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 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.

The Pope of the Visconti-Sforza tarot (1454)

A hexagram

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. 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.

Charles VI deck (15th century)

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

     The pineal gland

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. The left figure on the Pope card of Jacques Viéville makes, just like the Pope himself, the sign of the sacred marriage.

The so-called “Tarot anonyme de Paris” has, for that time, the most exciting 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. This also represents his spine. 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 pope is wearing clothes in the colors red (male) and blue (female).

Tarot de Paris, Jacques Viéville (1650)

Tarot de Marseille, Pierre Madenié (1709)

Tarot anonyme de Paris (17th century)

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 on the left makes the sign of the sacred marriage 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. 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)

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.

Left: a painting by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, entitled: Mary Nazarene (1857). 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. Dante Gabriel Rossetti 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) 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. This confirms 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 with the point upwards: the symbol for the element of fire.

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

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.

The Tarot of Château des Avenières

The Hierophant of Château des Avenières 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 pillars and clothing of the Hierophant are in red and blue.

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 mural from the temple of Seti I (above) we see such an initiation, with a similar staff.

Château des Avenières (1917)

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

Conclusion

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 – fixed attributes on this card – 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 a unity. 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) 
www.parallelworldstarot.com

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)
 www.newmillenniumtarot.com

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 (male hand and female hand) translated into striking and contemporary visual language!

Botanica Tarot Deck
(Kevin Jay Stanton, 2018)
 https://kevinjaystanton.bigcartel.com

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

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 |2020-10-18T07:14:10+00:00February 23rd, 2020|Anne-Marie, Paravisie, Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 5. The Hierophant

Tarot 4. The Emperor

4. The Emperor

In terms of its meaning, it seems to be one of the simplest cards of the major arcana, but nothing is less true. Title and image are deceiving here, because the Emperor of the tarot is not about the emperor …!

Both the Emperor and the Empress of the 15th century Visconti Tarot have an eagle on the card. As we saw in the analysis of the Empress, this royal bird, spiritually speaking, stands for a completed process of God-realization. The placement of the eagle on the Emperor’s hat (instead of on a shield, as with the Empress) confirms this interpretation. This refers to the caduceus: the staff of the god Hermes, the classical symbol for a kundalini awakening.

Caduceus

A caduceus

The two wings at the top of the caduceus represent an expansion of consciousness. The staff itself has the same meaning as the scepter in the hand of the Emperor: the spine with the divine kundalini flowing in it. The two snakes that spiral upward on the staff represent the duality that merges into a unity during the awakening process. This aspect has been subtly incorporated into his legs of the Emperor. On one Visconti card we see the Emperor pictured with crossed legs (2 = 1) and on the other card only one foot is visible. The theme of the crossed legs will be taken over by the Tarot de Marseille, and by many other decks that follow.

The Visconti di Modrone Emperor

The Visconti (Brera-Brambilla) Emperor

The Buddha at a young age

The god Ganesha

In Hinduism, gods and saints are depicted with just one foot on the ground to express that they are no longer connected to duality, but are rooted in divine oneness.

The so-called globus cruciger (a globe with a cross on it) in the hand of the Emperor has, just like the scepter, both a worldly and a spiritual meaning. In the hand of a ruler (a “possessor of the world”), the globus cruciger stands for spreading Christianity as a dominant doctrine of faith. Esoterically, the globe with a cross stands for spirit ruling over matter.

The Tarot of Marseille

All decks that have appeared under the collective name “Tarot of Marseille” show the Emperor in profile. With this body position he expresses the number 4, the number of the earth. This interpretation is confirmed by the extra number 4 that is placed on some decks below the Roman numeral of the card (IIII). The Emperor is the only Marseille card that has this double numbering.

The Tarot of Marseille,
by Jean Noblet (circa 1650)

The Tarot of Marseille, by Jean Dodal,
with an extra 4 (1701-1705)

An alchemical illustration of the Magnum Opus: king (red) and queen (white) are merged into an androgynous figure (rebis). The tight belt around waist of the naked body, and the scepter placed in the crotch, symbolize the sublimation (bringing to the higher chakras) of the sexual energy.

The globus cruciger has been moved to the top of the scepter. The Emperor is holding his belt with his free hand. This symbolizes control over his sexual impulses (the energy of the lower abdomen): the Emperor is lord and master of his animal nature. Matter (the number 4) and the body have no hold on him.

Another new detail is the red feather on the crown of the Emperor. In combination with the other symbolism, it is likely that this feather stands for a kundalini awakening. Red is the color of the first chakra, where the kundalini resides. The feather refers to, and has the same symbolic meaning as, the eagle on the hat of the Visconti Emperor. We also see the red feather on three cards of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot: the Fool, Death and the Sun.

An alchemical illustration from: Philosophia Hermetica, Federico Gualdi (ca. 1790). The alchemist, clothed as a warrior, is standing in the transforming fire of the kundalini. The six trees represent his six chakras that are being purified. Next to him stands the god Hermes with his staff the caduceus, the classic symbol of a kundalini awakening. Hermes raises the globus cruciger in his hand: a reference to the sublimation (deification) of the lower (material) energies.

Oswald Wirth Tarot

Oswald Wirth has placed his Emperor on a cube with an eagle. In alchemy, a cube symbolizes earth (the three dimensions). Both the eagle and the fact that the Emperor sits on the cube refer to his supremacy over matter. The lyre on the eagle is an attribute of the Greek sun god Apollo; an additional element to confirm to us that the Emperor represents the spiritual aspirant who has realized the divine.

The sun and moon on the chest of the Emperor represent the duality that he has conquered. The two energy channels that flow along his spine, and that form the energetic blueprint for our inner duality, have merged into one.

On the top of his scepter (symbol for the spine) a fleur-de-lys, or “French lily”, is placed; an esoteric symbol for the pineal gland.

Oswald Wirth Emperor (1889)

An alchemical illustration of the process of kundalini awakening. The scepter with fleur-de-lys symbolizes the spine with the pineal gland at the top.

Château des Avenières

The Emperor in the chapel of Château des Avenières is an Egyptian version of the Oswald Wirth Emperor. The 4 x 4 squares on the cube is (probably) a reference to the 4 elements. The eagle has been replaced by a phoenix: an element that emphasizes the overall symbolism of spiritual awakening (an eagle can still be seen as heraldry).

The Emperor wears a so-called Pschent: a double crown representing the union of the two sub-regions Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. According to the historiography, several pharaohs had the task of uniting the two halves of their land into one kingdom.

Anyone who delves into the details of the history of Egypt, and is familiar with spiritual processes, cannot escape the impression that the stories about Upper and Lower Egypt also contain a symbolic layer. These two realms could also represent the higher (divine) and lower (animal) nature in humans. In a kundalini awakening, it is the spiritual aspirant’s task to unite both natures within themselves. The inner struggle that accompanies this, is represented by the war between the two Egyptian sub-regions.

The Emperor in mosaic from Château des Avenières (1917)

The Pschent (center) is composed of two crowns: on the left the goddess Wadjet with the red crown of Lower Egypt and on the right the goddess Nekhbet with the white crown of Upper Egypt.

On the Emperor’s crown we see a so-called uraeus: a stylized, upright, Egyptian cobra; symbol of the awakened kundalini energy. At this place in the head – at the height of the sixth chakra – the fusion of the opposites takes place; which includes the union of the lower and higher nature.

Rider-Waite-Smith Emperor

The RWS Emperor is dressed in red. This is, as we saw during the discussion of the previous card, the Empress, a reference to the alchemical royal couple (red king and white queen) that merges during the Magnum Opus. The mountains in the background symbolize an expanded consciousness.

The ram’s heads on the throne have a double meaning. Where the RWS Empress is connected to the female energy of the planet Venus, the Emperor is connected to the male energy of the planet Mars. The zodiac sign for Mars is Aries.

The ram is also a symbol of the animal nature that the Emperor has conquered. This becomes even more apparent when we put two other Emperor cards, that were also influenced by the philosophies of the occult group The Golden Dawn, next to the RWS card (below).

On the Classic Golden Dawn card, one foot of the Emperor is on a ram. On the Builders of the Adytum card, the Emperor sits on a ram-headed cube. Both standing and sitting on something symbolizes dominion over that object.

Rider-Waite-Smith Emperor (1909)

Classic Golden Dawn Tarot (2004)

Builders of the Adytum Tarot (circa 1950)

The Classic Golden Dawn-Emperor also has a scepter with a ram’s head at the top. This means that the energy from the animal drives (the lower chakras) is sublimated (brought to the higher chakras).

The scepter of the RWS Emperor communicates the same thing, with different symbolism. The RWS scepter is a derivative of the Ankh, the Egyptian symbol that stands for eternal life. An Ankh is a stylized representation of the spine with the pineal gland at the top, similar to the caduceus. The Ankh scepter of the RWS Emperor is placed on top of one of the ram heads. This means that the Emperor has led the energies from the lower abdomen, through the spine, to the pineal gland.

The Egyptian god Ptah with an Ankh on a Djed pillar (4th-3rd century BC)

Jesus as the “King of the Universe”, with the devil, in the form of a dragon, under his feet. The deeper meaning of this is comparable to the “spiritual emperorship” of tarot card number 4. In the words of Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world …” (John 18:36).

Thoth Tarot

The Thoth Emperor looks to the left, to the Thoth Empress, with whom he forms a pair. Both cards have a shield with a double-headed eagle: the alchemical symbol for the fusion of the opposites (emperor and empress).

Next to the Thoth card (below), we see a extraordinary alchemical illustration on which Jesus, instead of being crucified, is depicted as a double-headed eagle …!

The Thoth Emperor (1969)

Illustration from: Buch der Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (15th century)

Aleister Crowley has not incorporated many elements from christianity into his deck. At the bottom right of his Emperor card we see one of the exceptions: the victorious Lamb from the Book of Revelation, with the visions of John. From the following quote we may deduct that the Biblical Lamb on this card is the counterpart of the sexual energy that the ram stands for:

1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads.
4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
(Revelation 14:1 en 4)

“…having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads” are those who have completed the sacred marriage at the height of the sixth chakra. “They have kept themselves chaste …” . It can hardly be stated any clearer!

The number 144,000 is also meaningful. The sum of the “petals” of the first six chakras is 144 (4 + 6 + 10 + 12 + 16 + 96). The number of petals of the seventh chakra is a symbolically large number: 1000. One hundred and forty-four thousand refers to the opening of all chakras after a completed kundalini awakening.

According to Aleister Crowley, his Emperor expresses the alchemical symbol for sulfur (a triangle with a cross underneath) with his body posture. Sulfur is one of the three primary elements involved in the Magnum Opus.

A colored engraving by Giovanni Lacinio, from 1714, of the Magnum Opus, with many elements that we also see on the various Emperor cards through the ages. The symbols on the tree trunk (spine) are the three primary alchemical elements: salt, sulfur and mercury. The two lions represent the animal drives that, sublimated (the wings), provide the force necesary to complete the process of God-realization. The symbols above the lions are the four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. The globe (orb) with cross, on top of the tree trunk, stands for spirit ruling over matter (four elements). The sun and the moon, at the top of the illustration, represent duality. A small sun and moon are also depicted in the globe: the duality has merged into a unity. The white eagle symbolizes the completed process

Conclusion

Together with card number three, the Empress, the Emperor forms the alchemical couple that merges during the Magnum Opus. The Tarot Emperor also represents the person in whom this sacred marriage took place: for the spiritual aspirant who is master over matter and his animal drives.

His crown and scepter came at a price. He had to go through a lengthy and painful process of cleansing and detachment. On the engraving of Sabine Stuart de Chevalier, from 1781 (right), we see this arduous path from the alchemist to “spiritual emperorship” in beautiful symbolism.

The monk’s habit of the alchemist represents his way of life. On the left we see him sad because all his efforts do not seem to be successful. His enormous bookcase stands for the knowledge and wisdom he has acquired. In the background we see a maze as a symbol for his quest in the dark.
But then he is surprised with a divine visit. The woman stands for “God the Mother” (Sophia, the kundalini, the Shekinah, etc.). He impulsively refuses the crown and scepter she offers him; an indication of his humility and modesty. The tree bearing fruit is a metaphor for a completed kundalini awakening. On the organ pipes behind him are the symbols of the seven classical planets. These represent the seven chakras of the alchemist that are fully opened. In the glass flask (symbol for the alchemist himself), on the left in the foreground, the red king and white queen (the inner polarities) are united. On the rim of the fireplace, above his head, are the symbols for the four elements: he has conquered matter.

Tarot of the New Vision
(© Lo Scarabeo, 2003)

This deck pictures what can be seen if you turn the Rider-Waite cards 180 degrees. The turtle behind the Emperor’s throne represents the patience and perseverance needed to attain spiritual emperorship. A turtle that pulls in its head and legs, is also a well-known metaphor for meditation (the withdrawal of the five senses from the outside world). Lo Scarabeo adds to this: “a turtle carries the burden of its own house. This entails a responsibility.”

The Alice Tarot
(Baba Studios, 2014, eu.baba-store.com)

This mythical animal – a griffin – with the lower body of a lion and the upper body of an eagle, symbolizes the sublimation of the animal energies (transformation from lion to eagle). The tail with two points refers to the merging of duality into a unity.

LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot
(US Games, 2015)

A circus director is lord and master of “the show” (the illusion, Maya, of material life). He lets the animals do what he wants with his whip. The lemniscate form of the whip refers to the fusion of duality and the divine. In alchemy, red and white represent duality (the red king merges with the white queen).

The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot
(Llewellyn, 2015, maggiestiefvater.com)

The sword in the stone is a kundalini metaphor from the King Arthur legends. Whoever manages to pull the sword from the stone (the awakening of the kundalini in the pelvis) is the true (spiritual) king / emperor.

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

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 |2020-10-22T07:23:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|Anne-Marie, Paravisie, Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 4. The Emperor

Tarot 2. The High Priestess

2. The High Priestess

The High Priestess is a mysterious, intriguing card, in many ways. Her original name – The Popess – already indicates that this card represents something special. Popess is in fact a non-existent position in the Roman Catholic hierarchy and also touches a sensitive chord; the priesthood is not accessible to women.

The cards of the very first tarot game, the Visconti-Sforza, have no titles, but the image is clear enough: we see a woman with a pontifical tiara (crown) and a staff with a cross. The Pope himself is depicted on his own card with exactly the same attributes. This feels like a conscious provocation and raises questions. The church was not known at the time for her sense of humor. For heresy, in the worst case, you could end up at the stake. The noble Visconti family, who commissioned the cards, apparently felt unassailable enough, but why take risks for a game that is only intended for recreational purposes?

Because, as we will see when discussing the other cards of the major arcana, the tarot was designed as a game, but it was also used as a vehicle for esoteric knowledge, even then. One had to be careful with this. Spiritual theories and beliefs that were inconsistent with the dogmas of the church could not simply be communicated in public. The esoteric symbolism in the very first tarot cards is in many cases subtle and, up to now, recognized as such by few.

The Popess,
Visconti-Sforza Tarot (1454)

The Pope,
Visconti-Sforza Tarot (1454)

Both the Pope and the Popess of the Visconti-Sforza tarot represent the spiritually perfected person. The official reading of the church is that the pope is Christ’s representative on earth. A person in this position is implicitly expected to have a great spiritual maturity. Ideally, the person with the highest degree of spiritual perfection becomes the leader of the rest. The fact that it does not always work this way, unfortunately, does not interfer with the suitability of the pope to serve as an archetype for spiritual completion. His attributes underline this.

A tiara, a triple crown, stands for the spiritual perfection of body, thinking and feeling. In the Bible we also find this division. For example in the parable of the leaven:

Another parable he spoke to them; The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33)

The leaven is the kundalini energy or Holy Spirit. It permeates body, feeling and thinking – the three measures of flour – causing the bread to rise (metaphor for an expansion of consciousness). We will further explore the meaning of a tiara when discussing the Pope card.

The staff of high-ranking clergy – an outward sign of authority – is at a deeper-level a symbol of the spine with the awakened kundalini energy flowing in it. We often find decorations on the staff that refer to the process of spiritual awakening: a serpent or pine cone (the pineal gland), for example. In this case we see at the top the staff of the Pope a Greek cross; a cross with equal arms. In the esoteric traditions, this cross is a symbol for the merging of the opposites. For fusing duality into a unity; the end result of a kundalini awakening.

What stands out, when studying the Visconti-Sforza card, is that the woman has the attributes of a pope, but not the matching clothing. She is dressed like a simple nun. Her clothing expresses that she has renounced all her possessions and leads a life dedicated to God. This emphasizes that her crown and staff do not stand for a dominant position within the church, but for her spiritual level.

Tarot of Marseille

On the Tarot of Marseille, about two centuries later, the clothing of the Popess is adapted. She too is now dressed as a high-ranking official, just like the Pope. However, the deeper meaning of the card has not changed. The Popess still stands for spiritual perfection; for transcending duality and realizing the divine “oneness.” The staff with Maltese cross of the Visconti-Sforza card has been replaced in the Jean Noblet Tarot by two crossed bands on the chest of the Popess, which in turn are decorated with crosses, to emphasize the symbolic meaning of the bands. (The same meaning as the two raised fingers of the Pope: I made the two into one)

The Tarot of Marseille, by Jean Noblet (1650)

The Tarot of Marseille,
by Jean Dodal (1700-1715)

With this interpretation we also find the answer to the pressing question that has left many tarot connoisseurs puzzled. Why did Jean Dodal (also belonging to the Tarot of Marseille) not call his Popess card La Papesse, like his colleagues, but La Pances? Nobody knows. It is an unknown word that resembles – and sounds very similar to – the French word for belly: panse. I think that Dodal with the title La Pances refers to the kundalini energy in the belly of the Popess!

The keys of the Kingdom of God

The two keys with which the Popess is depicted on some decks are the two keys of the pope that give him authority on earth and in heaven. The church derives this meaning from the Bible passage in which Jesus says to the apostle Peter (who is therefore seen as the first pope):

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)

Traditionally, one key is silver and the other is gold. Esoterically, silver and gold stand for, respectively, the female (moon) energy and the male (solar) energy. On the card the keys are always held crossed. This too is a reference to the fusion of duality. Some explain the Popess as an allegory of the Roman Catholic Church, because the church (“ecclesia“) is sometimes allegorically depicted as a woman with a tiara and two keys (see photo, above, from the chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome). But this is not the meaning of the Visconti-Sforza card, because the church is never depicted in a habit.

The real meaning of a card – and of the symbols used in it – only comes to light when it is seen in conjunction with its developmental history and with the other cards of the major arcana. The esoteric meaning of the cards had to remain hidden from the general public. The designers have certainly succeeded in this!

The Tarot of Bologna (17th century)

Coat of arms of the Holy See

“Allegory of the church”, chapel of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome

The Etteilla Tarot

In a time frame of about a century, three Etteilla decks have appeared, with striking differences between them. Etteilla decks do not have a Popess card, but Etteilla III is the first tarot deck with a card called The High Priestess. That this card represents a kundalini awakening can also be deduced from her predecessor in deck I. Etteilla I has a card “La Prudence” (Caution) on which is depicted a woman who almost stands on a serpent (below). At first glance “La Prudence” seems to refer to looking out for danger in the outside world. The caduceus (symbol for a kundalini awakening) in her hand, however, gives the card a completely different meaning: make sure (caution) that you lift the (kundalini) serpent (up to the crown), instead of allowing him to bite you (use the kundalini for the satisfaction of the lower chakras) …!

The La Prudence card of Etteilla III also shows clear kundalini symbolism. A woman is holding a mirror with a serpent. The mirror stands for self-reflection / self-knowledge (the “Know thyself” on the temple of Delphi). The path of the kundalini serpent from the pelvis up to the pineal gland is shown twice on this card. The pine cone pattern on the woman’s dress also refers to this. An English version of this card is suddenly called The High Priestess. A surprising adaptation that had a major effect: The Popess was replaced by The High Priestess in almost all tarot decks that followed.

Etteilla I (1788)

Etteilla III, French version (circa 1870)

Etteilla III, English version

The veil of Isis

The Tarot from Oswald Wirth appears at almost the same time as the Etteilla III Tarot. Wirth’s card is still called Popess, but he does introduce a number of new elements that will prove to be permanent. A moon symbol is added to the tiara, making the meaning of this crown more universal (less Christian). Behind the Popess are now two large pillars with a cloth between them. The pillars represent duality, just like the two keys. We may deduce from the moon symbol that the cloth refers to the ‘veil of Isis’, behind which the Greater Reality is hidden.

The meaning of the card shifts to the energetic dimensions. The Popess no longer represents the perfected human being, but rather the divine energy that brings about this perfection. She is known by many names. The Eastern traditions call her the kundalini-shakti. Mystical Judaism speaks about the Shekinah. In Ancient Egypt she was a powerful goddess with multiple faces and associated names, including Isis and Hathor.

The High Priestess in the chapel of Château des Avenières wears the crown of Isis. Her face is partially hidden behind a veil. This has the same meaning as the cloth behind her. The kundalini can be found both inside, and in the outside world; she is also the divine energy from which the physical reality, as we perceive with our senses, is built. However, what we perceive is an illusion, according to many spiritual traditions. The Eastern traditions call this Maya. Through Maya, or the veil of Isis, we can not see the Greater Reality. During a spiritual awakening, this veil is “lifted”.

Oswald Wirth (1889)

Château des Avenières (1917)

The Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Arthur E. Waite continues with his deck on the themes introduced by his predecessors. The pillars are now marked with the letters B and J; a reference to the pillars Boaz and Jachin of the temple of King Solomon. On the canvas behind the High Priestess we see date palms and pomegranates. The tiara has been replaced by a crown consisting of two crescent moons and a full moon; a reference to the lunar cycle, which in turn stands for a spiritual resurrection or rebirth. Pamela Colman-Smith, the designing artist, has placed an extra crescent moon under the feet of the High Priestess. With two fingers the High Priestess makes the “sign of the sacred marriage”, which means the same as the Greek cross on her chest: the union of the opposites (the pillars B and J). The Bible has been replaced with a scroll with “TORA” on it, which she partially hides behind her robe. In the background we see a calm sea. All these new elements point in the same direction: a kundalini awakening!

Tree of Life

Almost every spiritual tradition has, in one form or another, a “tree of life”: a mythical tree that forms a bridge between our world and the world of the gods. The type of tree can differ, just like the legends attached to it, but in all cases it is an inner tree. An energetic tree with its roots in the pelvic area, and the branches with (often special) fruits are located in the head.

On the veil, behind the RWS High Priestess, we see references to two of these “kundalini trees”. The pomegranates are placed according to the sefirots of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, which are a schematic representation of the inner world of man. The upward movement through the Tree of Life – the way back from matter to the divine – is called “the path of the serpent” in the kabbalah.

The date palm, also on the veil behind the High Priestess, was already regarded a sacred tree in Ancient Egypt. And later, in Judaism and Christianity, this tree kept its special status. This can be traced back to a number of specific properties of the date palm, which make it very suitable as a metaphor for a kundalini awakening. First of all, like most trees of life, it is green all year round, a reference to “eternal life”. Her long bare trunk, with only leaves at the top, is a beautiful representation of the spine. In addition, palm branches have a special feature: the lower leaves deform into spines, so that the lower part of the palm branch resembles a spine.

Furthermore, dates – the fruits of the female palm tree – resemble the pineal gland in terms of shape. Pamela Colman-Smith has emphasized this symbolic value of the date by adding a yellow date to the center of the crown of the palm trees, in addition to a few hanging red dates. The Latin name of the date palm is also significant: Phoenix dactylifera. “Phoenix” confirms that in ancient cultures the date palm was associated with the process of spiritual rebirth.

Both the figure of the High Priestess herself, and the tree of life, represent the kundalini energy. Water is another universal kundalini metaphor. The lower part of the dress of the RWS High Priestess looks like flowing water, and a calm sea extends in the background of the card.
On the wall painting from an Egyptian tomb (below) we see the deceased man drinking from a water source near a date palm.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life

Branches of a date palm (Phoenix dactylifera)

Mural painting in the tomb of Irynefer (TT 290), Luxor, Egypt.

Saint Bruno, by Hieronymus Wierix, 16th century.

To attain eternal life with God, the ego must first die. On the engraving with Saint Bruno (left) we see an unusual crucifixion scene: Jesus hanging in a palm tree …! The artist Hieronymus Wierix knew, and wanted to communicate, that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, on a deeper level, stand for the death of the ego and a spiritual rebirth. By placing the palm tree with Jesus on a skull, Wierix also indicates where this process takes place: in the head. With the middle fingers of his right hand he makes the sign of the sacred marriage (2 = 1) that took place in Jesus.

The pillars Boaz and Jachin

In the Bible book 1 Kings we read about the legendary temple that King Solomon built for God. This story is not about a real building, but about making yourself into a “temple” for God to live in. One of the indications that we should not take the story literally is the curious fact that no sounds were heard during the construction of the temple:

The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built … and they would go up by winding stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third. (1 Kon. 6:7-8)

The temple of Solomon with the pillars Jachin and Boaz

The side rooms are accessible by a spiral staircase; a beautiful metaphor for the spiral movement of the rising kundalini. It takes Solomon seven years to construct the temple, referring to the opening / activation of the seven chakras. He has two huge copper columns placed against the entrance hall of the temple and gives them names: Jachin and Boaz. The two pillars represent the two energy channels (named ida-nadi and pingala-nadi in the yoga tradition), that connect us to duality, and that flow on the left and the right side of the spine. It is these two pillars that must be unified (the sacred marriage) by the spiritual aspirant to complete the kundalini process

Pomegranates

In ancient cultures the pomegranate represented fertility, abundance, rebirth and eternal life. It is a fruit full of seeds, so associations with fertility and abundance are easy to understand. The pomegranate also stands for the “divine seed” dormant in our sacrum. Partly, she owes this to her red color, which corresponds to the color of the first chakra, where the kundalini is located. This explains her symbolic meaning of rebirth and eternal life.

Pomegranates

The RWS Fool

Pomegranates are also depicted on the clothing of the RWS-Fool. An additional element – in addition to the discussed red feather, the symbol for ether, and the eagle – that refers to the spiritual potential of the first card of the major arcana.

The woman with the moon under her feet from the Book of Revelation.

The woman with the moon under her feet

The crescent moon under the feet of the High Priestess refers to a quote from the book of Revelation, which contains the visions of the apostle John:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.
(Revelation 12:1-2)

The woman is clothed with the sun, the text says. The sun stands for the divine, for immortality. The ever-changing moon represents physical reality, duality, mortality, the illusion of matter. The woman has the moon under her feet: she has gained mastery over matter / duality. Her crown with stars stands for an opened crown chakra and the number twelve symbolizes spiritual fullness. Colman-Smith used this twelve-star crown on the following card of the major arcana: the Empress.

John’s vision are images of the kundalini awakening that he is experiences. The child who is about to be born is the divine child who is born in his soul. With the addition of the crescent moon under the feet of the High Priestess – a new element – Colman-Smit wants to emphasize what this card stands for: a kundalini awakening!

Conclusion

The High Priestess represents the divine mystery in our pelvis. The knowledge regarding the kundalini energy has always been hidden anxiously from the general public, to prevent abuse. This is the meaning of the only partially visible Torah role on the RWS High Priestess. Both in the Bible (in which the Torah is included) and in art, this knowledge is covered by symbolism.

Only for those who sincerely long for God and live a pure life, will the High Priestess lift her veil.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree…
(Psalm 92:12)

Classic Golden Dawn Tarot (2004)

The High Priestess holds a chalice: the Holy Grail. She herself is this mythical chalice, in which the blood of Jesus is said to have been collected. A chalice coveted by many, and sought in vain in the outside world.

Tarot of the Saints (2001)
(© Robert Place robertmplacetarot.com)

In the symbolic layer of the Bible, Mary Magdalene personifies the kundalini energy. For example, in the story of the anointing of Jesus, and at his resurrection (depicted on this card). This is clarified in my book John the Baptist who became Jesus the Christ.

The Byzantine Tarot (2015)
(© Eddison Books)

The gnostics call the kundalini Wisdom (Sophia). This is also her name in the Old and New Testament. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Byzantine Church, Sophia is worshiped as an aspect of God.

Nature Spirit Tarot (2015)
(© Jean Herzel www.naturespirittarot.com)

In alchemy and mythology, the owl – an animal associated with wisdom – refers to the kundalini energy / Sophia / Wisdom. The pine cone is a classic symbol of the pineal gland. The symbol of the “Flower of Life” stands for the energetic blueprint of our creation, which is also an aspect of the kundalini.

Sacred India Tarot (2012)
(© Yogi Impressions)

The Hindu goddess Saraswati, depicted here, personifies the kundalini energy. She is the goddess of wisdom, knowledge, music and art. Saraswati is seen as a “water goddess”. Her musical instrument, the veena, represents the pelvis and spinal column. The strings are the chakras that she “plays”.

The Complete Arthurian Tarot
(Caitlín and John Matthews, art by Miranda Gray, Eddison Books)

The Lady of the Lake who gives King Arthur his magic sword Excalibur, is a metaphor for a kundalini awakening. Excalibur is the divine energy flowing in his spine.

Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn (2008)
(© Lo Scarabeo)

On this card the spiraling movement of the rising kundalini is visualized. The Holy Grail is lifted from the pelvis to the brain. The winding rope around the woman’s body reinforces this image. Instead of two pillars, the lemniscate is used here for the fusion of duality. A beautiful modern version of the High Priestess / kundalini!

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

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

Foto’s Châteaux de Avenières: http://hermetism.free.fr/Avenieres

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By |2020-10-18T10:56:38+00:00February 10th, 2020|Anne-Marie, Paravisie, Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 2. The High Priestess

Tarot 8. Justice

8. Justice

It is a familiar image in court buildings: Lady Justice, the personification of the law; a stern looking woman with a sword and scales. Her Greek origin is the goddess Themis, whose task it was to guard the divine order and laws. This divine order made it possible for the gods and people to live together. Themis’ scales stood for inner balance. The tarot card Justice is also about inner balance; an important prerequisite for spiritual awakening.

The John Adams Courthouse, built in 1893, Boston, Massachusetts.

Justice is one of the four so-called cardinal virtues. She owes her place in the tarot to this. The four virtues of prudentia (prudence, wisdom), justitia (justice), fortitudo (courage, strength) and temperantia (moderation, self-control) are considered extra important in Christianity, because other virtues rely on it (cardinal means “pivotal”, based on the Latin cardo: hinge).

Noteworthy, is that the cardinal virtues, both in and outside the tarot, are almost always personified by women. The reason for this can be found in the book of Wisdom from the Old Testament. In this book these four virtues are mentioned as the result of the divine “Wisdom” (Greek: Sophia), which underlies creation:

…her [Wisdom] labours have great virtues: for she teacheth temperance, and prudence, and justice, and fortitude, which are such things as men can have nothing more profitable in life.
(Wisdom 8:7)

Sophia (Wisdom) is one of the names of God the Mother; the feminine aspect of God, which is found in the human pelvis as well as in all of creation. The yogi calls her the kundalini-shakti. This is – of course – not how the church explains Sophia, but this meaning can be inferred from the Bible texts if they are read with esoteric glasses. Another quote from the Book of Wisdom:

For wisdom [Sophia] is more mobile than any motion; because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things. For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness. Though she is but one, she can do all things, and while remaining in herself, she renews all things; in every generation she passes into holy souls and makes them friends of God, and prophets…
(Wisdom 7: 24-27)

We find Sophia – disguised – on many tarot cards. Not only as a personification of the cardinal virtues, but also as, for instance, the High Priestess.

The Visconti-Sforza Tarot

The Justice card from the 15th century Visconti-Sforza deck seems straightforward in meaning. But this is misleading; the card does contain subtle esoteric symbolism!

Before the sacred marriage can take place at the sixth chakra, the first five chakras must be purified, and the two energy channels that flow along the spine – and that form the energetic blueprint of duality in man – must be balanced. This is what the Justice card stands for. The sword symbolizes the purifying effect of the kundalini (Sophia) and the scales represent the energetic balance.

The Visconti-Sforza Tarot (15th century)

The ‘Sigillum Sapientum’ (Seal of the Wise) of the alchemist. The inner union (hexagram and ouroboros) takes place as a result of the inner working of the divine Sophia (woman with sword and scales). Source: JM Faust, Philalethes Illustratus, 1706.

The Damsel of Swords card of the Visconti di Modrone deck. With her left hand the woman makes the sign of the sacred marriage. A pomegranate pattern is printed on her dress. Both the sword and the pomegranate are a symbol of the kundalini energy.

The symbolic meaning of a sword, with regard to spiritual awakening, is confirmed by a number of other Visconti cards, including the Damsel of Swords card (above). The woman makes the sign of the sacred marriage with her left hand: the inner polarity has merged to unity as a result of the action of the sword / kundalini.

An example outside the tarot is the photograph at the top of this page, of the Boston courthouse. Lady Justice holds a sword with two spiraling serpents: a reference to the caduceus, the classic symbol of a kundalini awakening.

The woman on the Visconti card Justice is wearing a dress with a hexagonal pattern. This is a reference to the hexagram (six-pointed star); the universal symbol for the merger of the polarities. With the hand with which the woman holds the scales, she is making the sign of the sacred marriage. The scales have different colors: gold and silver. This is a reference to the polar energies of sun (gold) and moon (silver), that have been balanced.

On the upper half of the card we see the same woman in armor, riding a white horse, and holding a raised sword. This is a metaphor for the purifying effect of Sophia / the kundalini-shakti. A white horse stands for purified animal drives. Both the woman’s armor and the metal plate on the horse’s head are in two colors: one half is gold and the other half is silver.

Undoubtedly, this image of a combative woman on a horse was inspired by the French Jeanne ‘d Arc, who was executed some twenty years before the appearance of this tarot deck.

An alchemical image with Sophia, standing on the moon (16th century, National Museum of Prague). In her opened abdomen we see a sword with a (kundalini) serpent. With her left hand she makes the sign of the sacred marriage.

The hindu goddess Durga fights a (inner) demon (1775-1800).

The archangel Michael also has a sword and a pair of scales as his attributes. In Christian iconography he conquers the dragon (satan) with these attributes. This battle is mentioned in the Bible Book of Revelation (verse 12: 7): “Michael and his angels fought the dragon.” The symbolic meaning of this battle is the same as what the tarot card Justice wants to convey. The angel Michael represents the divine (kundalini) energy in our pelvis that, once awakened, goes to war against our inner dragon (the animal), and balances our polar energies.

The Tarot of Marseille

The Tarot of Marseille is a collective name for tarot decks that have been designed and produced by different people, in a specific period, in a specific geographical area. The various versions are similar in style and are easily recognizable as ‘Marseille decks’. For the tarot researcher, the differences between the decks are particularly interesting.

That the woman on the card is Sophia / the kundalini-shakti can be deduced from her multicolored dress. At the time, printing was still in its infancy. With the limited color spectrum that the designers had available, they tried to incorporate all chakra colors into the dress.

The braided necklace refers to the two polar energy channels that merge during a kundalini awakening. The woman’s curly hair strands represent the same. On both cards one lock of hair touches the necklace, to indicate that they have the same meaning.

Tarot of Marseille, Pierre Madenié (1709)

Tarot of Marseille,
Payen-Webb (18th century)

We also see this symbolic hairstyle in Orthodox (Hasidic) Judaism. The men wear curled strands of hair on both sides of the head. These so-called peies grow at the height of the temples, the place where the two energy channels merge during the sacred marriage.

The jewel on the front of the crown refers to the pineal gland, which is activated during a kundalini awakening. On the Payen Webb card, the woman has wings to emphasize her divinity. On the card of Pierre Madenié she sits between two pillars. These represent the two polar energy channels.

Left: in esoteric traditions, the three energy channels involved in a kundalini awakening are often represented by pillars.

The designer of the Payen-Webb deck has given the card a different name: La Balance (Balance). This reinforces the esoteric meaning of inner balance. His Lady Justice has wings, giving her a divine status.

The Tarot of Paris (17th century)

The Tarot of Paris takes a slightly different approach, making the symbolic meaning of the Justice card even clearer. The figure has a head with a masculine and feminine face.

Not only in the tarot, but also in other art forms, as Christian paintings en sculptures, artists attempted to communicate knowledge on the spiritual process of awakening, that went against the teachings of the church. These are three examples of kundalini symbolism on engravings of the cardinal virtue Justice.
From left to right:
1. The woman holds her sword in the middle of the scales, creating the symbolism of three energy channels (1593).
2. The woman sticks out the middle finger of her left hand. The middle finger represents the awakened spine, in esoteric symbolism (Jacob Matham, 17th century).
3. The woman holds the scales in front of a pillar, creating the symbolism of three energy channels (Lucas van Leyden, 1530, Rijksmuseum)

Oswald Wirth and Rider-Waite-Smith

The occultists of the Golden Dawn have not added many new elements to the card. On the Oswald Wirth card, the braided necklace of the woman is larger, and thus more emphasized.

Arthur Waite has swapped the cards Justice and Strenght: Justice has number 11 on his deck. The crown at both Wirth and Waite has three points; a reference to the three energy channels. The two ribbons on the mantle on the RWS card have the same meaning as the two pillars. There is a letter Y pattern on these ribbons. This letter symbolizes the fusion of the opposites. The androgynous appearance of the woman, as well as the visibility of only one shoe, also refers to this. She holds the sword and the scales right in front of the two pillars: she purifies and balances these two pillars / energy channels.

Oswald Wirth Tarot, 1930

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (1909)

The handle of her sword displays the symbol for gold (a circle with a dot in the middle): a reference to the divine energy that this sword represents. Like the card of the High Priestess, the curtain between the pillars is the veil of Isis: the veil behind which Isis / Sophia hides the greater reality.

Château des Avenières

On the mosaic in the chapel of Château des Avenières the two pillars are marked with the letters B and J. An element we know from the High Priestess card of the RWS deck. The letters stand for Boaz and Jachin: the names of the bronze columns at the entrance of King Solomon’s temple. According to the Old Testament, this entrance leads to the Arc of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies, where man can communicate with God.

The temple represents man himself, the pillars are the polar energy channels on both sides of the spine, and the entrance is located on the bottom the spine, in the pelvis. The Arc of the Covenant is in the head of man: the pineal gland and pituitary gland are activated by the risen kundalini (Sophia).

A uraeus-cobra is placed on the woman’s small crown: the serpent that represented the kundalini in ancient Egypt, and with which pharaohs were often depicted.

The mosaic of Château des Avenières (1917)

A model of the temple of Solomon

Conclusion

The tarot uses well-known archetypes to translate these into aspects of spiritual awakening. The Justice card shows Sophia in her role of divine Mother. Everything that stands between us and her husband, God the Father, she removes with her sword. Not always painless, but with good intentions and love, like a real mother. Our interior is purified and balanced by her.

These spiritual tasks are similar to the role of Lady Justice (the Judiciary) in the outside world: “cleansing” society of what disrupts harmony, and imposing punishments proportional to the offenses committed, to restore balance.

Right: a statue of the cardinal virtue of Justice on the roof of the Palace on the Dam in Amsterdam (sculptor Artus Quellinus, 17th century). This statue also displays esoteric symbolism: instead of a sword, the woman holds a scepter (symbol of the spine) with a sun at the top, and the all-seeing Eye of God. The scepter is placed on her pelvis, at the height of the sacrum, the resting place of the kundalini, and the Eye of God is at the height of the pineal gland.

78 Tarot Astral
(2017) 
www.78tarot.cards

A beautiful card with the kundalini serpent holding the scales. The tip of the sword is placed between the eyes, aimed at the pineal gland.

Cosmic Tarot
(Norbert Lösche, 1988)

Lady Justice as ‘the middle pillar’.

The Star Tarot
(Cathy McClelland, 2017) www.cathymcclelland.com

Many relevant kundalini symbols that have been combined in a creative way: three trees, running water, the eclipse (union of sun and moon), peacock feathers, and the the forehead as the spot where the polarities merge.

The Raziel Tarot
(Robert M. Place, 2016)
 
www.robertmplacetarot.com

In mystical Judaism, the Shekinah (the woman between the pillars) is the indwelling divine, or Sophia / the kundalini-shakti.

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

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 |2020-10-20T09:28:40+00:00January 24th, 2020|Anne-Marie, Paravisie, Tarot|Comments Off on Tarot 8. Justice

Snow White and the Seven Chakras

Snow White and the Seven Chakras

Not many people realize that the bedtime stories that our parents read to us when they wanted us to fall asleep were actually supposed to wake us up. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, all those centuries old stories are metaphors for a spiritual awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God.

Even less people are aware that the symbolism of these fairy tales usually refers to the kundalini-energy, the mysterious primal force that “slumbers” in our pelvis, and which nowadays is commonly associated with eastern traditions. But also our western mythology, legends and folklore incorporate very often kundalini-symbolism.

Let’s, for instance, have a look at a story that everybody knows: Snow White. Her name refers to the working of kundalini-energy: the purification of a person at the physical, spiritual and emotional levels. Only with a pure heart may we enter through the gates of the Kingdom of God.

The evil stepmother

When Snow White is born, her mother, the queen, dies. Her father remarries, but with a nasty woman who envies Snow White’s beauty. She concocts a plan to kill her. The “evil stepmother” occurs in many fairy tales. She represents the “material world,” which isn’t our real “mother.” An interesting fact is that the word “material” derives from the Latin word for mother: mater. Our real home is in the divine dimensions. The human who incarnates on earth is an “orphan” under the control of the “stepmother” who has her own (egoistic) agenda.

The seven dwarfs

The evil queen orders a hunter to kill Snow White. But he is unable to go through with it and abandons her in the dark forest. Lost and alone she wanders about until she finds the house of the seven dwarfs:

She saw a little house and went inside in order to rest. Inside the house everything was small, but so neat and clean that no one could say otherwise. There was a little table with a white tablecloth and seven little plates, and each plate had a spoon, and there were seven knives and forks and seven mugs as well. Against the wall there were seven little beds, all standing in a row and covered with snow-white sheets.
Because she was so hungry and thirsty Snow-White ate a few vegetables and a little bread from each little plate, and from each mug she drank a drop of wine. Afterward, because she was so tired, she lay down on a bed, but none of them felt right — one was too long, the other too short — until finally the seventh one was just right. She remained lying in it, entrusted herself to God, and fell asleep.

The seven dwarfs represent the seven most important chakras of our body. Snow White who eats of all seven plates and drinks from all seven mugs is a depiction of the kundalini-energy which flows through our spinal cord past these seven chakras. The round shape of the plates and mugs corresponds beautifully to the “wheel-shape” of chakras. Then the tale shows how the kundalini withdraws in the pelvis, at the lowest chakra. This is the seventh bed in which Snow White goes to sleep.

She is allowed to live with the dwarfs in exchange for cleaning the house (kundalini-purification) while they go out into the mountains to dig for gold (i.e. God) during the day. But her peaceful existence is short lived. The evil queen learns that Snow White is still alive and heads out to kill her yet. The story now teaches us that vanity – one of the qualities of the ego – keeps the kundalini “asleep.” Whoever is focused on him- or herself and the enticements of the material world gains no access to the divine.

The poisonous apple

Disguised as an old peddler woman, the queen seduces Snow White into buying a waistband, which she subsequently straps so tight (“wanting to be slim”) that her breath fails her and she falls to the earth “as if dead.” But when the dwarfs come home they revive Snow White by releasing the waistband. Then the queen tries it using a poisonous comb (“wanting to be pretty”), which causes Snow White to collapse. Again the dwarfs manage to bring the girl back to consciousness. The third attempt of the wicked stepmother is successful. This time she uses a poisonous apple:

“From the outside it was beautiful, white with red cheeks, and anyone who saw it would want it. But anyone who might eat a little piece of it would die.”

The apple refers to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. This “forbidden fruit” symbolizes the sensual temptations of “the world.” After they eat of it, Adam and Eve are driven out of Paradise (i.e. the connection with the divine is severed).

The glass coffin

The dwarfs place the (seemingly) dead Snow White in a glass coffin:

“Snow-White lay there in the coffin a long, long time, and she did not decay, but looked like she was asleep.”

Within most people the divine may lead a slumbering existence but can never die, tells us this image. In our pelvis, near the sacrum, the kundalini patiently awaits until the spiritual seeker is ready to embark on the long journey of purification and healing. She awakens by herself in whoever leads a God-centered life, despite his or her religious conviction or culture, to help create the right circumstances for the “sacred marriage”: a merger of the internal masculine and feminine, after which a unification of the person with his Creator occurs.

In the story a prince appears who falls in love with Snow White. This occasion marks the beginning of the phase of kundalini-awakening. He takes her with him, coffin and all:

“The prince had his servants carry it away on their shoulders. But then it happened that one of them stumbled on some brush, and this dislodged from Snow-White’s throat the piece of poisoned apple that she had bitten off.”

The brush symbolizes the spinal column through which the kundalini flows up to the crown chakra. The glass coffin in which Snow White lies depicts a “transparent” ego, which has been purified by the kundalini-energy.
Joyfully, the prince asks the awakened Snow White to marry him:

“I love you more than anything else in the world. Come with me to my father’s castle. You shall become my wife.”

The castle of the father (the Father) of the prince symbolizes the Kingdom of God: the abode of the person who loves the divine more than “anything else in the world.”

The red-hot shoes

Beautiful is the closing symbolism of the fate of the evil queen. When she appears at the wedding of Snow White and the prince, a nasty surprise awaits her:

Then they put a pair of iron shoes into burning coals. They were brought forth with tongs and placed before her. She was forced to step into the red-hot shoes and dance until she fell down dead.

The dancing queen is a metaphor for internal kundalini-activity. The working of this energy is commonly depicted as a dance. The mother goddess Kali from Hinduism, for instance, which also symbolizes the kundalini, is usually depicted dancing.

Around her neck she wears a necklace of bloody severed heads; trophies of all egos which she has destroyed with her gyrating arms and legs.

The red-hot shoes which the queen is made to wear refer to the purifying effect of the kundalini-fire. Her death represents the death of the ego that is focused on the material; an event that is inseparably connected to the sacred marriage.

Alchemy

The fairy tale of Snow White invites us to take the path of inner transformation – the way of the tenacious alchemist who in his solitary laboratory tries to transform lead into gold. It’s a metaphor for the process of spiritual growth during which the earthly within the person is transformed into the divine. In its description of Snow White, the story subtly refers to the tradition of alchemy: a complexion white as snow, lips red as blood and hair black as ebony wood.

Nigredo (black), albedo (white) and rubedo (red) are the three phases of the alchemic process. Nigredo, the first phase, occurs when the world has lost its shine and a process of deconstruction of the “old person” begins. In the story of Snow White this phase is imaged by the fearful wandering of the girl in the dark forest, searching for a new house. Albedo is the phase of purification. This process is symbolized by Snow White’s cleaning of the house of the seven dwarfs (chakras), when they are in the mountains looking for gold. In the final phase, rubedo, the merger of opposites transpires, which in the story is depicted by the marriage of Snow White and the prince.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

What this fairy tale is telling us, via the magic mirror of the evil queen, is: don’t concern yourself with your exterior but rather focus on your internal world, because what lies hidden therein is thousands of times more beautiful than all the other on earth!

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine.
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2017

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

Legends, myths and fairy tales

In spiritual traditions, the direct knowledge of the divine energy in our pelvis was shared only with a select group of initiated. The rest of humanity had to work their way through the veil of metaphor and symbolism in legends, myths, fairy tales and other folk stories, to obtain this information.

Not many people realize that the classic fairy tales we know so well, often refer to our potential for spiritual rebirth. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel; all those timeless stories are metaphors for the process of kundalini awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God

By clicking on the following fairy tales you will find an analysis of the story by Anne-Marie:

SNOW WHITE
CINDERELLA
BLUE BEARD
SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE FROG KING

By |2020-02-21T11:40:13+00:00November 30th, 2017|Anne-Marie, Paravisie|Comments Off on Snow White and the Seven Chakras

The Glass Slipper of Cinderella

The Glass Slipper of Cinderella

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm which we all know so well – Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty – were not invented by the two brothers but are ancient folk tales which they merely submitted to writing. These are stories which commonly also circulated in other parts of the world, sometimes in a somewhat different form, but with strikingly abundant similar symbolism. From this we may deduce that we are dealing with esoteric knowledge, which throughout all cultures and times has existed in an underground fashion, and which was passed on via folk tales.

I suspect that the Grimm brothers have not been aware that many of the fairy tales which made it into their books are about a kundalini-awakening; a term that hadn’t yet been introduced to the western world in the 19th century. Like Snow White, the story of Cinderella is about spiritual transformation with this mysterious energy source in the lead role.

The tree, the dove, the fire and the marriage

This story makes use of a number of universal symbols which are used time and again when the kundalini-process is expressed in images: the tree, the white dove, the fire and the marriage. The tree symbolizes the spinal column via which the divine energy (fire) flows from the pelvis to the crown. The dove symbolizes a completed process. The marriage represents the merger of the masculine and the feminine within a person into a unity, at the level of the sixth chakra, because of which the door to the divine opens.

We see these images – in a stylized form – also in the caduceus, the classic kundalini symbol of Greek mythology. The staff of the caduceus represents a person’s spinal column and the two wings the expansion of consciousness which is the result of a kundalini-awakening. The two serpents represent the two energy channels in our body, which connect us to the duality, including the masculine and the feminine (yin and yang in Taoism). The merger of these energy channels at the level of the forehead is called the sacred marriage.

Let’s have a look how all this plays out in the story of Cinderella. Just as in the story of Snow White, the mother of Cinderella dies and her father remarries a true wretch. In fairy tales the evil stepmother usually represents the “material world.” This interpretation is confirmed by the etymology (the origin of the word): the word “material” comes from the Latin word mater and means mother. We are born here on earth, but our true home is in the divine dimensions, is the underlying message of this story.

Sleeping near the hearth

The stepmother locks Cinderella in the kitchen where she is forced to perform heavy labor:

In the evening when she had worked herself weary, there was no bed for her. Instead she had to sleep by the hearth in the ashes. And because she always looked dusty and dirty, they called her Cinderella.

The literal meaning of her original German name Aschenputtel is “she who blows into the ash to reignite the fire.” It’s a beautiful and striking name that puts us on the right track to the deeper meaning of the story. The hearth is the smoldering kundalini fire in our pelvis.

The image of the incarcerated Cinderella, sleeping by the smoldering hearth, symbolizes the kundalini-energy which no longer flows freely through our spinal column but “sleeps” at the level of the sacrum, as a consequence of our incarnation on earth.

The mean stepsisters

Cinderella has two stepsisters. They represent the two energy channels (nadis) in our body, which are called ida-nadi and pingala-nadi in the Yoga tradition, and which let us experience the material world and its duality. “They were beautiful, with fair faces, but evil and dark hearts,” tells us the story. A life focused on material things may seem beautiful on the outside but is soulless and empty.

The branch and the hat

Daily Cinderella goes to the grave of her mother and weeps bitter tears because she is so unhappy.

One day it happened that the father was going to the fair, and he asked his two stepdaughters what he should bring back for them. “Beautiful dresses,” said the one. “Pearls and jewels,” said the other. “And you, Cinderella,” he said, “what do you want?” “Father, break off for me the first twig that brushes against your hat on your way home.” So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls, and jewels for his two stepdaughters. On his way home, as he was riding through a green thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and knocked off his hat. Then he broke off the twig and took it with him. Arriving home, he gave his stepdaughters the things that they had asked for, and he gave Cinderella the twig from the hazel bush.
Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother’s grave, and planted the branch on it, and she wept so much that her tears fell upon it and watered it. It grew and became a beautiful tree. Cinderella went to this tree three times every day, and beneath it she wept and prayed. A white bird came to the tree every time, and whenever she expressed a wish, the bird would throw down to her what she had wished for.

Beautiful how the tree as metaphor for the kundalini process is worked into the story! Cinderella asks for a gift the branch that brushes against her father’s hat, a reference to the “kundalini-tree” which grows in our head. The hat which is knocked off represents the opening of the crown chakra.

Cinderella plants the branch on the grave of her mother. Many traditions view the kundalini-energy as feminine; as a goddess, or as “God the Mother.” Our pelvis is the grave in which this energy lies “buried.” Because of the tears of the mourning girl, the tree begins to grow. What is required to awaken the kundalini is a sincere longing for God; homesickness for the place from whence we came. Sorrow due to life on earth – however bitter this may seem – is nutrition for the kundalini-tree.

The white bird in the tree represents a completed process. Everything Cinderella asks for the bird throws down; we receive whatever our hearts desire when we persevere and accomplish the process of transformation until the complete end.

The king’s son

Also the story’s ultimate marriage to the prince is filled with beautiful symbolism. Cinderella wants to attend the ball which the king organizes in order to find a bride for his son. But she is only allowed to come along when she has extracted the lentils from the ashes that her stepmother has thrown in. Cinderella implores the birds to come to her aid:

The girl went through the back door into the garden, and called out, “You tame pigeons, you turtledoves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me to gather: The good ones go into the pot, the bad ones go into your crop.” Two white pigeons came in through the kitchen window, and then the turtledoves, and finally all the birds beneath the sky came whirring and swarming in, and lit around the ashes. The pigeons nodded their heads and began to pick, pick, pick, pick. And the others also began to pick, pick, pick, pick. They gathered all the good lentils into the bowl.

Sorting out the “good lentils” refers to the inner purification that is required for the sacred marriage; a purification which is achieved by the kundalini-energy (the birds).

Then the stepmother says that she still can’t go to the ball, because she has no suitable clothes. Cinderella goes to her mother’s grave, where this time again the white bird helps her by throwing down a beautiful gold and silver dress with matching slippers. This dress represents the “garment of light” which is formed under the influence of the kundalini-process. By this imperishable body of light we attain immortality, the ultimate spiritual destination of human beings.

The charmed prince

The prince is rather charmed with Cinderella, but three times (the festival lasts three days) she eludes his attempts to take her home – the first time by climbing in a pigeon coop and the second time by climbing up a pear tree. Both the pigeon coop and the pear tree refer to the spinal column, with the kundalini-energy flowing within. The third time Cinderella escapes the prince she loses one her shoes:

The prince picked it up. It was small and dainty, and of pure gold. The next morning, he went with it to the man, and said to him, “No one shall be my wife except for the one whose foot fits this golden shoe.”

The shoe of Cinderella is supposed to tell us something about her ego: small and of gold. In another version of this tale, recorded by the French author Perrault, the shoe is made from glass. This refers to a “transparent” and purified ego (as does the glass coffin of Snow White).

Who fits the slipper?

The prince sets out in search of she who fits the shoe. The feet of the stepsisters of Cinderella appear to be much too large. One stepsister cuts off her toe and the other her heel to deceive the prince but they are betrayed by the white doves at the grave of Cinderella’s mother: Rook di goo, rook di goo! There’s blood in the shoe. The shoe is too tight, this bride is not right!

When it appears that Cinderella does fit the shoe, the delighted prince takes her along. At that moment two white birds fly toward her and settle on Cinderella’s shoulders: “one on the right, the other on the left, and remained sitting there.” The doves to the left and right of Cinderella’s head symbolize the two wings atop the caduceus: the kundalini-process is completed. The story ends as follows:

When the wedding with the prince was to be held, the two false sisters came, wanting to gain favor with Cinderella and to share her good fortune. When the bridal couple walked into the church, the older sister walked on their right side and the younger on their left side, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards, as they came out of the church, the older one was on the left side, and the younger one on the right side, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each of them. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.

During the wedding ceremony the stepsisters position themselves to the left and right of Cinderella. That is supposed to invoke the image of the two energy channels – the ida-nadi and pingala-nadi – which run on both sides of the spinal column. The sisters are blinded by the white doves: the awakened person becomes “blind” for the earthly.

The moral of the story

When the stepmother and stepsisters in us remain in control, Cinderella remains locked in the kitchen. In other words: if we live our lives focused on material things and the desires of the ego, then the kundalini-energy remains asleep near our sacrum.

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine.
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2017

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

Legends, myths and fairy tales

In spiritual traditions, the direct knowledge of the divine energy in our pelvis was shared only with a select group of initiated. The rest of humanity had to work their way through the veil of metaphor and symbolism in legends, myths, fairy tales and other folk stories, to obtain this information.

Not many people realize that the classic fairy tales we know so well, often refer to our potential for spiritual rebirth. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel; all those timeless stories are metaphors for the process of kundalini awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God

By clicking on the following fairy tales you will find an analysis of the story by Anne-Marie:

SNOW WHITE
CINDERELLA
BLUE BEARD
SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE FROG KING

By |2020-02-21T11:38:24+00:00November 30th, 2017|Anne-Marie, Paravisie|Comments Off on The Glass Slipper of Cinderella

To find God you must first kiss a frog!

To find God you must first kiss a frog!

Many familiar fairy tales are about a kundalini-awakening. That is remarkable because these recorded folk tales stem from a time at which this Eastern concept had not yet entered the Western collective consciousness. But even though nowadays the kundalini has become part of spiritual jargon, particularly because of an increased interest in yoga, this mysterious source of energy is still largely regarded as something exotic and pertaining to the ascetic yogi who performs complicated exercises (kriyas) in order to awaken this serpentine force in his pelvis.

Who develops an eye for it will begin to see that the holy writings and iconography of virtually all religions and spiritual traditions contain references – usually cryptic – to a divine fire in our pelvis (near the “sacrum,” or sacred bone!). These clues that were left by initiated and mystics add up to the message that at our incarnation into the material world we were given a divine pilot light, which can lead a person to a next step in the evolution, when brought to ignition; a possibility to the broadening of our consciousness that exceeds our imaginations, a potential of immortality.

Special exercises are generally not required to awaken the kundalini. Much more important is a pure lifestyle and a sincere desire for God. And a willingness to face whatever is stored in the subconscious. This latter is what the familiar story of the frog prince discusses.

The golden ball

The story begins with a princess who drops her golden ball into the water:

In the vicinity of the king’s castle there was a large, dark forest, and in this forest, beneath an old linden tree, there was a well. In the heat of the day the princess would go out into the forest and sit on the edge of the cool well. To pass the time she would take a golden ball, throw it into the air, and then catch it. It was her favorite plaything. Now one day it happened that the princess’s golden ball did not fall into her hands, that she held up high, but instead it fell to the ground and rolled right into the water.

All elements of this fragment point toward kundalini-energy. The tree is the quintessential symbol for the spinal column through which the awakened kundalini flows up to the crown. The water well beneath the tree represents the divine energy itself. The golden ball which the king’s daughter throws in the air near the well depicts the rising motion of the kundalini. Both the circular form and the gold of the ball refer to the divine.

The princess drops the ball and it disappears beneath the water; the kundalini-energy withdraws into the pelvis. She cries bitter tears and is inconsolable. Then from the water emerges a frog, which offers to help her. But he wants something in return:

The frog answered, “I do not want your clothes, your pearls and precious stones, nor your golden crown, but if you will love me and accept me as a companion and playmate, and let me sit next to you at your table and eat from your golden plate and drink from your cup and sleep in your bed, if you will promise this to me, then I’ll dive down and bring your golden ball back to you.” “Oh, yes,” she said, “I promise all of that to you if you will just bring the ball back to me.”

Kikkerkoning

The princess, however, does not keep her promise. When she has her ball back she abandons the frog at the well. The next day he knocks on the door of the palace but the princess won’t let him in. When the king learns what has happened he instructs his daughter to keep her promise. Reluctantly she opens the door for the frog.

The animalistic within a human being

The frog represents all the qualities, proclivities and urges that we prefer to deny we have. Commonly these are aspects of our animalistic nature; think of aggression, jealousy, greed, lust and egoism. An often reoccurring central theme of all writing on the kundalini-mystery is the victory over animalistic instincts and the rerouting of these energies toward the realization of our divine potential.

Kikkerkoning

One of the pitfalls on the spiritual path is to deny or suppress urges which don’t match the ideal image we have of someone who is holy or enlightened. These energies of our “lower” or earthly nature, when purified and sublimated, can actually help us realize the higher. Better yet: without these primal forces the gates of the Kingdom of God remain closed. That is what this story wants to show us.

The frog which rises from the water (the subconscious) symbolizes the emerging awareness of these “shadowy” aspects. But awareness alone is not enough. The frog wants to be a playmate to the princess and wants her to love him, or else she won’t get her golden ball back. If we want to find God we must embrace and love our own “unattractive” aspects. The frog also wants to eat from the princess’ plate and sleep in her bed. These are images of integration; the lower nature must be absorbed into the energy of the complete person.

Frog turns to prince

kikkerkoning

She picked him up with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and set him in a corner. As she was lying in bed, he came creeping up to her and said, “I am tired, and I want to sleep as well as you do. Pick me up or I’ll tell your father.”

With that she became bitterly angry and threw him against the wall with all her might. “Now you will have your peace, you disgusting frog!”

But when he fell down, he was not a frog, but a prince with beautiful friendly eyes. And he was now, according to her father’s will, her dear companion and husband. He told her how he had been enchanted by a wicked witch, and that she alone could have rescued him from the well, and that tomorrow they would go together to his kingdom.

Once (integrated) in(to) in the bedroom, the frog changes into an attractive prince, with whom the princess subsequently marries. The marriage represents the unification of the human person with God – the so-called “sacred marriage” – during which the masculine (the prince) and the feminine (the princess) unite within a person.

In the original version of this tale the princess throws the frog against the wall. This was in later versions amended to a more animal-friendly alternative: the princess kisses the frog.

The awakening of the heart

Then follows a beautiful and meaningful finale:

The next morning, just as the sun was waking them, a carriage pulled up, drawn by eight horses. They had white ostrich feathers on their heads and were outfitted with chains of gold. At the rear stood the young king’s servant, faithful Heinrich. Faithful Heinrich had been so saddened by his master’s transformation into a frog that he had had to place three iron bands around his heart to keep it from bursting in grief and sorrow. The carriage was to take the king back to his kingdom. Faithful Heinrich lifted them both inside and took his place at the rear. He was filled with joy over the redemption. After they had gone a short distance, the prince heard a crack from behind, as though something had broken. He turned around and said, “Heinrich, the carriage is breaking apart.”

Kikkerkoning

“No, my lord, the carriage it’s not,
But one of the bands surrounding my heart,
That suffered such great pain,
When you were sitting in the well,
When you were a frog.”

Once again, and then once again the prince heard a cracking sound and thought that the carriage was breaking apart, but it was the bands springing from faithful Heinrich’s heart because his master was now redeemed and happy.

The white horses which bring the lovers to the kingdom of the prince (i.e. God) represent the purified (white) animalistic energies. The ostrich feathers on their heads have the same meaning as the wings of the mythical horse Pegasus: the sublimation (spiritualization) of the earthly. The gold chains with which the horses are hitched refer to the divine.

The driver of the carriage, the faithful Heinrich, refers to the person in whom this transformation takes place. The breaking of the three iron bands around his heart symbolizes the full (three) opening of the heart chakra, when the unification with God takes place. The person is released from his earthly constrictions. A tremendous bliss flows through his being. The spell of the witch (the illusion of the Maya) is broken.

norwegian mythologies

Freya

This fairy tale has clear roots in Norwegian mythology. The linden tree (by the well) from the story has a sacred status in the Celtic and Germanic tradition. The mother-goddess Freya (hence our word “Friday”) was thought to live in this tree. Like many mother-goddesses from other traditions (Kali, Vajrayogini, Aphrodite, Isis, Inanna), Freya personifies the kundalini-energy. She represents the feminine aspect of the one God, living in the spinal column (the linden tree) of a human being.

What doubtlessly played a role in selecting the linden tree is that the seeds of this tree come with an elongated wing that causes them to spin on their way down. It’s the same kind of motion that the kundalini makes on its way up along the spinal column.

According to the myths, Freya wanted at all cost to own a special chain named Brísingamen. To get this chain she had to sleep with four hideous dwarfs who created it. This story line is similar to that of the princess who has to share her bed with a filthy frog.
The four dwarfs too symbolize our earthly (lower) nature: in Norse mythology four dwarfs with the names North, South, East and West, stand on the four corners of the world to support the heavenly ceiling. The precious chain depicts the seven chakras through which the kundalini flows and which the kundalini-energy activates. It’s a beautiful metaphor for a kundalini-awakening!

In the fairy tale the royal carriage is drawn by eight horses. In Norse mythology, the prominent deity Odin moves about on an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. The eight legs symbolize de merger of two forces (horses): of the masculine energies and the feminine energies into one (kundalini-)superforce.

The moral

The fairy tale of the frog prince aims to demonstrate that the way to God is not a matter of transcending the earthly, but cuts straight through the mire of our human nature. Pseudo-holiness is a big pitfall on this way!

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine.
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2017

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

Legends, myths and fairy tales

In spiritual traditions, the direct knowledge of the divine energy in our pelvis was shared only with a select group of initiated. The rest of humanity had to work their way through the veil of metaphor and symbolism in legends, myths, fairy tales and other folk stories, to obtain this information.

Not many people realize that the classic fairy tales we know so well, often refer to our potential for spiritual rebirth. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel; all those timeless stories are metaphors for the process of kundalini awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God

By clicking on the following fairy tales you will find an analysis of the story by Anne-Marie:

SNOW WHITE
CINDERELLA
BLUE BEARD
SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE FROG KING

By |2020-02-21T11:37:11+00:00November 24th, 2017|Anne-Marie, Paravisie|Comments Off on To find God you must first kiss a frog!

The spiritual path, captured in folk tales

The spiritual path, captured in folk tales

(The six dead spouses of Bluebeard)

Many folk tales are about a way back to the place where we come from: the Kingdom of God. In order to return to our true home a number of difficulties must be conquered. Who isn’t careful will be eaten by a witch, an ogre or a big ferocious wolf. Perhaps you have already been eaten?

Hansel and Gretel

The story of Hansel and Gretel is about each of us. The image of a brother and sister, who are abandoned by their parents and get lost in a great dark forest, is a metaphor of a person (internally divided in a masculine and feminine side) who wanders the earth separated from God.

The children face starvation, but just in time they arrive at a shack built from ginger bread, cakes and candy and they immediately begin to nibble. They seem saved but then it appears that they have been lured into a trap by an evil witch who captures them and wants to eat them.

The house of candy represents the lures of this world. Who is singularly focused on earthly pleasures and chooses for sensory delights, the story admonishes, will be ‘captured’ by material things and die in a spiritual sense. Fortunately, the children manage to liberate themselves just in time and with their pockets full of pearls and gems (spiritual wealth) from the house of the witch, they return to their father (i.e. God).

Tom Thumb

Another danger on the spiritual path hides within people themselves. The story of Tom Thumb, a boy the size of a thumb, tells of the adventures of our divine self during our time on earth. Multiple versions of this story exist. In Charles Perrault’s version, Hop-o’-My-Thumb gets into a row with a man-eating ogre, who wants to eat him. In fairy tales, an ogre commonly represents our ego, which compromises our divine nucleus.

Hop-o’-My-Thumb outwits the ogre and purloins his seven-league boots (seven chakras) and treasures. With his pockets and boots full of (divine) gold he returns to his parents (God).
In the version of the Brothers Grimm, Tom Thumb’s life isn’t threatened by an ogre but by a cow and a wolf. He end up in the stomach of the animals but manages to free himself in the nick of time. Ferocious animals are a reoccurring theme in folk tales. They represent in general our lower, animalistic nature which has to be subdued if we want to return to the Kingdom of God.

Being captured in a stomach, as Tom Thumb was, additionally refers to a focus on gratification of the (under)belly. In terms of chakras, this is about the energy of the lower three chakras.

The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids

Also Little Red Riding Hood is eaten by a wolf, just like the seven goat kids, which were emphatically warned by their mother who had to leave on an errant. In both stories the wolf feigns an identity that differs from who he really is. In Little Red Riding Hood he dresses up as the grandmother of the girl. In the story of the seven kids (chakras) he whitens his paws with flour and alters his voice. Because he is not directly recognized as wolf he is able to overcome his victims and devour them.

This depicts not seeing the danger of yielding to our urges and drives. These stories aim to warn us for wasting our life energy (which flows through the seven chakras). We require these primitive forces to realize our higher nature. This is also the theme of the familiar story of the murderous Bluebeard.

Six dead wives in a basement

The new bride of Bluebeard discovers to her horror that her husband keeps the corpses of her six predecessors in a room in the house. A grizzly tale that’s not suited for young children, with the same meaning as the story of the devoured goat kids. The six wives represent the six chakras which are “killed” by animalistic urges: hair (a beard) represents the animalistic. At the seventh chakra (wife) a transformation takes place.

The color blue refers to the spiritual. This story wants to show us that our animalistic forces have to be “spiritualized” (transformed). The imagery that is used to this extent is as hilarious as fitting and symbolize a kundalini awakening. When Bluebeard finds out that his seventh wife has discovered the corpses and wants to kill her too, she asks him for fifteen minutes to pray. Meanwhile she sends her sister Anna to the top of the tower to see whether her two brothers are approaching:

“Sister Anne,” she said, “go up, I beg you, to the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming. They promised me that they would come today, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste.”

Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time, “Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?”

And sister Anne said, “I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass.”

In the meanwhile Bluebeard, holding a great saber in his hand, cried out as loud as he could bawl to his wife, “Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you.”

“One moment longer, if you please,” said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, “Anne, sister Anne, do you see anybody coming?” And sister Anne answered, “I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass.”
“Come down quickly,” cried Bluebeard, “or I will come up to you.”

“I am coming,” answered his wife; and then she cried, “Anne, sister Anne, do you not see anyone coming?”
“I see,” replied sister Anne, “a great cloud of dust approaching us.”
“Are they my brothers?”
“Alas, no my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep.”
“Will you not come down?” cried Bluebeard.
“One moment longer,” said his wife, and then she cried out, “Anne, sister Anne, do you see nobody coming?”
“I see,” said she, “two horsemen, but they are still a great way off.”

“God be praised,” replied the poor wife joyfully. “They are my brothers. I will make them a sign, as well as I can for them to make haste.”

Then Bluebeard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble. The distressed wife came down, and threw herself at his feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.

“This means nothing,” said Bluebeard. “You must die!” Then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the other, he prepared to strike off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to recollect herself. “No, no,” said he, “commend yourself to God,” and was just ready to strike.

At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that Bluebeard made a sudden stop. The gate was opened, and two horsemen entered. Drawing their swords, they ran directly to Bluebeard. He knew them to be his wife’s brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer; so that he ran away immediately to save himself; but the two brothers pursued and overtook him before he could get to the steps of the porch. Then they ran their swords through his body and left him dead.

Sister Anne who runs up the steps of the tower represents the kundalini-energy which rises from the pelvis through the spinal column. The two brothers of the woman represent the two energy channels ida- and pingala-nadi, which run along the spinal column. When these two channels merge at the level of the forehead, the ego (Bluebeard) dies and the sacred marriage takes place: man is reunited with his Creator (Bluebeard’s wife obtains all his riches and marries another man).
This story is often explained as a warning for the consequences of curiosity, because all trouble begins when Bluebeard’s wife uses a key that her husband had strictly forbidden her to use: that of the little room at the end of the corridor on the bottom floor.

That the woman can’t control her curiosity is rather a positive aspect of the story. The room at the end of the corridor (spinal column) on the bottom floor (the pelvis) is the place where the kundalini is “imprisoned.” Opening this room symbolizes the beginning of a kundalini-awakening, and all uncanny events that follow are positive images of the process of transformation.

Conclusion

If we want to find God we must relinquish our attachment to material things and sensory gratification. We must recognize the wolf for what it is, a dangerous predator, and not let it into our house. The ego must make way for Tom Thumb. No small task, but the stories are unanimous about what awaits us: great wealth and a long and happy life!

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine.
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2017

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

Legends, myths and fairy tales

In spiritual traditions, the direct knowledge of the divine energy in our pelvis was shared only with a select group of initiated. The rest of humanity had to work their way through the veil of metaphor and symbolism in legends, myths, fairy tales and other folk stories, to obtain this information.

Not many people realize that the classic fairy tales we know so well, often refer to our potential for spiritual rebirth. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel; all those timeless stories are metaphors for the process of kundalini awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God

By clicking on the following fairy tales you will find an analysis of the story by Anne-Marie:

SNOW WHITE
CINDERELLA
BLUE BEARD
SLEEPING BEAUTY
THE FROG KING

By |2020-02-21T11:35:55+00:00September 11th, 2017|Anne-Marie, Paravisie|Comments Off on The spiritual path, captured in folk tales

The illegitimate twin of the Sleeping Beauty

The illegitimate twin of the Sleeping Beauty

The fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty, or Little Brier-Rose, has undergone a remarkable transformation over the centuries. What started out as a story for adults, complete with a rape of the princess while she slept, has been cast into the feel-good variety of the Brothers Grimm, suitable for children. Let’s first have a look at the chastened interpretation of the Grimm Brothers. Then we’ll review the symbolism of the more obscure original.

The storyline is simple and the meaning not difficult to unravel. A young princess pricks herself on a spinning wheel and falls asleep. Everybody in the palace – the king, the queen and the entire entourage – also falls asleep. After a hundred years the Sleeping Beauty is woken with a kiss from a prince. The lovers marry and they live happily ever after.

The royal daughter

A king and his queen represent in fairy tales nearly always the divine: the Kingdom of God, the place where mankind came from and for which our soul ever yearns. We are all called to restore the broken connection with our true home during our life on earth. Fairy tales show us the process of spiritual growth which is required for this.

In our pelvis, at the level of the sacrum, is situated a source of energy of divine origin. Eastern traditions call her the kundalini-shakti, in Jewish mysticism she is called the Shekinah and Christianity speaks of the Holy Spirit. Many spiritual traditions see this energy as the feminine aspect of God. In myths and legends she is often a goddess, queen or princess.

As long as a person is focused on earthly pleasures and satisfying the senses the kundalini-energy will lead a “slumbering” existence. A desire for God and a pure lifestyle causes this energy to awaken, after which an intensive process of purification commences, which ultimately results in a merger of the inner masculine and feminine: the so-called sacred marriage. Then the doors of the Kingdom of God open and the person is reunited with his Maker.

In fairytales we meet the sleeping kundalini-shakti in the form of Snow White who is laying in coma and of Cinderella who is locked up in the kitchen by the smoldering fire. In this fairytale she is depicted as a sleeping princess: Little Brier-Rose.

The spinning wheel

One day the princess wanders about the palace:

She walked around from one place to the next, looking into rooms and chambers as her heart desired. Finally she came to an old tower. She climbed up the narrow, winding stairs and arrived at a small door. In the lock there was a rusty key, and when she turned it the door sprang open. There in a small room sat an old woman with a spindle busily spinning her flax. “Good day, old woman,” said the princess. “What are you doing there?” – “I am spinning,” said the old woman, nodding her head. “What is that thing that is so merrily bouncing about?” asked the girl, taking hold of the spindle, for she too wanted to spin. She had no sooner touched the spindle when the magic curse was fulfilled, and she pricked herself in the finger. The instant that she felt the prick she fell onto a bed that was standing there, and she lay there in a deep sleep.

The tower of the palace symbolizes a person’s spinal column. The winding stairs represent the spiraling motion which the kundalini-energy makes when it awakens and rises. Many traditions depict this as a winding serpent which climbs up the spinal column.

The old woman with the spinning wheel represents “mother time” who spins the “thread of life.” The prick from the spindle is a metaphor for the incarnation of a human being in the material world. The connection with the divine is at that moment severed: the divine princess falls asleep in our pelvis.

The 100 year sleep

When the kundalini sleeps the entire person exists in “sleep mode,” that is a state of spiritual unconsciousness. The story depicts this by having all people and all animals in the castle fall asleep as well. Even the fire in the hearth (i.e. the kundalini-fire) dozes off.

Round about the castle a thorn hedge began to grow, and every year it became higher, until it finally surrounded and covered the entire castle. Finally nothing at all could be seen of it, not even the flag on the roof.

The palace drops from sight: the divine exits the frame of reference. Many princes try to reach the sleeping princess but fail to break through the thorny hedge. This symbolizes that he divine is not easily reobtained. The kundalini awakens only when the time is right, when the spiritual seeker has performed the necessary labor. In the story we see that after precisely 100 years (the number 1 represents the divine), the final of many princes who made an attempt walks effortlessly through the hedge:

When the prince approached the thorn hedge, it was nothing but large, beautiful flowers that separated by themselves, allowing him to pass through without harm, but then behind him closed back into a hedge. In the courtyard he saw the horses and spotted hunting dogs lying there asleep, and on the roof the pigeons, perched with their little heads tucked under their wings. When he walked inside the flies were asleep on the wall, the cook in the kitchen was still holding up his hand as if he wanted to grab the boy, and the maid was sitting in front of the black chicken that was supposed to be plucked. He walked further and saw all the attendants lying asleep in the hall, and above them near the throne the king and the queen were lying. He walked on still further, and it was so quiet that he could hear his own breath. Finally he came to the tower and opened the door to the little room where Little Brier-Rose was sleeping. There she lay and was so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off her. He bent over and gave her a kiss. When he touched her with the kiss Little Brier-Rose opened her eyes, awoke, and looked at him kindly.

The kundalini-symbolism is obvious: high in the tower (the spinal column) the merger of the masculine and feminine (the kiss) takes place, after which the sacred marriage follows:

And then the prince’s marriage to Little Brier-Rose was celebrated with great splendor, and they lived happily until they died.

The X-rated version

The oldest written version of Little Brier-Rose stems from 1632 and was called Sun, Moon and Talia. In this story the father of princess Talia deposits the sleeping body of his daughter in the forest. It’s a rather curious course of events but symbolically it matches seamlessly the interpretation of the fairy tale. The dark forest represents “the world”; the spiritual darkness into which man incarnates.

During a hunt, a nobleman finds the princess and rapes her. Nine months hence she delivers twins, which are named Sun and Moon. This bizarre storyline recounts the energetic process in a person after his birth on earth. Sun and moon represent the two energy channels which are called ida-nadi and pingala-nadi in the Yoga tradition. These energy channels run along our spinal column and represent the duality within a person: the masculine and feminine, warm and cold, light and dark, and so on. The sun and the moon (the active and the passive) are two classical symbols which express this duality.

Forest fairies place the twins at Talia’s breasts. This image depicts how the kundalini-energy flows away via the ida- and pingala-nadi, instead of rising up through the spinal column, hence keeping the person captured within duality

But now too all ends well. When after a few months the nobleman returns to the forest to have his way with Talia once more, he finds her awake. Talia marries him (the sacred marriage) and they live long happily ever after, together with the twins. They are now one family, which symbolizes transcended duality./p>

Rapunzel

When we get the hang of the symbolism in fairy tales we recognize the similarities in stories worldwide.
The fairy tale of Rapunzel, for instance, uses similar images as the story of the Sleeping Beauty. Rapunzel is locked in a tower by a witch. A desirous prince climbs up via the braids of the girl, which she hangs out the window – a graceful metaphor for the kundalini-energy which flows upward through the spinal column and results in a merger of the masculine and feminine at the level of the forehead (the sixth chakra).
When the witch finds out about this secret meeting, she cuts off Rapunzel’s braids (the kundalini withdraws into the pelvis) and exiles her to a wilderness – an image that, like the dark forest, symbolizes life on earth.
The witch awaits the prince in the tower and startles him, which causes him to fall into a brier and become blind. He roams the earth until he finds Rapunzel again. By that time she’s given birth to their twins.
The blindness of the prince depicts becoming blind to the enticements of the world, which is required for the sacred marriage to transpire. The twin that Rapunzel delivered has the same meaning as Talia’s twins.
This time too the story ends with a royal wedding and a long life happily ever after (with God).

The moral of these stories

Man is a sleepwalker who takes life on earth much too serious and fairy tales too little. It’s time for the reverse!

This article was published in Paravisie Magazine.
Copyright Anne-Marie Wegh 2017

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

Legends, myths and fairy tales

In spiritual traditions, the direct knowledge of the divine energy in our pelvis was shared only with a select group of initiated. The rest of humanity had to work their way through the veil of metaphor and symbolism in legends, myths, fairy tales and other folk stories, to obtain this information.

Not many people realize that the classic fairy tales we know so well, often refer to our potential for spiritual rebirth. Snow White, Cinderella, the Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel; all those timeless stories are metaphors for the process of kundalini awakening. The poor orphan with the evil stepmother, the prince and princess without kingdom, the lost child in the dark forest; that’s us. And all these stories want to teach us about the way back to our actual home, to God

By clicking on the following fairy tales you will find an analysis of the story by Anne-Marie:

SNOW WHITE
CINDERELLA
BLUE BEARD