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The Kabbalistic Meaning of the Major Arcana

By Pythia

If you have never heard about it, there is a straightforward correlation between the subset of Tarot Cards named Major Arcanas and the Kabbalah. The implications are so profound and true that if you have never heard about them you have missed a lot in terms of the underlying meaning and spiritual attributes of Tarot. The link is established by taking a good look at the symbolic representation of Tree of Life of Kabbalah. The Tree of life constitutes of 10 Spheres or Levels of Influence, called Sephirot (plural) and 22 Paths connecting these Sephirot (see the image for clarifications). The 10 Sephirot are:

  1. Keter or Crown
  2. Chokhmah or Wisdom
  3. Binah or Understanding
  4. Chesed or Kindness
  5. Gevurah of Severity
  6. Tiferet or Beauty
  7. Netzach or Eternity
  8. Hod or Splendor
  9. Yesod or Foundation
  10. Malkuth or Kingdom

The real “revelation” comes when you realize that there are 22 Major Arcana cards – same number as the number of connecting paths on the Tree of life. Now, you can imagine that in fact each of the Cards from the Major Arcana subset of Tarot has a certain specified meaning related to the meaning of those paths.

sephirot and paths on the tree of life

Let us first see what the meaning of a path on the tree of life could be. Given that a Sephirah (singular form) represents a certain definite state of consciousness or state of mind, the paths obviously indicate some change of consciousness from one to some other aspect of our psyche. Then, following this logic, the Major Arcana (Trump) Card also depict this transition from one state of mind to another, different, higher or lower state of mind.

The rest is up to you, namely how you may find it suitable to interpret the Tarot cards, given the meaning of the Kabbalah Sephirot and Symbols as well as their joining lines – paths on the Tree of life. This will give you plenty of material and a lot of symbolism. Certainly valuable if you are a Tarot reader, regardless of whether you are professional or not. Here are these relations enumerated (the number denotes the numeration on the cards):

I hope that you have managed to see the not-so-visible link that exists between Kabbalah’s Tree of life and Major Arcana Cards. I hope this will be an incentive to engage into a more deeper investigation of the spiritual side of Tarot as well as Kabbalah itself.

About the Author

Article written by Pythia.

Disclaimer:

The above guest post is published based on the premise that it will be helpful and informative. The opinions made within it are those of the author and not of sunnyray.org. The links you may find within this post do not necessarily imply our recommendation or endorsement of the views expressed within them.





Comments:

Rod Mendieta says:
07-25-2012


Don’t see Malkuth connected to any other Sephira except Yesod. It does makes sense that this one Path should correspond to the World Arcana, but I don’t see the other 2 Paths on the Tree.

Rod

Pythia says:
09-16-2012


Hi Rod, Yes, you are completely right. Malkuth should be connected both to Netzach and Hod, but from some reason these two lines are left out of the diagram. Thanks a lot for your comment and for the correction!

JMSong says:
12-13-2015


First, thank you; well done. I especially like your transliteration and your interpretation of Netzach as Eternal rather than Victory.

Your Hebrew Tree uses the alternate Din (Judgment) for G'vurah (Strength/Severity) and omits the alternate G'dulah (Growth/Expansion) for Chesed (Mercy), but that is very minor.

What is the origin of the colors of your S'firot? I'm more familiar with Keter/silver, Chokhmah/white, Binah/black, Chesed/blue, Din/red, Tiferet/yellow, Netzach/green, Hod/orange, Y'sod/violet, Malkhut/ochre-russet-olive-black. Is your color scheme symbolic as well as artistic?

Again, very well done. Thank for your work.

Pythia says:
12-13-2015


Hi JMSong

No, you are right. The colors are just an artistic representation. I wasn't trying to denote the color symbolism, and I completely agree with you — this should be clearly pointed out. Thanks for the alternate meanings, for the corrections, and for the kind words.

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