6 – Comparing the old way of viewing the Tarot, against this new understanding.

Comparing the old way of  viewing the Tarot, against this new understanding.


Why the current Tree of Life is wrong.

I don’t see the current structure of the Tree of Life as correct, and it needs to be completely reevaluated.  The way that I actually recognized this 1-2-1 pattern initially was through playing hearts and spades with my family. Both of these games are derivatives of the original game of Tarot, and still retain the original 1-2-1 trick taking structure. This pattern had long been burned deep into my childhood memories.

If we take this new information from the original game of Tarot, along with the connections to geomancy, radically challenges the current conception of The Tree of Life.

Most people like to think about current model of The Tree of Life as some sort of ancient thing, it’s really not. You can trace back the current structure that’s commonly understood, to some time in about the 1500s. Back then, it was a bunch of really smart Jewish mystics that got together, and took everything they knew about the Hebrew language along with other related spiritual information, and then created their best guess at fitting these things together.  While it does a decent job, there is no definitive version of it. There are many disagreements about the attributes, many strange unresolved issues with understanding it

However, geomancy predates all of the work on the tree of life by hundreds of years. When calculating horoscopes with it, the system goes that you first random data is created into the first 8 boxes, then calculated down into the 4 boxes below, then another calculation to 2 boxes, and then a final one to the last box. How they create a horoscopes, is by taking those first 12 boxes, from the 8 and 4, and then putting them into a zodiac arrangement. The final 3, the boxes 2 and 1, then get their own interpretation separately. Some examples from texts on geomancy:



Geomancy already has these proportions encoded into it. The formula of (8+4) + (2+1), which is 12 + 3. If you already know the proportions of the Hebrew alphabet, you would know that 3, 7 and 12 are significant numbers. If you then also knew how to create a geomantic chart, would also then have a formula to get the numbers 12 + 3. It wouldn’t then be that difficult to then figure out how to fit the remaining 7 missing pieces.

Since the knowledge of geomancy and the Hebrew alphabet are both much older than medieval Kabbalah, this 1-2-4-8 pattern then has historical precedent, and then calls into question the validity of the current interpretation of the tree of life.

European scholars and universities began to translate Arabic texts and treatises in the early Middle Ages, including those on geomancy. Isidore of Seville lists geomancy with other methods of divination including pyromancy, hydromancy, aeromancy, and necromancy without describing its application or methods;[5] it could be that Isidore of Seville was listing methods of elementalscrying more than what is commonly known as geomancy. The poem Experimentarius attributed to Bernardus Silvestris, who wrote in the middle of the 12th century, was a verse translation of a work on astrological geomancy. One of the first discourses on geomancy translated into Latin was the Ars Geomantiae of Hugh of Santalla; by this point, geomancy must have been an established divination system in Arabic-speaking areas of Africa and the Middle East.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geomancy

The Tree of LIfe as it is currently known, is a construct from the Medieval period:

Traditional practitioners believe its earliest origins pre-date world religions, forming the primordial blueprint for Creation’s philosophies, religions, sciences, arts, and political systems.[5] Historically, Kabbalah emerged, after earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, in 12th- to 13th-century Southern France and Spain, becoming reinterpreted in the Jewish mystical renaissance of 16th-century Ottoman Palestine. It was popularised in the form of Hasidic Judaism from the 18th century onwards.

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah

The tree of life as it is known, is the best guess interpretation that these guys could come up with. People have been moving things around and changing the structure of the tree of life for hundreds of years; there really isn’t any one definitive interpretation of it.

As an example, some versions of the tree of life connect the very bottom sephira to only one place, where others connect it to three other sephirot:



Things like the “tree of life” mapped onto the “flower of life” are actually modern attributions, like this for example:


While it looks nice, there isn’t any sort of historical precedent for it.

In fact, if you go back to much older kabbalah, especially when looking at drawings from the medieval period, it even looks less like it does today. Notice the area right under the supernal triad, where da’ath is currently said to be:

The Tree of Life wasn’t a random construction. They started with a certain set of numbers, specially the groups of 3, 12 and 7 from the Hebrew alphabet. Another thing that they had been trying to figure out and “prove” for a long time is the supposed secret, in that if you knew the true secret structure of the alphabet, it would reveal the number Pi. There’s actually a fictional movie that touches on this idea, it’s a little dated now, but I still enjoy it. It’s obviously enough called “Pi”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pi_(film)

Here’s one example of a system to try to get Pi out from these numbers.  It has to use quite a bit of roundabout reasoning to arrive at it’s conclusions:  http://www.inner.org/torah_and_science/mathematics/story-of-pi-2.php

Here’s another way that someone tried to calculate it out: http://www.virtuescience.com/hebrew-alphabet.html

The question then becomes, where does all of this stuff really come from? How can we know whats really right or not? I’ve had to ask myself this question quite a bit, and I realized it came down to a couple main determining factors for me.

On one hand, it takes hundreds of pages to explain why the tree of life is the way it is, and you can only start with material from about the 15th century onward.

Or on the other hand, you can start with a universal mathematical pattern, that has historical precedent back in the 12th century, which simply and easily pops out the most important numbers in kabbalah lore, without having to use a single line of reasoning or justification.

Another thing to consider, is when these mystics would have been thinking about these things down initially thousands of years ago, they didn’t have the complex math we have today to try to calculate Pi in all sorts of exotic ways. 22/7 is the smallest and most accurate way to get Pi from doing math with integers. 1+2+4+8+4+2+1 adds up to 22. This creates 7 groups of numbers. By arranging this pattern, you are splitting 22 things into 7 groups, 22 into 7, 22/7 = 3.14… With this system, you can slip the entire formula into a paragraph without even having to do any sort of roundabout reasoning.

While it is a lot to consider, you have to wonder, where does the Kabbalah REALLY come from? If we can now explain it with math in a much simpler and easier way than what the current version is, especially with the fact that these patterns predate the modern conception by centuries, can we even then be sure that the current version is right?

When you set up the trumps into this 1248421 pattern, it fit many systems immediately and perfectly. You can create this pattern with the historical card game of Tarocchi. Once you set up this pattern though, it connects to I-Ching and geomancy in very interesting ways. You can then also map the groups of cards, in how they create that 3-5-7 pattern to the winding staircase and to the 3-5-7 sequence in the 3 by 3 magic square (aka square of Saturn). As well as the dimensional work with the Trivium and Quadrivium connecting the the majors to the Chakras as well.

Each one of these systems connected up, quickly and easily, it was only the Tree of Life that wouldn’t fit. The rest of these systems made very tight correspondences. From my research on historical playing cards, there might be further evidence that there are more cards connected to this that go even further back. In my opinion, the structure that I’ve shown with 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 is the most correct way to understand the tree of life, all of Magick needs to be rebuild around it.


A new understanding of the I-Ching as Vectors

In order to fully explain how the I-Ching connects, let me start with a very basis diagram from it, these are the 8 trigrams: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-8KD0vJ8VLBY/UnDfXAeZclI/AAAAAAAADuY/j1siaki9coI/s1600/iching_trigrams.jpg

A full I-Ching reading is made from a 2 trigrams, which creates a hexagram. There are 8 trigrams, and 64 hexagrams, since 8 * 8 = 64 possible combinations: http://adsr.ninja/blog/p098_files/timewave-theory-king-wen-sequence-hexagrams-iching.jpg

Even though each hexagram has a unique meaning unto itself, each of the two trigrams retains its individuality. The common way to look them up, is through a table, with one above the other: https://taobabe.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/hexagrams.gif?w=420&h=332

My question is then, on a fundamental level, what IS a trigram or hexagram? is it an actual THING? or?

There have been many theories as to what the trigrams and hexagrams are, many people have put together systems where they try to map everything out into a logical order. Here are a few ways that people have tried to connect this stuff together:









While some of these diagrams might seem interesting, or holding worthwhile information. Consider the following diagram:


There are only two things that make up the entirety of the system, and that’s solid lines and broken lines. It’s easy to think about as just simple coin flips for example. With each flip of the coin, it selects one or the other, a solid line, or a broken line; which represent yin and yang. You repeat the process, and get the next line, at which point there are 4 possible outcomes, another flip, and now there are 8 possible outcomes. The binary pattern that’s created is the Trigram.

You repeat this process again, to make another Trigram, for a total of 6 flips. Once you have the hexagram completed, you then look it up in a chart. http://www.the-intuitive-self.org/website/art/diagrams/i_ching_table.gif

What’s interesting though, and important about this process, is that this binary nature mirrors how computers hold information in memory: https://proporzionedivina.files.wordpress.com/2003/06/zimage51.gif

There have been many systems created with the data from the I-Ching, where it starts at a central point, and then splits into two thing, then splits into four, then 8, 16, 32, then finally 64, like this:


This system I’m describing connects all of the data from the I-Ching and makes things fit together, not only together with the Tarot, in less space than other systems created by just the I-Ching alone.
Here’s an example of how someone tried to connect the trigrams to a tree of life: http://moderniching.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Trigram-Tree-of-Life.jpg

Here’s another example of a failed attempt to connect together the I-Ching to the Tree of Life.


As an example of how these things can connect, see how these two different diagrams of the Trigrams I’ve picked, connects to the original pattern:


Chart on the top: http://www.internalartsinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/wu-ji-tai-ji-10-000.gif

Chart on the bottom: http://ideonexus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/binaryRelationships.png

When we map the I-Ching in this way, instead of seeing each Hexagram as an actual thing, we can instead view it as a series of vectors that show the movement of energy. We can view the 22 trumps in their 1248421 arrangement as points of information, and then the 64 hexagrams as the connection ways between those points, as a series of vectors.


Crowley’s I-Ching off

It’s important to note, that Crowley was the first person to attempt to map the I-Ching to the Tarot. While he ultimately wasn’t successful in mapping it perfectly, he was correct in his assertion to connect these two systems together. With Crowley’s method, he mapped the 64 hexagrams to 64 of the 78 Tarot cards, but this method of understanding these two systems completely transcends these older views of mapping these systems directly to each other. Instead, they must be mapped between each other.


What is the correct ordering of the Trumps? It’s now from 0 to 21, with 0 at the top.

In fact, while this might seem strange at first, consider it like this with just two cards, The Fool and The World. Which should be on top of which? It’s The Fool that stands on top of The World. The bottom of kabbalistic tree is malkuth, which is the world. If each of us contains a piece of divinity, then “The Fool” is actually the reflection of Kether.


Crowley vs. Waite

After finding all of this initially, I started looking into who might have known about this pattern. Some of the results were shocking to me. The “Crowley vs. Waite” debate is actually further deepened, especially when all of this information comes to light. There is some very strong evidence, that Waite might have known this true 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 structure, but I can’t say for sure.

If you look at Waite’s deck and examine the Empress card closely, he actually encoded a secret into it. The card number is 3, so there is a 3 at the top. She has dozen stars on her crown, which represent the 12 zodiac signs, and 7 pearls on her necklace the 7 classical planets. In the pictorial key, he does mention the 12 and 7, but doesn’t mention how they connect, especially to the 3 above them. Of course though when you add them all up from top to bottom, 3+12+7 = 22.

Not only does Waite secretly encode the 22 into the Empress, but he does it in the 3 / 12 / 7 order that can be had from how 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 can be viewed as: (1+2)+(4+8)+(4+2+1)

The next thing, is a little strange, but more proof toward for this structure. In Waite’s pictorial key he mentions the Ogdoad in the section about the Magician (http://www.sacred-texts.com/tarot/pkt/pktar01.htm), whats interesting though, is that I’ve seen how the Ogdoad fits the description of how the Trumps can be viewed in this pattern. The only place I’ve ever been able to find someone write out 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 in a spiritual context, is actually Manly P. Hall talking about the Ogdoad:

The ogdoad–8–was sacred because it was the number of the first cube, which form had eight corners, and was the only evenly-even number under 10 (1-2-4-8-4-2-1). Thus, the 8 is divided into two 4’s, each 4 is divided into two 2’s, and each 2 is divided into two 1’s, thereby reestablishing the monad. Among the keywords of the ogdoad are love, counsel, prudence, law, and convenience. Among the divinities partaking of its nature were Panarmonia, Rhea, Cibele, Cadmæa, Dindymene, Orcia, Neptune, Themis, and Euterpe (a Muse).

I think it’s intentional, but I can’t be sure since I haven’t found anything else yet in his texts that directly connects to that. I might have overlooked another reference to it, there is so much to go through, but eventually I will investigate this connection further. It it was intentionally written out like this, then it this knowledge would have been out there to some degree.

When it then comes to who was right in the “Crowley vs Waite” debate, its kind of a strange situation. Waite might have known the structure, but he didn’t connect up the I-Ching stuff, since he was a Christian and I’m unaware of him using that system at all. Unless there is secret writing that Waite did on the I-Ching, I don’t know any connection between him and that. Crowley obviously didn’t know this pattern, because he would have written about it for sure, but by connecting the I-Ching to the Tarot and having his book named “Liber ABA, Book 4” it shows that he was correct in that regard. This proves, that neither of them had all of the information, both of them just had pieces at best.


Judgement and The Moon, swapped?

Once we take a view of the Tarot in a 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 arrangement, we can start to see some interesting pairs of cards pop up. For example, there is a clear dichotomy between The Magician and The High Priestess.  You can also view these dichotomies going from above to below as well though, for example, The Fool and The World, or The Magician and The Sun.

I noticed though, that some things didn’t quite fit, so I tried moving some cards around and had some very interesting results. For example, when you then look at Judgement and The Sun, there isn’t any sort of obvious connection or dichotomy between these two.

However, if you take Judgement, and swap its places with The Moon. Notice now how the High Priestess then lines up vertically with the Moon, the Sun lines up vertically with The Magician, and how the Sun and Moon are then on the same level. Judgement also has an interesting dichotomy with The Lovers above it. Once I saw this, I realized that these two spots were actually swapped on purpose.



The World vs. The Universe. Which is right? Which is wrong?

In continuing to examine these Tarot decks, if we take a look at the Thoth deck, we can find an interesting discrepancy created by changing “The World” to “The Universe”.

Viewed with this new ordering notice the how the high priestess (feminine) and magician (masculine) are connected to the fool. There is an obvious dichotomy the two cards of Magician and High Priestess. Once you swap Judgement and Moon, once the Sun and Moon on the same line it shows their dualistic nature.

When you talk about the Earth, Sun and Moon as actual celestial objects, there is a clear relationship each other: Moon obits the Earth, which orbits the Sun. On the contrary though, if you were to swap in “The Universe” into this “Sun and Moon” relationship, the scope of the universe contains billions and billions of suns and moons. It throws the whole higher and lower aspects off. If you were to use my interpretation of putting card 21 at the bottom, it only makes sense to have it be the earth, since it’s equivalent placement would be malkuth on the tree of life.


© 2015 Steven Glick  All Rights Reserved

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