virtue, though the card is truly Sagittarian and nothing else. This is again proved by the striking explanation of W.: "His beacon intimates
that 'where I am, you also may be.'" This is the stereotyped way in which a Sagittarian thinks.
X. The Wheel of Fortune. Capricorn.
"It symbolises Fortune, good or bad." (M.) So this means happenings, facts. It is indeed in the Tenth house, that the relation between the Self and the Not-self crystallises into fact, happening, deed. Says P., identifying this card with the significance of the Hebrew letter Yod, that it indicates "the finger of man; the forefinger extended as a sign of
command." This clearly has to do with the significance of the Tenth house as that of authority and authorities, who are qualified to give commandments. The commandment itself comes under the same resort. "This letter has therefore become the image of potential (?) manifestation, of spiritual duration and, lastly, of the eternity of time." In fact, the Tenth house of the zodiacal cycle, ruled by Saturn, has much to do with Time and manifestation in time, but not only potential; real as well.
The image for this idea is very characteristic, perhaps the most striking of all. "The wheel of fortune suspended upon its axis. (Leaving no doubt about the idea of circular movement in time, which we find back in the horoscope.) To the right Anubis, the genius of good ascending; to the left Typhon, the genius of evil descending . . ." (P.) See the right hand as the East and the left hand as the West, and you have the illustration of the horoscope more accurately still. As we know the East is standing for the source of spiritual force and inspiration, the West for the end of it and dying out.
What the sphinx has to do with it seems doubtful, unless it means that all mysteries will be revealed in time. The symbols of the four fixed signs are holding the four quarters of the card. The four fixed principles are indeed generally accepted as the basis of the material or concrete world. Compare the visions of Ezechiel and St. John of Patmos.
The mid-heaven in the horoscope sees the eastern half of it rising and the western half on the other hand declining.
The divinatory meanings of this card are evident: it denotes the authorities to which the querent is subject, but also his own actions, deeds, manifestations and the position in the world which he occupies, his name and titles. It is the card of karma in the strict sense and that which is indicated by it in divination will come true or be realised actually. Therefrom it has been said to symbolise 'fortune.' As will be seen it must not be accepted as the 'part of fortune' in the horoscope,
because this has a more specific meaning and only with regard to the moon.
It is the point where you get at the world or the world gets at you. It is 'ripe karma' above all, facts which are not to be overborne by words. The fruits of former thoughts.
XI. Strength. Aquarius.
The astrologer says, that the Eleventh house is the house of the 'friends.' This means, that it contains those who are with us, and that which we have within the limit of our power, because 'friendly,' is that which is understood. The forces of nature, which we have mastered, are friendly to us and this is very well expressed by the woman who "is closing the
jaws of a lion." The latter stands for passion more particularly. She derives this force from the eternal or superhuman and this is indicated by the lemnescate above her head. In older editions of the card 4 we find half the symbol for Aquarius, as a line of vibration added to it: . Viewed from a purely astrological standpoint it is evident, that the force
to conquer Leo should be found in the opposite sign, Aquarius. Early Renaissance must have seen this in the same way, as we find exactly the same image--only with one difference: it is there a young man, not a woman--a man closing the jaws of a lion in the capital of a pillar in the church of St. Andrew-the-Less in Vienna. Which proves at the same time,
that the chosen image is not of a very recent date. (Musée du Trocadéro: Paris.)
P. identifies it with the Hebrew letter Kaph, which he says "is a reinforcement of the Gimel--(Gemini)--so that we might say that it designates the hand of man in the act of grasping strongly. Ideas of strength are therefore applied to this letter." We should say it is the grip of friendship. A well-known symbol in many societies of brotherhood consisted of two hands united in a close grip of friendship.
"It is connected with the mystery of union . . . in all planes . . ." (W.), and this also is evident, because we are united with that which we have mastered and with people who are able to respond to our (electric) emanations of thought, or to whose emanations we ourselves respond.
XII. The Hanged Man. Pisces.
This twelfth sign of house, closing the cycle of the zodiac, means loss to the outer world, solution, handing over the results of one cycle to the following one, whence comes the meaning of treachery in common astrology. This house contains the things which we have not yet mastered and those whom we have failed to understand or who have failed to understand us. So either this remains for the next cycle, or it will tempt us to waste our last forces. In the eyes of the world it is the sign of waste, spoil, mishap. Viewed from the other side it is the sign of the Golem, in which the outer world loses its importance or even reality, and the consciousness is opened to inner truth. This is the reversing of
consciousness, which makes things change their significance in such a way that they appear to turn upside down: the world is now viewed from the other side. And this is the significance of the hanged man.'
It is also the sign of Judas, who, as far as the outer world is able to judge, did not understand the significance of Jesus and handed Him over to His enemies, the most mysterious of the disciples and apparently the fiend within the circle. What, however, is his treason or despair when viewed from the other side? It is an act of 'perversion,' the result of
human nature being too weak to carry on in this world the heavy load of spiritual revelation; or even a mystic message, which till now has never been understood and will never be understood by the profane world. However this may be, we may feel pretty sure, that none of the others who remained in this world to preach the Gospel understood or, let us
say rather, underwent the Message like Judas, who hanged himself.
Well may W. say: "It is a card of profound significance, but all the significance is veiled." Perhaps we might even add: it is the symbol of the veil itself and of everything that is and remains veiled in this world, and, in divination, to the querent, ad hoc.
P. tries to identify the Hanged Man with the Hebrew letter Lamed which "designates the arm" . . . but fails utterly in his effort to explain this. We should say, if this identification be true, it may be because of the power to embrace and to execute. The arms hang, when not raised. We shall not try to explain it any further here.
The man is shown hanging in a sling on one foot. Astrology teaches that the feet are ruled by the sign Pisces. The crossing of the legs is a symbol of 'crossing' in general.
Among the other cards of the Greater Arcana, nine of which symbolise planetary principles and functions, three only are given in full as heavenly bodies: Sun, Moon and the--(eight-pointed)--'Flaming Star,' while the significance of the others is clothed in allegorical images.
Now the question why only these three and not the other planetary principles should have been given in full, is difficult to answer. In a way the 'Flaming Star' stands for the stars in general and so this trinity means: Sun, Moon and Stars. On the other hand, ancient priests and astrologer-initiates appear not to have chosen to communicate more of the significance of the planets than just a few of their apparent effects, while in 'Sun, Moon and Star' they strongly expressed the idea of a Heavenly Trinity, viz. that of the positive or masculine creative power, radiating life; that of a feminine or negative power, which rules formation, and of a uniting principle, he it under the name of Law, Love or Union. The latter was always represented as specifically benefic. It is
evidently the idea of the planet Venus, the beautiful morning and evening star, which was known to, and adored by, all peoples in all ages.
This trinity contains more meaning than a superficial astrological consideration could reveal. From such a standpoint it might even appear more or less arbitrary. So, for instance, the question might be asked, Why has not Mercury, nearer to the Sun even than Venus, been chosen as a member of the trinity? It would take us too far from our main road if
we tried to explain this in detail, but it may be stated that in some respect the Moon represents and conveys the vibrations of Mercury to the Earth. The astrological symbols for the visible sun and for the planet we know under the name of Mercury, but which could as well have been
named Vulcan, should be and respectively instead of and . I have explained this in another volume. (Cosmology II, Elements of Astrology.) Further we might point out, that to the Earth and its inhabitants, the Sun, the Moon and Venus are, in fact, of some sort of primary importance; the Sun and the Moon (of the Earth) as the representatives
to us of the primary polar powers of the positive and the negative in Cosmos; Venus as the planet representing the first step in evolution next to the Earth, consequently of primary importance to our evolution.
The Sun, Moon and 'Flaming Star' are not only one of the most striking and beautiful expressions of the Divine Trinity among our present-day Freemasons, as every handbook on Freemasonry shows us, but have been so for long ages. A specimen of it is to be found on a couple of border-stones or steles, put along the frontier of his territory by the Chaldean king Melichikou (1144-1130 B.C.). * The heads of these steles bear a representation of the king and his daughter before a goddess (of Justice?) and above these figures are the images of the Sun, the Moon and the (eight-pointed) Flaming Star, which evidently mean, that the king, eventually for the benefit of his daughter as well, invokes the Heavenly Powers of the Trinity to protect his kingdom against invasion. Another borderstone with the same figures of Sun, Moon and eightpointed Flaming Star, even dates as far back as the year 1380 B.C., under the reign of King Nazi-Maraddach. So three thousand years ago the three Heavenly Lights appear to have been bearing the same
significance and to have been used in this same mutual relation as at present in Freemasonry and in our Tarot system. We may accept this as pretty sure proof of the antiquity of both Freemasonry and Tarot.
68:* Musée du Louvre, Paris.
XIII. Death. Saturn.
The picture speaks for itself--as indeed most of them do--but still there is more in it than we might suppose at first sight. Beyond all doubt it is a sort of allegorical representation of Father Chronos, Time, who, while creating, consumes his own children, and was very often pictured as a warning of death or a remembrance of mortality. But on the other hand
Time marks the beginning, and birth is not less under his government than death. The ancient edition of this card shows the figure harvesting heads and limbs of human bodies upon a field. This may be an expression of an old superstition, which said that those limbs with which man sinned would grow out of his grave. Probably a distorted teaching of the Law of Karma or cosmic reaction, which is also ruled by Saturn, at least in the execution. And in this function he is the old God of Israel, whose law was "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
But Saturn is more. He is the planet or cosmic function (let us say planet for convenience sake) of Formation, which means also determination in Place and Time, limitation, definition, etc.
Now let us see what P. says. He identifies the card with the principle of the Hebrew letter Mem, who "is a woman, the companion of man," and therefore gives rise to ideas of fertility, formation. "It is pre-eminently the material and female, the local and plastic sign, an image of external and passive action." It is really a great pity, that this occultist never realised what he was saying, astrologically or cosmically. "Mem is one of the three mother-letters."
Saturn is the ruler of the Tenth house, Capricorn, which as such is called the house of the 'married woman' in Hindu astrology.
That Saturn, the Christian Satan, has close relations with woman and even that he used her as his favourite vehicle or agent, is one of the
Christian 'teachings,' in which we recognise distorted or perverted occult knowledge.
Death certainly is only relative and the death of the form may mean the commencement of life on another plane. Birth down here may be seen as a sort of death of a higher existence. "The veil and mask of life is perpetuated in change, transformation and passage from lower to higher . . ." (W.) Higher to lower as well. W. shows the figure on horseback,
which is not inadequate for the ruler of Capricorn, which succeeds to Sagittarius: action and definition in space and time are born from thought. ". . . perpetual rebirth of the Being in the domain of Time." (P.)
XIV. Temperance. Mercury.
". . . the Genius of the Sun holding two cups and pouring from the one into the other the liquor which holds life." (P.)--" A winged angel with the sign of the sun upon his forehead . . . pouring the essences of life from chalice to chalice." (W.) Another version has: ". . . pours the fluid of Life from a golden vase into a silver one." (P.) This is evidently the cosmic
function next to the Sun, messenger of the same: Mercury or Vulcan, lord of the sphere of Virgo, surrounding the solar Leo-sphere. Other traditional descriptions confirm this: "It is the symbol of combinations, working incessantly in all regions of Nature." (P.) On his breast this angel bears a square with inscribed triangle, reminding us of the passage of
the cosmological Stanzas of Dzyan, "The Three fall into the Four," which means the beginning of Manifestation. "Entry of Spirit into Matter and reaction of Matter upon Spirit." (P.) So on the subject of this card there seems to be perfect understanding. "Incarnation of Life," P. adds. This is Mercury, who has to do with the distribution of life-currents from the Sun farther on into the solar-system and from the heart and solar-plexus
farther on into our physical body. The golden vase and the silver one illustrate this distribution from higher to lower regions.
So this card signifies all sorts of distribution, from the nervous system and its workings of co-ordination to correspondence by the post office, letters and communications, and the latter not only limited to this physical world but extended to other planes of existence. The function of Mercury is that of the mind in its concrete activities and imparts
knowledge, learning, which after all is the beginning or potentiality of all our further relations in this world.
P. seeks to establish relation between it and the Hebrew letter Nun, which means "the offspring of the female--(we said rightly, that Mercury has much to do with the Moon)--a son, the fruit of any kind . . . the image of the being produced or reflected. . ."Yes: reflection and above all reproduction. The name 'Temperance' appears to have been chosen
because of the transposition from one plane to another, or one centre to another, which has much to do with 'time' also. The latter is the proper reason for naming this principle directly after that of Saturn.
XV. The Devil. Mars.
The goat-like figure recalls the sign Capricorn in which astrology teaches that the planet Mars has its exaltation, the name 'devil' means the evil, as is well known, and this alliteration holds good not only in English. It is the symbol of that which to exoteric human understanding is as much of a malefic nature as Venus is benefic. The counterpart of Venus: Mars, planet of pain and struggle, passion and sex-nature, but also of the energy necessary for the process of formation and generation in Nature. Allusion to sex-problems is found in the two human figures, man and
woman, chained to the pedestal on which the diabolic figure is seated. That sex-nature binds man, is a natural fact of a more or less occult order.
So it has to do with generation in Nature in every sense and kingdom, though astrology teaches that Mars has a special connection with the animal kingdom and animal passion--passion which drives to the preservation of the body as well as of the race; fighting for existence in both senses of the term. So Mars always figured as the War-lord. Not only sexual energy, but every energy in Nature chains the result to the cause and object to subject. It is unnecessary to work this out any further. We shall be safe in interpreting this card as energy, desire, lust, war, struggle, difficulties, pain, loss, etc. But also as exercise, training; tests to which the personality will be subject.
The torch in the hand of the figure denotes, of course, the fire of passion and desire, which may rise to anger, etc. So it may well be said to represent the condition of "Adam and Eve after the Fall" (W.) The struggle for existence, in short.
P. in regard to this card points to the Hebrew letter "Samech which expresses the same hieroglyphic sign as the Zain (7th arcanum) . . . etc., a weapon of any kind . . ." We can see, that this generative force has much to do with the house of marriage.
XVI. The Tower. Uranus.
"Occult explanations attached to this card are meagre and mostly disconcerting." (W.) The reason for this is easily seen: the principles of Uranus and Neptune were not much known in antiquity save that they
were the general principles of the Heavens (the Air or also the atmosphere) and the Ocean, and as such we find them in the Pantheon and in the original Tarot, not yet as the much later discovered planets, which personify these general cosmic principles. Later ages added very little, if anything at all, to those original explanations. Still Ouranos and
Poseidon were known in Greece as well as Dourga and Varouna in India.
And the stone tower struck by a flash of lightning is another version of the legend of Ouranos mutilating his son Chronos, which means, that Heaven is not content with a body of fixed dimensions and form, nor any heavenly force with the limitations put to it by physical authorities or architects. This may warn man, not to build upon physical existence alone or to think himself safe upon a material basis, however high and solid it may appear from a material point of view. The general meaning, however, is not incidental but essential. ". . . the ruin of the house of life, when evil has prevailed therein" (W.) is one of many possible occurrences; it may signify 'blighted ambitions and hopes,' etc. (P.), but the universal and every day significance is: the renewal of the form, or rather of embodied life, by the force of Heaven, and of microcosm by the life of macrocosm, which incidentally of course breaks up forms here and there, if they are no longer fit for survival; the house of doctrine as well as every structure made by vanity, dogmatism and separativeness.
The Hebrew letter Ayin is addicted to this card. P. utterly fails in giving any elucidation of this relationship. W. has put it very clearly in this quotation: "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it."
So the card of the Tower signifies the relation between macro- and microcosm and will mean rupture, sudden disillusion, disenchantment, but also it symbolises intuition, renewal, help from above and clear insight in relation to vanity and sham projects, illusion and meaningless formalism.
XVII. The Star. Venus.
"The figure expresses eternal youth and beauty." No astrologer will hesitate to recognise Venus. "The Star is the étoile flamboyante, which appears in Masonic symbolism, but has been confused herein." (W.) And "gifts of the spirit," which au fond means beauty, are the gifts administered by Venus, who in the solar system hands over the vibrations or 'gifts' coming from the Sun, to our Earth. The picture on the card shows it quite clearly: a naked girl, demonstrating undoubtedly the beauty of the human body, symbol of beauty in the nature of man, pouring "the fluids of Life upon the Earth (and the sea: i.e. into soul and body--Th.) from two cups, the one of gold and the other of silver." (P.) "The genius of the Sun has now descended to Earth under the form of this young girl, the image of eternal Youth." (P.) Well, then it is the image of this planet of beauty and eternal youth, which has its place between the Sun and Mercury on one side and our Earth on the other, the third personification of the genius of the Sun. The ibis and the butterfly connect the idea 'of immortality with this figure, in perfect accord with the mystic teaching which says, that love extends beyond the grave.
"The Phe--identified with this card--expresses the same hieroglyphic value as the Beth (second card), but in a more extended sense." It is said to represent speech. (P.) Now Venus has in so far to do with the second sign, that it rules this sign. The 'more extended sense' may perhaps be thought of as this planetary rulership, as "the Word in action in Nature with all its consequences." (P.) Venus could perhaps be seen in the sense it has in the Gospel of St. John: "The Word which became the Light of men." Venus indeed is the representative of the ruler of Light on Earth and in Nature: third aspect of the Solar Logos.
"The Word in action in Nature with all its consequences," we should like to correct in this way: it is Venus, the ruler of the signs Taurus and Libra, houses of riches, art, beauty, and of the organised body. In the
latter it represents the Law of Harmony between the Self and the Notself. In divination it means of course benefit, well-doing, organisation, cooperation, love, beauty, peace, concord, etc. The reverse of the card of Mars. As the contrary of energy it may mean laziness, indolence, rest, weakness.
XVIII. The Moon.
Everything that has been said in astrology about the Moon might be repeated here, as there exists no controversy whatever on the point of identity. "The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit." (W.)
This card consequently means the life of the soul in particular, the feelings and sentiments, emotions (not only fear, etc.), changes wrought in existence by them, water and the female element in general. In the horoscopic figure it may be the mother or some other woman prominent in the life of the querent; it may signify women in general (and morally or
psychically, while Saturn means physical woman). It is the sign of panta rei: everything passing, flowing or ebbing away in life, consequently uncertainty. It may relate to dreams, to exhibitions, popular plays, and games, theatres, and to the lower class of people. Physically it means the brain and the stomach.
The hieroglyphic value of the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, connected with this card, "is the same as that of Thet (ninth card) . . which perhaps may account for the relationship of the Moon with that house, as pointed out
by us before. It should mean a term, an aim, an end." (P.) But this does not make it much clearer.
P. has only one good thing on it, and after all this is only on a particular and not very high level: "Servile spirits (the dog), savage souls (the wolf), and crawling creatures (the crayfish) are all present watching the fall of the soul, hoping to aid in its destruction." That is true. And it may happen to us, that a lower current of the Moon brings our way people
who have no higher aim than to 'aid in our destruction' even if we ourselves have no intention whatever of 'falling'.
XIX. The Sun.
"The walls indicate, that we are still in the visible, or material world." (P.) This relates to the picture which shows a child on horseback--or two children as in the older editions of the card--playing beneath the bright Sun and evidently within a walled enclosure. So far so good: we are and we remain in this world. And for the rest the Sun is the Sun and this card means everything that astrology can tell about the Sun, in every respect and on all planes. It means the positive or masculine elements in general, the power and function of will and concentration, great benefit and mighty protection in spiritual as well as in mundane life and matters. It may signify the father of the querent and high authorities, king, president, ruler, etc. The spiritual centre of man and the centre of importance in everything is indicated by it. Physically it indicates the heart and the solar-plexus.
The protecting power of the Sun is well illustrated by "the hieroglyphic value of the Hebrew letter Quoph, which expresses a sharp weapon,
everything that is useful to man, that defends him and makes an effort for him." (P.).
In a figure laid for divination this card indicates the centre of interest and that which is fixed, certain, assured and under protection.
XX. The Last Judgment. Jupiter.
If Saturn denotes 'death' and the grave, what more natural than that his counterpart Jupiter should stand for the resurrection from the grave? While Saturn, Lord of the mineral kingdom, is held to 'kill' by his
crystallising effect, Jupiter, Lord of the vegetable kingdom and of all that grows and expands and evolves, leading up to sublimation and elevation, abstraction, etc., afterwards, is first the emblem and function of organic life, later on also those of psychic and spiritual life above the material existence, barren and naked, from which it consequently brings
deliverance. The latter meaning is chiefly viewed when symbolising this principle in the card of the Last Judgment. "An angel sounds his trumpet per sepulchra regionum and the dead arise." (W.) Some people say "that it signifies renewal, which is obvious enough . . ." and "that it is the generative force of the earth and eternal life." (W.) The latter fairly covers our definition of Jupiter's function. Again W. further mentions, that it "is the card which registers the accomplishment of the great work of transformation." Which is also in the line of Jupiter, Io Pater, 'Our Father that is in the Heavens.' And every great work needs his co-operation; there is no important or great work done in this world without Jupiter, the planet of ideals playing a prominent rôle in it. Ideals, that "are the angel part of us," as Zanoni tells his disciple. So this card stands for ideals, religious, social or any other and for the elevating effect they have on man; for ideas and leading motives, aspirations, etc., consequently for
generalisation, illumination, dispersion, elevation, for all that is honourable on one hand but also for illusions or vain aspirations on the other hand. It is the sign of deliverance from narrow thought and hampering conditions in the soul as well as in the body and in life.
The card is identified with the Hebrew letter Resh, which "is the head of man, and it is therefore associated with the idea of all that possesses in itself an original, determined movement. It is the absolute sign of motion, good or bad, and expresses the renewal of things with regard to their innate power of motion."--"Return to the divine world."- "Vegetable life." (P.) Yes. We might say: thought-power and the idea of motion which it implies and imparts. Jupiter was the first and chief of the Gods, Theoi, Movers.
XXI. The World. Neptune.
As in the case of Uranus we want to point out that originally the planet cannot have been appointed, astronomically, but the principle of cosmic magetism, of which it is the organ, and the universal magnetised, field, the field of the world in which we live, must have been well known to the initiates, who worshipped Poseidon and Varuna, gods of the world-ocean. The symbols of the four fixed signs are presented at the corners of the cards, and where these fixed signs are seen as the foundation stones of our physical world by such visionaries as Ezechiel and St. John of Patmos, we cannot be far wrong in assuming that originally the meaning was that of the physical world coming forth out of the magnetised etheric ocean of the universe, which itself has been represented by the oval form, be it a laurel wreath or something else. The World must have had a larger meaning, originally, than that of the world of beings moving on the
surface of our Earth, and the oval figure may well have stood for the form of the solar system at large, with its planets moving in oval orbs.
Appropriated to the world of men, it must mean 1 that which falls outside our will-power, cosmic conditions to which we are subject, but which at the f same time provide us with all that is wanted for our physical conditions. The latter of course became the reason for attaching to this card a generally benefic influence, especially in the domain of the
senses. "It is eloquent as an image of the swirl of the sensitive life, of joy attained in the body, of the soul's intoxication--(can any word remind us more strongly of Neptune's workings than precisely this one: 'intoxication'?--Th.)--in the earthly paradise, but still guarded by the Divine Watchers . . ." (W.) Let us put it this way: it means that if we row with the cosmic tide, we shall enjoy happiness and everything we want, but on the other hand we must not neglect the implicit possibility, that when rowing against the tidal current of the world, we shall experience trouble and no end of it, or if we 'cross the stream' we shall have to stand firm on our legs. So besides the joy of the senses, this card means also the cosmic origin of life, to which the candidate for initiation returns, and which now and then appears in dreams. In fact this card has much to do with dream-life. The relations of Neptune with the Moon and the lunar body are not unknown to astrologers nowadays.
The Hebrew letter Tau is related to this card and "has the same hieroglyphic meaning as the Daleth (fourth card)--that is the womb;-- (which confirms the relationship to the Moon--Th.)--but it is chiefly the sign of reciprocity, the image of all that is mutual, reciprocal." It is further added that abundance and perfection lie in the card. (P.) Reciprocal certainly: from that we come and to that we shall return, be it the world's dust or the ether of the cosmic ocean.
Very striking is P.'s saying that "This symbol represents macrocosm and microcosm . . ." and even more so that "the empire of the world belongs to the empire of Light, and the empire of Light is the throne of God . . ." Scientifically expressed: the ethereal world, being the bearer of light, is the universal womb of the material or physical world. The nude female figure may certainly contain indications with regard to the life of the senses, but is also a symbol of the angelic state to which man will one day come after being delivered from the bonds of the lower world. It may have to do with nature spirits. It is Aphrodite rising from the sea, daughter of Neptune. Beauty and love and happiness arising from the communion of souls.
0. (Zero) The Fool. Our Earth.
The average stage of man in the present stage of Earth-evolution is 'human,' but not yet at the stage of wisdom, consequently that of the 'unwise man.' To us, creatures living upon the Earth, this globe cannot be observed by us in toto, and the Fool is represented as a man walking without paying attention to himself. There is something of absolute Fate about this figure, which reminds us of the old saying of astrologers: "The wise man rules his stars, the fool obeys them." On the point of this fatality all authorities agree. For the rest the explanation does not seem very satisfying. To us there appears to be no doubt regarding the nature of this Fool, presented as a final 'principle,' if we may call it that, after those of the planets. A principle, however, without a number, a principle of nothing, nothingness.
The planets give us the symbols or ideas of organs of consciousness, the zodiacal signs denote modes of substance, from which consciousness is derived. So the zero-principle is the symbol of unconsciousness. In fact he who is unconscious, of himself or of Self, will obey every intimation from without and obeys 'his stars'--his senses, stupidly, blindly.
Of course this card has much to do with foolishness, spiritual dumbness, but it bears also the meaning of that which cannot be helped and which we do best to leave altogether aside; or that which will come right of itself and need not be heeded by us: that to which we are subject, as to the Earth course in its orbit. It does not need our personal assistance.
Realising the latter fact this 'fool' might after all appear to be wiser than a good many other people, who in their human vanity imagine they are greatly needed for carrying out the intentions of their God, of Whom they claim a sort of personal knowledge. A proverb says, that children and fools tell the truth. Taken as a whole, the card signifies that which will prove to contain more truth than appears; that which cannot be helped;
those who are unconscious (of certain things, e.g.,) or unreasonable or foolish, disregarding logical propositions and actions. Also that part of our surroundings over which we have no control or which we do not master; that which we have to obey or which we ignore.
The Hebrew letter Shin is brought in relation with this card, and P. says it means "the Motion of relative duration," but his explanation does not throw any particular light on the card nor on the relationship. The picture seems to hint also that the fool "is hurried to his destruction unawares." (W.) And there may be a good deal in it. In divination it may hint at persons suffering under this tendency.
The question may be asked, why the planetary cards have been named in this order. When we agree that Mercury, Temperance, has been put in the place of Jupiter, which after all has been used in a higher octave, we see first named the three planets outside the place of the Earth, governing the building of the physical mould and having to do with the
birth and death of it. Then follows the planet of cosmic electricity and of the birth of human spirit in the physical building, which it eventually destroys. Next come the three planetary principles functioning on the spiritual side, which have their meaning only after the birth of human spirit. The Moon takes the place of Mercury-Vulcan, and the order is that of reckoning from the Earth, consequently in a continuous line from the outside: Venus--Moon (for Mercury-Vulcan)--Sun. They have to do with the growth of body and soul. Finally the principle of deliverance from the prison of the body: Jupiter, and that of the cosmic ocean to which the particles return, Universal solvent; ocean which constitutes the real ground for our practical unity in the world. The Fool as the denial of all sense, nonsense.
There may be other explanations of course. The one offered here seems to have the advantage that it is in the line of the suggestion, made before, viz. that the whole system of the Tarot is a sort of symbolism, expressly adapting cosmic principles to human life and to man's personal interests, not always even in the highest sense.
There exists a remarkable difference between the degree of clearness with which concrete particulars of the Lesser Arcana are given, and the diffuse teaching of the Greater Arcana, which appears to have been rather covered and veiled, than divulged. It was in the first place the Lesser Arcana, with which the diseurs de bonne aventure wanted to
please their clients, so it naturally had their chief attention.
It is still more remarkable that all explanation about the 'why' of the Lesser Arcana fails. We ought perhaps to take into account a meagre effort made by Papus in his Tarot of the Bohemians, (p. 235-237), where
he tries to assign each of the cards to one of the decanates of the zodiac; but he makes no further use of the hypothesis. For the rest I venture to say that it does not hold good at all and does not in the least correspond with the traditional significances given, as the authors tell us, in respect of the Bohemians. Another equally unsuccessful effort at explanation has been made recently by a pupil of Eteilla, d’Odoucet and Papus, a Frenchman calling himself Ely Alta, in a book entitled Le Tarot Egyptien (1922), which bears a close resemblance to that of Papus or speaks of the very same source as the latter. In fact Alta reproduces a treatise of Eteilla's disciple and co-worker d’Odoucet and gives more than Papus in so far as he preludes every significance of a card in the Lesser Arcana with a sort of explanation in a would-be cosmogonical sense. The fact is, that these explanations all fall short of explaining the traditional significance. So they cannot be more than a sort of drapery of eloquence, hung over the tableaux by later commentators, perhaps by Eteilla
himself. And the only thing they divulge without any doubt at all is that the key to these 'lesser' mysteries has been lost or has never been given out to those to whom this practice of divination has been presented "as a bible which would make their living at the same time," as Papus has said somewhere.
But the striking fact is, that these traditional significations cover almost exactly and in almost every card the theory expounded by us. So we may be fairly certain that this theory contains or is the very key. We shall verify it systematically and card for card.