I often refer to the Tree of Life when describing a Tarot Card. Words like “Paths” and “Sephirot” populate most of my Tarot card discussions.  So what does all of this mean and is it really significant to the Tarot? Kabbalah and Tarot

In my next course, TAROT FINAL FRONTIER, I will delve deep into the historical and divinatory connection of the Tarot to the philosophy of the Kabbalah.  For the intent of this blog, let’s just say that just like Astrology, the Kabbalah is an integral part of reading the Tarot insightfully and accurately.  Tarot, Astrology & Kabbalah are the triumvirate that make every spread and every reading in-depth and profound.  Understanding the basic structure of The Tree of Life and its connection with the Tarot, therefore, will take your readings from mediocre to deeply intense.


The Tree of Life is a visual representation of a very abstract idea: The Idea of Universal Creation. Unfortunately, no words or image can accurately describe something which has no form.  And yet, we have to confide ourselves to visual and verbal explanations, for that is what our human brain understands.

The Tree of Life consists of ten Sephirot (see Figure 1), meaning emanations.  These are the ten characteristics/elements through which Ein Sof (The Infinite) reveals itself and continuously creates both the physical realm, as well as the Higher Realms.  To be sure: The Sephirot are not points in time nor space: they are states of existence.

Kabbalah Tarot Part I
Figure 1

The Kabbalah teaches that for the creation to take place – The Infinite had to manifest and project itself.  As so the journey takes us from pure Spirit – The First Sephirah, Keter – all the way down to our corporal, physical world – Malkut.  The further down the line, the more removed we are from the Source.  Each Sephirah represents a different state – a different stop, so to speak, on the way down into manifested existence. 


Furthermore, Sephirot come in opposite pairs, a positive and negative.  That is not a judgmental description.  Rather, it is another crude way to explain something that has no explanation.  The best analogies I can think of is electrical cords.  For electricity to flow, you need a positive (protruding) prong and a negative (receding) receptacle to produce an electrical current, or spark.  Likewise, each pair of opposite Sephirot generates a third.  These Triangles (see Figure 2) are the manifestation of Spiritual Heights, starting with Keter, Chokmah and Binah -as the first, Supernal Triangle – Spiritual Heights.  They are followed by Chesed-Gevurah-Tipheret: The Ethical Triangle and, finally Netzach-Hod-Yesod, as the Astral Triangle.  Malkut – our physical world – sits alone – removed from the Spiritual Plane.

Figure 2


The Tree of Life is further divided into three Pillars (see Figure 3).  The Sephirot on the right side make up a Pillar of Mercy.  Sephirot on the left are Pillars of Severity, and those in the center are a Middle Pillar – or a Pillar of Equilibrium. Each Sephirah is perfectly balanced by its opposite.  Likewise, each Path is a perfect balanced between the two Sephirot that it connects and, of the Path opposite it. We spend many human lives climbing up to the top of the Tree. In some, we choose the Pillar of Severity. In others, we choose the Pillar of Mercy.  Yet, it is the Pillar of Equilibrium, that will assure us the most beautiful and serene ascent.  Alas, it is our very humanity, that often clouds that passageway.

Kabbalah Tarot Figure 3
Figure 3


We must include one more important division on the Tree (I promise, it’s the last one).  It is the division of the Tree into the Four Worlds, each represented by a letter of the Divine Name (The Tetragrammaton) יהוה- Yod, Hey, Vav and Hey Final (see Figure 4)

The First World, the World of Yod is Atziluth.  It is the World of Pure Spirit.  It is Atziluth that activates all the consequent worlds.  As the World of Yod, it is the World of Primal Fire.

The Second World is Briah, the World of Hey – the world of pure intellect and Primal Water.

The Third World is Yetzirah, the Formative World.  It is the world of Vav, Primal Air.

Finally, there is the lonely world of only one Sephirah – our home – Malkut. It is the world of Assiah, the world of Hey, Final – Primal Earth.

Finally, there is the lonely world of only one Sephirah – our home – Malkut. It is the world of Assiah, the world of Hey, Final – Primal Earth.

Figure 4

To break it down, look at the Tree as you would an Architectural /Firm.  At the head is the Board of the Directors (Atzilut).  The Board charts out the grand vision of the firm and passes it down to Management (CEO, CFO and the Like – BRIAH).  These guys will break down the big vision into tangible projects that they will pass down to the department of Architects – buildings, parks, restaurants, shops – the works! The Architects (YETZIRAH), will draw up blue prints and 3-D models of the projects created by management. The projects will become clear and precise as they take shape and form… But it will be down to the construction crew (ASSIAH) to create physical interpretation of these projects.


To be sure, there are not Four – but sixteen worlds.  For we as we begin our ascent out of Assiah, we need to pass through ten sephirot of EACH world – to reach the peak.  The Peak of Each world, becomes the Malkut of the Next.  So, as we begin our ascent in Assiah, for example, by the time we reach Keter, that we have only just reached the first peak of Yetzirah.  And, likewise, as we complete the journey up to Keter of Yetzirah, we find ourselves in Maklut of Briah – and so on until we arrive at the Keter of Atziluth.  It is there, that we will finally be home.

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