THE 13TH PATH
“The 13th path, known as ‘The High Priestess,’ is one of the most mysterious because in several key ways it belies our sense of logic. The moon and water symbolism of the path suggests Yesod, the ninth sephira just above Malkuth, the Kingdom. Even though the 13th path connects Tiphareth with Kether high on the middle pillar, forming the most direct route to union with the crown of creation, instead of sun symbolism, which suggests unity and conscious awareness, you find moon and water symbolism, which suggests constant change, the multiplicity of phases, and the subconscious mind.”
“On the very first path we took, 32nd path, which connects Malkuth with Yesod, we had to go down before we could ascend. Does that have anything to do with it?”
“On the 13th path, we have to go deep into the subconscious mind across the desert that separates the abyss from the conscious mind. The highest that the conscious human mind can go is Chesed. That is one reason why the Hebrew letter associated with this path is Gimel, which means ‘camel.’ The conscious mind cannot take us across this desert--some other inner force must carry us. Kether, remember, is the greatest unified force known to the human mind--the human mind in the Kingdom is much more used to dealing with polarity and division and the multiplicity of form.”
“But the tarot contains the symbols to help us move across the abyss, right?”
“Remember that symbols are still part of the world of form; they are essentially forms that represent spiritual abstractions. But you are right. The other paths across the abyss contain symbols that help us feel our way through the formless light. The spiritual abstractions above the abyss are represented in Yesod as symbols to our subconscious minds, so we can in a sense create a bridge to the formless spiritual truths through their reflection as symbols in the ninth sphere, which is hinted at in the moon and water symbolism of this path. The first connection with higher consciousness often consists of visions of symbols, such as a lemniscate or an equal-armed cross. In other words, the higher self sometimes projects formless spiritual abstractions into the subconscious mind, which represents the abstractions as symbols to the conscious mind.”
“Higher knowledge is actually more intuitive, then?”
“Yes, higher knowledge is formless, without symbols. You just know something is true or something is about to happen. That is partly where the concept of faith comes in.”
“So you are suggesting that it is possible to cross the abyss.”
“Yes, but remember: You cannot look upon the face of God and live. In other words, if you experience the total unity of Kether, your consciousness will be translated into a completely different state of being. You will not be annihilated--instead, your consciousness will totally transcend this plane. You will retain your human experience within the fire of the Source. Numerous lifetimes pass before a soul is ready for that transcendent experience.”
“But the core of the self communicates intuitive knowledge to the soul, right, so in a sense, we can still know God even in the flesh.”
“Yes, as long as a path has been cleared between the neshamah, the core, and the ruach, the enlightened conscious mind, and the lower incarnated personality. That is why it is crucial that you purify yourself regularly. Negative energies garble and distort the messages.”
“So in a sense the priestess channels those messages to us.”
“Yes. The feminine side of the mind is much more psychic and receptive to spiritual intuition. Notice that the priestess in the picture sits between two pillars, one black and one white, which means that the priestess herself is essentially the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. She holds the Torah in her lap, a symbol of spiritual knowledge. Over her heart is a pure-white equal-armed cross, which symbolizes the harmony and equilibrium of all of the elements of the Tree before the white light is shattered into the many colors of multiplicity. In that sense, she is pure, virginal, and can sit before the veil of the abyss communicating the messages of Spirit to us. Her white equal-armed cross is the opposite of the black equal-armed cross associated with Malkuth that suggests a completely different logic, yet her feet touch the solid ground. She integrates paradoxes and the opposites of polarity, and the direct link to Kether is through Her.”
“In the card, you can see a mysterious woman in a strange crown, which suggests the phases of the moon, sitting between a black pillar and a white one. Behind her is a veil with palms and pomegranates in the position of the sephiroth on the Tree of Life. She is a Goddess, the receptive feminine side of the psyche, and she hears messages from the other side of the veil that she communicates through the abyss into the planes of manifestation. She is a dark Goddess of the subconscious, birthing great spiritual knowledge. She is comfortable with unity and multiplicity, and harmonizes and balances all aspects of the psyche beneath the moonlight. Knowledge from the True Self comes through her.”
Yetzirah: Pale cold blue.
Assiah: Silver, rayed with sky blue.
Take the next path.
Cards associated with The Moon:
Four of Cups.
Six of Pentacles.
Seven of Swords.
Nine of Wands.
Cards associated with the sixth sphere, Tiphareth:
Six of Wands.
Six of Cups.
Six of Swords.
Six of Pentacles.
Knight of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the first sphere, Kether:
Ace of Wands.
Ace of Cups.
Ace of Swords.
Ace of Pentacles.