The purpose of this essay is to consider possible numeric, geometric , musical and cosmological keys that may prove useful in deciphering the archetypal code of the CBD Tarot of Marseille. In Part I, the reader is introduced to the methods of inquiry. In Part II, the implications of this inquiry — related to the practice of Agni Yoga — are discussed.
There are 22 Major Arcana Tarot cards, and there are 22 — and only 22 — regular polygons with integer sides and angles which can be inscribed in a circle. This coincidence suggests a cyclic (sinusoidal) pattern, as well as a “foolish” quest for the “squaring of the circle.”
Furthermore, the sides of this series of 22 polygons can be factorized as products of the prime numbers 2, 3,and 5, like in the 5-limit just intonation.
Table 1. Factorization by prime numbers 2, 3 and 5.
2a x 3b x 5c = 3,4,5,6,8,9,…,40,45,60,72,90,120.
(for a=0,1,2,3; b=0,1,2; c=0,1)
However, the polygons of 360 and 180 sides, corresponding to a point and a line, do not have “conjugate” polygons in a 2-D plane. Conjugates are pairs of polygons in which the number of sides in one correspond to the central angle degrees in the other. For instance, a triangle (3 sides) and a dodecontagon (120 sides) are conjugate polygons because their central angles are 120 and 3 degrees, respectively. The product of these two numbers always equals 360.
The triangle (3) is the first regular polygon of the remaining 20 polygons inscribed in a circle; the dodecontagon (120) is the last. The octadecagon (18) and the icosagon (20) are positioned at the midpoint of the series.
When we sort the 22 cards of the CBD Tarot of Marseille in reverse order, as shown in Table 1, and align them with the corresponding inscribed polygons, a semicircular (V) pattern emerges (Figure 1), with the Wheel of Fortune serving as the point of return corresponding to the conjugate polygons of 18 and 20 sides.
Therefore, there may be a 2-3-5 musical key to the Mysteries. Also, three octaves comprise 22 notes. The 5-limit just intonation generates 22 inscribed polygons, pointing to mathematical and geometric keys of the Mysteries, as hinted herein. A cosmological key may also be present — As Above, So Below — as in the Tree of Life, in the Sepher Yetzirah and the 22 letters of the Kabbalah alphabet.
The 3 Mother Letters would correspond to the Triangle, the Square and the Pentagon: the factorization by the three prime numbers 2, 3,and 5 (“primordial” polygons) manifesting the Father, the One.
The 12 Simples would correspond to: 1, (2), (3), 4, (5), 6, 8, 9,10, 12,15,18, 20, 24, 30.
[30 is the end of the “simple” series, for a=b=c=1]
21 x 31 x 51=30
The 7 Doubles ([30 x 2 = 60] x 2 = 120) would correspond to: 36,40,45,60,72,90,120.
The point (1) and the line (2) precede the 2-D polygonal figures, whose respective archetypes begin to externalize (manifest) with the triangular polygon.
A Cubic Tarot
Three orthogonal axes of direction: East-West, North-South, Above-Below.
Six faces and the center: the Seven Rays (1-7, 2-6, 3-5 and 4 at the center)
Twelve edges: the Three Crosses of the Zodiac (Mutable, Fixed and Cardinal).
The Antahkarana Helical Bridge
3 + 7+ 12 = 22
The Probationary Path of the Prodigal Son, from the birth of the Fool to the Magician stage, has a turning point (Wheel of Fortune). This point must be crossed again, on the Way of Return, now led by the Soul — the true Magician within — back to the Source of all Light. The Fool has been transformed into a Buddha, the Enlightened One, an Initiate of the Mysteries (revealed on the Day of Judgment).
Figure 2. CBD Tarot of Marseille.
However, the order of the steps to be trodden in the Fool’s Journey is not lineal, but rather, labyrinthine, as shown in this 2-D rendition of a multidimensional process.
Prime Generating Symmetry of the Number 22
As shown in Figure 2, any two numbers linked by a line add up to an irreducible prime number, signaling a new beginning in a path of many trials and errors, back and forth, ups and downs, until the Light of the Word — the Word of the Light, the true Archetypal World — is revealed.
[Archetypal cosmology] recognizes the multidimensionality, the intradimensional variability, and polyvalence of astrological archetypes, which underscores their inherent indeterminism [archetypally prophetic, but not factually predictive].
The Practice of the Presence, as practiced by Brother Lawrence and Hedwig Lewis (At Home With God), could be understood as viewing life like a series of daily snapshots (“cards”) of meaningful coincidences (Jung’s synchronicity) presented to our consciousness for continuous contemplation (the last stage of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga). The practice of contemplating the Tarot cards may be viewed as a tool to hone this “spiritual reading” skill as we weave our “continuity of consciousness.”
The “three directions” of Agni Yoga — the yoga of the Practice of the Presence — are profound attentiveness (mindfulness), serene expectancy and perfect adaptability. These correspond to the Will, the Love-Wisdom and the Intelligence of the practitioner. These three directions — when employed on each of the 7 days of the week, and on each of the 12 months of the year — may reveal meaningful associations related to the 7 rays (musical notes or colors) of our psychological constitution, and to the 12 houses and signs of the zodiac in our birth charts. This practice may provide a “spread layout” of our personal Tarot cards in real life, unique to our specific circumstances.
How many times have we paused to reflect on the significance of apparently casual encounters and “co-incidences” related to archetypal figures of authority —the Empress  and the Emperor — and teaching —the Popess  and the Pope — represented by bosses, parents and advisors in our daily lives? The Lover card  may remind us of the choices that we make with consequences that accompany us for the rest of our lives. “The Chariot  and the Hermit ,” according to Ben-Dov, “can represent two opposites. The Justice card , with its scales and sword, can be weighing them one against the other, as well as ‘cutting’ and choosing between them in a particular moment.” And so on, as so well described by Yoav Ben-Dov in his rendition of the Fool’s pilgrimage.
We are all “Fools,” in the Christ’s sense: “Truly I tell you, anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17)
May this outline help others — and myself — find the hidden keys deciphering the ARCHETYPAL code of the Tarot, to the Glory of the One.
Possible astrological correlates of the Tarot
(# and * marked as semantically exchangeable)
|13||Untitled (End, Death)||Pisces|
Theories of contrast in nature
In addition to the doctrine of the Sefirot and the letters, the theory of contrasts in nature, or of the syzygies (“pairs”), as they are called by the Gnostics, occupies a prominent place in the Sefer Yetzirah.
Seven pairs of contrasts are enumerated in the life of man:
- Life and death (JB: Rays 1/7)
- Peace and strife (JB: Rays 2/6)
- Wisdom and folly (JB: Rays 3/5)
- Wealth and poverty (JB: Rays 3/7)
- Beauty and ugliness (JB: Ray 4)
- Fertility and sterility (JB: Rays 2/5)
- Lordship and servitude (JB: Rays 1/6).
Tarot of Cosmic Consciousness
(Sacred Geometry and Tarot)
- Circle: (Dot in center) A beginning, Oneness (1) FATHER
- Vesica Piscis: reflection of the One (2) MOTHER
- Triangle: Multiplication (3) CHILD
- Square: Order, stability (4) FOUR DIRECTIONS (crucified FOOL in the World)
Processes of life,Law of Analogy (5) SOUL, LIGHT (Third Eye)
- Hexagon: Perfection, balance, harmony (6) COSMIC SEX (Love)
EternalThe (indivisible) VIRGIN (7)
- Octagon: Expansion and contraction (8) PYRAMID, SOUND (Pranayama)
CompletionProcesses of life (9) INFINITY
- Decagon: Wholeness (10) HEAD, PERFECTION (Human Kingdom)
- Hendecagon: (11) HANDS, MAGICIAN
- Dodecagon: HEART (Lotus), COMPLETION (Deva Kingdom)