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TAROT - The Kabbalah and The Tarot

Updated on May 17, 2011




In relation to the Tarot, the Cabala is represented by twenty-two major Arcana or Trump cards with the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which are the core of an enormously influential mystical system. Cabalists view the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet as the ‘language of God’. Each has a mystical meaning and a magical power of transformation. The letters are organized through a complex symbol call the ‘Tree of Life’. The Tree of Life is composed of ten fundamental situations or ‘powers’ called ‘sefiroth’ or ‘seraphim’.

The paths between these ‘sefiroth’ represent the way in which the world was created, and the way in which we can return to an experiences of the ‘godhead’. They are a way to organize all mystical experience/s. The end ‘sefiroth’ are connected by twenty-two ‘wisdom paths’, each describing a particular spiritual and psychological process. These ‘wisdom paths’ are represented by the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The Cabalistic Tree of Life is a living reality in constant movement, embracing the secrets of man in relation to the world around him and the Universe from which ALL originates. The Tree of Life reflects all the possibilities of man - the various choices he can and must make in his soul’s journey.

The Cabala (Kabbalah or Kabala) comes from the Hebrew word ‘Qabbalah’, meaning ‘doctrines received from tradition’. The Cabala is a system of Jewish mysticism thought to have originated in Southern France and Spain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

The term ‘Gabala’ was originally used to denote wisdom, inner knowledge and understanding of the hidden mysteries.

Written by an anonymous author in approximately the third century before the birth of Christ, The Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Formation), deals with the creation of the Universe by means of the ten ‘sephiram’, which are archetypal numbers one through to ten, and the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet.

Several versions of the Cabala have evolved throughout the ages. The ancient Hebrew Cabala contained seven sephiram, which is reflected by the seven-pointed star (The Star of David), the menorah, and the seven celestial bodies that were predominant influences prior to the discovery of the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

The ancient Iraqi Cabala had eight sephiram, which corresponds with the eight musical notes we use today. The modern Cabal has ten primary sephiram, which corresponds with the decimal number system that is the foundation of today’s economy. There are ten (10) sephiram in the ‘trestleboard’ that is used today.

An eleventh ‘imaginary’ sephira (called Daath) is included in some versions of the Cabala, bringing the total number to eleven (11) - a Karmic, Master Number.

The Major Arcana of the Tarot is composed of twenty-two cards, which is the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet, the number of pathways in the pathways of the Tree of Life trestleboard, and a Master Number in Numerology.

The ten numbered cards in each suit of the Minor Arcana correspond with the ten sephiram in the trestleboard. The trestleboard appears on the Ten of Pentacles in the Rider-Waite deck.

The Tree of Life consists of ten focal points called sephira, and these ten sephiram are connected to twenty-two lines or pathways. These focal points are considered separate stages of the aspects of life, and relate to the ten numbered cards in each suit of the Minor Arcana. The lines connecting the sephira correspond to the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet and the twenty-two cards in the Major Arcana.

Each sephira points to a specific character trait, which helps us to identify exactly where we are in our evolutionary path to enlightenment. Each sephira in the trestleboard corresponds with a specific planet and is therefore closely aligned with the celestial art of Astrology.

The Four Worlds of the Cabalist:

The World of Emanation

The World of Creation

The World of Formation

The World of Action or Matter

The Ten Sephira:


Malkuth is position 10 on the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘Kingdom’.

It represents our roots - home, family and close relationships. The essence of this sephira is the ‘physical world’ and indicates what is presently manifested in our lives. This position represents our ‘conscious awareness’ and the outcomes or results that we are now experiencing.

Physically, this sephira represents our own physical body. Musically it represents the musical not ‘Do’. Angelically it depicts the Archangel Sandalphon. Astrologically, the four elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water rule this position.

In the Tarot, this position corresponds with the four cards numbered 10 in the Minor Arcana - 10 of Pentacles, 10 of Swords, 10 of Wands and 10 of Cups.


Position 9 on the Tree of Life is ‘Yesod’, and is associated with the keyword ‘Foundation’.

This sephira denotes the ‘collective unconscious’ or the vital soul of humanity. It gives insight into our life patters because it shows our unconscious thoughts, secrets, desires, hopes, fears and apprehensions.

Yesod indicates whether our karmic lessons brought over from previous incarnations are beneficial, challenging and/or are debts we must repay.

This focal point also indicates health matters, especially those that concern our overall wellbeing.

Physically, this sephira represents our ego. Angelically it depicts the Archangel Gabriel. Astrologically this position corresponds with the Moon.

In the Tarot, the Yesod sephira relates to the four cards numbered 9 in the Minor Arcana - 9 of Wands, 9 of Swords, 9 of Cups, 9 of Pentacles.


Hod is in position 9 on the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘Splendor’.

Hod depicts worldly matters such as financials, career, business, cultural and artistic endeavours. It represents our analytical thought processes, our methods of communication and how we perceive our environment around us.

Physically, this sephira represents the theoretical aspects of life. Musically, this sephira represents ‘Ti’. Angelically it depicts the Archangel Michael. Astrologically, the position of this sephira corresponds with the planet Mercury.

In the Tarot, Hod denotes the four cards numbered 8 in the Minor Arcana - 8 of Cups, 8 of Swords, 8 of Pentacles and 8 of Wands.


Netzach is in position 7 on the Tree of Life, and is associated with the keyword ‘Victory’. It represents our emotional attachments and feelings.

This sephira tells us what we want and desire in our lives, what attracts us and what type of people we form close relationships with.

Physically, this sephira represents the practical aspects of life. Musically, it represents ‘la’. Angelically this sephira depicts the Archangel Haniel. Astrologically, this position corresponds with the planet Venus.

In the Tarot, Zetzach relates to the four cards numbered 7 in the Minor Arcana - 7 of Pentacles, 7 of Swords, 7 of Cups and 7 of Wands.


Tiphareth is in position 6 on the Tree of Life. It is associated with the keyword ‘Beauty’. Tiphareth relates to the higher aspects of our lives and helps to define our life purposes, ideals and objectives.

This sephira depicts our achievements, successes and the outer image we present to the world.

The position of this sephira is in the centre of the trestleboard and represents the centre of our being.

In the physical world, Tiphareth represents the self. Astrologically, it corresponds to the Sun. Angelically it depicts the Archangel Raphael.

In the Tarot, Tiphareth relates to the four cards numbered 6 in the Minor Arcana - 6 of Wands, 6 of Pentacles, 6 of Swords and 6 of Cups.


Geburah is position 5 on The Tree of Life, and is associated with the keyword ‘severity’.

Geburah represents the conflicts and challenges we must overcome and the lessons are generally seen as oppositions that we encounter which ten to be seen as trials, tribulations and limitations.

This position tells us of the qualities we must utilize in order to effectively deal with difficulties. Utilizing the constructive influence of this position can help us to take greater responsibility for our lives and make assets out of those areas that were once considered liabilities.

Physically, this node represents discipline. Musically, Geburah represents ‘sol’. Angelically, Geburah depicts the Archangel Kamael. In Astrology this position corresponds with the planet Mars. In the Tarot it relates to the four cards numbered 5 in the Minor Arcana - 5 of Swords, 5 of Cups, 5 of Pentacles and 5 of Wands.


Chesed is position 4 of the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘mercy’. Chesed represents our opportunities for growth and rewards for the challenges we face and overcome.

Chesed indicates the most positive results we can gain from our thoughts, emotions and actions. Chesed shows us where we must exercise compassion. Chesed reflects the most positive aspects of all areas - even those areas that may seem negative.

Chesed, in position 4 of the Tree of Life, provides us with a comfort zone in our lives because it gives us a sense of security. It also denotes our finances, wealth and areas of abundance.

Physically, this note represents compassion. Musically, Chesed represents ‘fa’. Angelically, Chesed denotes the Archangel Tzadqiel. In Astrology, Chesed corresponds with the planet Jupiter. In the Tarot it relates to the four cards numbered 4 in the Minor Arcana - 4 of Cups, 4 of Wands, 4 of Swords and 4 of Pentacles.


Binah is position 3 on the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘understanding’.

Binah is the feminine, right brain, or left side of ourselves. It represents inner knowledge and wisdom. Binah depicts our intuitive processes, and the areas we are receptive to.

This position shows the lessons we have chosen to experience through the process of manifestation, and denotes those areas that tend to be limiting or containing, thus helping to give us greater understanding and depth through dealing constructively with these difficulties.

Physically, this node represents reason. On the musical scale, Binah represents the note ‘mi’. Angelically Binah depicts the Archangel Tzaphqiel. Astrologically, it corresponds with the four cards numbered 3 in the Minor Arcana - 3 of Swords, 3 of Cups, 3 of Wands and 3 of Pentacles.


Chokmah is position 2 on the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘wisdom’. It is associated with the masculine, right side of ourselves.

Chokmah represents our learned behaviour and actions, and shows where our responsibilities lie.

Chokmah indicates our ability to use rationale and logic to make choices and decisions.

Physically, this node represents revelation. Musically, Chokmah relates to the note ‘re’ and angelically, it depicts the Archangel Raziel. Astrologically, Chokmah corresponds with Uranus. In the Tarot, Chokmah relates to the four cards numbered 2 in the Minor Arcana - 2 of Swords, 2 of Cups, 2 of Pentacles and the 2 of Wands.


Kether is position 1 on the Tree of Life and is associated with the keyword ‘ crown’. Kether represents our creative potentials and new beginnings.

Kether depicts our spiritual world, religious attitudes and general inner state of being.

This sephira is considered the ‘indivisible one’ and is therefore complete in itself. It shows what we have chosen to manifest and what we desire to accomplish through our life experiences.

Musically, Kether represents the note ‘do’. Angelically it depicts the Archangel Metatron. Astrologically, Kether corresponds with the planet Uranus. In the Tarot this position denotes the cards numbered 1 in the Minor Arcana - 1 of Cups, 1 of Swords, 1 of Wands, 1 of Pentacles.


Daath is an invisible sephira between Tiphareth and Kether. it is an interfacing node, which gives the entire Tree of Life a sense of completion.

Daath represents the powerful knowledge that we have within ourselves. Astrologically, Daath is ruled by the planet Pluto.

The Kabbalah is considered to be a separate branch of the esoteric studies (as in the Tarot, Numerology and Astrology). The original makers of the Tarot were familiar with the Cabala because of the intimate linking of the two sciences. Both the concepts are believed to have appeared in Europe at approximately the same period of time, with the Cabala possibly pre-dating the Tarot by a hundred years or so.



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