The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot- Key 21- Carnival, represents the Bacchanalian rites of ecstasy. In Carnival, the flames of desire rise, creating a furnace into which all longings are fed. The body becomes a alchemical cauldron that glows white hot with fires fed by revelry. Nary a whim is held back, as All is expended into drunken sleepless pleasures as longing is sated. Drinking deeply, take your will and fill of love. Dance and twirl, the body's fulfillment, delights the Soul. Outward flies the Spirit through the body's senses. Let go, for to those who hold back nothing, nothing will be withheld. Give all and be given all. Here, the chicken is replaced with beads and pentacles and the cities hands reach for adornment rather than food. Now one's soul is filled with the flesh and turns outward to taste, touch, feel, smell and hear as all senses are enraptured in the celebration of the World and its offerings.
As was in the ancient practice of Bacchanalia, the Carnival World erupts in cascading delight. Bodies are released from daily drudgery, as they give themselves to the revel and in so doing they open their spirits to the sweet touch of revelation. Self is abandoned in the Whirligig twirling of Masked faces. The small masks that we wear in daily life, disappear under the large mask of the Carnival. Time becomes sacred and touches all action, as clocks round their regular 12, 12, 12 with unnoticed precision. The Eternal Now is the Revel of Carnival. Besides a time of revolving, the Revel is a time of revelation as now the Wheel of Tarot turns back upon itself. The strands of beads, both thrown and worn during Mardi Gras, become the snakes hatched from the World Egg (No.0). In the eternal now, the cycle is complete. Beginning becomes end, and end is another new beginning.
The universe resounds with the joyful cry I AM.
The Word Carnival, literally means "farewell to flesh", describing a period of turning outward that precedes a time of inward movement. Therefore, the Carnivals of Rio, New Orleans and Venice bind these cities together in a sisterhood of spirit and the dynamic flux of equilibrium is upheld throughout the world.
Shown on this card is a night lit by masked flambeau carriers. The Flambeau is a naptha torch, and these are held aloft as 3 in number, which is the number of Legba, the loa who opens the door between worlds. The Hebrew letter shin, shown above, a glyph attributed to Spirit and fire is also a 3. Shown on the card, are snakes rather than beads, rain upon the crowd while a woman with a beaded headdress stands at the front of the float. She represents the maiden aspect of Erzulie, with face covered, she is clothed in mystery. Here, is the apparition of the ever Virgin because the world of flesh and its experiences are ever new to her. The primary reason for the Bacchanalia and Carnival, is the mysteries of release; a release definitely not from this world. The Real World, together with all the marvelous experiences it offers, is a part of this liberation. In Carnival we are released from smallness to a more complete awareness of our ways and states of being, including the factors that we control and those factors that act through us, and that we can adapt to. Being built complete, for we spirits stand on Malkuth/Earth as I Am Being, fulfilling the will of the One, as Eheieh-meaning "I Will Be". What increases is our awareness of Self, the ability to focus one's attention and to appreciate that in the final formal elegance of illusion the beauty of spirit is revealed.
When thrown in divination, the Carnival Card implies:
The proper study of the Western Qabalistic Paths represented as the Major Arcana Tarot cards is the ascending of Understanding up the Tree of Life, as we are "below" and need to remember the realms of Pure Spirit "above", after all we began this identity of Self as Spirit. The experiences on Earth, assist us in our goals of a more refined understanding of Universal patterns that create "Whole Self". Such as a microscope helps the biologist in a more refined understanding of cell- structure and bacteria. Earth manifestation, with its crystalline lenses and mirror reflected light, (the "I sight" of our senses), helps us see deeply into the microcosm, "small self", so that we better understand the macrocosm and/or Greater Self. As long as our Divine Consciousness is functioning though a physical vehicle, this is where our serious esoteric work begins and ends.
The Path of Tau-ATU 21-The Universe, joins the crystallized world of earth, Malkuth-Meaning Kingdom, with the Sephiroth Yesod -meaning Foundation.It is the first journey out of the material condition that leads us to a greater understanding of the Personality that was designed by the Higher Self (Tiphareth) for each incarnation, before our man-made personality blinded us to our divinity.
Dr.Paul Foster Case, who wrote the book, The Thirty Two Paths to Wisdom (the number Thirty-Two is the sum of the Paths and the Sephiroth) calls the Path of Tau (The Universe card) the “Administrative Intelligence" because it "directs and associates in all seven planets." The "seven planets" he is referring to are the Microprosopus-Hexagram pattern of the seven planets on the Tree of Life.
The understanding of the Path of Tau (meaning cross), from Malkuth to Yesod, is rooted on the fact that all is Mind. I know that as we are all body oriented, we think that the Mind's realm of ideas, dreams, or thoughts, are somehow divorced from the physical; We have a dual concept of ourselves as a body and mind. The Qabalah teaches that all is Mind and yes, the body is "crystallized mind": but Mind just the same! Taking this a step further, all is Spirit/Solar energy, and the body is "Crystallized Spirit". In the Mysteries, the distinction of Mind and Body is one of perception (brought on by senses), not an actuality.
The pictures we see when we close our eyes, are a more refined form of matter, the images and energy forms which are closest to the physical condition. The concept of Yesod (Foundation) is based on the understanding that most of the Universe is unseen, in fact, our bodies are composed of the electromagnetic spectrum and seem solid, yet they are 96 % invisible. This estimation comes from the fact that invisible Dark Energy comprises 26% of the matter Universe, and invisible Dark Matter comprises 70% of our known Universe. That means, that most of us are judging the Kingdom of Self, the Earth and our flesh, with less than 4% of our minds, via sensuality! Since Malkuth is the only sensual kingdom, we must travel the Path of Tau to experience the "Seven Palaces of Assiah"(Seven planets), as represented by the seven pointed star on the Star Card-ATU 20.
The Universe card is the key of individuality, totality, and wholeness. To those of Eastern culture, this is the image of Shiva; to the Christian, this is the image of the Virgin Mary with her foot on the head of the serpent. Regardless of cultural interpretation this card symbolizes the Divine Androgen that is both dynamic and magnetic in a perfectly balanced dance (life motion) of I Am.
Before I go on with further explanation of the Universe- Key-21, it would be appropriate here to tell you how to mentally "Walk" the Path of Tau. This mental walk, is called Skrying. Skrying, is simple really, all one has to do is focus on a card allowing impressions to for or even imagine themselves entering it. This is somewhat like lucid dreaming, where you enter the dream and control the events. Here, one is projecting themselves into an inner vision by the use of a "day dream", projecting oneself into the Vision of the Card. Some may breathe deep and easy, relaxed in body, and their eyes becoming unfocused and mentally project themselves into the Key Vision. Others, as do I, leave eyes open staring into a dark mirror at the cards reflection and like traveling into a tunnel, imagine themselves entering the Visions, as the card grows ever bigger until entry. At first, maybe boredom takes over, but soon the diligent student discovers that what they experience in this lucid skrying, is not of their own making. They often are astonished at the vitality, energy and spontaneous images that these "mandalas" invoke.
In the Forces of Tau, is the Knowledge, the data, of all the accumulated ideas that went into the making of our world. There is much to experience and remember here so discrimination is recommended, as we journey back into our Divine inheritance, we must educate our "I's" in order to perceive our "I AM Me", the True Self. The Path of Tau begins the process of knowing ourselves as we have been known into existence; an existence so dutifully produced by our Divine Parent’s Lucid Dream. In fact, if the student of Tarot/Qabalah, doesn't skry these cards, they may as well be a deck of playing cards or be a charlatan that preys on superstitious minds for monetary gain.
From the standpoint of Gnosis (knowledge), the Universe Key/ATU 21 may be the most important card in the deck, as it is the beginning of our journey back to Spiritual Awareness: the inner journey so important to "enlightenment" and a journey expressed on the parable of the Prodigal Son in the Christian bible. On this Path of Tau, we experience our own personality consciousness, which is not of our and the world of man's own making, a Solar-reality that can be both frightening and gratifying. Yes, we make our own reality and the Universe card helps us to travel beyond the self-absorbed reality of ourworld made-personalities, into the Higher Self reality that created our consciousness in the Beginning. Freedom of Choice defines our "End" by the composite pattern of perspectives that often form our worldly personalities.
Between the Hebrew letters of Aleph(the Fool)and Tau, is the entire Universe, the Alpha and the Omega and we must journey upwards from our Spirit's "ending" manifestation, into the Beginning....for they who know their end, know their beginning! Thus, the Path of Tau-The Universe, is a Path that can only be successfully traveled by those who begin the process of bringing their Personalities into a self-understanding balance. Of personalities, we have many, each represented by the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life and for the sake of Knowing Thyself, they must be viewed at first, independently, and later as a wholeness.
This may also astound the student, but it is on the path of Tau (The Universe Card), that one discovers the extent to which the process of inner exploration is assisted by the guidance of the "Angels", particularity Archangels. The Family of Spirit is vast and many, and of that family, we are the Children of the Divine Couple; The Inheritors. It may surprise you, especially since the Pavlovian indoctrination of your personality has defined you deficient, that to the whole of the Universe you are most precious! The purpose of Tarot is to help you see, as you are seen by your Creator and wonder of wonders, you are not condemned but Loved without condition!
One of the most important lessons of the Universe card, is that of Discrimination and/or discernment, a process that can only be learned in the earthly realm of Malkuth. This gateway to the Astral, is the Path of Tau, and the Astral is the place of “Fluid thoughts", ideas, dreams, before they crystallize into manifestation. It is as if light were liquid, as if the mirror of your mind is not yet solidified, to reflect you in crystalline light. There is deception in the Astral, Fantasies, that may never make it into manifestation, and some you never want to, so be discriminating, but only through divination can we enter the "Administrative Intelligence" balance; a discrimination that is shown on the Universe Card by depicting the Dancing Woman draped with the Caph-shaped scarf while being surrounded by the animal symbols of the Four Elements of Alchemy.
If you have been keeping up with my blog , you may know that the Universe Card represents a multidimensional understanding of the Cosmic Mind. After much study, one may grasp the principle that the entire Tree of Life, which is taught through the Path of Tau-The Universe, is the most profound concept of "As above, so below". To a sensual body, this means "up and down", to the Infinite, this just means "higher vibration" and "lower vibration", a normal occurrence as energy condenses to greater and greater crystallization unto matter. Of course, energy frequency, ideas and Mind are insuperable, just as electricity and data in your computer are inseparable. Thus,another axiom is attributed to the Tree, "The Know is in the Flow". That is why, when we mentally journey a Path, we gather knowledge at the same time we encounter higher mental frequency. Diligently skrying is more than just a moment of silent contemplation, it is also a gathering of information.
I Often have discussed the "Will-To-Form” of the Great Mother Binah (3rd Sephiroth on the Tree of Life) who is the Life Conscious and which is Saturn in the exalted Supernal Realm of Atziluth. She is completely expressed on the Path of Tau, key 21-The Universe. The female figure of the " Cosmic Dancer" of the Universe, is the fullest expression of this Life Conscious and has been called Isis, the Anima Elohim, as well as, Saturn who gives life and destroys it and Great Mother Binah.
The oval ring of Stars that surrounds the central female figure represents the Womb of the human female, as well as, the Cosmic Womb into which the soul passes after body death. We arise from our death surrounded in a ring of stars, on our way to the Great Mother.
Life, with its beginning, middle, and end, processes in waves or spirals (Spirit is a Spiral flow of Will-to-be Energy) which come back upon themselves. This circling back upon itself is often shown as a Great Serpent with its tail in its mouth. This is also the natural course of the Akashic Fluid (Astral Fluid) of Yesod where the Serpent Kundalini is coiled in its passive state, and uncoiled in its active state. Hence, the lie of Adam and Eve propagandized by the Patriarch. Truth, the Act of Expanding and Liberating, i.e. , Tantra, is that dancing in the Carnival of the Flesh, Eros, we can reach, through proper technique, the release of all pent up emotion (energy not in motion)that will shoot our personality to the Stars, i.e., the Higher Self. There is the "little orgasim" and the Great Orgasim, one is self absorbed, the Other is being absorbed by Self.
The Universe Card is also surrounded in the Great Dark Sea, a reference to the Great Mother Binah, who is the Sea of all consciousness (The Divine Universal Collective Unconscious) which on the path of Tau, is consciousness in the most dense and difficult expression. Again, discrimination must be used when traveling the Akashia of Yesod, many who entered this Path, entertain themselves with extended fantasy and find themselves tormented by phantoms of their own making. The discerning traveler will supply every test of reason, and feeling. After a time of discernment, one will begin experiencing a process of learning, which is not of their own making. Verifying the images, by elaborate research definitely aids in this process.
To some people, the Tarot is about prophecy and seeing into the future but to Qabalists, the Tarot is about developing psychic abilities (Divya Siddhis, in Sanskrit which means: Magic abilities). The more a reader uses the cards to find answers to given questions, the more that reader taps into the unseen currents of subtle energy/conscious. Over time, as I will attest, the cards are almost a redundancy since the answers are not always deeply felt. But again, we think by association and the Tarot Cards help us correspond to the Divine.
The Path of Tau, is the ascending path from 10-Malkuth-Kingdom (bottom circle-Sephiroth) to the circle above it which is 9- Yesod-Foundation. Which is the path of the 21-Universe Trump. We ascend the Tree of Life as we work from our material perspective (below) to our Divine Inheritance/Spiritual perspective-(above). We have manifested on Earth to achieve a more refined/intimate discriminating perspective of the Universe through a personal learning- relationship with it. Our work with Earth is where all serious esoteric work begins and ends (Alpha and Omega) as long as Divine Consciousness is functioning through a physical being. The Path of Tau, The Universe, is the first path out of the material condition of the survival mind (animal consciousness) and leads towards understanding of the Personality constructed by the Greater Self (Solar Self) of Tiphareth (Beauty) for each incarnation.
As previously stated, the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom [text by Dr. Paul Foster Case] calls this path the "Administrative Intelligence", and states that it "directs and associates in all the operations of the seven planets". Symbolically this path connects the earth to the Microcosm (Microprosopus in The Sepher Yetzirah-Qabalistic text) represented by the Hexagram which is the connected Seven Planets on the Tree of Life.
The Path of Tau, is both power and servitude as ascribed to the Palace of Holiness that sustains all things. That Palace, being the associated seven planets and the Path of Tau that connects them to earth.
From the Qabalistic standpoint the 21-Universe Card may be the most important card in the deck for it is the point where we begin the process of inner exploration. It is on this Path that we encounter our own personal self-conscious, a personality that is all inside our heads divorced from physical reality.
The Path of Tau, is an initiation of the Personality into its own structure, which is the Microcosmic Universe (The All of the Universe is the Macrocosm). During this initiation we will also encounter symbols and ideas of a greater consciousness than our own and begin to see ways in which our being relates to a total universal picture and the Solar Self of Photon/Sun/Son of God, that is the Real You, who power's and is empowered by the physical body. We are the Golden Psyche/Soul, of Light's evolutionary Self-exploration.
This is a subjective Path which can only be successfully traveled by those who have begun to bring their Personalities into self-understanding balance; otherwise an out of balance personality will find itself tormented by phantoms of its own making and the Gates of understanding are closed to them. Those who have truly come to grips with personal Life Experience will find inner help and encouragement along the way. Sometimes, in every step of the way.
We must also understand that The Universe is a Path of Entry into the Astral, which seeks to deceive. Many people believe they are on one Path or another, when they are just entertaining themselves with a personal extended fantasy. We must apply every test of reason and feeling to the symbols we perceive on the Astral; we know it is not of our own making if we are actually learning from these symbols, by applying verification or corroboration through research. Discrimination is the most important lesson/virtue of Malkuth.
The Path of Tau, is the only one of the 32 paths of Wisdom that connects sensation to the rest of the tree. "As above, so below" is now established because we are the "images of God" feeling for all states of Greater Self-conscious! Sensation is the Energy Microscope that is needed for impeccable and/or intimate creation in the Microcosm. Discerning Impeccability is necessary to expand and liberate the living from their own Phantoms of self-identity, i.e. fears of not being. However, even though the body is part of the 1% world of physical matter, it is 99% of all sensation-"I" sight being the "All seeing "I". Thus, we are fooled into thinking the sensation is us and not an invention of the mind. So to begin with psychic development, we must give our senses to the Universe----so meditate on 21-The Universe card and expand your self-awareness.
When this card is thrown, the querent is casting the circle which means they are mastering in some way the three planes of mind, body and emotions.
If ill defined by surrounding cards:
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