THE 11TH PATH
“Zero is the number associated with the 11th path--for several reasons. First of all, this path is the snake biting its own tail--the beginning joined with the end, the first and the last in an eternal cycle. The Fool is either about to fall into the manifested world or into the abyss. He is full of the most divine wisdom and the most blinding innocence, for he is the Eternal Child who experiences all and remains spiritually free.”
“If this is the eleventh path and the zero path, how is it also the first path?”
“The ancients loved to create blinds and play with paradoxes. Kether, the Source, is technically the first ‘path’ on the Tree of Life, with Malkuth, the Kingdom, being the tenth. The 11th path is the first path of the Major Arcana of the Tarot, after the ten sephiroth. In other words, the first ten paths are states of being, and paths eleven through thirty-two are subjective paths, connecting and balancing the ten objective states represented by the spheres. But as the zero implies, there is no beginning or end that we can know as human beings. Behind Kether are three veils of existence, far beyond, at this stage of evolution at any rate, the human mind.”
“Why does the fool keep going if he knows he is going to fall?”
“If the fool is falling toward Malkuth, he is going to know all the contrasts and challenges and beauties of the Kingdom. He feels separate and fragmented at times, but whole and connected to the Source at others. He is going to experience the cosmos and to know complete and utter loneliness and terror. He is less than the dust one moment and a king the next. He is a tiny cog in the machine and a hub whose spokes touch the corners of the universe. He is the observer, the observed, and the act of observation. He is an animal and a God. The Hebrew letter ‘aleph,’ which means ‘ox,’ is associated with this path, suggesting the potent, dynamic life-force that pulses and thrills through him at every level--when he is at his most alive. But it can be a stupid, brutal force when he is operating at his worst. If, on the other hand, he is falling into the abyss toward Kether, he is experiencing the transcendent act of Union, which means he retains the human experience but is completely translated into something else.”
“But didn’t he already cross the abyss?”
“Not the final abyss. He crossed an abyss from the personal into the transpersonal, from the most elevated point reached by the higher self, into the spirit, but at that level there was still a tenuous connection with the conscious mind. But no one can experience Union with the Source and live. In other words, no soul who has completed the Great Work can remain on the lower planes of existence because he or she has achieved a vibration higher than anything within manifestation, and no one who has done so has returned to describe the experience.”
“But in the picture, the fool is moving away from the sun, which as a symbol suggests the Source, right?”
“Ah, yes, but be careful. The sun is both a manifested reality and a symbol, but at this point, the fool might be about to move across the abyss beyond all forms of manifestation, which hints that the ultimate Reality is beyond what we can know with the limited human mind. The fool, after all, can represent the divine madness that transcends the human realm. No astrological sign is associated with this card, only the elemental symbol of air, for two reasons. First of all, on one level, this path represents the first swirlings leading to the act of creation and manifesting as Chokmah, the zodiac. All of manifestation is in Chokmah, in other words, and all of Chokmah is in Kether. Everything moves and has its being in Spirit, and Spirit is like air. You can feel it, you know it’s there, but you can’t see it, and it ‘goes where it listeth,’ where it wants to go. The fool, with that magical sense of innocence, can even cross the abyss. Everything is in Kether, including the mind, and what it takes for the mind to move across the abyss is a change of vibration of the most fundamental and transcendent kind.
“In this card you see the beginning and end of the human journey. At the beginning, the fool is full of innocence and excitement, carrying a little bag and holding a white flower, white symbolizing unity as well as purity of spirit. He is about to fall into manifestation to experience the many within the One. He is resilient and perpetually innocent because, despite the harshest experiences, he knows the divine inner core of his being. Then he returns at the end of the journey into the One, holding the same white flower even after all of his experiences, great and small. And at the end of the journey, he or she moves beyond form, beyond language, into another great adventure.”
Atziluth: Bright pale yellow.
Briah: Sky blue.
Yetzirah: Bluish emerald green.
Assiah: Emerald green, flecked with gold.
Take the next path.
Learn the basics of the Ritual Pentagram Spread.
The Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram.
Cards associated with the second sphere, Chokmah:
Two of Wands.
Two of Cups.
Two of Swords.
Two of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the first sphere, Kether:
Ace of Wands.
Ace of Cups.
Ace of Swords.
Ace of Pentacles.