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The Principle and the Forms--The Twenty--first Card of the Tarot is a Figure--principle--The Tarot--The Year--The Month--The Day--The Human Life.


WE have already stated that the twenty-first card gives the key to the construction of the Tarot. The utility of this arcanum does not end here; we shall now see that it is the key to every application of the Tarot.

Some explanation may be necessary as to the manner in which a symbolical figure can be applied to conceptions of very different orders, without undergoing the least transformation.

Let us take one very simple example, chosen in the realm of experimental science, by applying the analogical method to its study. Let us represent the well-known phenomenon of the decomposition of the white light by the prism.

We place the prism, indicated by a triangular figure, in the centre; the white light, represented by parallel lines, enters it on one side: from the other the colours issue.

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[paragraph continues] They are represented by the refracted and more or less oblique lines.

The words Prism, White Light, and Colours, indicate all the phases of the phenomenon.



If, however, we reflect that after all it is only a general force (the white light) which undergoes various changes, according to the quantity of matter with which it comes in contact (the different thicknesses of the prism), 1 we shall easily grasp another aspect of the figure.

In fact the work of Louis Lucas, unconsciously continued by contemporary scientific men, proves by evidence the unity of force in action throughout Nature. The different physical forces, heat, light, or electricity, are only representations of this unique force differently modified, according to the quantity of matter with which it comes in contact.

Thus the white light in contact with the large amount of matter at the base of the prism becomes violet in the same way the unique force coming in contact with much matter becomes heat, or placed in contact with little matter becomes light or electricity.

We can therefore represent this new phenomenon without

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changing the form of our figure in any way; only the words need vary--



Here the different quantities of matter are represented by the different thicknesses of the prism, the unique force corresponding with the white light by the parallel lines, the various physical forms responding, to the various colours by the refracted lines.

If any one should consider that these two examples belong to the realm of physics, and are therefore insufficient to generalize a phenomenon to this point, we can answer by another instance quoted from physiology.

Physiology teaches us that all the organs in man act under the influence of the blood. Thus the latter, acting upon the salivary glands, produces the saliva, acting upon the stomach the gastric juice is secreted, upon the liver in certain cases it produces bile, etc., etc.

In short, this physiological phenomenon reduces itself to one unique agent (the blood), acting upon the different organs (the salivary glands, stomach, liver), and producing secretions of equally different natures (saliva, gastric juices, bile).

Can we not therefore represent the different organs by the different thickness of the prism, the different

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transformations of the unique force by the refracted rays, and the unique force itself by the parallel lines?

The correspondence is exact on all points, and the same figure can be used once more--



Thus the figure has never changed: only the words applied to its different parts have varied. The basis of all occult science and of the analogical method resembles this example: one fixed and invariable figure, which is always the same (Ex.: the figure), to which various orders of phenomena can be successively applied.

The twenty-first card of the Tarot is a figure-principle of the same nature as the prism which we have just studied, and a few examples of the various methods in which it can be applied will fully enlighten us upon this point.

We have seen that the four figures in the corners of the twenty-first card represent the four animals of the Evangelist. In the centre stands a woman, the image of Humanity, and between the two symbols is a crown of elliptic form.

This shows us that there will always be four fixed principles in every application of this card (since the symbols placed at the four corners of the square do not move), and a certain number of mobile principles represented

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by the wheel, rota, which occupies the centre of the symbols.

This figure can never change, since it is a figure-principle: the words alone that may be applied to it can vary.

Thus we have seen the four following symbols--






We see that none of the symbols have changed, but the words only.

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The same rule applies to every application of the Tarot. Thus if we take astronomy, the four figures will be the four seasons, the crown is the zodiac, and the nude figure (Eve) the animating system of the zodiac, the planets; thus--



This shows us the progress of the sun, as it gives birth to the year. If we wish to know that of the moon as it produces the month, the four seasons would become the four lunar phases, the zodiac would be the twenty-eight houses of the moon, and the centre the sun, which animates the moon; thus--



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If we wish for the horoscope of a single day we find it in the following figure--



Here the earth occupies the position of the moon in the month and of the sun in the year.

If these astronomical data weary us, we can study the figure will assume a circle of the Human Life, and the figure will assume new aspect.



A profound symbol, which indicates that the Human Will creates the fatality in which man moves, under the

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influence of the providential cycle of the four ages of the human life. If we know that Providence (the outer circle): acts upon the Future, Fatality (the intermediate circle) upon the Past, and the Human Will (centre circle) upon the Present, we shall see the basis of the divining Tarot.

We think that these examples are sufficiently clear to enable us to proceed, and we shall now study some applications of the Tarot, leaving to the student the work of discovering a larger number.


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226:1 See Louis Lucas, Chimie Nouvelle, chapter upon "Angulaison."

Next: Chapter XVI. The Astronomical Tarot