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Mary Magdalene: possessed or spiritually awakened?

Mary Magdalene

Possessed or spiritually awakened?

She was present at the crucifixion of Jesus when all the other disciples had fled. She was the one to whom he first appeared after his death. It is written in the Bible that she was freed from seven demons. Who was that woman who played such an important role in the life of Jesus? Was she indeed possessed?

Fallen woman

For centuries, Mary Magdalene has been seen as a converted prostitute, although this is not mentioned anywhere in the Gospels. This image of the fallen woman came about because she was seen by many as the unnamed “sinner” who anoints Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee. The reason this woman’s sins are believed to be related to prostitution is that after the anointing, Jesus says of her:

Therefore I say unto you, Her sins, which were many, are forgiven her, for she loved much;
but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

Some see a woman “who has loved much” as a reference to a life of easy virtue. An illogical reasoning, because this would mean that the woman is forgiven for having led an immoral life. It is more likely that Jesus means it as it is written: whoever has loved much is forgiven much. Anyhow, the Bible does not say that this sinner is Mary Magdalene.


What the Gospels do say about Mary Magdalene is that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her. Fortunately, more and more people realize that the Bible stories should not always be taken literally. The Old and New Testaments are full of symbolism that aims to convey esoteric wisdom to the spiritual seeker who is ready (“He that has ears, let him hear…”).

Demons represent ego aspects that prevent us from experiencing the divine. An exorcism of seven demons represents a spiritual purification process. Seven refers to Mary Magdalene’s chakras, which were cleansed of psychic polution and blockages. She was not possessed, but she had experienced a process of spiritual awakening!

The process of kundalini awakening
Click here to read more!

The pineal gland gets its name from its pinecone shape.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

Her teacher Jesus has found her worthy to be initiated into the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. The Bible says that Jesus baptized with the fire of the Holy Spirit. In the yogic tradition, this fire is called the kundalini-shakti: the divine energy that resides in our pelvis, near the sacrum, and which upon awakening initiates a spiritual process.

As the energy slowly (a process of years) ascends through the spine, the chakras are purified and activated one by one. Arriving at the crown chakra, the pineal gland is stimulated to release hormones and opiate-like substances to the cerebrospinal fluid. These provide for an expansion of consciousness. The pineal gland is our inner antenna to experience the divine.

Mary received this “baptism” from Jesus. The fire of God’s Spirit flowed through her spine. Her high spiritual level has always been known by initiates. Mary stood on a pedestal with the Templars, for example, the knighthood of monks, who also knew that the secret of the Kingdom of God lies in our pelvis. We can deduce this from the graffiti they left behind on the walls of the dungeons where they were imprisoned (see also my article The Templars and the Holy Grail). The Cathars also revered Mary Magdalene. In their eyes she had the same spiritual status as Jesus.

Through esoteric organizations such as the Freemasons and the Rosicrucians, many artists became aware of the secrets surrounding Mary Magdalene. Symbolism that refers to her spiritual status can be found on numerous paintings and stained glass windows in churches. Usually veiled, because it went against the teachings of the church at the time. I have included many examples in my book on Mary Magdalene.

Mary’s ointment jar has the shape of the pineal gland. This is a hidden reference to her spiritual level.

Spiritual growth

This new information about Mary Magdalene is very inspiring. The current generation of spiritual seekers no longer wants to hear what to believe. They want to shape their own spirituality. We do not have to immediately seek refuge in Eastern traditions such as Buddhism and yoga. The deeper, symbolic layers of the Bible, and Mary Magdalene, show us that a wonderful growth process awaits us, when we are ready for it. When we have chased all the pleasures of the world and we have found that this does not make us happy. When we start longing for more depth and meaning in our lives, and become curious about the spiritual path.

This article has been published in Bloom magazine (July/August ’20)
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2020

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Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book:
Mary Magdalene, the disciple whom Jesus loved

By |2022-05-31T12:25:44+00:00April 16th, 2022|Anne-Marie|Comments Off on Mary Magdalene: possessed or spiritually awakened?

Tarot 18. The Moon

18. The Moon

The symbolism of tarot card number 18 The Moon refers to the alchemical marriage of the sun and the moon; a metaphor for the spiritual process in which the inner duality merges into divine unity. What do barking dogs and a crayfish have to do with this? Read it in this article!

The Moon in the 15th century

The theme of alchemical marriage (the fusion of opposites), with a central role for the sun and the moon, is communicated in different ways by the 15th century tarot decks that have been preserved.

The woman on the Visconti-Sforza card (below) is holding a crescent moon in her hand. She is the “Moon Goddess”, that we can find in almost all spiritual traditions, and who is a personification of the kundalini energy (Isis, Inanna, Diana, Artemis, etc.). The golden hair of the woman reaches her pelvis, the abode of the kundalini in man. The pattern on her dress refers to the spiraling movement of the rising divine energy.

The colors of her dress – red (the masculine) and blue (the feminine) – represent the polarities that have merged. The two ends of the cord around her waist refer to the caduceus: the staff of the Greek god Hermes, that symbolizes a kundalini awakening.

The hand with which the woman holds these two ends makes the sign of the sacred (alchemical) marriage: two fingers together (2 = 1).

The two mountains in the background, left and right of the woman, reinforce the symbolism. On our retina appear the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening: the polar energy channels ida-nadi and pingala-nadi, and in the middle the sushumna-nadi, with the kundalini energy.

The crescent moon has an unnatural shape and looks more like an eclipse (coinciding of sun and moon). We may see this as a confirmation of our interpretation of the other symbolism on the card.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot (15th century)

The CADUCEUS, the staff of the god Hermes. The two serpents represent the POLAR ENERGY CHANNELS. The staff itself represents the SPINE with the kundalini energy.

Two fingers together is the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE (2 = 1), the fusion of the polarities.

Charles VI Tarot (late 15th century)

On the card of the Charles VI, or Estensi, deck (left), the union of the opposites is expressed by the compass pointing to the moon.

Esoteric traditions and organisations, like alchemy and the freemasonry, use the two-legged compass as a symbol for the merging of the polar energy channels during a kundalini awakening. See examples on the right and below.

Also on the Charles VI card the crescent moon resembles an eclipse.

The alchemist’s Magnum Opus in symbols, including a COMPASS (18th century engraving).

Illustration from Freemasonry.

Depicted on this alchemical emblem is ‘the Philosopher’s Stone’; a metaphor for union with God. (Atalanta Fugiens, 1617)

The HEXAGRAM (six-pointed star), like the COMPASS and the SQUARE, represents the fusion of the polarities. (Des Hermes Trismegists alter Naturweg, 1782)

The core (roots) of the spiritual process is located in the PELVIS. The planets represent the CHAKRAS. (Cabala Chemica, 1659)

A second measuring instrument, with the same esoteric meaning as the compass, is the square. We find it on The Moon of the Rothschild Tarot (below left), of which only uncoloured, uncut sheets have been preserved.

The symbolic meaning of the armillary (a three-dimensional representation of our universe), in the hand of the man on the Rothshild card, becomes clearer when we place the card from the Ercole I d’Este Tarot deck (far right) next to it.

The armillary on the d’Este card is placed on an unusually long stand. It symbolizes the spine. The man is holding a compass in line with the stand: the two polar energy channels are fused and the kundalini energy flows from the pelvis (the moon on the table) to the head, giving an experience of God / oneness (the armillary => being one with the universe).

The small, eight-pointed Morning Star, at the bottom left of the table (circled), confirms this interpretation: the Morning Star is also a symbol for the kundalini energy (see tarot card The Star). The colors of the clothing the man wears – red and blue – represent the polar energies.

Rothschild Tarot (circa 1500)

Ercole I d’Este Tarot (1473)

Hermes Trismegistus with an ARMILLARY. The kundalini fire is fusing the SUN AND MOON. (Viridarium chymicum, D. Stolcius von Stolcenbeerg, 1624)

The alchemist Hermes Trismegistus with an ARMILLARIUM and a COMPASS. The PHOENIX is the symbol for spiritual resurrection. (Engraving from 1878)

An androgyn ‘REBIS’: the final stage of the alchemist’s Magnum Opus.

A depiction of a kundalini awakening. Symbolism referring to a FUSION of the SUN AND MOON is also used in eastern traditions.

The Tarot of Marseille

The Tarot of Marseilles seems to take a completely different course with regard to the Moon theme, but this is only an illusion. The symbolism on this card also refers to a kundalini awakening and the associated fusion of the polarities. The compass and square have been replaced by two dogs and two towers. The moon goddess has been replaced by a crayfish.

The “Cary Sheet” (right) is an uncut, uncoloured printing sheet from circa 1500. This is the earliest copy of The Moon in the Tarot of Marseille style.

On the bottom half of the card we see a pond with a huge crayfish in it. Water is a universal metaphor for the divine energy in our pelvis: the kundalini. A crayfish emerging from the water refers to an awakening of this energy.

There are a number of reasons for choosing a lobster. The lower part of a lobster resembles a human spine. Red is the color of (kundalini) fire, and of the first chakra, where the kundalini resides while she is still “sleeping”.

Furthermore, in order to grow, the lobster must ‘scale’ (shed its armor), similar to the molting of a serpent, the classic symbol for the kundalini. This ‘renewal’ is also an aspect of the kundalini energy.

Cary Sheet (circa 1500)

The lower part of the lobster resembles the human SPINE.

An alchemical image with a MOON GODDESS sitting in a POOL OF WATER (the kundalini). The FIRE also refers to the kundalini. The god Hermes, with his staff the CADUCEUS, is placed above the goddess, between the SUN and the MOON. (Seven Keys of Honoratus Marinier, late 18th century)

This mosaic, from Bulla Regia, Tunisia, depicts the birth of APHRODITE from the foam of the sea. This myth is a metaphor for the awakening of the kundalini. Aphrodite is lifted up from the sea by two CENTAURS, which appear to be connected. They represent the POLARS ENERGY CHANNELS that merge during the kundalini awakening process. On their heads they have the legs, claws and feelers of a LOBSTER.

On the right two beautiful illustrations from the tradition of alchemy of the process of spiritual awakening, with the lobster as a symbol for the kundalini energy.

Right: the CROW (black) and DOVE (white) represent the polar energies. On the ground lie the polar SUN and MOON. The DOG is on a leash; a reference to control over the animal/lower nature. (Rosarium Philosophorum, 1578)

Far right: both the LOBSTER, and the ‘VIOLIN BOW’ made of WATER, represents the kundalini energy. (Aurora Consurgens, 15th century)

Jean Noblet’s Tarot of Marseille card (below) includes some new elements. Flames have been added around the eclipse of the sun and moon. This is a reference to the “tongues of fire” that descended on the disciples of Jesus at Pentecost. This story is a metaphor for the awakening of the kundalini – which is called the Holy Spirit in the Bible – in the apostles.

When Pentecost arrived, they were all together. Suddenly there was a sound from heaven as if a strong wind were blowing, it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire: it divided and descended upon each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues, as the Spirit gave them to speak. (Acts 2: 1-4)

Read more about the symbolism in the Bible in my book “Mary Magdalene, the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

The tongues of the dogs confirm this interpretation. They resemble the flames / “tongues of fire” around the eclipse.

The three small hills at the bottom of the card represent the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening. The hill in the middle is the sushumna nadi, located in the spine, with the kundalini (the lobster) flowing in it.

The outer two hills represent the ida-nadi and pingala-nadi, which flow on both sides of the spine. The two dogs and two towers also symbolize the energetic polarity. This is confirmed by the colors of the dogs: red (the masculin) and blue (the feminine).

Tarot van Marseille,
by Jean Noblet (1659)

“Tongues of fire” descend on the apostles.

The dogs also represent the animal / lower nature of humans: on an energetic level our belly (the first three chakras). When the kundalini (the crayfish) awakens in the pelvis, it must first pass the lower chakras (the dogs) to get to its final destination: the crown chakra.

Probably dogs were chosen – and not, for example, lions or pigs – because the moon goddesses Diana (Romans) and Artemis (Greeks) are often depicted with dogs. Below are two examples. These illustrations also contain kundalini symbolism.

Right: The ‘dead’ king (the alchemist) is eaten by the WOLF (he is ‘consumed’ by his ANIMAL INSTINCTS, located in the BELLY, and as a result he is spiritually ‘dead’). When the wolf is burned (the animal energies are PURIFIED by the kundalini fire), the king is brought back to life. (Atalanta Fugiens, 1617)

Left: the moon goddess Diana with her dog. The TWO SERPENTS represent the fusion of the POLAR ENERGIES. The serpents touch TWO STRANDS of Diana’s HAIR, confirming this interpretation. (Natalis Comitis Mythologiae, 1637)

Below: the goddess Artemis as “Potnia Theron”: “Mistress of the animals”. (Boeotian amphora, circa 680 BC)

Jacques Viéville Tarot (circa 1650)

Jacques Viéville’s Moon (left) is completely different from his Tarot of Marseille colleagues. No crayfish for him, but a woman spinning yarn. This, too, is a metaphor for a kundalini awakening.

The stick with a tuft of flax at the top represents the spine and the pineal gland. The thread running from the pelvis to the woman’s head represents the kundalini.

Her red and blue dress refers to the fusion of the polarities, just like the eclipse, above her head. With her right hand the woman confirms her inner oneness. The tree next to her is a classic symbol of the awakened kundalini.

Right: The metaphor of spun yarn has also been used by artists to communicate that Jesus experienced a kundalini awakening. The upper hand of Mary makes THE SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE (2 = 1). Her lower hand brings the thread to the PELVIS of the baby Jesus. Mary’s clothing is a combination of blue (the feminine) with red (the masculine). The way she wears her blue cloak suggests the SPIRAL MOVEMENT of the kundalini to the head. The CROSSED LEGS (click here) of Jesus are a reference to the SACRED MARRIAGE.

The symbolism of tarot card The Moon can also be found in Christian art of the same era. In many paintings spiritual knowledge that went against the teachings of the Church was communicated in a veiled way. For example, there are depictins of the Last Supper with crayfish on the table, in addition to the usual fish, lamb and bread (see below). A remarkable deviation from the traditional iconografie.

The Last Supper, Antonio Baschenis, Santo Stefano Church, Carisolo, Italy, 15th century. We can deduce from the enormous number of crayfish that they have a special meaning. It is also strange that they are not lying on plates, like the lamb and the fish. The rows of round loaves resemble the vertebrae of a spinal column.

In paintings of the crucifixion we often see an eclipse, which makes sense because in the Bible it says that a solar eclipse takes place at the moment Jesus dies:

And it was about the sixth hour, and darkness came over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the middle. And Jesus cried with a loud voice and said, Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit. And when He said that, He gave up the ghost. (Luke 23: 44-46)

The detail of the eclipse in this quote is intended to tell us that the death of Jesus, on the symbolic level, represents a spiritual transformation process. A complete solar eclipse can only occur at New Moon. However, it was Full Moon (Pesach) when Jesus was crucified. The sixth hour is a reference to the sixth chakra, the place where the fusion of the polarities (sun and moon) takes place.

We can deduce from the hand of Jesus who makes the sign of the sacred marriage (2 = 1), that the eclipse in the paintings below has an esoteric meaning.

Read more about the symbolism in the Bible in my book “Mary Magdalene, the disciple whom Jesus loved.”

The Oswald Wirth Tarot

Oswald Wirth’s card (below left) is almost identical to the Tarot of Marseille. His dogs have the colors white and gray, which, like red and blue, refers to the polar energies: light / dark, yin / yang.

The mosaic at Château des Avenières (below right), which is based on Oswald Wirth’s tarot, has double pillars on both the left and right. This reinforces the theme of the card: the fusion of duality into divine oneness.

Oswald Wirth Tarot (1889)

Château des Avenières (1917)

The Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) Tarot

Artist Pamela Colman-Smith has chosen a dog and a wolf (the tamed and untamed animal) to express the polarities (below left). A choice inspired by alchemy. On the alchemy emblem next to the RWS card (below center) we see a dog and a wolf fighting each other. They represent the inner duality of the alchemist. The animals, according to the accompanying text, will be “turned into one.”

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

The original text accompanying this alchemical illustration reads: “A WOLF AND A DOG ARE IN ONE HOUSE, AND THEN ARE TURNED INTO ONE.” (Lambspring, 1556)

The god Mercury, who is in alchemy, with his staff the CADUCEUS, the personification of the kundalini, RISES here from the WATER. (Baro Urbigerus, 1705)

The colors yellow and orange of the dogs probably refer to the abdominal chakras, the abode in man of the animal energies. The second (lower abdomen) chakra is orange and the third (navel) chakra is yellow.

Another subtle, but significant difference from all predecessors is that on the RWS card the caryfish crawls out of the water. This emphasizes the awakening of the kundalini.

Around the moon / eclipse, the RWS card has Yod’s (the Hebrew letter Y) instead of flames. The meaning is the same. As we saw with tarot card The Tower, the letter Yod – which resembles a flame – refers to the divine in mystical Judaism.

The MOON GODDESS Hecate with TWO DOGS. The TWO SERPENTS refer to the ida and pingala nadi.


In most traditions, the kundalini energy in our pelvis is personified by a goddess (Shakti, Isis, Artemis, Sophia, etc.). Images from nature are also common. The yogi sees the source of divine energy as a coiled serpent, which can be awakened and then spirales up the spine. To the alchemist, the same source of energy resembles a caryfish emerging from the water. In the Bible we find the metaphor of a (whale) fish, that swallows human beings alive.

In the case of this tarot card, it is not difficult to understand the choice of the moon, with its influence on the rise and fall of the sea level, as a symbol for the kundalini.

In the major arcana of the tarot we also find, amongst others, a deer, a tree, a sword and an hourglass. The list of symbols and metaphors for the kundalini energy is almost endless; just as long as man’s imagination.

Tarot card The Moon is a beautiful example of a road map in images to the Kingdom of God.

Arthurian Tarot ( Caitlin Matthews, John Matthews, Miranda Gray, 1991)

A (pink) salmon swimming against the current, back to its native soil, is a striking, original metaphor for the kundalini energy.

The Arto Tarot (Jane Estelle Trombley, 2008)

The moon goddess Diana / Artemis with her dogs.

Tarot de Mars (Quentin Faucompré, 2012)

When the kundalini awakens, one of its tasks is to transform and merge the animal energies.

Arcus Arcanum Tarot (Hansrudi Wascher, 1987)

The woman / goddess on this card invites us to follow this road.

This article was written by Anne-Marie Wegh. Copyright August 2020.

Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book
John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

Illustrations from the tarot decks, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres

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By |2022-07-02T18:51:59+00:00October 18th, 2020|Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 18. The Moon

Tarot 17. The Star

17. The Star

The eight-pointed star on this tarot card is a symbol of the Sumerian goddess Inanna and her Akkadian counterpart Ishtar. These goddesses were also associated with the planet Venus, which is called the Morning Star because, after the sun and moon, she is the brightest of all celestial bodies and is visible in the east shortly before sunrise. The light of Venus heralds the sun and because of this she is associated with the divine since ancient times.

We also have the word of the prophets as confirmed beyond doubt. And you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
(Bible quote 2 Peter 1:19)

In line with this, the eight-pointed Morning Star represents in various spiritual traditions the divine energy in the pelvis of man: the kundalini. Two examples on the right.

The MORNING STAR (Venus) is clearly visible just before sunrise.

An Old Babylonian plaque from 2000- 1600 BC. with the STAR OF ISHTAR on the trunk of a PALM TREE (click here), symbol for the SPINE.

The naked woman is a MOON GODDESS and a personification of the kundalini energy. The SERPENT and the EIGHT-POINTED STAR are both kundalini symbols. (Clavis Artis, a late 17th / early 18th century alchemical manuscript)

The Star in the 15th century

That the star on this tarot card already from the beginning referred to a kundalini awakening, is confirmed by the other symbolism. Both 15th century cards below include references to the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies. This fusion is part of the kundalini process.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot

Ercole I d’Este Tarot

The alchemist’s MAGNUM OPUS (kundalini awakening): the masculine and feminine energies are fused. An EIGHT-POINTED STAR is depicted above the heads of this so-called “REBIS.” (Compendium Alchymist, J. M. Faust, 1706)

The woman’s clothing on the Visconti-Sforza card (above left) is a combination of the colors blue and red. These are the classic colors for, respectively, the feminine and the masculine energies. To confirm this interpretation she makes the (secret) SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE (click here) with her right hand (two fingers together, 2 = 1), placed exactly where the colors red and blue meet.

Right: Hermes Trismegistus. He points at the eight-pointed star and makes the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE: 2=1 (click here) with his left hand. Alchemical manuscript, circa 1475, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence. Text: Pater Hermes Philosophorum (Hermes, father of the philosophers).

The woman’s red cloak is covered with a pattern of eight-pointed stars. Red is a color that can also refer to the kundalini energy: it is the color of fire and also of the first chakra, the residence of the kundalini. The woman is standing between two mountains. These symbolize the polar energy channels ida nadi and pingala nadi, which flow on the left and right side of the spine.

The man and woman on the card of the Ercole I d’Este deck (above center) also wear red and blue clothing. With their arms intertwined, they point to the eight-pointed star: an obvious reference to the merging of the masculine and feminine energies.

Left: during a kundalini awakening, the POLAR ENERGY CHANNELS ida nadi (blue) and pingala nadi (red) merge, at the level of the forehead (sixth chakra).

Veiled references to the kundalini energy can also be found in other art from that era. Artists became aware of this knowledge forbidden by the church through esoteric groups such as the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons. Click here for the MORNING STAR as a symbol for the kundalini process of Jesus in Christian art.

Right: early Christian inscription with the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichtus), for Jesus, and the MORNING STAR, in the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus in Turkey.

The Tarot of Marseille

The woman on the Tarot of Marseille cards (below) stands not only between two hills, but also between two trees. The woman personifies the kundalini energy; the two trees and the two hills represent the ida nadi and pingala nadi. The nakedness of the woman communicates her divine nature.

The union of the masculine and feminine energies is symbolized on the Tarot of Marseille Star by the two vases from which water (energy) flows. One vase flows out onto the land, the other into the pool of water, as a confirmation to us that these are the polar energies.

Tarot of Marseille by Jean Noblet (1659)

Tarot of Marseille by Jean Dodal (1715)

The THREE ENERGY CHANNELS involved in the kundalini process, depicted as a distillation process. The DIVINE ORIGIN of the energy in our spine is also beautifully depicted. (Alchemical engraving, 17th century)

So both the trees, the hills and the vases represent the polar energies. The woman and the eight-pointed star both represent the divine kundalini energy. We can also deduce this from the woman’s navel. On Jean Noblet’s card (above left) it is a six-pointed star (hexagram) and on Jean Dodal’s card (above center) a circle with a upward pointing triangle: the symbol of fire.

Another classic metaphor for the awakened kundalini is a tree. Jean Dodal’s card shows a bird on one of the trees. The bird refers to the completion of the kundalini process.

The seven smaller stars (hexagrams) on the card represent the seven chakras, which are purified and activated (‘shining’ like stars) by the kundalini energy. All elements on this card can also be found in the symbolism used in alchemy to depict a kundalini awakening, see the three examples below.

Compendium alchymist, J. M. Faust, 1706.

The (kundalini) TREE enables the soul to ascend to God. (The Rosarium Philosophorum, 18th century)

GOLD AND SILVER represent the polar energies in alchemy. (Ritter-Krieg, Johann Sternhals, 1580)

The theme of a god with two vases of water, to express the fusion of the polar energies, can also be found in Ancient Egypt. In the image on the right we see the androgynous god Hapi depicted in an identical way.

The meaning that Egyptologists give to this image is that the two vases of water represent the White and the Blue Nile, which flow together and form the, for the Egyptians, very important river Nile (see map on right). The god Hapi is a personification of the Nile.

Major rivers are often used in spiritual traditions as a metaphor for kundalini energy; for example, the Ganges in Hinduism, the Jordan in Judaism, and in Ancient Egypt it was the Nile.

The serpent around Hapi confirms us that this relief on a deeper level is also a representation of the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening, similar to the meaning of tarot card The Star.

Jacques Vieville Tarot, circa 1650.

The Tarot of Paris, 17th century.

Some Tarot de Marseille decks have opted for completely different imagery to express the same thing. On the cards of Jacques Vieville and the Tarot of Paris (left) we see a man with a compass in his hand. The compass is a symbol from Freemasonry and refers to the fusion of the polarities (see illustrations below). The same meaning as the two vases on the other Tarot de Marseille decks.

The man on Jacques Viéville’s card points with the compass to a tower. This tower is a metaphor for the spine with the awakened kundalini flowing in it (see also tarot card The Tower). Instead of a clock, we see a (kundalini) star in the top of the tower. We may take this as a confirmation of our interpretation.

The hourglass, which the man is holding in his other hand, is also a symbol for the kundalini energy (see tarot card The Hermit).

The man on the Tarot of Paris card points with the compass at his hat, which is shaped like a pyramid. A pyramid has square base (the number four represents the physical dimensions / earth), with vertical lines that run to one point, the top (symbol for the divine). This symbolic meaning of the pyramid is comparable to that of the compass: the process of God-realization.

The COMPASS on this alchemical emblem with the ‘Magnum Opus’ / REBIS represents the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies. From: Theoria Philosophiae Hermeticae, Heinrich Nollius, 1617.

The fusion of the masculine and feminine energies (the SACRED MARRIAGE, click here) is symbolized on this engraving by the hand gestures (2 = 1) of the gods Mercury and Minerva, as well as the COMPASS . Mercury’s staff, the CADUCEUS, is the classic symbol for a kundalini awakening. (Crispijn van de Passe (I), circa 1611, Rijksmuseum)

Socrates holds up a COMPASS with one hand and draws a REBIS with the other. Both stand for the fusion of the masculine and feminine energies. From: Symbolicarum Quaestionum, Achilles Bocchius, 1555.

The Oswald Wirth Tarot

The golden hair of the woman on Oswald Wirth’s card covers her whole back. This, too, is a classic metaphor for the kundalini energy, which flows from the pelvis to the crown.

Instead of a tree with a bird as a transformation symbol, Wirth has opted for a flower with a butterfly. The flower has five petals, which refers to the “Rose of Venus”. The orbit of Venus around the earth, during an eight-year cycle, has the pattern of a five-petaled flower (see illustration on right). This pattern is called the Rose (or Pentagram) of Venus. The five-petaled rose has been used as a symbol for the divine since ancient times. The butterfly on the flower is a classic symbol of transformation.

Oswald Wirth Tarot (1889)

The ‘Rose of Venus’

Château des Avenières (1917)

On this wooden panel (British Museum) we see a goddess in a (kundalini) tree who gives nourishment (energy) to a woman and her BA (the bird).

The mosaic at Château des Avenières (above left) is derived from the Oswald Wirth Tarot. An Egyptian Ba bird sits on the tree next to the goddess. In Ancient Egypt, the Ba bird represented the essence / soul of man (see panel above right).

The two vases on the mosaic have different colors: gold and silver. These are colors associated with the sun and the moon and refer to polarity / duality.

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The RWS Star is rather similar to the Tarot of Marseille and the Oswald Wirth Tarot. Artist Pamela Colman Smith has placed the goddess even more explicitly in the center of the two vases with outflowing water, which gives us even more clearly the image of the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening: the kundalini energy is located between the polar energy channels ida nadi and pingala nadi.

One leg of the goddess rests on water and one leg on land: a reinforcement of the symbolism of the two vases. The goddess represents the unity of the divine.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

The EIGHT-POINTED STAR has also been used in Christian art to communicate “heretical” spiritual knowledge. Here we see Saint Dominic with an eight-pointed star above his head. With his left hand he makes the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE: 2 = 1 (click here), and with the other hand he points to his HEAD, the place where this sacred marriage takes place. (Fra Angelico, circa 1440)

Wonder Woman with the eight-pointed Morning star on her forehead.


The eight-pointed star on this tarot card has been a symbol of the kundalini energy since ancient times. The woman on the card is a personification of this divine energy in the human pelvis. She is a goddess with many names and faces, including Ishtar, Inanna, Sophia, Isis, Hera and Shakti.

In the Bible, Jesus promises us the Morning Star – as the eight-pointed star is also called – if we overcome our ego and animal instincts:

And to the one who overcomes and continues in My work until the end … I will give him the morning star.
(Revelation 2:26,28)

The Knights Templar

The legendary Knights Templars also knew the deeper meaning of the eight-pointed star and used this symbol to communicate their esoteric knowledge. Read about this in my article: The Knights Templars and the Holy Grail.

Animal Totem Tarot (Eugene Smith, Leeza Robertson, 2016)

An oyster, with a pearl, and a lighthouse are apt symbols for the kundalini energy.

The Tarot of the Golden Serpent (Sebastian Haines, 2009)

The rose, the grail and the phoenix are wonderful additions to the other kundalini symbolism of this card.

D’Morte-Disney Tarot

Snow White is a personification of the kundalini energy. Click here to read more: “Snow White and the seven chakras.”

The Buddha Tarot (Robert M. Place, 2004)

The Buddha attained enlightenment (nirvana) after a kundalini awakening. Click here to read more.

This article was written by Anne-Marie Wegh. Copyright August 2020.

Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book
John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

Illustrations from the tarot decks, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres

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By |2022-05-31T12:21:05+00:00August 30th, 2020|Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 17. The Star

Tarot 16. The Tower

16. The Tower

In the 16th century, in France, tarot card The Tower was called “The House of God” (La Maison Dieu); a name where you expect a temple, or a church, rather than a tower. What is the connection between the tower on this card and God, and why is it being destroyed? Read it in this article!

The Tower in the 15th century

From the 15th century – the very first century that tarot cards came into circulation – only one hand-painted copy of The Tower, from the Charles VI deck, has been preserved (below), and a few uncut sheets – and some uncolored – from early printing. Together, these cards show all the elements that still form the basis for card number 16 today: we see a tower collapsing, apparently caused by the fire of the sun, and two people in the air, falling down.

Charles VI (Estensi) deck,
second half of 15th century.

Rosenwald deck,
circa 1500

Budapest-​Metropolitan deck,
circa 1500

Rothshild deck,
circa 1500

That the destructive fire comes emanates from the sun, and not from thunderclouds, may already be an indication to us that this card has a deeper meaning. The sun is a universal symbol for God / the divine. A tower destroyed by God is reminiscent of the Tower of Babel from the Bible, a story that on a symbolic level takes place in man.

The Tower of Babel

Many Bible stories are not intended to be taken literally. They are metaphors for inner spiritual processes. Similarly, the story about man who wanted to build a tower up to heaven. The deeper meaning of Bible texts is hidden in subtle word choices and sentence structures. I have writen two books about this: “Mary Magdalene, the disciple whom Jesus loved,” and “John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ.”

The Tower of Babel is about man trying to awaken the kundalini energy, dormant in his pelvis, and bring it through the spine (the tower) to the seventh chakra (heaven). In other words, man wants to rise to the divine, motivated by his ego.

However, this gross self-overestimation has the opposite effect. Instead of ascending through the spine, the divine (the kundalini) descends. This is stated literally twice in the text: in response to the audacious act of man, God comes down (Genesis 11: 1-9).

Then God scatters the people and gives them different languages so that they no longer understand each other:… because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from there the Lord spread them all over the earth (Genesis 11: 9).

This is a metaphor for an inner fragmentation of man. The energy that first flowed through the spine and created an experience of oneness, descends into the pelvis and subsequently is divided over the two energy channels ida-nadi and pingala-nadi. As a result, man no longer experiences God, but the polarities of duality: good and evil, male and female, and so on. We may interpret the distribution of man over the earth as an inner division into various aspects of ego. Man must now – internally divided – find his way in a dual world.

Disguised references to the kundalini energy can also be found in other art from that era. Artists became aware of this knowledge, forbidden by the church, through esoteric organisations such as the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons. Two examples to the right and below.

The THREAD that runs from the WHEEL, on top of the tower, to the SPINDLE, on the ground, is a hidden reference to the kundalini energy. We can deduce this from the two men standing with their PELVIS against the spindle, and from the EIGHT SPOKES of the wheel: this is a reference to kundalini symbol the EIGHT-POINTED MORNING STAR (click here). God makes the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE: 2 = 1 (click here) with both hands. (The Tower of Babel, from a Russian manuscript of Cosmas Indicopleustes, 1539)

Left: engraving of the Tower of Babel, by Jan Collaert I (16th century). Circled are hidden references to a kundalini process: the hands are making the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE: 2 = 1 (click here), and in front of the tower is a man holding up a CLOTH from his PELVIS to above his head. The NAKED BACKS intentionally draw our attention to the SPINE.

Kundalini symbols

There are many symbols and metaphors for the spine with the awakened kundalini energy flowing in it. Classic examples are: a serpent, a tree, a pillar, a ladder and a tower.

The card of the 15th century Budapest Metropolitan deck (above) contains a subtle indication that the Tower represents the kundalini energy. The two small trees on either side of the tower represent the two energy channels that keep man connected to duality: the ida nadi and pingala nadi.

Right: the THREE ENERGY CHANNELS involved in a kundalini awakening.

Below: two aprons from the esoteric organisation Freemasonry, with symbols of the kundalini process, including TREES, PILLARS and a TOWER.


Also in the spiritual tradition of alchemy we find the tower as a metaphor for the spine with the awakened kundalini.
Below are three examples.

Left and above: Buch der heiligen Dreifaltigkeit, Ms Vossianus Chym, 1522.

Right: these two alchemical ovens represent the energetic (left) and physical (right) aspect of an AWAKENED SPINE. Annibal Barlet, Le Vray et Methodique Cours, 1651.

The Tarot of Marseille

The internal fragmentation of man, which is the result of the withdrawing of God (the kundalini), is expressed on the Tarot of Marseille cards (right) by the little spheres around the tower. We can deduce from their circular shape that these are not fragments of the tower. The different colors also indicate something other than pieces of stone.

We find the same colored spheres on illustrations from alchemy. They depict the fragmentation phase of the Magnum Opus (a metaphor for the process of God-realization). Below are a few examples.

The three tower windows represent the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening. The top of the tower resembles a crown. This is a reference to the delusions of grandeur of the ego, that thinks it is king of the universe and the crown of creation.

Tarot of Marseille by Jean Dodal (1715)

Capucins de la rue Saint-Honoré, 17th century.

Donum Dei, second half 15th century.

Johann Daniel Mylius version of “Donum Dei”

The card now also has a title: The House of God. That this refers to the spine with the divine kundalini energy flowing in it, can also be found in the Bible. In the book of Genesis, patriarch Jacob has a vision in his sleep of angels climbing up and down a ladder (a metaphor of the kundalini flowing through his spine), and God speaking to him. When Jacob wakes up he says:

“How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. He called the name of that place Bethel…  (Genesis 28:17-19)

The Hebrew Bethel means “house of God.” Jacob sets up the stone on which he slept as a pillar, and pours oil over it. The erected stone refers to Jacob’s awakened spine. The “anointing” with oil symbolizes the transformation of his cerebrospinal fluid into amrita (drink of immortality).

Jacob’s Ladder, Wenceslas Hollar, 17th century. The artist has deliberately placed the LADDER at Jacob’s PELVIS, as a veiled reference to a kundalini awakening.

Jacob sets up a stone as a pillar and pours oil over it.

Some tarot decks from this period, such as the Belgian Vandenborre Bacchus Tarot (below left), have opted for a tree that is struck by  lightning, instead of a tower. The card is then called ‘Lightening’ (La Foudre). A tree is also a classic metaphor for the awakened kundalini (see below center). The deeper meaning of the card remains the same.

Vandenborre Bacchus Tarot
(Belgium, 1780)

Alchemy Manuscript, 1606.

Ligurien-Piemont Tarot
(Italy, 1840)

In Italy the first cards appear called La Torre (The Tower). This will remain the definitive title of tarot card number 16. On the far right the Ligurien-Piemont Tarot from 1840.

The Oswald Wirth Tarot

Oswald Wirth named his card Le Feu du Ciel (The Fire from Heaven), a title that could refer to both lightning and the kundalini energy (right). One of the falling figures has a crown on his head, a reference to a “dethroning” of the ego.

The figures on the mosaic of Château des Avenières (far right), which is based on the Tower of Wirth, are dressed in red and blue. These are the classic colors for the male and female energies. They refer on this card to the disintegration of the inner oneness into opposites / duality. The striped sash around the front man’s waist, with the two flying ends, also refers to this.

The tower stands on a globe, creating the image of a “fall” of man (back) in matter.

Oswald Wirth Tarot (1889)

Château des Avenières (1917)

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The two figures on the RWS card are also dressed in a combination of the colors red (male) and blue (female). A new element is that it is not two men who fall, as on all previous cards, but a man and a woman. We may take this as a confirmation of our interpretation of the colors red and blue.

In the sky are floating 22 Yods. The Yod is the Hebrew Y. This flame-like character is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet. All other letters contain a Yod. It is the first letter of YHWH (God). In mystical Judaism, the Yod represents the ubiquity of God. In ancient Hebrew, the Yod was written as a forearm with a hand. The RWS card has no sun like the other cards; instead, the Yod refers to “the Hand of God.”

Modern Hebrew

Ancient Hebrew

The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters. The exact number of 22 Yods on this card is a reference to the breaking up of man’s inner (divine) oneness into ego fragments.


The major arcana of the tarot consists of miniatures that highlight aspects of a kundalini awakening. The card The Tower is a warning addressed to people who think they can master the divine. God will not let Himself be used by the ego.Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

This card is based on the Bible story about the Tower of Babel, in which the tower is a metaphor for the spine with the awakened kundalini energy flowing in it. This story teaches us why the knowledge of the kundalini energy has been so cautiously guarded in all these centuries and can only be found hidden in sacred texts. In the wrong hands it can lead to people insufficiently prepared and with the wrong motives forcing an access to this sacred energy source. Jesus also notes this in the gospel of Matthew (11:12):

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.

This path can only be followed succesfully with a heart purified from the ego’s desires for grandeur. Only for a person who is willing to die to himself does the door to God open.

Read also my article: Kundalini en the Tower of Babel.

In the foreground we see a PILLAR (click here), symbol for the awakened SPINE, with a snail on the way up, and a wreath of victory. The pillar rests on four lions (symbol of the animal energies in man). In the background we see the TOWER OF BABEL. All this symbolism refers (concealed) to the process of kundalini awakening. The process of a unification with God requires patience and endurance. (Jacob Bruck, Emblemata moralia et bellica, 1615)

Tower of God

Mary Magdalene played an important role in the life of Jesus. Her spine, like Jesus’s, had awakened. We can infer this, among other things, from her nickname The Magdalen, which means ‘Tower of God’ (Migdal-El). Read more in my book on Mary Magdalene!

Chrysalis Tarot (Holly Sierra, Toney Brooks, 2014)

The Hindu goddess Kali personifies the purifying effect of the kundalini energy. She is responsible for the “death” of the ego.

De Egipcios Kier Tarot (Margarita Arnal Moscardo, 1988)

In Ancient Egypt, the obelisk, and the three attributes of the Pharaoh at the bottom of the card (crook, flail, and was scepter), represented the spine with the kundalini energy flowing in it. See also tarot card 0. The Fool and 5. The Hierophant.

Le Tarot des Alchimistes (Jean Beauchard, 2006)

Visible in the vessel is the alchemist’s completed Magnum Opus (kundalini awakening) in symbols. Next to the vessel we see Icarus in a free fall. The Greek myth about Icarus and Daedalus is about the disastrous consequences of pride.

The Arthurian Tarot (Caitlin and John Matthews, 1990)

The owl (Wisdom, Sophia) is also a classic symbol for the kundalini.

This article was written by Anne-Marie Wegh. Copyright April 2020.

Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book
John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

Illustrations from the tarot decks, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres

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By |2022-05-31T12:21:14+00:00August 2nd, 2020|Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 16. The Tower

The spiritual process of losing the ego

The spiritual process of losing the ego

The average Western person is filled to the brim: filled with thoughts, feelings, stimuli, restlessness, stress, and especially filled with ego. We are full of ourselves. And in those who are full of themselves there is no place for God.

The way to God is a way of becoming empty, in many ways: de-stressing, detaching, draining the swamp of the unconscious, and “undressing” your ego. Only naked can we see God face to face. (1)

Usually this process of emptying is not explicitly explained in spiritual traditions, but is referred to only in metaphors, which the spiritual seeker himself is supposed to translate to a working method. Examples include decapitation, face covering, invisibility, and a major cleaning.


A beautiful example of beheading with a spiritual meaning is the Hindu god Ganesha. This popular elephant-headed god embodies enlightened man. According to myth, Ganesha is beheaded in his youth by his father, the god Shiva, during an outburst of rage. After this, full of remorse, he places an elephant head on his son’s shoulders.

The head is the seat of the ego. Liberated from the ego, the spiritual aspirant experiences a spiritual rebirth. The elephant head, with its large ears and brain, represents the sharpened senses and the expanded consciousness of this enlightened human being.

In Hindu iconography, a cut-through coconut often lies at the feet of Ganesha (see illustration on right). One of the rituals in Hinduism is breaking a coconut for Ganesha. The hairy coconut somewhat resembles a human’s head. The underlying symbolism of the ritual is the cracking of the ‘hard nut’ of our ego.

The Hindu god Ganesha. Only one foot rests on the lotus; a reference to transcending duality: he has realized the (oneness of) the divine.

David with Goliath’s head.

Another example is the Bible story of the beheading of Goliath by the young shepherd David. (2) The enormous giant Goliath symbolizes the ego of David that must die if he is to become king of Israël (a Biblical metaphor for God-realization). With a rock from his sling, David hits his opponent Goliath exactly in the forehead during a duel; energetically the place in man where the ego dies, during the process of spiritual awakening. Then he decapitates him with his sword.

Face covering

The disappearance of a face is also symbolism to express the disappearance of the ego. The prophet Moses has an impressive encounter with God on a mountain (symbol for an expansion of consciousness). He resides on the mountain for forty days and nights (symbolism for a period of transformation). When he comes down, he covers his face with a cloth when he speaks to the Israelites. (4) With this image, the Bible writers are saying that Moses no longer speaks from his (disappeared) ego, but from a divine source.

Moses wears a veil

The prophet Elijah hides his face behind his cloak

The face of the prophet Elijah also disappears after meeting God on a mountain. In a cave on top of the mountain, Elijah first feels a strong wind splitting the mountains and breaking rocks; then there is an earthquake and finally a fire. (5) These impressive images describe the process of emptying: Elijah is being ‘broken open’, purified and transformed.

And after the fire came a soft silence.
And it happened, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face with his cloak, went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him, saying, What are you doing here, Elijah? (6)

It is quiet after the violence of nature. This is the inner silence that man experiences after the completion of the process of emptying. Elijah wraps his cloak around his face: his ego has become “invisible” through the purification process. It is now completely transparent, like a clean window. The divine light can flow through it unhindered. As with Moses, this allows Elijah to hear the voice of God.(7)


Invisibility is also a metaphor for egolessness. The Greek god Hermes has a helmet that can make him invisible; the so-called Helmet of Hades. Hermes lends his helmet to Perseus when he confronts the infamous gorgo Medusa. Perseus is sent to get the head of Medusa; a life-threatening task because everyone who looks her in the eye petrifies. Through the Helmet of Hades, Perseus manages to approach Medusa unseen and cuts off her head

This beheading is also about emptying. Medusa has snakes on her head instead of hair; this refers to the “poisonous” thoughts that emanate from the ego, and that stand in the way of experiencing God.

Petrification is a wonderful metaphor for the inner world of a person who is ‘stuck’ in his past: in ingrained patterns, old pain and false beliefs. The ego is, as it were, ‘petrified’. It is motionless and lifeless.

Medusa by Caravaggio (circa 1600)

This myth uses both the metaphor of invisibility and that of beheading for its spiritual message: the necessity of emptying for the realization of the divine. The wings on the Helmet of Hades represent an expansion of consciousness.

Perseus with the severed head of Medusa (Cellini, 1545–54).

A depiction of the alchemist’s Magnum Opus (metaphor for God-realization). Hades’ Helmet makes the face invisible. (From the alchemical treatise Wasserstein der Weysen by Johann Ambrosius Siebmacher, 1619)

A major cleaning job

Emptying is sometimes also represented by a process of purification. A well-known example is Noah’s Flood. The enormous flood of water in which people and animals perish, represents the “flushing” of the spiritual seeker (Noah). All that is “sinful” is purified. When the water sinks again, Noah’s Ark ends up on a mountain top (symbol for an expansion of consciousness). (8)

Noah’s ark ends on a mountain top: a symbol for an expansion of consciousness

A second example is the cleansing job that the Greek demigod Herakles faces: mucking out the stables of King Augias. This task is the fifth of the twelve “labors” (assignments) that Herakles is to perform on behalf of King Eurystheus. The twelve labors represent the challenges the spiritual aspirant faces who wants to realize the divine.

King Augias owned 3,000 cattle and the stables had not been cleaned for 30 years. So a gigantic job, which has to tell us that spiritual emptying is not an easy task. The number 3 refers to the three aspects of man, all of which must be cleansed: body, head (thinking) and heart (feeling). This myth has found its way into our proverbs and expressions: an “Augias stable” represents an enormous amount of dirt.

John the Baptist

The ultimate example of a man who has managed to empty himself completely, with the rest of the world knowing about it, is John the Baptist.

John is seen as the one who first predicts the coming of the Messiah and then recognizes Jesus as “the Lamb of God” at his baptism in the Jordan. This is how he is presented in the Bible, and John thus fit the expectations of the Jews who, based on the prophecies in the book of Malachi, assumed that the coming of the long-awaited Messiah would be preceded by a great prophet.

However, John the Baptist was not only the herald of Jesus. He was Jesus. He became a Christos, an anointed one, after a long process of God-realization, a moment symbolically depicted in all the Gospels as the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan.

Jesus points with two fingers (2 = 1) at John the Baptist: Jesus = John. Their appearance is also the same. (Basilica of San Marco, Venice, 11th-13th century)

Because John did not meet the expectations that the Jews had about the Messiah, the evangelists posthumously give him a new name and a new identity, which refers to a figure from the Old Testament: Joshua (Jesus) the son of Nun.

The Gospels are full of subtle cues that endorse this statement. For this you sometimes have to go back to the Greek source texts. I have written a book about this subject: John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ. There has always been a group of initiates who knew about this great secret. Below you will find a number of paintings in which it is hinted, in a concealed way, that John the Baptist was Jesus. In my book, and on this web page, many more examples.

John the Baptist points with one finger at Jesus and with two fingers at the lamb at his feet. His hand gesture means: Jesus and he are both the Lamb of God. (Lucas Cranach the Younger, 1553)

In iconography John the Baptist usually points at Jesus, because in the Bible he is the one who recognizes Jesus as the Lamb of God. In this painting, however, he points at himself. (Michelino da Besozzo, circa 1420)

Saint Lucia points with two fingers pressed together (2 = 1) to the baptism scene with John and Jesus, on the chasuble of the bishop. Her hand gesture means John = Jesus. (Amico Aspertini, 1510)

The beheading of John

One of these indications is that the public life of Jesus starts from the moment John the Baptist is beheaded by King Herod:

When Jesus heard that John had been handed down, He returned to Galilee … From then on Jesus started to preach and say: “Repent, because the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (9)

Jesus preaches in the above quote in exactly the same words as John did. The Baptist also says to his listeners, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand“. (10)

John is captured and beheaded by Herod for the criticism he openly has on him. That this beheading on the spiritual level is a festive event is underlined by the fact that it takes place during the celebration of Herod’s birthday. The “birth” that is celebrated is the rebirth of John, who, after his “beheading,” will now, in the Bible, go by the name “Jesus the Christ.”

Some time later, when Herod learns about the wandering Jesus who performs special healings, he makes a connection with John’s death:

And King Herod heard it, for his name was known, and said, “John that baptized was raised from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah;” and still others said, “He is a prophet, or He is one of the prophets.” But when Herod heard it, he said, “This is John that I beheaded; he was raised from the dead.” (11)

It can hardly be stated any clearer. Herod says with astonishing certainty, as if resurrections from the dead occurred on a regular basis in Judea: Jesus is John who was raised from the dead.
In the Bible a person who fully identifies with his ego is seen as “dead,” in a spiritual sense. With the discarding of the ego (head) a “resurrection from the realm of the dead” takes place. The apostle Paul urges all of us to this: Awake, you who are sleeping, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (12)

One of the ways artists have tried to let us know that John the Baptist was Jesus is to give John the appearance of Jesus. This work of art is an example. John is not wearing his traditional camel-hair robe and looks like Jesus.

The fullness of God

After many years of purification and emptying, God takes up residence in John / Jesus: … in Him resides the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (13) He is the “perfected” man. He has attained a state of spiritual wholeness and completion, which characterizes the divine dimensions: “Be perfect then, as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.” (14)

The Greek teleios, from this quote, means perfect in the sense of perfected, finished, mature, completed. This perfection also refers to “oneness”. John / Jesus is no longer inwardly connected to duality; the sacred marriage of the opposites has taken place in him.

In the Bible this divine oneness is called (the union of) “the Alpha and the Omega”: I am the Alpha, and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (15) Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, respectively. In the Bible they symbolize the opposites (polarities) of creation.

The sign of the sacred marriage

In Christian iconography, Jesus is often depicted with his index and middle fingers raised. This hand gesture is usually interpreted as a blessing, but its origin and meaning are unknown to historics.

Over the centuries, there has always been a group of initiates who knew that Jesus was not born as the Son of God, but had gone through a spiritual process under the name of John the Baptist. We see evidence of this in iconography, art, and the early Christian catacombs in Rome. (16) The hand gesture of the two raised fingers expresses the union of the opposites: Jesus made “the two into one”. The sacred marriage took place in him: the alpha and the omega, the masculine and feminine, the sun and the moon, have merged to oneness.

Jesus makes the “sign of sacred marriage.” Next to him are the Greek letters Alpha and Omega: they represent the inner polarities that have merged. (Sant Climent de Taüll Church, Spain, circa 1123)

The sacred marriage and a “beheading” (the discarding of the ego) are two interrelated aspects of the process of spiritual awakening. In many paintings of the beheading of John the Baptist we also find the (secret) sign of the sacred marriage (2 = 1) in one way or another. Four examples below.

Andrea Schiavone (16th century)

John looks like Jezus in this painting. Antonio Domingo de Sequeira (18th century)

Cesare da Sesto (circa 1515)

Andrea Solario (circa 1500)

Get to work

What must be done to find God can be found in all major religions and spiritual traditions. So spiritual seekers can stop searching. It is a matter of getting started. Roll up your sleeves and start cleansing your own Augias stable…!

(1) 1 Corinthians 13:12
(2) 1 Samuel 16, 17
(3) For a detailed analysis of the biblical symbolism of the battle between David and Goliath see my book Kundalini Awakening (only in Dutch)
(4) Exodus 34: 29-35
(5) 1 Kings 19: 9-13
(6) 1 Kings 19: 12-13
(7) For a full analysis of Elijah’s encounter with God on Mount Horeb, see my book John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ
(8) For an analysis supporting the deeper meaning of the Flood story see my book Kundalini Awakening (only in Dutch)

(9) Matt. 4:12 and 17, see also Mark 1: 14-15 and Luke 3: 19-21
(10) Matt. 3: 2
(11) Mark 6: 14-16, see also Matt. 14: 1-3 and Luke 9: 7-9
(12) Ephesians 5:14
(13) Col. 2: 9-10
(14) Matt. 5:48
(15) Rev. 22:13, see also Rev. 1: 8
(16) See my book John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

This article has been published in Paravisie Magazine (Jan. ’19)
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2019

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John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

By |2022-04-17T08:13:32+00:00May 15th, 2020|Anne-Marie|Comments Off on The spiritual process of losing the ego

Kundalini and the Tower of Babel

Kundalini and the Tower of Babel

Forever in search of health, good sex and longevity, the masses have discovered the mysterious kundalini shakti of the yogi. Books and 1-day workshops with titles such as ‘Becoming supernatural’ are in great demand, and anyone interested can participate in kundalini yoga classes without prior screening or in-depth explanations of the purpose and dangers of exercises aimed at awakening the kundalini energy.

Certainly, the kundalini has a healing, vitalizing and purifying character, but awakening her does not only have positive effects. The goddess in our pelvis has many faces: she is the mother and the virgin, the widow and the bride, the comforter and the destroyer. Whoever wakes her up from her sleep too roughly, or prematurely, has to deal with Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction!


Myths, such as those of Hinduism, Ancient Egypt and the Ancient Greeks, are narratives about forces in the outside world and – not everyone realizes this – in our inner world.

The symbol of healthcare organizations and medical practice is derived from the caduceus, the staff of the Greek god Hermes. The caduceus is also the universal symbol of a kundalini awakening. The staff itself represents the spine, the two serpents are the polar energy channels that merge during an awakening, and the wings symbolise an expanded consiousness.

The serpent, with its ability to renew itself through shedding its skin, is seen in almost all traditions as a symbol of the kundalini energy. The healing effect of the kundalini, however, is mainly energetic. For a union with God, the energy must flow unhindered, like in a young child:

Verily, I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Gospel of Matthew 18:3)

A kundalini awakening does not cure chronic illnesses or other physical distress!

The Greek god Hermes
with his staff the caduceus

The Hindu goddess Kali


One of the goddesses who represent the purifying effect of the kundalini energy is the Hindu goddess Kali. Her appearance is frightening: dark skin, wide-open eyes, wildly swinging arms with one or more bloody weapons, and a chain of severed heads around her neck. Like a (kundalini) serpent, she uses her protruding tongue to detect (smell) impurities.

Despite her fearsome appearance, she is loved by the Hindus, because her intentions come from a loving mother’s heart. Her goal is to free us from our ego (symbolized by the severed heads).

The wild and angry Kali is an apt metaphor for the first phase of a kundalini awakening, which can last for years! The severity of the symptoms you experience depends on how many unprocessed issues lie dormant in the unconscious, and the purity of your lifestyle. For the average western person it involves a major cleaning job. Bigger than most people realize!

A kundalini awakening is hard on body and mind. The spiritual seeker who longs for God will be happy to endure it. However, advising people with health issues to wake up their kundalini as a solution to their medical problems is misleading – the healing is mainly mental – and downright dangerous!

Kundalini and sex

Upon awakening, the kundalini can be channeled through any chakra. It flows automatically to the chakras that require energy. If someone is focused on sexual pleasure, the kundalini will stay lingering at the second chakra, instead of ascending to its final destination, the crown chakra. If someone is strongly ego-oriented, the energy will feed the third chakra.

In this regard, the kundalini can indeed intensify sensory experiences, enhance your energy level, and open the door to the supernatural. But this divine energy is not intended for this purpose, and this is the reason why the knowledge of this energy source has always been hidden from the general public. Only spiritual aspirants with a pure intention and lifestyle were initiated by teachers in the techniques that can awaken the kundalini.

Right: The goddess Tara (Nepal, 18th century) is closely related to Kali in her destructive form. Around her waist she wears a panther skin, symbolizing the conquered animal instincts, including the sexual urges. The tail of the panther skin rests on the abdomen of the reclining man: Tara’s abode in man. The fire around Tara and the man depicts the inner kundalini fire that burns everything that stands between man and God. The man’s nakedness represents his purified ego.

Sacred energy

It is very naive to assume that using this sacred energy for any purpose other than that for which it is intended will remain without repercussions; medical, spiritual or karmic. Misusing the divine will not go unpunished. The Bible story about the Tower of Babel warns against this.

Many Bible stories are not intended to be taken literally. They are metaphors for inner spiritual processes. This also applies to the well-known story about man who wanted to build a tower up to heaven. The deeper meaning of Bible texts is hidden in subtle word choices and sentence structures. In my book Kundalini Awakening I have included five pages with an analysis of the Tower of Babel. I will summarize the main points here.

Tarot card The Tower
is inspired by the Tower of Babel

Inner tower

The Tower of Babel is about man trying to awaken the kundalini fire and bring it, through the spine (the tower), to the seventh chakra (heaven). In other words, man wants to rise to the divine, motivated by the ego.

However, this gross self-overestimation has the opposite effect. Instead of ascending through the spine, the divine descends. This is literally stated twice in the text: in response to the audacious act of man, God comes down (Genesis 11: 1-9).

Also meaningful is the name Babel, which means Gate of God (Bab –El). The place at the bottom of the spine, where the kundalini begins its journey upwards, is called Brahma-dvara in the yoga tradition : the gate or door of Brahma. This door to God remains closed to man who has not yet done the required inner work.

The metaphor of speaking different languages refers to losing contact with the oneness of the divine. Instead, the inner world of mankind is divided into ego-fragments.

The moral of the story of the Tower of Babel is that the Kingdom of God cannot be acquired without His will. It is a road that you travel together with Him. The knowledge about the kundalini can only be found hidden in sacred texts. In the wrong hands it can lead to people insufficiently prepared and with the wrong motives forcing an access to this sacred energy. Jesus also notes this in the gospel of Matthew (11:12):

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

This path should only be pursued with a heart purified from the ego’s desires for grandeur. Only for a person who is willing to die to himself does the gate to God open.

This article was published in the Dutch magazine Spiegelbeeld (March ’19). Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2019

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John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

By |2022-03-24T09:43:57+00:00May 3rd, 2020|Anne-Marie|Comments Off on Kundalini and the Tower of Babel

The Crucifix Code

The Crucifix Code

With his death on the cross, Jesus physically expressed the inner process of the death of the ego (“salvation”). The final stage of a kundalini awakening, where the old man is discarded (“dies”) and the new man, born again in God, “rises”.

Jesus himself had already completed this spiritual process, out of sight of the world. The Evangelists, on his behalf, and based on the esoteric teaching they had received from him, have written his life story as road map for the spiritual seeker’s inner journey to realize “the Kingdom of God.”

An explosive fact that can not only be found in the Bible, if you know how to read it, but has also been incorporated into countless Christian paintings by artists all over the world.

The Bible

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus makes an intriguing reproach to the scribes:

“Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge;
you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”
(Luke 11:52)

The word that Jesus uses for knowledge is the Greek gnosis. Gnosis is knowledge that is not obtained with the mind, but is based on experience. Spiritually speaking, gnosis stands for knowing God through direct experience. The knowledge of the heart.

The Pharisees hold the key to gnosis, Jesus says. They know the inner way to God, but they do not practise it themselves and they also prevent believers from “entering”. This key is the knowledge of what is called the kundalini in Eastern traditions. A power source of divine origin that is “sleeping” in our pelvis, at the level of the sacrum. The mystical branch of Judaism calls it Shekinah, the Gnostics Sophia, and Christians the Holy Spirit.

Jesus wanted to give this key to the Kingdom of God back to the believers. Not directly, because not everyone was ready to receive it, but concealed in metaphors and parables, “for those who have ears and want to hear”:

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”
“Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.”  (Matthew 13:10,11,13)

Not only the Gospels, the entire Bible, from cover to cover, essentially is about our potential for spiritual awakening. The story of Adam and Eve from the book of Genesis narrates why the kundalini energy is inactive, or “asleep,”  in most people. The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is a visual description of a kundalini awakening. All other Bible stories of wars, tyrannical kings, cruel occupiers and brave heroes are descriptions of the universal struggle in all of us between the hypnotic powers of our lower, animalistic nature, and the call of our higher, divine nature, in which the kundalini has a main role.

The process of kundalini awakening

At the left and right of our spine, two major energy channels are located. In the yoga tradition their names are ida nadi and pingala nadi. These energy channels connect us to the opposites (duality) of creation. Where ida-nadi stands for the feminine, dark, cold, passivity, the moon, and feeling, pingala-nadi stands for the masculine, light, heat, activity, the sun, and thinking.

When the kundalini awakens at the sacrum, it rises through the sushumna nadi, the central energy channel in the spine. On the way to the upper chakra, the crown chakra, all other chakras along the spine are purified and activated.

At the sixth chakra, ida and pingala nadi merge, opening the so-called “third eye” on the forehead of the spiritual aspirant. The ego “dies” and divine light pours in through the open crown chakra. The yogi calls the expanded consciousness that man now experiences samadhi.

From one to two

At first there was on earth only Adam, living carefree in the Garden of Eden. This paradise is a metaphor for experiencing a living connection with God. Adam initially was androgyn; he was both male and female.

Then God creates Eve from a rib of Adam: this represents an inner division of Adam into a female and a male half. This split can be found on the physical level (two hemispheres with different functions), on the mental level (archetypal character traits) and the energetic level.

The dichotomy immediately has consequences: Eve persuades Adam to eat the forbidden fruits and they are both sent out of paradise (man loses connection with God).

The serpent that tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruits is also punished by God. It must now crawl on its belly (Gen. 3:14). This is a reference to the kundalini energy that retreats into the pelvis (the belly).

Right: with his right hand Adam makes the secret SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE (click here): 2=1. Eve’s MIDDLE FINGER (click here) on the tree trunk refers to the kundalini energy. This tree has only one fruit: the PINEAL GLAND. (Peter Paul Rubens, 1628, Museo Del Prado)

The new Adam

Jesus “lifted” the serpent again and the details around his crucifixion have to make this clear to us. He is “the new Adam.” After a completed process of kundalini awakening, he returned to a state of androgyny and united with God: I and the Father are one (John 10:30).

Jesus himself confirms this interpretation by referring to the story of Moses and the bronze serpent: And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up… (John 3:14).

Left: with his fingers, Jesus makes the SIGN OF
: 2=1. In him
the polarities have melted into the oneness of the divine.
(Domenico Feti, circa 1600, Bavarian State Museum)

Moses and the bronze serpent

During their forty-year journey through the desert, the people of Moses encounter poisonous serpents whose bites kill. God commands Moses to make a serpent out of bronze and put it on a pole. Whoever looks at the bronze serpent after being bitten remains alive (Numbers 21:4-9).

The Hebrew words translated to poisonous serpents – nachash saraph – literally means burning (fiery) serpents. These serpents of fire represent the kundalini or Holy Spirit. This bible story shows the consequences if the divine energy in the pelvis is used for the desires of the (lower) abdomen; for sensory gratification and superficial pleasure.

If the “fiery serpent”, upon awakening, is not led upwards, but remains in the pelvis and “burns” the belly (“burning desires”), it acts as a deadly poison for the soul. Man dies spiritually. However, if the serpent rises through the spine, to the higher chakra’s (“placed on a pole”), man “lives”.

With his statement that he must be lifted up, just as Moses lifted up the serpent, Jesus wants us to know that his crucifixion should be taken as a metaphor for a kundalini awakening. He will physically express this inner process of God-realization. He will make the dying of the ego and the inner “resurrection” visible to the eyes of the whole world. A horrifying spectacle that makes you wonder if we could not have been presented this spiritual teaching in any other way.

In any case, the inhuman suffering and death of Jesus has not missed its effect. It has left deep marks in our collective consciousness and has made Christianity a world religion.

Jesus and the KUNDALINI SERPENT (click here) of Moses. (Peter Paul Rubens, early 17th century)

Jesus points with two fingers (the SIGN OF THE SACRED MARRIAGE (click here) to his HEAD: here the merger of the opposites and the crucifixion takes place. (Luis de Morales, 1566, Museo del Prado, Madrid)

The sacred marriage

The masculine and feminine energies in man merge into oneness when the kundalini energy, rising from the pelvis, has arrived at the forehead. This fusion is also called sacred marriage because it leads to a union with God. Prior to this mystical completion, the kundalini purified the ego (a process of years) described in the Gospels as “the way of the cross.” During the sacred marriage, the ego permanently leaves the stage; the new god-man is born (the “rebirth”).

A first indication that we should interpret the story of Jesus’ crucifixion as something that takes place in the head of man, is the location of the crucifixion: Golgotha, which means Place of the Skull (John 19:17)!

In the Gospel of John we find some more clues. Hanging on the cross, Jesus orders his disciple John to take his mother into his home (John 19:27). This is a reference to the sacred marriage. The Greek source text of this quote does not include the word home. Literally translated, it says: the disciple took her with him. A carefully chosen formulation that should evoke the image of an merger of the masculine and feminine.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus explicitly mentions this process:

Jesus said to them: When you make the two one, and when you make the inside as the outside, and the outside as the inside, and the upper as the lower, and when you make the male and the female into a single one, so that the male is not male and the female not female…
…then shall you enter [the kingdom]. (Saying 22)

In the esoteric traditions, the MIDDLE FINGER (click here) refers to the SPINE (the “center” of the body)
with the awakened kundalini energy. (Hans Holbein the Younger, 1521, Kunstmuseum Basel)

The spear

After Jesus has died on the cross, a soldier stabs him with a spear in his side (John 19:34). This too is a reference to an inner merger of the polarities, and goes back to the story of Adam and Eve. Jesus is stabbed with the spear in the same place where a rib was taken from Adam. Symbolically, the rib (Eva) is replaced: the state of androgyny is restored.

The two “criminals”

The two men crucified with Jesus – one on each side (John 19:18) – also depict the energies that sustain our dichotomy. Symbolically, in the crucifixion scene the inner duality (the two men) and the ego (Jesus) “die”.

These are just a few examples of the symbolism that pervades the life story of Jesus. The great secret of his kundalini awakening has been guarded through the centuries by a small group of initiates, artists and mystics. This “herecy” is hidden in countless Christian paintings.

An angel points to the HEAD of Jesus: this is where the birth of the divine child takes place. (Hans Baldung, 1539, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe)

MARY MAGDALENE (click here), to the right of the cross, shows with her hands the rising kundalini energy from the PELVIS to the HEAD. (Stained glass, church unknown)

Jesus’ LOINCLOTH refers to kundalini symbol the KNOT OF ISIS (click here). (Peter Paul Rubens, first half 17th century, private collection)

Jesus’ LOIN CLOTH is shaped like a KUNDALINI SERPENT (click here). (Josse Lieferinxe, ca. 1500, Louvre Museum)

The crucifix code

One of the ways in which artists have incorporated the deeper meaning of the crucifixion is with the “CRUCIFIX CODE”: Jesus hanging on the cross with one and / or two outstretched finger(s). He has made the two into one; in him the sacred marriage has taken place.

Also in paintings with Jesus in a different context we see this “sign of the sacred marriage” (see above). When the MIDDLE FINGER (click here) is extended, this is a reference to the spine – which is in “the middle” of man – with the awakened divine energy flowing in it.

Whoever types “crucifixion Jesus” on google can easily find dozens of examples of paintings hanging in museums and churches all over the world. So many, that it is surprising that no one has noticed it before (as far as I know). Perhaps the drop of this article in our collective consciousness is going to cause a large ripple?

Juan de Juanes, 1550, Caylus Anticuario, Madrid

This article was published in the Dutch magazine Spiegelbeeld (Nov ’18)
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2018

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John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

By |2022-11-25T10:35:33+00:00May 2nd, 2020|Anne-Marie, Spiegelbeeld|Comments Off on The Crucifix Code

Tarot 5. The Hierophant

5. The Hierophant

A hierophant is a high priest who leads religious celebrations. The ancient Greek word hierophantes is contraction of hieros (holy) and phainein (show, reveal). A hierophant is able to initiate others into experiencing the divine. This is, of course, only possible if he is connected to the divine himself, and this leads us to the meaning of the tarot card The Hierophant. It represents the person in whom the sacred marriage (Greek: hieros gamos ) has taken place. The (energetic) duality in him has merged. The Hierophant is rooted in the divine.

The title Hierophant was originally linked to the mysteries of Eleusis: an ancient Greek mystery tradition whose initiation rites were secret and still are a great mystery. Much later, this title was also applied to people in other situations and capacities. The name Hierophant ended up in the tarot through the occult society The Golden Dawn.

The Pope

Card number 5 of the tarot was originally called The Pope. Arthur Waite replaced The Pope for The Hierophant in his Rider-Waite-Smith deck in 1909 and almost all of the tarot decks that followed hereafter took over. However, the deeper meaning of the card has always remained the same. Even when the card was still called The Pope, it represented the person in whom the sacred marriage had taken place.

On the Pope card of the 15th century Visconti-Sforza Tarot we see three references to the holy marriage: the two raised fingers of the Pope; the Greek cross (a cross with equal arms) at the top of its staff; and the hexagonal pattern on its garment, a derivative of the hexagram – the universal symbol for the union of opposites.

The Pope, like the Papess (card number 2), wears a pontifical (papal) tiara: a triple crown. Officially, the three crowns represent the triple power of the pope: priest, teacher, and king. Esoterically, a tiara stands for mastery over body, feeling and thinking (see alchemical illustrations below).

The Pope of the Visconti-Sforza tarot (1454)



The podium on which the Pope sits has an octagonal shape. This is a reference to the eight-pointed Morning star, an ancient symbol for the kundalini energy: the Pope has experienced a kundalini awakening. The Morning Star and its esoteric meaning are central to tarot card number 17 The Star. 

An illustration of the sacred marriage from the alchemical Book of the Holy Trinity (15th century). Man and woman are fused into an androgynous figure. The three crowns around the belly, chest and head represent mastery over the body (the animal instincts, the lower abdomen), feelings (heart) and the mind.

An illustration from the alchemical manuscript Speculum Veritatis, which is located in the library of the Vatican. The alchemist (left) has acquired a triple (the three crowns) kingship (mastership) over earthly matters. The triangle with the point up (the symbol for fire), with the fire in it, stands for the kundalini fire, which has purified the alchemist’s body, feeling and thinking (the three arrows), through which he has achieved this kingship. On the right we see an alchemical oven; symbol for the alchemist’s pelvis and spine, with the fire of the kundalini flowing in it. The three rings on the pipe and the three arrows on the flag represent body, feeling and thinking that are purified in the”oven”.

Charles VI tarot

The Charles VI, or Gringonneur, deck is also from the 15th century; designed for King Charles VI of France (right). The Pope card of this deck contains symbolism that refers to a kundalini awakening.

Two energy channels run along the left and right side of the spine. They are called ida and pingala nadi in the yoga tradition. During a kundalini awakening, these energy channels fuse at the height of the forehead. During this process the pineal gland – in the middle of our head – is activated. The two cardinals next to the Pope symbolize these two energy channels. Their crossed hands represent the fusion, just like the two keys (of the Kingdom of Heaven), which the Pope holds upright against each other.

Outside of the tarot, too, artists used the attributes of saints to covertly refer to a process of kundalini awakening. Below, on the left, is an example. A painting of the apostle Peter, who is seen by the Catholic Church as the first pope, with alchemical symbolism.

Charles VI deck (15th century)

Pope Leo VII
(pope from 936 to 939, image from 1842)

The pineal gland

Above: Asclepius Relief, Lepcis Magna Museum. The spine as a PILLAR (click here) with the PINEAL GLAND at the top.

Left: The two KEYS against each other represent the fusion of the polar energies. This is confirmed by the CORD around the two middle fingers: 2=1. The FLOOR refers to the three phases of the alchemical Magnum Opus: NIGREDO (black), ALBEDO (white) AND RUBEDO (red), click here. (Fiorenzo di Lorenzo, 15th century)

The PINE CONE (click here) as a reference to the PINEAL GLAND and the kundalini process of Jesus. (Gasparo da Pesaro, 15th century)

The designer of this card did not opt ​​for the papal tiara with three crowns that was common at the time, but for one of the very first variants, which was worn until the 12th century, with only one crown. I think because this crown – even more than the tiara – emphasizes its pineal gland shape. It has also given the artist the opportunity to add a pine cone pattern to the crown.

Probably not coincidentally also, is the color of the clothing: red (clothing cardinals) and blue (clothing pope). These two colors are traditionally associated with, respectively, the male energies (heat, fire, the sun) and the female energies (coolness, water, the moon) in humans.

Left: the two ribbons on the back of the papal crown (the so-called infulae) represent the two energy channels that activate the pineal gland during their fusion.

France 17th century

From the 17th century onwards, to reinforce the symbolism of the union of opposites, two pillars were added in the background to the Pope card, and two lower-ranking clergymen in the foreground. Their shaven crowns depict a merger of two alchemical symbols. The double circle symbolizes the fusion of the polar energies, and a circle with a dot in the middle is the symbol for the sun/gold/the divine. The hat on the back of the figure in the lower left corner also refers to the symbol the double circle. 

Doubel circle

The sun/gold/the divine

Tarot de Marseille, Pierre Madenié (1709)

The alchemist has completed the magnum Opus (THREE CROWNS). In him the polar energies (SUN AND MOON) are fused into the oneness of the divine.  (Johannes de Monte-Snyder, Metamorphosis Planetarum, 1663)

The left figure on the foreground of the Pope card of Jacques Viéville (below left) makes, just like the Pope himself, the sign of the sacred marriage (2=1).

The Pope of the Italian Rossini (below right) has a decoration on his chest that refers to the kundalini symbol the eight-pointed Morning Star. His staff, which symbolizes the awakened spine, is topped by a flower, an esoteric symbol for an open crown chakra.

The eightpointed Morning Star

Tarot de Paris, Jacques Viéville (1650)

Tarot anonyme de Paris (17th century)

Italian deck by Rossini, Turin, 2nd half 17th century.

The so-called “Tarot anonyme de Paris” (above centre) has, for that time, the most daring version of the Pope. An enormous key is placed on his lap and reaches to the tip of his tiara. This symbolizes the awakened kundalini energy in his spine: the “key” to the Kingdom of God. Two fingers – the sign of the sacred marriage – rest on his staff. On his gloves is the symbol the double circle. The Pope looks at a sphinx and a small pyramid next to him. A sphinx – a lion’s body with a woman’s head – symbolizes mastery over the animal instincts.

The Oswald Wirth Tarot

Oswald Wirth lowers the two pillars behind the Pope, giving the composition of the card – Pope, two pillars, and two figures in the foreground – the shape of a pentagram; the symbol for the “completed person”. On this card also, the figure in the lower left corner makes the sign of the sacred marriage (2=1) with his hand.

Oswald Wirth (1889)

From H. C. Agrippa’s Libri tres
de occulta philosophia

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Arthur Waite changes the name of tarot card number 5 to The Hierophant, but the image remains largely the same: a pope with tiara, two pillars and two lower-ranking clergymen (below left). New are the elements from alchemy that refer to the sacred marriage – the union of the red king and the white queen: the color red and white of the pope’s canopy, and the roses (red) and lilies (white) on the clothing of the figures in the foreground.

The Rider-Waite-Smith Hierophant (1909)

Pope Gregory I (540-604)

The king in this image symbolizes the alchemist who realized the divine. The ROSE and the LILY, like the sun and the moon, symbolize the polar energy channels that merge during the kundalini process. (Basilius Valentinus, 1613)

A 17th century etching with alchemists who are working diligently in their (inner) garden. The six flowerbeds represent the first six chakras (at the sixth chakra the sacred marriage takes place). In the back stands a (KUNDALINI) TREE from which water (energy) flows to the rest of the garden. A garland of RED and WHITE ROSES is spiraling around the tree (the upward movement of the “kundalini serpent”). RED and WHITE are the colors of the alchemical marriage.

Mary is visited by the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove (left). Because of this, according to the Bible, she will become pregnant with Jesus. Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1857) wants us to know that this story is a metaphor for a kundalini awakening. Maria is portrayed in an unusual way: working in the garden, caring for RED ROSES and WHITE LILIES, like an alchemist. The WATERING CAN standing next to her is decorated with a sun (symbol of the divine), and an upward stream of water: the kundalini energy. Her long RED HAIR (the color of fire) hangs down to her pelvis, the place where the kundalini energy is located.

The RWS Hierophant wears a blue robe under the chasuble, so that the card also contains the meaningful color combination of red-blue (male-female). The Y on the back of the two men in the foreground stands for the merger of the opposites. In the illustration from Symbola Aureae Mensae (below left) we see an androgynous figure, or rebis, who holds a letter Y in one hand and makes the sign of the sacred marriage with the other hand. The RWS Hierophant is also rather androgynous: it is not immediately clear whether this is a man or a woman. Other elements that refer to the fused duality are the black and white checkered strips on the floor, and the crossed keys in the foreground.

The staff of the RWS Hierophant is much shorter than usual (see painting of Pope Gregory, above) and rests on his / her knee. We may take this as a confirmation of our interpretation that the staff of the Pope / Hierophant represents the spine. The triple cross at the top of the staff has the same meaning, esoterically, as the three rings on the pipe of the alchemical furnace (see above): body, feeling and thinking are purified by the kundalini fire in the spine. The three crossbars are getting shorter towards the top, so that they form a triangle pointing upwards: the symbol for the element of fire.

Right: the spiritual aspirant (warrior) receives three laurel wreaths for his victory over his animal drives (the three-headed monster), that controlled his body, feeling and thinking. An engraving from Discours Philosophique, S. Stuart de Chevalier, 1781.

An engraving from Michael Maier’s Symbola Aureae Mensae (1617)

Joseph has placed his Y-SHAPED STAFF next to the PELVIS of Jesus, the abode of the kundalini. Jesus points at his SPINE. (Boccaccio Boccaccino, before 1523)

The Tarot of Château des Avenières

The Hierophant of Château des Avenières (below left) wears the crown of the Egyptian god Amun-Ra. This crown consists of a red sun disk and two raised, stylized feathers. These feathers are a variant on the universal theme of two wings: a symbol for expanded consciousness (like, for example, the caduceus).

The two kneeling women next to the Hierophant, like the pillars, stand for duality, which is emphasized by their different skin color. The colors red and blue of the pillars  and the Hierophant’s clothing represent the masculine and feminine energies respectively.

The woman on the right points to the Hierophant’s staff. It is a special staff, to which a chain is attached with decorations, including Ankhs.  This chain defies gravity. This symbolizes the ability of the Hierophant to initiate others, with the awakened kundalini energy in his spine (the staff). On the far right we see a mural from the temple of Seti I, depicting an initiation, with a similar staff, including a horizontally floating chain.

Château des Avenières (1917)

Wall painting from the temple of Seti I
in Abydos, Egypt


The name of the fifth card of the tarot changed a century ago from Pope to Hierophant, but the deeper meaning has always remained the same: spiritual completion.

The pentagram is a symbol that – also in the tarot – is used for the realized person. That this card has been given number 5 will therefore not be a coincidence.

Staff and triple crown – the attributes on most Hierophant cards – represent mastery over body, emotions (heart) and thinking (head).

The Hierophant is androgynous: the sacred marriage has taken place. The inner duality (the male and female energies) has melted into divine oneness. The outer duality (matter) has lost its grip. This is symbolized by the two humble and obliging clergymen on the card.

Parallel Worlds Tarot

(Astrid Amadori, 2014) 

This card refers to the inner Hierophant. Moses heard the voice of God coming from a burning bush, and had a staff that could turn into a serpent: both are kundalini metaphors. The divine energy can be both counselor and initiator!

New Millennium Tarot
(Lee Varis)

The Boddhi tree, under which the Buddha was illuminated according to legends, is integrated into the Buddha himself on this card: it was an inner “kundalini tree”. Also incorporated in the card are the four elements, and a Greek cross: the fusion of duality in the heart of the Buddha.

De Alma Ajo Tarot

(Alma Ajo, Spanje, 2010)

Beautiful, concise symbolism!

Night Vale Tarot

(Hannah Holloway, 2015)

The inner experience of the sacred marriage.

Botanica Tarot Deck
(Kevin Jay Stanton, 2018)

A red rose, a white rose, and a triple crown: brilliant!

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine (juni ’19). Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2019

Anne-Marie Wegh is the author of the book
John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ

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Illustrations from the tarot decks, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres