Reading the Meaning of Numbers
BY MEANS of numbers we estimate the influence both of things and forces.
The value of a material object, for instance, such as a house, is commonly
expressed numerically in dollars and cents. The power of an engine is
expressed numerically as so many horsepower. The speed of light ismentioned as so many thousand miles a second. And the pressure in an electric
system as so many volts. In fact, the measure of quantity and quality would be very
difficult to express except through the use of numbers.
When, therefore, we approach the study of the influence exerted by invisible
energies, we quite naturally expect that they also should be expressed, in their power
to cause changes, by means of numbers.
A vast amount of experimental and statistical evidence has been accumulated
proving that man lives in, and is influenced by, two environments. And a vast amount
of observation indicates that the inner-plane environment and its forces are as
effective in determining his thoughts, emotions, behavior, health and the events
which enter his life as are the outer-plane environment and its forces.
Man is influenced from the outer plane by what people say orally, over the radio,
through the press and on the screen. And he is influenced from the inner plane by
people’s thoughts. He is influenced from the outer plane by objects. And he is
influenced from the inner plane by the character vibrations of objects. He is
influenced from the outer plane by the weather. And he is equally or more influenced
from the inner plane by the astrological energies which constitute the inner-plane
An individual ignorant of inner-plane energies is able to live up to only one-half his
possibilities. Through knowledge of the inner-plane energies an individual who will
apply such knowledge should be able to increase his spirituality, success, happiness
and health 100 percent. Whatever his objectives may be, he stands a far greater
chance of reaching them if he understands how the inner-plane environment
influences his life, and how to take advantage of its energies.
As indicated, such energies may all be classified under these three categories:
1. Character-vibrations; which are the radiations of a thing or an intelligence due to itsorganization.
2. Thought-vibrations; which are the radiations of an intelligence due to thought processes.
3. Astrological-vibrations; which are the radiations from the heavenly bodies and the zodiacalsigns
The vibrations of physical substance within a certain range of frequencies give rise to
tones or sounds. And electromagnetic vibrations within a certain range of
frequencies give rise to colors. Likewise the range of frequencies of astral substance
which has an influence upon human life gives rise to similar types of energy,
producing effects comparable to physical tones or electromagnetic colors. Because
we are more familiar with physical vibrations, it is convenient to refer to astral
vibrations as tones.
There are thus astral tones arising from the signs and planets, astral tones arising
from character radiations, and astral tones arising from thoughts. Tones may be
isolated or in combination; and in either case there is often a dominant influence, or
key. A character, for instance, is not just a single tone, but a combination of them. Yet
there is usually a key note to the character. Likewise, a single thought radiates but a
single astral tone. But a train of thoughts radiates a series of tones like a musical
selection. Yet a musical composition commonly has a key tone. And a train of
thoughts also has a key which can be determined from the nature of the thinking. In
its influence the key tone is the most important vibratory rate.
We have all heard the story of how a building or a bridge can be demolished by a
fiddler playing near it the tone to which it is keyed. And as already mentioned in
chapter 2, the great Caruso, when he dined, would ask for a wine glass, tap it to find
its tone, and have the waiter place it at the far side of the room. Then singing this tone
in his powerful voice he would shatter the glass.
Now thoughts also have each a given tone quality. And just as Caruso’s voice
sounding a certain tone called forth that response in the tone of the wine glass, so a
thought having the same tone as some particularly prominent vibratory center within
ourselves, when it reaches us repeatedly, may set up a terrific vibratory intensity in
that section of our astral body. That is, a specific thought reaching us from others,
constantly being radiated to us by everyone who thinks about us, if it has the same
tone as some section of our astral body, stimulates the thought-cells of that section of
the astral body into unusual activity.
Of such thoughts sent to us regularly and with great frequency the name we use as
signature may be the one from which we receive the greatest thought bombardment.
However, the nickname by which our friends think of us, the given name by which
relatives think of us, and the house number or telephone number which is used often
by people while they visualize us, all have an influence. The amount of energy from
each such name or number, of course, depends upon the frequency with which it is
thought and the thought-power of those who thus think of us in such association.
Either a name or a number, as such, is merely an abstraction, and has no energy to do
anything. But when a name or a number is thought, that thought is a definite energy
radiated toward the one then thought about. As such it has also a specific vibratory
key. Its influence, thus, is not to be measured by the sound produced in speaking; for
the influence is quite as pronounced if it is only thought and not spoken. It is
measured by the voltage, so to speak, of the thought; that is, by the energy supplied
the thought by the thinker; and by the key to which it vibrates.
As to how much power to project their thoughts the various individuals who think our
name have, and how often they think our name, we can only estimate in a very
general manner. But as to the key to which any name or number vibrates we have a
positive method of determination. Just as positive a method as we have of
determining in which key a musical composition is written.
The Hebrew, Chaldean and Coptic square-formed letters served not merely as letters,
but also as numbers. That is, there were no separate characters for numbers, each
letter being a number. We thus have the numerical value of the letters of these ancient
alphabets; that is, the vibratory quality ascribed to each by the early masters of occult
science. And these values, as tested out today, prove correct.
And in tabulating the correspondence between the English alphabet and the ancient
square-formed letters, the effort has been made, not merely to follow the precedent of
translators of languages, but accurately to select the English equivalent in its
thought-vibration quality of each of the ancient 22 letters. Thus we are able, by
substituting the numerical vibratory equivalent of each English letter, to find the
number which has the same astral vibratory rate as any name.
When the numerical equivalent of the name is thus found, the Key to which the name
vibrates can be determined by finding the Key of the number. This Key is found by
Theosophical Involution, as explained in chapter 4. That is, the digits of the number
are added together, and this repeated, until a number results which is below 23. This
gives the vibratory key of the number, and thus the vibratory key of the name.
By this method the vibratory rate of any name, whether it is associated with an
individual or not, may be determined in a positive manner. And with this information
at our disposal for determining the key of any name or any number, we have at hand a
rather complete measure of all the astral forces that can have an influence over
human life.Character-vibrations are determined by finding the astrological signature. That is,
the key to which a town, a person, a locality, an occupation, or what not, vibrates is
made known when its astrological rulership is discovered. And astrologers have
determined the rulership of most important things. In this connection, in subsequent
lessons of this course, there will be some discussion of the influence of musical notes,
of colors, of talismanic gems, and such things. The astrological vibrations, of course,
are made known by astrological science. This leaves only the influence of
thought-vibrations to be considered.
Thoughts are either abstract or concrete. Concrete thoughts are those that concern
doing something, or which revolve about some definite object or action. We do not
possess as yet any method of determining the tone of each separate thought in a
thought-train. If we did we could chart any thought-train on a musical staff of 11 lines
and 11 spaces. But we do possess a method of determining each separate tone in any
name or any number; for each letter, or number, is one of 22 numbered
thought-tones. Thus we can chart a number or name on such a staff as mentioned; the
name C. C. Zain thus being charted on the frontispiece of Chapter 2 in Course 18,
But the really important thing about a thought-train, or about a name or number, is the
key to which it vibrates as a whole. This key to which a thought-train sounds can be
determined by an analysis of it. Such analysis of a thought-train, or an emotion,
reveals it to vibrate chiefly to the Domestic Urges (Key 20), to the Power Urges (Key
21), to the Safety Urges (Key 15), to the Intellectual Urges (Key 1), or to some of the
other keys. From this the influence of the thought-train or emotion is made known.
And in Course 9, Mental Alchemy the practical application of such knowledge is
discussed in all its details.
Here, however, we are interested in abstract thoughts, such as names and numbers.
The name FRED, for instance, when not associated in the mind with some particular
person, is a mere abstraction. Yet when you, or anyone else, thinks the name FRED,
there is radiated from the mind four thought-tones–17–20–5–4. No matter who
thinks this name, the same thought-tones are radiated. And each of these four
separate tones has a certain amount of influence.
But in thinking this name, or any other name, the various tones composing it are
blended, just as the tones of a musical chord are blended, and the whole name as
thought vibrates to a dominant key tone. And this key tone, the vibratory key of the
name, has a far greater power than any tone embraced in it; in fact, it seems to have as
much power as all the combined separate tones of the name.
Thus 17 plus 20 plus 5 plus 4 gives 46 as the number of the name FRED. Then as 46 is
above 23, we add 4 plus 6 which gives us 10 as the astral vibratory Key of the name.
No matter who thinks the word Fred, his thoughts send out a key-tone which vibrates
The meaning of this 10 tone, standing by itself, and unrelated to any individual, can
be had by referring to the 10th Major Arcanum of the tarot. Its divinatory
significance is there given as Change of Fortune. Its meaning is also there indicated
in the spiritual world, in the intellectual world, and in the physical world. And still
further information about it can be had from the detailed explanation of the number
But as affecting human life things do not stand alone. Instead they exert an impact
upon character. How the character is affected, depends not merely upon the vibration
reaching it from without, but also upon the nature of the character thus reached. One
individual is affected one way by a certain force and another individual is affected in
quite a different way by this same force.
Therefore, if we are to have a positive science–as distinct from a divinatory
method–of invisible vibrations as affecting human life and destiny, we must have a
chart of the influencing vibrations, and also a chart of the character influenced. By a
comparison of the two sets of vibratory rates we can determine, in the manner
advocated by exact science, what response will be brought forth from the character
by the vibratory tone reaching it.
And so far as human beings are concerned, I know of no method of accurately
determining the various vibratory rates–their power, their harmony and discord, the
department of life they affect, and the lines of energy exchange between them–that
reside in the character, other than through the use of an astrological birth-chart.
The astrological birth-chart is a complete map of the astral body, revealing the
strength and nature of all its dynamic thought structures, and how they are organized
in relation to each other. It is a reliable map of the character.
Any invisible energy, whether character radiation, astrological radiation, or thought
radiation, reaching the astral body of the individual stimulates into additional
activity the same tone to which it vibrates as this tone exists already in the astral body.
That is, it gives the thought cells of the astral body new energy. How this affects the
individual then can be determined by the map of the astral body which is the
The Hierophant–Arcanum V
–Letter: Egyptian, Eni; Hebrew, He; English, E. Number, 5. Astrologically, the
planet Jupiter. Color, indigo and purple. Tone, A. Occult science, Masonry. Human
function, the electromagnetic form. Natural remedy, proper diet. Mineral, the metal
E–5 expresses in the spiritual world, universal law, regulator of the infinite
manifestations of being in the unity of substance.
In the intellectual world, religion, the relation of the Absolute Being to the relative
being, of the infinite to the finite.
In the physical world, inspiration, communicated by the vibrations of astral
substance, and the trial of man by liberty of action within the impassable circle of
Remember, then, son of earth, that before saying of a man that he is fortunate or
unfortunate, thou must know the use to which he has put his will; for every man
creates his life in the image of his works. The genius of good is at thy right and the
genius of evil at thy left. Their voice can be heard only by the conscience. If the
hierophant should appear in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, retire into the
sanctuary of thy heart, listen to the voice of the silence, and guided by it thou wilt
reach the goal of thy aspirations.
In Divination, Arcanum V may briefly be read either as Religion or Law.
Arcanum V is pictured by a hierophant, master of the sacred mysteries. This prince of
the occult doctrine is seated between two columns of the sanctuary; he leans upon a
cross of three bars, and with his right hand makes the sign of the pentagram. From his
brow the sacred serpent thrusts its head; and at his feet kneel two men, one dressed in
red and the other dressed in black.
The hierophant, supreme organ of sacred science, represents the genius of good
inspiration, of mind, and of conscience.
The column at the right symbolizes divine law, that on the left symbolizes the liberty
to obey or to disobey.The triple tau, or cross of three bars, is emblem of divine fire penetrating the three
worlds, spiritual, astral, physical, in order that all manifestations of universal life
may have their birth.
The left hand of the hierophant on the triple tau indicates his receptivity to the divine
force; and the gesture of his right hand–making the pentagram–indicates his use of
this divine energy to command the obedience of all sub-mundane atoms of life, and
to hear the voice of heaven in the silence of the passions and the instincts of the flesh.
The sacred serpent at his brow signifies enlightenment; and the two kneeling men,
the one red and the other black, denote the intelligences of light and shadow, both of
whom obey the force of the pentagram.
–Numerically, 5 unites the first four digits into a harmonious unity, and thus
explains all the apparent contradictions of nature. That is, the One Principle, the One
Law, the One Agent and the One Truth are not independent factors, but imply and
mutually sustain one another.
These four ideas, as represented by the four animals standing at the four gates of
heaven, each quadrant of the sky having one, are brought together in the fourfold
form of the sphinx. And the zodiac, so expressed, finds its counterpart in the
constitution of one man.
Thus man or woman alone is symbolized by the number five. The hands, feet and
head form five positive points from which the electromagnetic fluid is projected,
health depending largely upon the equal distribution of the energies to these five
points. Also, man, having passed through the four elemental realms of being,
becomes their rightful sovereign by reason of his higher accomplishment.
In this sense, as 4 and 1, 5 signifies Realization which comes from the use of
Intelligence and Will. For having attained true manhood, by virtue of wider
experience, man directs the various entities, physical and astral, which have their
orbits within his domain, and these become his willing and obedient servitors in
proportion as they recognize his spiritual supremacy.
–Jupiter is the ruler both of law and religion. He has dominion over good
inspiration, over the church and state, and over the authority of established
institutions. He governs popes, hierophants and religious potentates of all kinds. The
correspondence, therefore, between Arcanum 5 and the planet Jupiter is so obvious
as to need no further comment.
–The carrying power of the will upon the physical plane depends upon the strength
of the electromagnetic forces. These, in turn, depend upon the extent of
vitalization–Arcanum II. In other words, the power of the electromagnetic body,
and the carrying power of the will on the physical plane depend upon the ability to
receive and transmit electromagnetic energies. These energies circulate through the
body and build up the electromagnetic form even as the blood, ruled by Jupiter,
carries nourishment to the physical body. Such receiving and transmitting are
depicted by Arcanum V.
–The various metals used in alchemy as they are collected are commonly found to
contain other ingredients which would prevent them from properly combining in
transmutation. Therefore, no matter upon what plane the hermetic art is carried out,
there must be a thorough purification of the metals used. In this process of
purification the dross is removed and cast aside and the true metal retained.
In spiritual alchemy, for instance, the dross is the apparent effect, while the real metal
is the effect upon the soul. The spiritual metals, therefore, are purified by considering
them not in the light of events influencing the material fortune, but as events which
each can be made to yield spiritual values by taking the proper attitude toward them.
In mental alchemy, the metals are purified, not by considering their effect upon the
soul, but by casting aside the dross of discord and retaining the elements of harmony.
Likewise, in other branches of the art, purification of the metals, which corresponds
to Arcanum V, is always an essential step.
–The most significant thing about the hierophant in Arcanum V is the sign of the
pentagram, or five-pointed star, which he makes with his right hand. This is the
symbol of man, the symbol of the intellectual power which dominates the four
elemental kingdoms, and the symbol of the magical force of the human will. It gains
its force by the gesture which bears token that the user is obedient to the laws of
Deity, and thus participates in the divine power over all things.
Arcanum V, an ensemble expressing the idea of the pentagram in great detail,
explains also the blazing star that led the wise men of the East to the place where the
new sun-god was born that they might worship him. Their gifts of gold, frankincense
and myrrh stand representative of the three worlds; spiritual, astral and physical;
symbolized in Arcanum V by the triple tau.
These wise men, having been led by the star of religious devotion, into a knowledge
of the three worlds and the laws governing them, departed into their own country by
another way. That is, having gained illumination, their route to
self-conscious-immortality–the return to the realm of spirit–was direct and
certain, and not the devious path of the yet unenlightened neophyte.
This five-pointed star which they followed, has the same import as Arcanum V,
signifying the Divine Law and Religion. Therefore, when it is inverted, the point of
the star representing the head of man down, and the two points denoting his feet up, it
signifies the opposite of the Divine Law, the opposite also of man governed by
intelligence. Instead, it then denotes chaos, the devil, evil inspiration and the
principle of destruction. Thus the Lamb of God is transformed into the Goat of
Mendes; and to express this, in black magic the symbol is made by closing the hand
so that two fingers are up–the horns of the goat, or feet of man–instead of three.
By such inversion Jupiter, or Jove, becomes Saturn, or Satan, and as such is
represented by Arcanum XV. This is expressed in Rev. 8:10; “And the third angel
sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell
upon a third part of the rivers, and upon the fountain of waters, and the name of the
star is called wormwood.”
The waters and fountains refer to the emotions and to love, which in magical
practices of any kind are the chief sources of energy. They are turned bitter, like
wormwood, when thus utilized for purposes of black magic and evil, for they are then
converted into forces of destruction. In Arcanum XV, not only the lamp may be seen,
but also the servants of evil in the art of making the inversive sign.
The tarot itself expounds a complete religious doctrine based upon a spiritual
science. And not only do the Major Arcana set forth a system which is synthesized as
a mantram, for strengthening the will, as explained in chapter 3, but they also
synthesize the Religion of the Stars.
Eliphas Levi, the great French magus, expressed his conception of this religion in
verse, setting at the head of each line the number of the Major Arcanum whose
significance is revealed by it, each Arcanum thus representing one tenet of this
ancient Wisdom Religion:
” 1. All things announce a conscious active cause,
2. Vivific Oneness, based on number’s laws;
3. Who all containing is by naught confined,
4. And all preceding, hath no bound assigned.
5. This only Lord should man adore alone,
6. Who doth true doctrine to pure hearts make known;
7. But acts of faith require a single chief,
8. Hence we proclaim one altar, law, belief.
9. The changeless God will never change their base,
10. He rules our days and rules through every phase,
11. His mercy’s wealth, which vice to naught will bring,
12. His people promises a future King.
13. The tomb’s a path which to new worlds ascends, and life through all subsists, death onlyends. Pure, sacred, steadfast truth we here repeat. The venerated numbers thus complete.
14. The angel blest doth calm and moderate.
15. The evil is the friend of pride and hate.
16. God doth the lightning and the fire subdue;
17. He rules the dewy eve’ and the evening’s dew.
18. The watchful moon he sets to guard our heights,
19. His sun’s the source of life’s renewed delights,
20. His breath revivifies the dust of graves
21. And on the cherubs pours his glory down.
22. Where crowds descend who are of lust the slaves;0. Or, the mercy seat he covers with his crown,”
These impressive words are full of mystic significance, and when repeated in
earnestness and with the soul lifted to the Author of All Being, they form a powerful
inspirational mantram. The mantram of the will, given in chapter 3, is especially
potent to increase the force, the power, and the accomplishment of the will. But this
religious mantram serves another purpose; for it adds Faith, unites the human soul to
its Maker, and thus lifts the will and its works to a higher plane where their force is
expended in cooperation with the Divine Plan, and solely through constructive
These two mantrams, therefore, stand as the masculine and the feminine of a
complete system, the best results following the use of both. Although other methods
may be used to advantage, one of the best systems of training commences the day, on
rising, and while standing erect, with the mantram of the will; and closes the day,
while reclining in bed, after retiring, with the mantram devoted to faith. Thus used
together they form natural complements, and are important aids to soul growth.
–The Past Master’s degree of Masonry is founded upon Arcanum V. It represents
the Past Master who having passed the degree of this initiation is capable of presiding
over a Master Mason’s lodge. The lodge, of course, represents the human temple,
over which the master must exercise constant dominion. Therefore, to indicate the
rebellion of submundane atoms of life within the human domain, in this degree a riot
Unless the one who would be master can use the force represented by the pentragram
successfully to quell the elemental forces, as is done in Arcanum V, he is
overpowered and made the slave of the very forces he sought to control, as indicated
in the fifth degree of Masonry and illustrated by Arcanum XV.
Arcanum V also explains the Blazing Star of the Masonic Lodge. The compass
joined to the square typifies both higher and lower union. Union is depicted by
Arcanum III, and the Book of the Law, or polarity, is depicted in Arcanum II. Adding
the 3 and the 2 we get Arcanum V, picturing obedience to that law, having thus the
same symbolical import as the open Bible on which is laid the compass and square, as
it is used in the fifth degree of Masonry.
Diamonds, the same suit in common playing cards as Coins in the tarot, are nothing
more nor less than the united compass and square conventionalized, the G being
removed from the center to show that the higher has superseded the lower.
–In Magic, Arcanum V expresses the importance of using the proper symbols in all
invocations and in ceremonial magic. It reveals the potency of rituals and such
symbols as are used by secret societies and by the church.
The pentagram is the symbol of white magic, and thus constitutes the most powerful
of all magical tokens; for it expresses the power of a mind which has devoted itself to
assisting the progressive evolution of creation, and which knows, and is obedient to,
the Divine Law. It is a symbol of constructive purpose.
The use of signs, rituals and symbols either in religion or in magic is a means of
contacting invisible entities and other planes of being. The innocent use of an evil
symbol in the course of a rite does not prevent the intelligence to which the symbol
actually belongs being contacted. No more so than if one innocently calls the
telephone number of a gangster, thinking it is the telephone number of a parson, one
will fail to contact the gangster. Symbols and rituals tune the individual in on the
intelligence corresponding to them just as a telephone number calls the individual to
whom it belongs, regardless of his moral worth, or the intention of the one calling the
–Arcanum V represents the point in the ascending arc of the cycle of life where the
voice of the conscience calls upon man to turn from the flesh-pots and devote himself
to cosmic welfare. He decides henceforth to live, not for self alone, but to guide his
every action in the direction of aiding cosmic progression. He determines that the
good of cosmic society shall be his constant aim.
–Masonry is that one of the seven branches of magic which treats in particular of the
use of the emotions engendered by sex; and of the evolution of the human soul and its
manifestations on the three planes of being, as set forth by means of signs, symbols
In regard to such signs Eliphas Levi truly says:
“Four signs always express the absolute and are explained by the fifth. Thus the solution of all
magical questions is that of the pentagram, and all contradictions are explained by harmonious
As a single illustration of this method of solving occult problems, and because
astrology and the tarot are the two keys to all mysteries, I will apply this formula to
denoting the true correspondence between each tarot card and its astrological
To begin with, the four suit cards of any numbered Minor Arcanum arrange
themselves about the Major Arcanum bearing the same number in the form of a
diamond; scepters being above, cups at the right, swords at the bottom and coins at
the left. Thus arranged the four Minor Arcana express Jod-He-Vau-He, and the
Major Arcanum in the center explains the pentagram as a whole as an expression of
some planet or zodiacal sign.
The rulership of each Major Arcanum can be found in a similar manner by forming a
Grand Pentagram of the whole 22 cards, as illustrated on page 88.
This diagram shows the grand pentagram as composed of five lesser pentagrams,
each perfect in itself. And, of course, to be correct, the outer circle of tarots must
represent the twelve signs of the zodiac in their natural position and sequence. The
planets, in nature, may occur in any of the signs thus located; but their proper place
here should bear some significance in relation to life.
Thus the first quadrant, the quadrant of life, is rightly explained by the selfish planet
Saturn, showing that self-preservation, among lower forms of life, is nature’s first
law. But in the same quadrant, and more interior to it, is to be seen Neptune, the planet
of universal brotherhood. And thus is also explained that when life has evolved to a
spiritual conception, the law of self-preservation gives place to that of unselfish
The top quadrant, the quadrant of honor, is occupied by Uranus, indicating the
struggle to make attainment through the overthrow of existing conditions and the
downfall of opponents. But more interior to this is another principle which
eventually supersedes. The planet Venus sets forth the idea that “Love lieth at the
foundation,” of any worthwhile attainment.
The third quadrant, that of companionship, is occupied by Jupiter, indicating that
leniency and generosity are attractive to others. But more interior is to be seen
Mercury, the planet of intelligence, indicating that a lavish purse does not
compensate for lack of understanding, and that intelligence is necessary to make
union spiritually advantageous.
The lower quadrant, the home and the end of life, is occupied by the Moon, indicating
that physical life ends in the tomb. Yet there is an inner force, a lightning of the soul,
typified by the planet Mars, which defies death, rends asunder the tomb, or pyramid,
and liberates the soul to a new life in the beyond.
And as explaining all, the pentagram in the center holds the Sun, the source of all vitality,
representing the ego which has sent its souls through the cycle of necessity. And the
result of this pilgrimage, after the tomb has opened and liberated the souls, is explained
by one of two symbols, that of the Earth, or that of Pluto. The soul, even after death, may
be earth-bound, or held to the lower regions by its viciousness; or it may move rapidly
above the astral into the spiritual realm to be reunited to its missing mate. This latter is the
higher aspect–represented by the T with the point upward–of the planet Pluto.
–Jupiter, in astrology, is the general significator of good fortune; therefore the fives
in their more common divinatory significance must relate to good luck in the
particular department of life signified by the suit. But in their application to higher
planes, they reveal the influence of, and can be interpreted by, the fifth decanate of
each zodiacal triplicity, starting with the movable signs.
The divinatory significance of the Five of Scepters is good fortune in business; its
inner interpretation is REFORMATION.
The divinatory significance of the Five of Cups is good fortune in love; its inner
interpretation is RESPONSIBILITY.
The divinatory significance of the Five of Coins is abundant wealth; its inner
interpretation is INSPIRATION.
The divinatory significance of the Five of Swords is escape from a danger; its inner
interpretation is STRUGGLE.
The Two Paths–Arcanum VI
–Letter: Egyptian, Ur; Hebrew, Vau; English V–U–W. Number 6.
Astrologically, the planet Venus. Color, yellow. Tone, E. Occult science, kabalism.
Human function, the astral body. Natural remedy, rest and recreation. Mineral, the
U–6, expresses in the spiritual world, the knowledge of good and evil.
In the intellectual world, the balance between liberty and necessity.
In the physical world, the antagonism of natural forces, the linking of cause and
Remember, then, son of earth, that for the common man, the allurement of vice has a
greater fascination than the austere beauty of virtue. If The Two Paths should appear
in the prophetic signs of thy horoscope, take care of thy resolutions. Obstacles bar
before thee the path thou wouldst pursue, contrary chances hover over thee, and thy
will wavers between two resolutions. Indecision is, above all else, worse than a bad
choice. Advance or recede, but do not hesitate; and know that a chain of flowers is
more difficult to break than a chain of iron.
In Divination, Arcanum VI may be briefly interpreted as Temptation.
Arcanum VI is figured by a man standing motionless at the angle formed by the
conjunction of two roads. His looks are fixed upon the ground; his arms are crossed
upon his chest. Two women, one at his right and the other at his left, each place a hand
on his shoulder, showing him one of two roads. The woman at his right is modestly
clothed, and has the sacred serpent, indicating enlightenment, at her brow. She thus
personifies virtue. The one at the left wears less clothing, and is crowned with the
leaves and vine of the grape. She represents vice, the temptress.
Above and back of this group the genie of justice, hovering in a flashing aureole of
twelve rays, draws his bow and directs toward vice the arrow of punishment. The
genie is crowned with a flame to show he is a spirit; and is represented in an aureole of
twelve rays to indicate that justice will be meted out in due time to all as the sun
passes through the zodiacal signs.
This ensemble typifies the struggle between conscience and the passions, between
the divine soul and the animal soul, and that the result of this struggle commences a
new epoch in the life.
–Six signifies two actions, or twice three. It does not represent forces in
equilibrium, but a constant oscillation between action and reaction. It thus indicates a
wavering, a vacillation, forces so uncontrolled and ill-directed that they tend to
destroy one another.
–Venus governs the affections and the social relations. It gives love of ease,
comfort, luxury and pleasure. It is not essentially evil, but in seeking the line of least
resistance it may be led into vice. When it thus fails to resist the importunities of the
wicked, it comes under the negativeness of Arcanum II, and is then under the
dominion of Arcanum XV, or Saturn, which is the second decave of VI.
–Because the astral body is so responsive to every thought and emotion it is often
called the desire body. The affections not only shape it, but give it nourishment; for it
is organized by states of consciousness. Because it is so receptive and yielding, and
the emotions play so important a part in its makeup, this astral body corresponds to
Venus, and to Arcanum VI.
–After the metals have been purified, before they are finally joined in transmutation
they are first tested to be sure that no dross or impurities remain. This process of
testing the purity of the metals, of applying the test of love, corresponds to Arcanum
–Of the sons of Isaac, Esau, who sold his birthright (spiritual heritage) for a mess of
pottage (material things), listened to the voice of vice. Jacob, however, who once
successfully wrestled with the spirit of temptation, and though afflicted was not
conquered, in this story listened to the voice of virtue.
Math. 4:8, “Again the devil taketh him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and
sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; And said unto him,
All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”
–The Most Excellent Master degree of Masonry is founded upon Arcanum VI.
“When the Temple of Jerusalem was finished, those who had proved themselves
worthy by their virtue, skill and fidelity, were installed as Most Excellent Masters.”
–Arcanum VI represents the temptations that always come to those who attain
power. Especially is this temptation great among those who attain to the use of
invisible energies. Should they yield to such insidious promptings, their lot is
terrible; for they become the slaves of the very forces they imagined they had
controlled. This Arcanum also represents the use of privation, hardships and
obstacles to strengthen and test the will.
–The evolving soul, passing through the lower kingdoms, where strife and
self-preservation are dominant factors, develops the animal propensities and
instincts to a high degree. This is a necessary phase of its progression. But when
self-consciousness has been reached, in order that the animal may partake of the
Divine quality which makes self-conscious-immortality possible, these animal
energies and instincts must be diverted into a higher than animal channel. They must
be directed, or transmuted, into an organization of energy having for object the
welfare of society as a whole. This higher-type organization, largely drawing its
energies from the animal soul, or lower-type organization, yet containing many
higher vibration rates, is called the divine soul.
–Kabalism, corresponding to Arcanum VI, and therefore the feminine, embraces
the written scriptures and the oral traditions of every land. It is really the science of
traditional knowledge, the tarot being a condensation of the whole science.
–Venus, in astrology, is natural significator of love, art, music and drama, as well as
of social functions; therefore the sixes, corresponding numerically to Venus, in their
more common divinatory significance must relate to these things as applied to the
department of life indicated by the suit. But in their higher application they reveal the
influence of, and can be interpreted by, the sixth decanate of each zodiacal triplicity,
starting with the movable signs.
The divinatory significance of the Six of Scepters is music, art or the drama; its inner
interpretation is AMBITION.
The divinatory significance of the Six of Cups is a love affair; its inner interpretation
The divinatory significance of the Six of Coins is a social event; its inner
interpretation is REPRESSION.
The divinatory significance of the Six of Swords is dissipation; its inner
interpretation is MASTERSHIP.
Method of Three Sevens
–After shuffling and cutting, the cards are dealt from the top, one by one, from right
to left, starting with the bottom row, in three rows of seven cards each.
The bottom row represents the past, the middle row the present, and the top row the
future. In each row the central card, marked with an asterisk, is the most important,
being the key to which the others merely contribute. In reading, the adjoining cards
modify each other, and all should be blended as parts of a complete whole.
Future 21 20 19 18* 17 16 15
Present 14 13 12 11* 10 9 8
Past 7 6 5 4* 3 2 1