Awareness realizes itself daily, enjoying the embodied experience of life by interacting with itself via several primary, energetic modes; in other words, we are in turns willful, intellectual, emotional and physically active. Often we are all of these things simultaneously. Sometimes we, being deeply aware of ourselves, consciously choose to employ one or several of these modes to purpose, like the landscaper who envisions a great garden and puts his body to the task of creating it. These various interactions with reality are represented by the four tarot suits, wands, swords, cups and disks.
In the Qabalistic system of Tarot appreciation, not only do we divide awareness into modes of apprehension, but the entirety of reality as well. In fact, the Qabala will divide the reality into no less than 32 distinct dimensions – cosmic Intelligences alive in their own right. Here we look at the totality of creation as one Great Awareness parsed into a multitude of awarenesses, at once separate and existing in its own sphere in space-time, but also evolving in a downward arc from its Origin Source to eventually arrive in the embodied vessel called the human condition. So it is said, As above, so below.
The Qabalistic system places each Tarot card on a great Tree of Life with the tens representing the Kingdom, here, where we each live our lives in the 3D, and the Aces all the way up above at the top of the Tree, representing the first expression of Source into physical manifestation. The Primal Point in which all of the potentiality of existence resides not yet expressed. The Four Suits exist here, each ready to travel outwards. The nine new numbers of creation exist here, each ready to travel outwards. All the paths on which these elements and principles of reality will traverse into ever more refined expression, exist here, ready to travel outwards.
And on the Breath of Source the first is ushered forward, the first path upon which the rest will follow, the original innocence of awe into life and wonderment and potential and Love. The Fool marches forward on path 0 to connect the Aces with the second manifest sphere of reality, the Twos. On and on this journey into life will unfold until the entire Tree has taken root, every principle of reality now on full-color display. Awareness dances freely in the Garden, interacting with itself, knowing itself, loving itself. The entire garden is its playground, it’s place for enjoyment – the stage on which to enact every drama and tell any story at all.
Let’s time-warp into the present for a moment. It’s been an interesting history to have unfolded since Source first Big Banged into something. Lots has transpired. Now many things have become defined. Today we have so many, many stories to explain all the permutations of awareness into matter. So many games. So many life paths. The Tarot cards reveal to us how awareness permeates itself at every level of the reality, subsuming the consciousness of the human being. They are a magnificent tool of exploration into the depths and breadth of awareness itself for within the book of the Tarot we might find the entire chakra journey illuminated from base to crown, the Akashic Hall of Records on full display, the dark recesses of the shadow, the labyrinths of the myth and magic and mystery of the magicians and alchemists desire to know ultimate truth. It’s all there in the Book, and on the Tree.
Which brings us to the 5s. Those dreaded 5s, so often feared even more than the 7s; well, I suppose fear, as well as the drat legion of negatives it inspires, must certainly have its rightful place amongst the principles of reality. Everything in its place, right? But check it out. It’s said that the spiritual journey is all about going ‘back’ to the proverbial home, back to consciousness of the human nature – back to the truth of pristine awareness. Innocence uncovered, or recovered. A great journey back to source even whilst we remain embodied, the Tarot embolden us with a confidence that we might actually know something real. And so we travel up the Tree, up and up, ever aspiring, transcending the mortal frame to know God once again.
It is said in Tarot Lore that in the 6s we have reached our heart center, the so-called heart chakra and nexus of human experience. Here we have come to center and repose, before and beyond judgement, at the center of the turning world, a world which revolves around us only while we quiescently look on. Completely objective, aligned with all objects because we stand reserved of all judgement rendered upon them. Let them be. I am that I am. They can be as they are, too. Reality is, and it has nothing, and everything to do with me. I am in harmony with my nature. They call this center, Christ consciousness. A wo/man who knows herself and her place in reality.
Funny thing about the Nazarene they would later call the Christ – according to legend, he’d always grocked his place in the life. He knew. The innocence had been left uncorrupted somehow, a miracle in itself. He was untouched by the serpent’s legacy; didn’t bother much with ‘this and that’. He knew, and was not yet resolved. He’d nothing to reconcile, nothing to rectify; his place was at center point, verily the Son of the Father. And he was human, too. What was that catalyst that would see him turn at thirty and make a decision to turn left upon the Tree, put one foot forward and make a decision, a choice? He was quite suddenly, they say, possessed of a mission. But first, he needed to get himself in the proper frame of mind to go out and deliver upon his vision of need. He needed the Steel of Will that would support his wielding of the Philosopher’s Stone.
Our hero ventured forth from his place in the Six-center, ventured forth from the Heart intentionally. He climbed the next rung on the ladder, one step closer to His Father. From Six he went to Five. Removed from his Passions in the Sevens, foresworn of the Mind in the Eights, Jesu moved with alacrity upon the Path of Justice, Adjusting His positioning, armed with a Great Sword of discrimination; he went out into the desert to do a great penance, a great spiritual practice. He went out to meet the Devil and look him in the eye. Funny that the occultists place the Devil a little lower on the Tree, on the Path connecting the Heart-Mind. But Jesu didn’t need to be there; He needed to see the Devil where he breathed, where he was born, the child of Severity Herself. Just another child of the Great Mother, but a child with some attitude.
Jesu went out into the desert of the Fives and encountered exactly what he was looking for. He was tempted by doubt and fear and all the anxiety that comes from not knowing which of the personal elements is in charge. For in the Fives we find Venus and Mars dancing the night away, each drunk on their own power, each influencing the other and mindless of both the influence they are under and the influence they exert. Neither takes the lead. Neither submits to follow. It is pandemonium, and the human condition often suffers the travails of the Gods. We meet the Fives with dread precisely because we’ve little idea of what we’ve gotten ourselves into. It is why we’re anxious, why we worry and why we are so often disappointed with results. It is mayhem! But it doesn’t need to be.
Look! The Fives reside higher on the evolutionary ladder back to the Godhead than even the Christ Himself! There is turmoil, but if you can but be present with it for a moment, you might actually find your stride, unlike the Sevens which might suck you down into an unconscious morass of self-righteousness. In the Fives you might give yourself to high intent and mighty mission. You might actually get some Real Work done, if you’re of a mind to engage in such a Great Work. And said Work accomplished, behold your choices now! Illumined, you might mount the mighty Merkabah and ride forward to your destiny. Empowered, you might mount Zion’s own Lion and imbibe the Elixir that will enable your conscious creation.
Or you might scale back down and return to Center Point like Jesu, go back out into the world and get to the serious work of serving your mission into the community. The choices are many, and colorful, and supremely interesting – all because you gave a bit of noble and worthy attention to the Fives.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.