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Chapter 13
How to read the Tarot
ROFICIENCY in any art, physical or psychical, depends largely upon
system and method; and this is true of acquiring proficiency in tarot reading.
The first thing to adopt in formulating such a system is a rule in which, except
when another shuffles them for the purpose of receiving a reading, no other person is
permitted to handle the cards. The more the tarot reader handles the cards the better,
for they thus the more completely become impregnated with his magnetism and are
able to respond to the subtle thought-vibrations of his unconscious mind. But the
magnetism and thought-emanations of others tend to impair this responsiveness
through mixing the influences.
For this reason new cards are not so good as those which have been used repeatedly in
card reading. And in order that they may the more fully retain the reader's influence
they should not be left lying around in contact with the household furniture and thus
become contaminated with the magnetism of others; but for best results they should
be kept in a special box. This box should not be too large, and a wooden box lined
with silk, which is a non-conductor, is preferable; a small box of soft white pine being
excellent for the purpose.
If the reader expects to devote much time to tarot practice, and to the spiritual aspect,
it is better to have two different tarot packs. The magnetism, or mental emanations,
with which the cards become saturated in giving personal readings belongs to one
basic vibratory level, while philosophical and spiritual research belong to another. If
the cards used for the higher lines of thought are also used in personal readings they
may become so influenced by the lower trend for which they are used that they do not
properly respond to the desire to obtain information about spiritual things. So it is
well to have a separate pack for each type of use, and not to use either pack for gaining
information except on its own vibratory plane.
As a table on which to lay out the cards, any surface will do. A sewing table is
excellent and easily handled; but where the amount of time devoted to the subject
warrants, a light, unvarnished and unpainted table of soft white pine is still better. A
new table imparts no extraneous thought-vibrations to the cards, and if unvarnished
more quickly absorbs the thought emanations of the reader and gives the best
conditions for the psychic intelligence to manifest itself.
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A room which is the scene of constant discord and strife is not suitable for any kind of
psychic work, as the vibrations left disturb the tranquillity of the unconscious mind
and tend to impair the action of the psychic intelligence in its manifestation through
the cards. Of course, good results can be obtained when the conditions are not ideal. I
have here merely outlined the best conditions. But if these are not to be had, diligent
practice will yield good results with the cards even under very unfavorable
I have in an early chapter of the course indicated that a definite system in shuffling
and cutting should be followed, and only departed from when there is a very urgent
impression to do so. Thus the unconscious mind of the reader, and such other psychic
intelligences as may be present, will have a clear idea of how the cards are going to be
handled. Knowing how the cards will be handled facilitates giving them the proper
arrangement by which accurate information may be conveyed through them.
The person to whom the reading is given should be seated on the opposite side of the
table facing the reader; and if the arrangement permits, it is better that the reader sit
on the south side of the table and the person to whom the reading is given sit on the
north side. The natural magnetic flow is from north to south, and this seating aids the
establishment of a relation of positive to negative between the client and the reader.
Before the cards are touched the reader should ascertain just what it is that the client
wishes to know, so that he will have a clear idea of what the cards are expected to
reveal. Then he should ask the client to clear his mind of all desires and thoughts
other than the desire to receive a true and correct reading, or answer to the question. A
trivial attitude will cause the reading to take a frivolous turn. And if there is a strong
desire in the mind of the client or reader to receive a certain answer, it will tend to
cause the cards to give that answer. But if the desire is only for the truth, and there is
earnestness, the cards will mirror this attitude and respond with a clear and accurate
Holding their minds to this unbiased attitude to know the truth, the client is then
instructed to pick up the cards and shuffle them in such a manner that the ends of
some will also be reversed. He is then told to cut them at random into three separate
piles, and to collect them again into one pack in a manner giving them a different
position than they had before cutting. This process is gone through a second time, and
then a third time, all the while the minds of both being occupied with the desire to
receive a truthful answer. When they have been thus shuffled, cut, and recollected the
third time by the client, the reader takes the cards and deals them from the top, face
downward, in the form of the spread he chose to use before the shuffling started.
Then the reader starts by taking the first card by the top and turning it over from top to
bottom so that it lies face upward on the table. He looks at this card and notes any
impressions he receives in connection with its usual divinatory significance and
states them to the client. But in reading the interpretation he is merely to be guided by
the common meaning, and is not to be restricted to it.
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For the sake of facility the brief divinatory meaning of each card as given in these
lessons should be memorized. Yet the real artist will recognize that every card is the
symbol of some astrological influence, and his intuition often will select some phase
of this astrological rulership to indicate the events which are to transpire.
The Broader Significance of
Each Card
--On each Major Arcanum is given its corresponding number, at the upper
right-hand corner is the symbol of its astrological planet or sign, below is the English
letter, at the lower left-hand corner its Hebrew and Chaldean letter, at the lower
right-hand its Egyptian letter, and if it corresponds to a zodiacal sign, the stars of the
constellation picturing the sign are traced on the card as they appear in the sky.
Outstanding things relating to each Major Arcanum are given in the text
accompanying its description; and further things ruled by the corresponding sign
may be learned from Chapter 5 of Course 5, Esoteric Psychology and Chapter 3 of
Course 4, Ancient Masonry; and further things ruled by the corresponding planet
may be learned from Chapter 7 of Course 8, Horary Astrology and Chapter 5 of
Course 10-1, Delineating The Horoscope.
The scope of interpretation of each arcanum is thus vastly increased through the
application of the law of correspondences. For instance, should Arcanum XVI be
turned up it might read as an accident, which is the common meaning. But this
arcanum is really an expression of the energy of Mars, so that if there were cards
preceding it which indicated sickness, it should then be read as a surgical operation;
for surgical operations only occur in people's lives when there is a Major Progressed
Aspect involving Mars in their birth-charts.
The Kings, Queens and
See Pages 4, 5 & 23
--On each of the court cards which represents a type of individual, in addition to the
corresponding playing card symbols to be found above and below on the left-hand
side of the card, and the emblem of the suit to be found at the lower right-hand corner,
the symbol of the zodiacal sign it represents is given at the upper right-hand corner,
and on the card the stars of the constellation picturing that sign are traced as they
appear in the sky. If the picture on the card is that of a man, it represents a man when
right way up, and represents a woman when reversed. If the picture is that of a
woman, it represents a woman when right way up, and represents a man when
reversed. Then the suit alone indicates one of the four general temperaments, and the
complexion of the individual thus designated, if such is all that is required.
The brief description and the Key-phrase given in association with each card
representing a person, adds further information about the designated individual. But the
student, as he advances will desire more details about such persons as are indicated in the
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spread; and on occasions will wish to know their spiritual leanings as well as their more
common characteristics. The description of people born under each zodiacal sign, as set
forth in Chapter 2 of Course 2, Astrological Signatures and Chapter 3 of Course 10-1,
Delineating the Horoscope, will give full details of their characteristics; Chapter 4 of
Course 8, Horary Astrology, will give their personal appearance; and the allegorical
story and its spiritual teaching given in Course 7, Spiritual Astrology, as relating to the
sign, will reveal their spiritual possibilities.
The Horsemen
See Page 41
--The Horsemen are mounted to signify the carrying power and astrological
significance of thought. The suit, as shown by the symbol at the lower right-hand
corner indicates what the thoughts are about. They represent the thoughts of other
people in relation to the client; usually being the thoughts of the person nearest whom
found in the spread. If a Horseman is found right end up, it indicates that the thoughts
and plans so signified are favorable to the client; but if the Horseman is reversed, the
thoughts and plans are detrimental to the interests of the client.
The Minor Arcana
--In astrology the Sun or a planet is considered not only in its relation to the point where the
observer stands, but also in relation to its position in the zodiac. In relation to the diurnal rotation
of the earth, when the Sun is on the M.C. at noon, it corresponds to Jod of the divine word, and to
the suit of scepters; yet in relation to the Sun's apparent annual journey through the zodiac,
scepters correspond to the fiery signs.
When the Sun sinks below the western horizon its position corresponds to the first He
of the divine word, and to the feminine suit of cups; yet in relation to the zodiac, cups
correspond to the watery signs.
When the Sun is on the nadir at midnight, where one day joins another and the power
of darkness is greatest, this position corresponds to Vau of the divine word, where
Jod and He unite, and to the suit of swords. Yet in relation to the zodiacal circle,
swords correspond to the earthy signs.
Finally, when the Sun rises on the eastern horizon, bringing new life to an awaiting
world, its position corresponds to the suit of coins; yet in relation to the whole zodiac,
coins correspond to the airy signs.
The common divinatory interpretation of the Minor Arcana considers the suit
according to the positions relating to the diurnal rotation of the earth; that is, in
reference to the M.C. (business), the Desc. (affections), the Nadir (affliction) and the
Asc. (life and money). But the inner interpretation is derived from the
correspondence of each card to a ten degree section of the zodiac.
Each Minor Arcanum has its number placed at the upper left-hand corner, and the
symbol of its suit at the lower right-hand corner, the emblem being repeated the
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proper number of times in the symbolic design. The nine arcana of each suit
correspond to the nine decanates of each zodiacal triplicity, the tenth arcana, both
embracing the whole triplicity as a completed circle and marking a transition to a new
cycle, being summarized by the triplicity's Key-word.
The Movable signs of the zodiac are the starters, the PIONEERS, hence the true point
of departure in any triplicity is not where it first appears in the zodiac, which with the
earthy triplicity, for instance, would be Taurus, but with its first appearance in a
movable sign. Thus the fiery triplicity commences with Aries, the watery triplicity
with Cancer, the Airy triplicity with Libra and the earthy triplicity with Capricorn.
If you will turn to the illustrated key on page 22 of Chapter 2, it will be plain that the
first three decanates of the earthy triplicity, corresponding to the suit of swords, are
there shown numbered 1, 2, 3, in Capricorn at the top of the key; that the next three
decanates occur in Taurus and are numbered 4, 5, 6; while the last three decanates of
the earthy triplicity appear in Virgo, numbered 7, 8, 9. A little study of this key will
indicate the astrological position and correspondence also of the decanates of the
other triplicities corresponding to the other suits.
Each of the Minor Arcana below 10 thus corresponds strictly to one of the 10 degree
section of the zodiac. And as each of the 36 decanates is pictured in the sky by a
constellation, the stars of the constellation corresponding to each Minor Arcanum
are traced upon it. In the text, in addition to the common divinatory meaning of each
Minor Arcanum is given its inner interpretation, which is revealed by the Key-word
of the decanate to which it thus belongs.
As the student advances, however, he will wish still more detailed information as to
the significance of these Minor Arcana. The symbols indicating the decanate to
which each belongs are given at the upper right-hand corner of the card, and the
planet ruling the decanate is placed, for ready reference, at the lower left-hand
corner. Full details of the physical significance of each decanate, and thus of its
Minor Arcanum, may be learned by consulting Chapters 1 and 2 of Course 10-1,
Delineating the Horoscope, while the allegorical story relating to each, which
reveals its spiritual significance, can be had by looking up the decanate in Course 8,
Horary Astrology.
Interpreting The Cards
--Beginners should restrict their interpretation closely to the common divinatory
meaning; but it will be seen that as all events, thoughts and circumstances have
astrological correspondences, every possible combination of events and conditions
may be indicated in a tarot spread if the wide astrological interpretation is used.
If all the cards are turned over before the reading starts the mind spontaneously
wanders all over the spread and it detracts from the ability to draw correct
conclusions from the card under consideration. Therefore, the cards should be turned
over, one at a time, as read. After reading the first card, which usually indicates some
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event or condition in the past, the next card should be turned over and read as a
subsequent condition or event modifying the first, and the third card as a
circumstance modifying all that has preceded. Thus proceed from past through the
present into the future, each card like a single petal of the opening bud of events,
which alters in shape as it expands, yet all required to represent the full blown flower
of the future.
Some of the cards will be found right end up, and some reversed. But this reversal of
ends does not reverse the meaning, as is sometimes thought. Instead it makes the card
somewhat less fortunate than it is when right end up, just as a planet is less fortunate
when it receives a bad aspect, or as a sign is less fortunate when its ruler receives an
inharmonious aspect. For instance, Saturn can hardly be considered a benefic planet
when well aspected, and Arcanum XV is never a good card, even when right end up;
but when reversed it is more like Saturn afflicted by a discordant aspect. On the other
hand Jupiter, even when much afflicted, is never very malefic; therefore Arcanum V,
even when reversed can signify very little evil, although it is then not so good as if
right end up. The same principle applies also to the minor arcana. Thus except for the
court cards, the significance of which when reversed has already been explained, any
card right end up is more fortunate than it is when reversed.
To determine the influence upon the life of the client of any Court Arcanum, consider
the card just preceding it in the spread. To determine what action will be taken, or
move made, by a person represented by a Court Arcanum, consider the card that next
follows it in the spread.
One may read the cards for himself; and one may read the cards successfully for an
absent person, both shuffling and reading the cards. And as in any art, proficiency is
acquired only by much practice and observation of results.
When using the tarot cards for spiritual and philosophical problems, in which the life
of no person is involved, the Major Arcana become of great importance, and at times
may be used apart from the other cards. In such considerations the 12 Court Arcana
represent the 12 zodiacal signs, and the things to which they correspond, such as the
12 types of intelligence. The Horsemen then represent the 4 elemental kingdoms, and
also the four principles related to the word Jod-He-Vau-He. The Minor Arcana
become useful to designate the various numerical relations.
In using the tarot for philosophical and spiritual problems, the Court Arcana, other
than the Horsemen, may also be taken to signify the influence of their corresponding
zodiacal signs to modify conditions.
And in the use of the cards for such purposes, it should be carefully borne in mind that
the reading of the Major Arcana should always occupy the same plane as the problem
to be solved. Thus if the problem concerns the physical plane, such as the destiny of a
nation, its success in war or commerce, the geological epochs of the earth, the growth
of plants and animals--physical relations--the reading given for the physical world
should be used. But if the problem is concerned with the soul world, with mental
action, with the intellectual development of life, or with the interaction of magical
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forces, the reading should follow the interpretation of the Major Arcana given for the
Intellectual world. Furthermore, if the thing about which information is sought has to
do with universal principles, with spiritual conditions, with eternal verities, or with
the working of God's Great Plan, the interpretation given in connection with each
Arcanum in the spiritual world should be employed. The idea is always to have the
premises and conclusions on the same plane.
The Major Arcana of the tarot are only surpassed as subjects for meditation by the
spiritual texts of astrology. One such card can be used thus on one day, and another
card on the following day, its symbolism and meaning in the three different worlds
receiving undivided attention. After thus thoroughly covering the entire 22, they may
be variously joined in twos, the interaction of the two principles being meditated
upon, in different arrangements. If, for instance it is desired to know the value of
good and evil, conjoin Arcanum V and Arcanum XV; or if the effect of controlling
desire would be known, meditate upon the union of Arcanum I with Arcanum VI.
Because everything which exists has an astrological correspondence which is also
associated with a tarot card, by selecting the proper factors, any physical or occult
problem may be solved by the use of the tarot. Thus, taking something crude, if you
wished to know the possibilities of gasoline, ruled by Neptune, for power, you would
select Arcanum XI. If you wished to know more about the alternating current of
electrical science, you would combine X, ruling electricity and sudden changes with
VI ruling the copper transmitter. Arcanum XVI thus would give you something
definite to think about.
In an astrological chart, to get a clearer view, you can substitute the admonition
which starts, "Remember, then, son of earth," for the dominant planet, or for the
significator of the thing asked about. And if the correspondences of the factors in the
problem are unknown, you can take the pack of cards and lay out a suitable spread as
in other divination by cards, to get the answer. What the tarot can be made to reveal is
limited only by the capacity of understanding of the person using it.
The Adept--Arcanum XXI
--Letter: Egyptian, Sichen; Hebrew, Schin; English, S. Number, 21. Astrologically,
the Sun. Color, orange. Tone, D. Occult science, personal alchemy. Human function,
the ego. Natural remedy, light and color. Mineral, the metal gold.
S--21, expresses in the spiritual world, angelhood.
In the intellectual world, the triumph of adeptship.
In the physical world, the highest possible attainment.
Remember, then, son of earth, that the empire of the world belongs to the empire of
light and that the empire of light is the throne which God reserves for the sanctified
will. If Arcanum XXI should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, thou
wilt gather the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and drink of the eternal
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fountain, if thou art sufficiently master of thyself to approach it without coveting;
obstacles will disappear from thy path, and thy destiny will have no limit save those
of thy will.
In Divination, Arcanum XXI may be read as Success or Attainment.
Arcanum XXI is figured by a kneeling young girl playing on a harp of three strings.
Above is a wreath of twelve flowers, each flower having three blossoms. At each of
the four angles of the wreath is a head; the two below being the head of an eagle and
the head of a bull, the two above being the head of a lion and the head of a man. The
man's head has the sacred serpent at its brow to indicate mental fertility. In the center
of the wreath is a phallus and a yoni conjoined. This sacred lingha is soaring upward
through the wreath, sustained by two wings.
The young girl symbolizes purity of life. She is modestly clothed to indicate
simplicity of living and moderation in desires. She kneels as she plays the harp to
indicate absolute devotion to the higher laws, and prayerful aspirations to live a
spiritual life.
The harp has three strings, signifying harmony of body, intellect and emotions.
The twelve flowers of the wreath above are the twelve zodiacal signs in which all
experience is gained. The three blossoms of each flower indicate that both souls, as
represented joined in the winged linga, have garnered the flowers of zodiacal
experience on all planes, physical, astral and spiritual.
The head of the Lion signifies the creative forces of the solar sign, Leo, and the
courage which is necessary to all real attainment. The head of the Bull represents the
fructifying agent of nature and points out the necessity of labor in all progress. The
Eagle signifies that sex, as signified by the sign Scorpio, has been turned into
channels which lead to spirituality. And the head of the Man indicates that both
intuition and intelligence are necessary guides in unfolding the highest spiritual
These four emblems ranged around the zodiac typify the processes of evolution.
They are the four forms of the Egyptian sphinx, and also symbolize the passage of the
Sun through the four zodiacal quadrants. As applied to adeptship they point out that
the neophyte must have energy and courage to sustain his efforts, must have
knowledge to direct his energies properly, must labor ceaselessly for the realization
of his aspirations, and must gradually tune his emotions to a higher, more spiritual
vibratory level. Those four attributes, Wisdom, Perseverance, Courage, and Love are
usually rendered in occult circles as: "To Know, To Do, To Dare, To be Silent."
The winged linga in the center of the wreath of zodiacal flowers symbolizes the
permanent union of soul-mates and their ascension into angelic worlds by virtue of
the properties of the soul-mates system so formed. The girl kneeling by the harp
denotes that this union was brought about by living the life of the spirit while on
earth. Spiritual aspirations and devotion to furthering God's Great Plan, loving and
unselfish endeavor to contribute the utmost to cosmic welfare, together with a clear
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conception of the laws of harmony, in time bring about the recognition across the
spaces and the development of exchanging lines of force, which lead to this ineffable
union. This harmonious reverberation of soul to soul is symbolized by the harp of
three strings, for the union embraces all three planes.
Strength depends upon harmony, and the music of their souls sounding across the
spaces endows both with a hitherto unknown power to overcome obstacles, to gain
the blossoms of experience on all three planes, as signified by the three flowers
related to each of the 12 zodiacal signs. As a whole the ensemble signifies the
attainment of adeptship while on earth, and the crown of angelhood that awaits such
perfect human beings when they have passed from the physical and function in the
sublime vistas of the future.
--Numerically, 21 is the third decave of 3, representing Arcanum III operating on the
plane of Arcanum III, hence marriage in its most perfect expression. It signifies the
complete nuptial union of 7 carried through three planes to be developed into angelic
expression. And it also signifies in its other aspects, the 3 x 7, or highest possible
development of human functions and possibilities.
--As in truth the Sun is the source of all physical, mental and emotional power
expressed on earth, the planets merely refracting its various attributes, and the signs
acting as sounding-boards for such expression, so Arcanum XXI, signifying
perfection, union and attainment on all three planes, corresponds to the Sun.
Human Function
--Arcanum XXI pictures the ultimate reunion of soul-mates. And as such reunion
enters into the formation of a new system in which the ego is the central nucleus,
about which the magnetic and spiritual forces of both souls play, endowing the whole
with properties which transcend even those of five-dimensional life, Arcanum XXI
well corresponds to the ego.
--In Alchemy, Arcanum XXI represents the final product, or successful
transmutation, and more specifically it denotes the completion of The Great Work.
--The Bible refers to the principle involved in Arcanum XXI as the Promised Land,
on which Moses was permitted to look, but into which he was not able to enter. In this
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respect the Kabala states that Moses was able to pass 49 gates, but could not pass the
50th, or gate of jubilee.
--In Masonry, the Degree of Perfection is based upon Arcanum XXI. This Arcanum
is symbolized in ancient masonry by a two-headed eagle. An eagle is the spiritual
aspect of sex, and the two heads signify two intelligences, or souls, united and
occupying one soul-mate system.
--In Magic, Arcanum XXI represents the exercise of the functions of adeptship.
Although not easily distinguishable, there are seven grades of humanity who live and
move upon the earth, the seventh, and highest, state being that of the perfect man. The
attainment of adeptship on the physical plane is the grand climax of physical
evolution, the topmost point in the ladder of worldly ambitions.
The adept, commencing as an earnest neophyte, has undergone a system of study by
which he has mastered the 21 different branches of occult science. He has entered
upon a process of regular psychic training by which his inner faculties are made
active and accurate, and thus he masters the 21 lucidic arts. Intuition is used to check
reason, and the psychic senses are developed to a keenness that they can be depended
on for far-reaching information not accessible in the outer world.
Furthermore, there are 7 states of consciousness which are developed, which
constitute soul attainment. Those 49, then, are the 49 gates of attainment which
Moses passed. And the 50th is that which relates to the union of true soul-mates.
The real adept, however, is not, as so many seem to imagine, a being who has attained
wonderful power, but who resides in seclusion and lets mankind work out its own
problems. Instead, if he is really an adept, and not merely a magician, he moves
among men, and uses all his powers, in the manner that will be most helpful, to
alleviate suffering and to aid the forward movement of universal progression.
Whatever the powers he has developed, you may be sure the adept is actively
engaged in using them for human welfare. He realizes that the destiny of the cosmos
depends upon each section of it advancing as rapidly as possible, and performing its
own work. And he has striven to become an adept, not to have magical powers by
which to amaze the multitude, but because such a high state of development gives
him added usefulness in the general scheme of things. Constantly, and persistently,
he works for human upliftment, and for everything that will aid in the proper
development of God's Great Plan.
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--In the soul's pilgrimage, Arcanum XXI represents the consciousness of the
whereabouts of the soul-mate, and finally, due to spiritual work accomplished and
spiritual faculties developed, the union in a soul-mate system. As such permanent
union is a relation of spiritual forms, it is apparent there can be no permanent union
until both have spiritual forms developed. Spiritual bodies are not something with
which people are born, they are builded through living a spiritual life. Consequently,
the effort to locate the soul-mate, until such finer forms have developed, is
premature, and leads many people to grievous error.
Furthermore, as when the spirituality is sufficiently advanced, through living a truly
spiritual life, it leads spontaneously to a recognition of the soul-mate, the most fitting
effort toward such a state is not to set out on a soul-mate quest, but to set out with the
determination to develop adeptship. When adeptship, or even its approximation, is
attained, the knowledge of the soul-mate comes by virtue of the states of
consciousness developed, and with no special endeavor required.
Occult Science
Personal alchemy, which embraces the various changes which the devotee of The
Religion of the Stars must make in his manner of living as he ascends the spiritual
ladder to become the perfect man, or adept, corresponds to Arcanum XXI.
The Materialist--Arcanum XXII or 0
--Letter: Egyptian, Thoth; Hebrew, Tau; English T. Number 22. Astrologically, the
planet Pluto. Color, ultra-violet and infra-red. Tone, harmony. Or the color may be
black and the tone inharmony. In science it is either materialism or spirituality.
Natural remedy, stellar healing. Human function, soul-mate system. Mineral, the soil
of earth, or the element plutonium.
T--22 expresses in the spiritual world, annihilation; 0 expresses eternal progression.
In the intellectual world, 22 is atheism; and 0, devotion to The Religion of the Stars.
In the physical world, 22 is materialism, and 0 is ceaseless cooperation in the
furtherance of God's Great Plan.
Remember, then, son of earth, that all things physical pass away; and that before the
soul can pass to higher realms every debt to nature must be paid to the utmost
farthing. If Arcanum XXII should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope,
imprudence threatens to encompass thy ruin, and thou wilt be called upon to pay for
thy folly unless thou immediately changeth thy ways.
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In Divination, Arcanum XXII means Failure, Folly, and Mistake; (or
Arcanum XXII, or 0, like the planet Pluto, has a dual interpretation. As XXII, it is
well represented by the letter T with its point thus down; but as 0, the circle being the
symbol of spirit, it is represented by the reversed T, that is, having the point, or
energy, directed upward, the cross-bar resting below on the earth, and thus indicating
that the thoughts, emotions and actions, are directed exclusively toward spiritual
endeavor. It is figured by a blind man carrying bags on his left shoulder. He leans on a
black staff and walks toward a fallen obelisk behind which a crocodile with open
mouth awaits to devour him. Above is an eclipse of the Sun. The eclipse signifies that
the spiritual light from within has been obscured by material interests; or it signifies
that dark forces from the inner plane try to shut away the spiritual illumination which
guides the neophyte.
The bags over the left shoulder of the blind man indicate the material things of life he
has spent his efforts acquiring; or it represents his ability to minister in physical ways
to those in need.
The staff of experience with good and evil is black, indicating that prudence is
subservient to the demands of the senses; or that the demands for uplifting and
protecting others is so great that, though enlightened, he ignores all danger.
The fallen obelisk symbolizes the final overthrow of all temporal work and power.
The crocodile indicates the ultimate fate of all who are blind to spiritual things, and
also the persecution of those who work to spread the true facts of spirituality.
This blind man is the atheist, or materialist, and the man who is so absorbed in
material aims that he neglects all thought of spiritual things. It is likewise the man
who is a slave to his desires. And the ensemble thus symbolizes the inevitable
suffering which follows sin. Or, it symbolizes the truly spiritual man, who is so
enthusiastic in his effort to assist the race that he is completely blind to the
consequences to himself. And thus, equally well, it symbolizes the law of universal
compensation, which decrees that for all effort expended in a constructive channel
there inevitably follows increased ability and real advancement.
--Numerically, 22 is the third decave of 4, and thus represents sex used to gratify the
passions, or for magical and selfish purposes. 0, however, which is the alternate
reading of the Arcanum, represents the cycle, and shows that there is a transition of
character to a higher basic spiritual, or vibratory, level.
--In astrology it is found that the planet Pluto has two marked and opposite qualities.
It rules the gangster and racketeer when its destructive side manifests; and it rules the
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highest type of spiritual effort, and the realization by the individual of his cosmic
work, when the better side is manifest. These two extremes are symbolized by
Arcanum XXII.
Human Function
--On its destructive side Arcanum XXII corresponds to, and symbolizes, the
disintegration of the vehicle on the inner plane occupied by the soul; and on the
constructive side Arcanum 0 represents the infiltration to the soul yet on earth of
information and instructions from adepts occupying the super-velocity spiritual
--In Alchemy, Arcanum XXII signifies failure in transmutation, and the regimes
adopted in the hope of transmutation which lead only to repressions. Arcanum 0, on
the other hand, represents the work in cosmic affairs which is undertaken after the
Great Work has been accomplished.
--In the Bible we read that the Fool has said in his heart that there is no God. Also,
Math. 16:26; "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose
his own soul?" Math. 12:32; "But whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it
shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
Speaking against the Holy Ghost is effort made to prevent the progress of God's
Great Plan of eternal evolution.
--In Masonry, the Sublime Knight Elected is based upon Arcanum XXII, the Tau, or
T, with the point down, instead of with the point up, and thus indicating that the
creative energies are devoted exclusively to material ends.
--In Magic, Arcanum XXII indicates that the individual has given himself over to
the control of invisible intelligences who have no regard for his welfare, and who use
him consistently to thwart any and everything which is true and progressive on the
face of the earth. It symbolizes elemental affinities that are formed in the selfish
endeavor to gain, through magic, material advantages over others.
Arcanum 0, the alternate interpretation, however, indicates that there is freedom
from all control; but that the individual has contacted intelligences of a very exalted
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spiritual plane who direct him consistently in his efforts to give to those on earth new
and higher teachings.
--In the soul's pilgrimage Arcanum XXII represents the failure of the soul to gain
self-conscious immortality. It also represents the obstacles which, whenever the
neophyte sets his feet resolutely on the path of adeptship he is sure to attract. The
resolution to live in a different manner, by the law of affinity, causes the thinking
about it to attract obstacles to the performance of the thing resolved upon.
Arcanum 0, on the other hand, indicates that the soul through its earthly experiences
has developed in the building of its spiritual form far enough that it will not need to
tarry in the astral world after the dissolution of the physical, but will go at once to
undertake a higher mission for The Father, on the still more interior planes. And it
represents that law of affinity which, when the aspirations are vivid, attracts spiritual
entities and forces which enable it, through their help, to overcome the obstacles to its
spiritual progress.
Occult Science
--Arcanum XXII represents the soul-annihilating dogmas of materialism. But
Arcanum 0, on the other hand, represents the soul uplifting teachings of THE
The Life Spread
--The Life-Spread requires a large table, or space, on which to lay the cards. After
shuffling and cutting the cards in the usual manner, the cards are dealt, one at a time,
face downward in the form of a hollow square of 28 cards. 4 is realization and 7 is
perfection of form, and these 4 x 7 cards of the square, or 28 (2 plus 8 equals ten)
involving to 10, symbolize the cycle of life in the physical form. Yet, as laid, there are
8 on each side, the number of crystallization. This square relates to the physical
Within this hollow square of the physical, deal a triangle of 12 cards, so that there are
5 cards on each side of the triangle, always dealing from the right hand corner around
to the left. 5 is the number of inspiration and 3 is the number of action. These 12 cards
indicate the sacrifices (12) which have been made of the physical comforts for the
sake of developing the mentality. This triangle, the triangle symbolizing mind,
relates to mental attainment.
Then in this hollow trine, commencing at the bottom, deal a circle of 9 cards. 9 is the
number of divine wisdom, and as it is in the form of a circle, which symbolizes spirit,
it relates to spiritual attainment.
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There are now 49 cards, or 49 gates to life, and there remains only to add the 50th card
in the center to give the jubilee, which is the point where square, trine and circle are
one. The spread is illustrated on page 232.
In reading this life oracle, start with the lower right hand corner of the square and read
entirely around the square to the left, turning and reading but one card at a time. The
cards in this outer spread are all to be considered as events relating to the physical life
and material success; and not as having much direct bearing on intellectual pursuits
or spiritual attainment. Each, in the order in which it occurs is to be considered as a
subsequent event or influence.
After the material events and influences have thus been read, start at the lower right
hand corner of the trine, and read around to the left; but consider these cards, as
turned and read, to have to do with the mental processes, the intellectual attainment,
and such studies and opportunities as have to do with acquiring knowledge.
Next start with the bottom card of the circle and read it around to the left. The conditions
there found, and the opportunities shown, relate to the spiritual development, and the
moral trend. Of course, material happenings and mental opportunities have an influence
upon the spiritual life; but only such as are found in the circle of 9 cards are to be
considered as really important factors in the spiritual life.
The events relating to each plane of endeavor, as shown in this spread, are to be
considered as those of most importance throughout the whole of the life. And as a
final revelation, indicating the event which, on the physical, mental and spiritual
plane, will have most influence in shaping the client's life, the central card, or
Jubilee, should be turned over and read.