A new Tree - The Star Tower



Got it :)

What's funny about that metaphor is that actually the lightning we see does not strike the ground from the sky, it travels in the other direction, from the earth to the clouds. Which would mean either that it goes from Malkut to Keter, or it reaffirms the idea of the Tree's roots being in Keter and the branches in Malkut.


Fine ... now, the lightning we DONT SEE ;

Does lightning strike from the sky down, or the ground up?

The answer is both. Cloud-to-ground lightning comes from the sky down, but the part you see comes from the ground up. A typical cloud-to-ground flash lowers a path of negative electricity (that we cannot see) towards the ground in a series of spurts. Objects on the ground generally have a positive charge. Since opposites attract, an upward streamer is sent out from the object about to be struck. When these two paths meet, a return stroke zips back up to the sky. It is the return stroke that produces the visible flash, but it all happens so fast - in about one-millionth of a second - so the human eye doesn't see the actual formation of the stroke.

Now ... stick that idea on the Tree and .... :)


Metaphors can always be overextended, but yes, the tree is 'upside down' by analogy with literal trees, so the lightning goes 'up' from Kether to Malkuth.

'Literal trees' , in the bio-dynamic view can be seen as 'upside down' ... even a whole farm. Okay its a little diff to get, and a few people really baulked when Steiner said " The farm is an entity with its head underground and its stomach in the air" (or something like that)

The theory is that 'digestion' is in the air and intelligence in the soil.

(Just so you dont finally decide I AM really crazy ;) ... if its not too late

http://www.plantcell.org/content/14/10/2413.short )

( Its not just a fungus on a root, the 'neural network' ... 'threads' of the fungus not only penetrate between the cells on the surface of a root but a few layers down they penetrate the cell walls themselves so a tree 'here' can communicate and send or receive 'nutrients' and signals to one 'over there' via the 'neural network' in the soil ... well, in healthy soil..


And it is said that Keter is the Malkuth of the Limitless Light, which has some credence. Also, there is a theory that our own "Malkuth," the physical universe, began by a singularity originating in a different physical universe. In such analyses I think a model of the Tree based on the Rhizome (a theoretical maze in which every junction and path are connected to all others) would be more useful (although perhaps not stricly Kabbalistic, as that model assumes multiple entry points). As Umberto Eco discusses in one of his books, the Tree of Life is essentially a Mannerist maze, but its ideas are a Rhizome, so up or down, left or right are merely human constructs that aid in understanding.

I sometimes amaze even myself at how pretentious I can be


One of the problems with the traditional attributions to the trumps is the question of the planets. Using the 22 hebrew letters, according to their attributions in the Sefer Yetzirah (SY), the zodiac and elements pose no problems, but the planets pose some difficulties, as evidenced by the variety of ways they have been connected with the double letters of the Hebrew alef-bet.

I like to shake it up myself sometimes -- see what falls out. For example, there are three virtues and three mother letters, so that's an easy-peasy one -
The three horizontal paths:

Justice - Alef
Fortitude - Shin
Temperance - Mem

The seven letters? Seven Verticals, mmm - let's just take the last seven trumps:

Devil - Saturn - Beit (Kether to Tifareth)

Sun & Moon = Sun and Moon - Kaph & Tau - (Tifareth - Yesod, Yesod - Malkuth)

Tower & Star, mmm - try Mars & Venus - Daleth, Peh (Binah - Geburah, Chesed to Netzach)

Mercury and Jupiter - Angel (the Messenger) & World (that is, Dieu Pater) - Resh, Gimel

(Geburah - Hod and Chokmah to Chesed)

Sun Signs / doubles & diagonals ?

1 & 2 seem mercurial, so Gemini & Virgo, with Angel as ruler.

Emperor and Pope? The lights of the World (the emperor on the ladder of the Moon and Pope on the ladder of the Sun), so Cancer and Leo, with Sun and Moon as ruler.

3 & 6 Venusian, so Taurus and Libra, with Star as ruler.

Wheel of Fortune and Hermit quite Saturnine (as pertaining to time), so aquarius & Capricorn, with Devil as ruler.

Hanged Man & Death --- the greater Malefic is taken, so the lesser, Mars, so Aries and Scorpio, with tower as ruler.

That leaves the Chariot and Fool for Jupiter (World), Sagittarius for Chariot I think (horses and rider - also is a charioteer like the figure in the World card with it wheels of Ezekiel's chariot), so fool is Pisces by default (we end some say, as we began. Also the fool/God (dieu Pater) malarkey. And Yeats.)


Sorry, severe case of boredom due to insomnia! ;)



Mother Letters - Horizontal Paths:

Alef - Air- Justice
Mem - Water - Temperance
Shin - Fire - Fortitude

Double Letters - Vertical Paths

Beit - Saturn - Devil
Gimel - Jupiter - World
Daleth - Mars - Tower
Kaph - Sun - Sun
Pe - Venus - Star
Resh - Mercury - Angel
Tau - Moon - Moon

Single Letters - Diagonal Path

He - Aries - Hanged Man
Vau - Taurus - Empress
Zain - Gemini - Juggler
Cheth - Cancer - Emperor
Teth - Leo - Pope
Yod - Virgo - Popesse
Lamed - Libra - Lovers
Nun - Scorpio - Death
Samekh - Sagittarius - Chariot
Ayin - Capricorn - Hermit
Tzade - Aquarius - Wheel
Qoph - Pisces - Fool

(The signs follow the diagonals on the right-side from Malkuth up the solar side rulerships (Leo - Capricorn), those on the left the lunar side rulerships (Cancer to Aquarius) as per the ladder of lights.

Putting aside paths, letters, one-to-one matching of sequential orders, what astrological signs & planets would you associate with the trumps & fool on the imagery/meaning alone -- as there are not enough to include all four elements, then how about qualities, i.e., cardinal, fixed and mutable? (Or if using modern astrology, then perhaps 10 planets (or nine without Pluto and Part of Fortune?) and the 12 signs... (of the sun sign associations above, the ones I swap around and am most uncertain of are Aries/Pisces Hanged Man, Fool -- in some ways I prefer Fool to Aries and Hanged Man to Pisces.)


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Putting aside paths, letters, one-to-one matching of sequential orders, what astrological signs & planets would you associate with the trumps & fool on the imagery/meaning alone -- ?


I do like some of the alternatives you've proposed, especially virtues on the horizontals. When starting from scratch, and not relying on any tradition whatsoever, lots of interesting things can arise. My attempt with the Star Tower was to see how far one could push a synthesis of various traditional approaches.

But since you asked, although this takes us a bit far afield, and somewhat off topic, my Trigrammaton Tarot attributions are as follows. Note these have nothing to do with the Tree of Life. The basic idea is to align the three groups of cards and three hermetic categories: Estates of Man with Elements; Allegories of Life with the Zodiac; Celestial realm with the Planets.

With the final seven cards, I am in complete agreement with you on the planets, they seem to be pretty obvious based on the imagery. This arrangement puts the 8th Planet, Earth, in the center of the 12 Zodiac signs, aligned with the Wheel.

In order to accommodate all the categories, and align them with 26 English letters, the four Princesses are elevated to quasi-Trump status in order to signify the Cardinal signs - and these are simply placed where they would go in zodiacal order, (which oddly enough aligns them with each other in AThBaSh order). Other than inserting these, the Marseilles order is followed. The first and last group total 13 cards, as does the middle group.

THE FOOL - Yin - Negative Pole
THE MAGUS - Yang - Positive Pole
THE PRIESTESS - Earth (element)

THE HERMIT - Aquarius
WHEEL OF FORTUNE - Earth (planet)
LUST - Leo
DEATH - Scorpio
ART - Sagittarius

THE DEVIL - Saturn
THE ANGEL - Mercury
THE WORLD - Juppiter



number game

hi, rlg

you asked for comments.


When the SY was written, the Tarot and its many different versions with different number systems didn't exist.

What really existed, was the number row 0-1-2-3-4-5-6 etc.

The binary system 2^6 caused the interest to say something about "32 ways, with which God created the world". This binary system caused the basic partition 22 (letters) + 10 (numbers) = 32 and further the subpartitions 1+3+6 = 10 (Sephiroth) and 3+7+12 = 22 (letters), whereby the "7" must have been considered as a "6+1".

[If there's somebody, who doesn't believe this ...
http://trionfi.com/tarot/new-themes/sepher-yetzirah/ ]

When this alphabet was invented with its letters, the creator naturally was free to choose the number of letters. He likely took the 22, as he knew and loved the binary system 2^6 already. The binary system was of interest already in old times, as it was used for weighing systems (Egyptian Hequat), for ancestor research and organization, as memory system and other simple math as for instance the Chinese divination. Also good to organize polytheistic god systems. So the binary was practical and "holy", and it was good, when it was used to organize an alphabet, as then the alphabet would become "holy", too. And well, it was good, when the population had something "holy", which the others not had, then they felt satisfied and lucky, and didn't think about a revolution.
There is a lot of evidence, that the trick with "holy alphabet" worked rather well.

Let's assume, that the letters already existed and that they had necessarily a row, which was likely of some importance to teach the letters. By this each letter got a position between 1 and 22, alef was the first, beth the second etc.

But the creator had the idea to correlate his alphabet also inside his preferred binary system. So he thought about a way to do so, and naturally this should have been done in a nice compelling way.
But likely there were different suggestions ... we know that of the Tarot card sequence, there are also many variations.
Similar we have in the SY traditions different suggestions.

Luckily we're mostly only interested in the way, that was used by Levi and Golden Dawn, though both with a different consideration.

But the most easy way would have been to correlate it in the way of ...

1+3+6+12 =
1 greatest planet (1 or 0) + 3 mothers (2-4) + 6 other planets (5-10) + 12 simple letters (11-22).

Likely they used it for some time. But another school had another idea, and we got that, what Levi and Golden Dawn used. So let's think, how they did it:

1 (aleph) + 13 (mem) + 21 (shin) = 35 .... doesn't look good

0 (aleph) + 12 (mem) + 20 (shin) = 32 ... looks good

The Sepher Yetzirah is about the "32 ways of wisdom", not about the 35 "whatever it is".

So, if they thought with some logic, they realized, that they had to do with the rows 0-21 and 1-10, which together made 286.

1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10 = 55
1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10+11+12+13+14+15+16+17+18+19+20+21 = 231

55+231 = 286

... but 32 are already gone "by definition", cause these are 3 mothers

286 - 32 = 254


Now make a big cut and say "254, divided by 2" and they you get two halfs "127 + 127".

Alright, you have one big group of "55", which you must give it to somewhere, and as both groups have 127, it's irrevelant, which group you take. In each case you get ...

127 - 55 = 72

The "72" is for the planets, and you can arrange them as you want from the numbers ...

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11- (12 is missing) -13-14-15-16-17-18-19- (20 is missing) -21

... in any case you will have the result, that the rest of the numbers (simple letters) will make a humble "127".
Naturally the system creators would prefer to give the nice numbers to the planets. So they took 1-2-3 from the begin and 19 and 21 from the end (20 they couldn't take, as this was already taken for shin).

1+2+3 + 19+21 = 46 .... so they had a rest of 26, which they gave to 10 and 16.

1+2+3+ 10 + 16 +19+21 = 72

And naturally the simple letters and the zodiac ...

4+5+6+7+8+9+.. +11 ..+13+14+15 .. +17+18 = 127

So, this wasn't really difficult to construct.
The question is only, which number should be given to which planet. Actually one should think, that they loved to give the numbers in a senseful manner.

1+2+3 for the "inner planets" or the lowest in the Chaldean row.
10 for Jupiter, cause 1+2+3+4=10 makes the Tetraktys.
19 for the sun, cause of the Meton cycle.
21 for Saturn, cause it was the most distant planet and holy as the sabbat.
Stays the 16 for Mars. Perhaps they already knew chess, the fighting game.

So the Golden Dawn was not bad with its arrangement. But there should have been one error. It looks, as if 1=bet was related to Moon and 2=gimel to Mercury. But that's rather complicated.


As I already said, Tarot cards didn't exist in the early time. Also there are doubts about the existence of the life-tree with channels.

So, somehow both objects can't really serve to understand the author of SY.

So I personally leave them out.

We get some additional numbers for the planets, which appear not only in the letters, but also in the Sephiroth

Jupiter has a 4 (Chesed) + 10 (letter) = 14
Mars has a 5 (Geburah) + 16 (letter) = 21
Sun has a 6 (Tiphereth) + 19 (letter) = 25

14+21+25 = 60

Moon has a 9 (Yesod) + 1 (my suggestion) or 2 (Golden Dawn) = 10 or 11
Mercury has a 8 (Hod) + 2 (my suggestion) or 1 (Golden Dawn) = 10 or 9
Venus has a 7 (Nezach) + 3 = 10

10+10+10 = 30 or 11+9+10 = 30


30 (inner planets) is the half of 60 (outer planets), so the numbers look as if arranged with some consideration by the system-maker.
10-10-10 for Moon-Mercury-Venus looks somehow more elegant than 11-9-10.

Saturn isn't really designed to belong to a specific number. If we set up to belong to Binah, he gets 21+3=24, if we add 21+(1+2+3), we get a 27, which in the Hebrew number system is a rather specific value. From the knowledge about the binary system it seems logical to take the dominant value of Saturn for all 3 top Sephiroth.

60 + 30 + 27 = 117

And there's Malkuth, not given to a planet: value 10

60 + 30 + 27 + 10 = 127 (again)


This is from a 1988 book, "I-Ging = Tarot". Then it was believed, that there were a reasonable context between I-Ching and Tarot, later this was changed to a reasonable context between I-Ching and Sepher Yetzirah.


"T" stood then for Zodiac sign with letter, M stood for mother letter and the planet sign stand for double letters with planet relation. 21 stands for Saturn. The position of Mercury and Moon in the Golden Dawn order is exchanged.

The row is observed as a cycle. It's much better, when Moon (first) mirrors Sun (last). The mothers Aleph and Shin embed 21=Saturn and are opposed by Mem. Moon-Jupiter-Sun are symmetrical, not symmetrical positioned are naturally the 3 mother letters, cause of the intention "0+12+20 = 32".



Great stuff Huck, thanks for sharing!
Lots to think about in this arrangement, which seems very sensible.

The inclusion of the number 286 is remarkable - it never occurred to me to add the mystic number of the spheres (55) to the mystic number of the paths/trumps (231). This number plays a big role in the Trigrammaton system, but that's a bit too far off-topic :)




Mother Letters - Horizontal Paths:

Alef - Air- Justice
Mem - Water - Temperance
Shin - Fire - Fortitude

Double Letters - Vertical Paths

Beit - Saturn - Devil
Gimel - Jupiter - World
Daleth - Mars - Tower
Kaph - Sun - Sun
Pe - Venus - Star
Resh - Mercury - Angel
Tau - Moon - Moon


I think your attributions are pretty spot-on. I have no qualms with the Virtues/Elements, nor the Celestial Realm/Planets. I would change the Zodiac cards, as below based on astrological considerations and opposite signs:

Single Letters - Diagonal Path:

Ayin - Capricorn - Hermit (private and spiritual, opposite of the Juggler)
Tzade - Aquarius - Wheel (vicissitudes of living, opposite the Fool)

Qoph - Pisces - Empress (St. Helena, bearer of the heir, opposite of the Popesse / virgin)
Samekh - Sagittarius - Emperor ('King of the gods' - secular chief, opposite of the Pope)

Nun - Scorpio - Death
He - Aries - Chariot (Triumph of Death, Chariot as War, counterpart to Love card)

Teth - Leo - Fool (Court Jester, counterpart to those who reign and decline on the Wheel)
Cheth - Cancer - Juggler (public and material - opposite of the Hermit)

Vau - Taurus - Hanged Man (the fetus upside-down in the womb - Life, opposite of Death)
Lamed - Libra - Lovers (opposite of War -The Chariot)

Zain - Gemini - Pope (as Vicar of the Logos, opposite of the Emperor)
Yod - Virgo - Popesse (as avatar of the Virgin, opposite of the Empress)

Thus the Fixed signs are Life - Death - Wheel - Fool:
Birth and Death, the wheel of karma during life, the Fool as everyman on the path of life.

The Cardinal signs are Lovers - Chariot - Juggler - Hermit:
Love and War, the Public and the Private life

The Mutable signs are Emperor - Empress - Pope - Popess: