The Universe card or in the case of the Tarot of the Old Path, the World card, is the accumulation of all the other 20 cards of the Major Arcana (Trump).
The symbols of the Tarot of the Old Path, The World-key-21, support the philosophy of The Craft, as the cards are designed by 8 Witches and/or "Wise Women". The Pure Unveiled goddess image is central to both The Thoth Tarot and Tarot of the Old Path.
The Oval around both figures is the Vesica Piscis, representing the Womb that gave birth to the Universe. The World card, displays the red, white and blue colors of the Goddess, as a woven boundary around the oval she is displayed in.
In The World card, the zodiac is displayed as a circle of stars around the Goddesses head and from her breasts issue forth the myriad of stars that compose the milky-way; giving a modern display of an ancient Goddess pose. The ever present goddess symbol of the crescent moon is on her forehead and the necklace of rebirth is around her neck.
The goose-foot, an ancient sign of the Goddess, is shown as three distinct lines between her legs, arising to accentuate her lower torso which is a Yoni symbol often shown just as a inverted triangle.
Craft degrees, as shown symbolically around the Oval of the Goddess. The left side, shows a downward pointing triangle with a dot in the center. The right side of the Oval displays a reverse pentagram. There is a crowned pentagram above, crowned with an upward pointing triangle. (The combination of upward and downward pointing triangles, is the magick symbol of the Hexagram denoting the equilibrium of male and female forces.).
The four Alchemical elements are shown as: a pine con-tipped fiery rod (The Thyrsus- Wand of Dionysus), upper left. The upper right hand corner displays the Crowned Sword of the Ace of Swords, the symbol for air. Displayed at the lower left, is an altar with a small animal horn at each corner with a central pentacle, representing earth. While water is represent by the cauldron astride a stream of flowing water.
The World, represents the ultimate goal of the soul's spiritual evolution and that is to realize the origin and truth of all things through repeated incarnations. What the Qabalist call, "Above all things, Know thyself". Being at one with its maker the soul attains a state of perfection, and no longer experiences the "sleep of death".
THE THOTH DECK KEY 21-THE UNIVERSE.
The universe resounds with the joyful cry I AM.
This card is the principle of individuality, totality, and wholeness. Interestingly, to those of Eastern culture, this is the image of Shiva (Androgyny); to the Christian, this is the image of the virgin Mary with her foot on the head of the serpent.
The proper study of the Qabalistic Paths (Major Arcana 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". The experiences on Earth, assist us in our goals of a more refined understanding of Universal patterns. Such as a microscope helps the biologist in a more refined understanding of cell- structure and bacteria, minute earth manifestation. With its crystalline lenses of light,the "I sight" of our senses, helps us sense deeply into the reflected microcosm, an intimacy that is necessary so that we better understand the macrocosm.
As long as our Divine Consciousness is functioning though a physical vehicle, this is where our serious esoteric work begins and ends.
The 32nd Path of Tau-Key 21-The Universe, joins the crystallized world of earth, Malkuth-meaning Kingdom, with the Sephira 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.We must remember that as a consciousness, we reside at the Foundation, while the body, a self simulation, is receiving our transmissions on the realm of Malkuth. When death is experienced, we lose reception on earth since it is all sensual and hence, realize Yesod as our place of being.
Dr.Paul Foster Case, who wrote the class room text, 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 or World 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 Qabalistic Microprosopus, is comparable to the Microcosm.
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, a self conscious, are all body oriented; we think that the Mind's realm of ideas, dreams, or thoughts, are somehow divorced from the physical as \we have a dual concept of ourselves as a body and mind. The Qabalah teaches that all is Mind; yes the body is "crystallized self image", a type of Avatar, but Mind is the One Energy that transforms! Taking this a step further, All is Spirit and the body is "Crystallized Spirit". Hence, in the Mysteries, the distinction of Spirit, Mind and Body is one of perception (brought on by senses) , not an actuality. For instance, 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 99.6 % invisible. That means, that most of us are judging the Kingdom of Spirit (the Earth) with less than .4% of our minds, via the minutiae of sensuality! This is because Malkuth (the physical) is the only sensual kingdom of Spirit and it dazzles our "I's". Thus we must travel the Path of Tau to experience the "Seven Palaces of Assiah"(Seven planets) as subjectively represented on the Thoth Universe card and the Tarot of the Old Path- World card.
I previously explained that the Universe-key 21, is called the Path of Tau. The symbol of Tau is the equal armed cross which symbolizes the important fact that, the Thoth Universe, or the traditional tarot- World cards, as opposed to other Path-cards, represents all Forces present in their full expression. Tau is also the central point of the Aleph (Fool), Mem (The Hanged Man) and Shin (The Aeon) Paths which makes the equal armed cross on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The Crowley card shows small tau crosses as the fabric of the Time/Space grid that surrounds the cosmic oval or Womb. Larger explainations of all of these Paths will be periodically explain in future blogs, as they have been in past blogs.
Before I go on with further explanation of the Universe- or World card, Key-21, it would be appropriate here to tell you how to mentally "Walk" the inner Path of Tau. This mental walk, is called Skrying. Skrying, is simple really, all one has to do is focus on a card and imagine themselves entering it. This is somewhat like lucid dreaming, where you enter the dream and control the events by replacing the anthromorphic image with your own. Here, one is projecting themselves into an inner vision by the use of a "day dream", projecting oneself into the Greater Vision of the Card. Some may breathe deep and easy, relaxed in body, and close their eyes and mentally project themselves into the Key Vision, others, as do I, leave eyes open, 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 and the cosmos. 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 to perceive our "I AM". 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 Parents Lascivious 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 or World, Key 21, maybe 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". On this Path of Tau, we experience our own personality consciousness, which is of our own making, a reality that can be both frightening and gratifying. Yes, we make our own reality and the World/ Universe card helps us to travel beyond the self-absorbed reality of our personalities, into the Higher Self reality that created our consciousness in the Beginning, and how Freedom of Choice defines our "End" by the composite pattern of our personalities.
Between the Hebrew letters of Aleph (Fool) and Tau (The Universe), 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 Personality, we have many, built in "passed lives" and stored in a vessel of conscious energy known as our Soul's Akashic Records. Each state of conscious energy is represented by the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life and for the sake of Knowing Thyself, they must be viewed at first, independently, and latter as a wholeness. This may also astound the student, but it is on the path of Tau, 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, that to the whole of the Universe, you are most precious! The purpose of this blog 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 World/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, like the fluid metal of Mercury; solidification is necessary to reflect you in crystalline light. There is deception in the Astral, fantasies; phantoms that may never make it into manifestation, and some you never want to see, so be discriminating. However, despite the illusions and temptations of the Astral, only through divination can we enter the "Administrative Intelligence" balance; a Intelligence that is shown in the Tarot of the Old Path-World as the Creatrix and Thoth Deck card as the Dancing Womb-man draped with the Caph-shaped scarf or Serpent Force (Thoth) while being surrounded by the animal symbols of the Four Elements of Alchemy. Implying, from these elements of alchemy, she weaves the Universe in her dance. The All Seeing Eye (I) in the Thoth deck UNIVERSE card, sending forth rays of light that become the Python, suggests the "first Husband" of the Goddess Lilith---the "First I-dentity" which would be Kether on the Tree of Life and later the Eye (I) of Horus--the child of both Isis and Osiris, who is the Christ-Buddha consciousness that our self consciousnesses are to become on Earth.
The Universe/World Card is 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. Of course, energy frequency, ideas and Mind are inseparable, 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. Therefore, diligent skrying is more than just a moment of silent contemplation, it is also a gathering of information.
I have discussed the "Will-To-Form" of the Great Mother Binah (3 Sephiroth on the Tree of Life) who is the Life Conscious and which is Saturn in the exalted Supernal Realm. She is completely expressed on the Path of Tau, key 21-The Universe and the Old Path World card. The female figure of the " Cosmic Dancer" of the Universe, is the fullest expression of this Life Conscious and has been called Isis, the Aima Elohim, as well as, Saturn/Chronos who gives life and destroys it as Great Mother Binah. Some may be confused by this Chronos comparison, since "Father Time" is a description of Chronos/Saturn but before the Patriarch, the Goddess of Time-Space was Juno. However, the Ternary Maid-Mother and Crone, is the Description of Binah, and of Time itself, from youth to old age, Time/Space is her domain as it is the weave used to build form.
The oval ring of Stars illustrated on the Thoth Univers or on the WORLD card, 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. The grid of Time/Space is shown on the Thoth UNIVERSE card as surrounding the oval Cosmic Womb. The Colors of the Goddess are woven around the star oval of the Tarot of the Old Path. This is appropriate as The Craft has been called the Wyrd (meaning in old English- the Weave). No mater the symbols, we all arise from our death surrounded in a ring of stars, on our way to the Great Mother. The Kerubs of the Four Elements, Fire, Water, Air and Earth are shown in corners of both THE WORLD and THE UNIVERSE cards.
Life , with its beginning, middle, and end, processes in waves or spirals (Spirit is a Spiral flow of Energy) which cycle back upon themselves. This circling back upon itself is often shown as a Great Serpent. 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.Thus Crowley choose to represent the Great Serpent of Akashic Fluid as "Lord Python" of Lilith fame.
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 which on the path of Tau, is consciousness in the most dense and difficult expression. The Sea is less dark and light blue on the WORLD card. Again, discrimination must be used when traveling the Akasha of Yesod, many who entered this Path, entertain themselves with extended fantasy and find themselves tormented by phantoms of there 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.
When The UNIVERSE OR WORLD Card is thrown during a reading, it means:
*More than any other card, The Universe depends on the accompanying cards, as it usually denotes the subject of the question.
Thank you for your interest and comments, May you live long and prosper!
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